Advertisements

Tag Archives: photos

ZOMG SNOWQUADO

So there’s a saying. Shell-shocked. Which I think is a precursor for the more modern PTSD.

Is there a saying, “snow-shocked?” If there isn’t, can there be? Can it be a thing we institute? Because when I woke up this morning and saw that it was snowing again, I think “snow-shocked” might be the definition of how I felt. Not happy or sad or mad. Just cold and dead inside like a robot. “More snow. Yes. Shovel. Yes. Cold. Yes.”

I was warned (and I knew) when I moved here there would be snow. We’re right next to a lake, so we get lake-effect snow. But I don’t think I was prepared for this MUCH snow. I mean, I don’t know if you CAN be.

So far this year (this YEAR, which we are TWELVE DAYS INTO, mind you, so that’s not counting the two storms of over a foot each we got in November and December), this town has received a total of 49″ of snow.

That’s over four feet of snow in 12 days. Most of it arrived between Tuesday and Saturday this week. There is nowhere to PUT all this snow. Here. Look.

This is the view from my front porch. There's a road there. I think. Somewhere.

This is the view from my front porch. There’s a road there. I think. Somewhere.

I have snow removal people. They've stopped having anwhere to PUT the snow, so I've had to be creative with where to park. I'm kind of on the lawn here. Not that you can SEE the lawn.

I have snow removal people. They’ve stopped having anwhere to PUT the snow, so I’ve had to be creative with where to park. I’m kind of on the lawn here. Not that you can SEE the lawn.

Now, I grew up in a town where there was a lot of snow, and it was very cold. I’m a native New Yorker. This isn’t new to me. But, just for comparison, let’s look at the average snowfall for some of the places I’ve lived in my life.

Albany 59″ – OK, this is manageable. That’s about 5′ a year. And it’s not like it falls all at once, or anything. The roads are crappy and everyone forgets how to drive, but that’s fine.

The town where I grew up gets, on average, 74″ a year. OK, that’s a bit more. Plus it’s super-cold there. Lots of negative temperatures. It’s the frozen tundra up there. I was a kid when I lived there, though. I let my parents worry about the cold.

Binghamton 83″- Yeah, I’m not super-surprised about this. I went to college here, and it would start getting gray about October and last through May, and it would snow and snow and SNOW. I didn’t have a car, so I’d have to slog to the bus stops in all that snow and my feet would be FREEZING and I’d be one of those sad people you’d see waiting for the bus all bundled up and shivering and snow-covered. But I was, again, young. And I used to drink a lot then. Probably I was too tipsy to realize how much snow there was, who knows.

Flagstaff 100″ – So, funny story, when I moved to Arizona, I thought Flagstaff would be warm, because I didn’t do any research? But it was NOT always warm. It was pretty damn cold, actually. And it was in the mountains and it snowed. A LOT. Once I was at work and elk walked right up to the door. Because they thought it was their world and not human-world. BECAUSE ALL THAT SNOW. (It was pretty damn cool, though. Elk!)

Watertown – ok, what do you think the average snowfall is in Watertown? It kind of varies site by site, but here’s what I found, and I think it’s probably right. Ready?

112″. ONE HUNDRED TWELVE INCHES. This sounds like it might be right, considering it’s not even mid-January and we’ve already had approximately 73″. 112″ is over 9 feet a year. NINE FEET. I’m not even SIX feet.

I’m quite sure I moved to some sort of alternate snow planet, where this is ALL THAT HAPPENS. Everyone here keeps laughing that it won’t end until May. THEY ARE NOT KIDDING. We all have this hundred-yard stare going on.

All we write about at work lately seems to be snow. Coworker R. and I came up with the latest Syfy movie title: “SNOWQUADO!” Part snowstorm, part earthquake, part tornado. Since these movies have to star an 80s star, it will star both Milli AND Vanilli* (two’s better than one, right? And it’s not like they’re doing anything these days) and be QUITE a hit.

Want to swing on my porch swing? Just wear your snowpants.

Want to swing on my porch swing? Just wear your snowpants.

In good news, I work about 3 minutes from my house, so the drive isn’t that bad. And when I get out, it’s about 1am, so I can drive really slow in the middle of the street and no one much cares.

The snowbanks are as tall as I am. Today the garbage man put my garbage can on top of one and how the hell was I supposed to get that down? I mean, I DID, but not without it falling on me. Gross.

The snowbanks are as tall as I am. Today the garbage man put my garbage can on top of one and how the hell was I supposed to get that down? I mean, I DID, but not without it falling on me. Gross.

The cat’s loving this. This is weather meant for cuddling and sleeping in and purring all night long. Sadly, one of us has to go to work to pay for cat food and Pringles, so I can’t stay home and purr all day, as much as I’d like to.

My car's there. I can't get to the garage. (I can't park in there anyway; that's where the landlady keeps the lawnmowers. Don't ask.)

My car’s there. I can’t get to the garage. (I can’t park in there anyway; that’s where the landlady keeps the lawnmowers. Don’t ask.)

I keep expecting there to be penguins. So far, there have been no penguins. What good is this kind of weather without penguins?

One hundred and twelve inches. Heaven help me.

And I'm pretty sure these icicles are trying to kill me.

And I’m pretty sure these icicles are trying to kill me.

*I have been informed by a very kind reader that Rob Pilatus from Milli Vanilli killed himself in 1998, a fact about which I had no idea. So, that joke fizzled. Not in the least bit meant as an offense toward Mr. Pilatus or a slight on mental health issues, which you all know are very near and dear to my heart. My apologies, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention if you are struggling with mental health issues and feel like you’re going to do something final to yourself, please call someone for help – you matter too much and owe it to yourself to do this. Trust me, ok? If you’re not comfortable talking to someone you know, there are plenty of wonderful groups that are happy to talk to you anonymously, and are WAITING to talk to you, which you can find a list of here. Thank you for letting me know about this, B., and much love to you all.

Advertisements

Why zoos aren’t usually open in the winter in the northeast

Last month, The Nephew, his mom and I went to the science museum in Schenectady to see butterflies and a planetarium show and also play with huge Lego blocks and train sets. It was very much enjoyed by all parties and the minute it was done, The Nephew’s mom and I started talking about our next adventure, but weren’t sure what it would be.

She sent me a message on Facebook not long after I’d gotten home saying that The Nephew had already planned our next adventure.

Your nephew wants our next adventure to be at the zoo! I told him it’s too cold for a zoo in the winter so we can go in the spring or summer. He said with his infinite wisdom “Mom, the animals don’t just disappear in the winter. Take me to wherever they put the zoo animals when it’s cold. Maybe Aunt Amy will know.” Impossible to argue with that!

Well, I have to agree. How can you argue with that? So I began to research local zoos.

At first, I thought of the Binghamton Zoo, which used to be open year-round when I was a student. I know this because friend R. and I used to go there, and once went the day after an ice storm and were the only ones in the zoo and it was just the best. The animals were all frolicking just for us, and I got a puma to come out of its home by saying “rrawr?” and it said, “RAWR” and came out and we had a happy talk through the wire. He seemed very engaged. He was probably lonely. Or wanted to eat my face. Debatable, I suppose.

But the Binghamton Zoo is no longer open year-round, and a lot of other zoos nearby are also closed for the winter, so I started to despair until I found…

THE UTICA ZOO!

Open year-round and a mere 90 minutes away. We would see our animals in the wintertime after all! AUNT AMY WINS!

So we packed ourselves into the car, and an hour and a half later, we arrived at…

The Utica Zoo!

Driving through Utica makes me sad. It was a grand town, once, and now it’s kind of falling apart, and the buildings have a lot of broken windows and are filled with lost grandeur. You can see how beautiful it must have been, once, though. The buildings are beautiful and stately in that old-fashioned way, and look like they’re waiting for the next act…but the next act isn’t coming, I don’t think. I think the show’s been cancelled. And things like that hurt me. I love history. I don’t like when things are thrown away like that.

On the drive there, mostly The Nephew played Angry Birds and said, “Aunt Amy! Play this level, it’s easy!” but they were never easy, and then he would sigh like I exhausted him and he would say, “Oh, just give it to ME” and then he’d solve it in a second. (I’m terrible at Angry Birds. Those pigs are WAY wily.) He also is fascinated with family relationships. “Aunt Amy, who is your mom?” he’ll ask me, and I’ll say, “Your grammy is my mom!” and he’ll laugh and say, “Oh!” and then he’ll say “Aunt Amy, who is your dad?” and I’ll say “My dad is your grampy!” and he’ll laugh and say “Oh!” and then finally he’ll say “Aunt Amy, did you know my daddy’s mom and dad are my grammy and grampy?” and I’ll say, “Yes, did you know your dad is my brother?” and he’ll say “OH!” and this always cracks him up and he laughs. To REALLY make him laugh, I call his dad my LITTLE brother. “No! He is a grown-up MAN!” he’ll say, then giggle and giggle. I enjoy that kids don’t understand that once, the GROWN-UPS were ALSO kids. This makes me smile, to think that in a child’s mind, we’ve always been this age.

So there were a few signs when you first entered the zoo saying “paths may be icy.” We were all, “pooh pooh! How icy can they be?”

The answer is…glare-icy.

Apparently, in order to stay open all winter, they had to cut back on grounds maintenance. None of the pathways had been cleared at all. There was ice and snow and SO MUCH ICE ZOMG, and of course The Nephew tramped along it merrily (and fell once, but picked himself right back up like he’s made of rubber and kept-on a’runnin’.) At one point, the path just STOPPED, and we had to tromp through the snow, and The Nephew was all “well, now we are lost in the WOODS!” and he was sort of right. But then the path started again, sort of. It got so bad I purposely walked through the snow instead of on the path because the path was slipperytown. Bad news, Utica Zoo! I realize salt wasn’t probably a good idea with all those animals. But sand? Maybe? Or don’t be open? Because you are COURTING DEATH with those paths, you guys.

Other than the DEATH-ICE, and how cold it was (we all had windburned faces and chilly legs and hands when we were done) and the fact that about half of the animals were gone (I don’t know where…I guess wherever animals go when it’s cold? Vacation? Florida, like retirees? Just inside in the groundskeeper’s buildings? Anyone know?) it was kind of an awesome zoo. You know how much I love zoos. It would take a lot more than a little ice to put me in a terrible mood.

What’s that?

You want to see photos of our day at the zoo?

Ha, it’s like you don’t even know me. I took a MILLION photos of the zoo. The whole time, I told The Nephew’s mom, “This is for a MOST IMPRESSIVE BLOG I will be writing about this adventure!” and she said, “Of course you will!” She totally knows about the bloggery. Most of my people do. It doesn’t even shock them anymore.

Let’s go to the zoo!

First we had to go to the bathrooms, and outside the bathrooms, randomly, was this loose peacock. The Nephew was all “LOOK AT THAT!” and wanted to I think either pet or ride the peacock, but the peacock was having none of that and booked it away from us. (Isn’t it pretty? I’ve never seen one up close!)

Here’s The Nephew chasing it as it walked away. He really wanted a pet peacock.

.

It was all, “listen, dude, I am JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU” and The Nephew was all, “No, seriously, come back, I will play “In Your Eyes” to you on a boom box! YOU COMPLETE ME!”

Then we saw some goats. I know some people who like goats. I took a lot of photos of these fellas.

This one looked like a genetic abnormality. Therefore he was my favorite.

There were none of those little feeding stations at this zoo. I hear rumors that they all had to be removed because hooligans were breaking into the zoo to steal the money in them. This goat didn’t get the memo. He wanted me to feed him. I had no food. Only Tic Tacs. I don’t think the goat wanted Tic Tacs.

This goat looks like he knows a secret. Do you think it’s the secret of why they didn’t put any sand on the paths so we almost died like a hundred times?

This goat was chewing on a log. I don’t know why, either. But it made me laugh. He was SO FOCUSED on this. He didn’t even look up. Look at his funny pupils! This is why I love goats. They have curious eyes.

I think this is the genetic abnormality goat again. I was a fan of his.

ZOMG GOAT! Stop with the log, already, people are going to think you have a complex!

Next was a thing I loved, and I think I need to get it on a teeshirt.

I BITE! And there was NOTHING IN THE CAGE! So it was totally scary for no reason. I like that it’s in ALL-CAPS.

But then the bitey thing came out. What do you think it was? A cougar? A wolverine?

Nope.

This stork-thing. I would think he pecks and pinches more than bites. Just to be safe, though, in case his beak was hiding sharp teeth, we didn’t poke him.

This is his wanted poster. I BITE, DAMMIT!

Yes, I know. That’s a lot of snow. We’re really mired in this neverending winter up here.

Thought you’d like to see some adorableness. Here’s The Nephew taking a photo-op in front of the children’s zoo. He has many layers on. We were chilly, yo.

Yeah, I know. Worst photo ever. See, my nice camera totally died almost immediately and I had to use my phone for the rest of the day. This is a zebra. He was really far away and to get to him, you had to cross TREACHEROUS ICE. So I decided to zoom in as far in as I could and call it a day. HI, ZEBRA! (He totally finds me fascinating. Look at him checking me out.)

This is a camel I decided to call Spicoli. He seems to be stoned, and really laid-back. I think he would call you “dude” a lot and laugh inappropriately. Look, he totally has hay in his hair and he doesn’t even CARE. And he looks like he’s grinning at NOTHING. (Also, apparently in the winter, this kind of camel grows a lot of dreadlocks, and their humps droop randomly to one side or another. Just makes them look more like stoner-camels to me.)

This was some sort of peacock with a huge lacy tail. There was no sign on this exhibit so I can’t even tell you what kind. I liked how fancy it was. This peacock would ALWAYS get invited to the dance.

MERKA!

The Nephew didn’t see this eagle at first, then when he did, he was kind of tired, and said “That doesn’t even LOOK like an eagle” and I said, “No? What does it look like?” and he sighed and said, “A big bird with a yellow beak.” But later when we asked him what his favorite animal was, he said the eagle.

Oh, pretend there’s a photo of a sea lion here. They wouldn’t stay out of the water long enough for us to photograph them, but they were very cool. One popped up long enough to kind of clap his flippers at us, then disappeared again. I do so like sea lions.

Why does every zoo have Cotton-Topped Tamarins? These things freak me out, man. Where’s that stoner camel. He’d calm me down. I think he has something that’ll help me out with that.

IMG_0630

Snakes! This one’s pretty. I think it was a corn snake.

IMG_0629

I don’t remember what kind of snake this is, but the photo turned out well. Sometimes that happens.

These were gigantic pythons, and they would most definitely eat you and digest you. I even like snakes but I’m glad they were safely behind glass.

The website said there would be so many turtles and tortoises, and there was only this one. This is for Heather. She is my tortoise-friend and she said I would love this guy the most of all the turtles and tortoises. She was right, considering he was the only one. Sadly, this is not a very good photo. Good grief, why is it so RED? Sorry, Heather.

It is very hard to see, but up in the upper left-hand corner of this one is a beautiful owl. I love owls. I went “hoo! Hoo!” to him but he was all “I’m napping, lady, sheesh.”

This is not a helper mule, as much as I’d like it to be. This was just a donkey. He was pretty cute, though.

This was a HUGE Flemish rabbit. The sign says they can grow to 28 pounds. I was all “The Nephew! Come see this huge rabbit!” and he came over and said, “Aunt AMY, that rabbit isn’t that huge. He’s just really fat. I think he eats too much food” and that made me and The Nephew’s Mom giggle.

Look at this guy. He’s GORGEOUS. I sincerely want an owl. On the way home, we saw two hawks, too. It was a raptor-bird kind of day.

Look! He looked at us! He wanted to be our friend!

It’s hard to tell, because he’s very blending-into-the-landscapey, but this is a beautiful lynx. He watched us the whole time but not in a scary way. In a “bring me home!” way. The Nephew said I could bring him home, and he PROBABLY wouldn’t eat Dumbcat. I like them odds.

I saved the best for last. What do you think is best?

What’s that? You can’t see them very well? I CAN FIX THAT!

LIONS!

At first, The Nephew said, “I don’t think I want to see lions…” in a scared little voice, but then he realized they wouldn’t eat us and he was cool with the lions. This one was pacing the whole time we were standing by it. He wanted to eat our whole faces. I loved him.

I’m going to be obnoxious and show you a lot of photos of this lion. He was my best fella.

Isn’t he so PRETTY? I do love big cats.

And you know what you have to do when you’re around the lions.

You HAVE to make a lion face! (Those lions don’t even care.)

Then we discovered one of my favorite things at zoos…

.

One of these “you are an animal” face-thingies! First The Nephew was a lion. You can also see Aunt Amy behind him holding him up so he didn’t fall on the little teeny-tiny piece of wood he was standing on in order to be a lion. I especially like the paws on this thing. Very realistic.

I am a scary lion! This is totally my Facebook cover photo right now, yo. This is like the best thing ever. RAWR I AM A SCARY LION (who is also holding a Utica Zoo sign, for some reason!)

Then we were cold and tired, so we hoofed it to the gift shop and The Nephew decided he wanted a scary lion thing that bit things and grabbed things but we convinced him that really he wanted a spelunker’s hat with a VERY cool flashlight built in (when I told him the word “spelunker” he repeated it and giggled – this kid LOVES learning, it is so good for my heart) and I got a NEW FRIEND!

His name is Trent. He is a very brave tortoise, and not at all afraid of Dumbcat. (Right after this photo was taken, Dumbcat randomly started purring and headbutted poor Trent right onto the floor. Oh, Dumbcat. That’s no way to treat your new housemate!) Don’t even mock my warm flannel PJs, yo. It’s going to be NINE DEGREES tonight. Where is my spring?!?!)

Then we all went to a diner and The Nephew had pancakes and french fries (which was an awesome combination, I thought) and I helped him clean up some spilled milk and I told him I was helping him because I loved him all the way to the moon and back, and he said “I love you TWO TIMES that!” and I kissed him on his little head because that made me have tears. Oh, do I love that child.

Then it was time to go home, and tonight I am ouchy from walking and ouchy from windburny but we had a lovely day. But I would recommend that you probably don’t go to a zoo in the winter that DOESN’T upkeep their paths, though. Total liability. Otherwise? Good times had at the zoo by all. Including the animals. They were probably so sad to see us go. We’re excellent zoo visitors. No one was as happy as we were. We won zooing!


Virginia: No Lovers, But Much Love

I am officially home from my long weekend of adventure. I took Wednesday off so I could loaf. So far, I have not loafed; I’ve been doing a billion things like laundry and grocery shopping and library-visiting. (There was some sort of toddler story-hour happening when I was there and the cuteness quotient in the lobby was OFF THE DAMN CHARTS, yo. I can’t even tell you.)

Let’s see. When we left off, Heather had arrived, and we were awaiting the arrival of the lovely Laura. Heather and I decided to go pick up Laura while sj made dinner, and we were going to stop at the grocery store on the way home.

So we went to pick up Laura. On our way, we drove past an exit for “Powhite Parkway,” which made me laugh SO HARD. “There’s probably a lot of trash along Powhite Parkway,” Heather mused wisely.

Then we were at Laura’s house! And Laura lives in the most beautiful old apartment. The ceilings are the highest you’ve ever seen, and there are fireplaces and it’s decorated in this amazing kitschy way that is so amazing. And there was Laura, who is still adorable, whether she lives in New York OR Virginia! (Perhaps more adorable in Virginia, because she’s so happy that you can just see the glow in her eyes.)

Then it was time for grocery shopping! We totally had a list. We were IMPRESSIVE.

We also got up to shenanigans in the grocery store. Because, why not?

THE LOVELY LAURA!

I promised Heather I was only taking a photo of what we were shopping for. I lied. Sincerely, though, she is ADORABLE. How could I not take a photo of her?

Listen, the sign said screams started here. It’s like we HAD to do this photo, yo. WE DID NOT HAVE A CHOICE. (Side note: I think the people who worked at the Kroger may or may not have hated us. For good reason.)

Then back to sj’s we went, bearing Laura and groceries! (And coffee, because we stopped at Starbucks.)

We talked and ate and watched The Amazing Race (which is a LOT of fun when you can talk about it with real people in real time – usually sj and I text each other through it, but face-to-face is AWESOME) and then got kids to bed (and Heather to bed, because she had to leave the next day!) and sj and Laura and I watched The Walking Dead. This might have been the most fun I’ve ever had watching The Walking Dead, because listen, Laura is HYSTERICAL. She would come out with these things all matter-of-factly like “That little bitch is sick. What’s up with them sweat-feet?” and I’d laugh so hard I’d have trouble breathing. You have to imagine it in Laura’s southern accent, though. It’s better that way. More realistic.

Here's the sick little bitch now. SWEAT FEET.

Here’s the sick little bitch now. SWEAT FEET.

The next day, Laura and Heather left in the early afternoon after we sat around and talked as much as we could squeeze into the morning. It was sad to see them go. We had the best time, the four of us. Sincerely. Among other things (like the sheer fact that they’re three amazing women) it’s really nice to meet people who get you. Who get the internet references and the blogging stuff and who, when you mention someone by their Twitter handle, know what you’re talking about, and who, if you talk about the GoodReads controversy, don’t say, “What’s that? A website? Who cares?” It’s also amazing (and rare) to be around people you feel completely comfortable with. Because usually I’m awkward panda.

Some seriously gorgeous lady-action happening here, yo.

Some seriously gorgeous lady-action happening here, yo.

Then it was a napping-day. We were all very quiet and sleepy and many naps were taken. sj totally came to check on me at one point and I was all sacked out on the loveseat drooling and snoring. (SHUT IT. I am the least sexy sleeper in the history of the world. I own that shit. How can you even change something like that? I mean, it’s not like you can train yourself to be a sexy sleeper like in the soap operas. I work hard, I play hard, and I sleep hard. And UGLY. BAM, yo.)

At one point I watched some episodes of a show called Ni Hao, Kai-Lan with sj’s little girl. This is what I learned about this show: there is a monkey on this show who is such an asshole. I don’t know how anyone would be friends with this monkey. (You have to suspend your disbelief when watching this – all the animals talk, and are this girl Kai-Lan’s friends.) This monkey, Ho Ho, is constantly yelling at people, and kicking tigers, and refusing to play games unless HE can pick them, and will never try new foods. And he learns important lessons, whatever, like new things can be good, sometimes. But mostly what I learned is, if I was Kai-Lan, I would tell Ho Ho to take a hike-hike, because he is the WORST. I told sj’s daughter he was the worst and she was all, “NO.” (He totally is, though.)

This is Ho Ho, but usually he's more pouty and stompy than this. He's the worst.

This is Ho Ho, but usually he’s more pouty and stompy than this. He’s the worst.

But at the end of the night it was time for MORE ADVENTURE! sj’s husband COOKED for us. He is an amazing chef (like, the opposite of me, who just had a Lean Cuisine for lunch) and went all out. We totally had fajitas. But not JUST fajitas. He made fajitas AND salsa AND guacamole – all from SCRATCH – and I just want to say that it was, most likely, one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. EVER. And I don’t even like beef (much) OR peppers. But somehow, it was THE BEST THING EVER. (Also, somehow I’ve gone almost 40 years without ever having fajitas. And I love Mexican food. I don’t know, either. I’m weird about food. You all know that.) We were watching a movie while we ate them and I seriously didn’t even TALK while I was eating. I was in a good food FUGUE STATE. I utterly cannot imagine that I will ever eat fajitas that are that delicious again. (THANK YOU, JEFF!) PS, I totally meant to take a photo of the fajitas but I was too busy eating them ALL UP with my FACE. Didn’t even take a break for photography. SO SO GOOD.

Oh, and as a side-note, sj ALSO made delicious food for us, like split-pea soup (which is one of my favorite things EVER) and the best homemade pizza and macaroni and cheese (HOMEMADE mac and cheese, YUM) and Rice Krispie Treats which we totally went to TOWN on while they were still warm and gooey and DELICIOUS. I really need to start cooking more, don’t I? Lean Cuisines don’t count as cooking, do they? Huh.

Then the next day was going-home day. Long train ride ahead of me. Many hours trainbound. Also, how is it possible that, even though I’d given away a lot of things OUT of my luggage, and only had a few new things IN my luggage, it was virtually impossible to close my bags? I’m the worst packer. Sincerely.

Many goodbyes. Many hugs. Quick photos with some of the kiddos:

sj’s husband and the two aforementioned kiddos brought me to the train station and we watched the train come in and there were some tears from the kiddos which was so sweet and heartbreaking. More hugs and kisses on tops of little heads and off I went to the train.

I alternately slept and read and watched a movie on the way home. (What did we do before laptops and Kindles? They might be the best things ever.) I watched Les Miserables, finally. I liked it, but I think I like the stage show more. There were some changes made I wasn’t down with. (Doesn’t mean I didn’t get a little teary-eyed now and then, though.) I mostly had my seat to myself until a VERY OFFICIOUS ASSHAT sat with me from Maryland to New York City and took up more than his seat with all of this gear and his cell phone calls and his important gesticulations and that was annoying. Otherwise, all was well.

And when I got home, there was a VERY UPSET DUMBCAT who was all, “MOM MOM MOM I THOUGHT YOU WERE DEAD MOM MOM MOM” and has not left my side since I got here. Very vocal, my boy. He even meowed at me while he was eating cat treats. MEOW MOM MEOW! DON’T EVER LEAVE AGAIN MEOW! Poor guy. So lonely.

So there was my weekend of adventure, and bloggity meetups, and laughing and talking and television-watching and napping. It was a very grand adventure, and now it’s back to work and theater reviewing and such. But things are going to be a little quieter now – not so much going on at the moment – so I can relax a little, do some writing and reading and relaxing. Aaahh.

Thank you, sj, for hosting a weekend of adventure, and Heather and Laura, for making the trip, and I love your faces. Big hugs to you all for being amazing women and just as wonderful face-to-face as you are on the interwebs. All the love.

(For more posts on weekend goodness, visit sj here and here, and Heather here!)


Who knows what evil lurks in the depths of your morning brew?

This isn’t a real post. Well, I suppose it IS, but it’s not. I have half an hour before I have an appointment (day off today, baby! LADY OF LEISURE!) and when I get home will be working on the real post which will go up tomorrow unless I am kidnapped by a Yeti. But you deserve something. It’s a beautiful Friday. Sunshiney and all.

So a couple weeks ago, I was shopping for sj‘s birthday present (Think Geek really is the best for all things awesome, and no, they’re not paying me to say that, but if they WANTED to pay me in, oh, I don’t know, gift cards, I’d take ’em) and saw a present I knew would be perfect for Andreas. Sometimes that happens. I can’t help myself. I see a thing and think of one of my loved ones and it just pops into my cart. I might have a problem. Some people have a problem with impulse-buys; I have a problem with impulse-buys for my friends. (And lately, shoes. What the hell? I’m almost middle-aged, have never cared about shoes in my life, and suddenly have discovered the joy that is well-made, nicely-fitting shoes. AND I CANNOT GET ENOUGH OF THEM. I apologize that I always scoffed at you people and your love of shoes.)

So I bought sj’s presents, but also the present for Andreas, all on-the-sly-like, and mailed it off to the land of Finns without telling him. It was supposed to take two weeks to get there. The lady at the post office was VERY STRICT about this.

It took four days. What the hell, USPS? It took my dad, who is about four hours away, three days to get his Father’s Day present; it took Andreas four days to get his present, and he is on A WHOLE OTHER CONTINENT. I find this suspicious.

Anyway, once he opened it, I was treated to the following on Instagram, which I thought you would all enjoy.

“Enjoying a perfectly innocent-looking cup of cappuccino.”

“But what’s this? Something is poking out of the coffee!”

“Mein Gott im Himmel! Eine kleine Tintenfisch!”

Hee! WIN! I bought Andreas this:

It’s an Octopus Surprise Mug! Because he loves octopuses. And also I love surprises.

Time to get my oil changed. I assure you that’s not a euphemism. (Side note: I was up until 2:30am last night because I had to drive to Massachusetts, watch a play, come home, and review that play. I woke up at 9:30 but wasn’t happy about it. Maintenance came to fix my wonky air conditioner at 10-ish. I was in pajamas and my hair looked like I’d slept with a bunch of wolves last night who spent the night playing hairdresser with their paws. And he’s apparently a new maintenance man I didn’t know existed. AND HE IS SUPER-HOT. So the whole time I tried to hide behind the entertainment center and smooth my hair down surreptitiously. AND HE WAS EVEN NICE TO DUMBCAT AND COMPLIMENTED HIM ON HIS STUB TAIL! Oh, good grief, life, why are you trying to kill me.)

Oh, and SIDE NOTE TO THE SIDE NOTE: he didn’t even fix my air conditioner, because randomly last night, it started working again. SIGH. He said to call him again when it’s not working. I will, sir. I WILL. I will call you and you can bet I won’t be wearing ripped jogging shorts and a stretched-out teeshirt NEXT time. Rawr. (I’m exaggerating. I don’t even own anything that’s more dressy than that.)

Happy Friday, all. And hey, Andreas? You’re the best. Most sincerely. Don’t know what I’d do without you. So stick around, you. OK? Good. Glad we’ve settled that.


Love is the whole and more than all

and nothing quite so least as truth
–i say though hate were why men breathe–
because my Father lived his soul
love is the whole and more than all
–E.E. Cummings, “my father moved through dooms of love”

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

You had your first kid when you were only 25. You had no idea what to do with this kid. She was born early and jaundiced and she cried a lot and wouldn’t sleep. You were expecting a boy. You wanted a boy because boys were easier and you could play catch with a boy and do things like play in the dirt and go hunting. A girl was perplexing. What would you do with a girl?

You learned quickly that you could do all the same things with her as you could do with the boy. Well, except the hunting. She didn’t like hunting. Killing animals was not a thing she was into. The one and only time you took her hunting she ended up weeping over how pretty the dead quail was and how horrifying it was that one minute it was THERE and the next minute it was NOT. But you could still teach her how to shoot a gun. And you did. And she played in the dirt, and she played catch (poorly, because she had no hand-eye coordination) and you always made time to teach her things like what kind of trees those were, and how a car worked, and where the fish would bite. She ended up loving books more than anything, which perplexed you, and falling in love with the theater, which perplexed you more, and becoming a damn dirty liberal, which just infuriated you.

But she inherited your eyes and your quick sense of humor and your steadfast loyalty and your complete intolerance for stupidity, and she ended up being pretty ok, after all. Imagine that. And whenever you talk to her you tell her how much you love her. Because you do. And how much you’ll always worry about her, even though she’s well onto her way into middle age. Because you will.

You ended up doing a pretty good job raising her, even though you didn’t have an instruction manual.

Happy Father’s Day, Grandpa Jim.

You got married really young and had three amazing handsome boys and a beautiful girl, and the entire town loved you. There wasn’t anyone who didn’t grin and wave when they saw you coming. You were intelligent and funny and caring and wise, and everyone who ever met you has stories about you, and those stories make them glow with the memory of them.

You loved your family ferociously. You’d have done anything for them. You worked hard every day of your life making sure they had everything they needed. You were tough, but you were fair. They always knew how much you loved them. They loved you with a fierce unparalleled love; no family has ever loved a father more.

You loved your grandchildren. They loved to visit you because you played with them. You were overjoyed to see the children your own children produced. You wore your heart on your sleeve with them.

I would have liked to know you. Dad tells me all the time how much you and I would have liked one another; how I would have gotten your jokes, even the ones that it took other people days to put together in their minds because they were so complex and erudite. Dad says you would have been so proud of me, that you and I were so much alike. I take that compliment and wear it like a locket, like a precious gift. I carry the stories of you around safe with me in my heart. I hang on the hope that someday, somehow, in whatever passes for an afterlife, if there’s someone waiting for me on the other side, it’ll be you, and you’ll be waiting with your laugh that filled a room, with the other half of the stories that it chokes your children up to tell me.

I’ve loved you my whole life without us even ever having been on the planet at the same time. Sometimes people miss each other by mere months, yet spend the rest of their lives missing each other. I miss you, even though, for me, you were never there.

Happy Father’s Day, Grandfather.

You were one of the hardest-working men I’ve ever known. You ran a farm, you were the sheriff (of the town? the county? I was little, I don’t remember, just remember you in your uniform with a pistol on your hip, looking very wild-western and strong), you had a wife and four young children, you drove a huge truck, and you were no one to be messed with, with your steely blue eyes and your serious white crewcut.

Yet you always made me laugh. You were shameless about it; you would save things that you knew would make me laugh until I visited, then you’d trot them out like jewels for me. You’d make up little poems and say them to me in a very serious tone, but with twinkling eyes. “The mouse ran up the tree,” you told me once, very seriously. “Turned around and peed on me.” Then you very seriously walked out of the room. I was about 6, and this was the height of humor. I laughed until I was sore.

You would put on old records and dance around your parlor with me. You’d make me complicated puzzles from wood and wire and twine and laugh as I tried to solve them.

You were a World War II vet; you brought home photographs of yourself on boats in the waters off Japan, looking young and like you were going to save the world. As a child, I was quite sure you had.

You died when I was in college. It was not a quick death; it was long, and painful, and not the death you want to watch someone you love suffer. At the end, when you were on doses of morphine so high the nurses were loath to give them to you, you said you saw an angel in your room. The angel was your beloved younger sister, the wild child I’d always admired, who’d passed away not long before. “She’s waiting for me,” you told my mother. You looked so happy. So at peace. I’d like to say I know it was the drugs talking. The practical side of me knows it was. But the side of me that believes in magic and wonder and that something should be out there on the other side waiting for us believes that yes, your sister was there in your hospital room, and right before you went, she let you see her so you wouldn’t be so afraid to let go.

Happy Father’s Day to you, these three men whose blood runs in my veins. We may make ourselves into the people we want to become, but before we can do that, we grow up surrounded by people who help us shape our lives. I was lucky enough to have some of the strongest role models to look up to. Men that treated women with respect; men that knew women could be and do whatever they wanted; men that looked at me and said, “You are amazing” and meant it; men that made me strong and wise and funny and brave.

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers reading. Fatherhood comes in many forms. It’s not just genetic. Taking a child’s hand in yours and being their person, letting them know how amazing and wonderful and worthwhile and strong they are? That’s fatherhood. Protecting them, but also giving them wings and letting them use them? That’s fatherhood. Laughing with them and also crying with them? That’s fatherhood.

Happy Father’s Day, fathers and dads and stepdads, in all your forms, in all your roles.

And thank you. For everything.


%d bloggers like this: