Sunday, August 31, 2008

Information that would have been useful to me YESTERDAY

Eric and I were in Nordstrom yesterday and, like the fragrance ho that I am, I stopped to sample the essential oil perfumes from L'Occitane. I particularly liked the Lavender Eau de la Recolte Bleue and had Eric come over to smell it on my wrist. "Doesn't that smell great?" I said. "Hmmm," he replied, "I really don't like vanilla perfumes." Turns out he was smelling a little higher up on my arm, where I had applied my perfume. Which I've been wearing daily for a good 6 months. Which is Aquolina's Pink Sugar, a vanilla based perfume. So he's been hating how I smell for the past 6 months and never said anything. That's a considerate man for you - if I don't like his aftershave/cologne I protest loudly and then buy him something *I* like. So I guess I'm in the market for a new signature fragrance - something not vanilla based. Any suggestions?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Flickr Fun

Michelle did this on her blog a while back and I decided to emulate (i.e. copy) her. Here's how to play:

a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd’s mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Chelsea
2. What is your favorite food? peaches (it's a moving target, but this is my current seasonal fave)
3. What high school did you go to? Loudoun Valley
4. What is your favorite color? blue
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Christian Bale
6. Favorite drink? Vanilla Coke
7. Dream vacation? Florence, Italy
8. Favorite dessert? chocolate
9. What you want to be when you grow up? fulfilled
10. What do you love most in life? truth
11. One Word to describe you? thinker (my favorite photo result by far)
12. Your flickr name? afarsea

1. Chelsea Bridge, 2. Walking on the Beaches, Looking at the Peaches, 3. Cows at Loudoun Valley Vineyards, 4. wham:a different corner, 5. Forearm, 6. Addicted, 7. Insieme al tramonto .., 8. coffee and chocolate mousse cake, 9. "i love my bike", 10. zero gravity, 11. The Thinker..., 12. IMG_3989

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


You Are Trinity

"Touch me and that hand will never touch anything again."

This explains a lot about Eric's choice in marrying me - he is a Matrix junkie. Now if only I could fit back into my pre-baby pleather jumpsuit again...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Weird Pastime #23

I like to look through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog and see what baby names are inscribed on things, and therefore trendy enough to cross off my list for future children. (Not that there's anything wrong with having a trendy name, I just don't want to give my kids one.) I look at the furniture too, but let's face it, I'm way too cheap to actually order anything from there. We got our current bed* on Craigslist. And it was originally from Ikea.

Here are some of the names in the most recent edition:

Oliver (a name I can't hear without thinking "Well 'ello guvnah!")
Taylor (for a boy)
Caroline and Mary (these two were on the same page, which is funny since those are my nieces' names)
Randy (really? Randy?)
Devon (for a girl)

I really like some of those names, despite their apparent trendiness. But I'm glad there are no Sawyers. I have met two different little Sawyers at Target (thankfully both boys) in the past few months, so I'm afraid it's becoming more popular. But as long as he's not one of 4 Sawyers in his kindergarten class, I don't really care that much. There is such a thing as having a name that is TOO unique. If our only requirement was that he never meet someone else with his name we would have dubbed him Dweezil or Moon Unit (except, oops, both of those are already taken.)

*Just the bed itself, not the mattress. I'm not that cheap.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Living the Dream

"I'll tell you one thing, I am not going to be one of those women schlepping her kids around in a minivan. I want an SUV... with three rows of seats."
-Kelly Kapoor, The Office

Until recently, I had been driving our Honda Accord that we bought soon after Sawyer was born. We picked it out just for me and I was very happy with it. Comfortable, easy to clean leather seats, XM radio. But with Eric's new office being a bit farther away and gas prices being so high, we figured out that we could save over $300 a month just by switching cars. So now he's driving the Accord, which means I get his car: a big manly Dodge Durango. Not the car I would have chosen for myself, but I'm finding that it is nice to have all that room for strollers, toys, groceries, etc. in the back. And that third row of seats has gotten a lot more use than I thought it would - you know, considering that I only have one child. The gas mileage is truly horrible, but I so rarely drive more than a few miles at a time that it isn't too much of an issue. Of course, I had to personalize it immediately by putting my LOST sticker on the back, and before long I'll have it decorated to the point that Eric will be embarrassed to drive it from now on (I think something along the lines of "Breast is Best!" or "Soapers do it with bubbles" would probably do the trick.) Yep, I'm living the dream!

Friday, August 22, 2008


This week I started a new exercise routine: walking on a nearby bike trail. I've been doing three miles a day, which for me is a lot (all you serious runners, please don't laugh at me!) It takes me about an hour, so I'm not going super fast either - but since prior to this week I was doing almost nothing, I feel good about it. I'm footsore and muscle sore, and it feels great. Today I went the extra mile - literally - and did four. It hasn't been hard to get up and go because the weather this whole week has been fantastic. Cool in the mornings and evenings, breezy, and never too hot. Virginia in August is usually so hot and humid that you get drenched in sweat just cracking open the front door, so this is unseasonably temperate. Nature must approve of my attempts at exercising.

I brought the camera along today so I could capture some of the beauty of the trail. For some reason everything came out a bit overexposed (I'm the epitome of "amateur enthusiast" when it comes to photography and generally have no idea what I'm doing) but I got some good shots of some flowers and critters along the way. And one near miss that could have been a great photo, but isn't.

The trail.

Ready to hit the road in my new shoes.

The underbrush is so dense this time of year. It's no wonder Sawyer always says "It's a rainforest!"

Part of the trail goes past a quarry. Sawyer loves to stop and see the huge trucks.

Goose Creek. Sorry about the chain link. For some reason they want to make sure the bikers don't fall off the bridge. By the way, you should know that it was a personal triumph for me to actually stop in the middle of the bridge to take this picture because of my crippling fear of heights. I was white-knuckling the camera the whole time.

Virginia countryside. I love the color of the grass at the end of summer, all bleached out by the sun.

Sawyer squinting into the sun and showing me his flower. He held onto it until it wilted away completely.

I wish I could tell you the names of all these flowers, but I have no idea what most of them are. Maybe a Virginian naturalist could step in and enlighten me (Katy??)

With Sawyer's help, I saw a lot of animals today.

A little groundhog that ran off as soon as we got too close and dived into his hole.

A moth that was fluttering around the wildflowers.

A large bird (how's that for descriptive?)

A heron and some Canada geese (I know what those are!)

Circling birds.

And the worst, which could have been the best:

Can you see it? Me either. I had stopped to photograph a bird that was perched on a branch, was just zooming in and focusing when I heard a crash in the brush close by. I jumped about a mile and looked up to see a male whitetail deer with a huge rack of antlers about 10 feet away from me. I was so startled that it took me a few seconds to get the camera pointed at him, and by that time he was completely covered by the bushes. Too bad I'm not Dwight Schrute.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Beach 2008

I learned something this year during our beach trip. One week at the beach is not enough. You spend the entire first week just learning how to live the vacation lifestyle, and by the time the week is over you're just starting to get in the groove of sitting on the beach all day, reading, and eating whatever you want. It doesn't make any sense to go home at that point. Two weeks is infinitely better. Obviously, three would be even better than two. But I'll take two. Two is great.

The trip down was much better than I expected. Sawyer watched his Dora the Explorer DVDs almost the whole way. And it's a 7 hour drive. On the way home I stopped and bought another DVD player (you'll find out why in a minute) and he did pretty much the same thing, even though the drive home took 9 hours because we hit traffic. I've often wondered at home how long he would keep watching TV were I to let him just sit there and keep watching, and now I have my answer: pretty much forever! I'm not complaining though since it made driving without another adult a whole lot easier than it could have been. Especially since the little bugger seems to be immune to the sleepy side effects of Dramamine.

This year our first week was with my mom's family, the annual Stell reunion, full of all the usual subtle and not-so-subtle tensions that a family reunion always brings, and a lot of watching The Office in the evening. My cousins are spread out over Virginia and the US so the beach week is the one time during the year when we all get together and catch up.

The second week we spent in a sound side house with my parents and siblings who could make it (Rob had to go back to work in Miami and Erin was in the midst of moving to New Zealand.) It was nice to all be in one house (the Stell reunion is so big now that we need two) and a bit less chaotic since there were fewer of us. The weather got much better that week too, cooler and less humid. We spent almost every day out on the beach or by the pool. There were a few minor problems - like getting multiple mosquito bites every time we left the house (they were worse this year than they've been in a long time - this T-shirt would have been very appropriate) and having our cars broken into during the first week (mysteriously, my cheapo portable DVD player got stolen, but the punk left my $400+ GPS system right where it was on the windshield.) And it really sucked that Eric was only able to come for a short weekend; he drove down Friday night and left Sunday morning. Next year I hope he'll be able to take more time off. I'm already counting the days.

Another benefit of staying two weeks was that it gave Sawyer time to learn to love the ocean. The first week he hated going to the beach. I literally had to drag him kicking and screaming across the dunes. He hated the way the sand would shift under his feet ("It's slippery! It's slippery!") and was scared of the waves. But by week two, he loved it and it was all I could do to get him to come out of the water and go home for lunch. I had to watch him like a hawk because he would try to get into the water by himself. His favorite was going into the ocean with his Grandad - they'd jump up over the waves and Sawyer would yell "Arriba!" and "Abajo!" and "Don't drink the agua!" (Thank you again, Dora!)

One of the highlights of our yearly beach vacation is our trip to Ocracoke. It's on a small island south of Cape Hatteras and is a quirky little village with lots of restaurants, shops, local music and aging hippies. This year we went twice. We had a great time eating at the Jolly Roger (hush puppies=deliciousness!), browsing at the Hemp Shop, touring the lighthouse, and splashing in puddles on the day it rained.

Friday, August 01, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

...because it's beach time! Sawyer and I leave tomorrow for a whole two weeks at the Outer Banks. My whole family (minus my sister Erin who's in the midst of moving to New Zealand) and my mom's family will be there. I can't wait to see everyone. Eric can't come this year because 1) he doesn't have much vacation time yet since starting his new job a couple of months ago, and 2) Verizon is going on strike next week and he has to be there to pick up the pieces (he doesn't get to go on strike because he's not a Verizon employee.) He's planning to come down next weekend, and I'm hoping he can extend his stay for at least a few days beyond that. We'll see.

I'm a little nervous about driving down by myself tomorrow, mostly because Sawyer has been a complete terror the last few days. Whiney, fussy and tantrum-y. Whoever said the Terrible Twos were the worst phase never met a three year old. Or at least they never met Sawyer. I think I'm prepared - portable DVD player with Dora the Explorer DVDs, check. Huge box of fruit snacks, check. Leaving in the evening in hopes he'll fall asleep, check. Dramamine in case he doesn't fall asleep soon enough, check (thanks for the suggestion Jen!) Not stopping at mean grandma's on the way, double check! So I think I'll be OK. I think.

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