Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Peary Nice Gift Indeed

So as I have mentioned several times before, I love to bake. My family and friends know this, and apparently Santa got the memo as well because on Christmas morning I opened the Holy Grail of baking gifts...

Not sure why my picture is so small but insert "Hallelujah" here.
 That's right folks, a KitchenAid Mixer.

It is "Pear Green". It came with a cookbook. Its shiny. Its new. I am so excited about it I can't even form a well-constructed sentence. People at work have been asking me how my Christmas was and I respond with "I got a KitchenAid mixer!!"; most of the women know what this means, the men look confused and walk away but I don't care because I am now a lean [or maybe not so lean], mean, green baking machine. It makes me so happy to look at it when I get home and I am currently trying to decide what the inaugural recipe should be; I am open to suggestions!

I will write more soon about Atlanta's White Christmas but just had to quickly share my KitchenAid joy. I hope you all had a very merry Christmas, thanks for reading!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

So Flashy

I was in desperate need of a new digital camera and lucky for me Blair's birthday present has definitely filled that void so here is a glimpse of life lately. Thanks CoolPix!

Tacky Christmas Party. Clearly.

Wofford vs. Georgia Southern Play-Off Game

The Yellow House

Wofford girls "Secret Santa"; Martha hated her present...Not. Please note the outstretched arms to feel the scarf.
Red velvet cake ball snowmen. That's right. Meagan is the world's best/most thoughtful baker; their hats had each of our initials on them. A-maz-ing.

Blair is a great gift giver and always does his research and I am sure this is a gift that will get a lot of use over the holidays (sorry family!). Thanks for reading!


Monday, December 20, 2010

A Slice of Humble Pie

After sharing this story with a friend she told me I just had to post about it as she found it highly entertaining so here it is:

Like I said in a previous post, the week of the Wofford-Georgia Southern play-off game, the Wofford crowd at the office was electronically abuzz with excitement about the game. I felt like I had made it "in" with my fellow Terriers; especially since some of them laughed at my jokes and enjoyed the links that I sent them, etc. Anyway, Thursday rolls around and one of the brokers sends an e-mail to everyone saying that we should all wear our Wofford spirit wear to work on Friday since the dress code is casual. Without my knowledge he has also sent an e-mail to the other Wofford alumni saying that it would be really funny if only I sported the black and gold on Friday...

Friday morning: I am decked out. I am wearing black boots, tights, a black and white skirt, gold sweater, and I may or may not also be wearing the terrier earrings (that's right) that I managed to acquire at some point. I cruise into the parking garage, eager to see what everyone else is wearing, bee-bop (practically jump) into this broker's office and very enthusiastically say "Gooo Terriers!". Well, my excitement quickly diminishes as my face turns every shade of red and my shoulders slump as I realize he is very obviously not wearing anything remotely close to Wofford, black, gold, or collegiate sports in general. He is bowled over with laughter as he buzzes the other two Wofford brokers on the phone saying, "You  guys have got to see this, she really went all out!"

I might as well have shown up in this.
So I am standing in his office, on the brink of embarrassed tears as one of the brokers points out that even the buckles on my boots are gold. I am now thinking that I have clearly not made it in with the Wofford work crowd and wander back to my desk to lick my wounds. They all eventually add a Wofford sweater or sweater vest to their casual Friday work-wear but I still definitely won the award for most spirited. They now like to e-mail me whenever Wofford has a basketball game, glee club concert, one even e-mailed me during exam week telling me I should wear my earrings all week in support. Hahaha...

So yes, the joke continues but I prefer to now think that they would only tease me if they liked me. At least that is the thought that keeps me from crying at my desk. I hope everyone is getting excited about Christmas and thanks for reading!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas & Wedding Bells

One thing I have learned about Christmas decorating over the past few years is that people have very different kinds of Christmas trees. One of my mom's good friends actually has several Christmas trees in the home that she shares with her husband and their two sons; one has all white lights and white/gold ornaments, one has only red and green, and then there is the "Kid Tree" with all of the homemade ornaments. Well in my house growing up we only had one tree and it was definitely a "Kid Tree". Looking back it was very sweet of my parents to decorate our tree with ornaments that Laura and I made at school. I am sure Laura and I thought that these were priceless pieces of art when they are really just, well, not. One of these "ornaments" is actually a shoe that I wore in preschool that is spray painted gold. A tad bit odd but I think it's one of my mom's favorites.

Anyway, I told you all that so you might better understand how truly special the tree at the little yellow house is this year. One of my roommate's parents are doing renovations on their home and as it has become a construction zone they allowed us to borrow their Christmas ornaments and decorations. Her father came over last week and set up our tree and all of the roommates hung the ornaments and lights on it this past Tuesday as we listened to Christmas music. Our tree now has lots of presents under it although I am still waiting for the pony from my Secret Santa to arrive (Hint hint, Marsha). I am thrilled that Christmas has come out full force in the little yellow house this year with lights, ornaments, garland, and of course baking (It is what our house does best after all).
Garland: Compliments of Sam. Poor decorating skills: Yours truly.

THE tree. Poor photography skills also compliments of me.

On a slightly different but still merry/marry note I would like to congratulate my friends Anna and Ashley on their recent engagements! Ashley's fiance Michael proposed to her this past Saturday and Anna and her fiance Steven were engaged Wednesday night! They are all wonderful matches for each other and my friends and I are bubbling over with excitement for both of them; it looks like it really is the most wonderful time of the year, thanks for reading!


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Dear Old Wofford, Hail!

Ok, so I know I have already gone on and on...and on about how much I love Wofford but it turns out that our little school's football team has advanced to the quarterfinals of the play-offs, no big deal. My fellow Terriers at the office have been sending e-mails back and forth to each other all week long. We are all going to the game and one of us may have even made up a creative poem about the Georgia Southern team we will face on Saturday at 2:00 in Gibbs Stadium (It is not appropriate to share, although the rhyming is impressive).

Thank you Google Images.

My roommates however, are not thrilled about the Wofford game as our house is hosting a "Tacky Christmas Party" on Saturday that I will be missing. I have tried comparing Saturday's game in Spartanburg to their trip to Atlanta this past weekend to watch the Gamecocks play and I know that may seem like an unfair comparison but it very exciting for our school and again I think that the amount of alumni that return for events like this is really a testament to how special this place is for so many.

How intimidating, I know.

So, I know now you will all be rushing to your televisions this Saturday to watch the Terriers play while I will be [most likely] freezing in Sparkle City as our small, but mighty football team takes the field. Thanks for reading!


Monday, December 6, 2010

Thing Two is 21!!!

Today is my sister's birthday!!!

 I love that her birthday is so close to Christmas because she is so much fun to shop for and I like being able to give her her presents right away. I typically consider myself a pretty good gift-giver (not to brag or anything) and love it when I feel like I have found just the prefect present for someone. Laura has been wearing the same pair of starfish earrings for years now and loves all things turquoise so when I spotted a pair of Stella & Dot turquoise, starfish earrings, I thought to myself, "Self, this is the perfect gift for Laura and you are the greatest sister ever". So imagine my satisfaction when I gave Laura the earrings over Thanksgiving and she wore them all weekend. And no, I refuse to believe that she wore them just so she would not hurt my feelings.

So from Thing 1 to Thing 2 (the nicknames Dad gave us when we were kids); I hope you have the happiest of birthdays and I cannot wait to see you at Christmas...mainly because your present is the Love you to the moon and back.

Clearly I am the better-looking one on the left.
Thanks for reading!


Thursday, December 2, 2010

[Victoria's] Secret Dream

So in case for whatever reason you have happened too stumble across this blog and have never met me in person you should know that I am about 5'4 and not exactly all skin and bones. However, despite this fact my secret dream reemerges this time every year and that is...

To be in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

Look at me go.
 So yes, I realize this a bit odd coming from someone's whose dream career is working at a history museum but I love the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. I don't know if it's the music or the wings or what but if I was 6 foot-something feet tall and looked like a bean pole I would be all about it [sorry Dad]. My roommates and I eagerly huddled around our television on Tuesday as we picked out our favorite girls, "costumes", and sang along with Katy Perry. I didn't hate it. Oh to dream...Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 29, 2010

Selma Says...

For those of you who don't know, Selma is my Grandmother. My mom's mother is an extremely lively 88 year-old, raised in Savannah (Blair likes to talk to Grandmother because she pronounces his name "Blay-ah"). Grandmother loves to paint, offer "constructive criticism" when she pleases, Reader's Digest, and anything on TCM. After spending some much-needed time with Grandmother over the Thanksgiving weekend, I thought this would be the perfect time to share some "Selma-isms" with you all...

Grandmother has a dog, his name is Cooper (She of course, says "Coop-ah"). Cooper has "his chair" that he sleeps in all day and no one else is allowed to sit there, Blair tried to sit there once, mistake. Grandmother also recently got a cat, "Looney" suitably named because this animal certifiably insane. Looney has been known to scale up Grandmother's legs while she is cooking at the stove and would not think twice about clawing your eyes out. Grandmother often tells Looney to be nice to her brother, Cooper...

Grandmother has also been wearing the same shade of red lipstick, courtesy of Revlon, for as long as I can remember and the cousins now like to compare our lipstick stamps that she gives us when she kisses each of us on the cheek. We also now refuse to wipe them off. It is a great game.

Like I said, Grandmother is also an avid reader and over Thanksgiving I returned her George Washington biography that she was kind enough to let me borrow. She then proceeds to tell me that I should really borrow her Robert E. Lee biography as he was "her personal hero". Grandmother has also been known to blame Atlanta traffic on Sherman's March to the Sea. Classic.

Friday night as my cousin Dan was flipping through the channels, he breezed past TNT which was showing "The Wizard of Oz". This was not what Dan, an avid sports lover wanted to watch but Grandmother instructed him that if he changed the channel she would "beat him". We watched "The Wizard of Oz".

Chick-Fil-A is her favorite "window food" (That is "Grandmother" for fast-food)

There are many more stories that I could share, like how when she saw my haircut on Thanksgiving she promptly asked "Why do you keep cutting your hair?". Always a fan of honesty. Quirks aside, she is truly the matriarch of our family, we all love her very much, and I am always eager to go home to see her...and eat Chick-Fil-A. Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Mix-Up

Yes, I know that tomorrow is Thanksgiving but an encounter I had in the break room this morning has now completely occupied my mind with thoughts of a Veteran's Day/Thanksgiving combination. I also know that I am not typically a "serious" blogger so if that is not your cup of tea don't worry, I will try not to make this a habit.

The office is very quiet today (hence my blogging) so I was surprised when I walked into the break room to get my coffee and found two of our brokers there; they are normally running in and out of the office and it is rare to catch them when they are not busy. One of them began talking about his niece's upcoming trip to France and how they were planning to take a day trip out to Normandy. Normandy is a place that I have desperately wanted to travel to for a long time now (although I think my history nerdiness and tendency to cry at a good Publix commercial probably would not make for a pleasant trip for other visitors) so I decided to linger for a moment and see where the conversation would go. The other broker then responds by saying that his grandfather is buried there and describes the very emotional trip that he took with his wife last year to find his grandfather's grave and visit the memorials there.

View of Omaha Beach from the Cemetery at Normandy
As I walked back to my desk I began to really think how lucky I am that I knew both of grandfathers (both of which were WWII Veterans). My mother's father, "Fado", was in the Navy and spent time stationed in Russia and England. My father's father, "Pa" was in the Air Force and was stationed in New Guinea and the Philippines. Then it really sank in that while I can recall their mannerisms, voices, and could brag all day long about their accomplishments this particular broker would never know the man that is buried at Normandy. I am extremely thankful that Fado and Pa were able to make my childhood and memories of the holidays so special and as they are naturally missed every year around this time I think I will notice it a little bit more tomorrow.

The Cemetery at Normandy
So while tomorrow I will be thankful to be around family and friends I will also be all the more grateful that I had the pleasure of knowing those wonderful men. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday weekend [and eats alot]. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Luggage Loathing

I strongly dislike to pack/unpack. Evidence of that would be the suitcase that is still on my floor from this past weekend's "Grown-up Fall House" as I continue to pull things out of it as I need it but don't actually put anything away.

However, tonight that will have to change as I am leaving to go home to Atlanta straight from work tomorrow. This means that my room will eventually look like this at some point in the evening...

I am a habitual over-packer and will undoubtedly berate myself as pack as though monsoon season is going to strike Atlanta or that a horrendous winter storm will leave my family trapped inside. I am also a self proclaimed "late stuffer"; meaning that as I am about to zip up my bag and put it in the car I will look around my room and think I need two more sweaters, one more pair of shoes, and three more scarves etc. and desperately try to stuff these things in my suitcase. Packing efficiently=failure. I don't know what I am going to do one day in the future when I have a family, my children will probably leave the house with everything that they own.

Looking on the bright side at least I know that while I might have to worry about traffic, driving in the dark etc. I do NOT have to worry that I forgot anything since I packed everything. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I did see Harry Potter on Sunday and it was AWESOME.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus

The above phrase is obviously the Latin translation of "Never Tickle a Sleeping Dragon". These are the words at the bottom of the Hogwarts crest...Yep, I am a Harry Potter nerd.
In my defense I did not start out this way, I actually started out as a non-believer, constantly ridiculing Laura and my other cousins when they would go to the St. Simons bookstore at midnight every summer to pick up their copies of whichever book was being released. Somewhere along the way I crossed over and made a pro/con list at my desk of reasons to go or not go see the midnight premiere of the 7th movie when it is released tonight. However, since I will be on the road for a few hours after work tomorrow, I think I might have to settle for listening to the 7th book on tape in the car in an effort to brush up on the plot line and my wizarding terminology...

I am fascinated (this post is clearly helping with my previously mentioned nerd status) with the "Wizarding World" as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has created an entire cast of characters, some of which are never even mentioned in the book, language, and locations that truly do bring Harry's journey to life. This is a series with a group of passionate followers. I may or may not have even gotten into a heated debate with one of friends in our college dining hall about whether or not Severus Snape was really a villain. I won, in case you were wondering.

In any case, here is the New York Times review of the movie and the trailer...

So, thank you to my sister to giving me back some imagination and sorry to my roommates who have had to listen to me talk about this for weeks now. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Mary, Princess of Wales

Well, today I am reevaluating my life plans as it seems Prince William has had the nerve to get engaged to someone else. How rude. It seems as though all those years of dressing as a princess for Halloween were all in vain.

Laura and I have joked endlessly for years about marrying Prince William and Harry and becoming the ultimate brother-sister team. Do we think that they actually want to marry two spastic sister from Atlanta, GA? No. Is it still fun to talk about for some reason? Absolutely. So you can only imagine the texts that Laura and I have been sending back and forth to each other today. Laura is filled with facts about the engagement ring (Princess Diana's) and I just read an article on all of the official titles that Kate could take once she marries William. We are slowly but surely spiraling out of control.

The happy couple...whatever.

Not from the gumball machine.
So will I wake up at some ungodly hour to watch their wedding on TV next spring or summer? Without a doubt. I guess once Laura finally works things out with Prince Harry I can just be the crazy older sister with lots of cats that lives in a castle somewhere. Could be worse. Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Baking Via Cell Phone

I think I have mentioned this before but I LOVE to bake. I think this passion for baked goods comes from:

1.) My extremely unhealthy sweet tooth. I like to use baking as a cover to eat as much cookie/brownie/sugary goodness as I can. And I like to provide people a I care about with something homemade blah blah blah...
2.) My obsessive compulsive tendencies. I like knowing precisely how much of something to add, how long it should bake for etc. I am a big recipe follower (the more detailed, the better) and really enjoy how methodical baking is.

Fat and happy...Yes, this is a cardboard cutout. Thank you very much.

Unfortunately I also get baking stage fright. When I am baking for a party or a group of people I want to impress (aka my family). I get very nervous if things are not looking just right. This is when the panicked phone calls to my mom enter the picture. She is always very encouraging and patient, partially because I think she can hear the desperation in my voice. She always talks me through it and ends each phone call by saying "It's going to be great, everyone will love it" or sometimes "No one will care what it looks it as long as it tastes good". Good thing she cannot see me evenly distributing chocolate chips in cookie dough...

Tomorrow is Wofford girls Thanksgiving and I am in charge of bringing the pumpkin and the pecan pies. My nerves are already kicking in because I remember last year my mom was visiting my Aunt Sally in Philadelphia and I called their house/my Aunt Sally's cell numerous times asking my mom to basically hold my hand via telephone while I made the pecan pie to take to my Aunt Sue's house for the "Atlanta Thanksgiving". It turned out to be a hit, my Uncle John even said it was "The best pecan pie he has ever had" (Not to toot my own horn, well my mom's horn). I also made one for Blair who had never had pecan pie before. Blasphemy.

Oh, this looks JUST like my imagination.
 So essentially, this post serves as a heads up to my mom. I will be going to the grocery store this evening and baking the pies when I get back from the gym (interesting sequence of events). Please have your cell phone handy and congratulations in advance for two delicious pies that you will have baked long distance! Thanks for reading!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Kleenex Queen

Yesterday morning I woke up sneezing and my eyes were even more reluctant to open than normal. It is not unusual for me to be a little congested [hate that word, by the way] when I first wake up so I didn't really think anything of it. As the morning went on and I continued sneeze I thought it best to take some Tylenol Cold & Sinus when I went home for lunch. I am now convinced that said medicine is an accelerant for cold symptoms.

If they mean it will provide you with severe cold/head congestion then this is not false advertising.
Keep in mind that like my father, I am a violent sneezer. This means not only do I sneeze loudly but to the point where my chest and back actually hurt. Back to my story, I return to my desk and the sneezing fits ensue. People start poking there heads around the corner and curiously looking at me and saying, "Is that you!?". Yup, sure is. And then the e-mails start, yes, office-wide e-mails that say things like "How does such a big sound come from such a little person?" or my personal favorite, "I thought it was a helicopter from the Veteran's Day parade but then I realized it's just Mary sneezing again". Cool.

I finally survived until 5:00, went to the grocery store with Marsha to pick up my "sick food" (soup, saltines, etc.) and hurried back home. The sneezing continued and somewhere during the evening I completely lost my voice and felt a lot like this...

Woe is me.
However, this morning, after a good night's sleep I woke up feeling like a brand new woman, well aside from the sore back due to my feverish sneezing attacks. Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stylishly Unfashionable

My sister often teases me for being an unadventurous dresser. Laura is definitely more fashion forward and much less intimidated by trends then I am. I typically buy things in neutral colors and if I do buy something with color it is typically red or maybe green, if I am feeling really daring. Exciting, I know. So this is why, when I saw this picture on the New York Times website I started laughing uncontrollably at my desk...

Women on the bench=Me in 50 years.
Isn't that great!? The girl in the black would clearly be my sister Laura and I would be one of the women dressed for comfort sitting in front of the fountain. However, if you examine their outfits a little bit closer you will see that not all is lost, there is hope for me yet. For example, the woman on the far left end of the bench is not scared of mixing patterns, good for her! Also, they are all carrying the identical (and very festive) handbag, I am all about consistency. The woman sitting in the middle of the bench is wearing a very nice shade of blue and sporting some seriously stylish shades, accessories are key!

Basically I am trying to make myself feel better for being so boring. At least one of the Branch girls got some fashion sense. If nothing else it looks like in a few years I will have some great friends that will sit with me in the park. Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday November 9th!

I am currently coping with the fact that I am 24 years old. I have toyed around with a few ideas of how to blog about my birthday and have decided that instead of making this post about me and how pitiful/old I am starting to feel (which it will still partially be about) I thought I should make it educational. Therefore I will now present you all with a carefully constructed list about things that have happened on November 9th, things related to the number "24", and a few facts about some previous Mary Branch birthday extravaganzas. Prepare to be amazed.

1. November 9, 1862: General Ambrose Burnside assumes command of the Union Army. General Burnside thought himself unworthy of this position. This was not a completely unwarranted feeling as he finished 18th out of 20 with his graduating class at West Point. Officers soon rebelled against Burnside and he was replaced General Joseph Hooker almost two months later. Great facial hair, bad general. Can't win 'em all.

Sweet 'stache?
 2. November 9, 1989: East Germany opens the Berlin Wall. Peace out Cold War, thanks for playing.

3. November 9, 1965: "The Great Northeast Blackout" occurred when all of New York State, 7 surrounding states, and parts of Canada were without power for hours. The blackout occurred at the height of rush hour, trapping 800,000 in the city's subways. I bet it smelled just like roses.

4. November 9, 2001: The Kodak Theatre, the home of the Oscars opens. Where is my trophy?

And the Oscar goes to...THE BIRTHDAY GIRL!
5. November 9, 1966: John Lennon meets Yoko Ono at an art exhibit. Good-bye Beatles, sorry world!

6. November 9, 1620: Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower spot land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Maybe that makes up for #5? Ok maybe not.

"I can't believe the Beatles broke up. This winter is going to be the pits."
7. November 9, 1888: Jack the Ripper kills Mary Jane Kelly, his last known victim. Um yikes.

8. November 9, 1993: The Dave Matthews Band releases their first album.

9. Famous people also born on November 9th: Lou Ferrigno ("The Hulk"), golfer David Duval, Sisqo, Nick Lachey, and Eric Dane.

Just for you Mom.
10. November 9th marks Cambodia's independence from France. Awesome.

11. The 24th Amendment states prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of, English please?

12. Grover Cleavland served as the 24th President of the United States. Hail to the chief.

13. "The Godfather" is the 24th highest grossing movie released in the United States.

I can't refuse birthday cake.
14. In an IMDB poll, "Psycho" is the 24th best movie ever. Debatable because I still have nightmares.

15. In another poll, "Gone with the Wind" is the 24th greatest American novel. I don't know why its not in the top ten and frankly my dear, I don't give a damn.

16. Jack Bauer. DUH.

I can wish you "Happy Birthday" all day long because my phone never runs out of battery.
 17. Lindsay Lohan is 24. I win.

18. I still have one year until I am a quarter of a century old. Phew!

19. I know with 100% certainty that none of my presents will be from the Limited Too this year.

20. Unfortunately I will not be attending Disney on Ice as I did for several years on my birthday.

Magical. Sorry for the years of torture Dad.
 21. I will not be forced to wear any sort of ridiculous birthday crown, pin, or boa or any combination of the three at work tomorrow.

22. Maybe this will be the birthday when I finally get an an ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. One can only dream.

23. One year at my Halloween themed birthday party (a little late, I know) we bobbed for apples and I hated it/threw a mini temper tantrum because I wasn't good at it. I was too old for all of the previous activities.

24. Re-watching some old home videos I am ripping through presents and not thanking anyone (in my defense, I was 3) and am throwing aside books and clothes to get to a Barbie. Some things never change.

Sorry this is so long. I really do love birthdays and am very excited to celebrate with friends tomorrow and can't wait to add to the list next year, thanks for reading!


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Just Another Sunday

In theory today was supposed to be a fairly relaxing, run of the mill Sunday. Instead it turned into another thrilling episode of "The Adventures of Marsha, Mary, and Sam". I wish I had pictures to accompany this post but you all will just have to use your imagination...

Our adventure began when Marsha and I decided to run to Zaxby's to pick up some lunch. Now, if you know me at all, and I am sure my sister and Blair can both attest to this, I always, and I do mean always, like to look presentable when I go out in public. This does not have to mean make-up and hair clean (but it usually does) and I know this seems shallow but it is just how I am. So sue me. Anyhoo, I am telling you that because when Marsha and I set out for our adventure I am wearing my pajamas (there was a Law & Order:SVU marathon on, don't judge) but I did have contacts in and teeth brushed so some progress was made. Marsha and I successfully make it through the drive through and then drop of some lunch for her sister and we are heading back to our house when we hear a really loud "POP". Yup. Bye tire. Thanks for playing.

So naturally with our freshly popped tire the next available place to turn into is an event facility. Where there is currently an event taking place. Cool. This would normally not be a huge deal but there is obviously an event occurring and this place has huuuge windows. Awesome. What is also awesome is the fact that Marsha has her life [clothes, shoes, binders, crock pots, etc.] in her trunk which we have to transfer to her backseat in order to get the spare tire out. Now our army of help arrives. I say an army because Sam, her boyfriend, and four of his friends roll up in three different cars. Keep in mind I am still in my pajamas and eating my Zaxby's in the parking lot. Goodbye self-respect. Sam's boyfriend is the only one actually changing the tire, the rest of us are cheering him on. Mission accomplished, tire changed.

After a few much needed showers later Marsha, Sam, and I head to the mall and dinner. We are pulling back up to our house when we see what we think is a cat running up our front steps. Except it was not a cat, it was the largest opossum to ever walk the earth. We are all laughing/screaming, Marsha is talking about her extreme hatred for all things opossum related, Sam feels incredibly violated that this creature has used our front steps and I cannot breathe I am laughing so hard. We finally make it up the steps after banging on the pots and pans that were in Sam's car from our tailgate the day before in our attempt to scare the opossum away.

We obviously survived. Exhausted and increasingly aware of the wildlife in our neighborhood and car trouble, we are ready for the work week. Bring it on Monday. Bring it on. Thanks for reading!


Friday, November 5, 2010

4 Years?!

Today Blair and I are celebrating our four year anniversary. That's right, count 'em, FOUR. It really does not feel like it, which I suppose is a very good thing. I have said before that Blair is the kind of person that everyone has enjoys being around and I have yet to see Blair encounter a person that he has difficulty talking to. However, apparently Blair does have a bit of a difficult time getting along with my camera as some more flattering pictures have emerged, so in celebration of our four years together I have decided I should share with you all. Again.

Rock on Blair, rock on.

Quailman lives!

Hi Blair!

No, YOU!

Next, on "America's Most Wanted"...
As I have mentioned before, Blair has a great sense of humor/he does not own a camera so I have no real fear of retaliation. In all seriousness though, this is a very special day for us and I hope for more (which will naturally serve as the chance to share more glamour shots). Thanks for reading!



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Me vs. The Printer

Today I am exhausted. Not because I ran a marathon or anything like that. No, instead I physically battled the printer at work today. It was touch and go for a while and I definitely felt the cloud of failure looming over me but eventually perseverance won out. So here is what happened...

4:00 rolled around and the office is becoming increasingly quiet as one of our brokers (and a fellow Wofford grad) approached my desk and asks if I can type a few letters for him. I foolishly ask if he would like me to go ahead and type the envelopes as well (way to be an over-achiever Mary) and he says "Oh yea! That'd be great". Super. So I print the letters on our company letterhead. No problemo. Now onto the envelopes. Once I set it so that the font on the letter and the envelopes match I load the first envelope into the printer and think I will be sitting pretty until I can leave at 5:15. FALSE. This probably what I looked like 5 minutes later...

Exaggeration you say? No. The printer in convinced  there is a paper jam. Um, there is no paper in the printer. I proceed to open the printer up, hit cancel a few times, continue a few times, open the printer up again, hit get the idea. The printer (I will eventually name this "machine" but I will not do so in a state of rage because my parents read this blog) is telling me to load my paper, this is exactly what I think I am doing as I am feeding the envelopes in one by one. Failure continues. It is now 5:15, the office is dark. I have now [not so gently] hit the printer a few times and may or may not have stomped my feet on the ground...Anyhoo, I finally realize the trick is to feed the envelope in, hit print, wait for the printer to tell me to load my paper, pull the envelope back out and then feed it in again. Yup. Cool. Eventually I get these bad boys printed, proudly walk back to the broker's office and hand him the letters and envelopes. He looks up from his desk and says "Thanks Mary, I really appreciate it. I was just running behind today". This of course is a very sincere thank-you but inside I wanted someone to jump with with balloons and say "Mary! You are genius! This is the greatest thing ever! And not just ever today but ever in the whole wide world!!!". Instead, I tell him it was my pleasure and I will see him tomorrow. Woe is me.

Moral of the story: If you want me to print something, please allot at least an hour and a chance for me to be alone with the printer with no small children around as I would not want my language to offend. And I guess I should work on that whole "Patience is a virtue" thing. Thanks for reading!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Mary Monk?

I don't know if anyone else remembers the USA show "Monk" but I (along with several family and friends) am convinced that I am related to the main character, Detective Adrian Monk. After the violent murder of his beloved wife Trudy, Monk's obsessive-compulsive tendencies became more pronounced. Now, I am not making light of this disorder but I remember watching "Monk" with my father as Monk straightened magazines, evening out pots of coffee (even if it meant mixing regular with decaf), untwisting the phone cord, and finding myself saying "I don't think that's so odd, I do that".

Apparently this is not normal.

I have absolutely 100% done this at a restaurant before.
So today at work as I found myself organizing writing utensils in different mugs on my desk with one cup for pencils, one for pens, and one for highlighters I then set to the task of separating paper clips by size. WHO AM I!?! Another incident occurred on Sunday morning at the annual Richardson Homecoming brunch when Blair watched as I opened a Halloween chocolate wrapped in aluminum foil (careful not to rip the foil, duh) then proceeded to flatten out the foil using the arm of my chair until it is completely smooth finally folding the wrapper into a perfect little square (please keep in mind this is also after I have confessed to the group that I dressed up as Anne of Green Gables for Halloween when I was younger, neat). So, am I Mary Monk? I think yes.

Do I have a color coded closet? Yes. Will I re-make my bed if the sheets are not even? You betcha. Have I used an entire container of hand sanitizer at work since last Monday? Duh. Did I line up my cereal boxes by height when I got home from the grocery store? Naturally. Do I think its great that November 1st happened to fall on a Monday this year so that the first of the month matches with the first day of the work week? Oh yeah. Basically, if I lose a few friends following this post I am won't take it personally. And in case, you were wondering, my Anne of Green Gables costume was awesome. Thanks for reading!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bernie, I'm Hooome!

Wofford Homecoming is THIS weekend!!! I am super excited (as if the underlining and caps lock didn't give it away). When I was a junior in high school and my father insisted on visiting every single college in the southeast...ok a slight exaggeration but oh well, anyway, I owe my father a great deal because I firmly believe that my time at Wofford forever changed my future. When we arrived for our tour the weather was PERFECT. Birds were signing, flowers were blooming, etc. It was the Disney of colleges and I was in.

Greatest place on earth. Period.
I will be forever grateful for my time at Wofford and think that Homecoming is a celebration of that time, for all of the Wofford community. It is a very special place and I think the overwhelming amount of alumni that attend every year attest to that.  

Graduation. Sad day.

Friday night there is a band party downtown, Saturday is the football game vs. the Citadel (Go Terriers!) and then lots and lots of well-needed time with friends all weekend long. I am getting so excited that I can barely form sentences so this is the end for now. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tiger Town

Now, as I have tried to make clear before, I am a Georgia Bulldog fan first and foremost. However, this fall Blair and I have been able to go to two Clemson games with our friends Sarah and Whitner and it has been so much fun. Besides all of the orange and the purple (well, mainly all the orange) the Clemson campus is beautiful and we always have a good time. Sarah is quite the tailgate chef so once we arrive we get our spot set up and we [Blair] inhales Sarah's famous ham biscuits and onion rolls. After lounging in the beautiful weather for a while we go into the game and the cheering begins. This past weekend Clemson took on the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. I say "took on" because it looked like the Tech just let Clemson drag them around the field like extra baggage. Sorry Tech...Not. Anyway, just wanted to share a few pictures from the weekend (You're welcome Mom)

Branch and Reath siblings.

Host and hostess sporting their Clemson colors.

Please note the neato visor in the bottom of this picture. The woman sitting next to her had a matching one. Yup.
 Always so much fun. Always leave sunburned and tired. If that's the price you pay for enjoying a football game then so be it. Thanks for reading!


Halloween for Breakfast?

At work on Friday we are having a "Halloween Breakfast". This is really throwing people off. So far people have signed up to bring muffins, breakfast casseroles, fruit, and Halloween cookies...that's right, cookies. Needless to say I think someone is going to have to roll me onto the elevator before 5:00 on Friday so I can make it to Wofford Homecoming. Apparently there is also a breakfast casserole bake-off happening so it is only fair that I sample them both, naturally.

I hope someone brings these. HINT HINT

And a pumpkin roll. Please and thank you.

Oh hello breakfast casserole, I'm Mary. We are going to be best friends.
I will happily report back about the "breakfast" once I recover from the food coma that I will undoubtedly slip into. Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 22, 2010


My sister Laura is a junior at the University of Georgia and we have not seen each other since August. That is about to change because I GET TO SEE MY SISTER TOMORROW! Blair and I are going to the Clemson game tomorrow with a few friends and Laura is taking a bus up to Clemson with the Georgia Tech crowd (ew, Tech cooties). Regardless of our football affiliations I am so excited! I love love love this time of year and cannot wait to spend the day with friends, go to town at our tailgate feast (If you read the fair post you know how I feel about this kind of food), and see my long lost sister!

Thing 1 (me) and Thing 2 (Laura) soon to be reunited!
Also, my roommates and I saw Hootie and the Blowfish LIVE last night at their tribute concert in Five Points. No big deal. Definitely a sign it's going to be a wonderful weekend! Thanks for reading!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fair Play

I LOVE THE FAIR!!! Well, I should clarify. I do not love feeling ill from everything that I consumed at the fair (which I shall list, I have no shame) but I love the lights, the music, being with friends, the rides, and the food. Did I already mention the food? Oh well. Candace, Marsha, and Sam are big fair advocates so last night we made the trip and it was a huge success! I mean how could it not be? Just look at the excitement...

Marsha and Sam are excited. I am sad I could not capture Marsha jumping for joy.
Upon entering the South Carolina State Fair the smell of unhealthy goodness was overwhelming. Candace and I both got corn dogs, Marsha picked up her chicken fingers and Sam and Candace invested in some french fries for the group. We ate at picnic tables in the food court and then decided it would be a good idea to begin our adventures on the rides (clearly a good idea after everything we just ate). Sam and Marsha, the real ride enthusiasts rode things with names like "Fireball" or "Space Roller". Candace and I were there for moral support until we rode the "Swing Tower"....which is exactly what it sounds like. As the swings (which you ride in pairs, Candace was my date) are being pulled up into the air and we can see the entire fair grounds from our seats Candace starts to say "Whoa dude, whoa dude, whoa dude!!!" The excitement was just too much.

Clearly we hated the food at the fair...not. Please note Marsha patiently waiting for her chicken fingers in the background.
Following our adventures on the swings Marsha, Sam, and Candace convinced me that I just had to ride the "Crazy Mouse". This was a cruel trick. This is a roller coaster, and I use that term loosely, in which the four of us sat in a little cart, me on the edge. Not ok. I felt like my body was going to be thrown from our cart over the fairgrounds and Marsha, Sam, and Candace just think this is sooo funny. This is exhibited in the photo that the "Crazy Mouse" is kind enough to snap of you. My face is that of pure terror, my friends think this could not be funnier. Candace and I also rode the Pharaoh boat ride (I don't remember its witty fair name) where a girl proceeded to scream at the top of her lungs the before the ride even started so Candace and I were laughing to hard to notice our stomachs were in our throats.

On our way out we decided we should get dessert. Obviously. So a few chocolate dipped cones and mini doughnuts later we finally made it home where we all promptly sank into a food coma. Our deepest thanks to the fair, we will meet again next year. Thanks for reading!