Friday, May 27, 2011


 December 1, 2010.  The day I saved three documents as HOLLA, HOLLABACK, and hollaHOLLA.
I have no explanation.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

our day in the city of the large red fruit

When Emily and I do the dishes together, there's no question that at some point I will end up performing an enthusiastic rendition of Frank Sinatra's New York, New York.  I can't explain it.  It's like somewhere between the silverware and the frying pan my Big Apple dream breaks free in the form of a classic 1979 song.

Well, on Saturday I went to New York City and that little dream of mine became a reality.

I was offered a role in a Broadway show!!

Just kidding!  There are actually two reasons I wouldn't want to be on Broadway.  The first is the actual performing and the second is the audience.  Turns out those things are vital aspects of show biz, so it looks like my melodic voice and I will be sticking to performances in the kitchen and/or my car.  

I really did go to New York on Saturday though.  My cousins, Emily and I had given our moms Mary Poppins tickets for Mother's Day and the show was this past weekend.  Before we left, I turned on my psych up song for the day, which was of course New York, New York.  Emily chose to listen to a few rounds of Empire State of Mind, and her thematic musical choice did me proud.  Plus, when Jay Z says "I be spiked out.  I'll be hood forever," I'm sure he means "I'm king of the hill.  Top of the heap" as Frank says.  Ah, yes.  Surely Frank and Jay would have been the best of friends.

Anyway, we got to the train station and I was really hoping that we would get a double decker train, because what in the world could be more fun than riding on the second story of a New Jersey Transit commuter train?  NOT MUCH.  I'm sad to say that a regular old one story train came rolling (riding?  sliding?  driving?) down the track, and I put my preferences aside and climbed aboard.

The train ride was uneventful, and a short time later we found ourselves in Pennsylvania Station.  Which was ironic because THAT IS THE STATE FROM WHENCE WE CAME. 

Once we confirmed that we did in fact make it to Manhattan, we started walking around and I took my camera out and carried it in my hand like a tourist because I WAS A TOURIST and also, LOOK AT ALL OF THE TALL BUILDINGS AND BEAUTIFUL SIGNS.

And while we were walking I instructed my family to LOOK FOR REGIS!  If that doesn't scream tourist, I don't know what does.

We ate lunch at the Stardust Diner. 

All of the waiters and waitresses there are aspiring Broadway stars, and there is always someone singing.  They were all very talented, and one of the girls sounded EXACTLY like Lady Gaga.  Thankfully she did not sport an outfit made of flank steak or "hatch" from some sort of "egg."
And finally, after lunch we headed back uptown for the show.

Look at me using city terms like uptown.  In all actuality I have no idea if it was uptown or downtown or overtown, but it sure makes me sound sophisticated. 
The show was fantastic and after we left I wanted to run home, find a magical umbrella, and float in on the east wind to a family in need of some tough love and a spoonful of sugar.  To help the medicine go down.  Medicine, go down.  Medicine, go down.

In the most deeeee-liiiight-fullll way.

After the show we caught the east wind and flew back into town on our umbrellas.  I kid, what we really caught was a (one story) train back home, because the east wind would have taken us somewhere in the vicinity of the Hudson River, and while I do enjoy a dramatic exit, that one would have been less than ideal.

It was a lovely day in the big city though, and I think some of the Broadway talent/magic rubbed off on me, because in church on Sunday morning I was on my A game in the singing department.  A few songs in I even leaned over to Emily and whispered, "My singing voice is really good today."

Ah, vanity.  One of my finest gifts.  So glad it could make an appearance in church, of all places.

Emily listened to me closely for a few verses and then whispered back quite bluntly, "Nope.  You sound exactly the same to me as you always have."

That just means I need a little more practice.  Just wait until we do the dishes this week!  She will think Frank himself has shown up to wash the pots.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

i'm trying to work the word 'aviary' into this post somehow

A few weeks ago my mom discovered that some birds had made a nest on top of the wreath on our front door.  They got themselves some prime real estate amongst the pink artificial hydrangeas. Little did they know that not only would their location provide them with some lovely floral views, but that my mom would build them a privacy fence so they could sit on the nest in peace and quiet.

It's very shabby chic.  Or, should I say shabby CHICK?

Since the discovery of the nest, I have been anxiously awaiting the day when those little eggs would hatch.  I could wait to see the cuddly, fluffy, adorable birds that I was sure were inside.

Well, the eggs hatched on Sunday.  And here is the part where I wish I could tell you that the babies were every bit as cuddly and adorable as I imagined they would be.

But, they weren't.  Not even a little bit.  Not even if you turned off the lights, took out your contacts, AND squinted your eyes.  Nevertheless, I took a few pictures of our featherless friends yesterday but the glass is frosted and I didn't want to use a flash so they are a little blurry.  Here they are in all of their pink, un-fluffy glory.

Looks like someone is hungry!  That would be Laura, Jr, obviously.  I'm so proud.

Here's hoping that tomorrow these little guys have feathers. Nowhere to go but up.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

on the plus side, i'd make a great hitch hiker

Well, I can’t believe it’s already Saturday night.  Especially because when I look back at this past week I can’t remember doing anything except going out to eat twice and watching reality TV.  So basically just living the dream.
 Although my lightbulbs finally arrived this week from the faraway land of China, and they were absolutely worth every bit of the 44 day wait.  I’m seeing my bedroom in a whole new light.
Also, I received a reply to my letter to the radio station concerning my disapproval of no ballad weekends. 
 Wait a minute.  What am I talking about? THIS WEEK WAS FULL OF EXCITEMENT!
 Unfortunately, despite my one woman campaign, it looks like they will be keeping Pitbull on the airwaves each weekend and Meatloaf and Peter Cetera will be pushed to the wayside until Monday morning.  I can’t say I’m surprised.  Speaking of Pitbull, he was on Dancing With the Stars this week along with my buddy NeYo.  While they performed I googled them and then read their criminal pasts to my family because we like to keep the excitement level around here hovering at about a 9.
 Thursday night 50 Cent was on American Idol, so it was like week of the hip hop trifecta.  I knew he has had a few run ins with the law so I googled him and proceeded to read what became my favorite quote of the week…”if it weren’t for the fact that his felony convictions prevented him from voting, 50 Cent has said that he would have voted for President Bush.”
 I’m sure Bush was just thrilled to death with that endorsement from Mr. Cent.
 I didn’t have class this week, so on Monday night I went out to dinner with Matt.  We went to Macaroni Grill and had the best time.  We even got an appetizer because we were feeling fancy and Matt chose calamari.  Which I learned is actually squid.  I was operating under the impression that it was another type of sea creature altogether.  Sort of like one fisherman saying “Oh look, I caught some squid,” and his fishing buddy saying “Cool, I’m fishing for calamari today.” 
Unless that fisherman is tossing his line in a vat of hot oil, he will be out of luck.
 At one point during the meal the waitress came over and asked if I would like more iced tea and I very politely said, “Yes please, I’ll have a little bit more.”  When she walked away Matt laughed and said “You know, I always wonder why you always answer like that.  Do you really think someone will ever bring you back a glass with only a little bit of iced tea in it?”  To be honest, I never even realized what I was saying, let alone considered the consequences of my words.  I suppose subconsciously I just don’t want servers to think I am some kind of glutton in the iced tea beverage department.
Thursday night we went to Applebee’s because we were in the mood to eat good in the neighborhood, as their slogan suggests.  Also, they have some sweet deals on appetizers after 9:00.  We ordered chicken fingers, spinach artichoke dip, and potato twisters.  Well, apparently I don’t bring my fine dining manners along with me to restaurants where you can play guys vs. girls bingo while simultaneously watching sixteen different televised sporting events, because when the waitress came over to see how our food was, my mouth was full.  So do you know what I did? 
 A HEARTY, ENTHUSIASTIC THUMBS UP.  It was like an out of body experience and as soon as I realized what I was doing I returned my hand quickly back down on the table hoping that maybe she and/or Matt did not realize what I had just done.  But by the look on Matt’s face, I could tell that it was too late.
 When she came back a little while later to see if I wanted more mango lemonade, I almost just said “FILL ‘ER UP.”  Because at that point, what did I have to lose?
Today I went to New York City with some family and we had the best day, but I think it deserves it’s very own post.  However, you can rest assured that when we went out to lunch, my thumbs did not make any uninvited appearances.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

let your light shine - a giveaway!

It's no secret that I love words.  Love. Them.  All of them. 

Except writhe.  I have never liked the word writhe.

Other than that though, I'm a FAN of the words.  It completely fascinates me that just 26 letters make up millions of words, and those words can make you think and cry and dream and laugh (those are my favorites) and apologize and change and forgive and imagine.  

I have a lot of words around my room... 

 And now, I have a new addition to my word collection.
 Let your light shine. 

Seventeen little letters.  Four little words.  And a whole lot of meaning.
This plaque is from Dayspring, and this month's theme for their Inspired Deals page is "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." 

Turns out I loved words so much that I majored in English during college.  Which consequently means that I do not have a house at this point in my life, but instead a lovely little bedroom in my parent's home.  However, I can do my best to serve the Lord and let my light shine in my tiny little corner of the world!  
And here's the best news!  I have a $20.00 Dayspring credit to give away to one person who comments on this post between now and Friday night.

For one entry, check out the Dayspring store and come back and tell me your favorite item. 

For a second entry, tell me your favorite four word quote or verse or phrase!

Dayspring provided me with this product for review.  However, all opinions are my very own.  And they are priceless.  Also, it makes me feel very official and grown up to type this fine print disclosure statement.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

it's fun to have a little sister

Once in a great while I get the vibe that Emily becomes a wee bit tired of me and thinks about how she can't believe we are even related.  Mainly because she will occasionally sigh VERY LOUDLY and then say "I CAN'T BELIEVE WE ARE WE EVEN RELATED."  However, sometimes I think we are more alike than she would like to admit.

The other night after dinner, Emily was in the kitchen "doing the dishes," and I was up in my room.  I heard a knock at my door, and here is what I saw when I opened it.
Not kidding.

Apparently while she was "doing the dishes," Emily picked decided to pick up one of the food covers we use when we eat out on the deck, place it on her head, and spin around and around in an effort to demonstrate the scientific principle of inertia.

All while wearing her rockstar sunglasses.  Of course.  I'm sure Sir Isaac Newtown rocked his shades while he experimented with the laws of motion too.

After she confirmed that an object in motion does indeed stay in motion, she came upstairs to show me.

So I'm thinking Em's future could go either way.  Comedian or physicist.  It's a real toss up.

P.S. - I just went to Em's room to ask her if she would mind me putting these pictures on the blog.  She looked at me and responded totally nonchalantly, "Sure, as long as I'm wearing my sunglasses in them.  I mean, if I'm going to be on the blog, I want to look good."

We are definitely sisters. 

my mom and the graduate

Well, this weekend was a big one.  It was full of places to go and people to see, and that just so happens to be my favorite sort of weekend. 

Saturday was Matt’s graduation.  I drove up with his family and the two hour ride was absolutely gorgeous.  I have never seen greener trees or a sky quite so blue.  It was like spring decided to come out with all guns blazing and say “take that, winter.”  I felt like I was looking at the world through rose colored glasses, except they were blue and green. 
Unfortunately, the second we arrived at his school we were instructed to take shelter inside the classroom buildings because of approaching severe weather, including lighting and hail.  And so then we sat in a lecture hall for 45 minutes while outside it rained and poured and blew and whatever the past tense of lightning is and I sat there thinking (but not saying because even though it CRACKED me up, I was in polite company) “what the hail?” 

Finally there was a bit of a break in the storms so we all ran outside for a VERY ABBREVIATED AND ALSO VERY COLD version of graduation.  There was enough time for all of the names to be called, and for the president of the alumni association to get up and fill the graduates with false hope and assure them that it doesn’t matter that the job market stinks and that no one is hiring and they will make far less money than they imagine, because the world!!  It is their oyster!! 


As soon as he finished speaking the skies OPENED UP and it POURED and I’m sure there could be some kind of metaphor for the rain and the fact that all the graduates had to shield themselves from the storm was their college diploma and when they used that to try to protect themselves, they still got a little bit wet. 

Except for the engineering majors.  They didn’t get a drop on them. 

Due to the rainstorm we went back inside the classroom building to meet up with the graduate and take cover from the rain and also some pictures!
It was about dinnertime when graduation ended so we were going to go out to eat.  The trick was finding a restaurant.  I remember touring this particular college when I was in high school, before I fell hook line and sinker for Penn State.  Someone asked our tour guide what there was to do around the campus, and he matter of factly answered “Drive thirty miles in any direction.  Nothing.”

He was not kidding. 

I was driving with Matt and his family was following us, and he said that pretty soon we were going to come up to a pretty big city and that he was confident we could find a nice restaurant there.  A few miles later we passed a mom and pop hardware store and a post office and I said in a very joking manner “so is this the “big city?” because obviously it’s not a big city unless you have a Target, large shopping mall, and at least three grocery stores.  He looked at me and said “Yeah.  Didn’t you see that stoplight?”

Toto, we’re not in the suburbs anymore.

Well let me tell you that big city/teeny tiny town did have a restaurant, and we went in and I had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn muffins, salad, apple sauce, cottage cheese, French fries and sweet tea and it was all delicious. 

Sunday was Mother’s Day of course, and after church we visited my Gramma.  Then we came home and planted flowers, which is a Mother’s Day tradition in our family.  We made my mom dinner a little while later, which was in my mind a total collaborative effort because I was in charge of the asparagus and Phil made potatoes and grilled some delicious steak.  However, after dinner he said “thanks for helping me with dinner, Laur.” 

I get the feeling he didn’t think our mealtime contributions were 50/50.  However, it was delicious and I think my mom enjoyed it!  And the rest of her Mother’s Day gift will come in a few weeks, so this is like the holiday that never ends.

On Monday I had school and then Matt left his house and the great Phillies game that was on and came over to watch Dancing with the Stars with me.  That is a tell tale sign of true love and also the first night of summer.  At first he acted like he was too cool for DWTS, but after Mark and Chelsea danced he predicted their scores and was SPOT ON, and I’m pretty sure he’s hooked. 

The Phillies and Major League Baseball in general are likely nothing but a distant memory for Matt.

Now I just have to try to get him to come over for American Idol too and I will have met two summer goals before the month of May is even halfway over which will put me very ahead of schedule.

Another goal is to get down the shore, and I just so happen to be going this weekend.

I’m SHORE it will be a lovely time.

Friday, May 6, 2011

old blue and bill

Last night I went to the city to visit my aunt along with my mom, Emily, and assorted aunts/grandmothers/cousins.  My mom drove the seven of us down in our SUV and I’m ever so sorry to report that once again my navigational skillz and I were not invited to sit in the front seat.  In fact, I was majorly demoted to the THIRD ROW, where I could hardly see out the front window and therefore dispense very few directional suggestions.  Apparently my mom didn’t want me copiloting a car full of seven people.  In Philadelphia.  At rush hour.  Imagine.

Instead I sat in the WAY BACK thinking about how Toby Keith’s new song, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up somewhere else” is in the running to become my next theme song.  From the sounds of that title it seems as though Toby has taken a car trip or two with me.  Although if that were true then he also would have added a verse about the fact that even if you THINK you know where you’re going and begin your trip with the best of intentions, there’s a good chance you will end up somewhere else anyway.  Even if you have a GPS.  And have been to the place before.  And call your friend AND your parents for directions.  And still get a wee bit turned around when you get off the exit of the turnpike because suddenly there are MANY CHOICES and you don’t see the sign your dad told you to look for so you just follow signs for a national park that you recognize and before you know if you’re in the parking lot of the Merrill Lynch office building when all you really wanted to do was go to the mall.


Back to last night.  It was a long ride into the city due to the aforementioned rush hour traffic, so I also spent some time looking out the window for Bill Cosby.  He lives in the Philadelphia area and I just know that someday I will see him there amongst the million plus other Philadelphia residents so I always keep a look out for him.  My current favorite Bill Cosby quote is “A word to the wise isn’t necessary.  It’s the stupid people that need the advice.” 

Between Bill and Toby, there is just a plethora of deep thoughts.

The ride home was easier traffic-wise, but I still sat in the third row.  It was pretty late by the time we got home and hadn’t eaten dinner, so everyone came back to our house for some traditional Cinco de Mayo cuisine.


And that brings us to today, which is Friday. 

I am full of valuable information.

Guess what!  Tomorrow will be Saturday!!

I had grand plans to CLEAN MY CAR OUT after work today but that was put on hold because it was a gorgeous day out and a walk in the woods called my name.  I do want to clean out my car at some point this weekend though because there is an entire winter’s worth of road salt on the floor and it’s high time to vacuum it out.  I’m also going to wipe down the dashboard and fancy controls and cup holders because, as I always say, go big or go home.  Plus last summer I bought an entire bottle of Armor All and it’s not doing anyone any good sitting on the shelf in the garage.  I’ve actually been hesitant to use it because the first time I did I got a a little too enthusiastic and actually wiped down the windows with it, and I will tell you that streaky, foggy, oily mess took MONTHS to resolve.  

It’s just a regular week of spring tune ups for Old Blue because last week I took it/her in for an oil change.  When the mechanic was finished he came back into the waiting room and said, “Your car needs new wiper blades and a tire rotation.  That’s when we switch the back tires to the front, and the front tires to the back.”  Well, thank you ever so much for that obvious explanation, Mr. Mechanic.  I may not be a car expert, but I am aware of the concept of tire rotation.  And even if I wasn’t, I majored in English in college so I am QUITE FAMILIAR with context clues.

So the other day I took Old Blue for a tire rotation and new wiper blades.  The blades I had were actually ripping, which is likely due to the fact that wiper speeds 1 through 3 are dead to me.  Apparently my quest to NEVER, EVER let a drop of rain sit on my windshield for longer than half a second is hard on the blades. 

This weekend is full of Big Fun such as Matt’s graduation and Mother’s Day and my mom teaching me how to sew. 

I am just SEW excited. 

I'm sorry.  I couldn't help myself on that one.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

we won't even be up this early for our own weddings

Well, Friday was the royal wedding.

Emily was the first one up in our family, and she was on the couch, DRESSED IN HER SCHOOL UNIFORM, with a cup of tea and a plate of scones by 4:05 am. 
Rosie was ready too.

Over the course of the next few hours we watched the real life fairy tale and I decided that when the day comes for me commit my life to the lucky guy, I’d like a red carpet, several trumpeters playing festive interludes, multiple receptions, and some sort of diamond tiara.  And if a title that includes “duchess of…” happens to be bestowed upon me as well, I certainly wouldn’t oppose.

I could write for days about the wedding but I’ll summarize with I. LOVED. IT.

On Saturday night Michelle and I went to Chili’s after dinner because my mom had given me a gift card for us to use, plus we had a LOT of royal wedding details to analyze.  We spent the next few hours talking about William and Kate and OH HOW WE WISH WE WERE ROYALTY. 

Then we got our bill. 

The total was $8.40. 

And we paid with a gift card. 

Not the most royal move in the book.

On Sunday my sister was in a parade in our town, so my mom and I went to watch her.  She was walking with a group from our library and asked me if I wanted to join them, and for a split second I did consider it because hello, it was the perfect opportunity for me to practice my princess wave for an audience. 

I used to practice my princess wave when I was little and my mom would score me on a 1-10 scale.  I would do it over.  And over.  And as an added twist sometimes I would try to perform the regal wave and slide down the sliding board AT THE VERY SAME TIME because I was always up for a challenge.  I was seriously considering showcasing my princess wave skillz on Sunday because they have been YEARS in the making, but then Emily told me that in order to walk with the library gang you had to dress as your favorite book character, and I can’t imagine anything I’d want to do less than march down the road in a parade dressed as Anne of Green Gables. 

Despite my attempts to avoid embarrassment at the parade, it managed to find me as I sat under a shady tree along the route.  I will share about that in a moment, but first, a little back story. 

I love restaurants because they are a beautiful combination of two of my favorite things…eating and being waited on.  However, I was given a children’s menu at nearly every restaurant I visited even when I was WELL PAST the typical age twelve cutoff, and it became sort of a joke in my family.  And let me tell you, there are few things more embarrassing to a sixteen year old than when you are able to drive yourself to a restaurant, yet look like you should still receive the kid’s menu and a mini pack of crayons to keep yourself occupied while you wait for your grilled cheese.

In fact, my parents took my sister and me to a dude ranch in upstate New York for a week one summer.  My brother couldn’t come because he had already left for college, which meant that I was seventeen, aka a big, bad, cool senior in high school.  There was a dining room/restaurant where guests would go for every meal, complete with servers and a lengthy dessert menu.  Guess who got a kid’s menu AT EVERY MEAL.  That’s right.  Seventeen year old me. 

That was the same vacation that sponsored a daily game of family bingo.  Winners got a ten dollar certificate to the gift shop, but the catch was that instead of shouting bingo when you won, you had to neigh like a horse.

Oh how clever.

I may or may not have perfected the horse neighing sound effect prior to the trip, but in either case I NEVER, EVER expected to have to do it in public, especially when I was seventeen and TOTALLY MATURE AND COOL.

Well, pride, it cometh before a fall. 

Guess who won bingo. 

Before I knew it, there I was neighing like a horse in front of forty strangers so I could go get some decorative ceramic cowboy boots at the gift shop and be back at the dining room in time to eat my chicken fingers for dinner and drink my milk from a cup with a lid and a straw that changed colors.

It really was a very fun vacation and for some reason when I think back on it I remember a lot of funny things, like the fact that Emily, who was the main reason for us going because she LIVED AND BREATHED horses, was more interested in the wooden horse in the lobby of the lodge than any real horse at the ranch.  

Anyway the point of all that was to say that at the parade, an employee from TD was running up and down the sidewalk giving bags to children with a pencil and folder inside and a pamphlet about TD’s kid’s program, TD Bank WOW ZONE. 

Guess who got a bag.

I wanted to tell the cheerful, green clad employee that I am a 22 year old COLLEGE GRADUATE WHO IS GETTING A HARSH REALITY CHECK ABOUT THE VALUE OF A DOLLAR, so maybe your snazzy pencil and folder would have been relevant, oh, A DECADE OR SO AGO.

When they gave it to me my mom even said, “Wow, Laura, how old do they think you are?”

The answer to that is NOT OLD ENOUGH.  Everyone says that one day I’ll be happy when people think I’m younger than I am and I’m waiting for the day.

In the meantime I’ll just practice my princess wave in case one day I have to wave for hours and hours at my very fancy wedding if pull a Kate Middleton and I marry into the royal family.  I bet the queen never has to worry about restaurant menus.

Or, for that matter, her bank account. 

Sunday, May 1, 2011

my favorite part is the traditional Easter frog on the package

While browsing the clearance section at Target today, I saw this for just nine cents.
But an elephant at any price isn't a bargain.

And I can imagine that green apple flavored edible Easter grass isn't either.