Monday, June 25, 2007

Green Acres

Greetings, readers! Before I recount my travels to you, I have to share some good/exciting news. The night before I left town, I mustered up the courage to knock on Cute Neighbor's door and ask for some help with my air filter. He gladly helped me out. And we ended up talking in my kitchen for an hour! Woot! Here is what I learned:

1. He has the coolest job -- he conducts extensive background checks for the military. He's not in the military, though. "Did you tell him you're a stalker, too?" E asked when I told her. Har har.

2. He completely geeks out when it comes to ghost stories and ghost shows on tv, just like I do. "He had me at 'ghost stories'," I told MJ and KT.

3. He is my age and from a small town here in SC. Also, no mention of a girlfriend. He gave the impression that he's a workaholic, and I've never seen a girl at his house. So the signs are good.

4. He really liked the cookies I made, and is interested in coming over for Lasagna Night this weekend, when I make it for all of my friends. Woot!

Aren't you proud of me?? I think I got my mojo back or something. We talked about lots of stuff, but those are the highlights. We will see how it goes this weekend. Yay!

I have returned to my more urban home. It's nice to be home in Cola town. Where it doesn't take 45 minutes of driving before you see a stoplight. Where you don't have to put on bug spray to get the mail, because the mailbox is a 7 minute walk away. Where grocery stores sell cilantro. I am not making this up.

On Monday night, I was making dinner for The Czarina and Smurf, so I had to drive into town (30 minutes or so away) and get ingredients. One of which was cilantro. Now, you might not think it would be an unusual thing. In alone, there are over 200 recipes calling for cilantro. Many Mexican dishes call for cilantro. I mean, it's not like I was looking for kumquats or persimmons. Anyway, I went to three grocery stores, and finally found ONE bunch. The first 2 stores didn't even sell it AT ALL. This completely blew my mind. I mean, I know some people absolutely hate it, but to not even sell it? Come on!

But enough about cilantro. I'm sure by now, you can see that my hometown is not nearly as civilized as I would like. Which is the main reason I don't live there. That, and it's also where The Czarina lives. More than 5 days of Czarina time makes me want to go postal.

And I was there for 7 days.

So yes, it's good to be home.

Highlights from my trip (and true to form, I took no pictures. Sorry! I'm not a picture person!):

1. Got to see NYC Girl, whom I've been friends with since the 1st grade. She and her mother are on a mission to get me to move to NYC. I have to's a tempting idea. And not because of the crazy dream I had, either! She lives on the edge of Chinatown and might have an extra bedroom in her apartment soon. But more on this in a minute...

2. I got to see some other elementary school friends. While we can all hang out and have fun, I'm really only still good friends with NYC Girl. So she and I decided not to go to the "after-party" at their hotel room. We had a good time just hanging out with each other.

3. I bought a bedspread and shams for my bed at the awesome furniture store in my hometown. They look a lot like this. Although I'm broke, the prices were hard to beat, and the white will look nice against my green bedroom walls. Then, the next day, we went to Richmond, where I got an adorable black cotton shirtdress from Ann Taylor, one of my favorite stores-- I tried to find a picture of it for you, but couldn't. Then, at Crate & Barrel, Czarina spotted this table on sale. And since she is such a nice Mommy, she got it for me. I really needed a table in my living room, and it will look great. I have to wait for her to bring it down with her, though, because it wouldn't fit in my car.

Yes, you read that correctly. She is visiting me. Next week. I will be maxed-out on Mom time, for sure. *rolls eyes* Don't get me wrong, I love my mom. It's just that The Czarina is somewhat of a......control freak. And she really likes to control me. This is the source of most of our disagreements. But I'm getting off-topic.

4. I got to see the P family. I just love them to death. (They are our friends whose house burned down, and whose daughter is pregnant and almost died. My parents and Mr. & Mrs. P are/were very close and all of us kids grew up together.) Anyway, the daughter is doing fine and will be having a baby in 3 weeks. I got to meet her boyfriend (the baby daddy) and he's a really nice guy. The parents are getting ready to move into their rebuilt house. So they are hanging in there, and things are looking up.

5. The day of the party, Sammy escaped from a hole in the screen porch and decided to disappear on me. I completely freaked out, and started walking around yelling for him. After searching unsuccessfully for a half hour, I began to cry. The Czarina thought I should check for messages on my cell phone, since Sammy's tag has my number on it. I was relieved to learn some neighbors up the road had grabbed him and were holding him for me. It turns out that Sammy had walked about 2 miles up the busy highway near Czarina's house. It's a miracle he wasn't turned into an asphalt pancake by one of the many big rig logging trucks that go barreling up and down that road. Sammy was locked in the basement for the rest of the day after that!

6. The party was fun, and I got to see my siblings and even more family friends. I met the 40 year old The Czarina was trying to fix me up with. He was good looking and not a dork, which I have to give her credit for. But he had a Miami Vice vibe going on. As in, Don Johnson. Which honestly, kind of skeeved me out. We didn't talk very much.

7. Everyone seemed to be trying to talk me into moving. Despite the fact that I just bought a house and that I have lots of friends down here, and haven't really expressed any serious interest in moving anytime soon. I am wondering if The Czarina is behind this. In any case, one person was trying to talk me into moving to DC, another to Richmond and another to NYC (NYC Girl's mom is on a mission, I am telling you!). They all made very good cases--these are all cities I think I'd enjoy living in. And I have to say, I am chewing over these ideas. You might even say I am moderately serious about it. My family has a tendency to be fairly nomadic, and I am no different. It's not all that unusual for us to move halfway across the country suddenly. Or to visit Europe and never come back, as my aunt did. I've been here for 5 years, and I am starting to get the "Been there, got the t-shirt" feeling. Columbia is one of those places that doesn't seem to change all that much. I might be ready for a new stomping ground.

8. This brings me to my next little update tidbit. I'm going to NYC in about 2 weeks!!!! YAY!!! I have never been there, and I'm really excited. MJ, KT and I are meeting up with the Rat Pack and hanging out in the city for a day or so (Rocky just moved to SoHo, so we will be staying there), then we're heading up to Vermont (another place I've never been) for a weekend at a lake house. Can I just tell you how excited I am???? It will feel like a REAL vacation. Too bad I'm terrifyingly broke.

So, readers, I need your advice on NYC. What do I wear? (I am especially wanting to know what kind of shoes to wear when I walk around the city. Flip flops seem too sloppy, sneakers too touristy and everything else seems too uncomfortable.) What should I expect? What should I bring? Where should we go? (Keep in mind I am B-R-O-K-E) Do you think I will like NYC? I'm going to try and meet up with NYC Girl while I'm up there. And I'll be with people who know their way around the city. So I won't be too stressed out, and I will be able to enjoy myself. Whew!

As you can tell, I have a lot going on (NYC trip, Lasagna Night, Czarina's visit, my annual review at work, etc.) and will be really busy for the next few weeks. My to-do list is crazy long. But reading up on NYC neighborhoods, culture and visitor advice is much MUCH more interesting right now, so I think I will go do some research.....right after I burn a CD with NYC-themed songs......yeah.........I am totally geeking out right now....

Maybe I will find the theme song to that show, Green Acres. It is very fitting right now, after leaving the beautiful, rural Virginia countryside (Green acres is the place to be...) and looking forward to NYC (New York is where I'd rather be!)........

Are you singing the song now? LOL


Stuck said...

I think you should just walk around barefoot when you go to NYC. You never listen to my advice anyway, so I'm going to start giving really absurd suggestions. ;)

Good job on talking to Cute Neighbor!

Just A Girl said...

Yay! You actually had a good conversation with C.N.!!

I say screw looks and go for comfort with sneakers. I started in cute sandals near the WTC site, and ended up in a payless shoes store buying sneakers a little bit further up in the financial district.

patti_cake said...

Wow you are so lucky to have so much going on. I love Crate & Barrel, and Ann Taylor and Talbots and J Crew and did I mention i'm a shop-a-holic.
Way to go with Cute Neighbor!

NotCarrie said...

Good for you with the cute neighbor. AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

So glad you are back and had a wonderful time. I missed your posts. Excellent work on Cute Neighbor. Sounds like this could lead to something.

Fluffycat said...

Great to hear your updates.

Thankfully in California, you can get cilantro everywhere and it is in everything. I love that stuff.

And very awesome about the cute neighbor. He sounds much better for you than hot neighbor... no kids, no skanky girlfriend hanging about.

kimmykins13 said...

Welcome Back!! I'm so glad cute neighbor is coming over for Lasagna night. The air filter strategy worked out nicely.

You will love NYC so much - I have been 5 times and it is so much fun. You need more than just a day though. I hope you will be able to stay at least a couple of days before you head up to Vermont (which by the way is a beautiful state). You should be able to accomplish a decent amount in 2 days. Keep an agenda of all the landmarks you want to see and the things you want to do - restaurants etc. There is a book similar to the Fodor's guide out called The Budget Guide to NYC. It is very helpful. I have it myself and it is very worn from use.

Lastly, wear comfortable shoes. You will probably be walking a lot. Don't wear sandals unless you are just going to a restaurant or a show. If you are going to sight see wear you tennis shoes or Doc Martens or a pair of shoes that are really broken in (but still look nice of course).

Did you tell Sammy that he was a bad dog for running off like that?

kimmykins13 said...

Oh - The Book is actually titled
"Lets Go - The Budget Guide to NYC". There are a series of "Lets Go" guides to different cities. You are probably familiar with them, but if not check it out.

RWA said...

I agree with the other post. Go barefoot. Get one of those T-shirts you can get at a truck stop that says, "The South Will Rise Again."

Totally play to the Southern stereotype.

Well done with Cute Neighbor, by the way.

lenfercestlesautres said...

It's the week of the lost dogs it seems! Luckily somebody managed to grab yours, I spent a couple of hours on Saturday night chasing a huge dog through the city. Who escaped. Stupid little thing. I hope nothing happened to him.

Also, good job with CN!

Jamy said...

In NYC, you can't go wrong with black. It will help allay your "country mouse" feelings.

For shoes, I agree with everyone else, go for comfort. If you have a pair of comfortable black oxfords/loafers/sneakers, bring them. Regular sneakers are better than flip flops--the streets are dirty and your feet will get filthy. Also, with the crap floating around out there on city sidewalks, it's best to have your feet covered.

Enjoy--NYC is fantastic!

Phantom Hater said...

I know all about New York, so I can give you some good, practical advice, especially if you go to NYC.

As for shoes--they must be 4 to 6-inch stiletto hooker shoes. All of the stylish women in NY wear them. I also gathered that you probably dip, since you're from Virginia, but the spittoons look a little different in NYC. They're called homeless people. Luckily, the generous mayor of NYC has installed a lot of them around the city. The weather is a little hot this time of year, so if you get thirsty, just take a swig out of the Hudson River. It's the purest body of water in the US! You'll definitely stand out as a tourist, since you have a soul, but make sure you have fun and be safe!

I'm only kidding. I like New York.

Anny said...

this whole time i did not know the czarina was your mom!!!

Sam said...

Damn you and that song! Go have some fun for me@@!!! Pretend that I've already said "thank you" for the wedding card/gift and that I'm not an asshole.

Megan said...

congrats on the cute nieghbor thing! that is just too awesome...

have fun on your vacation(s)!!!

teahouse said...'re coming to the Big Apple!!

Wear comfy shoes. When I'm not at work, I wear my Doc Martens! Be prepared to walk a lot. We New Yorkers walk on average much more than the average American.

Lisa said...

Holy Cow woman. YOu've been a busy, busy girl.

Can't wait to hear all about the Lasagna night and the other things you have on your plate. :-)

Matilda Jane said...

Compile a list of things you'd like to see and we'll do it! ... or at least do the best we can. Things move fast in NY, so you can get a lot done in a day! Oh, and don't bother writing down Times Square because I'll cross it off until I shred the paper, then I will set it on fire with my laser-vision.

Kraig said...

Good job on the Cute Neighbor thing. We knew you could do it :)

Have fun in NY. One of the places on my to-visit lists for the next year or two. :)