Getting to Know You

My friend Britt (who I take tons of blog tips from) posted one of these last week and since they’re a little of a throwback to those old chain emails, I figured I’d give it a shot! Maybe you’ll learn something new about me! Feel free to join in (in the comments section), and let’s learn about each other!

flag photoFour names that people call me, other than my real name:

  • Bean
  • Beano
  • Kathy (jk. NO ONE CAN CALL ME THAT. Ew.)
  • Varner (people called me ‘Varner’ in high school, ie. my maiden name).

Four jobs I have had:

I’ve had sooo many jobs… 

  • Babysitter/Nanny
  • Jersey Mike’s Subs (first “real” job in high school)
  • Camp Counselor and Staff Member at Camp Mikell
  • Server (Morrell Wine Bar in Rockefeller Center, NYC)—I still believe everyone should work in the service industry at some point.
  • Social Worker (with LOTS of different populations: homeless adults, high schoolers in the Bronx, children 0-5 who have experienced trauma/abuse/neglect…)

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

  • Dumb and Dumber
  • All the Harry Potters (something about this time of year and Harry Potter…)
  • Almost Heroes
  • Troop Beverly Hills (just re-watched this with the little sis…so good).

Four books I’d recommend:

  • All Tana French Mysteries
  • A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
  • Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  • 11-22-63 by Stephen King (love a historical thriller)

Four places I have lived:

  • Athens, GA
  • New York City, NY
  • Fairfax, VA
  • Columbia, SC

Four places I have been:

  • Peru
  • Malta
  • Ireland
  • Monaco

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  • At the lake
  • At the beach
  • in NYC visiting friends
  • in Paris

Four things I don’t eat:

  • meat
  • fast food
  • seafood
  • soda

Four of my favorite foods:

  • soups…love soups
  • tacos loaded with cilantro
  • my moms corn and bean salad
  • my moms holiday cookies, and her chex mix

Four TV shows that I watch:

  • Scandal
  • Real Housewives of New York, Beverly Hills and Orange County
  • True Detective
  • Fixer Upper on HGTV (love Chip and Joanna).

Anyone agree? Disagree?


Must Listen: Serial Podcast

David has been trying to get me to listen to podcasts for some time. And for years we’ve been listening, pretty avidly, to Stuff You Should Know which is one of my favorites. It helps that Josh and Chuck are from ATL, so we love that. And then the main other things that David’s really into are football podcasts which just don’t interest me. And then trolling the internet this past weekend, I found like 3 or 4 people who I take trusted advice from talking about the pocast Serial. What is Serial?serial logo

According to their site,


Serial is a new podcast from the creators of This American Life, hosted by Sarah Koenig. Serial will follow one story – a true story – over the course of a whole season. We’ll follow the plot and characters wherever they take us and we won’t know what happens at the end of the story until we get there, not long before you get there with us. Each week we’ll bring you the latest chapter, so it’s important to listen in order, starting with Episode 1.

This season, (NOT A SPOILER…)

On January 13, 1999, a girl named Hae Min Lee, a senior at Woodlawn High School in Baltimore County, Maryland, disappeared. A month later, her body turned up in a city park. She’d been strangled. Her 17-year-old ex-boyfriend, Adnan Syed, was arrested for the crime, and within a year, he was convicted and sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison. The case against him was largely based on the story of one witness, Adnan’s friend Jay, who testified that he helped Adnan bury Hae’s body. But Adnan has always maintained he had nothing to do with Hae’s death. Some people believe he’s telling the truth. Many others don’t.

Sarah Koenig, who hosts Serial, first learned about this case more than a year ago. In the months since, she’s been sorting through box after box (after box) of legal documents and investigators’ notes, listening to trial testimony and police interrogations, and talking to everyone she can find who remembers what happened between Adnan Syed and Hae Min Lee fifteen years ago. What she realized is that the trial covered up a far more complicated story, which neither the jury nor the public got to hear. The high school scene, the shifting statements to police, the prejudices, the sketchy alibis, the scant forensic evidence – all of it leads back to the most basic questions: How can you know a person’s character? How can you tell what they’re capable of? In Season One of Serial, she looks for answers.

So needless to say, I’m totally hooked. I love crime anything, and I was just looking for a good audio book for my commute and dog walks, when I stumbled across Serial. I found a podcast I love that isn’t sports! (Sorry, David). And I’m 5 episodes in and I love it. You get to kind of BE a detective alongside Sarah which is pretty fun and exciting. I’d encourage you to not only listen to the Podcast, but to follow along weekly on the Serial website, where there are photos, letters, and maps…things like that that continue to help the story unfold. Sarah Koenig does an amazing job of “setting the scene” and making it picture-able in my mind, but for those of us that were most definitely detectives in another life, it’s fun to “play along” online.

So c’mon, other people have to be listening. Since it’s been out for 8 or 9 weeks now. Who is listening? What do you think? Let me know (without spoilers–I’m in Episode 5).


Happy 4th Birthday, Sweet Boy

COLONEL HEAD SHOTToday is a very special day, for someone very special in our lives. My husband and I adopted Colonel Mustard almost 4 years ago, and today is his 4th Birthday! So today is “roughly” his birthday. We decided on November 12th because it is David’s half-birthday, making it easy to remember. (Since David makes SUCH a big deal about his half-birthday each year. Yes, we all know, David, you’re 33 and a half today!) Since you’ve heard me talk about the sweet boy, (Read more about his crazy adoption story here), I’ll turn it over to Colonel’s dad, David. Since they do share the half birthday/birthday connection after all. It’s all about the boys…

Here’s David.

Four years ago, Bean and I were newlyweds, and I was in my senior year in seminary. At the time, I had no idea where I’d be going after I graduated, didn’t know where we’d be living, and I surely didn’t have an inkling that in just a couple of months, we’d become dog owners. 
If you’ve heard me talk about Colonel Mustard, you’ve heard that the first several weeks were hell — for me more than for Bean. We got him when he was 9 weeks old, and the vet told us we couldn’t take him outdoors at all until he got his second round of shots at 15 weeks. We dutifully kept him indoors, and about a half a dozen times a day we had to clean up his poop and pee in the hallway and the puppy pee pads that he utterly destroyed (yup, after peeing on them) on a daily basis. We lasted about a week before we finally took him outside, and he loved every second of playing in dirty snow and peeing all over the place. 
In the early going, in one of my worst moments as a human being, I openly told Bean I didn’t know if we could keep him — I didn’t think my sanity could take it. Thank God that was never an option for her, and when I think about it, I don’t think I actually could’ve gone through giving him back, even as tired and irritated as I was. Bean knew that it would get better — the biting and peeing and pooping indoors and whining and ripping up all of our stuff would eventually fall by the wayside, and we’d have an awesome dog that we would love. And, as is usually the case, she was right. 
Four years ago on this day (or, sometime around this day), he and a bunch of his brothers/sisters were born somewhere in North Carolina. He’s calmed down an awful lot since those early days, but he is still just as rambunctious and silly as he’s ever been. Happy birthday buddy, and thanks for everything you do for your mom and me. 2011 to 2014

Thanks David for the kind words! Here are some great pics from the past four years of our little trouble maker. Colonel Collage 2 Colonel Collage 1 Colonel Collage 3

For dog lovers, and for doggy GIFT IDEAS, check out my Pinterest Board for dog stuff, and Happy Birthday Colonel Mustard!