Sunday, October 31, 2010

the costume that almost wasn't

Alternately titled: "ANOTHER post about Emily."  It's a darn good thing I have a little sister, because without her my life wouldn't be NEARLY as "exciting" as it is now.

Okay, on to the story.

A few weeks ago, Emily decided she was going to be Tinkerbell for Halloween.  Her short blonde hair is so fitting and she had the PERFECT green dress for the costume.  The dress was from this past summer and will be too short to wear next year anyway, so I suggested she cut the bottom to look raggedy like Tinkerbell's dress.  The costume was all planned out and was going to be perfect.  Last weekend my mom, Emily, and I (because I never, ever, no not ever turn down a trip to a retail establishment) went out to buy wings, glitter, green tights, and other Tinkerbell necessities.  On the way home from the store, my mom looked at Emily and said rather jokingly, "Hope you didn't donate that green dress to Good Will!!"

We got home.

Em had donated that green dress to Good Will.

So because my mom enjoys a Halloween costume that's not completely premade and also because she has the patience of a saint, she searched store after store to see if she could find the original dress on clearance.  Unfortunately, the search proved fruitless, and she ended up just buying a Tinkerbell costume for Em.  And tonight, after applying no less than a pound and a half of glitter and leaving everything and everyone in her path sparkling, Emily made a great Tinkerbell.

 Happy Halloween!
P.S.-Just a small side note, I thought the fact that Emily donated the dress to Good Will was hysterical.  I know if it were me who was the one who had to search for and pay for a new costume, I would not have found the situation so hilarious, which is probably why my mom didn't laugh nearly as much as I did (or at all, actually) at the whole turn of events.  But seriously?!  Funny stuff. 

It reminded me of the time my mom and I drove up to Penn State to pick Phil up from his freshman year of college.  We walked into his dorm room after a three hour drive, and nothing was packed.  Not.  One.  Thing.  It was like he was downright shocked to see us there on the last day of school to take him home for the summer.  So we shoved things into suitcases and boxes as fast as we could so we could make it home before my mom had to drive in rush hour traffic.  And as we were getting off of the elevator for the last time, Phil dropped a gigantic plastic container, and hundreds of pens came flying out.  I died.  Died.  I thought it was SO FUNNY.  My mom didn't really see the humor in the situation and looking back, I can't blame her.  But all's well that ends well, and we laugh about it now.  Just like the costume that almost wasn't.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

a gem

All the girls in my family have a Giant Shopping Extravanganza planned for this Saturday.  Emily has had her heart set on getting the new Taylor Swift cd this weekend, but after dinner she asked if I would take her to get it tonight.  Since I apparently would like to be remembered as NEVER turning down a trip to WalMart, I agreed.  And also, I sort of wanted to hear the cd too.  Even though T. Swift has a history of getting on my last nerve with all the whining, her songs are catchy the first five hundred times you hear them.   
 I had already changed out of my work clothes and into black yoga pants and a tshirt, so I told Em I just had to put some shoes on and I would be ready to go.  I found a pair of comfy fur lined clogs that happen to dance the very thin line between shoe and slipper.  However, they have a good, solid rubber sole on them, which in my mind, edges them right on into the shoe category.  I slipped them on, and we were off.
I'm not a fan of our WalMart, but as I have mentioned before, that doesn't stop me from making thrice weekly trips there.  What can I say? I'm a sucker for the rollback.  It gets especially weird at night though, and I know this isn't very nice, but the other customers?  They're what my mom would call "rough around the edges."  The two of us walked into the store while Emily talked a mile a minute and I wondered if we were the only two people with a full set of teeth in the entire place and made a promise to myself never to return there again, even though I knew full well I would be back before the week's end because I cannot resist the tempatation of WalMart and their fancy marketing schemes.  As we passed the Halloween display, (which was in fact spelled HALOWEEN in three foot tall letters dangling from the ceiling) Emily looked at me and said in the most reassuring of voices, "Don't worry Laur, looks like lots of other people wear their pajamas to WalMart too!"
 Well.  Thank you for that little gem, Emily.  I knew I was pushing it with my fur lined slipper-shoes, but DO YOU NOT SEE MY BLACK YOGA PANTS?   
She did indeed see them though, and deemed them pajamas.  I didn't whether to laugh or to defend myself and clothing choices.  I decided the latter probably wasn't worth it, so my "pajamas" and I made the long walk back to the cd section.  It was a sad moment.  
It also forced me to think about how wonderful college was.  There, yoga pants are considered dressed up.  And if you pair them with a solid tee from Old Navy instead of one that has Penn State printed on the front, along with a stain or two and completely misshapen due to poor laundry skills, you must have a big day.  And if you wear JEANS?!?!  Oh my.  Don't even go there.    
Funny how things change.  Or, you know, not so funny.  Depending on how you look at it.

Monday, October 25, 2010

what about a bulldog?

A brand spankin' new Home Goods opened last week just a few minutes from our house, and my mom and I spent Friday evening wandering up and down aisle after glorious aisle of bargain priced home decor.  The saying "an elephant at any price is not a bargain" ran through my mind many times Friday night.  And thank heavens it did, because if not, I would have been all..."Oh, is that a gigantic ice bucket shaped like a penguin?  And for only $3.99?!  DON'T MIND IF I DO! Are those screen printed gorilla throw pillows really JUST $4.50?  I'LL TAKE TWO!  And OH MY WORD I have SO been in the market for a fairly  creepy Phantom of the Opera style nutcracker for the upcoming holiday season!  And at only $7.99, I'LL BE LOSING MONEY IF I DON'T BUY IT!

Elephants, Laura.

So just because those aforementioned items and their sub-ten dollar price tags would have fit perfectly into my budget, I didn't buy them.  Because I have zero use for an ice bucket that's pretending to be a penguin, throw pillows with gorilla faces on them, and a creepy nutcracker.  And, well, they were ugly. 

And because, of course, an elephant at any price isn't a bargain.


What about a bulldog statue?  A life size, vibrantly painted, high heeled, bulldog?
 What if she has false eyelashes and a seemingly misplaced tuft of jet black hair in the middle of her forehead?
 And wears not one, not two, but three sparkly, dangly, rhinestoney earrings?
At what price exactly does this bulldog become a bargain?  Because right now, it's on sale at the local Home Goods for the low, low price of $69.99!  Sixty!  Nine!  Ninety!  Nine!

And I don't even know what to say about that.

P.S.-My mom and I examined this "unique" piece of "art" for about five minutes on Friday night.  Trying to figure it out.  WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?  And then we brought my sister back on Saturday.  Because seriously, some things you just have to see to believe.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Emily and I had the following text conversation today.

Me: I have a new favorite song.  It's called Slice by Five for Fighting.  Listen to it when you get home from school.  But don't leave school just to listen to it.  Cause you know what I always kool.  Stay in skool. *

Emily: Ok.  You are so weird. e.**

Me: You on the bus?

Emily:  Yes, Mom.  e.***

Me: What are you doing tonight?

Emily:  We are...GOING TO SONIC!!! And fyi, your girl whitney is on the radio on the bus right now.  e.****

Me: SONIC?!?!?! WHAT?!?!?! Tell me more! And gotta love Whitney.  And of course my rendition of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody."

Em: Mom and Dad are ordering out so you and me are going to Sonic, oh sister dear, bff.  And I Wanna Dance With Somebody is on now.  I laughed when it came on. e.*****

Me:  You have made my day.  No-week.  No-YEAR!!  What ever will I get?

Em: The snack trio? e.

Me: Yeah, maybe. Or vodka.

Em: Well you DO have to drive us there, remember. e.

Me: TWELVE!!!!  I meant TWELVE! I might get twelve snack trios!  Hahaha I must have hit some incorrect buttons and that's what T9 came up with!******

Em:  I was gonna say...   e.

Me: Haha OH MY.  Well I also need to get my car washed-you game?  No vodka. PROMISE.


*I actually don't always say that. 

** Em has started "signing" all of her texts with an "e."  Personally I think it's slightly redundant since if she sent the message, I figure it's pretty safe to assume that she wrote it too.  I guess she just likes the reassurance.

***This was totally said/typed with an attitude.  It's her way of asking me WHY ARE YOU ALL UP IN MY BUSINESS?  But, what can I say?  I like to know where my people are at all times.  Some people would call that nosy.  I like to use the word "informed."

**** She was referring to Whitney Houston.  I consider myself to be pretty good buds with old Whitney since I sing her songs on a regular basis, which is why Em feels comfortable referring to her as "my girl Whitney."

*****She wrote "you and me."  It should be "you and I."  Knife in my English major heart.  And I promise she really did call me "oh sister dear, bff."

******I was exaggerating with the twelve snack trios.  But let's be honest here.  One measly snack trio does not a dinner make.

I got home from work tonight and we were ready to kick off our evening of excitement with a trip through the car wash.  Unfortunately it was closed when we got there, but I needed to vacuum Old Blue anyway. (I am still find kitty litter from my horrible flooding experience.)  Em took it upon herself to photograph the event.
 And then...SONIC TIME.  I did not, in fact, get the snack trio.  Or vodka, for that matter.  But dinner was delicious and Em and I are still SONIC'S BIGGEST FANS. 
 But the night wasn't over yet.  I know what you're thinking.  Laura, there is absolutely no way your night could have POSSIBLY gotten any more exciting!  But alas, it did.  We pulled out of the Sonic parking lot, or as I like to call it, The Most Dangerous Place In The County To Drive Your Car, and headed for WalMart.  I KNOW!  If that's not living on the edge, I don't know what is. 

We turned the radio on and by a stroke of luck, or perhaps divine intervention, we tuned in just in time for the Philly Five Breakdown.  And the number one song was none other than my buddy Flo Rida's "Club Can't Handle Me," a song whose title was obviously based on me and my crazy clubbing habits.  Emily felt the song was cool enough to warrant turning on the sweet ambient lighting feature that came with my car (thank you, Dad!), and proceeded to photograph her Sonic cup illuminated by every color of the rainbow.
Exciting night, right?  We might need to take it down a few notches in the future because seriously, I don't know if we can keep up this pace.  But, imagine how much fun it would have been if there really was vodka involved. 


Just kidding.


That would have been weird.


Monday, October 18, 2010


This is the view from Matt's apartment.  I know it's not right to be a jealous person.
But in this case, I can't help it.
And this is what he sees every night.
Doesn't this look like the African savannah or something?  It's not.  It's the view from the WalMart parking lot down the hill from his apartment.
We made two trips to WalMart this weekend because 1-we are wild and crazy, and 2-I wanted to buy Nutella. 

I remembered to bring my camera the second time.  And I am so glad that I did!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

take a hike

I visited Matt this weekend, and we had the best time.  We spent Saturday at a park with eight waterfalls and some pretty strenuous hikes.  I learned something about Matt this weekend, and that is that he is what you would classify as a VERY ENTHUSIASTIC hiker.  Now, I love a good hike, but a few times I thought  for sure that Matt's excitement was going to turn into a flat out jog.  For the most part I kept up with him, but my calves are paying the price tonight.  Oh my.  But you know what?  It was totally worth it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

chips and chocolate

Tonight, I made a special trip to WalMart for a bag of Sun Chips just so my family could hear for themselves how loud that 100% compostable bag really is. Emily, clearly, was just shocked.

And then Em and I waited and waited for Phil to finally get home so we could try to get him to eat this...
We thought it looked like white chocolate.  It was really candle wax.  Our trick was a miserable fail because after a few flips from one hand to the other, he looked at us and said, "This is candle wax."

The excitement around here never ends.

Monday, October 11, 2010

santa and mansions and bamboo, oh my

We made a trip to Lowe's this weekend for some fall flowers, and saw Santa precariously dangling from the rafters.  Looks like the poor old guy has a long ten weeks in front of him.  I bet he won't be so holly jolly by the time December 25 rolls around.
After church on Sunday Emily and I went over to an old mansion I just discovered.  Well, I didn't discover it, necessarily.  I have the discovery of new lands on the brain apparently, thanks to Christopher Columbus.  I would hate to steal his thunder on his big day.  What really happened  was I was just told of its existence, and wanted to check it out.  There is a lot of history behind this mansion, and someone does currently own it, but nobody has lived in it for years.  

We stood at the fence and took some pictures, because it's not every day you come across an abandoned 110 room mansion.  Or a rusty wrought iron fence, apparently.  Which is what I was clearly enamored with.
After a few minutes these two white dogs emerged from out of nowhere and started charging at us and barking like crazy.  I got a funny feeling they weren't barreling at us to see if we wanted to play fetch, so we ran (or hastily walked...we're not running people) back to the car and drove around the property from the safety of Old Blue.  Doors locked.  Windows up.  We realized that someone must live there, because someone has to feed those dogs.  Creepy.  Unless of course, as I told Emily, they survive on nosy people who perhaps get a little too close to the fence.  They try to pet the dogs, and next thing you know, they're dinner.  Then I started getting slightly carried away with my story and began to scare myself.  So I checked to make sure the car doors were locked.  For the fifteenth time.

It was going to be hard to beat a morning filled with church and an abandoned mansion, but oh, we were up for the challenge.  The afternoon started at my uncle's new house.  Apparently the landscaping philosophy of the previous owner was something along the lines of "BAMBOO, AND LOTS OF IT!!"
Hi Emily.

We then ventured to the mall, along with my mom and mommom, in search of two dresses for dances Emily has coming up.  I don't think we had even stepped foot into the mall when my mommom suggested that we make our first stop the food court.  She insisted that the key to a successful shopping trip is being properly nourished, and my mom and Emily wholeheartedly agreed.  There is no question that I belong in this family.

  A few egg rolls, an ice cream treat, and a corn dog later, we were ready to embark on the task at hand.  I hate to tell a lie, so I won't say it was an easy search.  But it was definitely worth it because Emily found two dresses and looks like a knockout in both.  She will be beating the boys away with a stick.  Or, perhaps, a very long piece of bamboo.  I happen to know where we can get a piece.  Or three hundred. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

my siblings, they are funny

My older brother, Phil, and I work at the same office.  While this is not a horrible situation, let me assure you that it was not at all intentional, since that would just be weird.  I'll share what happened, because I am a fan of providing an adequate foundation in the form of a background story.  I applied to a blind job posting online right after graduation, and it just happened to be Phil's office, and they called me, and now we not only live in the same house, but work at the same place.  Oh, the coincidences in life.  They are coincidental.

Today after Phil ate lunch, he came into the room where I was working to share some BREAKING CULINARY NEWS with me.  Evidently there had been some fifth grade style bartering going on in the kitchen, and in exchange for some beef jerky he scored a bag of fancy cheetos. 

Just a brief aside.  Even if he had scored regular old cheetos as opposed to these "fancy" ones, I still think he came out the winner.  Because beef jerky?  I WOULD RATHER EAT DIRT.

Back to the story.  Those were his exact words.  FANCY cheetos.  Now, I don't know that I have ever heard Phil use the word fancy to describe anything before, so I knew this had to be monumental, and I was intrigued.  It had never occurred to me to pair the words "fancy" and "cheetos", but obviously I was just missing out on this wonder of the world.  Phil assured me that these cheetos were not just a delightful, crunchy, salty, cheesy snack treat, but they were in fact downright FANCY.  He told me which cabinet he had stashed them in, and imagine my surprise when I went to the kitchen, opened the cabinet, and saw these...
Frito Lay has apparently now joined the ranks of "fancy."  I think Phil should let them know.

Tonight Emily and I were cleaning up the kitchen after dinner.  She is fourteen years old and at the stage where one moment she thinks I am SO COOL and a FANTASTIC big sister, and the next she doesn't even want to look at me.  It's charming, really.  Tonight her mood fit right into the latter category.  I know this because she cranked up her iPod as loud as she could and then...didn't look at me.  Listen, I can take a hint.  But if you think for one second that her goal to completely disregard my presence hindered my chatting and funny jokes, you have grossly underestimated my conversation determination.

While I had a one-sided conversation and Emily did her best to ignore me, my parents were in the family room watching some old war movie which involved A LOT of shooting.  'Twas a peaceful evening all around, apparently.  When we were almost finished the dishes Emily paused, took off her headphones, and asked, "Are Mom and Dad watching a show with a lot of shooting?"   We were silent for a few moments as we listened to the shots coming from the tv in the family room, and I told her that yes, I was fairly confident that the movie involved a gun or eighty seven and also perhaps the world's largest battle.  "Oh good," she said with relief in her voice, "I didn't know if it was my music or not."  Well.  I wasn't aware that Em had a shootout track on her iPod so I asked her what she was listening to that could have possibly included a deadly gun battle.  "The Spring Awakening soundtrack," she responded.

And I laughed.  I laughed and laughed and then Emily started to laugh because Spring Awakening?!  SPRING AWAKENING?  What a peaceful, calm, happy name!  Surely the Spring Awakening soundtrack could contain nothing but light, airy, cheerful music and happy, smiley characters! 

Turns out Emily had no clue what the play was actually about, so we were both in for a Rude Awakening when we googled the play's synopsis a few hours later.  It seems as though the playwright thought of every single horrible thing in the world, and crammed it into a few acts.  And let's just say that compared to the rest of the play, a gun battle would have been like comic relief.  Sort of like Phil and Em.  Gotta love 'em.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


This weekend was the perfect combination of chilly weather, fall shoes (finally!),
 Sonic for dinner,
 awesome clouds,
 fall candles,
 and pretty sunsets.

Oh, and college football.  But I'm in the process of trying to permanently erase Penn State's Saturday night loss to Iowa from my mind, so let's not talk about college football!