Friday Links: Lot’s of Flowing Locks Edition

This week, huh kids? I know. Crazy! More people I know had babies, this time in London. Welcome Connor K!  Some other people I don’t know had babies, also in London. Congrats, Tatum-Dewan-Tatums. I finally finished off the brisket. Busy days, to be sure.

So kick back this weekend, relax, and have a “Manhattan. And kick the vermouth to the side with a pair of steel-toed boots,”  (Anchorman reference there) while perusing these links.


Glamour Women Of The Year Awards 2013 - Red Carpet Arrivals

  • Our Qantas travel buddy (and, I suppose, she’s also known as a British pop singer) Jessie J totally copied my boyfriend and recently shaved her head. (Actually, it appears she did it first. UNLESS, she found out about XFE and then jumped into a time machine back to March in which case, she totally copied my boyfriend’s look. That seems the most likely scenario here.)
  • In honor of XFE and Jessie J’s recent head shavings, let’s share some fun facts about hair, shall we? Russia used to have a beard tax? A shady Chinese producer of soy sauce used the amino acids from hair in his product? Women spend $780 per year on hair products? (uh, easily) I’m disappointed that there weren’t any statistics about curly hair, however.


(Some of the) Laws in Virginia are Bleeping Stupid

Ugh, so apparently we have to move. It’s all very unfortunate because we love our little house, and our adorable neighborhood and we live just a block from Trader Joe’s, which has always been my main aspiration in life. And, I’ve just figured out where to stand on my neighborhood metro platform to place myself at the nearest escalator exit on my way to work every morning.

But, moving appears to be the only solution since we are–in all likelihood–on the lam. Running from the long arm of the law. Hardened criminals on the loose, as it were.

First, there was this delightfully B-52-headlined story:

A Senate panel on Monday unanimously advanced a bill to repeal an old law that makes it illegal for unmarried couples to live together in Virginia. It is a misdemeanor in the state, under a law dating to the late 19th century, for “any persons, not married to each other, [to] lewdly and lasciviously associate and cohabit together.”

Holy bare ring finger. Are you serious, Virginia?

Well, not so much "lovers" technically, but more like, "married people."
Well, not so much “lovers” technically, but more like, “married people.”

When it came time to pick a place to put down roots in this area, one of Virginia’s major selling points was the fact that Virginia does not have common law marriage. Well, that, along with the fact that the taxes are lower than in DC. And, housing prices are slightly less. And, it’s much safer than DC.

OK, common law marriage laws were not at all a consideration in where my illegal consort XFE and I would live. BUT, I did check it out and was much relieved when I found out that we would not be considered married if we lived together.

(Interesting factoid from the above list I linked to: In Indiana, “any unsterilized female under 50 must submit with application for license a medical report stating whether she had immunological response to rubella, or a written record that the rubella vaccine was administered on or after her first birthday. Judge may by order dispense with these requirements.” Really? Rubella? AKA: German measles? Well, apparently, this is a problem in Indiana. Weird.)

Where was I? Oh yeah. So now our esteemed legislators in Richmond are telling me that we have been breaking the law this whole time?? Also, trampy readers in Michigan, Mississippi and Florida take note: you still have cohabitation laws on the books.

Luckily, some hip new lawmaker in Virginia is trying to update the law. And, he’s from my neck of the woods.

Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) brought legislation to legalize cohabitation, a measure one observer in the committee hearing dubbed the “Love Shack” bill. “Are you suggesting that perhaps things have changed since 1877?” committee chairman Sen. Thomas Norment (R-James City) jokingly asked Ebbin.

Oh those Virginia senators. Aren’t they a jolly, jokey bunch?

Ebbin's for beddin''s that don't require weddin's. (see what I did there?)
Ebbin’s for beddin”s that don’t require weddin’s. (see what I did there?)

However, the future of the bill hangs in the balance, with possible opposition arising from conservative groups who have not yet taken a position, but say they’re “monitoring the bill.”

The second reason we might have to move is even more distressing because it all falls  completely on me. And my unending love of cursing.

Section 18.2-388 of the Virginia Code states that “profane swearing and intoxication in public” is punishable as a Class 4 misdemeanor: “If any person profanely curses or swears or is intoxicated in public, whether such intoxication results from alcohol, narcotic drug or other intoxicant or drug of whatever nature, he shall be deemed guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. In any area in which there is located a court-approved detoxification center a law-enforcement officer may authorize the transportation, by police or otherwise, of public inebriates to such detoxification center in lieu of arrest; however, no person shall be involuntarily detained in such center.”

Shit. I mean, crap. Whatever. This could be a problem. I cuss with a great, great frequency, regardless of the venue or the unintended audience members. I have seen people physically flinch from the cursing spew that often comes out of my mouth. It’s a terrible, terrible habit, I totally agree. I just can’t seem to get a grasp on it.

If you can't cuss in a Waffle House, I'm not sure where that leaves us as a society.
If you can’t cuss in a Waffle House, I’m not sure where that leaves us as a society.

What’s worse is there doesn’t seem to be any erstwhile young firebrands in the legislature looking to get rid of this particular law. No trailblazing Ebbins. No comedic stylings of one Norment. (Hmmmm, Norment and Ebbins. Sounds like an accounting team, or maybe some Victorian crime fighting duo that cracks down on cussing and the like.) But no. There’s no one. No one to hear my profanity-filled cries.

Except for maybe this school board member from Bloomington, Illinois who just got banned from attending school sporting events for the rest of the year after a recent outburst. But I don’t think school board members are allowed to write bills or reverse laws in Virginia, or anything.

So I’m ……well, let’s just say I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with “stucked.”

2013 Better Watch It’s (Undoubtedly Large and Pregnant) Behind

Hi there! Did I miss anything around these here parts? Did we go off the Celebrity Pregnancy Apoca-Cliff? It’s sort of like the fiscal cliff combined with the Mayan Apocalypse.

Ah…..I see from recent reports that yes, yes we have fallen off the Celebrity Pregnancy Apoca-Cliff. (Please stop tweeting pictures of your baby bump).

Don't worry. I shan't be posting pics of my stomach.
Don’t worry. I shan’t be posting pics of my stomach.

OK then, so we already know that 2013 is probably going to suck. And be full of fat (fine…. ‘pregnant’) celebrities.

Maybe, before drowning my sorrows in a pile of buttered Pop-Tarts, I should look back on 2012. Even though 2012 retrospectives are sooooo last week.

One of my absolute favorite blogs has started a tradition of this end of year questionnaire, which I think is brilliant. Plus, since remembering things isn’t my strong suit, answering these questions will totally tax my brain, and that’s sort of like exercising, which is one of my New Year’s resolutions (Along with cussing less. Yeah, good luck on that one. I actually might amend that to “cussing less at work.”)

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Participated in the purchase of a house. Ate kangaroo in Australia. And pigeon in Spain. Hugged a koala bear. Fought the law. (Actually, I may have done that before)

Koala and Poe

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make any for next year?

I did manage to keep my New Year’s resolutions, but since I made them so impossibly obscure, this is not a major feat. My resolutions for next (this) year are to cut back on the swear words.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

A few people I know squeezed out some babies this year. The world now has the pleasure of knowing Miss Maddie, Miss Olivia and Miss Lucy Pepper.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

We weren’t close any more, but yes.

5. What countries did you visit?

This was a very good year for travel. There was Turkey. Germany. Thailand. Australia. Costa Rica. Spain. Plus New York and Austin this past weekend.

my fish

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

More patience when it comes to dealing with the stupid people of the world. On a related note, the ability to hold my tongue. I’m way too forthright.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why?

July 9 because that’s when we bought the house (painting of said house below)


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Made a gateau, which is like a fancy cake. Oh, and didn’t die while scuba diving.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Not getting asked to become the president of the Maldives. I had shoes picked out and everything. Rude.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

No, thankfully. Actually, I haven’t had a cold since July 2011. I know that because of this blog. I did, however, have quite a few dental procedures this year, which is not awesome. New resolution for 2013: fewer dental procedures.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Yikes, that’s difficult. I participated in the purchase of a lot of lovely things, but didn’t buy any of them outright on my own. I’d have to say our painting of Sonny the Longhorn. He’s my favorite purchase this year.


12. Where did most of your money go?

That is a really good question. I suppose it went on travel and eating, to some extent. And clothes, since I’ve put on a few pounds thanks to travel and eating. And shoes. Always with the shoes.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I got really excited about Australia, particularly the koala hugging. This was also the year that I finally liked scuba diving after we saw a manta ray in Costa Rica. That pretty much helped me turn the corner from anxiety and fear to enjoyment.

14. What song will always remind you of 2012?

David Guerra’s “Titanium.” Love that jam.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?

Happier and fatter. Perhaps a tiny bit poorer. I definitely put less money into my savings in 2012, which is unfortunate.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

My running regime has really fallen off the rails. Also: more writing.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Less time in the dentists’ chairs.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

With XFE and his family at our house. Stuffing our faces and going to museums, mostly.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

This is like Sophie’s Choice. How can I choose? Impossible. I do love me some Duck Dynasty. And anything with gypsy or housewives in the title. Or gold. And those Property Brothers can do no wrong in my book. Alright, alright – any home improvement show imported from Canada will do.

duck dynasty PHILosophies meme life is good

20. What were your favorite books of the year? 

Hmmm, I did read quite a bit, and not just US Weekly, but I’m having a hard time recalling any ‘favorite’ books. Also: I read and then toss, so I don’t even have any lying around that I could tell you about. I do, however, have this helpful book list for perusal. There was also this gem. Currently, I’m reading this, but I wouldn’t say it’s been a favorite. Maybe another 2013 resolution should be “keeping track of the books you read.”

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

The above mentioned Titanium. Old 97s, always. This and every year. Other recent purchases appear to be Two Door Cinema Club, Neon Trees, Dev, the Ting Tings, the Shins, The Hives, the Limousines, the Cataracts, Muse. Nothing too revolutionary.

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

We’re so busy watching reality TV, we don’t go to movies very often. And by ‘very often,’ I mean ever. BUT, we did go see Django Unchained on a rainy Sunday in Austin this past weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse. It was very, very violent, but pretty good.

23. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?

I turned 40 this year, which is apparently a really big deal and necessitated a trip to Australia. We spent the actual day in Cairnes and had dinner at this really lovely place called Ochre. XFE also threw me a pre-Australia “surprise” birthday party. I say “surprise” because someone let the cat out of the bag while telling me how funny XFE’s Evite was. Which was fine by me because I hate surprises.

That would be me, about to dominate that shark cake. And it's 40 stupid candles. Don't worry. I got them all.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I would have been more satisfied with the year if I would have pushed myself a bit more to get out of my comfort zone. I think I’ve become a bit complacent in some areas of my life, but rest time needs to be over. Also: quit worrying so much about sharks and other animals.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?

Two words: No Sleeves.

26. What kept you sane?

XFE, obviously. Even though he also drives me crazy. My great group of friends who want to hang out with me, despite my sharp tongue and antisocial tendencies. Running, when I engage in it, helps keep me sane. And, believe it or not, having this blog as an outlet helps a ton.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

I learned nothing. I am unteachable.

dance contest

I Got 99 Vices and Modesty Ain’t One

So, I know it might be hard to tell by this whole blog thing, but I’m about as perfect as Kate Moss without makeup.

Here’s a partial list of some of my most annoying vices.

I’ve got a wee bit of a potty mouth.—I cuss. A lot. Around people I should not be cussing around. Like professional colleagues, and older people, and children. Every year I make the same New Year’s resolution and every year I fail at about 12:03. In my defense (but really, it’s indefensible), I do come from a long line of cussers. There have even been a few truck drivers that have married and/or shacked up with family members, so I do come by it honestly. Cussing is a high art in the West Texas trailer parks where I come from.

"Yikes that girl sure can cuss like a sailor! Hope the Queen didn't hear her."

I’m a big old braggert.—Total Braggy McBraggerton, in case you couldn’t tell by this whole blog, which is pretty much a vehicle for me to brag and push my opinions on others. I actually have a pretty good excuse for this. I had a really, really crappy childhood. I grew up in some not-so-nice conditions, like the type of conditions that people write books about. Like, say, Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle or Mary Karr’s The Liar’s Club. Just for example. Growing up, I really didn’t have much in life to brag about. In fact, I had a lot to complain about. But I survived it, I worked hard and got out of my super crappy situation, and now, my life is pretty f-ing awesome. In my opinion, I’ve earned the right to brag and so I do.

I like to tell “stories.”—And sometimes those stories are “revised” to make them more interesting. This particularly happens with stories relating to my relationship with my Boyfriend-for-Life, XFE.  I tend to do it when relaying a story to other friends about something involving both of us, and XFE definitely calls me out on it. It’s usually just a slight tweak or tiny white lie, but I can’t seem to help myself.

"No really Zara, you're wedding was just as nice as mine, perhaps even nicer, really. Sure, sure."

And, again, I would defer to my childhood, where there were quite a few tall-tale tellers (ok, pathological liars) who liked to tell people they were raised by their grandfather on a horse ranch in Mexico and never saw electricity until they were sold into basically white slavery when they were married off at the tender age of 18. (I swear, I’m not making that story up. One of my very close relatives used to tell people that. It is, obviously, not true). Also, we moved around A LOT until I was about 13 years old, so timelines and facts are a very amorphous concept to me. I really do sometimes struggle with memory.

I think I have reverse body dysmorphia.—Unlike anorexics who think they’re fat, I tend to think I’m thinner than I actually am. I don’t keep a scale in the house, but when I do weigh myself, I’m absolutely shocked by the number (145, by the way). I grew up super skinny (I was a size zero until I was about 30 years old), with all kinds of boney-ness, so I still think of myself as a thin person.

Now, I’m not delusional. I’m not walking around in clothes that are way too small and tight because I refuse to try on a size 8. I don’t give a crap about the number on the label because again, I think I’m the diggity bomb. So I don’t let pesky things like a number on a label get in the way of that pseudo-fact. This whole reverse body image hasn’t caused any problems other than the scale surprise. I just always assume the scales are wrong since I like what I see in the mirror. (Not as much as this girl who has a song called, “Damn I Look Good.” Awesome.)

Size 8, I wish I were a size 8! I guess I need some of that XFE cooking so I too can have an awesome bod.

I’m opinionated and think others care.—This, I don’t know where it comes from. I’ve always been a know-it-all–can’t blame this one on the upbringing. And I have no filter whatsoever. Crap just flies out of my mouth, unsolicited. I’d like to be able to say I’m just a shoot-from-the-hip kinda gal, but honestly, I think it can be uber-annoying and I should really cut it out. I think that whole, “I’m just being honest” junk is an excuse for being thoughtless. I actually spend a lot of time backtracking with people and apologizing for stuff that I suspect came off as quite rude.  Nobody needs to hear everything going on in my head. And I’m not the authority on everything. Yet.

"Tut, tut, that’s enough. Nobody wants to hear your opinion. A proper princess knows when to keep her trap shut!"

Anyone else have any annoying habits/vices they want to fess up to? Any other know-it-alls out there? Should we have a dance off to see who is really “Damn I Look Good” worthy?