Wednesday, June 29, 2011

oh deer

It's not every day you drive down the highway and spot a fellow motorist with a large deer in his front seat.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

i'm holding out for vita sweet tea

Last week Emily and I were in the store and a display of Vita Coco just happened to catch my eye.

Within seconds I had pretty much convinced myself that Vita Coco and I were going to have a lovely, refreshing summer together as girl and beverage.  And as a bonus, it seemed super healthy because everyone knows that putting “vita” in front of something instantaneously increases the nutritional credibility.

I wish there was such a thing as “Vita Doritos.”

When we got home I proudly showed my mom my purchase, and she said, “Laura, do you even like coconut?”

The answer to that would be no.  No, I don’t. 

However, the only place I really encounter coconut is on/in some type of cake, in which case the main reason I dislike it is due to the strange, papery texture it brings to an otherwise delightful baked good.  I do, however, just LOVE the way that coconut scented shampoos/soaps/suntan lotions smell.   

So I guess the bottom line here is that I was hoping coconut water would taste the way coconut shampoo smells.

I am here to tell you that it doesn’t.  Not at all.  Not even close.  One sip of Vita Coco and, in the words of Celine, our love has ended before it's begun.

It seemed like such a shame to let all that Vita Coco go to waste though, but Emily didn't let me down.  She carried on our charming tradition of trying to get Phil to eat gross things by convincing him that they are indeed delicious foods.  So far we have presented him with a ball of candle waxmasquerading as white chocolate, and an Oreo filled with minty fresh Crest toothpaste.  He caught on immediately to both of those tricks, but hope springs eternal, again, so Emily the other night Emily filled up a glass with this cloudy, yellowish/white liquid and presented it to Phil. 

Turns out he was very suspicious.  I can't imagine why.

My advice to you is this:  If anyone ever offers you Vita Coco, run far, and run fast. 

Unless, of course, you enjoy coconut.  Then by all means, give it a shot.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

what do these books say about their reader?

I always keep a sizable collection of reading material in my car because you never know when you will unexpectedly find yourself with a few extra moments.  You might be early for an appointment.  Or bored on your lunch hour.  Or sitting in a traffic jam at rush hour on the turnpike.  

Oh, I kid about that last one.  I only read on non-toll roads.

  JUST KIDDING AGAIN.  I am actually a big time supporter of keeping your eyes on the road and off of your iphones and blackberries whilst operating a vehicle BECAUSE SERIOUSLY, WHAT EMAIL/TEXT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT IT CANNOT WAIT TO BE ANSWERED UNTIL YOU HAVE ARRIVED AT YOUR DESTINATION OR AT THE VERY LEAST FOUND SOMEWHERE TO SAFELY PULL OVER?  I have some FEELINGS about that, but they are a story for another soapbox.

Anyway, yesterday I was on my way to the library to pick up two more books when it occurred to me that I have myself a mini library right in Old Blue, without the convenience of the handy Dewey Decimal System of course.  My system of literary organization is more along the lines of a slightly disorganized pile on the backseat.  Or on the floorboards, which is sometimes an unfortunate side effect of applying the brakes a bit more forcefully than usual.  Either way, no Dewey.

Let's take a closer look.  Here are two people I bet NEVER thought they would find themselves next to each other. Yet here they are, living on my backseat/floor in peace and harmony.

 Ah, a Nicholas Sparks novel.  This particular one is "The Wedding," but let's face it, it could be any one of his books, since they all have the EXACT SAME plot and the only things that change are the title and character names.  Yet I ADORE every, single cheesy, poorly written one of them. 

I keep these bad boys for a few reasons.  One of which is just in case someone in the Wal Mart/Target/Sonic parking lot asks me about planning their will or how to file for custody.  I will then whip out these trusty books and proceed to merely DISCUSS these legal issues with them, but most certainly not ADVISE them because successful completion of paralegal classes does not a lawyer make.

Also, these books are very big and heavy and I prefer to leave them in my car as opposed to carrying them back and forth into the house.  That may sound lazy, but I prefer the terms clever and strategic.

And finally we have several sophisticated periodicals containing only the hardest hitting of news.

As I was driving yesterday, I began to think what an unlikely literary collection this was.  And then, because I have a slight surplus of time on my hands, I pictured various authors/subjects having lunch together.

My three favorite scenarios were as follows:

1- Kate Middleton, Prince William, and the author of my estates and trusts textbook.  Oh, what I wouldn't do to be a fly on that proverbial palace wall.  Or a beneficiary on that will.  Whichever.

2- President Bush, Tina Fey, and Nicholas Sparks.  I think Tina would be hilarious and Mr. Bush would be a good sport, and Nicholas would try to be polite and occasionally come out with a line so disgustingly sweet that you literally cringe.

3- Tina, Carrie, Kate, and J-Lo.  And me.  That would just be fun, and I’d think I’d probably get at least one big break at such an outing.  I’d get to showcase my singing talent for Carrie and J-Lo and most likely land myself a record deal.  Or Tina would choose me for her comedic sidekick.  Or perhaps Kate would take me back to London to become an honorary sister because we all know that what the royal family really needs is a princess from Pennsylvania.
And on that note, Happy Friday!

Monday, June 20, 2011

if only i really did have such valuable advice

Seems as though I blinked and this whole weekend was over.  I hate it when that happens.

The weekend started on the right foot Friday night with an evening o’ fun.  Meaning that by about 8:00 I was in my pajamas and reading Bossypants.  Tina Fey, you are hilarious.

Then I spent a solid hour making up a ridiculous story and seeing how much I could get Emily to believe.  She and my mom were going to New York on Saturday, and as I hugged her goodnight I told her I had one piece of advice for her to remember the next day in the city.  I even wrote it down for her on a piece of notebook paper so she could tuck it in her purse and bring it along with her to the Big Apple.

 Total nonsense. 

Even though Emily’s common sense told her that my little adage meant absolutely nothing, I could tell that there was a tiny part of her that thought just maybe there was a deep, hidden meaning.

So Emily contemplated the advice while lying on my bed with my computer and researching MIT.  Meanwhile, I sat at my desk and took pictures of myself trying to pose like Tina Fey on the cover of Bossypants, because OH, that picture makes me LAUGH.  Also, I felt like I needed to counteract a little bit of the maturity and sophistication that came along with all the MIT research.

Finally Emily announced that she thought she had uncovered the meaning.  She said, quite confidently “Don’t EVER let anyone else wash your back for you.”

Given the fact that this sentence was complete nonsense, I have to say that wasn’t a bad conclusion.  And truthfully, it probably is advice that everyone should put into practice during their time in New York City.  And, really, life in general.

Saturday afternoon I got the following next from Emily, “I still have no idea what that advice means.  And mom says you have too much time on your hands.”

I can’t really argue with that.

Sunday was of course, Father’s Day.  For dinner, we made my dad the traditional Father’s Day meal of grilled pork and mango skewers with Vietnamese dipping sauce.  ‘Twas delicious.  I was responsible for the rice, green beans, and the dipping sauce, which was a key component of the meal.  Luckily, the whole family enjoyed it and we are all still alive today, so SUCCESS!

And as the icing on the cake, or the Vietnamese dipping sauce on the pork, as the case may be, we took a picture in my favorite popping pose.

Happy Father’s Day, indeed.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

saturday with my sidekicks

Saturday started with a trip to the Clinique counter at Macy’s so I could purchase some Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel.  This miracle in a jar has been part of my skin care regimen for the last six years, but I was fresh out on Saturday and OH THE DRAMA that would surely arise if I didn’t replenish my stock in time for my bedtime application.  I would be paying the skincare piper for days.  DAYS.  

 As I got my wallet out to pay with cash money, the woman behind the counter asked me if I would like to open a Macy’s credit card and save twenty percent on my purchase!  When I politely declined she asked again, this time with added emphasis on the fact that I could save! twenty! percent!  Listen, if I am going to open up a credit card just to save twenty percent on a purchase - that purchase is going to be something more along the lines of a speedboat or diamond tiara a la Kate Middleton.  Not a jar of moisturizer.  

After round two of her pitch, the woman got quiet, looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Wait, are you even 18 years old?”  

My mom promises me that there will come a day when I will be overjoyed if someone thinks I am five years younger than I really am, but Saturday was not that day.  So I just put on my best 22 year old, I’M TOTALLY MATURE AND FULL OF WISDOM AND BY THE WAY, ALMOST TWENTY THREE smile and said, “Yes, I am” and handed over twenty five dollars.  

When I first started using this moisturizer it cost $18.00, and now it costs $24.50.  I think the secret ingredient in the moisturizer is INFLATION.  At this rate I will be paying a pretty penny for some D.D.M.G. by the time I am eighty years old.  Although I’ll look like I’m only seventy five, and really, that is something that you just cannot put a price on.

After Macy’s Emily and I continued on our retail journey with a trip to Ikea.  I like to describe my relationship with Ikea as rocky at best.  You know - when I’m asked to describe my relationship with it.  Which happens approximately, oh, NEVER.  However, I do blame the downfall of Philadelphia’s Thanksgiving Day parade on Ikea’s sponsorship.  Also, they tend to sell lamps that require bulbs that only exist in China, which is convenient if you live in China but not so much the eastern region of the United States.

When Em and I arrived at Ikea we were giddy with a successful trip on a limited access highway and decided to celebrate at the snackbar, where we ordered two giant slices of pizza and two large drinks.  Just $4.00 for all that and a bag of (Swedish) chips.  It’s safe to say that Ikea is working its way back into my heart one bargain priced slice of pizza at a time.  

Emily and I went to the drink machines to fill our cups and I decided that I wanted milk, because, well, I love it.  I put my cup under the little spout and pushed the button, and the milk started coming out in a teeny tiny little dribble.  I waited there watching the milk trickle ever so slowly into my cup while Emily got a table and started her pizza.  I glanced back at her a few minutes later and the look she had on her face can only be translated to TOTAL DISGUST.  In an attempt to lighten her mood I said, “Hey Em! It probably would have been faster for me to just find a farm and go milk a cow there! You know?!”  My attempt was futile and she said, “Laura, that milk is for the COFFEE.  You are SO EMBARASSING.”  

I guess I got a little excited about the opportunity for a nice cardboard cup of delicious snack bar milk and didn’t realize I was at the coffee section of the drink counter.  But there I was, right in the midst of the coffee mate and the sugar.  I would hate to inflict further embarrassment on Emily, so my tablespoon of lukewarm milk and I joined her at the table where we ate our pizza in peace and harmony.

When we got home from Ikea I laid down on my bed and took a nap because all that shopping was exhausting and I am, after all, TWENTY TWO. After my nap Matt and I hit the casino, because nothing says Happy Saturday like thirty dollars, some slot machines, and sky high expectations.  

Actually, I had gone to a casino in Atlantic City for the first time a few weeks ago, and came home $112.31 richer.  Ever since, Matt's been wanting to test his beginner’s luck.  And as soon as we walked through the casino doors, I was intercepted by security and carded, and then a bright orange bracelet was taped around my wrist for reasons I am still unsure of.  It was probably code for “EVEN THOUGH SHE DOESN’T LOOK IT, THIS GIRL REALLY IS OLD ENOUGH TO BE HERE.”  

Matt kept saying that the more money he won, the fancier the restaurant we would go to afterwards.  He had his hopes set on a large, expensive steak, and I was dreaming of a restaurant with cloth napkins. Bring on the fancy.

 We had sandwiches for dinner.

 And the cashier at the sandwich shop didn’t even offer us a credit card or twenty percent off. 

 Although, she didn’t card me either.  Silver lining.

Monday, June 13, 2011

i am a phan of physics and the phillies

Matt and I went to the baseball game on Friday evening.  On the drive down I took a few pictures of the skyline, as I do every single time I drive down I-95.  You just never know when a new skyscraper will appear, and I would hate for this scenic view to go undocumented.  

When Matt picked me up, he brought a new Phillies shirt that he got for me to wear to the game.  It was a Cliff Lee shirt, and about thirty seconds after I took this lovely photo of I-95 at rush hour I turned to Matt and said, “So, what position is Cliff Lee?”  He took a long, deep breath, collected his patience and said, “He’s. Our. Pitcher.”  And then he probably wondered whether or not he could just let me camp out on the side of 95 and pick me up on the way home from the game because WHAT KIND OF PHILLIES PHAN AM I?  

 As we got close to the ballpark, I became to get a wee bit apprehensive about Matt’s parking plans, since last time we had a bit of a run in with the long arm of the parking authority.  Matt was at a game earlier this week and apparently parking was $15, and Friday night it was $25.  Well, Matt was not going to fall victim to such a tricky weekend price gauging scheme.  As we drove around in search of alternative/cheaper/still safe and well lit parking, we happened to pass by the scene of the crime from July of oh ten.

It appears that despite Matt's suggestion, the Philadelphia Parking Authority has not yet installed additional signs that clarify "PARKING = STOPPING."  

Perhaps that's on the agenda for July.

We ended up parking in the lot of a church on the next block for only ten American dollars.  It was a win-win really, because the money was going to the church as opposed to those tricky parking lot guys, and we figured the car was probably extra safe spending the evening in a holy parking lot.

When we got inside the park I immediately bought a Schmitter sandwich.  I will admit that at the sky high price of $9.50, it was about $6.50 more than I would normally spend on a sandwich.  However, this particular sandwich not only features every type of deli meat you can imagine, but is covered with a special dressing that words cannot describe.  I may or may not dream about it.

As the innings ticked by, I threw out the occasional "COME ON" or "LET'S GO!" but I will admit that I was completely fascinated by the fact that the pitchers threw (pitched?) those baseballs at a speed faster than I have ever driven my car.  Either they are supernaturally strong, or I need to pick it up a little bit on the highway.

Matt appeared very interested in the game, so I was a little bit surprised when he looked at me in the middle of the third inning and said, “Ok, I have a serious question.”  This is an introduction he uses multiple times a week, and the serious question that follows is usually something like “Which do you like better – M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces?”  So, basically, ULTRA SERIOUS.

This time he continued with, “If you shot one bullet out of a gun, and dropped one bullet from your hand to the ground AT THE EXACT SAME TIME YOU ARE SHOOTING THE GUN, which do you think would hit the ground first?”  

Baseball with a side of physics.  What a combination.

I will be honest.  Until that moment, I had never given that particular situation a second of thought.  Nor have I ever held a gun or bullet, let alone shot a firearm or dropped a bullet from my side and paid any sort of attention to the subsequent free fall.

I figured it was some sort of trick question, so I chose the gun.  Matt responded, “What would you say if I told you that you were wrong?”  And I said, "I would absolutely believe you because my answer was pretty much a SHOT in the dark."  

Oh, I am clever.

Matt then enthusiastically explained that both bullets would hit the ground at the exact same time because horizontal motion has no effect on gravity.  Or something like that.  It was actually very interesting and as soon as I verify the accuracy of the explanation I am going to file it away because you never know when you might need to impress someone with that sort of scientific information.  My 11th grade physics teacher would be so proud.  Although there is a good chance he taught us that junior year and I just don't recall, in which case I will overcompensate my forgetfulness with an abundance of knowledge in the realm of maximum velocity.  I remember that concept vividly because my teacher demonstrated it by walking us around the school and dropping bowling balls from various heights.
Anyway, the game continued on after our physics discussion, and eventually the Phillies ended up winning 7-5.  There were a few tense moments and LOTS of clapping and cheering and after a particularly exciting grand slam.  Not to be confused with graham slam, the ice cream flavor.  

Although, I do cheer and clap for that too.

P.S. - No parking ticket. :)

Friday, June 10, 2011

my favorite part is the seventh inning stretch

Matt and I are going to the Phillies game tonight.

We have gone to many a Phillies game together, and have the pictorial evidence to prove it.

 This picture is from the first one we ever went to.  My apologies to Matt's upper left forehead.  It didn't seem to make it into any of the pictures.

 But look!  It appears that Matt always sits on the right side of me which makes sense because he is, after all, my right hand man.

Anyway, there are two games that stand out to me as the most memorable.

One of those games is the first we went to together, and it was way back in ye olden days of 2007.  It was the Phillies’ 10,000th loss, and made them the losingest team baseball.  And for that matter, all professional sports.  Ever.  Everywhere.  Goooo Phillies!

I feel the need to preface the rest of this story by saying that I grew up in a college football home.  Saturday afternoons were filled with FUMBLEEEE and INNNN-TER-CEPPPPTION and occasionally, PICKED OFFFFF.  Baseball was on our TV approximately NEVER.  On the other hand, Matt is the Phillies’ number one fan. 

So, my roommate from college was visiting and the three of us went to a Phillies game.  Our seats happened to be in the very top row, a tidbit which has nothing to do with the narrative progress of this story, but sticks out in my memory because we could not have been further from the action.  It was about the middle of the second inning when I asked Matt who our batter was.  He seemed a bit confused by my inquiry, so I told him that I knew who our pitcher was, and our catcher, but I would like to know the name of the batter for the Phillies.

I had NO IDEA that everyone took turns batting.  I just figured there was one assigned batter.  Like in football.  A quarterback doesn’t complete a pass in one play and then switch to playing linebacker in the next.  He has one job.  Apparently, ‘tis not the case in baseball. 

The funny thing is that Matt and I weren’t technically dating at this point in time.  We were actually, as my parents referred to it, “non-dating.”  So, the fact that he still chose to go down that relationship road after he knew my baseball knowledge was basically nonexistent is especially meaningful.  Clearly I must have won him over with my sense of humor and sweet rapping skillz.


The other memorable game is one that we went to was last season.  Smack dab in the middle of July, on the hottest day in the history of Philadelphia.  It was 106 degrees.  Fahrenheit.  Obviously the perfect day to sit under the blazing sun in the ballpark packed with 43,999 of your closest friends with NARY A BREEZE TO SPEAK OF.  I have never been so hot in my entire life.  And probably never will be again.  It was disgusting.  I can’t tell you if the Phillies won or lost, or even who they played.  But I can tell you that by inning numero two I had pretty much HAD. IT. with all the heat and went to stand by the pizza ovens and grills to cool off a little bit.  However, we stayed until the bitter, hot end because, despite the temperatures, Matt was determined to remain the Phillies’ number one fan, heat stroke or not.

To add insult to injury, or flame to the proverbial fire, as it were, Matt insisted on the drive to the stadium that he knew of a great, secret parking spot, and the best part about it was that it was free and we wouldn’t have to pay twenty American dollars to park in the stadium lots because that is just HIGHWAY ROBBERY.  Not to mention that twenty dollars could buy you a soda and half a soft pretzel inside the ballpark.  It amazes me that people are UP IN ARMS at $20 parking, but they will walk inside and gladly pay $13 for a lukewarm hot dog made from questionable meat product.

Anyway, it turns out that Matt’s top secret parking spot was on the main road in front of the ballpark directly underneath a giant NO STOPPING sign.  I learned early on in our relationship that when Matt is behind the wheel, he doesn’t especially enjoy my continuous advice and/or suggestions regarding all things driving.  I can’t imagine why.  However, when I realized he was planning to park under that NO STOPPING sign, I just had to throw in my two cents and advise that perhaps we should cough up the twenty bucks, because a ticket and/or towing fee was sure to be more than twenty dollars.  What ensued was Matt parking beneath the sign and a somewhat lengthy debate about whether or not parking was considered stopping in the eyes of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.  I’m sure you can guess who was on what side.  Turns out the Parking Authority does categorize parking as stopping, and punishes those who disagree with a hefty fine!

Matt considered fighting it, but as rock and roll tells us, “Matt fought the parking authority, and the parking authority won.” 

So, in a few hours Matt and I will be headed down to the stadium.  I don’t know if the Phillies will win or lose, but I do know for certain that we will be parking in the assigned lots.  

And that I will ask Matt what time kickoff and/or halftime is.  It's not a baseball game until I throw in a few football terms.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

i don't think they have enough glitter

I am a big fan of shoes, and I hardly ever meet a pair I don't like.  And I never, ever meet a pair I don't understand.

However, I think I have met my match in terms of footwear comprehension...
I think the semicircular gold plastic heel is where these shoes lose me.

Now, this?
This is a shoe I understand.

Friday, June 3, 2011

where there's a will there's a way. but not necessarily many assets.

Well, it looks like it’s been one whole week since I’ve written anything.

That’s not exactly true, because I did compose a LENGTHY post detailing the events of my Memorial Day weekend but I chose not to publish it because while I was proofreading I made it about three paragraphs in before I decided to see if I could find some paint to watch dry.  Or perhaps some grass I could watch grow.  It was that bad.

It’s not that my weekend itself was boring.  In fact, I was basically NON STOP BUSY all three days.  It’s just that a story about how I changed my clothes from winter to summer and then rearranged my closet (by color! and length!) doesn’t exactly make for spellbinding reading material.  

Although picking my outfits each morning has become A SNAP.   

It was actually a great weekend.  Matt took me out to dinner on Saturday night, which always spells Big Fun in my book.  We had a wonderful time except for a few rather tense moments that occurred after I declined the waitress’ offer of soup - specifically minestrone and two others whose names I can’t remember.  When she walked away I looked at Matt, and he was sitting there with an expression of shock on his face and his mouth open so wide I didn’t think it could go any wider.  Matt is Italian, and apparently declining a bowl of minestrone is JUST CRIMINAL in his opinion.  Then I broke the news that I don’t particularly enjoy soups with clear broths.  Or for that matter, any whose names don’t start with words “cream of…” 

Guess what.  After Matt picked his chin up off the table he still took me to Joanne’s Fabrics after dinner so I could look at interfacing.  What a guy.

The next night Matt came to our house for dinner, and after we ate I found myself staring an opportunity for a trip to Wal Mart square in the face.  We went, because, hello, when do I ever pass up a chance to travel to the land of the roll back?  I got the Brad Paisley CD and Matt bought two boxes of fireworks.  He literally stopped in his tracks in front of the display.  He is powerless in the face of well marketed combustibles. 

I imagine it’s similar to how I feel in front of a lip gloss display.  Especially ones that have the words “diamond” or “sparkle” or “shimmer” in them.  And if they have all three?  Oh my, well that’s just the jackpot lipgloss trifecta, a little piece of heaven that I cannot resist.  Anyway, off we went, country music CD and a box of colorful explosives in hand. 

Pennsylvania has a law about not selling fireworks that actually blast off from the ground.  Something about our lawmakers wanting residents’ hands and heads and arms to stay attached to their bodies.  Nonetheless, these ground dwelling fireworks were pretty impressive, and our neighbor even came onto his deck and cheered and clapped at the end.

Our neighbor is five. 

But as the saying goes, “the enjoyment of fireworks is boundless, for it knows no age.”

Or maybe I just made that up.

Either way, here we are several hundred words later and I am just recreating the problem I tried to avoid the other day.  Meaning HELLO, UNEXCITING DETAILS. I’ll quickly say that the rest of my weekend was made up of swimming, shopping, and washing my car.  And taking it to the gas station for some heavy duty vacuuming because WHOA BOY, a few months worth of crumbs from snacks on the go SURE CAN ACCUMULATE.  And then almost losing my keys mid-vacuum.  And then finding them.  And then spending hour on the phone with HP tech support.  So like I said, riveting.

This week, I had school every night.  Last night’s class was a bit of a challenge to get through, but the classes the other two nights went by lightning fast.  On Wednesday I had my estates and trusts class, and we learned that there are a few reasons people don’t make wills.  I will present the reasons in a convenient list format:

1-      They don’t care what happens to their things after they die.  They will be dead.
2-      They think they are invincible/don’t like to think about dying.
3-      They don’t think they have any assets.

After we got through the lecture, our professor told us that throughout the course of the semester we were going to write our own practice/fake wills, and the first step was to list our assets.  Well, do you know how long it takes a bunch of 22 year olds to list their assets?  About seventeen seconds.  Put me down for category 3!!

Our professor told us that we could leave class early and go home and think about what else we could possibly list.  I sat down at my desk and stared at my notebook page for about five minutes.  It looked like this:
1-      Pearl Necklace

Period.  The end.

My life insurance policy is enough for my family to send me out in style in the unfortunate event of my untimely death.  But other than that?  I don’t have much in the way of expensive worldly possessions and/or money.  And I’m okay with that- it’s just that it presents one heck of a challenge when making up your will. 

By the time I shut my notebook and called it an assignment, my list looked like this:

1-       Pearl necklace
2-       iPod

Now I’m thinking that it’s going to be totally lame to go to class on Wednesday and report that my legacy will be a pearl necklace and an iPod evident of someone with an eclectic, yet questionable taste in music.

I think I need to add a few things.  Like my new Brad Paisley CD or my closet full of clothes.  

After all, they are organized by color!  And length!

Happy Friday!