Good Thing(s)†

This has been an epic post in the making because I’ve been storing up goodies for weeks upon weeks whilst whiling away time doing various other things (I’m such a dabbler; it’s really doing a number on my attention span issues!). Anyhoo, I finally got my lazy arse into gear enough to upload all my pics. 

Hang tight, kiddies. This is going to be a big post! If I am ambitious enough, I might come back up and make a TOC for your reading pleasure.

Goodies for Goodness’ Sake!
I’ve been easing back into creating new things for The Walrus, and my newest offerings are these fun blank notecards, redolent with the light, airy breezes of summertime. I hope these appeal to you who are fans (aww, you sweeties!) of my shoesies illos.

Good Times
Operation Make New Friends was really good last weekend! Sailing†† was a fun, relaxing time. I was surprised, because I was scared to bits about the prospect of actually getting into the boat and was tense for the first half of boat time (Monkey got to do the sailing stuff, and I was passengering, toes clenched, willing myself to stay inside the boat). I was scared when I took control of the rudder I’d make the sail luff and overturn the boat (it was cold and cloudy, and our boat owner/instructor was slightly curmudgeonly, and I really didn’t want to capsize his boat). Fortunately, the winds calmed a bit, and the sun came out in full force by the time I took on steering duty, and I had a fantastic time! It was so relaxing and enjoyable. Monkey and I both slightly burned our faces (we were fully covered up everywhere else, so we are tan heads on very pasty necks/bodies…nice!), but we were so content at the end of the day. Monkey’s now shopping for sailboats (we may be buying one from one of the club members), and we’re charting out weekends so we can sail almost every weekend!

Even better than sailing was the Dine-Out Columbia group. It was great! In particular, the hubby-wife team who set up the meetups were so much fun! We learned that they used to live in one of our neighboring burbs directly down the road (literally) from us in Chicagoland. And we used to hit a lot of the same spots for food and such. AND! Amy, the wife, is crafty and knitty and belongs to a few craft/knit nights here in Columbia (yay!). She and I met up this past Tuesday at the ceramics spot she’s been keeping studio in and then headed for lunch and a driving tour of spots around the city. Gnome playdate! Monkey and I were marveling how like dating it is (we both thought they liked us, and we really hoped that they liked us, because we liked them), so I am hoping for the best. But we’ve already had lots of fun (and I got to meet their 2 pugs, who are adorable). And Monkey and I are both really looking forward to taking ceramics classes this summer!!

In other (way overdue) good times news, Monkey and I had the distinct pleasure of meeting up with Rubber-Sol Leslie, her hubby Hank, and their gorgeous, joyful little people Alison and Henry. Way back at the beginning of April! We met up at the Botanic Garden while Monkey and I were packing up in Chicago and the Rubber-Sol clan were visiting friends and family in the midwest. It’s amazing to me that we’ve come to make friends from being part of the blogging world. Wonderful and fantastical and magic! It was a great time. And Leslie and Hank gave us the sweetest roadtrip gift bag full of yummy sustenance for our drive back down to SC: Comfort Cakes (yum!), Trader Joe Chocolates (yum!) and Chocolate-Dipped Cranberries (yum!). When we headed back for SC, our hearts and our tummies will full of warmth and yumminess.

And, the day after I had surgery, my beloved Lizzie flew into town to keep my spirits up, to hang out with Monkey and Casey and me, and to just be there. I love her to bits. I am totally campaigning for her to move here from Chicago too, but I am not too sure it will happen (but a gnome does miss her sister). Why don’t you help convince her she should move here?!

Good Tunes
A few weeks back, Daily Candy introduced me to Nouvelle Vague. I just love the light, sweet chanteuse takes on old school punk/80s standards.

I’ve also been racking up on some free tunes from willing participants (ie., legal free downloads). I’ve long been a fan of 3Hive, but also check out Jones Music and 6ize (which I found from iPodLounge).

Good Food
Pics and links to recipes when at all possible. Some recipes are from our heads, some are from offline books. If you want any, let me know! Monkey and I have become quite the cooking fools.

 Apricot Basil Chicken + Mache Salad + Rice. I saved loads of time by using the pesto Monkey made fresh the night before. Yum!

  Shake n Bake + Butter Lettuce/Bibb Lettuce Salad + Rice. Shake n Bake was a new adventure in time-saving for us. I don’t think we’ll be using it again.

 Ham & Goat Cheese Baked Orzo + Arugula Salad.

 Fresh Berry Crepes

 Grilled Haloumi Salad

 Mango Salsa

 Baked Maple Pork Chops + Crisp Potato & Bacon Casserole + Peas

 Mojo Chicken + Orzo, Pine Nut & Feta Salad

 Sweet Onion & Goat Cheese Tartlets

 Farfalle with Pesto & Smoked Sausage + Peas + Mache Salad

 Williams Junk Fried Rice + Thin Pork Chops

Good Gifts 
I’ve been so blessed to get so many wonderful snail mail treats and surprises from so many wonderful folks. Big props (way, way overdue) to all of you warm hearts! Thank you so very, very much!!

 I ADORE this gnome air freshener from Sweetpeas Jes. He is cute and sweet.

 Hope sent me this really cool book of Gnomes Games. It’s full of really great illustrations and lots of quirky games. I love it!

 JustJenn sent us these great ‘Gnome & Monkey’ personalized notecards and a fab-o mix of homey songs.

 Dream Life Studio Lorilyn crafted this fab ‘Gnome Home’ banner with lots of fun fabrics and bits and pieces. This banner is now gracing a wall in my craft room. It’s so sweet!

 Island Girl Amanda sent me this sweet ‘Home Sweet Gnome’ plaque (also on my craft wall right now) and a sheet of swanky foil gnome stickers. Hee!!

 Rubber-Sol Leslie and her fab gifting self sent me a thank you gift (!) for her cybershower gift. Fun notepad, stamped picture frame, and fancy little pen!

 Isn’t this a cutie card? Yvestown Yvonne sent us warm new home wishes in it! 

 We got this really warming gift of schmancy soaps and yummy teas from one of my oldest friends (I mean, we go way back…she’s 2 months younger than me, and I’d like to think I’m not considered old just yet), Amy F. We go back to 3rd grade, y’all. I remembered sitting around in reading circle and me remarking in my head what a cute little outfit Amy had on (she was a bit Esprit girl when we were younguns). It’s a wonder of quirky fate that we lost touch after college and got back in touch when her older bro started work at my first corporate giant spot out of school.

 Darling FoodieChickie Ani sent us this batch of goodness, and it arrived the afternoon after we got back from surgery. It was really belly-warming to get such an uncannily-timed package in the mail! 

 A week or so ago, I was stunned by the size (check out its scale on that parson’s chair. big, huh?!) of a box that arrived in the mail for me. My darlingest Special K sent me a swanky Red Envelope package of aromatherapy candles (they smell heavenly) to cheer me a bit with all the bad stuff that was going down with my road to spawning little monkey-gnomes.

 Lizzie surprised me with this cute pair of flippies in the mail the other day. Just because. Sweet!

 Lizzie gave Monkey and me these gifts to get us off on the right foot back before we headed back for SC in April. At this point in time, we were still pregnant and unaware of all the unpleasant things that would come of the pregnancy. Anyhoo, there’s a fabulous scrapbook with pics of our old house and our new apartment, and we’re to keep our new adventures in this book. =) Lizzie also gave me the cutest monkey socks around + great goodies from Origins (Perfect World cream for preventing stretch marks–it smells like heaven and is wondrously luxurious; Get Down clay cleanser for keeping my skin clear in the hot, muggy southern climate). My absolute favorite thing, though, was the incredible little storybook/happy blessings card she’d created for Monkey and me. I HEART this like nothing else.

Good Causes 
I learned of this also from Daily Candy this week: a good place to buy your gifts for friends and family while still giving back to good causes. Shopping + good causes, nice!

Good News 
Happy news from our friends Carrie and Marty! They are finally parents to one very healthy little fella. Liam James was born on Wednesday and tipped the scales at a little over 10 pounds. I can’t wait till we come back to Chicago to meet him in person!

In other mommy news, my very special Special K, JustJenn, and Shokufeh are all expecting little ones late this fall. Special K really knew how to cheer me up even while I was in the valleys of post-miscarriage days–she called me up to regale me with this story, complete with gorey details. She always makes me laugh, no matter what is going down. And that is a supreme gift.

I also learned that our Murano made some good lists for total quality. Yay! I must vouch for my trusty Murano. I love it! I think it will someday make a great little-person-toter (Casey loves riding around in it too). Off-topic, but basically our little people for now: check out Brutus and Casey on Dogster! Are you on Dogster too? Drop me a note and our poochies can be friends. Awww!

Welp, I hope the wait was worth it. And I hope you have a fabulous Memorial Day weekend. Take good care of you!

For years, the phrase ‘good things’ has almost always been tied to Martha. But I think it’s nicer to link it to the FYC. Because of the 80s fiend thing and such. Good thing.

†† AnneMarie, you’re totally right; we are definitely landlocked. But there are huge-arse lakes that are super for sailing!!