Tuesday, May 30, 2017

among other things, a fish story

I took the day off today and spent it doing all kinds of exciting things, like cleaning all the windows in the house and going to the dermatologist.

The dermatologist did my first ever skin cancer check, and half a second in, she pointed to a spot on my ear and said, "How long has this been here?"  I had no idea.  I'd never seen it before.  And then she pointed out a spot on my forehead and asked, "How about this one?  Do you remember when it appeared, or if it's gotten darker or changed in size?"  

I'm not going to downplay this charming personal quality, but I could practically have a part time job with the amount of time I spend looking at myself in a mirror.  From the time I was a little girl my parents have said, "Oh, she loves to look at herself" and my mom jokes that I've never met a reflective surface I didn't like.  And she's right.  I can't even remember the last time I walked by our microwave without looking at my reflection in the door.  Carly Simon's "You're So Vain" could be my theme song.

So, the fact that I could not identify the age or appearance of these marks made me wonder whose face I've been staring at in mirrors and microwaves and shiny car doors for the last two decades.

After that I went home to wait for Enterprise to come pick me up, because I was renting a car for a business trip this week.  Romeo arrived promptly at 3:45.  I rent cars all the time so I feel like the Enterprise people are old pals.  As we pulled away, Romeo looked at my leggings and my Nikes and said, "So, you going jogging later?"


I didn't have it in me to admit that I was wearing the outfit purely as athleisure apparel.  I want to simply LOOK like I am in pursuit of fitness, but really have zero intention of working out.

So in that respect, I guess, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

I lied through my teeth and said, "I already went."

Romeo responded, "I'm a runner too.  How many miles did you do today?"

Houston, we have a problem.  That problem is that I have not run in my life, ever.

I didn't know what to say because I had no idea what an "average" run is.  Is it one mile?  Four miles?  Ten miles?

I paused for a moment and then decided to just come clean.  "Well, I didn't really...run, exactly.  I just...walked."

I appreciate Romeo for not laughing at me.  "Like, power walk?" he said.

No, Romeo.  Like, regular walk.  Around the block.

Then Romeo started asking me why I don't run.  I told him I don't like to run and he wanted to know what I don't like about it.

Finally I said, "It's too much effort.  And walking around the block is better than nothing."

By that time we were at Enterprise, and when I got inside, a young girl who looked about my sister's age started to help me.  She asked me for my driver's license and when I handed it over she practically passed out.  "Well, whoa," she remarked.  "You look REALLY young.  I mean, for your age and all.  I mean, you could practically pass for one of my friends."

And then I followed her out to the Chevy Impala not knowing if I should feel happy that I look young or depressed that I am now the age college students consider old.

She chatted away telling me how she's an intern and just started last week and then she popped the trunk of the car to show me where the spare tire is located.  The car was inconveniently backed halfway into a bush so I just nodded from afar and thanked her for the spare tire info.  And then she tried to close the trunk, and kept closing branches from the bush inside of it, chatting all the while about how my job sounds really cool and she'd love to go on business trips someday and did I ever drive an Impala before and who in the world would back a car halfway into a bush?!

I had to literally TURN AWAY so she wouldn't see me laughing as she got in the driver's seat and pulled the car forward several feet so that she could close the trunk without sending me off with half a rhododendron hanging out the back.

And in that moment, I thought that even though I might have more questionable age/sun spots on my face than I did 8 years ago, I don't miss being 20.

When Matt got home, he went out back to check on the chickens and the garden while I finished dinner.  He came back with a strange look on his face and said, "Things are fishy out there.  LITERALLY."

Do you know what was in our yard?  A GIANT FISH HEAD.

I don't even know what to say about that, except it was o-fish-ially the weirdest Tuesday every.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

he even brought a tennis ball to the wedding

I wrote this post on May 23rd, which has long been my dream wedding date and favorite day of the year.  I think "May 23rd" sounds so pretty and always imagined it on a wedding invitation.  That particular dream died on March 8, 2014 when Matt and I vowed to love each other forever, through good and bad.

Speaking of the bad, Matt just requested me to slice the cheese for the cheese and crackers he takes for lunch with a paring knife instead of a steak knife like I did last night (desperate times) because it made his cheese "groovy."

And everyone knows there's nothing worse than groovy cheese.

Anyway, Michelle texted me tonight about the significance of the day and that's how you know you have a good best friend.  She remembers your favorite fake wedding date.

She also remembers our real wedding date because it's right around the time her car is due for inspection, which she found out the hard way when she got pulled over on the way to our rehearsal dinner for expired tags.

Speaking of weddings, Matt's youngest brother got married this past weekend, and in preparation for the wedding festivities, I decided to figure out a way to acquire an artificial tan because everyone looks better with a tan.

I briefly considered a spray tan, but that felt like a lot of money to spend on pure vanity, and then in the Sunday paper last weekend I found a coupon for $3.00 off L'oreal Sublime Bronze tanning towels.  I picked up a box, followed all the directions, and was so excited to see the results the next morning.

Let's just say it turned into a maxi skirt kind of day.


The streaks evened out by the next morning and at the rehearsal dinner someone even asked me if I'd been spending time at the beach. 

Nope, just in the sunless tanning aisle of Walmart.

The wedding went off without a hitch.  The boys all got ready at our house, including our two year old nephew, Anthony.  He'd screamed his head off at his suit fitting the night before, so everyone was a bit apprehensive about getting him into the getup for the big day.

We all kind of walked around all morning avoiding the elephant, or the two year old, in the room.

Finally, Matt and I took on the challenge and about halfway through I had visions of Anthony walking down the aisle in suit pants and the pajama shirt he was wearing, which was camouflage and said "my hero wears hunting boots, I call him daddy" with a big Bass Pro Shops logo.  Something tells me that wasn't exactly what his mother had in mind.

In order to get him to wear the suit, Matt and I promised him everything under the sun.  Candy.  Cookies.  Ice cream.  Several donuts.

A puppy.  


Sorry to his parents.

At one point Matt tried to distract him with a tube of tennis balls (I don't have any idea where they came from because I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that we have never once played a game of tennis), and he wailed and said BUT I WANT A BLUE ONE TOO.  Matt disappeared while I tried to wrestle on the clip-on tie and came back with one of the tennis balls wrapped up in blue painters tape.

I almost gave him a standing ovation.


In the end, Anthony's suit all worked out and he and Matt were thick as thieves all day.

Maybe next year Matt and I can renew our vows on May 23rd, and Anthony can wear that suit one more time.  We'll make sure to have tennis balls on hand.

And maybe some groovy cheese.

Friday, May 19, 2017

that pearl is a real gem

I had a different post planned for today, but then I stopped by my parents' house in the afternoon and those plans changed.  The reason I stopped at their house was two-fold.  First, I was going to let their puppy Pearl out for a little bit, and second, they have central air.

On the other hand, at our house we have doors that won't close because the wood has expanded and three wall unit air conditioners whose combined age is probably well over 100 years.

I am not joking.

Good times.

God love these two jokers who bought this house in frigid December and didn't give a second thought to central air because "we love fresh air and summer!"

Anyway, a few months ago I wrote a post about my parents' puppy, Pearl, and their creative tactics to keep her off of the furniture.

(Pearl was totally unimpressed.)

Today, I thought I'd give an update.  Here's a photo from this afternoon.

(Pearl remains totally unimpressed.)

You may notice that the balloons are gone, but long live baby gates and chafing trays.

When I got to their house I took Pearl outside, sat down on the chair, and before I knew it, she took my flip flop right off my foot.

I wish I could read her mind.


After many minutes of pleading with her to give me back my flip flop, I finally resorted to distracting her with a handful of Cheerios and swiping it back when she wasn't looking.

Naturally, she was thrilled to have the Cheerios and I bet if I could read her mind, right now she'd be saying, "I win."

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

wolves and rattlesnakes and...coffee...

On Friday night my parents and sister came over to celebrate Mother's Day a little bit early.  We had pizza and pina coladas and took a bunch of pictures, including the family trademark "popping" pose.

We got some nice ones but I especially love this mid-laugh one.

On Saturday morning my mom and I left bright and early to go to my brother's house.  He and my sister-in-law are expecting another baby in August, so we had lunch with them and did some nursery prep.  Babies require a LOT of equipment for being so tiny.

When we got home, my mom and I went to Petsmart and Sam's Club (where I bought minced garlic and organic milk and oh my word this is boring).  I'd taken a Bendryl at my brother's because of allergies and when I got home, I laid down on the couch and the next thing I knew I was waking up two hours later from an antihistamine fueled nap.  I felt like Rip van Winkle.  It was glorious.

On Sunday afternoon I got a bee in my bonnet and decided to clean the back patio.  I even dragged the furniture into the yard and hosed off the quarter inch of pollen covering it.

I also spent the day keeping up with my sister's Snapchat.  The reason we celebrated Mother's Day on Friday was because Emily left for a school trip on Sunday morning.  She is taking a Native American studies class and is spending the next few weeks on a reservation in Minnesota.  The drive from Pennsylvania to Minnesota is not a short one, but she Snapchatted along the way and cracked me up.

Emily promised my mom and me that she would keep us posted on her journey, so you can imagine how thrilled I was to get these types of updates.

She's so descriptive.  I almost feel like I'm right there with her.

The weather here was gorgeous yesterday, so I decided to go for a walk after dinner.  At one point, I was walking through a field and there was not another human as far as the eye could see.

I was listening to my favorite song and the sun was setting and there were deer everywhere and I might have even teared up a little bit because can life get any better than this?

And then I heard a strange noise, it wasn't going away, and within a few seconds I'd convinced myself it was a rattlesnake.  The fact that I don't even know if rattlesnakes live in suburban Philadelphia didn't enter my mind at that moment.  Instead, I broke into a flat out run, but the snake just followed me more aggressively.

After several awkward strides I realized it was my car keys jingling in my front pocket of my hoodie.

When I got home, I was sitting in the kitchen when I heard a TERRIBLE animal sound come from right outside our back door.

It went on for several seconds but by the time I got the outside light on, I couldn't see anything.  My sister texted at just that moment to tell me she had arrived in Minnesota, so I let her know that I heard a wolf or fox outside.

And she said, "A wolf?  Really, Laura?"

I could see her eyes rolling from 1400 miles away.

It's probably best that she's the one spending the next few weeks in the great outdoors.  I'll be enjoying the outdoors too.  Just in the form of drinking coffee on my clean patio.

Friday, May 12, 2017

that time matt was tased

The last time I wrote about our attendance at the Citizen's Police Academy, Matt hadn't been tased yet.
 (The English major in me has gone back and forth on the past tense of taser several times.  Is it tased, or tasered? The officer teaching our class says 'tased,' but he also says 'burgled' so I take his verb conjugation with a grain of salt.  On the upside, the attorney at work this week asked which form of "compli/ement" to use when referencing a group of attorneys, and my English degree and I were thrilled to have the correct answer for him.)


We arrived at class the night of the taser presentation, and the officer slid a three page waiver across the table to Matt and said, "Can you just sign this?"


Matt did indeed sign the waiver, and then we waited one entire hour while a detective came in and taught us all about tasers and why they're so effective.

In short, because they're debilitating.


After we had a quick break for soft pretzels, Matt was called to the front of the room.  At that moment, several (handsome) young men walked through the side door.

"Are you the paramedics?" asked a woman in our class.

"No ma'am," they said, "We are the SWAT Team.  We're just here to watch."

And then, Matt was tased/tasered.  I stood at the back of the room and couldn't even watch, but here he is afterwards with a few of his adoring fans.

The taser makes your muscles contract 19 times per second, for five seconds, and when the electric charge ended, Matt said very matter of factly, "Well, that hurt."

He said it was the worst pain he's felt in his whole life, and will never do anything to get tasered.

Which means he is going to have to give up his life of crime.

All jokes aside, the officers talked at length about how tasers have changed policing significantly, in a positive way, and how they're so grateful for that option.

We finished our Citizen's Police Academy classed a few weeks ago, and with all the controversy surrounding police departments these days, I have to say that I'm thankful for ours.

I know that nobody is perfect, but our police department is one whose officers reflect the citizens they serve and values the community they serve in.

And don't worry, I'm not considering a career change.  I could hardly stand straight under the weight of that vest!

Monday, May 8, 2017

the beach and some books

Well, I've been spending lots of time outside and at the beach and basically everywhere but my computer.  And then I decided to take the day off today, and Michelle and I met for lunch and we laughed so hard that I'm fairly certain we disturbed fellow diners.  But, I'm back.


I'm joining Steph and Jana today and sharing some books.  First up is Weekend in Paris, by Robyn Sisman.

Molly Clearwater had always wanted to escape the confines of her small-town upbringing to make a splash as a career woman in London. But somehow, working as a low-level assistant for the boorish Malcolm Figg wasn't nearly as fulfilling as she had hoped-until Malcolm offered her a "perk"-a free weekend business trip to Paris. She's ecstatic until she discovers that Malcolm's idea of "business" isn't exactly the same as hers. Horrified, Molly storms out of the office.  With nothing else to lose, she impulsively boards a train to Paris, intent on treating herself to a long weekend in the City of Light.  Within moments of stepping onto the cobblestoned streets of Paris, Molly is swept up in an adventure that defies her imagination. From infiltrating a conference in a Cleopatra wig to sharing her deepest secret with a complete stranger, Molly's weekend away from her troubles turns into a dizzying voyage of passion and self-discovery, transforming her absolutely...

I judged it by its cover and picked up because it looked like it would be a cute, fun little read.

I hated it.

It was sleazy and predictable and I had to force myself to finish it, and I think I need to raise my standards a bit.

I also read Open House, by Elizabeth Berg.  

Samantha's husband has left her, and after a spree of overcharging at Tiffany's, she settles down to reconstruct a life for herself and her eleven-year-old son. Her eccentric mother tries to help by fixing her up with dates, but a more pressing problem is money. To meet her mortgage payments, Sam decides to take in boarders. The first is an older woman who offers sage advice and sorely needed comfort; the second, a maladjusted student, is not quite so helpful. A new friend, King, an untraditional man, suggests that Samantha get out, get going, get work. But her real work is this: In order to emerge from grief and the past, she has to learn how to make her own happiness. In order to really see people, she has to look within her heart. And in order to know who she is, she has to remember--and reclaim--the person she used to be, long before she became someone else in an effort to save her marriage. Open House is a love story about what can blossom between a man and a woman, and within a woman herself.

I had my doubts throughout the first few chapters, but once I got into it a bit more, I really enjoyed it.  I love Elizabeth Berg's writing style and descriptions, and the quirky characters were so endearing.  I'd recommend this one.

I started Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert last week and I think I'm going to have to give up on it. I bought a few books at a yard sale down the shore this weekend, but I'm all ears for your suggestions!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

my mom is always the funniest in group texts

My phone has been prompting me to download a software update for weeks now, but I didn't have enough space on the phone so I kept putting it off.  One of the things taking up room was the app One Second Everyday.  If you've never heard of this app, you upload a one second video clip every day, and it combines your clips into a movie.  I've been doing it all year and it's been so fun and worth the space on my phone.

But finally, last night, I could delay the software update no longer.   I decided I'd delete some photos, and came across tons of screenshots I'd taken just because they made me laugh.  I thought I'd share some today because who doesn't need a pick me up on a Tuesday?

A few weeks ago my mom, sister, and I had a group text while we watched the ACM awards.  My mom's text about Sam Hunt's new song, Body Like a Backroad, cracked me up.

My mom also introduced me to my current favorite county song, A Boy Gets a Truck by Keith Urban.  I think Alexa is getting tired of me and Matt asking her to play it because it's basically been on repeat on our house for days.

Speaking of trucks, I drove Matt's old pickup this weekend to run some errands and holy cow, the turning radius is much different than that of my tiny little Ford Focus.  I hopped a curb before I was even out of the neighborhood.  I notice Keith didn't include a verse about how the boy's wife took the truck to Target one day and had a near miss with the cart corral.

Back to the funny screenshots. One of my favorite Instagram accounts is @Wrivey.  He posts photos of notes he puts in his kids' lunches and they always make me chuckle.

Another favorite funny poster is @jonacuff.

And the rest of these just made me laugh.

Speaking of meal plans, these sheet pan fajitas are now a staple on our meal plan.  Sometimes we have them over rice and sometimes in a wrap and sometimes just on our plate with salad because they're so delicious and easy and better than dry cereal by the time Thursday rolls around.