Reading Character At Sight

Not so long ago, I was digging through some books at an estate sale and came across these beauties. From 1918, they delve into how to read people’s character (and your own character).

As I skimmed the chapter titles, my eyes got bigger and bigger. Oh my… Oh wow… and I started to fan myself.  If only Geneva Wollard had read this before she went on her dating rampage back in 1915, her list may have been longer. You gotta see what was written in an old Charles Dickens novel!

So I took my time looking at the headings… Not really wanting to read the description, knowing it would dispell my first initial reaction.

The Refined, Sensitive, Beauty-Loving Man – Oh hello, sir. Look at that rose sunset. Sure, I’ll sit on this blanket with you. Tea? Why thank you, kind gentleman.

The Vigorous, Virile, Coarse Man – Yes, the sunset is divine isn’t it. But who is that laboring in the field below? He’s just so, so virile. I think I’ll take a walk. NO! Ahem, I mean, no thanks, you don’t need to accompany me. I’m just going to stretch my legs… right through those hay fields.

The Hard, Unsympathetic, Driving, Close-Fisted ManOn my way to meet Mr. Legends of the Fall, I trip and tumble down the hill. The 7th Earl of Carolyn’s Daydreams rode up on horseback and yelled at me to get off his property. Oh, how rude you are! I was only taking a walk. But I’m sure there’s a sweet man inside you somewhere.

[side note: this is taking the tone of Beauty of the Beast, one of my most hated Disney movies. But it is any easy plot, so I write on…]

The Impressionable, Indolent, Extravagant Man – The King is taking a tour of his countryside and happens upon the scene. He calls out for the nice young woman with graying hair to please ride home in his carriage. Why thank you King! While we’re in here, let’s talk about your son…

At the end of each lesson, you are given activities. One of which is to observe people and list where they rank in each category.

What have you learned at the end of this lesson? (Besides that Carolyn needs friends. Real ones this time.)

Put Baby back in the corner.

This is what happens when your husband and you scoff at paying $15 for a haircut and decide to do it on your own.

You ask for a simple bob…

…and get this. Are you supposed to see every layer?

R said he just picked a layer and went with it. Guess I should have clarified to not pick the shortest one. My bad. And now it’s everyone who has to stand behind me in line’s bad too.

Go back to your corner, Baby.

Tim Tams

We found a way to watch LOST live on our computer. Normally we have to wait until it’s been uploaded to the site, which takes about a day. I’m not telling the name of the site because I don’t want it to be found. It’s my little secret island, if you will.

Immediately after we found it, I exclaimed that now all we need is chocolate! Here’s how my brain works:

celebration = chocolate, sadness = chocolate, fright = chocolate, paranoia = chocolate, explaining how my brain works = chocolate.

Then R smiled. He asked me to wait a few minutes because he was already working on something. After I turned from the clock’s minute hand, I looked to see what he had made.

Two cups of hot chocolate with a plate of cookies!  Awesome.

But these weren’t just any cookies. These were Tim Tams. And you best include a pause after saying its name so everyone can bow their heads in adoration.

R studied for a semester in Australia and these apparently are the sacred cookies of Down Under. Everyone loves them. Up until recently, it was hard to find them in the U.S.

There’s a catch however: there’s a correct way of eating them. I even found a bunch of youtube videos later demonstrating it.

Let me list out the steps.

1. Bite off both ends.

2. So that it looks like this, but less blurry.

3. Then, dip it into your drink (we used hot chocolate) like a straw. Suck on the cookie until you just barely taste the liquid.

4.  Once you feel it, pop the cookie into your mouth followed by an optional gulp.

It. is. heavenly.

The cookie just melts into this silky chocolate mess. Oh my, go out and get some… like, now.


Sugar with a Handle

When a sugar bag has a handle on it, you know you’re going off the deep end. I don’t care.

We went almost two weeks without bread because I made up excuses as to why I didn’t have time to bake it. There is nothing so disheartening as knowing you can’t even make a measly sandwich if your stomach growls. Not even a PB&J. When I was craving grilled cheese and soup while sick last week, R ran to the store to buy a loaf.

I’ve never heard so much hissing and yelling in my life. He expressed over and over how much he wished it were the bread I usually make. I didn’t show it, but boy did that make me feel proud of what I had been accomplishing in the baking department.

After that episode, I made sure I’d have enough supplies for the upcoming months. Partly because I need to get a little more farmwife in me (i.e. discipline), and also because we are setting a strict lunch routine.

Everyday we are going to have the same thing to eat, with a little variation in ‘type’. A sandwich, yogurt, vegetable, string cheese, and maybe a dessert. I don’t use sugar in my bread, honey instead, but we do like our banana bread and chocolate cake, so I stocked up for that maybe factor. We will make the lunches the night before and not worry about it in the morning.

Little things. We’re learning.

But this menu requires bread, folks, and a steady supply of it.

So I got started.

This time around, though, Miss Carolyn got wild and crazy. She added oats. Yes, that’s my partying side when it comes to bread. One day I’ll even attempt sourdough starter.

Can I get three snaps in a Z-formation, please?

But for now, I’ll stick to my sometimes awkwardly shaped, whatever flour I have on hand, bread. Don’t let R’s yawn fool you, it really is exciting.


You can find them everywhere.

In nature: on a rock wall…

Or in a restaurant: on a ranch-dipped buffalo wing.

I love them both equally.

From my heart to yours: Hope you had a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

My Kind of Medication

I really wasn’t in the mood to go out and about tonight. I’ve been sick the past few days and a night of watching movies and laying around sounded ideal. However, we had spent the majority of the morning organizing our dorm room sized apartment and decided a Sam’s Club trip was necessary.

So I bundled up my snotty nose and off we went, half hoping they’d be serving their samples like our last Date Night there. Along the way, R caught a sign for Chick-Fil-A and murmured how nice it would be to stop there. But free is free and we knew we could count on ole Sammy.

As we piled up our cart, something was blatantly missing from the store. There were no hair nets around! And you know what that means. No samples, people.

R took that opportunity to drop a giant hint that if I loved him we’d go to Chick-Fil-A. And, for once, I agreed; instead of dragging him somewhere that I wanted to eat.

And boy did it pay to be unselfish! We walked in and noticed a sign stating there was a ‘Pre-Valentine’s Day Dinner’. We looked at each other, then ordered our food.

As we turned the corner with our tray, we saw an entire room filled with fresh flowers, lit candles and tablecloths! So we sat down in our little nook and even put napkins on our laps.

A few minutes later, two dressed-up people walked in…

…and they started performing for us! They sang Italian ballads sprinkled with American music like Stand By Me, which of course made me well up. Love that song.

R asked me to wipe my tears away along with the booger in my left nostril.

It was such a nice surprise and gave a me an extra boost of energy, which was needed because across the parking lot was a Barnes & Noble. And we all know the pull books have on me and R.

So we popped in and within 5 minutes, heard the sound of instruments.

I weaved myself among the shelves of books and finally found them. A saxophone quartet! Complete with chairs to listen.

R went off to buy some coffee and I sat there, the lone person in a chair, listening. I closed my eyes and let the music work over me.

One of the players asked if I played, and I said, “No. I just appreciate.” Which is going to be my motto from now on.

I don’t act or sing or play an instrument. But I appreciate those who do. And even if I’m the only one in the audience, I’ll still clap heartily to show them how much.

Two performances in one night. I’m going to bed with a smile on my face. And this time it’s not because of Nyquil.


I was at a thrift store the other day and found some old popsicle forms. Man, I had to snatch them up!

These were the fancy kind with a little spout from which you could sip the drained juice.

So I ran to the store and bought some grape juice and filled those buggers up. If there’s one juice that instantly brings me back to my childhood, it’s grape juice.

Then I popped them into the freezer where they fit nicely amongst stew, chili, and vodka.


Later, I indulged in the fruits of my labor (literally), while watching Intervention.

Please do not look at the smudge marks on our computer screen. Thank you.

R and I need to be intervened on how we interact while taking photos. I asked for one measly shot of me holding the popsicle and this is what happened. It’s not pretty.

Catalina Island and beyond…

I’m not feeling very wordy today. So just follow me through the last day on Catalina Island…

But first, the night before. We popped a few more advil and sat in front of the fire to watch the sunset. Later, we would all snuggle our way into the tent to play Taboo for a couple hours. Knowing it was cold outside and us warm and safe in our sleeping bags helped soothe our achy bodies.

But I couldn’t sleep. And neither could my brother.

So we spent most of the night staring at the moon and its reflection on the water, quietly thinking to ourselves. That’s the good thing about M. You don’t need to converse. You can just sit and drown yourself in thought.

Morning came almost too soon.

But, with morning came the sun. And oh how wonderful it felt on our faces.

So, let me take you on the hike back. I want you to imagine a slight breeze, crisp air, and warm sunshine. The ground was dry, but you could feel the moisture on everything green.

We hiked up hills, cut through the Others’ neighborhood, ducked under canopies of trees… All of this with a smile on our faces. We were happy.

We arrived a couple hours later and enjoyed a nice lunch at the restaurant and a game of speed on Tinkerbell playing cards. And no, they weren’t my cards. I had a falling out with Disney while working at an Equity Center in college. It was ugly. R had to endure the brunt of my anger so no one else would.

On the way back, I refused to sit inside. Instead, I wrapped myself up in a sleeping bag and sat on the top deck with eyes closed, just embracing the wind. I could live outdoors.

The next day we intended to hike up to the Hollywood sign, but we didn’t make it very far. Our legs hurt.

This is what happens when I ask the brothers-in-law to “get together”. R just stares at M’s outreached hand.

We had a really good time. M & D were great hosts and you could tell they really wanted us to enjoy ourselves. And we did. Thanks you two!

A and I shared a bed for many years…

Did that get your attention?

I hope so. I hope it also got CBS’s attention as well.

Because our small town was having auditions for the Amazing Race last Saturday. I mean, really? This teeny place? So I called my sister, who didn’t have much going on in the next few months, to make a quick roadtrip. She hadn’t seen our dorm room yet, anyway.

A piled up the car and trucked on down. On the way, she got lost, which was extremely appropriate for the occasion.

When she arrived we sat down and filled out the application. Things were going well until we got to this one: What is your biggest pet peeve about your teammate? Now if only the cameras were on during that segment. R sat wide-eyed and silent; trying to not be noticed. Because if he had been, we’d have eaten him alive.

Fine. You’re moody. THERE. Yeah, well you’re flaky. SO DOUBLE THERE.

and after we wrestled and pulled each other’s hair for a bit, everything settled down.

We made it to the casting place, conveniently located at a casino, and stared at our competition.

I mean, couldn’t we at least beat this guy?

And what the heck was I wearing? Isn’t this a casting call? Here I am with wet hair, a free t-shirt we won from a 5K race, my husband’s vest, and highwater pants. Every casting director’s dream.

So we sit down and kinda go over memories and other fun details about ourselves. You know, picturing the audition as someone throwing out questions really fast. Man, were we on it. Sitting in that room, waiting our turn… we were on fire.

And then.

And then a lady walked in and told everyone to listen up. This is how it’s gonna work. You walk in, give your applications to one of the guys and then you’ll have two minutes to do whatever you want. So get pumped up!

A and I looked at each other and I felt a little vomit come up my throat. Anything we want? [silent scream]. We were not prepared.

Luckily, A is in marketing/advertising and just naturally an outgoing character. So she patted my hand and said, “Carrie, just follow my lead, okay? You’ll be fine. I’ll carry us and you just pipe in whenever you want.” So loving. Such a leader.

“Team 14!!!!” someone yelled on the overhead. We took a deep breath and walked into the room. After we handed over the application, they positioned us in front of the camera and said, “Go!”

We managed to get the opening out which was basically our names and then…


I looked over at my leader A in desperation and she was standing there, with this weird downward smile I’d never seen on her, just looking up at me. So I panicked and started rambling. And if any of you ever heard me talk under pressure, this is the worst possible scenario. I don’t even remember what I said, but I do remember dropping the phrase Passive Aggressive hoping to get a little spark in the room.


We literally said nothing. A wrapped it up and they turned off the camera. It was extremely uncomfortable. No one looked at us. And we left.

So what did we do? We called up R to have some drinks with a couple Debbie Downers. We tried to convince ourselves that the show really was looking for two people who couldn’t spit out any coherent words and spoke in monotone voices followed by awkward silences. Right?

But R wouldn’t have any of it. He said, “Look. There is no line. Have some more food and liquid courage and GO BACK IN THERE.” It was like Hoosiers all over again.

He dragged us to the car and drove us back. When we walked in, the room had been cleared out for several hours and the cameramen were bored.

I left it up to single cute girl, A, to seal the deal. They said, sure why not and that they could splice the new audition over the old one. We asked R to stand on the sidelines this time because we knew he’d laugh at us. I don’t even care if it wouldn’t be with us, someone just laugh for goodness sake.

We stand in our appropriate spots for the second time and jumped in. Our hook? That we shared a bed for many years as kids, which is true and now all of you guys know. Oh well.

But that wasn’t it. Not only did we share a bed for many years, but I did once pee in the bed. After I realized what I had done, I sat on top of my pillow and watched it trickle down to A…watching in slow motion as she came unglued.

See? Teammates, right there.

In the middle of our two minutes, there came the same awkward pause. But instead of succumbing to it, I called it out. “Why is this so awkward, A? [Turning to the camera] I think it’s because we think we’re funnier than what we really are.” A disagreed and pointed out that all of the cameramen were laughing. And I argued further that “no they aren’t. They’re looking at the ground avoiding eye-contact.” And just that little riff instantly calmed us because that’s exactly how we would banter. Dry, yet with the same high nasaly voice. We continued with more descriptions of each other (mostly on how moody I am) and eventually got the “wrap-up” motion!

Oh happiness. Even if we don’t make it any further, just getting that hand motion made our night.

Well, that and the $2.50 I won on the slot machines.

Wish us luck!!

Catalina, or why my hips hurt.. Part One

I’ll be straight with you. I’m gonna stretch this past weekend out for as many posts as possible, partly because it reminds me of the nice weather we experienced and partly because I have nothing else to talk about. So there.

We met up with my brother’s friends early saturday morning to eat a good pre-hiking breakfast of McDonalds Egg & Cheese biscuits. Just exactly what you want at the pit of your belly while wandering around for 8 miles. But since I never order this delicacy anymore, I slurped it up. Slurped? I guess that verb works, since its mostly grease.

Ah, grease. Let’s all take a moment and bow our heads in appreciation of it.

After an hour ride on the water taxi to the Two Harbors marina, we unloaded our gear, grabbed what we needed from the park office, and took off. Oh joy! We were so happy and full of energy!! Especially me, since D slipped me an Excedrin on the ride over. I don’t take much medicine, even for minor things. So when this puppy hit me, I was wide eyed and jittery. I’m pretty sure if someone showed up in a trench coat with little Excedrin pills hanging on the inside, I’d buy some. And isn’t that how they always get you? The first one’s free, buddy.

As we walked around the one street town to find the trailhead, I noticed a sign. Wheels? When was that an option? I want my money back.

But they shoved a sock in my mouth and we trekked on….

…right up the first hill out of town. And then we rested for about three hours. It hurt and I was starting to crash from my half dosage of pain reliever. We were bracing for the worst.

Every so often, I’d turn around to see where my brother, M, was. I’d have to turn around, you see, because he was almost certainly pulling up the rear. It wasn’t because he was out of shape.. oh no, it was because he was carrying an 8-person tent. For 8 miles. I’ll let that swirl around in your brain for a bit and will definitely not bring up that I had suggested renting a couple smaller tents. No, you’ll never hear that out of my mouth.



I don’t know how he did it. I’d have quit right after lugging it to the car.

But we forged on, enjoying the scenery. And oh, it was so lovely. We arrived after almost two straight weeks of rain showers and the hills showed the results. I was happy.

Until we turned a corner. And I saw it. Where the Others live. It. was. freaky. Mostly because of how quiet it was. So I pretended to be Kate and hoped Sawyer was somewhere nearby being tortured on a tree. Who knew torturing could be so sexy?

After that scene was over with, we came to a crossroads, and chose unwisely. Whenever I think of the phrase “choose wisely”, I always envision Indiana Jones determining which cup is the Holy Grail. Isn’t it weird how your mind will instantly flash a scene for only a moment and then its gone.

Happens to me a lot. But mostly it’s of what might happen. And that, my friends, is the scariest place to go in the world.

What I didn’t envision was walking straight into the path of bison.

My heart pounded.

We stood there staring at them and them back at us. It felt like a million years went by until one of them finally crossed the path and let us through.

After about a mile straight uphill, we realized we had gone the wrong way and had to turn around and politely ask to be let by the bison again. My poor hips.

Oh, and M’s too. I had almost forgotten about him. But they hitched a ride from some guys who had their day off. In the back, they had a cooler full of beer and we checked to see if it had the Dharma logo. It didn’t. But I still bored my eyes into them hoping to be offered one. All I got was dirt in my face as they peeled off.

M & D had never smiled bigger.

But if I’m honest, I enjoyed the hike… despite how angry my hips were.

I was just happy to be outside all day. Nothing beats that feeling.

So after we watched M & D ride off into the sunset, the rest of us hiked a couple more miles to the end destination. A little cove called Parsons Landing. As we neared, our feet couldn’t help but run.

I was kind of sad for it to end. But sitting in front of a fire and hearing the waves crash all night made the 16 hour pause so worth it.

So did the food. Okay, it was all the food, none of the nature.

No, okay, I lied again. It was about half and half.

Tomorrow we would wake up early and hike back…and to me, a morning hike is about as good as it gets. Especially if you have M&Ms in your pocket.

Good night.

Catalina Island en route

Well, we ended up getting out of Arkansas last weekend. It made me kind of suspicious that the only flight not cancelled was ours. The tickets were extremely cheap… and so apparently were the people calling the “go ahead and give it a go” shots. I mean, almost every other flight was cancelled. Every. Other. Flight.

But did that stop us?

Hail no. (Literally)

Neither did our snow packed car stop us…

…or the almost zero visibility on the roads. If I had to stick my head out the window and get pneumonia, by golly we are getting to some sunshine! Keep driving R!

We finally dragged our soggy feet into the airport. I have a thing about packing light… trying to scale back what I take to the point that I’m on the verge of wearing the same thing everyday on a trip. Okay, it’s not that bad, but I did refuse to wear a jacket because I didn’t want to lug it around for five minutes walking to and from the airport.

I was a literal snowwoman (excuse the political correctness) when I finally stumbled through the doors. It was ugly. And wet.

When my eyelids eventually unfroze themselves, we saw our friends T and R, and immediately gut laughed.

It’s not unusual to run into people we know as we come from a small town, but this was getting ridiculous. They were waiting for their friends to return from China with their newly adopted baby.

Recently we ran into T&R at a local pizza place too. They were there for a birthday party, and were early, so we sat with them until our pizza was ready to go.

A birthday party… no big deal right? Right. Except for when the pizzeria has literally two tables inside and both were being used for the said party goers that hadn’t showed up yet. When they did, T&R were put in an awkward situation of introducing us to everyone as if we had come along. And of course, R ordered the most labor intensive pizza in all of Italy, so we waited forever to make our graceful exit. By this time everyone was wondering who this chick was with no makeup on and why she was standing in line for the pinata.

So we show up at the airport and who is having the welcome home party? Oh, just the same people from the pizzeria.


What luck to join them for again! I thought I might as well take photos of them since we’re basically a part of their lives now. T joked that R & I will be in the background of all their photos. And if we see the couple on the street, we’ll bring up memories to them and they’ll wonder why we know such intimate details.

Embarrassing. But it was nice to see them with their new baby. R & I have talked about adoption a lot and my idea of our future family is changing to include that option.

Until then, we’ll continue to buy cheap tickets on scary icy flights.

But we landed! Oh yes we did and had a quick night’s sleep before heading out to Catalina Island with my brother, his wife, and their friends.

We were backpacking for the night and it was part gorgeous, part LOST-like. If you don’t watch the show you won’t get the references, so you best start watching reruns, like, now. You won’t regret it.

If you do watch the show, I probably really like you.

Stay tuned!

Do you like good deals?

So do you?

Because my very good friend, Jessica, also known as J (the girl from our Adventure Race and Thrill the World), has started up a blog to help you find them!

She would scour the internet every day even without a blog, but now she is helping us all out. Unlike me, who is dumbing everyone down.

The Daily Scavenger <— click on it!

I’m already stalking her latest post on free Love Letter kits. I have a feeling I’ll be loading up our dorm room in no time.

Follow her to get the latest and greatest!