My sweet kitten is at home wherever her blanket is. At the moment, that's in Reston, VA.

Ooh la la

I don't know why I'm surprised, but I have to say, I wasn't expecting Paris to be quite so ... Parisian. Seriously, it's a little over-the-top:

Charming windy cobblestone streets. Wrought-iron balconies with lovingly tended windowboxes. Elegant French mothers waiting outside the créche for their adorable French children to run out chattering about gâteau. Entire shops selling nothing but cheese just down the block from entire shops selling nothing but meat. Honeymooning couples canoodling on shady park benches. Amusement and disdain on the faces of the French people when you (I) attempt to speak their language. Inconspicuous plaques declaring that "Van Gogh lived here" or "Satie lived here" and other astonishing things. Sidewalk cafés and crêpe stands as far as the eye can see. Windows open and laundry hanging from curtain rods (including, directly across the street from me, someone's leotard). Dozens of little red chimneys on every building.

And that's just in my NEIGHBORHOOD! In ONE DAY! I haven't seen the Eiffel Tower, or the Champs Elysées, or the Louvre, or any of those quintessential Paris icons yet. It's all so very Parisian it's almost too much to handle.

Oh, what am I talking about? It's perfection! It's what I've been dreaming about for years! I am soaking it in and loving every minute of it!

Though if I see a mime on the street anytime soon, it might just push me over the edge.

My street, the lovely Rue Chappe

This view is STEPS from my front door. Very steep steps, but steps nonetheless.


It was good to actually unpack, although it didn't last long. I'm already off on another adventure!

Oh, Savannah, don't you cry for me (142/365, 143/365)

The good thing about inauspicious beginnings is that they breed low expectations, and the good thing about low expectations is that they often breed pleasant surprises.

That's the rational part of my brain talking, of course, which wasn't much in evidence on Friday evening when we rolled into Savannah after 2 long days of driving (with several excruciating hours of NOT driving while stopped in construction traffic). It wasn't the rational part of my brain that made me tear up at the sight of our crappy hotel room, with its damp carpet and special combo smell of cigarettes and mildew. It wasn't the rational part of my brain that made me see the constant rain as a sign of impending doom. And it certainly wasn't the rational part of my brain that made me pick a horrible, no-good, very bad fight with my CameraMan. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

I've wanted to go to Savannah ever since I read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, and when CM found out he had an extra day to get to the Trap, I suggested we take a little Southern vacation on the way. I pictured walking around the sun-dappled historic district with our cameras, listening to genteel accents everywhere we went, and eating large quantities of honest-to-goodness Southern food washed down with sweet tea. All of which we eventually did, but when we arrived that seemed impossible. We had been plagued by rain off and on the whole time we drove, and the forecasters were predicting non-stop rain all weekend in Savannah. So much for sun-dappled.

Of course, everything turned out fine, as these things always do. We switched rooms, we made up, and the sun even came out…for about a minute. And while it may not go down as the best Bossy-Melear vacation ever, we ended up having a lovely time.

The highlights:
  • Glazed pecans. So delicious. We consumed enough to make up for the fact that we ate no peaches.

  • Walking along the river in the evening.

  • The trolley tour, complete with ridiculous tour guide (a must, I think).

  • Dinner at The Olde Pink House. One of the best meals I've had in a long time. We ate fried green tomatoes for the first time (and grits for the first time at breakfast, too!).

  • Mercer House. The tour was pretty boring, but it was a pleasure just to be in the beautifully restored home. Plus, it's always surreal to go somewhere you've read about or seen in a movie, isn't it?

  • Last but not least, Savannah itself. Even in the rain, it has to be one of the most beautiful places I've ever been. It's full of live oaks, and Spanish moss, and magnolia trees, and that Southern architecture I love so much. Everywhere you look there's a fountain, or a sculpture, or some intricate ironwork. We'll definitely be going back.

The pictures (more on Flickr):



Follow me

I don't like to think of myself as a follower, a sheep, a trend whore. Which is why I find it necessary to tell you, that despite my "new" Twitter profile, I actually joined Twitter back in October 2007. That's right, way back when, before everyone was talking about it and using "tweet" as a verb, and WELL before Ashton Kutcher and Oprah got on board.

Okay, now that I've gotten that off my chest... So I rejoined Twitter. When I tried it before, nobody I knew was actually on it, and I eventually got bored with it. Now, everyone and their mother (although not Mama Bossy...YET) is tweeting, so I'm giving it another try, in the hopes that it will be fun this time. I'm looking down the barrel of a very long CameraManless summer—I need something to occupy my time.

So go ahead and follow me, why don't you?


I like to get the Bossy Cat's carrier out a couple days before we go on a trip, so she gets used to the idea that she'll be spending a lot of time in there.

I think it worked.


We spent our last night in Houston taking in an Astros game, and wonder of wonders, they WON! No amount of pow-wows on the pitcher's mound could save the poor Brewers.


Sweet Shelby, asleep on CameraMan's shoulder. Sadly, this is the last baby picture for a while—I won't see her again until August!

By which point I imagine she'll already be sassing her mother, sneaking out of the house, and talking nonstop about boys.


My latest adventure in the kitchen: Baked Lemon Pasta from Ree's recipe. I added chopped asparagus and threw some fresh basil in with the parsley. It was delicious!


These are the amazing iPhone app coasters that our friend T-Squared got as as an out-of-the-blue housewarming gift. Makes me wish we had a lot of delicate wood surfaces to protect from water rings.


A brief reprieve from baby pictures (insert obligatory joke here).


Ack! The cuteness! Almost too much to be endured.



It was 1 AM when I got the call that LMHC was on her way to the hospital. 9 hours later, beautiful Shelby Elizabeth was born, and 6 hours after that I watched as LMHC got to hold her for the first time. It was an incredible, emotional, life-changing day.


I spent the evening sitting on the hill at Miller Outdoor Theatre, watching a dress rehearsal of Rigoletto with Maestro CameraMan conducting. The weather was perfect, the sangria was flowing, and the sunset was unbelievable.

If you're in town, come see a performance of Rigoletto, tonight and Saturday at 8:30!


There was a 24-hour window between when the old couch went away and the new couch arrived. This was our temporary living room set-up. I think it's much better now, don't you?

It's May 13!

Do you know what today is? It's May 13! Otherwise known as NEW COUCH DAY! A day that seemed so very far away when we scheduled the delivery, but is now actually upon us!

I'm a little excited, I don't know if you can tell. We've been eyeing this couch for months, peeking at it online, going to Crate & Barrel for the sole purpose of sitting on it, comparing all other couches to it. We've also been talking about it to everyone we know, pretty much non-stop. I love this couch so much, I was incapable of even describing it. People would ask what it looked like, and all I could come up with is: "It looks like the most comfortable couch in the world." Which it is.

We had long debates here in the Bossy-Melear household about whether to buy the couch, when to buy the couch, what color couch to buy, etc. CameraMan even went so far as to earmark some of his savings for it, only to discover that the amount he had to pay in taxes was the EXACT amount the couch cost, which seemed like a clear sign from the Universe that it was not to be.

Luckily, we are not the type to be deterred by what the Universe has planned for us, so what did we do? We bought the couch. And the matching chair-and-a-half. And a fabulous rug that was just calling out to us.

What can I say, we're crazy like that. Behold, the awesomeness that is our new, gorgeous, slightly-too-big-for-our-living-room NEW COUCH:

Kitten tested, CameraMan approved.


It's been something like 3 years since I last replaced my running shoes, so it was high time I upgraded. Thank goodness for Zappo's—overnight free delivery is an amazing thing. They were definitely more PINK than I expected them to be, but I've accepted it, because really, who am I kidding? I am exactly the kind of girl these were designed for. Also, since I waited so very long to get new shoes, these ones feel like I'm running on pillows.

Waiting for Myrtle

I'm not sure exactly when we started referring to Little Ms. Hardcore's unborn baby as Myrtle. I was calling LMHC "Fertile Myrtle" for a while, and then when she found out she was having a girl, the name Myrtle just kind of stuck. Before that we were calling it the Gummi Bear, because that's what it most resembled in the ultrasound, and Myrtle is a better alternative, no?

Now that I'm off contract, waiting for Myrtle has become my full time job. ("Funny," LMHC said to me, "mine too"). Her official due date is May 17, but last Tuesday her doctor said she would come within the week. Clearly, her doctor was wrong. But we've all been preparing. LMHC packed her bag for the hospital, and Mama and Papa Hardcore drove from Denver to be with her. I contributed by starting a dollar pool at work to bet on when Myrtle would come into the world, and by freaking out every time the phone rings. Also, I bookmarked the hospital in my Maps iPhone app.

I've never had a close friend who had a baby before. I've never been at a birth, or held a newborn, or fainted from sympathy pains. So this whole experience will be very new to me, and I could not be more excited or impatient.

Come on, Myrtle! We want to meet you!


It's become something of a tradition at the end of our weekly date nights to go to Ruggles Green for White chocolate bread pudding. So delicious, I kind of want some right now.


The run of Brief Encounter ended almost as soon as it began, and I can't quite believe it's already over. It has been such a pleasure working on this beautiful piece, and I'm crossing my fingers that it will come around again.


This is Mady. She belongs to CameraMan's cousin, and she entertained us with dancing and non-stop chatter during a lovely lunch in Galveston. I'm smitten.


I live in a bizarre fantasy world, in which this sign is completely necessary.


There are some nights when I haven't taken a picture all day, and bedtime is fast approaching, and it takes every ounce of energy I have just to get off the couch at all. Usually the result is either an adorable cat portrait (I know you can never see too many of those), or an arty shot of something in the apartment.

I trust you know which one this is.

Zut alors!

As usual, I've waited until the last minute to plan. I bought my ticket back in February, for an unprecedented $600, forwarded the itinerary to a few people, bragged about the imminent crossing off of #1 on my list, and then did absolutely nothing else about it. That's just how I roll.

I've been wanting to go to Paris since, well, ALWAYS. And all things serendipitous lined up to make 2009 the year to do it: my adventurous Bossy Cousin is living there for the year and the Army Brat, who is currently working for NATO in the Netherlands, will need a new nickname as of December 1, when she gets out of the Army and moves back stateside. Once the offers and contracts were in for the 2009-10 season (more to come on that soon—I think it deserves its own post), it became clear that the only window in which I could travel was end of May–beginning of June. And then there was the gloriously cheap ticket price, and before you could say "Ooo la la" it was booked and happening!

But hélas, I have yet to do even a speck of planning for it. I have been attempting to find a place to stay, without much success. And other than wandering around with my camera, eating copious amounts of cheese, and finding the perfect beret, I don't know what I'll be doing in Paris.

Here's where you come in, chères readers. What do you love in Paris? Where are your favorite spots and secret hideaways? How would you spend your 8 days if you had them?

And if you happen to own a vacant apartment in Paris, feel free to share that with me as well, obvs.


I've been feeling for a while that my 365 Project deserves a home here, so as of today I will be posting my photos here every day. If you want to catch up, the rest can be found on Flickr.

We moved CameraMan's piano in yesterday, and thank goodness we did. Without a piano at home, we might never have discovered The Bossy Cat's latent musical talent.

Friday morning, 3 AM

The Bossy Cat is being terrorized by the neighborhood bully, whom I have dubbed Stripey but generally refer to as That Bad Cat. Stripey comes to the front door (which has a floor to ceiling window in it) every night after dark to antagonize my sweet girl by pawing at the door and hissing. My poor kitten gets incredibly upset when That Bad Cat comes around. She paws back at him, and her breathing gets thick and labored, and she makes these little heart-wrenching cries. I try to soothe her, but there's nothing to be done about it until the bully decides he's had enough and goes away. CameraMan has started keeping a bottle of water by the door, and pouring it in Stripey's general direction to scare him off. Usually he comes right back in about 5 or 10 minutes, and we start the whole thing over again.

Photo by CameraMan

A few nights ago, That Bad Cat arrived around midnight. We were already in bed, but we heard the familiar pawstorm from downstairs, so CM went down, opened the front door, poured water out, and came back to bed. A few hours later, I woke up with a gasp, certain that I had just heard some kind of cat fight from outside, and immediately worried that The Bossy Cat was in trouble. CM and I stumbled downstairs to find the front door standing open and no sign of Lucy. My first reaction was, of course, to have a total meltdown, complete with crying and hyperventilating. We both ran outside in our pjs calling for her, and finally CM found her around the corner, sitting on the path. He scooped her up, brought her inside, and we all took some time to calm down. The whole event must have taken less than 5 minutes, but it was terrifying.

We haven't really figured out what happened. CM must not have locked the door after the midnight water throwing, but it's still a mystery how the cat opened it. And I still don't know why I woke up, what it was that I heard or sensed that told me Lucy needed me. CM thinks I must have heard the door opening, but I have another theory.

A mother always knows.


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