Friday, September 28, 2012

Shooting Stars

A picture from google earth of the Crab Nebula. This is what a star looks like after super-nova.

The first time I ever saw a shooting star I was 20 years old. I was in the passenger seat of a car, this guy I had been hanging out with was driving me back home. We were driving down my exit when I saw a quick flash of light. I was giddy. The guy scoffed at me and didn't believe I'd never seen one before. That guy was a jerk.

I haven't seen a shooting star since. Honestly, I don't get much chance to gaze up at the night sky these days. Jared and I went on a date a few years ago to the beach to try and look through a telescope, but it was very cold and I am very impatient and we were both very easily distracted.

I saw this article the other day and I am making it a goal to stay up and watch for this comet. Lucky for me, its supposed to be visible for up to 3 months!The comet, C/2012 S1, is "expected to be the brighest visitor to our solar system in the past century — a comet that'll be considerably brighter than Hale-Bopp (1997) and Halley's Comet (1986)."

Of course, there's a whole year between then and now, (it will arrive Dec 13) so maybe I'll schedule some lightweight stargazing in the meantime.

Did you ever go through an astronomy phase? I had a huge space camp phase, but I think it was more wanting a jump suit, the chance to ride in that G machine, and an obsession with Zenon then an actual desire to shoot to the moon.

Ensconsed in velvet

Are y'all aware that J.Crew is selling a pair of blush pink velvet jeans right now?! Don't even get me started on that beautiful blue pair. Just call me George Costanza.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The truth about mice

swingin' mouse pad
So of course I pick the mouse with rage issues. Once we got Dolly and Myrtle home, it was very very clear who had...issues. Myrtle wasn't delighted to be picked up and played with, but at least she didn't fling her body from your hand in attempted suicide, or squeak like she was being murdered at the slightest touch. But mice are skittish, right? Give her time, I thought. By Sunday evening though, we knew something had snapped in Dolly's tiny tiny brain.

Dollface would get on her wheel and run for literally hours. When she was done, she wouldn't bed down for the night in the cardboard tubes we had provided, instead she preferred to crouch on the cold hard wheel, never really sleeping, just staring off into the distance, eyes squinted. Up until then she would share the wheel, but never leave it. Eventually she had to venture to grab a nugget of corn or seed, and during this quick snack breaks, Myrtle ran for a turn on the wheel solo. Then all hell broke loose. Dolly sensed her beloved wheel was cheating on her, turned back quickly, and lunged at Myrtle, squeaking like a crazed banshee. She then chased her around the cage and started hopping on her and squeaking. This, my friends, is where I draw the line.

Suffice to say, Dollbaby the demented was returned and swapped out for a sweet little blonde we now call Puff (or Horchata if you're Jared). So far Puff and Myrtle have got along swimmingly and Myrt doesn't seem too terribly scarred from her times as a battered housewife.
Glam Puff Horchata Alexander enjoying a pumpkin seed

And thus ends an entire post on rodents. Who weigh an ounce a piece. Forgive me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Why my dad is the best dad

My dad's been on the hunt for a new car. Yesterday he sent me this email, and it pretty much made my life:

"Today I entered the murky waters where new cars dwell. It is a dangerous and frustrating endeavor because found in these same troubled waters is the great white Car Shark Salesman. I could see them cruising the parking reef with wide toothy grins. They seemed to be colored in a dubious array of plaids and stretchy pants. The new cars glimmered in the sun and a seductive siren sound drew me in to certain financial oblivion. I had barely exited the safe environs of my own elderly but faithful vehicle, when the Shark gently laid hold of my arm and gently sank in his teeth. Reflected in the deep red clear coat of the car behind him I beheld my doom. 

[This message was found scrawled on a tire washed ashore at Flagler Beach FL]    

PS Love Dad    "

Monday, September 24, 2012

If you give a Kip a mouse...

Growing up there was a revolving cast of animals that lived in my house. We always had a dog, or a rodent, or someone else's dog or rodent. The full list includes foster hamsters and guinea pigs, an insane and devious pair of gerbils, 5 or 6 different dogs...there were a few stray cats, fish, etc. Basically anything we could drag home, we could almost always keep.

Occasional we got our hands on something more exotic. When I was 17, we took charge of two orphaned raccoon kits, Meeko and Wednesday. We taught them to fish for minnows in our bath tub. When we walked into the mudroom to their kennel, they'd start purring and chirping with excitement, reaching their little paws out toward you, longing to be held. They were like kittens with hands, allowing them to be 120% more mischievous then any house cat. They greedily drank from bottles, and they absolutely despised our dog. Eventually they had to be handed over to a raccoon rehabilitation site, but that was a fun few months.

My favorite pet, by far, was our fantastic dog, Scout. He was a mutt from the pound, small and black; a half bred Labrador who once ate an entire jar of peanut butter.  Dogs are the supreme pet, aren't they? I have nothing against cats, but as I've never been allowed to have one because of allergies, it's always been dogs for me.

A close second in the ranks though was our rat, Sassy. You are probably squirming in your seat thinking of rat tails now, aren't you? It's always the tails people bring up. Maybe now I'd have a problem with them, but at the age of 10, I was smitten and fully in love with our little rat. Sassy was incredibly intelligent and sweet. Rats are very social and love people.

Ever since I moved away from my parents house, I've wanted a pet. This weekend, a tiny little idea started growing in my brain. By the end of Saturday, Jared and I were proud owner of Myrtle and Dolly. They are fascinating, quiet, and surprisingly dramatic. I'll have to fill you in with the whole sordid tale, tomorrow.

For now, you know what they say, If you give a Kip a mouse, she'll probably want a puppy.

Friday, September 21, 2012


Jared and I have both been feeling under the weather and all we've wanted is soup, soup and more soup. We stopped by Panera last night to get our fix, and Jared fell hook, line and sinker for the ol' 99 cent treat trick. But the jokes on you Panera! Look at this slice of crumb cake! Look at it! Can you call it a slice? I feel more comfortable with "wedge" honestly. Jared and his wedge of cinnamon crumb cake. That face, classic Birdwell, you don't know whether to kiss him or slap him. The crinckliest mug this side of the Mississip'. We spoiled our dinners nice and properly by nibbling this, pre-soup.

This weekend I will be a widow woman as Jared must work, but I plan on some major thrifting. There are so many things whizzing around in my brain. I can not wait for Halloween. Our costumes will be A+ this year if I can make the right finds. Also, I'm thinking a visit to the doodle farm may have to be arranged. Cross your fingers for me!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Awkward and Awesome Thursday

  • Colds + elliptical= awkward heavy mouth breathing. 
  • Absentmindedly making a protein drink, giving it a good shake, having the lid fling off and almond milk SPEW out, covering everything in sight. 
  • On a related matter how many times I was my Blender Bottle, it still smells like rancid almonds. Help!
  • Liquidation sale at Clothing Warehouse in 5 Points. I'm checking it out tonight, hopefully lots of good vintage left!
  • Rice Krispy Challenge activity was a success. Yes, that is the story of Jonah and the whale depicted in wafers, rice krispies and sour patch kids. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Serialist

creepy stairs to our apartment
Thursday I told you how I felt about September, but maybe I spoke too soon. Sure, it isn't autumn, but at least the heat has sort of broken, and the thought of turning on my oven doesn't make me spontaneously bust out in sweats.

As you probably can tell, I'm a big fan of lists. This past weekend all I got to cross of my list was  chili, but it sure was good. I didn't even use a recipe! I was in a crazy cooking mood and ended up churning out Sunday dinner, and the worst red velvet cupcakes, as well. Ah well, two out of three hits ain't bad I say.

There are definite patterns that make my life easier. I find when I want to make changes, having an action plan where one thing flows into another is best. Jared's got a cold, and I have the baby version, so I think a good batch of chicken noodle soup tonight will do the trick. Chili inspires soup inspires, who knows, probably not much ;) I said the heat had sort of broken, lets not get crazy here people.

Last night Jared and I went to the bookstore and picked up some new reads....all from the children's section.We're reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone out loud with one another, which has already turned out to be great fun. I also picked up a copy of The Mysterious Benedict Society, which looks great. Being honest, I picked it because I instantly loved the cover, plus its a part one. Who can resist a part one? I remember being young and being so disappointed when a book I loved ended and I had to say goodbye to those characters. Every good book should have a requisite sequel, I think. The exact opposite with great movies, which is weird. Anyway, I digress. We also bought the audiobook for Enders Game, another great children's series if you haven't read it.

Speaking of audiobooks, have you listened to the Harry Potter series on tape? My parents used to check them from the library and it was the highlight of every car ride. I highly recommend.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Kipin on a wild goose chase

This whole week has been full sprint mode, but I couldn't be happier about it. So many new and exciting changes have taken place in our little Alexander home. I've never been more excited about my job and where my career could lead. This weekend won't really offer much of a break; instead it holds quite a few looooong meetings and a very large pile of laundry that has been neglected far too long. The other day Jared got out of the shower only to discover no clean towels besides a tiny dish rag! Day in the life of no washing machine and no time. I'm sure we can find some time between the chores and meetings and helping a friend move to enjoy ourselves, we always muddle through.I'm hoping to go see Sleepwalk With Me, a film by Mike Birbiglia and Ira Glass, check out the new H&M, and make some chili and fry bread.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A&A Thursday

  • I have been non-stop praying about a certain few things in my life lately. The self pity was overwhelming, y'all, just relentless. I've always heard that the best way to get over yourself is to put your head down and go to work. My prayers, and the prayers of others on my behalf, have really helped me feel that yes, this is happening for a reason, and YES it can be overcome. Just trying to be more like Maria!
  • Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Lipstain. What a freaking mouthful, but what a beautiful one. Like a really needed a new lip color to freak out over, but these are kind of perfect. I've got Honey, a pinky nude, and Adore, a berry red. Lots of color, just the right amount of shine, lasts for a long time.
  • September. I’m ignoring you September. You may try and hide behind a thin fa├žade of pumpkin spice and faux autumnal splendor, but I know the truth. You are just a continuation of August, a month which is really kind of a joke in and of itself so you should be doubly embarrassed. School doesn’t start with you anymore. The leaves don’t change in Florida, they just die. Oh, and guess what, everywhere you go, Halloween is already creeping in. September, you are being trumped by the very last day in October. That’s just embarrassing. Hurry up and get it over with.
  •  Subway. Why do I have to love you so much?? Why can’t you be hip and organic? You take delicious things like avocados, and turn them into something dirty and shameful. Seriously, who wants Subway guac? But you do have sweet onion dressing, and therefore my heart.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

So, how do you like being married?

I feel like everyone asks this because they were once asked it, and squirmed, and now they feel it is their chance, nay, their DUTY to subject you to the same weirdo question.

I still haven't found out how to answer it, by the way. I saw this quote from Emily Blunt last week that struck a cord:

"This is what I find difficult about talking about my marriage - it's hard to sum up something that's so vital and means everything to you in a sound bite. Do you know what I mean? All I can say is that it's an effing blast. It's just great, and I'm so happy."

PS. I used the above cartoon for a the 2011 Valentines Day Dance Flyer, with the caption "Come find your one true love, or at least someone to settle for!" and probably only 3% of the YSA audience thought it was funny/understood it. But boy, did I laugh. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

The List

When I was five years old and you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would tell you "dolphin trainer/gymnast/ice skater." If you looked at my home videos and journals, you would probably come to the conclusion I turned into some sort of megalomaniac. The videos are filled with me singing into toy microphones, and the journals are full of lies.
When I was just a wee Tweetie Bird impersonator, with Trever and Dad at Marineland.

In kindergarten, every Monday, we were required to write a sentence or two and draw a picture about what we had done that weekend. According to these records I had scuba dived, been in more weddings then you could count, saved a young pup from peril, and accomplished more heroic and daring deeds then one would believe of a navy seal, let alone a 5-year-old girl with chicken fluff for hair.  I knew what I was doing, too. I wasn't just an imaginative child, I was a con-artist. I wanted my teacher to believe that I was special and exotic and different.

In reality, I suppose all of this did forshadow what I have become. Not a megalomaniac, but maybe a small shade of one: a writer, a blogger, a social media bandit, a public relations...student? My title says specialist but I still feel like I'm learning things each and every day and I have a long way to go. Above all, I am still a dreamer. After the dolphin thing faded, and middle/high school rolled around, I had no idea what I wanted to to with the vastness of my life. I knew that I wanted to travel, I knew that I wanted to find love, I knew that I wanted to go to college, and I knew that I wanted more.

I felt like Belle from Beauty and the Beast (It always comes back to Disney doesn't it?)
"There must be more then this provincial life..." she sang. She doesn't know what, but she knows its something.

 I was so focused on those base-line goals, escaping things in my past and getting my head above water. College? Check. Career? Check. Husband? Check. Passport thats been used? Double Check. Now I can plan bigger. These things have floated around my head for a long, long time, and now here they are. The List. What I want. For now.

(disclaimer: this section is kind of child-centric but I am a good 2-3 years out from beginning to think about that phase in Jared and I's life) (Edit: 9-15-2014 well hey look at that, I was exactly right :)
(Edit: 7-16-2015, Funny how things change, in'nit? Changes in green)
  • Live a sustainable life.
  • Compost our waste.
  • Cook healthy, consistent family dinners at least 4 times a week.
  • Bake a pie that doesn't look like roadkill.
  • Keep a clean and beautiful home that is inviting and a source of pride.
  • Remodel a Victorian home. 
  • Have a hanging rattan chair. 
  • Find and up-cycle an antique French settee. 
  • Keep an intentional home, "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris
  • Make and display our own art and family photos.
  • Have tangible photo albums. 
  • Raise a few chickens, possibly a goat. 
  • Have a loft style bed. 
  • Feel confident in my professional abilities/workplace environment.
  • Work for Disney.
  • Take a web design class. 
  • Double my first jobs income. 
  • Be a stay at home mom.
  • Work from home as a PR/Social Media consultant.
  • Start a (very very small) event planning business. (Totally not my jam anymore!)
  • Write freelance for a blog or magazine. 
  • Write and illustrate a children's book.
  • Become a U.S. Diplomat. (Sigh, I've let this one go, too. But still completely my jam- and my jelly for that matter.)
  • Buy a DSLR camera and learn the manual settings. 
  • Take a photography class. (check---but it was the worst! and I still don't know how to shoot properly!)
  • Establish an active and healthy lifestyle. 
  • Visit the farmers market more often. 
  • Own a piano, take lessons.
  • Learn to crochet. 
  • Learn basic sewing skills, make myself/children's clothes. 
  • 100% visit teaching.
  • Become more knowledgeable of the scriptures.
  • Help someone gain a testimony of Jesus Christ. 
  • Learn to recognize and trust the Spirit.
  • Forgive old hurts.   
  • Start a book club. 
  • Learn Grammie's recipes and make a Manning Family cook book.
  • Learn to can preserves and blanch field peas. 
  • Make fresh cream corn every year.
  • Cut my hair short again.
  • Write songs and record them with Jared for a personal Braveheart album, our currently fictional family band

Friday, September 7, 2012

Aqua, por favor.

Last night Jared and I went to see this movie at SunRay Cinema. It's a documentary on the world water crisis. The scientists interviewed were thoughtful and clear. Most of them looked like someones dad or grandma. I think a lot of people get really puffed up and defensive when anything about "environmentalists" comes up. To me, these people are the messengers of fact. There's no point in ignoring what they have to say or claiming they don't care about people. They do care about people! That's why they devote their lives to this planet; to help more people!

The most fascinating thing I find about the water crisis is the fact that even the "clean" water we drink every day is full of chemicals. When babies are born, scientists have found over 200 outside chemicals in their cord blood! Don't get me started on what can now be found in breast milk. All of the medication and pesticides and run off from car washes--everything goes into the sewers and streams and rivers and oceans and it doesn't leave. We are drinking everything from birth control to miracle grow. 

If you get a chance, go see this movie. You may learn something new, you may be inspired, you may feel deeply depressed, but hopefully you will see it as an issue that effects us all. There are lots of things we can do: buy water efficient toilets and shower heads, embrace a slightly toasted yard, use natural cleaning products, buy local fruits and vegetables from the farmers market, turn off lights, unplug appliances, drink from the tap! I'm not gonna go all Erin Brockovich on y'all (yes, she was in the movie), but I do find things like this fascinating.

On a lighter note, even if you don't want to go see this movie, you should still check out SunRay! They play a great mix of old, new, indie and mainstream movies. We've seen a few documentaries, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and tonight, we'll be going to The Intouchables. Not only can you support local business, but you can munch on fresh house-made pizzas, nachos and other treats while watching. Oh, and they have street fighter and ms. pacman in the lobby.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Awkward and Awesome Thursday!

  • Creepy Tim Tebow masks found at the UF bookstore. His teeth are so straight... 
  • This weird bucket list meme on Pinterest that's so lame it hurts. Break a bone? That will make you a true woman and am accomplished adult?
  • Jared is officially studying abroad in Germany next summer, meaning lonely nights, but also a European vacation!
  • Buying a ton of plain tote bags for under two bucks each from this website. 
  •  Finding the holy grail of shampoo, Paul Mitchell Awapuhi Wild Ginger is the real deal, folks!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Labor Day, Jared and I went with family to the Museum of Natural History. They've got Sue on display, the most complete T Rex ever found. You should go and check it out! It's awesome to realize how huge these animals were, just completely massive. Sue looks kinda puny in this picture, but its just an angle thing believe me. Mosh is a teeny little place, but I always have fun. They update the exhibits regularly, and you also have the opportunity to pet a cross-eyed opossum. Sadly, the possum was napping when we arrived, but she is a very sweet creature if you ever get the chance.
A wild kipinosaurus appears!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekender

Last week was like a freight train, and the long weekend couldn't have come at a better time.  I really am so thankful to have so many people I enjoy being around in my life.This weekend saw naps, family, college football games, delicious food, Lincoln Log cabins and some not-so-artful photo bombing.