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Friday, December 11, 2015

On Being Bitch-Slapped By Holiday Bullshit

Okay, so true confession: I'm over Christmas.

I know. Weird. I'm usually all about the festive holiday themed tchotchkes and lighted tree and crapton of fatty, sugary edibles washed down with adult bevvies. Okay, I'm ALWAYS down with the treats and vodka, but the other stuff... Meh.

I really haven't been feeling it this year. However we had a late-season warm up which gave me the slightest inspiration to get my buttocks outside to don our porch rails and windows with some Goddamn gay apparel before the temps sank to subzero and I'm outside cursing my stupid procrastination while my icy blue digits wrestle with the hardened tie wraps in a futile attempt to force the twisted garlands to conform to my GODDAMN DECORATING WILL.

That's part one of the process. Part two is climbing out the second story window onto the porch roof in order to suction cup wreaths on the windows so our exterior is all pretty and shit. Now normally I climb out our so-called third bedroom window which isn't a bedroom as much as a vestibule to the third floor hoardfest and catch-all for copious tubs of various stuffs which will languish in limbo until it is unearthed centuries from now by future generations pondering the value of an ancient LL Bean catalog. But that's a story for another day.


As you may have guessed, the pathway to the double hung portal was blocked, meaning I needed to crawl my ever-expanding, middle-aged ass out the only other option for me: the 12" side window on our bay.

I know what you're thinking. "Just use a ladder, Drama Queen." NoNoNO! DAMMIT I am NOT climbing up a fucking ladder. No way. No FUCKING way! And here's why. Gravity and me...we're not on speaking terms.

Gravity took me down TWICE last week.

Gravity... is dead to me.

The first fall was in the studio at the Special K. We have camera cable covers that are made of the slipperiest materials known to man, manufactured by Beelizbub himself. I always warn our guests not to step on them for fear they will plummet to the floor. Last week, in front of a guest no less, I broke my own rule and accidentally stepped on the diabolical cable, sending me tumbling--in slow motion, arms akimbo, as one does when one is trying desperately to remain upright--to the floor, right on my knee cap.


THEN, a few days later, a pack of us were walking to work on a foggy morning. I stepped on the metal plate at the end of the bridge and BOOM! I'm looking up at the stars. WTF??!? Thank the little Baby Jesus I had my backpack filled with all the useless things I insist on carrying day to day on my back or I would have surely bounced my noggin off the cement.

Yeah. Gravity's a giant DICKHEAD.

But I digress...

So here I am in the front bedroom, standing on a stool, shoving my left leg out the toddler-sized opening all cocky and shit. I can do this. No sweat. I may be a "woman of a certain age", but I'm still nimble.

In my mind. In real life, well...

Geo's with me, thank God, as my left leg finds purchase on the metal roof. Did I mention it was metal. And slippery, because, um.. it's metal. So I'm a little freaked, because, you know, my relationship with Gravity is on the fritz. Anywho, I manage to squeeze my butt through before efforting to maneuver my shoulders, which seem to have mysteriously swelled to 36 inches, through the wee window. At this point, I am figuratively breech-birthing myself through our Bay-Vajay. Before there's a need for forceps, I pop my shoulders through, then my pea-sized head, and then awkwardly spill out onto the roof in a crumbled heap.

Call me Grace.

And I'll punch you in the nut sack. Just sayin'.

The spectacle of my exit was so ridiculous, Geo started laughing. He shook his head and said he wished he had grabbed my phone to record my elegant escapade. Had he left me to grab my phone, I would have been PISSED, even though I would have laughed my ass off later. As it stands, it's funnier in my head, and honestly, I need no more physical evidence of my physical inadequacies.

But wait! Now I had to crawl back in the house. Reversing the entire process, I shoved my right leg inside and fumbled to find the step stool. Somewhere between scootching my butt and massive man shoulders through the window, I got the MOTHER OF ALL HIP CRAMPS!

(insert your favorite expletives here)

Geo had to play amateur OB/GYN and pull me back through the Bay-Vajay. No wonder infants burst into tears at birth. That shit's traumatic, man!

So get this. I stepped outside to take a photo of our house for this stupid-ass blog, and one of the wreaths has jumped ship!!

are you fucking kidding me??!?


Well played, Universe. You hydroelectric asshole. Well played.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In Which My Back Deck Turned Into A Halloween Nightmare

Okay, so sometimes nature freaks me the hell OUT, especially the insect ilk.

I mean, I'm perfectly happy to coexist with these creepers who, thank the Baby Jesus, are minuscule because HOLYGOODGODALMIGHTY man-sized, furry-legged, pincher-faced bugs is a nightmare world I don't want to dwell in. EVER.

On the list of Horror Show macrocosms it goes:

1. Clowns rule the world
2. Man-sized bugs
3. All Tony Danza, all day, on all media sources
(that one's for Jimmy McParkway)

By far the king of the insect realm that makes me most consistently lose my shit, is the spider. 

They are my arch enemy.

And yes, I know they aren't insects. They are arachnids. Carnivorous, eight legged, beady-eyed bastards that crawl all over your fat face, bury their progeny in your earholes and steal a little of your soul while you slumber. 

BLEEEEEEECHYAAAA! I can feel them in my hair now. 

The thing that pisses me off the most about spiders is their ambush. You know what I'm talking about. You're minding your own business, brushing the chunks of brontosaurus burger from your fangs, bend down to spit out toothpaste (in the most elegant, ladylike fashion, of course), stand up and BAMMO!


And don't even get me started about the unintended web walk-through. Let's do the math, shall we? Solve for x.

3:30am + walk to the car + silky web threads on the face = embarrassing spastic ninja moves 

x = Xanax and a bottle of red to stop scratching your scalp raw

I rest my case
This brings me to this afternoon.

Today was a picture perfect, September afternoon: cloudless, warm, breezy. 

Side Note: How the HELL is it late September already???!? Jebus, Time Lords. Lighten up already.  

The Special K has been particularly whack this week with studio changes, cliff-note audio training, and other fresh Hell that zapped my brain, so I decided to capitalize on the sunshine and decompress outdoors in the serenity of our backyard oasis. Seeking the solace of the sun-drenched deck swing, I sauntered past the table...

head first into the MOTHER OF ALL WEBS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*insert aforementioned spastic ninja moves here

No shit! I'm a huge fan of hyperbole, but no lie, this contraption spanned five frelling feet! This thing was like monster huge. Like luxury, high-rise web huge. If Donald Trump was a spider, this bad boy would have his name plastered on it. 

Maybe Trump HAS morphed into a spider overnight, because when I finally saw the bastard, he was fat and orange and ornery just like that misogynistic miscreant. 

I grabbed a kitchen broom, spied the fine threads of the intricate weave glistening in the sun, and sliced the bright blue handle through the delicate pattern over and over and over and over and over, as any rational person would do. Now the search was on for The Donald who had crawled in the folds of the table umbrella. I opened the umbrella one foot, and poked at the beast until it dropped to the table and rolled into a ginormous angry ball of hate. 

Honest to Jehovah, I planned to catch and release the monstrosity to the wilds of our garden from the end of my six foot pole. Okay, maybe I was plotting to cast it in our nemesis neighbor's digs, but the point is I was going to let it live, until it leapt back towards me, then all bets were OFF. He was going DOWN!! 

It took a few rounds of me shrieking, him charging, me jumping...and shrieking...and jumping some more before I pinned him to the ground and beat. The. SHIT out of him, as one does when one is an arachnophobe in a life and death struggle with ones arch enemy. I am STILL combing my fingers through my mop of hair to rid myself of the persistent creepy-crawly feeling. 

Aaaaa, but this is not the end of Terror Town. After I swept the crumpled remains from the deck, I found myself face to face with this. 



Uh-Uh. Sorry, Dude. You picked the wrong day to set up shop in my planter. I grabbed the napalm and firebombed his ass. Alright it was hairspray, but same difference. Froze his black and yellow ass, but good. 

Stupid nature. It was a GD Halloween nightmare on our deck. Now I gotta go burn that broom. And curl up in a corner. And pretend there are no spiders in my earholes. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

"Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give." - Ben Carson

Ben Carson?

You mean the politically misguided neurosurgeon who has thrown his hat into the lion's den that is the 2016 presidential sess pool, Ben Carson?

THAT Ben Carson??!?

Yuuuuup. Who knew?

I could have chosen a quote from Mother Teresa, but Carson's hit the nail on the head.

One of the greatest gifts of circling the sun a handful of decades is the ability to be generous with those you love. In my latter teens, I was the recipient of the loving generosity of my oldest sister, whom I have adored and looked up to since my birth. She took me to New York City for the first time at the tender age of 14, awakening within me an insatiable desire to travel, explore and experience environs beyond the confines of our little hamlet. I am and shall be forever grateful to her.

P.S.: She's STILL taking care of me with that big ole heart of hers.

Anywho, I had the pleasure to pay it forward last week. Geo and I gifted our nephew, Alex a trip to Chicago for his high school graduation. He has been wanting to go there since he read Eric Larson's Devil In The White City several years ago. The story sparked his interest in the 1893 World's Fair and the many wonders which emerged from it. The only remaining building from the World's Fair houses the Museum of Science and Industry in South Chicago. You can read a little of the history in Alex's well written blog here. But, of course the major attraction for him was The Bean.

I see you!
hello gorgeous 
And who could blame him. The charm of the Bean is irresistible. More on that later.

a beautiful morning for a first flight

flying makes rising pre-pre-dawn palatable

here we go!!

All three of us, Alex, his Mom (Gina) and I awoke at 3:30am for our flight to Chi-town. It was a beautiful morning for Alex's first ever flight. Everything was a new experience for him: the shuttle, the tram, the moving sidewalks. He LOVED the moving sidewalks. Of course we goofed off on them, walking in slo-mo, turning around, jumping off. My inner 12 year old was happy as shit.

It's a kick reliving firsts through unjaded eyes.

let's say you're in Chicago
and you're rattling along on the el

Once we landed, we took the Orange line from Midway to Center City, dumped our luggage at the hotel and hightailed it to Millennium Park. The Club Quarters is perfectly located being only three blocks from the park. There is so much to see in Chicago. Public artworks like Calder stabiles, beautiful plantings and the architecture... My GOD the architecture is magnificent! When in Chicago ALWAYS LOOK UP! Seriously. I didn't even think I cared about such things until we perambulated around this metropolis.

of course we made him jump by the Calder

day moon, sears tower, sun

reflections of windows from the building across the street

deco at its finest

union carbide building
aka the champaign bottle building

We spent the first day wandering around Millennium Park, visiting the Masters in the Art Institute of Chicago, stuffing ourselves to bursting with Giordano's deep dish, and riding The El north to see Blue Man. We were all exhausted when we finally called it a day close to 1am.

happy camper

Art Institute of Chicago

who is the child here?

michigan ave plantings

hands down the most gorgeous van gogh i've had the pleasure to see in person
the texture is like icing

i'm not crazy.
you see it, too, right?

madame cezanne for geo
so many amazing works of art

always with the politeness

stunning dragonfly found on the sidewalk

death by deep dish

visa is welcomed
guns...not so much

neither one had any idea what they were in for

interior of blue man theater

Nora Epinephrine and Sarah Tonin speak the truth

balls, streamers, dancing skeletons and other fantastic shit happened

In a day of high points, the greatest was watching the sheer joy on Alex's face when he stepped onto the plaza and saw the Bean for the first time. He was so thrilled and giddy (okay, a controlled giddy, but giddy nonetheless) to finally see the Bean. Gina and I couldn't help but smile big goofy grins at his unmitigated joy. It made my heart burst to see him so happy. You know, it's really fucking cool to witness someone's wish come true.

fun with the bean

trippy bean interior

you can't NOT touch it

future album cover for whisker kit

But wait! There's more.

Day two started with a crazy, big breakfast at a place Alex found called Wildberry, where we were served Sasquatch portions of delicious breakfast foods including this BIGASS cinnamon roll french toast.

French toast.

Made with Cinnabon rolls.

Hellooooo Diabetus!

my teeth just fell out

After fighting off the sugar coma, we went to the river for an architectural cruise. If you find yourself in Chicago, I highly recommend this cruise. We learned so much about the history of the city's rebuild after the devastating Chicago fire of 1871. It's a beautiful showcase of the varied styles of architecture.

obligatory ode to wilco

i swear we could touch the underside of the bridges

looking back at the city from Navy Pier

bridge underbelly

Before we boarded the cruise, there was a duck derby launch for charity. As some of you may remember, Pittsburgh was host two summers ago to a giant rubber ducky. Alex, like the rest of the city, was enamored with bright yellow ball of cheerful. How serendipitous to find a big blow up duck! It's like the city knew Alex was coming to visit.

this ornate building is a Target?!?

terrier or schnauzer?
c'mon! admit it. you see a dog, too.
i got a problem...

After indulging on Ghiradelli ice cream and chocolates, we ended our second evening at fabled Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs defeat the Giants. The ivy outfield wall, the manual scoreboard, the infamous apartment rooftop bleachers, the sideline bullpens (pitchers actually warm up on the field along the first and third base lines. madness), the legendary Chicago dogs, Harry Carey's cartoon visage... all added up to a fantastic trip back in baseball history. And we got to see two homers, one for the Giants which was thrown back, as one does in Chicago.

famed rooftop bleachers across the street
you again?

but i prefer vodka
courtesy of alex

beautiful night for a game
seriously, we won the weather lottery on this trip

can you spot the little man in the booth

Because we live in an uber capitalistic society, everything is for sale. Ergo, each inning was sponsored by different venders, two at a time. It kind of became a game as to which two businesses would be paired on the jumbotron. Then this happened.

Okay, I'm bullshitting you, but HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT HAVE BEEN!!

museum of science and industry

Day three was spent exploring the Museum of Science and Industry. We only scratched the surface of this multi-building expanse, but we made sure to see the Nazi U-boat seized by the US Navy off the coast of Africa during World War II. Its capture was a turning point in the war. Without its enigma machine, America and the allies would not have been able to crack the German codes. The story told via multimedia was riveting.

We also went to the transportation exhibit where there was a model of the city of Chicago with working trains, and Alex got to sit in a Combine.

nazi uboat

seriously?! wth is with the guns?
and that hair... and back fat..

aviation through the ages

skyline miniature with giant girl in red skirt scaling the sears tower

that time the science museum fixed a missing bathroom stall leg

approximately the 100th starbucks spotted in two days

fun with science

time passes
we got to shake our asses

Lady Dispenser aghast at the happenings in the loo 

We rounded out the day at Navy Pier noshing at Bubba Gump, gazing at a gorgeous Tiffany windows display and telling our troubles to the good Dr. Bob Hartley, aka Bob Newhart. Okay, so that was just me.

dude stole my shirt

waitstaff cues

it's shrimpTASTIC!

just in case you were wondering...

tiffany at his finest
(photo by gina)

****for far better photos, please peruse Alex's collection here.

On the Orange line to Midway to catch our plane home, Alex had an interesting encounter with a rider who seemed a little baked. At first he was spouting some political BS, then this happened.

Guy: Where you going?

Alex: Pittsburgh

Guy: Pittsburgh??!? Why you want to go there?

Alex: Um... it's where I live.

Guy, gazing out the window: Looks like it's going to rain.
(beat beat)
A lot of people are going to die tonight.
*doors open. he walks out.

Alex to me: Well, that got a dark.

Welcome to the crazy ass world of city living.

After standing in a ridiculously long security line at Midway, our plane was an hour late leaving. The pilot decided to make up some time by shortening a 75 minute flight to 58 minutes. He kept his word. When we landed at Pittsburgh International, he continued to put the pedal to the metal. Instead of the usual sloth-like taxi to the gate, this guy BOOKED! I mean, he was SCREAMING down the tarmac. I fully expected him to pull a stunt man move and do a hard 90 degree turn into the gate tipped up on one wheel.

Welcome to P-Burgh, MOFOs!! Now get OUT OF MY GD PLANE!

Either he had a ton of money riding on his arrival time or he had to pee. BAD. Whatever. He shaved off a good 30 minutes which makes him aces in my book.

Which carbon dates me to the Jurassic era.

Side Notes:

There are Starbucks EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE. It became a joke with us. "Oh, hey look. A Starbucks. I was wondering if there might be one here."

Before The El closes its doors, there is a church chime that plays. We started crossing ourselves when the chime rang. With an average of eight stops per ride, there was a crap-ton of crossing going on during the 30 minute ride.

There is "no guns" signage posted in subway entrances, ticket windows, museums, roving dingos.

There is no garbage on the city streets. NONE. NADA. NEGATORY. After the fire in 1871, the city was rebuilt on three levels, street, through traffic on the second level and garbage collection and trains relegated to the third level. Brilliant.

Everyone is so fucking kind. CTA workers, passersby, the homeless guy on the street who was quick with directions to a tourist hot spot.

Dear woman on the Metra using your iPhone to apply eyeliner while talking via your earphones. The train is NOT the place to liberally apply cream to your gnarly hooves.

It is SO great traveling with a tech-savvy teen. He figured out all of the transportation (except the Uber. I had him on the Uber thang) and found us places to eat. I should start a Rent-A-Techy Teen business for us oldsters. That'd be gold, Jerry! GOLD!

Well, that was our Planes, Trains and Ubermobile adventure. I can't tell you the indescribable joy it brought me to watch Alex absorb every new experience. Seeing his happiness made my heart fuller than I ever imagined. He's such a great kid: kind, whip-smart, open minded, full of hope and optimism. I'm so proud of him and his accomplishments so far in his young life. No matter where his journey takes him, we will always have this little adventure to connect us for all time.

I hope our three little days in Chicago will inspire Alex to stay curious, keep pushing the boundaries of his comfort zone and embrace the world as his playground.

No go forth and rock that college thang, Boo!