Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Hoarder...Not High Maintenance

Oftentimes when planning a trip (and in this case an inter-state move followed by a brief period of homelessness) I seek out the wisdom of Spaceballs...


In this case not an industrial strength blow dryer but,

A ceramic horse head,
A bucket of old yarn,
Random wooden masks,
Wiffle ball bats,
Glow in the dark frisbee,
Glow in the dark football,
Thrift store Bob Ross paintings.
A collection of gold mirrors,
A cat-shaped plate,
A toy-sized VW Bug,
A small tent, 
A large tent,
A dire wolf skull,
Multiple ceramic sugar skulls,
A picture-less frame,
An oversized purple thermos,
An old clarinet,
A new violin, 
A shiny trumpet,
A fresh electronic scale which tells me daily to "STEP OFF,"
Three guitars of varying condition,
A box of tiny bird houses,
A zebra print ottoman,
A Macho Man poster, 
A Beatles mirror,
A life-size wall decal of Yao Ming,
An overpacked costume box,
A shopping bag of wine corks,
Recycled glass jars of various sizes, 
And most importantly, that 30 year old teddy bear.... 


Monday, July 27, 2015

Flying Stinks, But Hope Floats...And Stinks

I have become a fairly seasoned traveler if I may toot my own horn for a bit.  I am not really trying to brag about traveling, as it is not as glamorous as it has once seemed, all the packing and unpacking, missed connections, and forgetting chargers; rather, I want to highlight my pride in controlling my traveler's anxiety.  I used to despise flying alone and I have finally begun to master the art of unashamedly avoiding eye contact and pretend sleeping, which has greatly improved my travel experience.  Here are three good reasons why I much rather keep to myself when traveling:

Reason #1:

Loud public conversation overheard from suited-up businessman on his cellphone in the airport terminal:  "I thought she was a hooker... she was all dressed up and had all this money and I don't know why money doesn't make her happy, but I guess it's because she's not my wife...."  

I hate you....and your wife.

Reason #2:
Conversation with flight staff after getting off the plane and walking into the terminal:

Airline staff: "Cold out there?!"

Me (trying to be honest): "Ummm it looks like it, but I don't know, I could only feel a little breeze getting off the plane..."

Airline staff (with sassy attitude): "Well aren't you lucky you little jet-setter, living the life, going to all these exotic places!!  I wish I could be you, even if just for the hair!"

Okkkkk, thanks crazy lady, gotta go, Bye!

Reason #3

Semi-empty plane.  Young hipster dude sitting in the aisle seat across from my aisle seat enthusiastically says this as the middle-seat passenger next to him gets up to move to another vacant seat after asking the fight attendant if it is OK:

"There are up sides to not wearing deodorant or showering for 5 days."

Then he gets out a deck of cards, starts shuffling and looks back and forth from me to the uninterested window seat guy next to him and says "Anyone wanna play poker?"  

Ummmm, No, but I want to barf all over you!

And since we are now open to dialogue....


Deep wait....bad idea....

My last travel date was fairly uneventful in the flight frustration department.  We visited our good buds, Kevin and Serena, who were recently married in Australia. Kevin, as you will remember, was our second third wheel for awhile.  Serena, as you may recall, was a random girl at a bar that I drunkenly/jokingly picked out to be Kevin's new girlfriend, and 5 years later...they got hitched!  So yes, next to Serena and his mom, I am Kevin's third favorite/most important person in his life.

At their wedding party I recited a poem, which was inspired by Bob Saget's Old English folk song, that I wrote for them while on the plane to meet them:

This was my poem for Kevin and Serena (sing it like Bob while you read it):

Kevin's our third wheel who has the best of luck.
   We hoped he could find someone he'd like to

Spend time together doing nothing at all.
   So I hand-picked Serena cause she wasn't too...

Scared off by Kevin's crazy looks and fun fam.
   When she showed up at Thanksgiving, I think we all thought "God

this is exciting! Wonder what will come next?"
   Then she drove home and we all thought "maybe they will have

great times in the future!"  Then they started to kiss.
   We were scared to tell Serena that her boyfriend drank

something from the bathroom that wasn't a beer.
   But she didn't mind and she stuck around proving Kevin's not

incapable of finding a girl who'll judge him
   for who he is, and not what he drinks, let's cheers to Kevin

and Serena, a match made at a bar.
   But who's love for each other is felt near and...

AFAR is where Serena landed her first real sweet job.
   And she traveled round with our third wheel who wasn't 

aware of what he should do to help an absurd
   situation that started with Serena's floating

hope for a partner with good plumbing skills.
 Congrats to the newlyweds, here's to many more thrills!

Dear Schnepners, You are welcome!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Bloody Mary Never Flossed

I floss my teeth religiously.... about twice a year around the holidays.  I kid, I kid.  I only floss them twice a year around my dentist appointment time.  Usually my dentist appointments go something like this:

1.  I forget about flossing my teeth for the 6 months ahead of the appointment.

2.  I remember the night before that I should floss my teeth so I don't get yelled at.

3.  Regardless of my pathetic attempt, I still get scolded for not flossing my teeth because what has one day of flossing actually done?  Nothing.  It has not helped at all, the disgusted look on my dental hygienist's face has me guilted into thinking I am a horribly disgusting human being because I do not floss my teeth...

4.  After the dentist appointment  I floss like a lunatic for the next three days thinking about how great and healthy I am, and why am I not like this all the time?

5.  Eventually, while flossing too close too the mirror a big goober of tartar  or a piece of the evening's meal flings off the mini-tight rope wire and catapults onto the mirror, or worse, my face... Then the floss is in the trash can and no more flossing for me for the next 6 months.

You can judge me as you wish, but to me flossing is annoying.  Maybe I am doing it wrong, but I cannot seem to avoid slobbery hands, slobbery chins, and flinging gunk everywhere.  Plus it is super boring.  By the third tooth I am so over it.  And staring at my teeth tends to give me nightmares about my teeth falling out  (which makes me think I should floss my teeth more....or maybe just get dentures)

Regardless, I just had a dentist appointment and had the good sense to put a weekly reminder on my calendar so I could start flossing way ahead of time and avoid the usual judgement and embarrassment.  As my dental hygienist sat down and started picking at my teeth, I was very proud that that she was halfway through scraping my top rack before even saying anything.  I was even more smug when her first words were "Wow, I can tell you have been flossing!....."  (yes!! personal victory is mine).  My cheeks warm with delight in her obvious praise.  But then she furrows her eyebrows.. "eh"....."hmmmm".........."Maybe you have been flossing .....hmmph....too hard?"......."There seems to be a lot of blood"......"How often did you say you floss?!"

I consider lying and telling her that I floss every day, because anything less than that and I know she will be disgusted.  But, she seems very concerned.   If I am bleeding this much and she thinks I floss every day, then she might suggest something even more crazy, like gum graft surgery. Personally, I would rather floss.  I decide to tell the truth.  "I don't usually floss, but I started to a few days ago (because I knew you would make them bleed, and I knew you would tell me to floss, so I was hoping to get the blood out and have them scarred over before I got to you and it obviously has not worked, Satan Lady.  Sorry I will floss two weeks earlier to trick you next time...)"

I call her Satan Lady appropriately because after I tell her the truth about my bloody gums being likely due to lack of flossing (and her being brutal), she says "I don't know.. I am not sure if they should bleed so much....I am going to do a little test..."  And her little test was to stab every tooth and gum juncture repeatedly with a scalpel to watch how much it bleeds.  And if the amount of blood produced did not satisfy her, she would stab it again, until she was convinced that there is too much blood.

The dentist eventually arrives, takes one look at my vampire teeth,  and refers me to a gum specialist.

I hate dentist appointments even more than flossing.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Problem-Prone Parking Lot Panty Dropper

For most city residents living in a first floor apartment the view out the window is oftentimes a wall, a dumpster, or a view into your neighbor's bathroom.  We lucked out with our apartment.  Our windows look out onto a church and its parking lot.  The church is old, so it makes for a pretty view, and the church also seconds as a dance studio, which makes for good people watching.

The down side to living next to a parking lot is that oftentimes the car sirens go off for no reason, or big huge tow trucks with loud engines and  blinking lights tote away illegal parkers in the middle of the night, or people leave their cars running with the exhaust pipes leaned up against our windows stinking up the place.  One exciting morning last weekend I was lying in bed staring out the window watching the snow fall when I heard  a huge smash, what sounded like a car accident.

I sat up in bed and was not disappointed: a sleek black Audi had plowed into the cement post lining the parking lot entrance.  The four-foot tall post was now blocking the sidewalk.  After the driver backed into a spot right outside our window, he got out of the car to assess the damage.  He was wearing a sweatshirt and looked cold, as it was technically freezing out and we were right in the middle of a blizzard.  He got back in his car and a few moments later the police show up.  The driver spoke to the officer, who inspected his car, and assessed the damage to the cement post, the more talking.   The cop writes some things down and leaves.  The driver gets back in his car to stay warm.

A few minutes later the driver emerges from the car with a small fluffy dog on a leash and walks it around the parking lot.  I feel very bad for the guy and his dog and I consider bringing him a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  Just thinking about this potential act of compassion makes me feel like a good person.  How nice am I to think of helping others who are struggling with such a cold and frustrating day.  I am so kind.  I am a saint.  I call Trevor over to the window to have a look at the beat up car, the knocked over cement post, and the sad man and his poor shivering dog.  I tell Trevor about my idea to make them some hot chocolate to help brighten their day.

He has a look outside and then says "that guy's car has a bumper sticker that says 'panty dropper"

What the hell?  Are you serious?! What a pervert!

I then hate him tremendously for a) having such a pervy sticker, and for b) being such a bad driver, and for c) leaving his car running while our apartment fills up with carbon monoxide.  No way am I bringing a self-proclaimed 'panty dropper' hot chocolate.

An hour or so later a tow truck shows up and as the car is still running the technician goes to jump start it.  We are so confused as to what is going on.  After putting the cables away, the tow truck driver drags a still running car up on to its platform and ties it up.  We yell at the window to turn for the people to turn the car off, but to no avail, the tow truck drives off with the Audi tale pipes still smoking.  Now I hate the panty dropper for d) being a crappy environmentalist.  A+ job everyone.
Turn off the car!

Later the next day we get the blizzard of the century.  There is no one on the roads except snow plows.  We accumulated about 3 feet of snow with huge snow drifts burying cars.  We went for a walk later in the evening to find snow piles well above our waists and people skiing down the street.

Why would anyone drive in this weather?

We come back home and are sitting in our living room when we hear the vrooooom, vroooom, vrooooooooom of a car in the parking lot.  It goes on and on for a while this vroom, vroom, vroooooom-ing so I finally look out the window and see a car stuck in the parking lot.  It is well after midnight.  No one is around.  The guy is shoveling away around the tires, then trying again vroom, vroom, vrooooooooom non-stop with the wheels just spinning and spinning and spinning.

I make Trevor get on his boots and we go outside to help (this is convenient because I can 1). actively put an end to the noise that is driving me nuts and 2). feel like I am doing a good deed in the process).   We walk up to the car as the guy is fiercely shoveling.  We say "Hey can we help give you a push."  The guys says "That would be great, thanks!"   The three of us shove the car back to the road where it can get some traction and I nearly fall on my face in the process because the car was so easy to move I barely had to push.  A job well done.  He says "Thanks."  We say "No problem, have a good night" and head back inside.

On the way in Trevor  and I talk about how easy that was and we wonder whether that guy had even tried pushing the car as he really didn't seem to need our help.  He was a big, strong guy.  Then  Trevor asks if I realized who that was.  No, who?  It was indeed our favorite parking-lot-friend-in-distress, that infamous panty dropper....

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

7 Days in the Life of 30-Year-Old-Nothing

"Today my greatest accomplishment was removing a splinter from Trevor's foot.  It felt pretty good... for the both of us."

"Today I almost ate chocolate out of the garbage can.  Keyword: almost."

"Today I mistook the blood blister on my hand for chocolate and tried to lick it off.  I was equally terrified by 1). the surprise of licking my hand and finding out my chocolate meal was an injured part of my body and 2). my lack of judgement to just go ahead and attempt to consume something brown on my skin assuming it was yummy chocolate left over when after taking an extra second to think about it after the fact, when was the last time I ate chocolate?!.   What if it was poop!?  I would have ate it, I guess."

"Today I was getting a pedicure for my sister's wedding.   I was waiting for my pedicurist to attend to my tootsies and after soaking them in scolding hot water she finally came around, grabbed my feet from the hot tub,  took one look at at my toes and exclaimed  "O-ma-ga, long feet!"

"Today the neighbors across the hall knocked on our apartment door when Trevor was not home and invited me to their party on Friday night.  I gave them a non-committal thanks-for-the-invite-I'm-not-sure-if-I-am-busy-or-not type of answer.   Then as we were parting ways they asked me if I was Jewish."

"Today I went to the grocery store and at the check out counter the cashier asked me if I go to Harvard.  I said "No, but my husband works there..." The clerk says they would need to see his ID in order to get a discount.  I asked how much the discount is and they replied 10%.  I respond with "Well I guess I better send him shopping next time!"(thinking I am super funny).  Nobody laughs.  I leave."

"Today Trevor figured out what smells like a dirty-rotten-butt-hole-of-a-month-old-decomposing- body in our communal apartment hallway.  I used to work in a morgue and I can 100% attest that this smell is very synonymous with rotten life.  I contemplated calling the police and checking up on all the neighbors to assure they were all still alive and not dead and rotting.  Then Trevor came home and said he was sniffing through the packages lined up at the entryway where the smell is the absolute worst.  There he found a packaged from (a company sends you every ingredient you need for a meal and delivers every so often).  Whoever is in apartment 36 is going to be thoroughly disgusted when they get home from vacation and find a box of rotting food on the doorstep."

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Haunted by Homeless

Cambridge, like many big cities, is full of people on the streets trying to sell you something or asking for money.  Let me first say, that I have no idea what is the ethically correct way to handle homeless people.  Should we give them money to buy food or whatever they need?  Or should we not give them money assuming the donation would just fund their meth habits?  I have no idea.  But if I did  hand out cash, I wouldn't be able to pick and choose who to give what and there are so many homeless people, I would go broke pretty quickly.   I also honestly never carry cash on me so I can legitimately say, "sorry, I got nothing."   I have become pretty good at avoiding eye contact with strangers and walking right on by (again, I am not sure if this is something to be proud of).  However, there is the occasional non-street person who says 'excuse me' or 'have a nice day' or needs directions, so I am not totally cold to everyone all the time.

One day a young, student-aged fellow comes up to me and says "Excuse me, miss!"  and I am thinking I dropped a glove or that he genuinely has a question he needs me to answer.  So I turn and give him my attention.  He follows up with:

 "Are you as awesome as you look?!"

Startled by his weird question, I look down and see he has a clipboard (red flag). The clipboard, the way he approached me, his weird question...... I come to the conclusion that he has an obvious alternative motive and I will not have any of it.  I will not give in to being bombarded by a sales pitch on the street and so in answer to his question I dishonestly respond:


He laughs

I walk on by.  Obviously, I do think I am as wonderful as I look and I appreciate him for recognizing my awesomeness (although I am sure he says that to EVERYONE).   I am however, willing to lie about self-esteem to avoid being guilted into signing up for monthly donations to Planned Parenthood.

Another day I walked passed a bum who was talking to a Harvard student saying " this guy walks into a bar..."  I look at the homeless man's sign.  It reads "Bad jokes!  4 for $1."   I wanted to wait and listen to the next three jokes, but I thought the bum might ask me for money...I did not have any cash on me and I did not want him to think I was enjoying his services for free.  So I kept walking...

Just recently, I was walking up the stairs out of the subway, or "the T" as the locals call it, and was moving pretty quickly when a grouchy bum yelled at me.  He sounded enraged.  His accent was similar to Chris Rock and his delivery was comparable to Christopher Walken.  He barked at me:  "Giddy up, ...jingle horse!!! ......Pick up, ...your FEET!!"  He was so loud and mad,  that my primary goal was to run away and then secondary to that I could figure out what he said.  As I double-jumped the steps to get some distance from the disgruntled character I sifted through what I thought I heard,  'Did he just call me a 'jingle horse?' ... What the heck is a jingle horse?' ... It took me a second.  Then I understood the reference.  He was just singing a Christmas song.

Yet, another day I walked past a garbage can with a young man sitting in it like a recliner chair with his legs hanging out.  Aside from the image of him sitting in a public garbage can, the man did not seem all that homeless.   He was holding a sign that said: "Extra Cash for Man in Trash?"

I drew you a picture:

Click Here and Listen to Faceman's song 'Fitting In' (its about garbage cans)

Clever....Funny.....I also did not give him any money.   But I did appreciate his humor.  At least for a minute or two.  After a few more blocks I started to get mad about this man in the trash, because "what if I had a piece of garbage I really needed to throw out?!"  Get out of the garbage can, come on, mister!

I have since expanded this man-in-the-trash image with my own creative take. Now every time I take out the trash to the communal apartment dumpster, which I imagine some bum has turned into his own private bedroom, I have an irrational vision that I am about to hit this fictional sleeping bum in the head with my dripping bag of garbage.  And that he is going to yell, jump up, and run after me.   It hasn't happened yet.  Let's hope it never does...

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Google Ga-Ga

I recently signed up for a google voice number so I can call people for free over the internet (you should do it too, and google should pay me for saying that).  Google voice has a great feature where if someone leaves you a voicemail, google will write down what it thinks the person is saying and send it you you in an e-mail.  This is about how well it works...

Trevor's voicemail:"If you own server. So if you can, in replying. From Paris blowing you. But we can gain You know what need to know is that checking bags in your Be Gone Wild with both checked bags. It's only 2003. Both of the bag. Maybe I'll just do it The this. Hey, gimme call back when you get this thing, but wanted to put it right."

At least they got the "gimme a call back" part right, although I would have needed to do that anyway.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Airport Amnesia

I did it again.  I arrive at the airport.  Print out my bag tag and bring my suitcase over to the bag drop area.  The lady behind the counter politely asks to see my ID and questions me "And what is your final destination today, Mrs. O'Grady?"  I freeze.  Where the hell am I going?!  What month is it?   If I could figure out the time of year, then I could remember who is getting married and could then remember where they lived.  Or I could determine if it is a holiday and then I could guess NJ.  But Trevor would definitely be with with me if it was a wedding or NJ.  Solo travel is usually reserved for work.   However I don't travel for work anymore... hmmmm

Right when I feel down right terrified that my brain is lost, the neurotransmitter reaches the synapse and the memory is released...  It is January.  The holidays are over.  Trevor has work to do.  I am not going to a wedding..."Uhhhhh, I am going to Wahsington DC"   to visit my niece for her baptism.  The lady stares at me as I obviously look and sound as crazy as I feel.

This same situation happened to me about a month before, again while I was flying alone.  I walked onto the airplane and took my middle seat in between a middle-aged woman at the window, and an older, balder construction-worker-looking man in the aisle seat.  As I sat down the man introduces himself by saying:

"Oh good, I was worried I was gonna have to sit next to a fatty!!"

I instantly know more than I want to about this jerk:  1. he's a talker, and 2. what he has to say is downright awful. ...  The passengers have not even finished boarding yet.  I pull out my book and put on my head phones.

A few rows ahead of us a guy is attempting to fit his suitcase into the overhead compartment.  It requires a bit of shifting around of the luggage that is already in there. It was not an especially large suitcase and it is not really holding up the line for any considerable length of time   It is not really anybody's place except the flight attendant or the guy behind him in line to say anything.  But Mr. Jerk next to me starts yelling "It's not gonna fit!!!  It's gotta be under 22 inches!!  You're gonna have to check that, buddy!! Come ON!!!!"  The passenger fits it, gives my friend a nasty look, and takes his seat.  Mr. Know-It-All-Rule-Enforcer starts going off to me about what an awful guy that passenger was... "some people...that guy's an asshole"

Moments later a young college girl in the aisle across from Mr. Know-It-All-Rule-Enforcer throws her coat and purse on her seat and starts putting the handle down on her rollarboard suitcase in preparation for heaving it overhead.  Mr. Know-It-All politely asks her if she needs help with that.  To which she genuinely replies "Aww, no, but thank you."  The girl was tall enough to reach the overhead herself. She was not handicapped.  She had help if she needed it, but she obviously didn't need it and respectably didn't want it.  But Mr. Forced-Chivalry can't help but pop out of his seat and release his seatbelt like his butt is on fire and in one swift move he has snatched the suitcase out of her hands while it was over her head and nearly knocks her to the ground in the process.   As he buckles back in after the assault, he leans over and says something to me like "always happy to help."

Deep in my book, I nod, avoid contact, and pray he shuts up.  Now that everyone is boarded, he has run out people to harass, and digs into me.

Mr. Forced Chivalry: You fly a lot?

Me: Sometimes.

Mr. Forced Chivalry: You from Boston?

Me: At the moment....

Mr. Forced Chivalry:  Where you flying to today?

Uhhhhhhhhhhhh ..... .............Go through the list:  Thanksgiving just happened, Christmas is coming up but not yet here.  It is not NJ.   Trevor is not here.  So it is not likely a wedding and I am not flying for work...  This flight is going to Chicago... But my finally destination is????.......

DENVER!  I am going to Denver!

Again, after an appropriately awkward amount of time passed with me staring up at the ceiling seemingly without a thought, I then excitingly scream where I am going as if I just proudly figured out the $1 million dollar double jeopardy question.

He seems to be taken aback by my strange response, which, if he were a normal person, I would be totally embarrassed, but I instantly realize the advantage of him thinking I am a crazy, weirdo.  Maybe he will leave me alone.  He gives up on questions about me, and turns to small talk....

"Did you see the pilot of this flight is a woman?  Can you believe that!?"

If I was not stuck to this guy for a considerable length of time, I might have tried a different approach.  I do still regret not ripping him a new one.  Instead I close my book. Close my eyes.  Turn the music up.  And pretend Mr. Sexist does not exist.

Mental Health Disclaimer:
Before you get too concerned about the status of my mental capabilities, let me assure you that this has only happened to me twice in my life and both times happened when I am flying alone at like 6am, which is technically 3am for normal people since I am usually on California time.  3am is dream time.  My brain is asleep and not used to questioning at this hour.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Harvard Women of Science Couch Club

1. Per the suggestion of a fellow Harvard affiliate's wife, I joined the Harvard Wives' Club.  It is actually a spouse club, but it is full of women.   The first meeting I attended was right before Easter.  It was a two hour meeting from 4-6pm.  Everyone, except me, was from another country.  We painted Easter eggs the whole time.  There was no alcohol, but it was pretty fun.  Although a little awkward at times (however, that could have easily been me, goofy and insecure in a room full of new people),  I still enjoyed myself.   I did not show up to the second meeting though, because I had work to do.  My French friend was a little worried as to why I really did not show up. She might have been a little unsure if I was actually working or if it was because we painted Easter eggs the whole time.  I really did have to work though.  And I really did enjoy painting Easter eggs.  But my friend has since moved back to Paris and I have yet to go to another meeting...

2. I also joined a 'Women in Science' club.  Because why not? (My friend convinced me to do it)... One night they hosted this event that can best be described as speed dating for science careers.  The event was geared toward networking opportunities.  There were about 15 or so professional women with different types of scientific careers and a crowd of about 100 young people.  Although the event was targeted for the ladies, they did not exclude the dudes, so there were a few guys in the audience as well.  Every 10-15 minutes everyone would switch tables and discuss a new career with the hosting professional.  The conference room was full of fresh, ambitiously youthful and earnest ladies who were passionately preparing to explore grad school programs, or students who were finishing up grad school programs and were just so full of excitement and anticipation of what their future life as a woman in the real-world scientific community would be like (seriously it was sickening).  And then there was me,  jaded old been-there-done-that-don't-care, Julie, looking for someone or something to spark a flame of interest.    I sat down at the first table, and since the speaker was late, the rest of us started small-talking...

     "Where ya from?"

     "What do you do?"

     "What do you want to do?" etc.

The only man in the crowd, who looks like he is in his 30's,  mentions that he currently works for Amgen.  Around the table the girls' eyes light up...

     "Oh WOW Amgen?!"

     "That must be a great pharmaceutical company to work for!"

     "You must love it there, huh?!"

 The guys looks around the circle in subtle disbelief, and  responds with a semi-sarcastic, slightly irritated, but 100% realistic tone...

"Well, I'm here, right?"  .....  Hello, my been-there-done-that-don't-care, new best friend!

3. From the recommendation of my Dad, I looked up Tom Lehrer.  He was a Harvard-educated math nerd from the 1950's who wrote hilariously appalling songs, like 'Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.'  Think of him like a vintage-version of Weird Al Yankovic.  The guy is funny and clever and a pretty talented musician to boot.  We watched just about every single video of his we could find on youtube and you should too.  Here are a couple of our favorites:

This is a quick and easy one:

Block off the next hour.  This is worth watching all the way through:

Bonus: It is in Copenhagen!

Now if only there was a Harvard women's youtube-watching club.... I could get into that!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Plunger Planning 101: Do Some Push-Ups First

My husband (who I will from here on refer to as Mr. T for identity protection reasons) is trying to find a real grown up, professional job.

The other day he had his "job market talk" where he presented his favorite research paper in front of his whole department.   Mr. T has been up late all week in preparation for this presentation.  He has been staying at work past midnight, he has pulled a few all night-ers, he has not been living the most relaxed lifestyle.

As you may recall from a previous post, we live in a very old apartment with very old plumbing.  Just as a hair nest from an apartment above can block a drain in the tub below us and flood all the floors underneath, the same situation can occur with the toilet.   The morning of the presentation Mr. T uses the bathroom uneventfully.  He leaves the bathroom, continues to work on his presentation at his desk, then returns to the bathroom an hour or so later and well...  I realized something was up when I heard a sincere "oh sh*t!"

I, the good wife knowing he still needs to shave, finish up his work, and get himself to campus in the next 20 minutes, tell him not to worry about it, to sit back down, and to finish his presentation.  I then head to the bathroom to take control of the situation.   The water in the toilet is full to the brim (thankfully the water is clear).  There is a good amount of water on the floor already as well....

Hmmm where do I begin?  Should I start plunging the toilet?  Or begin with drying up the floor? I decide that if I start plunging the toilet, I will make more of a mess and the floor will get even wetter.   There is no point in drying the floor until the toilet has been cleared.   I mash the plunger into the toilet bowl and a niagra falls of water splashes out.  Soaked and startled, I pause my plunging attempt and reassess whether or not this was a good idea.  A good inch or two of water had overflowed out of the bowl.   I stand and ponder how to make my next move without making more of a mess.  I then watch in horror as the toilet refills and starts spilling over the edge once again.  The water will not stop running!

Not knowing how to shut the water off and not wanting to bother Mr. T, I quickly hit panic mode.  I scramble for the nearest bucket I can find and start scooping the toilet water out of the toilet an throw it in the sink.*  I work fast enough where I can get the level down far enough in time so I can repeat my plunging efforts without overflowing.  I grab the plunger again, but it is made out of such a thick and sturdy rubber that I cannot even get the darn thing to push down.  Am I too weak to plunge a toilet?!

The toilet water reaches the brim yet again.  It is at this point,  as the water begins to flow like niagra falls again, that I realize my approach of "oh-don't-worry-let-the-big-strong-wifey-take-care-of-the-toilet" has embarrassingly back-fired.  I return to my bucket approach as I curse myself for not being strong enough to plunge a toilet.  Maybe if I get mad enough about that fact, I could acquire some sort of enraged, feminist she-hulk strength...  Nope.... I pause to think of other options.  I could feasibly:

1 - scoop all the water out of the toilet then
2- put on my shoes, grab my keys and coat then
3 - scoop all the remaining water out of the toilet again and then
4 - quickly run to the convenient store next door and buy a new plunger and
5 - run back home and fix this thing...

But could I do that without Trevor knowing? .... And as I think of the logistics of this plan, the water overflows again and I snap...


*Side note: I read this blog post aloud to Trevor and when I got to this part about me scooping water out of the toilet and throwing it down the sink, he was thoroughly shocked and horrified.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Is There Winter in Hell?

Last winter during the long, dark, cold Northeastern winter that is about to rear its ugly head yet again,  I remember making myself leave the house to venture off into the frostbitten air to walk down the street and grab a cup of coffee, some fresh air, and humanly interactions with the fine folks at my favorite coffee joint.  On my way to Dunkin Donuts a homeless man says to me "Hey, nice hat!"  It was the first conversation I had had in weeks (besides Trevor) and I remember feeling a spark of excitement like "Hey someones talking to me!  This is a great way to meet people, all I have to do is leave the house and people will talk to me!" Then I remembered thinking...this man is homeless.  He is not exactly new-best-friend material.  And he likes my what does that say about my fashion sense? ...  I am never leaving the house again.

It was a rough winter.  At the end of the winter I visited Brooklyn to see my Uncle who is a Roman Catholic priest.   He had had a bad winter too.  In the aftermath of one of our weekly snow storms, he slipped on the ice and tore all sorts of things in his knee which required major surgery, casting, and crutches.

A month or two later he is healing, but not 100% walking yet.  Springtime has arrived and my Uncle is hosting a party for my Grandma's 91st birthday.  The whole family is hanging out around his apartment when we decide we should go for a walk around the neighborhood to enjoy the lovely weather.  Because he still cannot walk very far, we rent my uncle a wheel chair from the local pharmacy around the corner.  Big, strong, coordinated me offers to push him first.  We cautiously make our way through the awfully uneven sidewalks of Cobble Hill.  I was pretty nervous (like usual) and attentive at first, but about a block or two into it I started picking up my confidence and we start picking up speed.  I enjoy my new found strength, fearlessness, and pride for about 10 more feet... Right as I am thinking about how all the people passing us on the streets must think I am such a saint for helping this poor, injured priest, we hit the mother load of all cracks.

As the front wheels hit the six inch divot in the sidewalk at cruising speed, we abruptly stop dead in our tracks.  I nearly throw my wounded uncle out of the wheel chair from behind.  My poor, Catholic priest uncle gasps in pain and grabs at his knee as I responsibly hold back from screaming  "oh sh*t" or  "what the f@%#" or "holy cr@p."  I mentally remind myself not to cuss using the word "holy" in front of a priest as I move on to my next line of exclamation words which I deem safe and appropriate and cannot help from blurting out a big ol'  "Jeeezus Christ!!!"

Before I even finish pronouncing the "t" in "Christ,"  I remember who I am talking to (doh!) and follow up with a sincere "Oh my God!  I am so sorry!"  (double doh!)

I am going to hell.  At least the winter will be warmer...

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Absolute Beginner

Last spring, I decided to take a violin class called "The ABCs of Violin for the Absolute Beginner" because why the heck not?  I have a violin.  And I would consider myself an absolute beginner, as I have absolutely no idea how to play the darn thing. The adult education center down the street offered a relatively affordable class, so I signed up.  Unfortunately the day I thought 'I should take violin lessons' was the day after the first class.  I emailed the instructor to see if it was ok that I missed the first class.  She said "of course it is fine, give me your money and show up!" 

Turns out the first class of any lesson is absolutely critical.  I show up to the second lesson.  I remind the teacher that I missed the first class and I take a seat in the very back.  The instructor starts off the class asking everyone to show her how they hold the bow and violin (i.e. what they learned in the first class).  I cheat off the person next me.  Then the teacher says "Ok, let's turn to page 5...and a 1 and a 2 and ready and a go!"  Everyone starts playing an awful version of Mary Had a Little Lamb.  Try as I might, it is impossible to cheat.  Are you kidding me?!   I move my bow (without actually touching the bow to the strings) in a motion that would make an unintelligent child believe I was playing the violin.   I cannot even guess at a note.  Realizing I am not fooling anyone, I stop and sit still like a dumb-dumb. I wait for the embarrassment to end as my face pools up with blood and my lunch starts climbing towards my throat.  I should have made it to the first class...

This is what adult beginner violin class sounds like:

My first homework assignment for violin class was to buy a shoulder rest and come back properly equipped.  The instructor recommended a music shop in Boston... someone she knows personally.  My teacher is a professional violin player, and this music shop she suggested is a store for super professional symphony players.  I show up in my hobo clothes and K-mart coat with my mediocre pawn shop violin which the smug little man tactfully insinuates is a piece of garbage.

The pompous violin guy proceeds to give me a tour of his grandiose violin factory and repair shop, showing off his $5,000 bows and symphonic accomplishments.  He casually reminisces about this one time when he was talking to some mathematical genius guy who makes violin strings and asked him about his business and then explained how this MIT wizard went on and on about how he figured out exactly how the angle of the string should be when it is pressed down and how that is related to the tension in the string which is determined based on the ...angle... frequency...waves...emittance...  sin. or..... cos sin of the angle between the bridge and the string when you press the string down ....

At the end of his story, the chubby store owner exclaims, "Isn't that soooooo SEXyyyyy?!"

 No.  No, it is not.  You're an idiot.  And you need to find yourself some normal friends that will call you out on this non-stop, persistent pompous ranting.  Of course I do not say that.  I give him an awkward, uncertain, "yeaaa, that's great," buy my shoulder rest, and get out of there.

In the meantime on the walk home, I can't help but wonder where is the violin shop for the absolute beginners?  For violin-ers who just want to know how to play a little bit and not be a total presumptuous jerk about it, where do we go?  We should not have to be subjected to such abject snobbery.

After my second lesson, my violin teacher told me I was the most improved from last week.  As the saying goes.... when you are an absolute beginner, you are at rock bottom, and the only place to go, is closer to the mediocre beginners.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Good Food, Baaaaaad Taste

A few days ago Trevor and I had a last minute date night.  After a couple has been together for nearly a decade, date nights go something like this:

9:45pm on a random Tuesday evening:

Partner #1 (enters the apartment, stressed after a long day at work):  "Sorry I am really late getting home from work."

Partner #2 (is in the same position on the couch since 11am): "I don't really care I have been in my pajamas all day."

Partner #1: "Did you eat dinner?"

Partner #2:  "No, I didn't feel like cooking, so I just ate chips.  Did you eat dinner?"

Partner #1: "I ate not too long ago but I'm a little hungry."

Partner #2:  [doesn't feel like cooking...] "Want to have a date night?"

Partner #2  changes into socially acceptable attire and the pair head out to try the local Venezuelan restaurant.  They split a couple of delicious plantain-based appetizers and then split the yummy lamb chop special.  The tender juicy taste of the melt in your-mouth baby lamb meat sits very well with Partner #1 who asks "what kind of meat is this?!" Partner #2 replies "It is lamb chops."  A few silent minutes go by as the seemingly starving couple focus on devouring the delicious meal.  Partner #1 has subconsciously drifted to lala-land starts belting out Tom Tom's sweet encouraging words to Bo Peep who has lost her sheep from Babes in Toyland:

 [Excellent movie. I highly recommend it]

Halfway through the second line.."Neverminnnd Bo Peep, you will finnnd your shhhheeee..." Partner #1 cuts himself off with a sheepish grin.  Perhaps it is not the most appropriate song to sing as we chow down on baby sheep.   We had a good chuckle about the inappropriateness of it, then I thought to myself "I should get back to blogging."

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Entertaining Myselfie

Trevor rarely takes pictures.  I take a lot.  Sometimes I will show him a picture on my iphone and then he will commandeer my digital collection until he is satisfied reminiscing through all my old photos.  

We went through these motions just the other day.  "Hey, Trevor look at the picture of my new baby niece!"  I give Trevor the phone.  He gives his sincere "heh" and smile of approval and then starts scrolling.  He flips through pictures for awhile, while I move on to other things.  Then I can hear him in the background say something like "what the heck is this?" And start gasp-laughing.... Wha?...huh!...ehhh...haha..  I immediately freeze trying to think of what embarrassing photo he has stumbled upon.  

I often take pictures of random weird things I find in stores...

Or take screen shots of web pages when I attempt to self diagnose myself on webMD.

Or I will take screen shots to remind me to look something up later:

Or I will take screen shots to remind me of things I should buy for Trevor later:

But I feel like none of the above should be all that surprising to Trevor.  What could he possibly be laughing about?

Did I accidentally take a picture of someone's butt?

Did someone steal my phone and take perverted photos?


Trevor had just stumbled upon my embarassing attempt to take what the kids call a "selfie." After a recent haircut my mother and sisters requested a photo.  So I secretly tried out my first series of self-taken self portraits.  I don't know how all those sexy people do it!

Serious face:

Concerned face:

Happy face:

Glasses face:

Glasses + smile:
= double FAIL

Indoor dumb face:
Meh, that'll do...

Maybe someday little Adalyn can teach her dear old desperate aunt how to take a proper picture. She is much more photogenic...

Peaceful face:
Ok, Adi. You win!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Running Around

It is finally getting warmer out, and I finally started running again.

My first day back, I cried the entire time.  It was not the "oh-my-god-this-hurts" kind of crying, it was more like the "I-am-PMSing-and-there-is-nothing-wrong-but-the-fact-that-there-is-nothing-wrong-makes-me-feel-empty-and-why-isn't-this-run-making-me-feel-better" kind of crying.  I stopped crying after the run, so I guess my methods worked, but it is unfortunate that I had to dampen the day of all the other runners on the path who likely think something terribly tragic happened to me.  Nope, just PMS mixed with this never ending winter and my reintroduction to seasonal affectiveness disorder.

A few days later, feeling much better, I went out for another run. No tears, so it is automatically an emotional step up from my last attempt. Although my head was clearer, my tummy was not.  You see we have not gone grocery shopping in awhile, and working from home, I could only eat what we had left in the cabinets...which happened to be goldfish crackers.  Having binged on salty crackers all day long, I stuff one more handful in my mouth before we head out because it is now 9pm and my last handful was around 5pm. So, ya know,  I could probably use the extra energy.  After 3 miles of intense stomach cramping, Trevor and I finish our workout.  Its 9:30pm though and neither of us really feel like cooking dinner.  Plus there is not much food left in the house.  We decide to walk a couple blocks to a Qdoba fast food Mexican restaurant and order a couple burritos.  Before even drinking water after the run, we scarf down our burritos (because, ya know, the best solution to stomach cramping is Mexican junk food).  Trevor practically carried me home where I was up all night with heartburn.

Recently, I went on a more successful run without any emotional or physical pain, however, I did get wrapped up in some good ol' social awkwardness. I was running along a path when I had to stop for a red light. While I was waiting for the light to turn green a middle aged woman came up to me and asked me where I got my shirt.  She had a slight accent that I would guess came from Russia or eastern Europe.  I looked down to see what she was talking about.  My shirt was nothing particularly special, just a plain white hooded fleece.   I remembered getting it when I was with Trevor and his Dad and his sister in South Jersey.  I know we were not at a Sport Authority, but at one of those other sporting goods stores.  I decide I must have gotten it from Dicks Sporting Goods.

I tell the Russian lady, "I got my shirt at Dicks, which is a sporting goods store."

She asks, "Is it in Harvard Square?"

 I reply,  "No I didn't get it around here, but Dicks are everywhere, you can just google it to find one."

To which she replies, "OK, I will google 'Dicks are everywhere,' Thank you!"

I immediately regret my poor choice of words and strongly consider re-wording her google search terms, but then the light turned green and she has already turned her back to walk away.  So I go back to running... now with a smile ...thinking of that poor lady.  I get home and tell Trevor about our conversation and how I fear that this poor Russian lady is at her computer now looking at awful websites and cursing Americans for pulling dirty tricks on her (even though I didn't mean to, although I didn't try hard to correct myself).  Trevor laughs.  Then he calmly says "You didn't get that shirt at Dicks, you got it at Modells." .....oops

Monday, March 3, 2014

Gender Differences & Lavatory Logic

Every time I walk into a public restroom I try to pick the stall that I think is the least likely used.  If there is a long line of stalls, then I will go all the way to the very end hoping all of the lazy people would just pick the first available.  If there are three stalls, then I will pick the middle one hoping that the lazy person would pick the first stall and then the person who has to go number two and does not want to be right on top of the lazy person, will pick the last stall, which leaves the middle stall wide open for who knows how long...I realize there are flaws in this theory.  For instance, it will only work under the following assumptions:
 1) no more than 2 people shall ever enter a three-stall bathroom at once; 
 2) one person must always be lazy and 
 3) the other person must always have to take a dump and be self-conscious about it. 

I also realize it is quite possible that everyone has the same theory and phobias as me and that they are picking the same last and middle stalls as well.  So I will oftentimes mix it up and go for the very first stall if I am in a place where I think no one is lazy (or a place where people may be more neurotic than the norm).   I wish public bathrooms would publicly display the stats on how often each toilet is used.  Sure some lazy, non-hygienic, or generally disinterested people will not care either way, but couldn't they at least give us obsessive compulsives out there a choice?!   Is it too much to ask for a little screen saying how many times each toilets been flushed? That's all I'm asking....please...

Anyway, I was out to brunch this past Sunday with Trevor and a couple friends, and midway through the meal I have to excuse myself from the table to go to the bathroom.  I open the bathroom door and there is no one in there.   There are two stalls available: one is normal; one is handicap.  When I am in a place where  I feel like there are not a lot of handicapped people around I will take the risk and go for the handicap stall.  I dread the day when a handicap person is waiting because I wanted the extra space, so I have to be fairly certain I am in a safe place.  The place we were in was a fairly hip restaurant, and although thefriend we were with was on crutches, I did not see any other canes, scooters, wheelchairs, or moms with kids in the vicinity.  I decide I should take the handicap stall assuming most people will take the normal,guilt-free, one if given both options.

But as I take a step toward the handicap stall I realize that the way in which the normal stall door opens is slightly awkward and the stall gets blocked by the big bathroom door.  You would have to walk around the main door to get into the stall. I drew you a picture so you would understand:

I decide that the extra steps and maneuvering it would take to get to the normal door would prevent people from choosing that stall... Making the normal stall the least likely used,  I head directly for it.

I do my business and when I open my stall door the front bathroom door opens simultaneously and and essentially traps me in.  Not wanting to startle or hit the incoming person, I silently, creepily back up against the wall hoping that the person will go right into the handicap stall and not even know I am there.  But alas the person must also have bathroom anxiety disorder because after initially going for the handicap stall, they hesitate, and then decidedly go for the normal stall.  In the process of closing the main bathroom door to get to the normal stall is when the person found me quietly backed up against a wall....surprise!?

The startled person exclaimed "OH SH*T!" for three likely reasons: 

1) the person was terrified at finding a strange, quiet, grown woman hiding silently and smiling anxiously alone in a public restroom that they intially thought was empty;
2) the person may have actually sh*t their pants they were so scared; 
3) it was a the lady's room...

Thursday, February 27, 2014

TBT 2 TBT (Throwback Thursday to Trevor's Brother's Trick)

These days the kids on facebook are always speaking in acronyms and I never know what the heck they are talking about.  I only recently found out that "SMH" stands for "shaking my head" as in disappointment or bewilderment in someone's stupidity.  I always just assumed it must have been something meaner like "suck my hip" or "show me hot dogs" or "shut-up mad hooligan" or "some men haters." 

Anyway for everyone else without a 13 year old interpreter or too lazy to google, let me tell you about this "TBT" or "Throwback Thursday."  This occurs every Thursday and people will post pictures of themselves from the past and include the hashtag "#tbt."

Today I did my first TBT picture post on facebook, but I could not figure out what picture to choose so I posted two, which is probably not cool, but what can I say, besides I'm a hipster and I'm too cool to care.

These were my TBT pics:

First Halloween costume.  No, I was never cute.

Playing "dress up" in Dad's work gear with my Mom.  She loves this game!

I went through a ton of other photos and here are some of the honorable mentions:

 My first doll.  Terrifying I know.

My first outdoor diaper dump.  I've been caught!!!  and also punched in the face apparently...

First sweaty rocking moose ride (#FSRMR).  From what I recall the head and neck easily came off this unstable solid wood- yet made for small children  toy.

First slip and slide!  HELP ME!

First of three long years of bowl cuts.  Mom already had her two pretty girly girls.  She really wanted to mess with #3.  Consider my teenage years your karma for this, mother. (j/k = just kidding)

I next googled "TBT" because after you say "Throwback Thursday" in your head (or out lout) enough times, it starts to sound wrong, right?  Throw back?  What are you throwing back?  Is that even the right phrase?  I would really be embarrassed if I wrote this whole blog on "Throwback Thursday" when it actually meant "tacky but true" or "time brings torment." Well, I googled it to make sure I sounded smart, and I found lots of additional meanings to "TBT" on the urban dictionary website:

It can stand for "Truth Be Told" 

or "Throw Back Thursday" but now on other days besides Thursday (damn hipsters)

People also use it is as "Taco Bell Time"

or "Turn Back Time"

or "Thinking Bad Thoughts"

or "Tall-Boy Thursday" (which is the act of drinking a 6-pack of 16oz beer ("tall boys") one day before the weekend arrives. They say it is perfect for any day, but much better on a Thursday.  If they keep using these "Thursday" acronyms on every day of the week, adults are going to be pissed (myself included - because once you get married you are instantly an adult and can be publicly irritated by facebook acronyms). 

One I thought was particularly funny was "Thought Break Time" which occurs when you are talking to a friend on the computer and you both run out of things to say.  You TBT to excuse yourself from the conversation and then it is socially acceptable to not say anything until you can think of something interesting to talk about again.  But if the other person says TBT at the same time, you may never talk again...

Now knowing all that, here is a little exercise for the acronym savvy.  Decipher this:

TBT, on this TBT I started a blog about TBT and if I could TBT I would have called "TBT!" and ran out of the house and would have never written this blog, now that's TBT. TBT.

Scroll down for the answer below.

Also, watch this video!  Remember when we got married?!  TBT!!! 

(Note: in college I often swore that I would serve Taco Bell at my wedding if I ever got married...I slightly regret that acronym is not relevant here... but maybe you can maybe eat Taco Bell while you watch this recap!  That would make me happy!  Do it! Do it!  TBT! TBT!!!)

Special thanks to best man, Damian for the mini-heart attack!


"Truth be told on tall boy Thursday I started a blog about "throwback Thursday" and if I could turn back time, I would have called "Taco Bell time!"and ran out of the house and would have never written this blog, now that's thinking bad thoughts. Thought break time!"

Sunday, February 23, 2014

2018 Olympics Preview

I watched a lot of the couples ice dancing this Olympics.  And well, Meryl Davis and Charlie White are sort of my new favorite heroes.  They make it look so easy.  So easy that maybe we could do it...We've got some skills...

We just need to learn how to skate... and work on our bow and curtsy... And maybe invest in a costume designer

There should be more butt grabbing in the Olympics