Friday, December 31, 2010

Obligatory resolution post

I never make New Year's resolutions because I know myself and I know I won't keep them. Sure, we're all bright-eyed and optimistic in January, but once our routines settle back in and the relentless winter chill crushes our souls, well, "turning over a new leaf" just doesn't have priority anymore.

That's why the best resolutions are simple and the best expectations are low. Here's what I'm going with for 2011:

Get back in shape.
Duh. We all say it. But here's my plan to make it happen:

  • Limit the after-work beer drinking to once a week. Well, maybe twice is okay.
  • Drink more water instead of waddling over to the vending machine, post-lunch.
  • Actually use the damn recumbent bike I bought. Let's shoot for 3 times a week.
  • Do pilates again 3 times a week.
We'll see how long this holds and if my vanity is enough of a motivator to keep me from the booze.

Read more books.
With a new iPad, a Kindle account and a love for Tess Gerritsen, I'm already halfway through one of her most popular books (The Bone Garden). So, basically, I'll finish it in January and I will have already accomplished this resolution, since the number of books I read last year hovered around, um, zero. SUCCESS.

Stop being (as much of) a mean girl.
When you're 20, you can get away with being a little snippy, sarcastic and blunt because you're cute and everyone just calls you "sassy." But when you're almost 30, it reeks of insecurity. Sooo, I'm going to try to scale back the judgments, pop my anti-crazy pills and settle for an eye roll rather than an obnoxious tirade. Unless, of course, someone fucks with my dog. Then I will just shank you.

Stop being scared of the kitchen.
After setting myself on fire, my time in the kitchen has been... limited. Eh, who are we kidding? It was limited before that incident too. But, with my job ending around May and my plans to take time off, I'm going to tip-toe back into the world of recipes and ovens. Specifically, I want to make a kick-ass pasta sauce. In a home with two Italians and a family tree whose recent roots are grounded in Torino, it's downright embarrassing that our sauce comes from a jar.

Foster a dog... or six.
After adopting Rocco through One Tail at a Time, donating dog food and money to the group, and attending every event they hold, I really, really want to become a foster mom for OTAT. They're a shelterless rescue, so they can only take in dogs when they have foster homes lined up. Breaks my heart to hear about the dogs -- esp pit bulls -- that will be put down unless a foster home surfaces. We'll just have to see if Roc can handle it without pissing all over my apartment.

I think that's ambitious enough. If you have any tips, tricks or secrets for how to actually stick with these things, let me know. Otherwise, have a safe and happy New Year and drink your face off before the January 1 cleansing phase begins. Cheers!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She's gone


1996 - 2010

It was time. Beyond time, if you ask Dave, but I'm a little more sentimental. The Big Green Monster was good to me -- and she was the only car my mom and I purchased ourselves, without Dad. We wandered onto a used car lot one day in 2002 and, though I had decided I wanted a Jeep Grand Cherokee, I couldn't help but fall in love with this hot mess. She drove more like a car than an SUV, had a sunroof and tinted windows. One signed check later, I drove her off the lot.

And now? Well, like I said, it was time. After 8.5 years with me and 150k miles in her lifetime, the Monster was dying a slow, painful death. So, we called Habitat for Humanity and made arrangements to have her barely lifeless body taken away.

Needless to say, as evidenced by these photos, I had a bit of a tough time letting go...

Big Green Monster had to be jumped by our new car.

Someone's excited.

I will never have this view again!

Goodbye, sunroof that I had to crank open.

So long, plumes of smoke and peeling tire cover.

My last view of her.

It will be missed.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The (real) face-off


You can't tell in the photo, but moments ago, we had a face-off on the sidewalk after he nabbed an entire bread roll before I even noticed it. With my rapid, gymnast-like reflexes, I hit the ground and threw my hand in his mouth so he couldn't chew.

He stared at me.

I stared back.

I wrapped my fingers around the bread roll and tried to pry it away, but his teeth were already wedged in there. It was not good.

I glared.

He blinked.

I told him to "drop it," as if he would have magically learned that command on his own today. (We haven't taught it.) I told him to "leave it," like we make him do with his food. I took a stern tone of voice. I told him he was a bad boy. I pushed his jaw to get him to unlock. I touched his tongue to freak him out. I yelled "UH OH" to startle him into dropping it.


So I waited. I sat there in the cold, staring at my dog as cars drove by and stared at us. We both held onto that bread roll as if our lives depended on it. Finally, it started to get soggy, at which point I saw my golden opportunity. I dug my nails into the roll and broke it apart, moving swiftly to swat crumbly pieces out of Rocco's mouth.


I held tight on the leash and kicked the bread pieces into the snow as they fell. I felt triumphant. I wanted to throw a fist pump in the air or something. Within 2 seconds, Rocco forgot all about the bread and promptly pissed on a tree.

Sigh. Such are the glamours of puppy parenthood.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My birth story, as told by mom via text

It's the digital age, kids. As such, my mom decided to tell me about my birth 28 years ago. Through text message.

December 19, 7:37pm
Happy almost to hospital at 6:30 and delivered you at 8:22..spent whole day waiting for your dad because I had the only car.

December 20, 12:35pm
Happy this point I was reading a preggo book to see if I was in labor...still could not tell!

December 20, 1:43pm
By now I had gone shopping for egg nog to bring to a party.

December 20, 4:13pm
Now I was yelling at my friends who wanted to come get the egg nog for the party..just in case I couldn't make it.

December 20, 4:28pm
Called best friend with 2 kids to ask for advice. This devout Mormon told me to take a shot of vodka...if it was false labor it would stop.

December 20, 4:37pm
Waited 10 minutes then called her they will think I'm an alcoholic!!!! And your dad needed to be picked up around 5:30.

December 20, 4:45pm
At the advice of a nurse neighbor, I started timing my "cramps."

December 20, 5:05pm
Pure panic has now hit as I realize cramps are about 7 min apart and the ride to get your father is about 12.....

December 20, 5:07
After searching for the keys, I headed off to get your dad...I did have to pull over on the roadside for a wave of cramps to pass...

December 20, 5:15pm
By now I am pretty sure I'm in labor..the several gallons of nog in my fridge..and your dad nowhere to be found.

December 20, 5:39pm

After waiting with the front seat reclined, he finally show up. I tell him I'm in labor and he has to drive.

December 20, 5:40pm
He was not receptive to anything after working a 36-hour shift...and he protested...I insisted.

December 20, 5:45pm

By the time we reached the first traffic light, he asked if my suitcase was in the wasn't.

Aaaaand that's when I picked up the phone and called her. As she mentioned in her first text, I was born at 8:22pm. The biggest lesson here is that it's fine -- actually good -- to take shots of liquor if you think you're in labor. Cheers!

Best birthday ever

Today is my birthday, which means that this past weekend was my birthday celebration. I took no pictures whatsoever, so use your imagination -- just picture lots of wine bottles, laughter and some incredible friends.

Oh, and an incredible husband.

Exhibit A:

Gorgeous green Lanvin ballet flats. Does he know me or what?

Moments after I opened this gift at my birthday dinner, J whipped out her camera as another box was plopped in front of me. There's more?

Exhibit B:

Happy Birthday Lisa from ToKissTheCook on Vimeo.


I may have cried a little.

Let it be known that I have worn both pairs of shoes around the house while cleaning and I'm still on cloud nine from the weekend's events. Many, many thanks to Dave and J for their secret shopping excursion and many more thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate.

Happy Monday, folks.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Smart marketing

Amid all the Christmas emails, shipping confirmations, job alerts, travel plans and back-and-forths with friends, a note "from Kim Kardashian" was opened rather than deleted, if for nothing else than sheer amusement.

Friday, December 10, 2010

This is not normal

This happened yesterday over IM. (My thoughts in italics.)

Suz: what's your first name?

Wha...? She knows my first name. Suz is being weird. Unless she's being funny... OR unless it's not Suz and it's a hacker trying to get me to send money to freakin' London or Brussels or something! I have heard about this scam on the Interwebs! Okay. Okay. Be cool. Do NOT provide information. Even though your IM is actually your complete first and last name. Maybe this hacker is special-needs and does not realize that.

: Um, I feel like it's a little early for you to be drinking...

Suz: no seriously is your name barbie?

Omg, this is totally a retarded hacker who thinks my name is Barbie and wants me to send money and I'm NOT doing it. Should I text Suz and tell her someone hacked her IM? No, just wait. See how this plays out.


Suz: go look at barbie's latest fb update

Oops. This is totally Suz. Well, good thing I never OVERREACT.

Barbie: There's no such thing as too many shoes! Enjoy 25% off any Christian Louboutin doll...

Me: Omg, I love her.

Suz: lol

Sigh. Do you know anyone more neurotic than me?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Facebook Four

I don't spend too much time on Facebook. And last night, I think I realized why: I am "friends" with some really, really annoying people. Like these four folks that seem to invade my newsfeed every time I log on...

This is the person who updates Facebook every time he/she is at the bar, a club, a boutique, a restaurant, a trip, a date -- and, apparently, these things happen multiple times a day. I had no idea life could be so exciting.

Example statuses: "Digging my toes in the sand. I luuuuuuuv the beach and I luv my life!" "This new restaurant is kick-ass. My city rocks!" "Out with the crew. I have the best friends EVER."

What's really going on: Overcompensation.

What you should do: Feel pity.

The Creepy Parent
As someone who doesn't have kids, I can only handle so many status updates having to do with diapers, poop, babbling, baby bodily fluids and mundane "mishaps."

Example statuses: "My sweet little 'Picasso' strikes again, but with a Sharpie on my white walls! Good thing I love that kid!" "Sarah is 48 weeks, 6 days and 3 hours old right now! YAY!" "Grocery shopping alone and I miss my baby." "Joey just pooped in the bath for the third time this week, omg. So much poop. Look, here's a picture of the poop."

What's really going on: Uh, parenthood.

What you should do: Submit to STFU Parents and move on.

The Religious Fanatic
I've lived in the Bible Belt and been around tons of Southern Baptists who think all Jews (and especially halfsies like me) are going to hell. So if anyone should be accustomed to the incessant proselytizing, it's this girl. Still, I just can't.

Example statuses: "Looking at the sunset. Heavens declare the glory of God!!!!" "When God answers prayers, my faith is increased. Praise Him!" "So thankful for the Lord Jesus Christ, who blesses me each and every day." "The very air in my lungs is evidence of God's grace upon me."

What's really going on:
I still don't know.

What you should do: Prepare yourself. Christmas is just a few weeks away and the status updates are about to get super-duper righteous.

The Bandwagon-er
It feels like there's always a meme of some sort floating around Facebook, often with the goal of "raising awareness" for some sort of cause, illness or tragedy. Recently, we saw it with the whole change-your-profile-to-a-picture-of-a-cartoon-character in order to... Actually, I have no idea what it was supposed to do. Something about child abuse. You know what those kids and organizations really need? Money. Time. Not a picture of a Care Bear.

Example statuses: "I like it on the kitchen table, lol." "Red." "I drink tequila!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

What's really going on: Idiocy

What you should do: Hide them from your newsfeed. Because this shit isn't gonna stop.

I'm not saying updates about your awesome life, awesome kids and awesome God should never exist. If anything, I'm guilty of the parental one because I'm obsessed with my dog. But to write these things over and over and over again, to the point where you talk about nothing else, well, that gets you on My List.

Who's on your list?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Why the universe sucks right now

They say bad things happen in threes. Call me an optimist, but I'm really hoping they just happen in twos, because then I'd be done.

Bad Thing #1
My great-aunt -- the one who just celebrated her 90th birthday -- passed away just before Thanksgiving. She was the matriarch of our family and to say we were all sad would be an understatement. However, it was a lovely funeral, my dad gave a beautiful eulogy (or did you not think I knew what a eugoogly was?) and we were all together in NY for a few days to remember Betty. She left behind a devoted husband, two daughters and more nieces, nephews, grandchildren and cousins than you can count.

Bad Thing #2
Upon on return from NY, Dave and I were gearing up for a festive Turkey Day in Chicago, but one phone call from Cleveland changed all that. This is one I won't go into detail about, but we rushed back to Dave's fam (with dog in tow) on Wednesday and spent the holiday there. As of right now, things are looking better and the situation is being handled.

Bad Thing #3... DO NOT WANT. Especially since I can't shake the thought that if there is going to be a Bad Thing #3, it will have to do with my sister. She's coming up on her 1-year anniversary again and, as we all know, the holidays are a tough time for addicts. Fingers crossed we sail through the New Year without any hiccups.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Goodbye, Big Green Monster

Some people find car shopping fun. Others find it painful. I went car shopping for the first time ever last weekend and, since I'm SO not at the negotiation stage yet, I found it pretty darn delightful.

Since The Big Green Monster is on its last leg (poor thing), we're thinking we might buy a car in the next month.

*cue panic attack*

But, despite being terrified of doing such a Big Girl thing without my dad by my side, we marched forward... right into the 4 dealerships in the city.

1. BMW

Our first stop was the BMW dealership to look at some used 3-series. And that's when we met the craziest man in the world.

I swear, he was like some sort of coked-out, ADHD ball of offensiveness. He asked us tons of questions to figure out our finances ("What do you two do?" "I'm a writer, he's a student." Translation: We will not be paying you 50k for a car.), said that some things were "gay" ("But it's okay because I don't mean it in a bad way.") and kept telling us that "it's all about me," meaning him. Seriously felt accosted.

When we finally got to look at the cars, I was hugely disappointed by the back seat. I mean, I barely fit back there and I'm all of 5 feet. How am I supposed to cart around my fam when they visit without their chins resting on their knees? I walked out of there unimpressed.

2. Honda

After looking online at some 2009-2010 Accords, I had convinced myself I wanted one... but a trip to the dealer made me do a 180.

First of all, when we walked in, we were completely ignored by all salespeople. Not the best way to win business, but whatevs. We wandered over to a 2010 Accord and poked around ourselves. Again, not too thrilled. The car itself was much, much bigger than I thought it would be and the console was fug. Dave and I exchanged glances and walked out of there as quickly as we'd walked in.

3. Audi

I know nothing about these cars, but we figured a used A4 would be just the right size for us. (I'm starting to feel like Goldilocks.) We didn't look at any used A4s in our price range, but based on the 2010, we're intrigued enough to explore some older models. I guess. I really don't care about Audis too much because....

4. Volkswagen

....I am totally in love with a Volkswagen.

I know, right!? VW has never been on my radar. Jettas and Passats always looked like bubbly sorority-girl cars to me and don't have Honda's reputation for reliability or BMW's reputation for fanciness.


I neeeeeed a 2011 Jetta.

First off, they added 3 inches of legroom to the back seat this year, so it's much bigger than the BMW. Second, a brand new, fully loaded Jetta is about the same price as a standard 2008 BMW (and, I'm guessing, an Audi). Third, have you seen how sleek it is?


Technically, there are a few more cars on our list that we told ourselves we'd look at (Mazda 3 and Mazda 6 are the only others I'd spend the time looking at, but the Mazda dealership is wayyy out in the burbs). But I feel like we've already found our car.

I never thought I'd get a new car because who DOES that when you could get a 1-year-old car for much cheaper? But, like I said, there are major improvements with the 2011 Jetta and I can't wait to test drive it.

Which I'm doing in an hour...

Here's hoping she doesn't let me down.

Um, I bought the Jetta.

Monday, November 8, 2010

I win.

You know how celebrities like to beat the gossip rags to the punch by blogging about some controversial story they're involved in? Or how they write their own autobiography rather than letting some unauthorized author put out a tell-all? It's all a way to take control of the situation and reveal juicy details on their own terms, in their own way.

This is kind of like that.

Minus the celebrity aspect.

You see, this morning, I found myself caught in the midst of a bit of a fib. Background: We have a big meeting every Monday morning at 9:30, which means folks start to head over to the meeting spot around 9:15.

Dave has always driven me in on Mondays after his bike ride with his cycling team (OMG, IS HE 12?), which means I typically got IN at 9:15. Even if you're not good at math, you know that this leaves me zero time to get settled, check email and mentally prep for the day.

So... I told him I had to be in by 9am sharp every Monday.

He thought that meant the meetings started at 9am on Monday.

I did not correct him.

This means that for the past few months, he's been skipping the mid-ride coffee break with his buddies in order to get home in enough time to shower and drop me off at work. WHICH I VERY MUCH APPRECIATE.

Except this morning, it may have slipped out that the meeting starts at 9:30. And always has.

His jaw dropped and he called me by my first AND middle names! "You lied to me!"

Well, no, technically, I did not. "Oh yes you did! A lie of omission!" he said.

We got into the car as he, mildly amused, continued to chastise me for this little discrepancy. I, of course, could not stop giggling. And because he wouldn't stop, I decided to do something to end the conversation.

"Look," I said, "take this $20." I reached into my purse.


"Just take it!" I told him.

"No way," he said. "You're trying to pay me off. This is dirty money. I'm not having it."

And so here I am, at work with $20 still in my pocket and a meeting about to start. Also, I beat him to the punch with this story. So there.

Lisa - 1. Dave - 0.

Friday, October 29, 2010


My mom is taking a trip to a cabin with my dad this weekend -- a cabin that has no Internet or phone.

This is what she wore for the trip:

Raise your hand if you're surprised.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Douchiest Neighbor of All Time

Oh my god, you guys, have I got a story for you. A story all renters can relate to.

So, I have this neighbor. He lives on the second floor of a three-flat with his girlfriend/wife/whatever. They moved in just a few months ago.

Facts about this neighbor:

  • He drives an Escalade.
  • He parks a band trailer in our driveway.
  • He is covered in tattoos and thinks this makes him badass.
  • He does not work during the day, as far as I can tell.
  • He has 2 tiny, yappy dogs that pee all over.
  • He is an angry, angry man.

I found out that last part this weekend.

You see, this douchey neighbor of ours brought the party back to the apt. after a late night out at the bars. Around 2am, loud music and shouting filled the whole building. This is NOT the first time this has happened, but it is the first time we decided to say something about it.

We woke up early the next morning for Dave's bike race and left the neighbors a note telling them how loud they are. For perspective, we wrote about how we can even hear their phone vibrating. We wrote about how a loud party at midnight or 1am isn't a big deal, but 3am? 4am? a regular basis? Not okay.

What we got back was this:

Fuck ourselves? Fuck our mothers? OH NO YOU DIDN'T!!

This morning, I was in a blind rage, ready to march upstairs and give that tool a piece of my mind. Dave, ever the sane one, would not let me. He said we were going to handle this like grown ups. (Slash bitch about it on the Interwebs.)

While I've been at work, Dave has continued to go upstairs to try to talk to The Douche. The Douche, though he is certainly home, will not answer the door.

Plan of action: Continue knocking on the door every few hours until he answers. Keep the landlord in the loop by copying the absurdly aggressive note in with our rent check. Call the cops next time a party ensues. Keep calling the cops every weekend, if needed. Hope and pray that they don't renew their lease.

Happy Monday.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Tell me you don't need this


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

How accurate ARE breed tests?

I'd be the first to say that my dog is not what we'd call "handsome."

He's a stocky (62-lb), meaty little thing with beady eyes and a butt that will NOT stop shaking. He hates cats, loves food and takes up way too much space in the bed. But, as his mom, I also think he's the Cutest Damn Thing In The World. The brindle coat, the awkward ears, the white socks on his paws -- that's my baby boy.

But, aside from being adorable, what IS he?

Before you start thinking I'm delusional, yes, I know that he's definitely a Pit Bull. But Pit Bull and what? Full Pit? Pit-Boxer? Pit-Lab?

I was starting to feel like a bad mama who just swooped up some pup from the slums and never bothered to figure out what the heck he is. I care! I want to know! So, Dave and I did what any neurotic parents would do: We ordered a breed test.

We swabbed Rocco's mouth, popped the swab into a packet and mailed it in to WisdomPanel. And as of a few weeks ago, we got the results.

Are you ready?

Rocco is...


...Pit Bull (American Staffordshire)...


...wait for it...





I'll let that sink in for a moment.


Back? Okay. Let's resume.

My dog is a Pit Bull/Dachshund mix. And we have the paperwork to prove it:

So, mystery solved. Now, the only mystery is why Rocco's grandpa raped a doxie, but I don't think we'll ever know the true answer to that.

Instead, I've put my energies into keeping a straight face when we go on our walks and I say, "Oh, him? He's a dachshund mix. No, I'm sure. We had him breed-tested. This is my precious little doxie boy!"

I think I speak for all of us when I say, the fuck?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Life Lessons 3


  • When you're buying something online, put it in your shopping cart and leave it there for a few days. As long as you've signed up for an account, there's a good chance the company will send you a discount so you come back and complete the purchase -- like, 25%.

Fall nails!
  • Buy deep purple polish. It's awesome.

  • Do NOT cut corners when it comes to the pre-sewing process. For serious. I used to think I could blow through the measuring and cutting, and just really focus on the sewing part. No. Wrong. When you do that, you end up with drapes that look like trapezoids rather than rectangles.
  • Always have extra sewing-machine needles lying around for when you drunk-sew and break your supply.

Taxi love
  • Download Taxi Magic on your phone. It lets you book cabs, track them and charge them on your credit card. Plus it's free. (It does not, however, erase the stuffy cab pee smell.)

Salsa verde
  • Don't be scared of tomatillos. This. Salsa. Is. Badass. Also, don't skip the jalapeno. I don't even like spicy stuff, but it really misses the flavor when you leave it out.

  • Always, always, always keep a pen in your purse. I've walked by the ATM several times already and couldn't deposit checks from this summer because my pen keeps disappearing/was never there to begin with.

Accepting defeat
  • I used to whine about Comcast a while back, but ever since moving and getting AT&T, I've realized something very important: They both suck. In my case, AT&T sucks worse. Since switching to Comcast last week, our download speed is 4x faster and upload speed is 15x faster -- no joke. I'm sure AT&T will disappoint me eventually, so it's best to accept it and be happy that you've chosen one that just sucks less... for now.

  • If you're going to paint a light wall a darker color, you have to prime it with gray first. Or buy that Behr premium-ultra-best-paint-ever stuff. Oh, and if you're going to paint something maroon/dark red, don't freak out when the paint guy gives you a mix that looks magenta. It will darken. Supposedly.

All-around well-being
  • For the love of christ, stop watching Jersey Shore.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Remember when Dave was interviewing for an internship at a massive, prestigious firm? And we were really excited about it? And he made it to the final round? And then didn't get it? Crushing.

Well, this time around, he interviewed for a full-time position there and landed the job!

*Cue awkward happy dance*

So, he'll still interview at a few other firms to see if he gets to interview there and have a choice about where he'll end up, but regardless of who he works for, this job situation means several things for us:

We'll be able to pay off student loans.
Funny thing about being a grad student -- you don't make enough money to survive. And things (rent, vet visits, car insurance) cost a lot of money. So, Dave has a few loans that will kick in once he graduates. Now that he has a job secured, we'll be able to PAY THEM... and still afford groceries.

At least one of us will have a job come May!

It's likely that I'll be out of a job sometime in the middle part of next year. I know it's coming, so I'm preparing/prepared for it, but I was not looking forward to both Dave and I being jobless. Two unemployed, broke people living in an urban area with their pit bull? We're just one felony charge and an armband tattoo away from the worst stereotype ever.

Summer fun.
Because I'll probably be out of a job next year and I know about it far in advance, I may have the luxury of taking next summer off, with the exception of a few freelance projects. I'll drive to STL to visit friends, lay out at my favorite beach, finish sewing drapes in my apartment and play the part of happy housewife for as long as I can stand it.

Travel times a thousand.
Travel, in theory, sounds like something fabulous. But in the context of Dave's new position, it means that HE will be traveling and I will be staying home. This is definitely a bummer, to put it mildly (and to also use a phrase typically reserved for 80s sitcoms). We'll manage somehow, but I'm not convinced it will be easy.

Yep, things will certainly change around here. Some good, some bad. We'll see how it all plays out, but for now, we're just enjoying the lack of total panic and horror that we'd be feeling had his interviews gone in the other direction. WAY TO GO, DAVE! You earned it.

Friday, September 3, 2010

World traveler?

I've never been much of a traveler.

I guess it's the crotchety old woman in me that just wants to be in her comfort zone (likely a local bar) with a familiar drink in hand (likely vodka), a familiar face by my side (likely Suz) and a standard schedule to stick to (in bed by 10).

Uh, remind me again why you read this blog? I am SO BORING.

Aaaanyway. I'm telling you this because I think something in me is starting to shift. A lot of you (Ang, Jess, Jessi, etc.) travel quite often -- alone even! You have amazing experiences, beautiful photos and tons of memories. I'm starting to long for some more adventure.

For example, I really miss Australia. Sydney had the exciting urban feel that I love and Port Douglas had the relaxed beach vibe that we all need every now and then.

San Francisco was fantastic too -- so much to see and do.

And then, there's Paris.

Dave and I thought about going to Paris/Nice for our honeymoon, but the weather wasn't going to be warm enough for me to soak up the sun.

Now, our dear friends are moving there in October (!) and I can't WAIT to visit. Especially since both of them speak French whereas I, like most asshole Americans, only know how to proposition someone a la the Lady Marmalade video.

Speaking of speaking French and videos, here's a moment from their wedding where Zack raps to his wife. He goes en Francais around the 5:30 mark:

Adorable, no?

Where else should I plan to go? What's your favorite place to visit?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Are you ready for some football? I am.

Last year, I participated in my first fantasy draft. I got the first draft slot (luck) and picked Adrian Peterson (strategy/duh). The rest of my team was solid and I WON MY LEAGUE. Boo yah.

This year, we changed things up a bit and decided to do an auction-style draft. I am scared of change, but it was explained to me something like this: Everyone gets $200 to spend on players. When it's your turn, you nominate a player to the auction and everyone can bid on him to try and out-bid you (and each other). So, theoretically, you could blow $90 on Peterson, but it just depends how much a player is worth to you. Hint: not that much.

Suz also participated in the draft. Her strategy? Pick the hottest guys.

She ended up with those 3 quarterbacks (unnecessary), paid $9 for a $1 defense and threw a few bucks at no-name players for her bench. My prediction? She beats us all.

As for my team, I didn't feel like paying much for Peterson, but I did draft the #1 and #3 running backs: Chris Johnson and Maurice Jones-Drew. Also nabbed Brent Celek, Greg Jennings and David Akers (all good guys I had last year), and took a big QB risk on Kevin Kolb (who?).

Oh, jk, that's not him.

That's just what comes up in Google images when you search for him. Bad omen?

This is the real Kevin Kolb:

Hmm. Not hot, so it's clear Suz would never pick him. But at least he looks serious, right? Right?

Ladies, lemme tell ya, if you ever want to start caring about football, join a fantasy league. Half of what I just wrote up there probably sounds like "blah blah blah football blah blah who cares blah blah hot guys," but I am so much more into the game than I've ever been.

Come Sunday, you'll find me in front of the TV, hoping for another win.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Cousins are fun

When you're Italian, every one of your family members is your "cousin."

I absolutely adore my cousins!

There's my awesome first-cousin...

My fabulous Florida cousin...

My slightly spazzy but wildly successful cousin...

And many more cousins....

I was lucky enough to get to see everyone at this lovely lady's 90th birthday party in NY the other weekend:


It was fantastic. There was laughing, drinking and even some games... One game in particular was a sort of family trivia to see which of us knew the Birthday Girl the best. My table/team included my immediate family, plus my dad's brother and his fam.

And we totally cheated.

You see, Birthday Girl's husband told my dad and uncle all the trivia answers the night before the party. Where was she born? What's her favorite drink? What are her two favorite activities? We had it DOWN.

1. Bronx
2. Manhattan
3. Knitting and puzzles

Boom. We were fed plenty of other answers too. Cheaters never lose, right?


Apparently, Birthday Girl decided to change her freakin' answers!

1. Bronx (okay, can't lie about that)
2. Scotch (um, what?)
3. Gambling and puzzles


So, we lost. Like all good losers, we booed and hissed and challenged everything. 'Course, it's hard to be heard in a room full of drunk, competitive Italians, so it made little difference.

Losing aside, the rest of the weekend was a blast.

We danced.

We ate.


We listened to stories.

We Dad got drunk and tortured puppies.

We had homemade beer.

We were sad to leave.

Same time next year, folks? See you then!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Tag team music, in full effect

The scene: Post-dinner last night, still sitting at the table. Dave is mindlessly eating my fries. I am mindlessly eating chocolate chips.

Dave, abruptly: Take these away from me.

I confiscate the fries and give my chocolate the side-eye.

Me: Now you take these away from me.

Dave grabs the bag of chocolate and tosses it aside.

Me, to the dog: That's what we call "tag team," Rocco.


Me: Tag team, back again...


Dave: No.

Me: ...Check and direct and let's begin!

Dave: Party on, party people, lemme hear some noise.

Together: DC's in the house, jump jump rejoice. Party over here, party over there, wave your hands in the air, shake your derriere. These three words when you're getting busy. Whoomp, there it is.

Me: Hit me.

Dave, shaking his head: My god.

Me: It's gonna be SO easy to embarrass our kids.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

I dare you to find a funnier kid

My nephew, ladies and gentlemen:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Boy-crazy or just bat-shit-crazy?

I have never understood girls (well, women) who jump from guy to guy without taking so much as one breath of singledom. I've always been the opposite of that.

Sure, I had a boyfriend for a bit in high school but then I ditched him for the freedom, excitement and adventure of being a carefree coed in a brand new city... with new boys to meet and new boys date.

Except, I didn't really date anyone in college. Unless, of course, you count the gorgeous boy I tried to woo during our junior year. (He's still gorgeous, by the way, but not so interested in the ladies. We also became good friends.)

Regardless, I was always the single one, whereas my friends and roommates actually dated and even had serious boyfriends over the course of our four years together. It was never a "them" versus "me" scenario either; just because they had boyfriends didn't mean we couldn't party together. Single, dating, who cares! Let's go drink some Natty Light!

Fast forward 10 years.

I've been with Dave since I was 22 and we're coming up on our second year of marriage. I went from being the happily single chick to the happily married chick. I've never been the type to date someone just to date or just to have someone around. Why bother?

Then there's my sister.

She is one of those girls who ALWAYS has a boyfriend -- and she's had a ton of them. There was the AWFUL/mean guy when she was 15, the psychotic guy who thought he was Jesus when she was in college, the good-looking-but-dickish addict she met in rehab, the almost-divorced military guy with two kids, the guy she met at a strip club and, my favorite, the normal college grad who had a good job in marketing and no history of addiction.

This last one represented hope. Hope that my sister was growing up, hope that she knew she deserved better than what she'd had, hope that she'd found someone to keep her grounded. Hope that maybe she'd stop jumping around from guy to guy.


I got off the phone with my mom yesterday and she told me that sis was no longer with Good, Stable Marketing Man.

"Okay, so who's she dating now?" I asked half-jokingly.

"Someone named Justin," my mom answered.

"Seriously?" I asked. "I was just being an asshole about it, but did she really move on that quickly?"

Yes. Yes she did.

So my big question is WHY. Why can't she be single? What's the appeal of being with someone you don't really know? Does she have daddy issues? Then why don't I have daddy issues? Is it her environment? Should she move out of the south and get a chance of pace? Will this infatuation with being in love ever stop? Can I lock her in a closet somewhere until she turns 30, the magic age of maturity?

As someone who never had the patience or interest in dating anyone until it hit me like a ton of bricks with Dave, I fully admit that I just don't get it. Do you? Is it BAD that some girls always have a guy, or are there people who are just wired that way?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Life Lessons 2


  • If you for some reason find yourself with pregnancy tests on your hands, do NOT throw away the box that explains the results. Otherwise, a search of the web will have you convinced it's negative... no, wait... positive... no... negative? WTF SOMEONE TELL ME IF I'M KNOCKED UP OR NOT.

  • If you're gonna buy an exercise bike, get a recumbent one. It's easier on your back and, besides, who doesn't like lounging while burning fat?

  • If you live in West Town, as I do, teach yourself the difference between fireworks, cars backfiring and gunshots.

  • When you rent a car for a long drive, make sure it has cruise control on it before you take it off the lot. Fun fact: my rented 2009 Toyota Corolla did not.
  • When driving with your dog in the car, remove ALL items he can eat before pulling out of the driveway. Otherwise, you'll spend the better part of your trip clapping, shouting and making awkward, loud noises to get him to stop chewing said things.

  • If your mom is on Twitter, teach her that some companies try to solve your problems in 140 characters. Otherwise, she may or may not accuse a customer service rep of trying to scam her.

  • Get a Costco membership. The liquor prices alone are worth it.
  • When you order something from an online vendor, go through their feedback and see how they respond to unhappy customers. If they say things like "YOU'RE LYING," and "You're just plain impossible!" and have curt, defensive responses with lots of !!!, then you know their customer service is shit. Avoid.

  • When you book a flight the first time after you get a dog, make sure the times coordinate well with the boarding facility's pick-up and drop-off times.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

No, really, I love going to the vet

As you guys know, I love my dog. He is my first child, he's a little cuddle monster and I call him embarrassing things like boogie-woogie, pop-rocks, Rocco-Paco-Taco and pumpkin-head. It's nonsensical, shameful and adoring all at once.

You also know that he is going through his jerky teenage years, which makes me want to rip my hair out.

What you don't know is that he's been to the vet way too many times in the last six months.

Vet Visit 1: Rocco gets checked out and up-to-date on his shots. Harmless, necessary and pricey.

Vet Visit 2: Rocco has been shitting and puking pink stuff, which turns out to be blood. UM WHAT!?

Vet Visit 3: Rocco starts wheezing/coughing, like it's hard for him to breathe -- and it's not kennel cough...

Vet Visit 4: Rocco gets his next round of shots and tears apart my legs while I try to hold him down for the bordetella. Fun.

At this rate, we should be seeing the vet again by Halloween for something equally random and distressing. I think this last visit was enough to traumatize him though, so maybe he'll stop, you know, getting sick all the time. Fingers crossed.

Also, right about now, I'm wishing he was 50 pounds lighter and 1,000 times weaker so I could actually control him during vaccinations. It took Dave, me, a vet tech and the vet cornering the poor dog and holding him with all our might just to do the bordetella -- which is an up-the-nose injection. (Yeah, I'd freak too.) After several attempts and various struggles, we gave up and just gave him the skin shot version. And after that? Rocco plopped on the floor and sprawled out, all smiles. Me? I went and nursed my wounds.

Oh, Rocco-Paco-Taco.

I guess this is my payback for the humiliating nicknames.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vacation recap

It's already been a few weeks since we were at the beach, but there's nothing like a look back to make you miss the fun more than ever...


Leaving around 5am makes Dave goofy
It makes me sleepy

The pink bike rack, however, is unaffected


Okay, we didn't actually take any pictures out on the beach. Except this one. Oops.


We went deep sea fishing at the crack of dawn

We caught sting rays...

...and sharks!

My sister was very excited

And, of course, I slept some more


Food porn, commence!


We also hit up Busch Gardens. 90* angle drops? Yes, please

We played with sparklers

Watched a big storm roll through

Played games

And hung out on the porch with cool cocktails

T-minus 345 days until we do it all again.

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