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Among all the things I never thought I would purchase from Amazon, bras and antiperspirant are ranked pretty highly.

Last year, I bought bras on Amazon. Now, it looks like the online retailer is going to be my new source for unscented antiperspirant.

Anyone who has ever worn a bra knows that you don’t buy a bra without trying it on first. However, anyone who has ever found the PERFECT bra knows that you buy that same bra until the end of time.

I’ve found the perfect bra a few times over the years, only to be disappointed when I returned to a department store to buy that EXACT bra only to find that the manufacturer had changed it ever so slightly, so that now the cups cut funny, dented lines across my boobs or gaped as if I had lost an entire cup size (note: I have never lost an entire cup size, even after I had my tonsils out at age 20 and lost an inadvisable amount of weight).

So last year, frustrated yet again after another department store failed to stock the make and model of bra that had supported me for months, I turned to the Internet. I googled the five-digit identification number I found on the tag and — voila — Amazon had it in stock. In my size. In multiple colors. For $5 less than I had paid at the store.

And now, 14 months later? Amazon STILL has it in stock, in all colors and sizes. The department store? I have no idea. I can’t be bothered to start from zero with another make and model of bra when Amazon has the one that fits me perfectly. Brick-and-mortar retailers have forced my hand in the name of product diversity, making me go online to find what I want because they stock everything but.

Same thing with the antiperspirant. I can’t STAND the odor of scented antiperspirants made for women. I actually like the smell of many of the men’s varieties, possibly because they’re woodsier and darker. But the women’s products are powdery and flowery and just plain insipid. I can rarely smell them on other people, but I can ALWAYS smell them on me.

I can’t really see why women put up with those scents even if they don’t find them offensive. Many women spend a lot of money on other scented products, like lotions, powders and perfumes, that they carefully layer on to produce just the right subtle scent. Why would they mix in a cheap floral antiperspirant on top of that?

To each her own.

My choices of unscented antiperspirants have been dwindling for years, but this summer they dwindled to zero, at least locally. And it’s not that manufacturers aren’t making them anymore so much that stores have developed some lazy stocking behaviors. I visited two big-box stores and one drugstore in my search; in each, the deodorant aisle had slots for literally dozens of different product varieties, but approximately 30 percent of the slots were empty.

While I enjoy a home and a workplace that are both in close proximity to these retailers, it’s not my responsibility to make return trips just to check to see if anyone has bothered stocking the shelves. I get the feeling that once I’ve ordered my first six-pack of unscented deodorant from Amazon, I’ll never bother looking for it locally again.

So, brick-and-mortar retailers griping about the Internet stealing your business: Try harder. I’m not asking for huge discounts or home delivery. You simply have to stock the products I want to purchase. And you are failing.

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My second 2013 Dennison’s Family Farm CSA box yielded the following:

  • Three onions: red, white and yellow. These went into a couple of really tasty stir-fries and a pan of delicious chicken fajitas.
  • Bell pepper: Sacrificed to the stir-fry.
  • Sweet banana peppers: Seeded and sliced to add crunch to summer salads.
  • Jalapeno and Serrano peppers: Currently waiting to be added to salsa.
  • Squash (Slick Pik, Zephyr, patty pan and zucchini): The base for the fabulous Baked Penne with Squash, Tomatoes and Basil that I wrote about earlier this week. Except for the zucchini, which was reserved for the best brownies in the world, which I will tell you about next week.
  • Cauliflower: I admit to having rarely encountered cauliflower except at salad bars. I tried this Cook’s Illustrated roasted cauliflower recipe I found at Food Lush, adding in the optional chili powder for a little pizzaz. It was edible but uninspiring, and the leftovers were absolutely off-putting (I’m pretty sure leftover roasted cauliflower is the scent they add to natural gas so customers know when they have a leak). I’ll probably just wash, chop and save it for salad next time.
  • Broccoli: I think this was the first head of broccoli I’ve ever eaten that didn’t come from the grocery store. The fresh flavor was amazing. I ate some straight off the stem while I was prepping my photo, and the rest was truly the guest star in our stir-fries, outshining the protein and all other veggies.
  • Leeks: I am again perplexed by leeks, since I never really encountered them before. I used them as a substitute for shallots in the Baked Penne with Squash, Tomatoes and Basil, and they definitely added a bit of bold flavor.
  • Cucumber: I forgot I had a cucumber in the crisper. I should probably slice it up for salad.
  • Green tomatoes: I have never understood the appeal of green tomatoes. Even when I’ve had really good fried green tomatoes, I found myself thinking, man, if only these had stayed on the vine a little while longer, I could be having an awesome sandwich. I put these aside in dismay and then wrapped them in a newspaper a couple of days ago in hopes of turning them into real tomatoes. I should probably go check the cool dark closet to see if they’ve transformed.
  • Chard: I have neglected my greens, yet again.
  • Basil: I used a lot of the basil in the Baked Penne with Squash, Tomatoes and Basil, and chopped up the rest for salads.

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One of the clandestine pleasures of visiting New York City, Vegas or Orlando is the ability to make a quick visit to M&M’s World.

Don’t get me wrong — the store is full of ridiculous tchotchkes that no one over 9 should ever openly display, and I can’t think of an event that would call for me to wear M&M-themed clothing.

No. The draw is the wall of M&M’s that you can purchase by the pound. It’s like the huge crayon box of M&M’s, with candies on display in every hue you can possibly imagine.

I go for the special flavors at the end of the wall. I don’t know if they’re limited edition or available in stores — frankly, I don’t spend a lot of time in the candy aisle at the grocery store. (And on a side note, when I do pay attention to areas like the cookie aisle, I am utterly appalled. Have you SEEN the ridiculous number of Oreo varieties lately?)

Anyway, I was in Orlando for business last week, and the husband joined me for a day at Universal Studios and a weekend with a longtime friend. On the way to the airport, we serendipitously passed the mall holding the M&M’s store, meaning we practically HAD to stop. We emerged with coconut and raspberry M&M’s.

I honestly can’t pick a favorite. The raspberry candies pack an intense berry flavor, while the coconut variety was slightly reminiscent of a Mounds bar, with a pronounced coconut essence. Both varieties are almost the size of Peanut M&M’s, but without the peanut inside, meaning you’ve got a pretty big serving of creamy chocolate in each one.

I wish I had bought more.

Visits to M&M’s World don’t always turn out this well. We bought the Strawberried Peanut Butter variety a couple of years ago in New York, and they were completely meh, with neither the flavor of strawberry or peanut butter really standing out.

And yes, I’m completely ignoring the fact that I can buy limited edition M&M flavors on Amazon.com.

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I didn’t know how desperately I valued my right to vote until someone told me I couldn’t have a ballot.

I didn’t realize how much work there is to be done to educate voters on their rights until I witnessed multiple people turn away with a shrug after being told that they weren’t on the voter registration list — even though they were quite certain that they were — and, therefore, couldn’t vote.

I had forgotten the warm, heady feeling of furious indignation until it surged forth when I realized just how ridiculously broken the voting process was in Fulton County, Georgia.

When the secretary of state says you’re registered to vote, it seems pretty official. It wasn’t official enough for Fulton County officials, however, and they turned away A LOT of voters on election day. The county official at my polling place acted like I was a fool for thinking that seeing my name on the secretary of state’s voter registration list meant that I was really registered to vote. In what I’m now convinced was an attempt to just get me to leave, she actually sent me out to the library computers to look my name up on the “official” Fulton County voter roll so I could see for myself that I wasn’t really registered. She wasn’t at all happy when I returned to inform her that the county website accessed its voter registration information from — wait for it — the secretary of state’s database.

The Fulton County elections department may well be mismanaged from the top down if, as at least one poll worker asserts, workers were still delivering voter registration lists hours after the polls opened.

My biggest problem with the whole debacle was the lack of give-a-damn on the part of election officials. The county worker at my polling place gave me a provisional ballot only after I proved unwilling to simply slink away without casting my vote. I heard her say, multiple times, “There’s nothing we can do.” She said this to people who were newly registered, who had changed their address, who voted in the last election and hadn’t moved or changed ANYTHING, who had made the deadline, damn it, and had SEEN their name on the registration list.

There’s nothing we can do.

Computers have made it easy for people like this to rule over their lazy little kingdoms. You’re not in the computer. There’s nothing we can do.

I’m not going to make it easy for her next time. If I have to stand outside my polling place (at a legal distance, of course) wearing a sandwich board exclaiming “ASK ME ABOUT PROVISIONAL BALLOTS IF YOU HAVE BEEN DENIED YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE,” I’m going to make it much more difficult to disenfranchise voters through incompetence.

Put that on your official list, bureaucrats.

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If you ever want to know who really gets you, start telling your friends and family that you’re moving from a four-bedroom house in the ‘burbs to a one-bedroom apartment in the city. Immediately add that you’re ditching most of your stuff because you don’t love it, use it or need it. You’ll either get an awkward pause, or you’ll get a quick and enthusiastic “That is SO awesome!”

Not that there’s anything wrong with friends and family who don’t quite get me, because, frankly, I can be a difficult subject. But the folks who do … man, I love you guys.

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Posting has been erratic here for several weeks because my brain has been occupied with big decisions. Like whether to apply for another job, accept another job and move to another city.

In short, the answers were yes, yes and yes.

The husband and I will be moving to Atlanta in short order.

I want to say it was a difficult decision, but it really wasn’t. Huntsville is a nice enough place, but I’m getting antsy.

I haven’t been sure about my career path for the past five years. I’ve wanted to be in the newspaper business since I was a teenager. I never quite recovered from leaving the industry, and the transition to technical writing has never felt quite right to me.

People say your job doesn’t define you. I would reply that no, it certainly does not, but you sure do spend a heck of a lot of time doing it, so you may as well try to enjoy it.

Thus, I’ve accepted an Atlanta job that I think will be an excellent fit for me — the company has already hired several former newspaper folks with great success. I’ll be doing lots of reading, analysis and writing, pretty much all the graduate school activities that I’ve been missing ever since graduation last December.

Atlanta itself? Pretty cool. Lots to do, lots to see. It contains a very busy airport that I’ve never been keen on flying through (in truth, I haven’t been very keen on layovers for several years), but that I’m more than willing to fly out of and into. Two-hour direct flights to New York City abound, and I could spend every vacation day I ever earn in Manhattan if I had the chance. Which I might.

I’ve been packing and getting rid of stuff for the past week. We’re hoping to live in Atlanta, not outside in the commute-stricken burbs, and the tradeoff for this is space. This is going to be the first move in which I really analyze what means enough to me to take. Stuff doesn’t just go in boxes because I own it; stuff goes in boxes because I want it, love it and/or will definitely use it.

I’m excited and nervous, a combination that probably indicates this is going to be awesome. It’ll offer plenty of blogging material, at the very least.

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Allergies knocked me out cold last week, inflaming the apparently permanent and usually innocuous nodules on my left eye to the point that I couldn’t even open it without shooting pains and copious watering.

Yeah, it was an awesome drive home from work.

After a long nap and a trip to the eye doctor, I settled in with my steroid drops for a couple of days of not injuring myself further. Meaning almost no computer time and little print reading. Meaning naps. Meaning Arrested Development on Netflix. Meaning surreptitious push-ups when the husband wasn’t looking, because I’m doing the Warrior Dash in October and a girl’s gotta train, eye patch or no eye patch.

And about that eye patch … I don’t look nearly as awesome with an eye patch as I thought I would, although I have to hope that one-eyed push-ups gave me some pirate street (ocean?) cred.

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If I’m not planning my vacation around doughnuts, then you can bet that I’ve got my eye on a good ice cream place or two. Jake’s Ice Cream in Atlanta, for example, or the Shake Shack in Manhattan (actually, TONS of ice cream places in Manhattan — I never have enough time to visit all the places on my list and they just keep opening) — you name a city, I’ll find an ice cream place that you should try.

I had been trying to get to the Pied Piper Creamery in Nashville for a couple of years now, but always seemed to be in a rush to return home or to get somewhere else in Nashville, which, BTW, has topped Atlanta as my least-favorite city to drive around in. We never seemed to make it to the right part of town, which is a shame because East Nashville’s Five Points District is really awesome, and possibly my favorite part of Nashville given its lack of the touristy junk that pervades downtown.

Back to ice cream. After a quick lunch at the 3 Crow Bar (which turned a simple BLT into an unforgettable BLTEA with the addition of sliced boiled eggs and avocado), we took a detour before heading back to the car. Half a block down, I spotted the Pied Piper Creamery and I’m pretty sure I stopped, gasped and pointed. I was a little full for ice cream, but I WAS NOT about to miss out on this surprise discovery.

The husband agreed to split a small cup with me. This upped the pressure, since I could choose only ONE flavor.

I passed up the ever-famous Trailer Trash (vanilla with Oreo, Twix, Butterfinger, Nestle Crunch, Snickers, M&Ms, and Reese’s Pieces). I managed to avoid the siren call of the weird flavors, such as We Can Pickle That (dill pickle sorbet). I didn’t want to go too pedestrian, however, and I had been craving banana pudding since reading about Miss Lily’s Banana Pudding last week, so I chose the Banana Fanna Fo Fudding (banana pudding ice cream with vanilla wafers).

It was exquisitely creamy, filled with just the right ratio of bananas to vanilla wafers. Both the bananas and wafers held their textures well, especially considering the tendency of bananas to get slimy and wafers to get soggy when immersed in pudding. The banana flavor was distinct, but it was definitely not the overwhelming artificial banana flavor found in so many fruit-flavored foods.

The small cup was about $2.50, and it would have been enough for one person had that one person not just eaten a BLTEA wrap and a small bag of kettle chips all by herself.

I’m already planning my return trip, because sometimes the Pied Piper Creamery has a flavor called Ziggy Starcrunch (chocolate with Little Debbie Star Crunch pieces and a caramel swirl), and if you talk with me about food for more than 15 minutes you’ll probably find out why I call myself the Forrest Gump of Little Debbie products and you’ll also know why I simply have to try this flavor.

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On Sunday, I posted this photo to Facebook, noting that I had owned this book since I was 2 1/2 years old.

It took a friend approximately three minutes to name two of the kittens (Paddy Paws and Toddly) featured in the tale. He also quickly found a link to the series, titled Books for Young Explorers, on LibraryThing.

Looking at the inscription date — December 1974 — and considering the fact that the book was from a branch of the family with whom we did not usually exchange Christmas gifts, I can only reason that this book was offered to me as a consolation prize after my little brother was born.

A kitten would have been more appreciated.

My real question is how I didn’t manage to obtain this entire series. Because a quick look at some of the titles (Amazing Otters, Animals of the High Mountains, Animals that Build their Homes) tells me that this series was written specifically for me and my kind.

It’s made it through a lot of moves and book purges, I think because I love the title so much: Little Tigers in Your Home. I also must admit, however, that flipping through page after page of kitten photos never gets old.

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Katie is the only tiger that Tigers for Tomorrow has purchased (the group always has to raise money for the transport and care of each animal, but usually doesn't pay a fee for the animals). Katie was bound for an exotic animal auction, and some of the bidders were rumored to be buying animals for canned exotic animal hunts.

Several months after I moved to Huntsville, I cut out a picture of a woman holding a tiger cub and secured it to my refrigerator. The accompanying newspaper article described a relatively new exotic animal preserve called Tigers for Tomorrow, which rescued animals from private owners, carnivals and canned hunts.

Five years later, I finally got around to visiting the rescue preserve, located in Attalla, Ala. — a mere two-hour drive from Huntsville. The husband and I spotted an announcement about special spring break educational tours and planned a quick day trip.

Wilbur McCauley, Director Of Animal Care and Operations, led a couple dozen visitors around the preserve the day we arrived, sharing information on the characteristics, instincts and natural habitats (or, more likely, the shrinking natural habitats) of several animals.

Tigers for Tomorrow houses more than just tigers — you’ll find lions, bears, cougars and wolves in addition to smaller animals such as goats, miniature horses, emus and even a zebra.

McCauley explained that each animal has its own unique personality, and none of them illustrated this better than Yonah, a grizzly bear that arrived at the rescue when he was 6 months old. When Yonah realized that McCauley wouldn’t be coming into the enclosure with him, the young grizzly started making a growling/purring noise that McCauley identified as a self-comforting behavior. A self-comforting behavior that sounded like a two-stroke engine.

Yonah was used for promotions in North Carolina until he got too big (he'll eventually weigh up to 800 pounds). Yonah, which is Cherokee for "bear," doesn't know how to socialize with other grizzlies because he was raised alone as a pet before he was rescued.

Make no mistake: This is an educational tour, not a zoo visit. You’re going to learn about the histories of several of the rescued animals. These are not happy stories, but they have happy endings.

A friend asked me if Tigers for Tomorrow was sad. My reply was that it’s sad that a place like this has to exist, but the preserve itself isn’t sad at all. The animals enjoy large enclosures, an appropriate diet and loving caretakers. There’s no evidence that the animals are uncomfortable or unhappy; one black wolf circled the perimeter of its enclosure almost obsessively while we were nearby, but McCauley assured me that this behavior was the temporary result of encountering such a large crowd of people.

Tigers for Tomorrow is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a board of directors that guides the rescue’s decisions. This rescue is not in danger of becoming what I would call a “hoarding” or “collecting” rescue; the group only adopts a new animal after sufficient funds are raised for the transport, housing and care of that animal.

Kazuma was the group's most expensive rescue. He was part of a circus near Antigua, Guatemala, when CONAP (the same as our U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) informed the owner he had to improve the lion's conditions (he was living in a small cage). The owner ran away with the lion, but CONAP eventually found him and moved Kazuma to La Aurora Zoo to await rescue.

One of the factors that prompted me to take advantage of the spring break tour promotion was the knowledge that I would be able to take photographs. McCauley explained that visitors on regular “walkabout” tours of the reserve are no longer allowed to take photographs because some people were tossing items at the fences to get the animals’ attention for better pictures.

Seriously? People visit a wildlife preserve and aggravate the wildlife? I’m not shocked, but I am disappointed.

Spring break tours are running through April 12 (I know, short notice). Gates open at 1 p.m., and the tour begins at 2. Children can feed the animals in the animal contact area (goats, calves, emus, etc.) before the tour. Tour admission is $10 for ages 3-11 and $15 for ages 12 and older. (Tours are usually $25 a person).

Head to the Tigers for Tomorrow website for the most up-to-date information on hours, tours and prices (hours are limited, and the preserve isn’t open every day). And GO. You won’t be disappointed.

Tigers for Tomorrow raised the money to fly Kazuma from Guatemala to Atlanta, then drove him to the rescue facility. He's still working to develop his leg muscles, which had atrophied after living in a small cage when he was part of the circus in Guatemala.

At some point, the husband started calling the organization Tigers from Tomorrow, as in tigers from the future. Because who wouldn’t want to meet tigers from the future? That would mean that there are tigers IN the future, after all.

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