Thursday, August 17, 2017

i hope the actual eclipse is more dramatic than this article was

I am a major local news fan, and the local ABC affiliate is my station of choice.  Don't even try to talk to me about NBC 10, CBS 3, or heaven forbid, Fox 29.  It was almost a deal breaker when I found out Matt was a CBS loyalist.  Don't worry, I've since converted him.

I grew up watching 6 ABC, and I know to this day if I call my mom and say, "Did you see Rick and Monica today?" she will immediately know I'm talking about Rick Williams and Monica Malpass, the noon and 5 pm anchors.

One of my favorite on-air moments was during Hurricane Sandy, when one meteorologist, Cecily, called another one, Adam Joseph, a moron when he was struggling with his mic.  Except Cecily's mic was still on, so her remark was broadcast for all to hear.  And then to make it more awkward, the old, wise anchor tried to smooth it over by explaining that Cecily was simply offering Adam her mic and had said, "Do you want MINE ON?"

Even though all of the Philadelphia area heard her clearly say moron.


Anyway, last night I was checked the weather and saw this headline, "Adam Joseph's Eclipse Forecast Breakdown."

I don't think I've ever clicked on anything faster, because I thought it was going to be Adam Joseph having a breakdown.  Over the eclipse forecast.

No, he was just breaking down the forecast.

To-may-to, To-mah-to.

Or, moron, mine on.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

emily is as honest as i am vain

I had off last Wednesday and went to my brother's to see my niece and new baby nephew.  That has nothing to do with the rest of this post but I'm only including it so I can show you a picture of the cutest baby ever.

Now that that's out of the way, my sister and I went to my uncle's one afternoon to swim in his pool.  It's just too bad it doesn't look like a five star resort.

Oh wait, it does.

Matt gave me an underwater camera for my birthday before our vacation to Punta Cana two years ago, so I thought I'd bring it along to the pool because how often can you use that feature?  Emily and I had a grand old time taking underwater videos of ourselves jumping in and swimming around pictures of the frogs that were in the pool.  

Then I decided to try to model the cute floppy sun hat Emily brought.  Naturally, I assumed I'd look like a model, but when I put it on and asked Em how I looked she said, "Well, you kind of look like The Flying Nun."  

Every girl's dream.

A few weeks ago I'd mentioned to Emily that when I see photos of myself, it looks like I have major dark circles under my eyes.  I spend more time than your average bear looking at myself in the mirror, and during the hours of research I've noticed that the dark circles aren't quite so prominent in person, but in a picture, YIKES.  Emily was very supportive and said maybe it was just unfortunate shadows, but I'm here to tell you the camera can add ten pounds and in some circumstances, under-eye circles.

Anyway, I half-seriously, half-facetiously, told Emily that we should have a photo shoot and I'd show her a new smile I'd been experimenting with.  It involved squinting my eyes a bit because I thought that made me look more friendly.

She agreed, but upon seeing the look, gently suggested that squinting my eyes did nothing to help my under-eye circle situation and that perhaps I should just put my sunglasses back on.  I told her I'd try a close-mouthed smile and Emily sighed and said, "Well, I have to be honest.   Now you just look half asleep and grumpy."  

Everyone needs an Emily.

We were telling this story to my parents at dinner on Saturday night and told them I'd show them the pictures so they could judge the friendliness factor for themselves.  I pulled up the pictures on my phone and my mom scrolled...and scrolled...and scrolled...until she finally said, "Laura, this is a few pictures of frogs and about 100 pictures of you."

Guilty. As. Charged.

Although if you look closely, you'll see one photo of Emily.

The one where she has her back to the camera.

Maybe she was worried about the camera adding some under-eye circles.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

farm girl faux pas

In the summertime, Matt and I head out to the garden every evening and collect eggs and pick our garden bounty for the day like we live on a true farm instead of smack dab in the middle of suburbia.  Usually my garden basket is filled with three eggs and five thousand pounds of tomatoes because January Laura may have overestimated how many tomatoes August Laura can actually eat.

We have a little fence around our garden, about two feet high, just to keep the bunnies out.  As I was leaving the garden on Friday evening, my shoe got caught in the fence, I couldn't stop myself because my hands were full holding the basket, and I just sloooowly tipped right over, and fell out of the garden.  

The fall was slow, and admittedly quite graceful, but I ended up on my back, on the lawn, surrounded by about 287 tomatoes.  My arm felt a little bit wet, and I realized I'd also fallen on two of the three eggs.  And crushed them.

I wish I could explain to you Matt's face when he came around from behind the shed and saw me sprawled out, on the lawn, surrounded by tomatoes and covered in raw egg.  Nothing was injured except for my ego, and that bruise healed enough for me to pick my sister up bright and early Saturday morning for some thrift shopping.  Our first stop was Dunkin' Donuts, obviously.

We did a little thrifting and bought some books, and then decided to take a walk in the gardens around a cathedral and some estates.  I like to walk here but Emily had never been (what?!) and she loved it.

First, we decided to see if we could pose like fashion bloggers and SPOILER ALERT, WE CANNOT.  Also, I don't think we look alike at all, but apparently we both look to the sky when we laugh.

We spent the rest of the time wandering around and talking about our new baby nephew and Father of the Bride Part 2 and how Emily wants a horse and carriage at her wedding someday. 

I also experience some major garden envy.  Plus there were no fences here, so nothing for me to fall out of.


Monday, August 7, 2017

what i read, august edition

It's time for another monthly book post already, with Steph and Jana.  Normally I have a self-imposed rule to read one book and one book only at a given time. This month, before I knew what happened, I found myself in the middle of six books.  SIX.  I managed to finish two of them, and have high hopes for the other four.

First up, He Changed Everything. 

 This is a book written by a friend of my mother-in-law.  She writes about her daughter's journey with infertility, and then adoption through foster care.  I work in the foster care/adoption/child welfare field and this hit home and I actually had to take my contact lenses while reading it because, tears. 

The other book I finished was Everything I Never Told You, by Celeste Ng.  

I found this for a dollar at the thrift store and I recognized the title, so I picked it up.  I finished it this weekend, and I had mixed feelings about it.  Through the first half of the book I was completely intrigued.  The plot sucked me in and the characters were mysterious and interesting.  The second half just made me sad.  Did you read this?  What did you think?

The books I'm in the middle of are:

Fly Away by Kristin Hannah

The Orphan's Tale by Pem Jenoff
The Ship of Brides by JoJo Moyes
A Summer Affair by Elin Hilderbrand

Have you read anything great this month?

Friday, August 4, 2017

it's a good thing it's friday

At work a few days ago I was part of a training for new employees on the legal aspect of the job.  I am a paralegal, but my three co-presenters were attorneys.  At one of the breaks, we were talking about a certain type of case, and one of the attorneys said, "You know, there is a case that's being litigated right now about this very issue out in the western part of the state.  It's a case from 1983."  

The other attorneys nodded along while I thought to myself, "Geez, 1983.  I didn't realize this particular issue has been in litigation since for over three decades."

The topic came up again over lunch, and finally I turned to the attorney next to me, Eric, and whispered, "I had no idea this has been going on that long."

Eric looked at me with a somewhat puzzled expression, which is not unusual.  So I continued talking, which is also not unusual.

I told him, "Seriously, 1983?  I mean, I wasn't even BORN in 1983!" 

After he stopped laughing, Eric said "Laura, 1983 isn't the year.  It is the section of the United States Code regarding equal rights."

Oh, wow.

That's so incredibly embarrassing.  I must have missed that class in paralegal school.  I just hoped none of the new staff members overheard the conversation because they would never trust my legal expertise ever again.

This morning when I got into the office, I sat down to log onto my computer, and an error message popped up that said, "The trust relationship between this workstation and the primary domain failed." 

I told the IT person, who said she had to escalate the issue to the general help desk.  She sent an email, copied everyone and their brother, marked it high importance, and used the subject line "LAURA C.'s COMPUTER HAS LOST TRUST."

Not even my computer trusts me anymore.

Can't even blame it.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

the weekend we designed a kitchen, solved a crime, and had a nephew

Matt had a work event on Friday night so I went to my parents' house for homemade pizza and to watch Father of the Bride.  My sister had never seen it, and I have no idea how she lived twenty one years on this earth and in this family without ever seeing it, but we changed that Friday night.

We ate our pizza while we watched Father of the Bride and as suspected, Emily loved it.  I can't remember the last time I've seen her laugh as hard as she did when Franck made his appearance on the screen.

On Saturday Matt and I met with Victor at Lowe's again to get the designs for our new kitchen cabinets.  We went back last night to make a few changes to Saturday's designs, and I almost passed out when the total came up on the screen and the receipt printed out and was almost as tall as I am.

Saturday's meeting last for three hours, and we were so hungry when we left that we stopped at Sonic on the way home.  When you're spending many, many, many dollars to remodel your kitchen, why not get fast food lunch instead of actually cooking in it?

When we got home we wandered out back to the garden.  I felt something on my arm and turned around and realized a bird had pooped on me.


I haven't actually run in weeks months years, but I moved with speed I didn't know I possessed to get back to the house, where I vowed to remain forever and never go outside again.

But as it turns out, it was a gorgeous night, so I broke my promise to myself and Matt and I laid on the hammock and looked at the stars which sounds cheesy but it was so relaxing.  I pointed out the Big Dipper 528 times until Matt finally downloaded a star app to prove me wrong. 

Whatever.  It's out there somewhere.

It was cool enough to sleep with the windows wide open, and I went to bed feeling so relaxed until Matt shook me awake in the middle of the night and said, in a serious voice, "Laura, there's been an accident."

I followed him to the window and we saw our our neighbor's Honda Civic, which had been parked facing down the hill on the far side of our driveway, was facing up the hill and on our front lawn.

A few houses up, facing the other way, was a Maserati with two flat tires, a smoking hood, and two occupants who had fled the scene.

Our other neighbors Paul and Eileen came outside and there we all were, standing in our pajamas at 2:15 in the morning.  I told them that despite the open windows, I didn't even hear the crash, and Eileen said, "You didn't hear it?  It sounded like an atomic bomb!  And the house even shook!"

Add "very heavy sleeper" to my resume.

We live in a nice little neighborhood, but not Maserati nice.  More like Ford/Toyota/Honda nice.  Paul said, "Who around here has a Maserati?  And why did they run?  Maybe it's stolen!"

I'll tell you who around here has a Maserati, crashes it at 2 a.m., and runs away.  

A salesman of the very illegal sort.

While we watched the officers arrive, Matt said, "While they wait for the K9 unit to get here, I think the cops should follow the perp's footprints in the dew."

Someone is putting his Citizen's Police Academy education to practical use.

I went back inside after a few minutes, but Matt and some of the other neighbors stayed outside until 3:30, watching the cops process the scene and getting updates on the chase (they did find the bad guys).  

We were tired the next morning, but when I saw the text from my brother that the baby was coming, I woke right up.  

By the way, his name is John, and they're going to call him Jack.

And he is the cutest baby boy I've ever seen.

Monday, July 31, 2017

a new nephew

A few weeks ago my brother and I decided to do another photo challenge.  When I asked him what day he wanted to send me his pictures, he said, "How about July 31st?"  

Well, here we are, on July 31st, and Phil didn't send me his pictures.  So, I could just post mine and win by forfeit.

Or, I could give him a pass, because he has a pretty good excuse, a new baby.

And baby pics always beat everything else.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

maybe the popcast will do an episode about the michael phelps shark race

Well, I started this week feeling totally let down by the whole Michael Phelps vs. the great white shark special.  I marked the date down when I heard about the big race and have been looking forward to it ever since.  You want to know who completely bought into the hype and thought Michael Phelps would actually swim in the shark infested South African waters alongside a great white?

Gullible, party of one.

I'd thought about how he could possibly pull it off.  I figured they must have created some sort of movable cage that would move along with Phelps' speed but still keep him protected from his predatory opponent.

Imagine my disappointment when Phelps dove into the water and the shark was COMPUTER GENERATED.

Also, Phelps wore a shark-type flipper, which isn't as terrible as some sort of illegal performance enhancing drug, but come on.

And then, to top it off, PHELPS LOST.

In the end it was a bunch of mathematical equations that could have been done in the Discovery Channel offices.


Switching gears, I am a big fan of podcasts and I've written about one of my favorites before, the Popcast.  The hosts, Knox and Jamie, talk for one hour a week about "the things that entertain but do not matter," which are my favorite kinds of things.  I wrote a post years ago about Matt's belief that the words to The Circle of Life are "oh my God, a penguin and a llama." and then how I submitted his interpretation to their episode about misheard song lyrics and it stole the show.

Well, The Popcast posted this picture from their live show a few weeks ago.  Two fans actually took Matt's misheard lyrics, put them on a shirt, AND WORE THEM TO THE SHOW.

I've never met any of the people in this photo but I feel like I need to frame it and hang it in our living room.


A few weeks ago my mom and Emily and I went to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  As we walked in my mom said, "Oh girls, I meant to tell you, I've decided to like elephants," which was perfect because the first thing we saw was a wildlife photography exhibit with elephants aplenty.

I don't know much about art, but I know what I think is pretty.  We wandered around for a few hours, had lunch in the little cafe, and then decided to check out the modern art before we headed home.

Modern art is something that I don't really understand.

Apparently I'm not the only one, because the guard at one exhibit said to us, "Please don't ask me any questions about these pieces.  I don't even understand them.  That one is just a piece of rope hanging from the ceiling.  It's called 'Rope Hanging From the Ceiling.'  Do you believe that?  I really just want to go home."

My mom is a fourth grade teacher, and when she saw this one, she said, "If one of my students left the chalkboard looking like that, I'd tell them it's unacceptable, go clap those erasers and do it again."

Someone needs to put that on a t-shirt.

Friday, July 21, 2017

can't play a playa. or a girl in the midst of a fitbit challenge

Well, here it is on Friday and I didn't write one blog post all week.  Work was crazier than it's been in months and one night I even came home and sat down on the bed to take my shoes off and woke up an hour and a half later.  
Apparently, I was exhausted.

Tonight I was so looking forward to a relaxing Friday night, and then our dishwasher died.  So that's fun.  Matt looked up the serial number to see if we could find a replacement part, and he said, "This dishwasher is from 2002! It's almost as old as I am!"

Well, not quite.  We're older than we used to be.

It's also been eight thousand degrees around here the last few days.  Our kitchen has a fancy and super modern thermometer and this is what it said last night.  

Our 1980's air conditioner has met its match this week.

I walked into the kitchen at one point and Matt was standing in front of the open freezer.

Speaking of walking, Matt got a Fitbit on Prime Day, and I'm not sure our relationship will ever be the same.

The Fitbit arrived on Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning I checked my phone after a meeting and had invitations to a Daily Showdown, Weekend Warrior, Goal Day Challenge, about 500 taunts, and a text that said, "Oh golly, I think I'll go for a mid-morning stroll."


Since he's my husband, we're usually a team.  One the same side.  But both of us having Fitbits has introduced a whole new dynamic to our relationship.

While Matt's job might allow him to take a mid-day stroll, mine isn't always so flexible. so I look forward to going on a walk almost every single night.  It is my favorite time of the day, no matter the temperature.  I'm happy for Matt to go with me, but I really love going alone.  I listen to my music or a podcast and watch the sun set and don't have to talk to anyone for 45 whole minutes and as someone who is 100 percent introverted, this makes my whole day.

I was determined to win the Daily Challenge at least once this week so I braved the heat, wandered the neighborhood, and took in a beautiful sunset.

When I got home, Matt was in the kitchen, sneakers laced up, walking laps around our gigantic kitchen. 

As someone who was forced to work from home every day last winter, I know for a fact that round trip, front door to kitchen island, is sixty steps.  I actually said to Matt, "CAN'T PLAY A PLAYA."

I just hope Fitbit counts dish washing, because I'm going to be doing a lot of that in the coming weeks.

Monday, July 17, 2017

i have a feeling victor is going to become a big part of our life this year

Last night I made this thai pork stir fry for dinner.  Matt prefers brown rice, so I made that for him, and basmati rice for myself.

(Side note, normally I am the one to create alternate pronunciations for things, but Matt calls basmati rice "bas-MATT-i rice" and it cracks me up.

Anyway, the full cup measuring cup was dirty, so I had to use the half cup, and therefore, conduct some math calculations.  I thought I'd done it correctly but when we Matt took his first bite of rice, his facial expression spoke a thousand words.

I asked him what was wrong, and listen, that is RISKY TERRITORY, because I'm of the belief that if you have a problem with the meal, you can go right on ahead and become the chef.  Matt thought for a minute and then said, "Nothing's wrong.  It's just that my rice is a little bit...crunchy."

Naturally, I was annoyed, until I thought back and realized that I'd only filled the measuring cup twice.  I always fill it twice for rice but that's because I'm usually using the full cup measure.  So instead of cooking the rice in two cups of water I cooked it in one, and therefore was half raw.  


I took a bite and it was totally disgusting, like a mixture of clay and sand.

Look for me on for on the next season of Iron Chef.

On Friday it was a trillion degrees so we decided that we'd ditch the original dinner plan and I'd stop at Fresh Market after work for watermelon and potato salad and some burgers for Matt to grill.  Part of the road to Fresh Market is a small bridge, which is being repaired, so the four lanes are down to only two.  Friday was the first day of the road closure and traffic was a nightmare.  I texted Matt about the unfortunate turn of events and joked that I had to ditch the car in the Ashley Furniture parking lot and walked to Fresh market for the burgers.  

Later on, when we sat down to eat, Matt said, "I can't believe you walked to get these."

Apparently my sarcasm did not translate through text.

The rest of the weekend was a success.  We had a meeting with Lowe's about the future of our kitchen, which I can assure you is brighter and more modern than the current state.

Matt put in recessed lighting a few weeks ago and now that it's actually bright in there I can see how truly bad it is.  Also, the designer at Lowe's, Victor, kept saying things like "You know how your grandmother had _____ in her kitchen," or "You know how you see pictures of kitchens from the seventies and you see _____."

Oh yes, Victor, we know.  Our kitchen could be in the Smithsonian Museum of American History in an exhibit called HELLO, NINETEEN SEVENTY.

There's nowhere to go but up, right?

We also got some goodies from our garden.
And Matt caught the raccoon that's been terrorizing gardens near and far.  The neighbors heard the good news and on Sunday one of them brought over this coonskin cap and dubbed Matt "the raccoon master of the neighborhood."

We're going to hang it up in the new kitchen.


Victor would never allow that.

Friday, July 14, 2017

literally everything but the kitchen sink

I've been getting alerts on my phone for weeks now telling me that my storage is almost full.  I've handled it the way I do with most tech-related problems.  Totally ignore it.

But, last night it got so bad that it took five minutes to send a text and I could not even open any apps.  I just got a message that said "Error! No memory."

So, it was time to face the music.  Or, the 867 pictures on my phone.

I saved the ones worth saving, and deleted the ones that weren't.  Like the 23 nearly identical shots of the same flower.  

But I also came across this gem.  My sister and mom saw this guy at an intersection, and said he was actually playing the guitar while he waited at the red light.

If my car radio ever breaks, I'll just get a guitar.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

life's a beach. or, a parking garage with rats.

Well, here I am with another post about nothing.

Yesterday was Amazon Prime Day, which is basically a national holiday in Matt's mind.  By mid-morning there were a few things in our cart and then just when I thought the purchasing was over, I saw that Matt had added one more thing.

A "super loud powerful train sound truck horn."  Of course. Totally necessary and likely illegal.

Someone had gone a little Prime Day crazy.  Not to worry, after dinner last night Matt's fiscally responsible side prevailed and he canceled the horn purchase.

Today was chugging along as an average Wednesday until I went out to my car on my lunch break and there was a pit bull in the lobby of my office.  And I don't mean the rapper.  Also, I don't work at a vet, just an old building in the center of a questionable neighborhood with a very sensitive automatic sliding door.

There was a man holding a leash half-halfheartedly calling after the dog, apparently named Sugar, but I hightailed it to the parking garage because I am wary of dogs I don't know, and Sugar appear strong and not well-trained.

As the elevator opened on the third floor of the parking garage, I glanced at the trashcan beside the door and do you know what was sitting on top of it?  

A RAT.  

A giant, disgusting rat, its beady eyes staring right at me.  The tail was at least 8 inches long and the body was nearly the size of Sugar.  You could have put Sugar's leash on it and taken it for a walk.

I rushed to my car, locked the doors, and contemplated never returning to the office again.

But someone's gotta help pay those Amazon bills.

This is also my first full week of work since May, thanks to my strategy of saving most of my PTO for the weeks between Memorial Day and July 4th.  I think I'm going to struggle with the whole five day thing.  Last week I had to work for four whole days and by Thursday morning I decided to just phone it in in the hair department and wear it in a ponytail.  I NEVER do that, and then I couldn't decide which earrings to wear, so I put a different one in each ear and told myself I'd make a decision before I left the house.

You can probably see which unfortunate direction this is headed.

That decision did not get made until I did a final lip gloss check in the rear view mirror before I went into the office and realized I was still wearing two different earrings.  Thank goodness I caught it then because I had an employee evaluation first thing and I can only imagine how I'd feel if my boss gave me my annual review while wearing a pearl in one ear and some snazzy fake rhinestones in the other.

So, I spent last Thursday night and Friday at my in-laws' shore house.

I was so excited to spend the whole day sitting on the beach, and even though it was raining, I walked down to the beach and set up my chair in the pouring rain while wearing a sweatshirt because I was DETERMINED.  Eventually the huge storm clouds blew over, as I knew they would, and it turned out to be a beautiful afternoon.  

I read my book and took a long walk in the surf and shared an entire bag of Twizzlers with my sister-in-law and "jumped" my nephew over the waves until my shoulders were sore.

It was very relaxing and I didn't spend one second thinking about my earrings.

Or rats.

I might need to spend this Friday at the beach too.