That Time I Danced with Morris Day and The Time AND COMPLETELY EMBARRASSED MYSELF

“Do you wanna go up stage and dance?” Dan asked me.

“YEAHHHHHH!,” I shouted back instantly over the loud music, not thinking for a second what that actually meant.

“OK, wait here,” the large, muscular security guard said to me, as he corralled me towards the others.

It was a beautiful Friday night at the Waterfront and let’s just say your girl had been taking advantage of the open bar. Taking advantage of all the offerings, really. Dan’s company parties are known for being epic and include a concert with bands you’re shocked are in tiny Vermont. Coming from the non-profit world where we can’t even afford an extra roll of toilet paper, it’s part shocking, part exhilarating to see how the other half lives.

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We spent the first part of the party mingling, rocking our “flashback” outfits, and seeing what other crazy things people had on. My favorite was this dude who was just straight up dressed like The Ultimate Warrior for no reason other than it’s the Ultimate Warrior and you don’t need a reason. We saw a woman dressed as Riff Raff, complete with braids and a tin foil mouth grill. We saw people wearing afro wigs and sequins. We saw men in mesh shirts, and some men with no shirts at all.  We saw women in rainbow tutus and ponytails on the sides of their heads. These people took their parties seriously and for the first time in my costume career I almost felt under-dressed.IMG_7681

In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have started the night off with a Heady Topper, an 8%, 16 ounce beer known to knock lightweights like me on my ass. But what the hell. It was Friday night. I probably had 1/4 of a can left when I hopped in line to get one last free beer before open bar closed.

“Are you out of Heady Topper?” I asked the bartender.

“Yeah, sorry,”he replied.

“That’s OK. I’ll take a Corona, please.”

He looked at me like I had two heads.

“Do you want ONE…or do you want TWO?” he asked.

Unsure if this was a trick question or not, I hesitantly replied, “Two?”

“Smart girl,” he said as he handed over my two Coronas.

And then I was the girl at the party with three beers.

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Morris Day and The Time (MDATT) were about to get started, so I took my three beers and what was left of my dignity, and followed Dan up to stage right. For those of you unfamiliar with MDATT, he was Prince’s band competition in the movie Purple Rain…and for those of you unfamiliar with Purple Rain, just turn on VH1 because they’ve played it about 1674 times since Prince died in April. MDATT are a really fun funk/soul band, who are full of attitude, style and extremely talented musicians. They keep it old school in all the best ways with synchronized dance moves and attire.IMG_7697

Morris himself was rocking a diamond rhinestone mauve suit, a gigantic diamond ring, and at least 3 million carat diamond watches ON BOTH WRISTS. He was everything my 3rd grade, bedazzle enthusiast’s heart could ever hope for and I couldn’t look away. I also couldn’t really feel my face.

So anyway, there we were–Dan with his N/A beer, me with my collection of empty cans and my buzz, and Morris with his diamonds–when Dan asked if I wanted to go up on stage and dance. And I stupidly agreed.

As I was being ushered by the security guard to the other dancers, I saw Dan stay behind.

“Wait, wait,” I said shouting to Dan over the loud music. “Aren’t YOU coming, too?”

He also looked at me like I had two heads.

“Haha, no way, babe,” Dan laughed and smiled. “Just you ladies.”

What the hell had just happened?! It was as if Dan and the security guard had made some sort secret agreement when I was being blinded by Morris’ bling. I instantly regretted my decision and considered bolting.

“Hiii! Are you Dan’s girlfriend?” some of the other girls asked me. “It’s so nice to meet you!!” They shook my hand and introduced themselves as they danced in place.

Fuck. They’re all so nice. I can’t leave now,  I thought to myself.

“So anyone know what we’re doing?”I asked the rainbow tutus girls, trying all at once to both play it cool and desperately obtain information.

“I’m not really sure!” one of them smiled back at me, no fear whatsoever in her voice.

There’s still time to run, my brain said.

“I think they just want us to dance!” one of the other girls cheerfully replied.

She was trying to make me feel better, and I really appreciated that, but instead she inadvertently set off a chain of questions I knew I couldn’t ask aloud: How will I know when to go on stage? Is there a certain dance I’m supposed to do? Is there a certain move I should absolutely NOT do? Where am I supposed to stand? Will we all be spread out or assigned a spot? Are we dancing for just one song? Are we dancing for SEVERAL songs? Oh my god, what if we’re dancing up there for the rest of the night?! WHY aren’t the other girls nervous? WHY DID I AGREE TO DO THIS?

“Ok, ladies, follow me,” the guard said as he began to lead us backstage.

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FUCCCCCCK.

Just as I was about to have a panic attack, I instead starting feeling all of the positive effects my friend Alcohol is known for. You know, Alcohol, right? He’s the one who tells you that dancing on stage in front of 2,000 of your boyfriend’s coworkers is a GREAT idea. He tells you that you are A FABULOUS DANCER.  He points out that YOU LOVE TO DANCE.  And he reminds you that YOU TOOK ZUMBA CLASSES FOR 3 YEARS so OBVIOUSLY you are MORE THAN PREPARED FOR THIS MOMENT, and quite possibly, YOU SHOULD HAVE AUDITIONED FOR AMERICA’S GOT TALENT BY NOW.

Well shucks, Alcohol. I don’t know about that last one. But you’re right! I’m going to relax and have fun with this.

So that’s the mindset I had as I drunkenly went on stage with a dozen other girls to be MDATT’s back up dancers.

A band member I will refer to as Jamie Foxx casually ushered us to our various places on stage, as he danced and spun around. And before you say I’m just a white girl being racist, let me assure you, this guy is so much the splitting image of Jamie Foxx that I almost asked him if he was going to sit at the piano and cover a few tunes from Ray. But there wasn’t any time for questions because I was there to dance and act like I knew what I was doing.

Everything was going great (read: completely mediocre) and I was actually enjoying myself. I waved to Dan, I smiled for the cameras, and I shook, shook,  shookmy salt shaker (whatever the hell that means).


Just when I thought the song was over and I was congratulating myself for not completely embarrassing myself, I COMPLETELY EMBARRASSED MYSELF BY HUGGING MORRIS FUCKING DAY. 

You know how certain songs sound like they are about to end…? The last note of whatever instrument is dragging on…and people in the audience have started to clap…and the singer has his hands in the air like he’s waiting for that one final note to indicate, this song is over…yeah, all that was happening.

Morris had turned around to face the band and was standing directly in front of me. And like a cast member at the finale of a Saturday Night Live episode, I was overcome with emotion and the weight of our performance. See also: drunk. So I stretched my arms out to him, cocked my head to the side and conveyed through gestures, Heeyyy, did we all just kill it up here or WHAT?!

The look on his face can only be described as absolute terror.

Turns out the song wasn’t over! It was just one of those songs with a weird dip like November Rain. I had completely screwed up his routine.

Immediately Jamie Foxx came over to pull me off Morris and put me in my rightful place, with a look on his face that said Nobody touches Morris Day and all of his diamonds. I was mortified.

But that wasn’t even the worst part! Because the song wasn’t over, I HAD TO KEEP DANCING and act like nothing had happened. So I stayed up there, fake smiling, my face beet red, doing the 4 Zumba moves I could remember over and over again, acting as if hugging Morris had all been part of the plan.

**Hugs**

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Delirious thoughts while having the flu

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  1. When you show up to the ER with a fever of 104.6, every part of your body aching, shaking from being so cold while simultaneously feeling so hot you think your eyeballs are melting…it is not helpful for the staff to shame you when they find out you didn’t get a flu shot. I get it. I’m a terrible, irresponsible person. But the strain of flu that is going around right now isn’t even covered in the vaccine, and I know people who got the shot and still got the flu. So why the hostility, Doc? Please just charge me so much money that I’ll be meeting my insurance deductible in the first month and send me on my not-so merry way.
  2. Tamiflu knocks you on your fucking ass. I think I might have actually paid $120 for sleeping pills. I’ve passed out at least three times writing this one paragraph. Enter some intelligent comment here that I’m too exhausted to come up with about how f-ed up our health care system to charge $120 for medicine.
  3. Night sweats are not only disgusting, but confusing. The first time I soaked through every piece of clothing I was wearing, I thought, “Weird. Ten minutes ago I was so cold that I thought I was standing outside naked. Better remove these fuzzy socks, sweatpants, and the 3 t-shirts I’m wearing.” The second time it happened,  my head now dripping with sweat as well as my entire body, I thought maybe the cat accidentally peed all over my head. He hadn’t. I shrugged it off and fell back to sleep. By the third time, the sheets beneath me were so wet that I legitimately thought I peed the bed. You know what’s really fun? Having to change the sheets at 4 AM when you don’t even have enough energy to blow your nose.
  4. I’ve been up for three hours and already need to go back to sleep. More to come later if I can stay awake.

8 Year Old Amy and the Case of the Cursive P

The most stressed out period of my life was the year I spent in Mrs. Lemieux’s third grade class. Yeah, you read that correctly, third grade. Like clockwork, I came home every day after school and cried. The crying caused full blown migraines, and I’d have no other choice but to lay down in a dark room with a wash cloth draped across my forehead so that I didn’t barf all over the place. My parents couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. My mom spent hours talking to my teacher and sent me a greeting card in the mail that promised, Everything is going to get better. Thinking the migraines were because I couldn’t see the chalkboard, they even took me to an optometrist to have my eyes checked out. The conclusion was, “There is nothing wrong with your daughter’s eyes. We think the headaches are stress related.”  Duh.

I had been duped! Second grade was a walk in the park! We studied dinosaurs, we watercolored, we learned the Star Spangled Banner and we played outside. The end.  I excelled at second grade. I was awesome at second grade. I even remember thinking second grade wasn’t challenging enough. I approached my teacher Ms. Saunders one day and demanded to know, “When are we going to learn cursive!?” Ms. Saunders was caught off guard, and probably wondered to herself, How can learning about the Palaeosaurus not be enough for you?  But instead sweetly laughed and said, “That happens in the third grade.”

“Excelllllent,” I evilly replied and rubbed my two hands together like Mr. Burns on the Simpsons. (Ok, that didn’t actually happen because I never saw the Simpsons until middle school, but for our purposes we are going to pretend I was a badass).

I was very excited between the summer of second and third grade. I had gelled bangs, I could sing our national anthem, and dammit, I was going to learn cursive. Nothing could stop me! photo

On a scale of one to ten, I’d say third grade was about two million times harder than I had expected. There was so much homework! There was so much reading! There was so much less recess time! I had it good the year before and didn’t even know it.

My desire to learn cursive turned out to be the biggest challenge of them all—a classic case of be careful what you wish for. It started off easy enough. Mrs. Lemieux would draw a letter on the board and in our little notebooks with predetermined dotted lines, we would do our best to copy it. “A” was a synch for me because, duh, my name started with that letter and I was obsessed with finding out how to write my name in cursive. “B” also didn’t give me much trouble because it meant I could learn how to write my brother’s name in cursive, too, and of course hold that over his head when necessary. But by the time we got to the middle of the alphabet, I was struggling.

There were so many letters that made no sense to my little brain. Why would anyone give a lowercase “m” three humps when it only has two in print?! And couldn’t giving “n” two humps be confused for “m,” especially for us people who barely can read our own handwriting?! And who the hell came up with the cursive “z”? That is some sort of hieroglyphic shenanigans right there.

The letter I had the hardest time with, hands down, was the lowercase “p.” I always seemed to screw it up! I would tilt it too much, or forget to close the loopdy-doop thing below the line, or forget the squiggly piece that started it. I’d bring my booklet up to Mrs. Lemieux for approval and each time she would say, “You still don’t quite have the ‘p’ correct. Go back and try it again.”

What was this hellish prison I was stuck in?! Take me back to second graaaade! [cue headache].

My classmates at our four-corner desk quad would see me in tears, with my hands on my head, starring at my practice sheet and that goddamn “p.” A few of the girls were really nice and would show me how they drew it, hoping I would catch on. But I honestly don’t remember any eureka moment where I got it right and jumped for joy. I have to assume I did because I moved on to 4th grade – but it’s very possible that I should not have and that you are reading the work of a cursive criminal.

 

I do have to say there were a few redeeming qualities to third grade:

  1. We watched Voyage of the Mimi…a lot. Starring none other than Mr. Ben Afflick himself, VOTM “was a thirteen-episode American educational television program depicting the crew of the Mimi exploring the ocean and taking a census of humpback whales.” We learned everything from navigation, to drinkable water, to sea animals. VOTM even taught us that when someone gets hypothermia, you both need to get naked and get into a sleeping bag together. How our third grade jaws dropped during that one.
    (Note: I did NOT enjoy the Second Voyage of Mimi, because during Episode 1 they revealed one of the characters was an amputee and showed her putting on her fake leg. Terrifying.)
  2. We had pet crawfish. While other kids in neighboring classrooms got to snuggle up to fuzzy, adorable, baby ducks, my classmates and I were given crustaceans with pinching claws. Looking back, it does seem kind of weird that kids in land-locked VT had pet crawfish…but in 1993 at Flynn Elementary School, it was just another day in paradise.

    I picked out a female and gave her the most appropriate name I could think of: Francesca. Francesca only pinched me a couple of times, which was actually something to brag about considering how often the boys in my class had crawfish dangling from their hands as they screamed for help. I remember two things about Francesca: 1-she smelled really bad and 2-you could tell she was a female by flipping her over and studying her legs. 1694549_orig 

    I don’t know what happened to the crawfish in the end. I think we let them go down by the river, or maybe they were shipped to Louisiana where they belonged. I do remember that when our unit on VOTM and crawfish came to an end, Mrs. Lemieux threw us a big party and brought in cooked lobsters for us to try. It was the first time any of us had ever had something so expensive and delicious. She let us each take a piece of the lobster shell home as souvenirs. (Again, why she thought giving 8 year olds smelly fish parts in June was a good idea was beyond me…) I wrapped a lobster abdomen up in a paper towel, showed it to my mom, and begged her to let me keep it. I think it lasted a few hours before the smell of rot was enough to make me chuck it myself.

  3. I fell in love with writing. When we weren’t getting attacked by crawfish or cringing each time our teacher drew another new cursive letter on the blackboard, we wrote stories. We would work on our stories for what seemed like weeks and then we would hold “An Author’s Tea” and invite all of our family members to hear us read them. The majority of my stories were centered around my cat Midnight who had an affinity for chasing and eating bumblebees, and sleeping on my head and drooling into my ear. I also wrote about time travel and secret passages–an obsession I had that last well beyond third grade (thanks Babysitter Club books).

    But third grade was also my first and last bout with plagiarism! I guess the creative juices just weren’t flowing one day when I decided to copy Danielle Bombardier’s story about The Boy Who Didn’t Like Cake. The plot was simple: there was a boy, and he would eat almost anything, except he didn’t like cake, and how could anyone in the entire universe not like cake? Yeah, how could someone not like cake, I thought to myself. What would be even crazier is if he didn’t like ice cream! And so my story entitled The Girl (see what I did there) Who Didn’t like Ice Cream was born.

    When Danielle found out I was essentially stealing her story and changing a few parts, I remember her squeaky little voice protesting in anger and saying, “Heeey! That’s my story. You just changed a few parts.” And I pulled a Vanilla Ice and was like, “No, no. It’s different. See YOUR story is about a BOY who doesn’t like CAKE. MY story is about a GIRL who doesn’t like ICE CREAM. Completely different.” Maybe Mrs. Lemieux, thinking that I couldn’t handle another cursive “p” incident, took pity on me because she let me write my story anyway.

 
Though it was challenging, I think third grade taught me some valuable lessons: 1). Crustaceans make better meals than pets; 2). If at first (or second, or forty-third) you don’t succeed, try, try again; and 3). Cursive is some straight up useless bullshit and you will only use it in third grade.

My Dad vs. Modern Technology

Sooo Hotmail is officially dead. Sounds like everyone who was still holding out was migrated over to Outlook. I could really care less about this development, except it made me think of my dad and a funny story.

My pops is a hard-working, traditional kind of dude. He’s spent the better part of 40 years as a painting contractor and has worked on everything from local banks to doctor’s offices to residential homes and even some Vermont McMansions. He knows everything there is to know about painting – what kind of primer to use, how many coats a job will need, which areas will need patching, sanding, caulking etc…which is all great…but it means his knowledge on things you and I take for granted is basically non-existent.  Let me get right down to my point: the man knows absolutely nothing about modern technology and more importantly, doesn’t care to know.

Did you ever hear that joke about the person who was using a computer and received the prompt, Press any key to continue,  and his/her response was, Where the heck is the ‘any’ key???  Yeah, well I’m 99% sure that joke was based on my dad. With his coke-bottle glasses rested on his forehead and his eyes about two inches from the screen, he once spent a good 5 minutes searching the keyboard for it, only to throw his hands up in despair and say, “I can’t find the ‘any key,’ anywhere!”

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Martin P. knows three things and three things only about computers: 1) how to turn them on; 2) how to get to the start menu and; 3) how to start a new game of Hearts. The end.

His hatred for technology dates as far back as I can remember and was especially strong for video games systems. For whatever reason, my dad just couldn’t remember the name of any of them, and always seemed to be a game console behind. He called the Nintendo, “The Atari,” called the Sega, “The Nintendo,” and then finally reached a point where he just referred to all video game systems as “THE MACHINE.”

“Bobby, it’s time to shut off THE MACHINE.”

“I’ve had enough with THE MACHINE, MACHINE, MACHINE! I mean it. It’s all you guys do!”

“Uh, Ricky, the red light is blinking on THE MACHINE…”

My dad also grouped the cable box, VCR, and of course all computers into THE MACHINE category. In fact, he was so “anti-machine” that we didn’t even purchase our first home computer until I was a sophomore in high school and my teachers stopped accepting hand-written essays (btw, we’re talking about 2001, folks.)

I think the reason he hates THE MACHINE is the same reason he hates THE MAN. He grew up in the 60’s, dodged the draft, believes all politicians are corrupt, and is 100% convinced Big Brother is always watching. THE MACHINE (whichever one he happens to be referring to—doesn’t matter) is just one more way for our government to keep tabs on us and he’s not gonna let that happen. Yup, no computers for my dad.

He does every estimate by hand. Gives out every bill by hand. And the only advertising he does is a Yellow Page listing. My dad’s business doesn’t even have a website, which is just mind-boggling to think about in our digital age. I guess it goes to show you the power of a good referral.

So yeah…keep all of the above in mind as I now (finally!) tell you the funny “Hotmail” story from a couple years ago.hotmail-logoThe year was 2005 and I was living in Gorham, ME, attending the University of Southern Maine. During one of my (ah, hem, DAILY) phone calls from home (MOM), I got to talking to my dad about some guy we both knew. Can’t remember his name, but for our purposes let’s just call him Ted. Here’s how the conversation went down:

DAD: Yeah, so I ran into Ted the other day.

ME: Oh yeah? What’s he up to now?

DAD:  I guess he’s looking for work. Said he might wanna do a couple of jobs for me this summer if I needed help. But I dunno…

ME: Oh, that’ll be good, Dad. Why are you hesitant?

DAD: ‘Cause the guy is…I don’t know how to describe it…WEIRD.

Let me just interrupt here to point out that my father is the most opinionated person in the ENTIRE universe and is never afraid to tell you how little he thinks of a person. So to hear my Dad struggling to come up with an insulting adjective for Ted was off-putting.

ME: What do you mean he’s “weird,” Dad?  Did something happen?

DAD: I don’t know. I just think the guy’s kind of…full of himself and I think he’s some sort of SICKO.

ME: (starts laughing when I hear the word ‘sicko’) Ok, so something obviously happened…SPILL…

DAD: Well, he called me up after I ran into him and we got to talking…and then at the end of the phone call he wanted to give me his “E-mail” address (my dad says “E-mail” address real slow, and I imagine him also using air quotes). I tried to tell him I don’t have “E-mail” but he started spelling it out anyway.

ME: Ok…so…

DAD: And well…he told me it was TEDVT1924 at HOTMAIL dot com.

ME: Ok…??

(long pause)

DAD: Yeah, HOTMAIL. Can you believe the nerve of that guy? I mean, who does he think he is?

ME: I mean Hotmail is kind of a shitty email service but I still don’t get why this makes him a sicko.

DAD: Well, I dunno. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (my dad’s favorite Seinfeld quote), but I don’t think I want any part of it.

ME: DAD, I still don’t understand what the hell you mean.

DAD: I think he’s pretty cocky. That’s what I mean. And a sicko to have HOTMAIL as his email.

And then it clicked. My father, the computer-illiterate, heard HOT MALE.

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Once my hysterical laughter subsided, I explained to dear-old-Dad what “HOTMALE” really was, and assured him Ted was still a good guy.

DAD: Well, I didn’t know! I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff. It’s not funny, Amy. Ugh, we’re getting another call. MARY LOOOU. How do I do this thing? Gotta go, Amy. Someone’s beeping in. I HATE THESE MACHINES.

*click*

Back-Trackin’ Ain’t Easy

He may or may not have been from the Jersey Shore

Today, while attempting to find a backing track to our new radio commercial…

DJ: So, what kind of music are you looking for?

ME: I’m thinking something happy and upbeat…something poppy…

DJ: Ok, what about this? (plays tribal, African drum loop).

ME: Um, (smiles politely), nope, I don’t think that’s quite it.

DJ: Ok, how ‘bout this? (plays some reggae, Bob Marley rip off)

ME: Very relaxing, but no… I think we need something more POP.

DJ: (plays intergalactic, dubstep medley)

ME: (laughs uncomfortably)…I think we need simpler than that. Have you ever listened to Spotify? They have really great music for their commercials.

DJ: Oh ok. Let’s see here… (Googles “Spotify commercial.” Finds it. Plays it.)

ME: Yeah! See, isn’t that great? I think that’s what we need.

DJ: Yeah, definitely. So it seems like there’s some guitar strumming in there and it’s really simple. I think I got it…

DJ: (plays theme-song to “Deliverance.”)

ME: Uhhhh…Maybe it would be helpful for me to tell you a little more about who we are and what we do…(cause you clearly didn’t listen to the ad you just recorded)…Our target audience is women between the ages of 18 and 24…

DJ: MMM, hmm. Right. How about…

DJ: (plays Enya)

ME: Yeah…again… we serve YOUNG WOMEN and I don’t think that’s really gonna speak to them. Can you sort these by mood?

DJ: HAHAHA, no! Wouldn’t that be great?

ME: It certainly would be.

ME: Feist! That’s the kind of music I want. As if Feist were our backing track.

DJ: Ohhhh, ok!

DJ: (plays sultry, SloJam. Clearly has never heard of Feist)

ME: BAAHAHA! Bow-chica-bow-bow! That would be great if we were a strip club. But that’s not gonna work either.

DJ: Are you sure?

ME: Yeah, I’m positive.

***

2 hours later…(ok, fine, it was only 20 minutes)

We landed on something. What it was, I really can’t remember now. But if you end up hearing it on the radio in the next week or two, please know I tried my best.   

Bear and The New Kitten: Day 2

So, you guys, I hate to say it, but things aren’t going well at home.

Baby girl and Bear are NOT getting along. I know it’s only been two days, but I was convinced that I would come home from work yesterday and find this:

cats cudding

Instead, all I’ve seen is THIS:

cat hissing

Strangely enough, it’s the kitten who is doing all of hissing. Bear has been ridiculously mellow and is dying to get to know her. Unfortunately, whenever he approaches her she goes ape shit and starts making these demonic growling noises and raises her hackles. Cause she’s so scary. All 4 pounds of her.

Bear really can’t figure her out. He just keeps looking at Liam and I like, “Really? I’ve got 12 pounds on this chick and SHE’S trying to intimidate ME?” He is not impressed. And unfortunately, he sprayed last night. UGH.

Can I just point out that the website said she gets along great with other cats?! We’re feeling slightly lied to.

Bear being thoroughly irritated

Bear definitely feels lied to

They did have a breakthrough this morning though, which was that they smelled each other without a fight erupting. But like all good things, it came to a screeching halt when Bear decided to sneak up on her from behind (seriously, dude, I’m on your side. Help me out a little bit). Kitten lept into the air like a flying squirrel and beelined it to our bedroom. The end.

I’m exhausted.

Have you noticed she still doesn’t have a name?

Between refereeing brawls, anticipating brawls, and following the sound of her pitiful little cry from another unusual place (like when she wedged herself in between dresser drawers), we’ve had zero time to think about names.  We also had all of these sweet names picked out for her, like Sadie, or Nora, or Charlotte that are nowhere close to her personality. She’s definitely a sassy Diva and needs a diva-licious name.  I suggested Beyonce, and before I could even finish my sentence Liam had put the kibosh on it. BOO.

cute kitten

I’m a diva and I know it

The only silver lining so far, and I do mean only, is that she is a phenomenal cuddler. She snuggled on the couch with me for a couple hours last night and then slept right on Liam’s pillow! Now if we could just transfer a small portion of her love and affection from US to BEAR we’d be all set!

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 Also accepting sassy cat name nominations in the comments section.

<<Photo credit: cybergal / Foter.com / CC BY-ND>>
<< Photo credit:
doistrakh / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA >>

Big news!

Announcing the newest member of the Lafayette / Page Household…

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Isn’t she precious?! About one year old and no name yet.

I know this is probably coming as a shock to many of you. Or not a shock at all to people who know us well. Orrr a huge shock to my mom who thought I was announcing I was pregnant. I’m not. Sorry mom. Here’s a little Q&A to help you deal.

WHAT!? You guys got another cat out-of-the-blue? Who are you people?
It wasn’t quite out-of-the-blue. But I know, I know. We didn’t tell any of you about our secret adoption plan because we wanted to keep it under wraps in case something happened. I was convinced worried that if we told the world we were adopting her, the powers that be would deny our application. Yes deny us, as in the two law-abiding citizens, who own a home, have good jobs, go to bed at 9:30 every night, and who recently spent a small fortune trying to cure our late feline of cancer. Happens ALL the time.

Keeping it a secret was soooo incredibly hard! I wanted to blurt it out at least 400 different times at the Superbowl party:

“Touchdownnnnn RAVENS!”

“Woo-hoo!”

“OH MY GOD, WE’RE GETTING ANOTHER CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!”

But we stayed strong 🙂

I didn’t even know you were looking for a cat. How did you find her?
Wellll, we weren’t seriously looking. I mean, I scoured PetFinder, Craigslist and every Humane Society within a 200 mile radius on a daily basis, but we kept saying it would be best to adopt after we got back from vacation. We’ve noticed that Bear has been extremely sad and lonely since Buddy died (ok, maybe we’re just sad and lonely for him), and had been tossing around the idea of getting him another play-mate. But Bear is an Alpha-Male, meaning unless we got a young female cat, he was probably going to beat the crap out of whoever we brought home and/or start peeing all over our house. And we’re not big fans of pee.

One day during my daily search, I came across Rose (name from shelter). I was immediately drawn to her because she had similar coloring to Buddy. I included her in my daily cat-digest email to Liam, which always contained phrases like “Eeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!” or “kitttttttttttttttens!” or “please, please, please?” Surprisingly, Liam said we should go look at her. And even MORE surprisingly, I WAS the hesitant one.

“Shouldn’t we wait until after the cruise to adopt? We’re going to be gone for a week. What if…what if…what if…”

Liam just kept replying, “Doesn’t hurt to look.”

Wait, I just gotta ask. Are you sure you’re not pregnant?
Yes, I’m positive. No baby. Just a kitten.

Sigh…Ok…When did you get her?
Rose was up for adoption at the Pet Advantage via Franklin County Humane Society, and on Saturday we paid her a visit. Remember seeing my check-in on Foursquare, friends? It was for her—not to “give my pet the edge.” Muhaaahaaa. When we walked over to her cage, there was another couple checking her out. Our hearts sank. And then we noticed the woman’s GINORMOUS baby-bump. Yep, she was about to pop that child out any day and told us they were literally “just looking because we have this (circles around belly) to worry about first.” Mom, maybe THAT was the pregnancy you were sensing.

We went over to Rose’s cage and took a look at her. She was ADORABLE. Sandy in color, big ears, petite body, pink nose…basically the perfect cat recipe. An employee came over and asked if we wanted to open the cage. Umm, duh. She immediately came over to us, sniffed us, and then reached out for us like she wanted to be picked up! My heart broke a little when the employee said she was still recovering from her spay surgery and couldn’t be held…

Liam was especially smitten with her and kept saying, “She’s probably not going to be here when we get back from the cruise! I think we should just get her.” Even though I was still slightly apprehensive, I said OK, and we started the application process.

While I filled out paperwork, Liam chatted with the cashier. “She’s such a sweet cat,” the woman told us.

“Yeah, she seems like it.” Liam said back. “I think she’ll make a good companion for our other cat.”

“Oh absolutely,” the woman told us. “She loves to cuddle, too.”

AND THEN, YOU GUYS, SHE SAID SOMETHING THAT MADE ME KNOW IT WAS DESTINY:

“And the thing about her is that she loves to climb up on people’s shoulders!”

Liam and I turned to each other and gasped. “Our other cat Buddy used to do the same thing!” we told her.

Then Liam told her all about Buddy. He told her about how chatty Buddy was, how he loved to ride on people’s shoulders and cuddle, how he ate human food, even about his bent, crooked tail.

Then the woman said, “SHE has a crooked tail, too! You probably didn’t notice it when she was lying down.” We hadn’t, but it sort of sealed the deal.

So what, are you trying to just replace Buddy?!
Nope. Not possible. Buddy was one of a kind and there will never be another cat like him. We’re just both taking some comfort in knowing Rose has some of his crazy traits.

Ok, so that was Saturday. When did you bring her home?
Unfortunately for us, we sort of picked the absolute worst day to start the application process. The shelter was already closed by the time we saw her on Saturday, and they were also closed Sunday & Monday. So we had to wait until TUESDAY to even hear if were approved or not. It was during this time my conspiracy-denial theory started. Did I mention it was killing me to not talk about this with anyone?! Cause it was. they finally called today and said we were approved and we took her home tonight!!

I thought you guys were gonna get a dog? What happened to that plan?
We still plan to! Probably in the spring or summer. But for now we’re focusing on our favorite new leading lady. 🙂

4 Christmas Songs With Weird Lyrics

I’ve been baking for the past couple of days and have had my go-to Christmas album on in the background. While coating peanut butter balls with chocolate,  frosting sugar cookies, and listening to the same songs over and over, I’ve noticed a few Christmas classics whose lyrics literally made me drop the spatula and say, “Wait, what?!”

I give you 4 Christmas Songs With Weird Lyrics:

1) It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year—by Andy Williams. It IS a pretty great time of year, isn’t it? With those kids jingle belling, and everyone telling you “Be of good cheer,” how can you really go wrong on this holiday? Welp, somehow Andy Williams has managed to: “There’ll be scary ghost stories /And tales of the glories of / Christmases long, long ago”. I’m sorry, did you just say you’re going to tell ghost stories at Christmas? I mean I get that “stories” rhymes with “glories,” but there are a ton of other options you could’ve put in there to keep the rhyme going: “fun family stories,” “folks from the quarries,” “fresh bread from Laurie’s” – you get my point. And while we’re at it, who the heck offers their guests toasted marshmallows on Christmas: “There’ll be parties for hosting / Marshmallows for toasting”. That’s just plain weird.

"I'm sorry! I'll be a better little girl next year! Just please stop with these scary stories!"

“I’m sorry! I’ll be a better little girl next year! Just please stop with these scary stories!”

2) Baby, It’s Cold Outside—Now known fondly in my house as “The Date Rape” song, this Christmas classic is all about the trials and tribulations of a guy trying to get it on with a woman who has already said “no” fourteen hundred times. And for every reason she gives for needing to leave, he has some bullshit excuse. He lies to her about the lack of transportation (“No cabs to be had out there); guilt trips her (“What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?”); repeatedly tells her how awful the weather is (“Baby, it’s cold outside”; “It’s up to your knees out there”; “Never such a blizzard before”); and blackmails her with death (“If you caught pneumonia and died”). He even hides her clothing (“Say, lend me a coat?”) and slips her Roofies (“Say, what’s in this drink?”). And the woman clearly has no idea what’s happening (“I wish I knew how to break this spell” – you can’t. You’ve been drugged). Yeah, sweet little holiday song, huh?

3) Little Drummer Boy – Suspend your religious affiliations for a minute here, and let’s pretend a couple really was giving birth to the “king.” The whole village comes out to give him gifts, and the poor boy in the song has nothing to offer but his musical skills. That’s really sweet and totally makes sense so far. Until we get to this part “Mary nodded / Pa rum pa pa pum / The ox and lamb kept time / Pa rum pa pa pum.” Can you imagine a wooly lamb and big strong ox tappin’ their hooves in rhythm? Maybe even shaking some sleigh bells from their mouths? Ehhh, that’s a little far-fetched, even for a Christmas song.

christmas confused

4) Up on the Rooftop –Been singing this one since elementary school and never thought much about the lyrics until now. It starts off innocently enough, telling the story of Santa Claus coming down the chimney with lots of toys (for good little girls and boys). “First comes the stocking / Of little Nell / Oh, dear Santa / Fill it well / Give her a dolly / That laughs and cries / One that will open / And shut her eyes.” Ok, pretty normal. Nothing strange here until…
“Next comes the stocking of little Will / Oh, just see what  / A glorious fill / Here is a hammer / And lots of tacks / Also a ball / And a whip that cracks.” GOOD LORD IN HEAVEN. Yeah a hammer and lots of tacks is exactly what I would give a little boy who probably still wets the bed at night. And a whip to go along with it—perfect. He’ll start his BDSM lifestyle nice and early. WTF?!

Have you noticed any other strange Christmas song lyrics?  Please share them below!

fresh whole cranberries

CSA Recipe: Cranberry Nut Bread

I recently signed up for a CSA through the Intervale in Burlington, VT and I’ve become obsessed with it! I get an assortment of vegetables each week, and also get eggs/yogurt/salad dressing OR cheese/bread/pesto along with it. Everything is organic, even the bread and yogurt, and it’s all ridiculously tasty. Since we’re getting so many different vegetables that I normally never cook, I’ve been looking all over the internet and in cookbooks for different recipes. I’ll be sharing some of my favs here!

Recipe: Cranberry Nut Bread
CSA Ingredients: Cranberries, eggs

My family is pretty set in their ways when it comes to food. Although this blows my mind, one of the Lafayette must-have’s on Thanksgiving is—wait for it—canned, jellied cranberry sauce.  (*shutters*) I learned the hard way that making any dish other than the ones we’ve had  500 times is the equivalent of taking your time, money, and pride, and dumping it in the trash. So when I got cranberries in my CSA, I had to get creative about how to use them, since clearly a delicious, home-made cranberry sauce was out of the question.

Luckily one of the perks of getting married is getting a brand new family who feel obligated to try everything you make and lie to you about how great it is. Liam’s dad is my number one fan and guinea pig. I could give him a cake made out of beach sand and the man would tell me how much he appreciated the crunch. He makes me feel like Julia Child. He’s the best.fresh whole cranberries

With my cranberries in hand, I flipped through my Better Homes & Garden’s Cookbook (AKA, my cooking Bible) and found a recipe for Nut Bread which you could add cranberries to. Although it recommended a few substitutions if using fruit, I ignored those suggestions and followed the recipe exactly as is, just adding cranberries at the end.

This is what the batter looked like in my KitchenAid Mixer

This is what the batter looked like in my KitchenAid Mixer

I threw the bread together about an hour before we went to Liam’s parent’s house and brought it over warm.

final product  - cranberry nut bread

final product – cranberry nut bread

And it actually was a big hit! It was nice and dense like a banana bread, but also very colorful because of the cranberries. Three-quarters of the loaf was gone by Thanksgiving night, and Liam’s dad called me up the next day to say he finished off the rest of it for breakfast (I just LOVE him!). So give this one a try if you end up with some cranberries. It’s really easy and pretty rewarding (even if you don’t have in-law’s to pat you on the back). Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1 cup milk (I used half n’ half because we didn’t have milk. Cook about 10 mins longer)
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped cranberries (put in food processor if you have one. Way easier!)
  • ¾ cup chopped walnuts (or almonds or pecans)

Directions

1.    Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside.Grease the bottom and ½ inch up sides of 9x5x3-inch loaf pan; set aside. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

2.   In a medium bowl, combine egg, milk, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Fold in cranberries and nuts. Spoon batter into prepared pan.

3.   Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. (recipe then recommended storing overnight before cutting, but who is going to do that?!).

Some Favorite Memories of Uncle Tony

Yesterday we lost a man who meant so much to so many people. A man who was well known throughout his community and adored by his family. He was a father, a husband, a brother, an uncle, a coach, a friend, an optimist, and he was my Godfather.

Uncle Tony touched so many lives in his 61 years on this Earth. So many that people from all walks of life have been reaching out to our family to give their condolences. People like my Facebook friend Matt, who said, “I didn’t realize Tony was your uncle. He and my parents are good friends and he was always so kind to me.” Or my friend Chuck, who shared some memories of Uncle Tony coaching him and the Pirates in little league. Or my friend Rhonda, who said Uncle Tony was her biggest cheerleader growing up and he will always have a special place in her heart. It seems that almost everyone in the Burlington area knew Uncle Tony and had a special bond with him. I of course feel the same way.

Uncle Tony was my 7th and 8th grade CYO basketball coach. Along with my cousin Jenna (Tony’s daughter), he taught a group of 10 teenage girls the in’s and out’s of basketball on the St. Mark’s team. I’m not sure if many of you remember what it’s like being 13 and 14 years old—or better yet—what it takes to coach teenage girls, but somehow Uncle Tony did it. He was patient, encouraging, and he never gave up on us. He put up with dramatic stories of middle-school break-ups (“I can’t run laps today, I’m too depressed…”), and­ excuses only young girls would have (“I can’t make practice today because I’d rather go to the mall.”) Uncle Tony gave up every single Saturday to coach our practices and every single Sunday to coach our games.

One of my favorite memories of Uncle Tony and the St. Marks team was while we were practicing one Saturday morning. Uncle Tony never went too hard on us, so after going over a few plays, and running a few laps, practice was winding down. But before it ended, he had his regular proposition for us: “Ok, girls. If any of you make this half-court shot, I’ll buy you all pizza next practice.” WOW, we all thought. Pizza?! Besides going to the movies with a cute boy, free pizza was about the best thing you could offer a teenage girl.

Each week we tried in vain to make that half-court shot, launching rubber balls as far as we could. And most of the time they just bounced off the backboard and went up into the 2nd floor auditorium above. We’d have to stop practice, hoist a girl up on Uncle Tony’s shoulders, and go searching for the ball.

So as usual on this Saturday, we lined up at half court, one by one, to take our shot. Uncle Tony sat on the sideline with a grin on his face, knowing that none of us had a chance in hell of ever sinking this shot. I threw the ball as far as I could—and missed. Jenna launched one, and missed. Liz went, and missed. And it went on like this until we got to Rhonda (the same girl I mentioned earlier). Rhonda, the girl with an infectious laugh who was constantly smiling and joking on our team, chucked the ball as hard as she could. And to everyone’s amazement, it actually went in.

Uncle Tony was absolutely dumb-founded. As we all jumped up and down, cheering and celebrating, he sat in shock. If you know the Lafayette’s at all, you know that we’re cheap frugal people. The thought of him having to buy pizzas for 10 girls nearly put him over the edge. But being the amazing man he was, he congratulated Rhonda and came to the next practice with pizza for all of us.

1998: Uncle Tony took  my CYO baskeball teammates to visit me at the Statehouse during the time I was a Legislative Page

1998: Uncle Tony took my CYO baskeball teammates to visit me at the Statehouse during the time I was a Legislative Page

Besides spending the weekends with Uncle Tony, I also once shadowed him for a middle school project. At the time I thought it would be really cool to be a real estate agent—and because I was too lazy to contact a person I wasn’t related to—I followed Uncle Tony around for the day.

I thought it would be a cushy shadowing experience: sit in an office for a bit, make a few phone calls, sip on some coffee, show someone a house or two, and then call it quits around 2pm. But oh no. Uncle Tony had other things in store for me.

Our first stop was to an apartment he owned in the Old North End. The renters had moved out and he was having trouble filling the place. We walked in through the front porch and I was immediately greeted by a weird smell.

“Careful, Aim,” Uncle Tony said as we made our way through the crowded porch. “Watch your step,” he said.

And then I realized why. In front of us were at least three dead squirrels, all curled up and frozen, looking stiff and terrifying.  They had somehow made their way into the house, but then couldn’t get out. It wasn’t exactly what I had anticipated seeing that early in the morning, and being a teenage girl, I freaked out a little.

“I’m going to wait in the car,” I told him.

Lunchtime wasn’t really any better. We went back to his house to eat. Hmm, not exactly what I had in mind, but ok.  I grabbed a kitchen stool and sat at the counter.

“Got your sneakers with you, Aim?” he asked me.

“My sneakers? No, why? I thought we were having lunch?”

“Well we are. But first we are going for a jog. That’s what I like to do on my lunch break.”

You’ve gotta be kidding me I thought.  “Oh well, guess I can’t go since I don’t have the right shoes.”

Then Aunt Melissa chimed in. “What size shoes do you wear, Amy? You can just borrow a pair of mine.” Great. There was really no way I was getting out of this one.

I reluctantly put on the sneakers, telling Uncle Tony how much I hated running, and we set off.   We jogged for probably only 20 minutes, but it felt like 2 hours to me, and I spent the entire time wondering why someone would do this at lunch and being jealous of my classmates who were probably eating at some fancy restaurant.  When the jog ended, we went back to his house for hotdogs and chips.

By the end of the shadow day, I was not only exhausted, but I also had such a greater appreciation for the life my uncle led.

After middle school, although he no longer coached me, Uncle Tony was still an important part of my life. He always asked how I was doing in school, what sports I was playing, and asked about my friends.

Uncle Tony even helped Liam and I buy our first home. Although he was battling cancer, he was so proud that we were about to buy our first place and he wanted to be involved. He visited the house during the Open House, met with the owners, inspected the basement for leaks, and asked all the right questions. He told us the house was sound and would be a great first home for us. Then he helped us draft the contract and seal the deal.

Uncle Tony will be remembered as a man with a huge heart who loved his family more than anything else in life. He was giving, selfless, and he was always upbeat.  It’s hard to imagine what our family, and our community, is going to be like without him. But I know we will all be better off if we try to live each day the way he had: with patience, generosity, courage, and with a smile.

Rest in peace, Uncle Tony. We love you.

I encourage any of you to leave your favorite memories of him below.