Friday, November 25, 2011

A very interesting Thanksgiving

Sometimes, I tweet "special" occasions - full moon antics, adventures in cheese-smoking, Fun Times at the House of Cheese. Most recently, I tweeted Thanksgiving with my family. Here're those tweets (italicized), in order, with some commentary (typically without emphasis). I'm sorry Mom.

Many things are happening here at my parents. 1. My dad'll be a millionaire bc he fixes stupid. 2. We think the skeleton's a fox. My parents had there porch deck replaced on Wednesday. Upon removing the old decking, the contractors discovered the skeleton of an animal. My sister placed a beer can next to it, took a picture, and sent it to me via text.

Also, dad walked in and called mom brokeback osama terrorist bitch. The we watched the honey badger. Then, the recycling gave him hrt attck. I could explain the first part of this, but holy mother of seahorses, you really would not be able to understand that what he called her was ACTUALLY a term of endearment. The honey badger, while neither caring nor giving a shit, features again later in the festivities.

We have been here 90 minutes and holy crap I don't even know wtf to think.

so long as I have a signal in this swamp, i'll be tweeting this shit. Also, listening to motley cruel. Holidays BITCHES.

So he said she can't kill him by putting his trash on the ground because he fixes stupid. She said it was too dark to see and full of pee. My dad? He pees on his trash cans sometimes. And by sometimes, I mean pretty much all the time.

Holy crap, motley crue to Celine Dion. And Mike just called their cat an asshole, while he wears his new beer cozy hoodie. My life. At least it wasn't Josh Groban. My parents don't cultivate playlists on their iPods. They just put it on shuffle and wait to hear what happens.

he's calling their cat an asshole because he let her out and then my dad yelled at him for an hour. CATastrophe. Sacrilege. My father and his cat have this bond. They also have a routine. Not-quite-ready-for-a-circus routine, but a routine. Mike disrupted that routine.

Now we're listening to Abba while mom designs a room on. No, really. And the asshole cat paces at the door. This is just crazytalk, and happens way too often. Like, the last time Mom and I visited my sister in Massachusetts, as we drove over the line and towards Sturbridge, the BeeGee's starting singing, Massachusetts.

Mom: get down on all 4s and talk sweet talk. Mike: i got a backstroke! Dad now calls us all terrorists bc I didn't pack shoes for Mike. I don't need to explain this one, do I? OK, fine. They're trying to brush my dad's cat. 

Re: skeleton, we ruled out possum, muskrat, raccoon, and honey badger. Bc honey badger is totally possible. Little Mermaid soundtrack now. Remember that part about loading all songs on the iPod and then hitting shuffle? Yeah....

Fyi, dad is up way past his bed time. And we just had our first really inappropriate comment. Coincidence? I like to say "fyi" like Randall does in the honey badger video. And, you know it's REALLY inappropriate if 1. I say so and 2. I won't even post it.

Babytalkin' to the asshole cat. "did you give them the claw? " something about a sperm collection drive. Google it, stupid. OMG WTF.

Laugh inside, not outside. Also, we're back on the skeleton and how it was a dino: underporchasaurus. My dad, getting ready to go to bed, scolds the women of the house, telling them he didn't want to be jolted awake by maniacal laughter at midnight. AGAIN. So, he wants us to keep the laughing inside of us. Part 2 of that tweet? Nevermind that the porch was initially added to the front of the house AFTER they moved there in 1981.

Some people are gonna develop vacuums in their colons tmrw. Irritable bowel is the new angry birds. I pooped Hawaii! FULL colon cleanse. Don't despair, friends - dad's not yet in bed, and we're now at the poop-portion of the evening. Also, who among us has not pooped Hawaii?

Self-indouched colon cleanse. Happy colon, happy sleep. Ancient Chinese secret. 

Dr. Oz says your poop should be s-shaped. Cursive or print? My dad loves dr. Oz. Poop Primer. Dad confirms his love for Dr. Oz. We watch a video that reminds me of another video:

SNL with Charlie Day: Ask Dr. Oz
- Watch more Funny Videos at Vodpod.

Relationship btwn wizard of Oz and Dr. Oz, and would there have been a movie if everyone just pooped. No place like home. To poop. Straw man? Too dry, needed water. Tin man? Too creaky, needed lube. Cowardly lion? Too scarded, needed to relax. Tornado as a metaphor for flushing.

so, we're still talking about the skeleton the contractors found under the deck. apparently, they just tossed it in the street yesterday... I draw the line at posting skeleton pictures on my blog. It's a weird line to draw, but there it is. Also, Happy Thanksgiving! It's officially Thursday!

now my sister is burying it in the pet "cementary" (my mom spelled it wrong). upon closer investigation, it's pretty much a cat. poor kitty. I won't tell you that burying consisted of catapulting the skeleton into the woods behind my parents' house. Still, I suppose that's better than TOSSING IT INTO THE STREET LIKE SOME KIND OF COMMON DOUCHEBAG.

it's noon, so i'm going to have wine. i expect things to be quiet until about 3ish when my dad emerges from his cave again. I believe it was 12:07, to be exact.

wrongo. have you heard about The Body? somehow there's a dressmaker's body in my mom's tree IN HER FRONT YARD. it's been there for weeks. So much for predicted calmness. Also, The Body deserves its own post.

There's a story behind this, but I'm going to let the picture speak for itself for now.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

On making Yonanas: you put a banana in and then it comes out like softserve and it doesn't taste like bananas! Even tho only ing is bananas. I love my mother. I really do. MOM, I LOVE YOU. But she buys CRAZY things. I'm not saying they're not awesome or cool or useful. But, there are more times than I can remember when I've visited or talked with her and she's said, "OOOH, wait until you see this new AWESOME thing I bought! It does AWESOME STUFF!" And, Ma, it's awesome. But it's also funny.

So I said, I don't like bananas & she said it doesn't taste like them. So I asked what're the ing again? Oh, right. Just BANANAS.

Guys, I'm sorry. Dinner was sedate, with only a brief conversation about Dr. Oz and poop. Maybe dessert will be better. I'm here 'til 8.

Ahhhh. Discussing whether my dad's truck is the automobile equivalent of a hermaphrodite. He has an Avalanche.

Aunt and mother and sister and I are skyping. IN THE SAME HOUSE. What is SMS? SS Minnow? What?

Farting: it's a medical condition. Only after careful discussion of colostomy bags and various surgeries was it determined that farting should be excused as not only natural but also a medical condition.

My mom, on a river clean-up: most people found tires, i found a penis. OMG, this is such a STORY. So, my mother did a Earth Day clean-up thing years ago, riding a personal watercraft over to the Christina River, full-on wet suit and everything. Somehow, she won the lottery and discovered a water-logged dildo with burst bumps (design feature or the effects of being lost to the march?) AND BROUGHT IT HOME. She eventually threw it under the front porch. You know, where the underporchasaurus was found. As far as we know, the contractors did NOT throw a dildo in the street.

Handjob can opener. Black dildo with syphilis. Blind handjobs. Unrelated. Or are they?

Why would you shave your asshole? Salad tossing. And, we're having dessert now.

Front bidet is like turning your balls into a punching bag. Also had to explain glory holes to mom.  Because apparently Sam and his mom were discussing glory holes BEFORE dinner at their house. And yes, there's a Twitter hashtag for Sam's mom. If you have to ask, you really don't want to know.

I don't pee when i sneeze because i do my elliptical exercises. For my ill lips. Do kegels and improve your bagel hole. My aunt, preparing for a sneeze, is told to not pee her pants. She informs us she does elliptical exercises, so there. YOU MEAN KEGELS???? Yeah, I always mix those words up.

HONEY BADGER AGAIN OMG WTF. DYING. AND PEEING. Really should've pushed for Jack Chop, too.

We made a video. It is terrible and perhaps not 100% correct. But it gives you an idea of what it's like in the Jerz. For the record, I am 100% sober, just showing that my natural state of mind is pretty fucked up. Also, I'm sorry Mom. 

the last thing my dad said to me last night was he was going to spend the day today pleasuring his leaves. Think about it. My father did not feature as largely in this year's feast as he has in previous years. One year, he came to my house in a 3-piece suit, only to strip down before dessert revealing his squirrel-with-nuts t-shirt on underneath. I do have a video of him that shows him in profile with someone (me) stage-whispering, "THE LEGEND", but he only appears in the video for like 3 seconds. The rest of the video is of someone sleeping with her face almost in an empty Tupperwhatsit, snoring. BUT I'M NOT POSTING THAT ONE, MOM. You're welcome.

Friday, November 18, 2011

More conversations from home

Mike: I ran out of soap. And shampoo.

(Me, thinking: Please let this not be the start of the conversation I think it is. Please let it be something crazy, but not Crazy, like, he's going to make his own soap or shampoo, or use baking soda or something like that.)

Mike: So, I made a decision.

Me, bracing: Oh?

Mike: I'm on a horse.

Me: What?

Mike: I'm ON ... a horse.

Me: WHAT???

Mike: I'm ooooon a HORSE.

Me: OK..... Like, Mane and Tail Shampoo?

Mike: What?

Me: Because I've always wanted to try that.

Mike: No. You'll see. I'm on a horse.

And so I go upstairs, with Mike yelling behind me, "I'M ON A HORSE!!!!!"

Shit, he's on a horse. I predict this will be the first thing he says to me every morning until the Old Spice runs out.

Monday, November 14, 2011

3,000 days later

It feels like it's been a thousand years since we started our inadvertent dining room remodel. It all started with a leaky tub and a pesky water stain on the ceiling in the dining room. It was so long ago, that we've lost the photos, but I can tell you there were LOTS of photos! High-quality images of 3mp using a fantastic Olympus digital camera that would now cause everyone to fall down laughing but was top-notch in 2002.

We fought with that leaky tub for years. First, it was the overflow. Then, it was faulty drain seal. Then, it was water coming from behind the missing tile. It was always something, and just when we'd fix it, something else would start to leak. Water leaks are a bitch like that. So, in order to replace the dining room ceiling, we had to complete a bathroom remodel. That's another post for another day, but let me tell you how Not Fun it is to live without a functioning bathroom in a one-bathroom row house. Thank goodness our neighbors were having a baby the week we were without a toilet because there's a limit to how many times one should use a bucket for things other than mop water.

Once the bathroom was done, we were able to install the dining room ceiling. It only took about 9 years. It was worth the wait.


Dining room

Dining room

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Long time

Once upon a time, many years ago, in the days before high-speed internets, and the Miracle of the Ikea Closet System, Mike and I popped over to my parents' house unannounced. We knew my mom was out, but that she was due back soon, so we let ourselves in and proceeded back to the old man cave to say hey to my dad.

We weren't being particularly quiet or stealthy, though we could have been riding angry camels down the hall and my dad probably wouldn't have heard us coming given that the volume on the TV was set to Deafen. We get to the door and I poke my head in, casual-like, and find my dad engrossed completely in whatever is on TV. I nudge Mike to have him look in, too, because my dad ... he was a sight to behold: laid back in his recliner, watching Gangs of New York or The Beach, wearing his stew-shirt (an old SJU sweatshirt, covered in food stains, that my dad claims he will boil and use for sustenance when the apocalypse, in whatever form it takes, comes), and a pair of drumsticks tucked under his armpits.

Now, when I tell this story in person, people often look a little confused. Drumsticks? Like, the ice cream cone things? Like actual chicken drumsticks? And I have to tell them neither of those is correct. My dad had actual drum-upon-the-snare-drum drumsticks stuck in each armpit. I want to say that I don't know or understand why, but I do, on many levels. Here're two: I bought my dad the drumsticks as a gift one year (perhaps even THAT year) and 2. drumsticks are perfect for sticking in your armpits - it just works, especially when reclined.

So, there we are, 1/2 of a bad version of the Town Musicians of Bremen, peering amusedly around the door jamb, quietly trying to not call attention to ourselves. Suddenly, my dad loudly proclaims, "Me love you long time, Titanic Boy!"

Unable to control ourselves, we scram down the hall, doubled over in laughter. After several minutes, we're finally able to whisper without choking on countless belly-chortles. I say to Mike, "Holy crap! He recognizes Leonardo DiCaprio from another movie!" And that only makes us laugh more.

Earlier today, Mike emailed me to let me know that a special package had arrived in the mail. I thought it was something for me, something delightfully fibery, something crafty. But, I was wrong. He replied to me with one word: "DRUMSTICKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" And that was when I realized that no matter how much I try to deny it or rationalize it or ignore it, I really have married some version of my father.

Titanic Boy
boy pictures

(Original image here. I decided to have some fun....)

Friday, October 28, 2011


One of the best things about Mike being out of work is he now has time to randomly chat me up during the day. Mike's kept himself busy the last several weeks, first finishing our bathroom renovation, and now undertaking the replacement of our dining room ceiling (I KNOW - it's only been like 8 years!). Last night, we had a quick chat about light fixtures for the dining room - after the wiring was run. We sent links back and forth before I told him we'd have to wait until I got home to discuss this further.

Mike: I am going to go cry now.
Me: NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOo! eat cabbage!
Mike: Already did.
Me: farty!
Mike: bye.

This morning, he was meeting up with a friend of guy we affectionately refer to as a Ricky Bobby. I decided to call him Bicky Robby.

Mike: BR said he needs sheetrock to do the work. He needs to coordinate with RB. He also does not flush the toilet and does not wash his hands. I am pretty sure he also peed with the door open.
Me: whhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhat? that's nasty.
Mike: He is a nasty dude. He looked like the perfect participant for NastyFest. Very porny...
Me: so, totes down with the penicorn drawing on the backdoor. is he coming back Monday?
Mike: He might be coming back today or tomorrow if he can get someone in here to rock it up.
Me: i bet that's what he said.
Mike: yeeeeeeeeeeeeeah, i'ma need someone to come rock it up first. like a fluffer. porn star. So now I have to put more furring strips in along the wall with the windows. I will do that now.

This is what 15 years of marriage gets you, people: made up names, mythical wang creatures, and cabbage for dinner.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Some of my most favoritest people are here in this picture by Eutrapelia. Another fantastic weekend, complete with so much laughter, so much wine, and never enough cheese.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Embracing the ordinary

moving light

I've been trying to be better about accepting and, even, celebrating the state of being good enough. It's hard - I'm used to beating myself up over not being the best.


Success isn't black and white. Success can be grey, murky, somewhat undefined at close-range.


Shining isn't about blinding others.


Choosing to embrace the ordinary, the everyday, the normal isn't a sign of surrender or a mark of failure.


Pushing the limits will become unsustainable.


I'm opening myself to the notion of just being - in the moment, moderate.

Monday, September 19, 2011


In 1995, I made a very bad choice and decided to lend a good friend a sizable sum of money. It was for a down-payment on a car that Mike co-signed, and the three of us joked in the dealer's office that, worst case scenario, we'll just take over the car and lose a friend.

And that's exactly what happened. The guy only made one and a half payments on the loan in the 9 months that he owned the car, and he never made a single attempt to repay me. The spring before we were married, Mike took over the balance of the car loan and we took our ex-friend to small claims court - I'd at least had the foresight to have an agreement drawn up that specified the terms of my loan to this guy and we had a lawyer witness the signing of said agreement. The judge, obviously, ruled in our favor. Still, I recovered less than a tenth of the money owed, and after months of physically pursuing this guy and taking him back to court at least once more, I gave up. The energy involved in that sort of thing was exhausting. Plus, I was towards the end of planning my wedding. I considered it a bad experience and a lesson learned, and moved on as best as I could.

Over the years, though, I've often thought about the difference that full sum of money would make. Maybe we would have bought a house sooner, maybe Mike could have finished school sooner, maybe we could have spent those lean years making ends not just meet but overlap. Not a week has gone by when I haven't wondered to myself, "How different would things be with that missing money recovered?" And really, I know that things have worked out, for better or worse. We bought a house, we both finished school, we've found ways to live within our means. I don't think, for as much money as it was, that things today would be drastically different than they are.

When Mike got laid off just over 3 weeks ago, it was during the week of the company's performance ratings. Mike fully expected to walk out of that room with a stellar performance review and maybe, just maybe, a raise. He didn't think anything of the fact that he was among the last to be called down, or even that the owner of the company was sitting in on the session. Things didn't work out like that, clearly. In the days immediately after being laid off, Mike talked with some of his former coworkers at length, including the other guy they laid off, K. K. was somewhat devastated by the turn of events and was made even more bitter by the news that a number of the retained employees received raises.

At first, I was almost as pissed about this as K. How dare the company give raises to employees when 3 people were unexpectedly laid off! But the more I thought about it, the less upset I was - after all, had Mike not been laid off, chances are his boss would have proposed he get a raise. And hard work deserves acknowledgement. For whatever reasons, whether it was majority rules or a matter of hard numbers or personal vendetta (K.'s belief...), the fact remains that Mike was let go. Being angry at the company for then rewarding some of the remaining employees isn't doing anyone any good.

Last week, I met Mike downtown for a drink. We were going to a show at XPN later in the evening (having bought the tickets months in advance) and one of his former coworkers, who'd been in Greece during the Great Lay-Off 2011, wanted to see Mike. Mike waffled about it, but ultimately decided a few rounds for old times never hurt anyone. I joined Mike and E. a little before 6. We shared a final round of drinks together before Mike and I headed over to the venue and E. headed home. When we parted, E. gave Mike an envelope. He said it was half of the money from his raise and that he couldn't take it in good conscious knowing that he was only as good an engineer as Mike had challenged him to be. Mike, of course, refused this offer, but E. insisted, and as you know, it's rude to turn down money twice. Plus, E. was threatening bodily harm if Mike tried to pull another bullshit punk-ass refusal.

I don't remember the walk over the Schuylkill. We both were pretty stunned. After we found our seats for the show, Mike opened the envelope. The check inside was for the exact amount I'd lost to the ex-friend in 1995. And I'm sure it means nothing, it's a coincidence, happenstance, whatever, but part of me felt such a warmth, that I was sure had I been standing, I would have passed out.

This random act of kindness, this unexpected windfall, completely humbles me. Thank you is not enough, and yet it is all I can give right now. It really is true that what goes around comes around.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great adventure

Late in June, my dear sweetheart decided to kayak from Philadelphia, PA to Penns Grove, NJ. This is what is looks like via highway.

Early on a Saturday morning, we loaded up the PCS car and headed down to the Schuylkill Banks trail. There's river access just north of 25th and Locust. Barely. Here you can see a splash of water has crested the wall. The tide was still coming in at this point, which if you're curious was 6:17am.

From Drop Box

Mike got this kayak off of Craigslist. It's inflatable and packs down to just big enough to not fit in the back of the Karmann Ghia (not that we've tried, I'm just imagining). It's definitely too big to strap on the back of the motorcycle. But, it's perfect for car-camping - as long as the car is a wagon or SUV. Or a hatchback. Anyway, it's a two-person kayak, but can be used as a single. Mike ended up buying two skirts for it after taking it out for a float test earlier in the month. Below, he has the single skirt installed. For times when we both go out, we have the option for the double skirt. The skirt definitely helped keep things dryer and it kept his legs out of the direct sun. Wise investment all around. Here he is slathering on sunscreen, with everything he'll need for the day packed on or in the kayak.

From Drop Box

Without too many complications, he was able to put in to the Schuylkill River at 6:29am, just 2 short hours after getting up. On a Saturday. He was nervous, but felt pretty good overall about the trip. He'd been planning it out for a few weeks, consulting different maps and scoping out resting spots. He even factored in the tides, which appeared to be largely in his favor - by the time he got to the Delaware River, the tide would be going out. Stowed on the kayak with him, he had 2 Nalgenes full of water, his water filtration set-up (which apparently saved the day when he was climbing Kilimanjaro), a whack of Clif Bars, a small first aid kit, an air horn, a solar charger, his cell phone (in a zippie bag when in his life vest, in an Otterbox otherwise), ID, atm card, dried fruit, sunscreen, dual action pump, and the carrying bag for the kayak. We discussed answering the call of nature, and I explicitly told him to either take a pee bottle or go ashore. "Do not," I said, "stand up in the kayak to pee over the edge." He assured me he would paddle to land to do his business. And then he was off.

From Drop Box

We both use Google Latitude on our phones. It's been a huge anxiety-reducer for me. I worry a lot about things that are out of my control, especially when it comes to Mike. And I worry with good reason when it comes to him: he's been hit by cars at least 3 times while bicycle commuting. Also, he's known to be a little crazy when it comes to his various adventures: running down Kilimanjaro, he discovered, is about as advisable as having your ass-over-teakettle tumble stopped by a rock. He's done both. I sometimes wish I could put him in a protective bubble, but I can't. So, being able to track him on my phone is the next best thing - at least this way I know WHERE he is.*

I went home and returned the car, and then did some laundry. I checked on his status about once every 45 minutes or so, and he was definitely paddling his way down the Schuylkill. He was making great time, just under 3mph, and my quick calculations had him arriving in Penns Grove sometime around 5pm.

I packed up our stuff for overnighting and pool-partying at my parents' place. That was the plan, after all - he kayaks on down, I ride down to meet him, and then we stay overnight. Sunday, we'd cook up a simple barbeque, jump in the pool, float around, and relax before heading back up to Philadelphia. Our friends The Lampesalots were going to come down on Sunday, too.

I read, I did dishes, I packed, did some more laundry, brushed the little cat, and then loaded up my bike with packed cases. I even had to use my tank bag - but that was mostly because I needed more space for the beer (not that we couldn't buy it in NJ, we just had some perfectly drinkable - so I hear - Oberon on hand). I looked like I was hitting the road for a 400 mile trek, but really, I was just going about 35. By the time I left, Mike had made it all the way down the Schuylkill and had crossed the Delaware River to be on the Jersey side. Here, in this photo he sent me, you can see the Philadelphia skyline in the background.

From Drop Box

He took a pee break and stretched his legs, then hopped back on his float for more southward paddling. By now, I was in Carneys Point and found my mom at my brother's soon-to-be-old-house. Rich and Morgan were packing up in preparation for their move to State College, PA. We left them to go grocery shopping and find distractions. Mike sent another photo, and that was entertaining.

From Drop Box

Here's a map - the placemarkers that are along the river are spots I'm about to refer to. There are other placemarkers just for funsies, like the farm Mike worked on as a 14 year old and the flea market/rodeo I worked on as a 16 year old. Mike originally intended to put out in Helm's Cove. But, small town drama, as relayed to me by my mother, meant he would have to modify his destination a bit. Mom suggested the boat ramp at the end of Main Street, except when we drove out that way, there was nothing there but a lousy promenade. Blech. Promenades. So, I called my brother and asked him of other boat ramps/beach access in the area. He suggested Plant Road, down a block from our childhood home, but that would add to Mike's trek and, honestly, I didn't want to do that - even if he was feeling like going for a walk, there's something sinister about adding a few hundred yards to a 25+ mile kayak trip.

I called Mike to let him know about his destination options. He sounded horrible. He was exhausted. He was down to his very last sip of water. The battery on his phone was dying, his solar charger wasn't working. He had no idea how much longer it would take him, but estimated at least two more hours. This was at 5:30. He thought he was outside of the old D.O.D., which until today I thought meant Department of Defense, but it does not. It's the Delaware Ordnance Depot. So weird! My paternal grandmother used to take us shopping at the base store. And my brother's first big-boy haircut was at the barber on base. ANYWAY, that was a rabbit hole (no, really, I just spent an hour looking at D.O.D. things).

So, I call my brother again because he knows the D.O.D. better than I do. It was still a functioning army base until the mid-nineties, and he was a 15 year old kid with dirt-bike-riding friends when the base was deaccessioned in '95. He said there was a boat ramp and beach at the D.O.D., but that it required a bit of off-road driving. Mom and her Prius were up for the challenge, so we went as fast as a hybrid, low-clearance car can go down an orange-dirt, sandy-mudded, potholed trail with manmade ponds on either side of the lane and 10 foot drop offs. Needless to say, I was an even bigger mass of nerves than necessary. So much stuff, out of my control! Latitude had stopped updating his location for some reason (the cell signal in Salem County is about as reliable as the emergency call boxes on 295 in Salem County. Which is to say, there is neither...). We were gambling that we'd get to the river in time for him to spot us and, well, row the boat ashore. Many long minutes later, we parked at the river's edge, stampeded through sea grass, and found ourselves on the narrowest of beaches. We were set in a mini-cove, so views of the river were limited. From where we stood, we couldn't see anything besides a couple of buoys and Delaware (which, technically, was lapping at out feet since the state line is funky in Delaware). Richard said he'd go as far north as he could without wading and began to traverse the sea detritus, and I tried not to pace. I was hoping against hope that he was north of where we were standing. Richard threw a log in the water about 50 yards north of us, and as we looked up, we saw the tip of an orange paddle dipping into the water. There he was! Just 100 yards out!

Slowly, he paddled over to us, resting for the count of 4 and then paddling 4 strokes. As he reached the beach, he stood, weakly, and began to dry heave. We pulled out his kayak, and mom and Richard lugged it up to the car. Mike wobbled and retched his way behind me. I hadn't thought to bring water - by the time I knew he was out of water, we were already trying to find a place to pull him in. We broke down his gear, shoved it all in the back of the Prius, and then began the lump-bumpy ride back to Rte 130. The first corner store we saw, I popped out and got Mike some fluids. Then, we all went to my mom's house and unloaded the gear. It was a bit frightening to see Mike, a fairly fit dude, so sheerly exhausted. His hands were involuntarily making paddle gripping motions, he was shivering, pale, and sweaty. He'd paddled a distance greater than a marathon - 26.4 miles - and it showed.

I got him situated in the shower, making sure he had his change of clothes and a towel, then went off with mom to pick up dinner. We'd ordered Mexican from a little dive near ... Helm's Cove. It was delicious, and reminded me a lot of La Lupe. Over dinner, we got to hear the tale of Mike's trip.

Things went well until the Commodore Barry Bridge. Then, the winds picked up, the tide turned, and the last 8 miles took him twice as long as he'd anticipated. When he got to the bridge, he had 3/4 of his water remaining. But, as he continued to struggle against the wind and the tide, he found himself getting exhausted and making hardly any progress. He picked out landmarks on the shore and started to get discouraged when, after a quarter hour of paddling, he looked over to realize he'd made little headway. When he was down to only a quarter of his total water, he started rationing it. He kept thinking every bend was the last bend before landfall. And every bend just revealed more bends ahead. Later that night, I said to him, "I bet you'd never been so happy to see my brother in your entire life." He agreed. He also announced he was never doing that trip again. It was the most difficult thing he's ever done (and he's done some crazy-hard things). He's glad he got the chance to do it, though, and I'm glad he didn't die.

Sunday, we were all much-better rested. Mike, while sore, felt like a living, breathing person, though I made sure if he wasn't sitting, he was laying down somewhere. And drinking lots of water. We prepared for the afternoon, fixing mom's beans, making GF pasta salad, and inflating pool toys. We were all ready by 11am, so I put on my swimsuit and went out to check on Mike - he'd shuffled outside at some point, insisting on vacuuming my mom's Prius ("I MADE IT DIRTY! I HAVE TO CLEAN IT!" "MICHAEL! Stop! Stop it! No means no! Do not touch that vacuum! DAMN it!!!"). I found him taking a break.

From Drop Box

I put sunscreen on his limbs, and then left him to doze in the sun. Win-win.

*Although sometimes the Latitude is insane. Once, while he was biking his normal route home from work, he showed up as being in Singapore. I took a photo because I figured nobody would believe me if I told them this without evidence. He's also apparently biked home via Italy and Florida.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Separation anxiety

I've joked the last few weeks about our old neighbors' kids having a harder time adjusting to the move to the new house simply because they'll be 7 miles away from their beloved Miki, instead of 700 feet away.

I take it back.

Saturday night, after a long two days helping our friends move into their new place, I had a terrible dream. Josh told me he never wanted me in his house or near his children ever again. I begged and pleaded with him, but he would not relent. I don't remember why he was so adamant about this, but he was. In my dreams, names were called and things were said, and it was all very terrible. So terrible, that when I woke up Sunday morning, I was not entirely sure it had only been a dream.

Sarah assured me today that this whole nightmare couldn't be further from the truth. And that's nice and all, but I miss those guys. I think I'll go eat some jellybeans.

Monday, July 18, 2011

History, or Dingbats in Birthday Hats

Lots of stuff happened on this day ...
  • FDR was nominated for a third term as President.
  • Nero's Rome burned (who remembers that one?).
  • Ted Kennedy drove off a bridge.
  • Titanic wreckage video was released.
  • Pete Rose hit a grand slam against the Phillies.
  • Nadia Comaneci scored a perfect 10 in gymnastics.
  • Napoleon V Bonaparte, Harriet Hilliard Nelson, Nelson Mandela, Richard Dix, Peter Singer, and Anfernee Hardaway were born.
  • Garden State Park track opens.
  • Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown tied the knot.
  • Crayola introduces scented crayons.
But all of that pales in comparison to one very important thing that happened on this day some *mumblemumble-ty* years ago - my mom was born! And let's face it, most of you would be a whole lot sadder if it weren't for her being born. Not because she's so awesome (though she is), but because without her, I wouldn't be here!*

But seriously. I am so grateful to have the kind of mother I do. She's always been supportive of her kids, even if they decided digging a hole in the ground and filling it with hose water and then laying in the resulting mud pit was The Best Idea, she was there taking pictures (I think I confiscated them all). She's never not been there for me, whether I needed her or not. She's always willing to try something new, whether it's Pad Thai or turning left instead of right. Everything I've become as an adult can be blamed on her. Er, I mean, it's all her fault. Er, I mean, somehow I've turned into my mother.... You know what I mean!!!!

Here's to another *mumblety* years of MmmBoppa Big Momma crafting, pan-a-lanching, exploring, and more! Love ya! Mean it!


*Like my dad always says, "Having kids is hereditary. If your parents didn't, chances are you won't either."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Eatin' & Drankin'.
Full order of nachos and Mexican cheese fries - demolished.

NO SLEEP!!!!!!

The Fonz.

Down and dirty.

Definitely topless.
Mike on the highway

Stick-hazzin' hiker.
i haz a stick

My best friend.

 Happy Birthday, Miki!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The opposite of wrinkly

"I will warn you, if you think you might not want to know the answer, the LAST person you want to ask is sparkcrafted." - The Adrian

Au contraire, mon frère, I am the first person you want to ask because I will tell you shit. 

I have stories for later, including one that involves tripe. Glorious, wonderful tripe.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Drive-by posting

I feel a little like I'm running away from home.  I packed my bags this morning just after Mike left for work and I won't see him until tomorrow night.  I trudged up to work with a suitcase and backpack over-filled for one night away.  I'm heading south for what promises to be great day with my mom. She's treating me to an Open Hearth Cooking Workshop at the Read House in Historic New Castle.  She's gone for the past few years and has always enjoyed it.  I was particularly interested in going this year because this year, the focus is on my adopted hometown, Philadelphia.  We'll learn cooking techniques, participate in a discussion about Philadelphia cooks and cookbook authors, and finally feast!  No idea what to expect food-wise, but I think the experience itself will be tasty for sure.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And then there were 4.

I don't know how these things happen.  I mean, I do - invariably, someone gets in touch with me and says something like "practically free, hardly used spinning wheel - know anyone that might be interested?"  This is how I came to be in possession of something like 36 POUNDS of possibly-suri alpaca.  It's also how I ended up with half of my craft books.  And, it's how, at one time, I ended up with something like 5 sofas and/or loveseats in my house.  I just can't say no.

Late Friday night, my old friend Danielle messaged me via Facebook.  She wanted to know if I knew of anyone looking to buy a spinning wheel - she was selling hers.  After a volley of messages, we agreed to meet up Sunday around noon at our local yarn shop.

Then, I broke the news to Mike as gently as possible: "OMG, I'M PROBABLY BUYING A NEW WHEEL ON SUNDAY AND PLEASE TELL ME IT'S OK BECAUSE I KINDA WANT TO BUY IT BECAUSE IF I BUY IT I WILL LOVE IT. And, I'll do some laundry...."*

Needless to say, he wasn't pleased, but resigned himself, a la Richard Bucket, and replied, "Yes, dear. Whatever you want dear."   Actually, I think he first got more to eat and then opened a second bottle of wine, and then told me to do whatever I want.  In as nice a way as possible.  With absolutely no swearing.  OK, there was swearing. But he did not say no.

Sunday, I drove out the the yarn shop to give this wheel a spin.  I was actively trying to convince myself that I didn't need to buy it.  That it wouldn't be all that nice.  That the price, while right, still cut into my budget for learning how to weave.  But, the blank check in my back pocket said something different.  It said, "BUY!!!!"

I got to the shop just as Danielle did.  We caught up on what's been going down and then got right to business.  I'm fortunate to know a few people that already own the very wheel that was being offered for sale, so I knew my way around it.  Within seconds, I was happily treadling away and making yarn.  Ah, blissful creation of fluff into stuff, you are my happy place.  I put the wheel through its paces, trying all of the ratios, making the necessary adjustments, and I spun long-draw and short-draw and worsted and woolen and then I filled in the blanks on the check and bought me a wheel.

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It's a Lendrum DT folding!  It came with the basics: 4 bobbins, lazy kate, and regular flyer (6:1, 8:1, 10:1 - and let me tell you, the 10:1 is slick! I usually spin at 17:1 and above simply because I like to make fine plies, but I was very impressed with the regular flyer and its ratios).  I do plan to eventually get the Very Fast Flyer (26:1, 30:1, 36:1, and 44:1) as well as the quill head (6:1, 25:1, and 37:1).  I'd also like to get a bag for the wheel - that would really cut down on the awkwardness of transporting the folded wheel.

Yesterday, I spun up the other 3.5/8 oz of fiber my sister gave me to spin for her (worsted-weight long-draw single) and then easily moved on to starting my next lace project for Sam (he gave me a bag of fiber he bought in a destash with the explicit instructions to make him some yarn, bitch).  Later this week, Mike and I are taking a trip up to NH, ME, and MA (he's climbing Mt. Washington and camping overnight at the summit, I'm visiting the wh-ealer in ME, and then we've got a friend-festival in and around Boston), and I'm excited to hit the road with this new wheel. 

* Those of you that don't know Mike, I will say this: he is the best.  He does the laundry! He washes the dishes! He lets me sleep in on snowy mornings while he shovels! He knows just how much cream I like in my coffee, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Bus

Or, Sandra B.'s Got Nothing On Me.

Yesterday, I worked at a different location than normal.  With snow still on the ground from the last storm and more snow predicted for last night-into-this-morning, I opted to leave my bike home and take public transportation.

Wait, I don't think I've told you about my new bike (unless you're my pal on Facebook. Or in real life.)....

 You can't see it, because of the helmet, but I'm sticking my tongue out in this picture.

Mike and I had talked about upgrading my ride, but every time the topic came up seriously, I would freak out.  Large purchases do that to me.  Hell, I remember when I was going to St. Joseph's University for undergrad and calling my mom from the parking lot of a Borders because I'd just bought a compact OED for myself....  What college student has $500 to drop on a dictionary? That comes with a magnifying glass?

Anyway, my wonderful husband surprised me on my birthday with this sweet ride.  It's a 2010 BMW G650GS and I rode it off of the lot with 4 miles back in August.  I've been riding it ever since, as much as I can.  In fact, I took it out yesterday morning before going to work to run some errands.  And, I should have taken it to work, but, like I said, there was snow in the forecast.


My commute into work was uneventful.  I took a new-to-me bus, something I always enjoy.  This one had a route that wrapped around the back of LaSalle University and took me through parts of the city I hadn't traveled through before.

My work day was relatively uneventful - working with the public, there's ALWAYS an event.  But yesterday, nobody decided to howl at the full moon (metaphorically or literally. Because that's happened. Once.).  I even got to work with the children, just like the old days of Summer 2010*....  Ahhhh, memories.

I left work and experienced that rare but wonderful feeling of paying my fare just as the next train arrived.  I was quite chuffed and was even more pleased when I came up from underground to see the next leg of my commute pulling up.  Smugly, I thought, "I'm going to be home so early! It's going to be as if I tried to get home in less than 15 minutes!" *Mental fist pump*

The snow predicted for the evening had yet to start.  The roads were clear of traffic, slush, and ambling jaywalkers. Even the traffic lights switched green as the bus approached each intersection.  I couldn't believe my good fortune.  I couldn't have piloted a better trip home myself!  And then the bus made an unexpected left turn and my eyes darted up to the electronic display at the front of the bus and I realized I was on the wrong bus. 

Injured? Just my dignity...
I thought, almost instantly, of Speed.  I've never seen the movie, but I know it's about a bus that gets taken hostage, and there's a bomb involved.  Actually, what I thought of was that episode of Seinfeld where George's dad talks about movies he's seen recently: The Bus, starring the girl from The Net.  I briefly entertained the idea of begging and pleading with the bus driver to take me home, and (as a last resort) commandeering the bus.  Instead, I rationalized that I'm within walking distance of the house, it's not snowing, the sidewalks are relatively clear, and I could use a brisk walk home in my sensible librarian shoes.

I pulled the cord and got off at the next stop.  I called Mike to let him know I'd done something stupid: "Hey, it's me.  I kinda took the wrong bus home.  I took the WTC R and not the H&M R**, so I'm at 30th and Allegheny and I'm just going to walk home now."  To his credit, he had a margarita waiting for me when I finally trudged up the back steps.

My walk home was pleasant enough - nobody tried to break out of the juvenile detention center er, I mean, juvenile residential treatment center as I ambled up the deceptively not-wee hill (it's a slightly more gradual incline, but nevertheless, it has to go up to my home's elevation).  And even with this detour-of-sorts, I still made it home earlier than I would have on the correct bus.  So, point to me, right?

*I made the switch from Children's work to Adult/Teen librarianship in September.  I'm enjoying the new challenges, for sure, and gaining an appreciation for public service at all ages. But, it's nice to be able to fill in as a Children's Librarian without feeling like OMG, these children are going to devour my soul!!! (Note: it totally still feels like that a little.)

**In my defense, this particular bus has two routes.  These routes are only distinguished by the fine print (which is perfectly readable from street-side, just not when one is wearing smug-colored commuting glasses...).  Also, I thought the variation on this route was a weekend-only route.  And, I've only ever seen the H&M R bus because that's the one that goes by my house - the other one barely comes within a mile of my abode. Come to think of it, I don't think I've ever taken this bus home before.  Still, what the hell!??!