Monday, December 10, 2007


Darling D turns twelve this week, and as I am home for her birthday this year, that means party planning was all me. I love party planning, so I usually get really excited about this. Until D informed me that this year, she wanted to have a bowling party. Now if you know me, you know that there are two pastimes that I just can't handle. Two things that I hate, and sometimes make me want to hurl. Rollerskating is one, but luckily I haven't been forced to do that since the junior high nights at Shole's. Bowling is the other. Something about the combined odors of Lysol disinfectant, old smoke, and week old hotdogs just doesn't do it for me. In fact, it brings on the same subtle rage that develops when I hear anything by Nickleback. So you can imagine how I felt upon hearing D's birthday wish. But of course, this isn't about me, so I moved on to planning mode and grabbed the phonebook.

Sunday morning all was well. Party Favors? Check. Balloons? Check. Bowling Ball Birthday cake? Check. Then we pulled into the parking lot of the bowling alley and my stomach dropped. I mumbled, "What a fucking dump!" Luckily D was in another car with her dad, so she didn't get to hear that one. Crumbling pavement? Check. Tall weeds? Check. Peeling paint? Check. A certifiable shit hole. Inside was no better. It reeked of stale smoke from the days before I was born, the carpet was filthy, and the patron was a grumpy, middle aged social retard. I was not going to let that ruin anything though, so we set up shop and once the kids arrived, everything was great. They had a blast, even if they were all terrible bowlers, and we were lucky no one was injured. They ate cake and crappy bowling alley pizza, gossiped and shrieked for two hours, and went home exhausted. I didn't have to entertain, clean, or worry, and on the way home, D said it was an awesome party. I could say I've learned my lesson. Fun can be had anywhere no matter what, but I would still rather have it somewhere that doesn't make me crave a shower.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another International Thanksgiving...

After our long week in Cagliari, I was actually glad to get back to Friedrichshafen! Yes, I have now committed that blasphemous statement to print. Now let's move on. I spent the early week reading, knitting, and eating while watching two seasons worth of Family Guy, as Eric had to work, but Thursday was a full on Thanksgiving explosion. We invited four of Eric's colleagues for dinner, three Germans and a Brazilian this time, so I spent the day making the infamous party potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin soup, and a turkey. This year we actually found a whole one! It was the first time I have ever cooked a whole turkey, and the first time Eric had to carve one, so it was a learnin' experience. I felt a bit lame about not baking, but with limited cookware, I had no choice but to buy dessert. The boys brought a case of wiessbier, and 7 bottles of wine. It was fun, and I like making Germans eat American food, especially if it's even vaguely healthy, since our friends think we eat only McDonald's. They also think we are all fat heiffers, so I wore my skinniest jeans.

The rest of the week was spent hanging out, shopping, having dinner with friends, and other banalities that allowed finally for some relaxation. Then I had to head out on Sunday. I have since vented enough about the hell I experienced traveling home that weekend, so I will not recount the tale in its entirety here, so as to prevent myself reliving it. Suffice to say I got stranded overnight in Frankfurt, arrived home a full 24 hours later than I should have, and have been given 300 dollars back for my troubles.

Oh and p.s. Next time you travel, check to contents of your hand lotion. Glycerin sets of bomb sensors. :)

Thursday, November 08, 2007


Eric and I were soo excited when we landed in Cagliari, Sardegna for our week long vacation. I had read several articles online, and in the newspaper about how beautiful and interesting this city is in the off season. "Skip the maddening crowd of summer tourists, the waiting in long lines, the trumped up hotel prices, and enjoy historic Cagliari at your leisure in November!" Sounds like heaven, right? Hmm, not quite. It appears we were misinformed.

We arrived at our hotel and were excited to find that it was beautiful, very modern and stylish, with a lovely bar, and personable staff. Our room was nice as well, although the view left a bit to be desired. We were of course, a bit outside of the city center, so we expected that. We had dinner in the four star restaurant and welcomed our first disappointment. Good wine, boring food. I thought this was Italy? Oh well.

Next day, we headed out to the downtown area for sightseeing. Cagliari is full of small cobbled streets, shops, churches, and cafes to see, as well as a bunch of cool historic landmarks. Saldy, most of it was under construction. Pitfall of visiting in the offseason. It's cool though, because the people watching is great. Everyone was gorgeous, and bundled up like it's the Arctic although it was 60 degrees. After walking through half of the city in an hour, we realized that this whole sightseeing thing could be completed in about a day, and we had six to fill. Then we got hungry. Little did we know, the entire city closes down from 1 in the afternoon, until 8 at night. You can't eat, drink, or shop much. Back to the hotel.

We spent our next few days trying desperately to find things to do, but it wasn't easy. Despite the promises of our in-room brochure, the staff actually had no information at all about goings on in the city. Not even restaurant suggestions. Luckily we are resourceful. If you get stuck in this predicament you should:

- Visit Iglesias, a nearby town with the most amazing cemetary I have ever seen. Sounds macabre, but it was awesome and I'll share photos as soon as I get them back from Eric! Just make sure you go early because they close the cemetary gates from noon until 3, and the walls are topped with shards of broken glass to deter burglars or overzealous tourists.

- Try to go the week of the European Jazz Expo. It's a huge event, but make sure you plan your transportation thoroughly. The bus stations don't post schedules, so you need to take your chances or talk to the drivers, and they don't speak English. Taxis are expensive, and if you don't speak Italian you'll get ripped off, so watch it! We saw a bunch of cool performances, even if we aren't huge jazz fans, and it was probably the most fun night we had.

- Visit the Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. We did a night at the symphony which was beautiful, and you can get cheap tickets.

- Eat dinner at the restaurant at the base of the Bation San Remy. I've forgotten the name, but you will walk past it at least ten times as you tour the city, and you can't miss the green awnings. Amazing food, by far the best meal we had, and the servers were very accomodating. Lots of sign language since our Italian is nonexistant, and they made great recommendations.

All in all, we did have a good trip, but mainly just because we were together and we can amuse ourselves wih very little (Italian talk shows and a bunch of beer! Yay!). This city requires better weather, a short stay, or some really thorough planning, for it to be a relaxing, romantic get away. I think we'll take a second honeymoon.

Holiday Mayhem

The past few weeks have been full of madness due to several holidays, and I'm in the midst of prepping for another big one, so I'm ready for a break. There was of course the Red Sox winning the World Series, which amounted to one big holiday of beer, cooking bar food, and staying up too late. Yes, I was thrilled, but I admit I wish it had been more if a challenge (feel free to boo and hiss). Then came Halloween, with it's usual hustle and bustle of getting costumes together for at least five people, all of whom tend to ask for my help at the last minute, thinking I am Martha Stewart. Sadly, I do not have her staff, so I had to work from scratch to transform a toddler into a parrot, a boy into a pirate, a girl into a birthday present, and myself into Miss Rhode Island 1985. Luckily I had Vanna White's dress to work with. Several parties and a night of trick or treating later, I had eaten enough chocolate to choke a horse.

Now I am headed off to Germany for two weeks, with a stop in Cagliari for the honeymoon. Honeymoon, you say? I know it is out of order, but Eric has to use up his vacation time before the end of the year, so we are taking full advantage now! This holiday will be a bit of a challenge, since I can only pack one bag for 16 days and nights in two very different climates. It will be a busy vacation including not 2, but 10 flight changes, so I'm making sure to be extra prepared (ie. I've stocked up on Tylenol PM). I also have to do another German Thanksgiving dinner with what I am sure will be limited supplies, but I'm hopeful for a repeat of last year's success. The goal is to get some serious sight seeing and holiday shopping done, with a good mix of relaxation tossed in. Oh, and I haven't seen my husband since September, so there ya go.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Progress not Perfection

I think that will be my new mantra. It's an AA saying actually. Not that I need AA or anything, although I think that being pretty much unemployed, having a wedding to plan, a husband across the ocean, and a shop to get off the ground would drive any girl to drink. Luckily I'm saved from my own potential alcoholism by living in the home of someone who has been successfully in recovery for 22 years. Just don't tell him about the case of Sam Adams in my bedroom.

I've been repeating this phrase to myself all day, because I didn't get called to sub, and I am trying to be productive. My day so far has broken down into hours of sitting on the computer trying to accomplish the following:

Find a wedding photographer - I sent out at least 10 more emails, and got 1 back. The guy looks very promising, and is within the budget, so this goal may very well be achieved within the week.

Get working on invites - I've decided that I am definitely printing them myself, via Gocco. I've become obsessed with owning this little gadget and convinced Eric that it should be part of the wedding budget. Not only will it still be cheaper than ordering custom invites from someone else, but it is an investment towards the future home of my handmade goods (More on that at a later date!). So today I got lucky and found one for an amazing price from feltcafe, an etsy seller. That makes my day times three, because I love supporting etsy sellers, I will finally have my machine, and it should be here in a week! Woo!

Find our wedding rings - Yeah, that's just not going to happen today. Although pictures are sure pretty, we need to go try some on. This goal will just have to wait until after Christmas!

Other than that I've been up to the usual craftiness with the kids, Halloween style. If you have some free time and children (if not borrow someone else's like I do) these are fun projects for cheap (if not free) and they totally got me into the Halloween mood. D and I made a cheesecloth ghost, Nic and I made a wreath out of garbage bags, and we made candied apples last night with Lea. D had to slice hers and eat it with a fork because of her braces. I got my back molars stuck together. It was awesome.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Let's Go Apple Picking

or Things to do in Rhode Island in the fall, Part 2

Last weekend I was appalled to find out that in her eleven years on this planet, D had never once been apple picking. For someone who lives in an area full of farms and orchards, I found that unforgiveable! So we packed up and headed out to Narrow Lane Farm for the afternoon. A few hours later we had walked up and down almost every row of trees, sampled each of the 10 varieties, picked four pecks of apples, and learned to juggle (courtesy of her dad). I learned that, just like me, D has a fondness for tiny things, so we gathered a bunch of the cutest apples, even if they will be a bitch to peel and slice later! We grabbed some pumpkins on our way home, too, so some carving is in store for next weekend.

I spent most of today peeling, cooking, baking, and canning the apples we brought home. I made apple pie filling (just pour into the crust and bake!), apple butter, and some baked apple tarts. Now I just need to find someone to give all of these jars too, before fall is over and the cute wrappings are out of season. Any takers? Send me an email and I'll drop some off for you!

As today was such a beautiful fall day (finally!) D and a friend decided to host a bake sale and take advantage of all of the Yard Sale traffic in the neighborhood. Being the crafty control freak that I am, I decorated their table for them. Mini Halloween pennants in potted mums, brownies packaged in brown paper bags with ribbon and creepy labels, and jars of apples. They made four dollars in four hours, but they had a blast running around all day and made a new friend. A new girl moved in across the street this spring, and today we got to meet her. She's adorable, and just D's age, so I hope they'll become friends! Once Eric and I are back in Michigan, things will get very quiet around here :(

Sunday, October 07, 2007

RISD Student/Alumni Art Sal

Things to do in Rhode Island in the fall, Part 1

Yesterday was the first of this year's student/alumni art sales at RISD, one of my favorite places to go spend lots of money for no apparent reason in the fall. I love that everything at this art sale is created either by current students, or by alumni who travel from all over to come back to RI. They sell everything from clothing, accessories, and bags, to fine art, sculpture, and pottery. For a relatively small art fair, the variety and range of styles and prices certainly accomodate everyone's tastes and budget. As usual, I found myself coveting lots of things, trying on things I can't afford, and then feeling sullen because I'm not Richie Rich. I also met some very cool people, discovered a bunch of great new artists, and made one very selective purchase. I chatted with Chika Eustace, the girl behind Chikabird, while poring over her stuff for a very long time. I finally chose a clutch like the one here, but with blue and green leaves. She was really sweet, considering I kept touching everything, and she has an etsy, yay! I also met Teresa Levy of Sewing Stars, whose blog I have been reading for a while now. Her apple head dolls are even cuter in person, which I hardly thought was possible. Keep an eye on her shop for new arrivals, including kits to make your own stuffies, which I am ordering ASAP.

Since I could go on and on about the other artists I loved, I will instead give you a quickie list if links so you can check them out yourself...
- John Hung Ha Multimedia decoupage paintings of Koi and elephants, so vibrant and textured that they look alive. Plus, I love artists that are cool and down to earth, and he was definitely that. Even if Swizz Beatz digs his work.
- Jenine Bressner Fireworks - amazing glass beads and pendants, handmade by this kickass chick who my mother would call "a hot ticket"
- Milisa M. Galazzi - books, watercolor, and assemblage with adorable sewing motifs
- Amie Louise Plante - gorgeous fine art jewelry that looks like it was made by nature
- Nam Kim - very cool bags in great fabrics and unusual shapes made by Chika's friend

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Red Sox Clinch!

Last night was insane. Winning the Division for the first time since 1995 was worth staying up way too late to watch the Orioles creep up behind the Yankees! I just wish I had been in Boston! Sorry Ralph, Stephen, Aimee, and Chris for your loss. Wah.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Wedding Planning Procrastination...

So, I'm supposed to be planning a wedding reception. Those of you who have done this before know how much time and effort can be involved. Take one look at a bridal magazine and you'll get so overwhelmed you'll be ready to book the next flight to Vegas. I mean really, look at the hair on that girl, even if she is wearing a sweet dress! Add to this the fact that Eric and I are attempting to do our reception in the least expensive, most DIY manner possible, and you have a to-do list a mile long. Therefore, you can't blame me for letting things slip a tiny bit. I'm justifying my lax approach to wedding planning this month because:

- I have a giant, color coded binder full of ideas for everything from cake to invites. Thank you OCD.
- The reception location is booked.
- The DJ is booked.
- Makeup girl is booked. Thank you Lynds!
- UPDATE 11/3: Photographer is booked!
- UPDATE 11/4: My gocco press arrived, so invites are coming soon!
- I don't have a final dress design yet.

The last thing on this list holds up everything else I need to do, because I can't pick colors until I have a dress design. And I can't do anything until I have colors. Since my mother and I are designing the dress and she will be making it from scratch, we really need to get on this. Suzy says that as long as she can start cutting in January, we're all good. So she's enabling my procrastination at this point, but don't tell her that!

Now, I am a list maker, so here's what is left to do as of now (I'm sure this list will change often!):

- Dress
- Decide on ceremony details
- Decide on ceremony music
- Finalize the menu
- Finalize the guest list
- Decide about a videographer
- Make Invitations, Place cards and Thank You cards
- Flowers for me, my matron of honor, mother, and grandmother
- Boutonnieres for Eric, best man, and the three dads
- Gifts for parents, matron of honor, and best man
- Favors
- Centerpieces
- Cake

Holy crap. That's a long list. Especially when you add in the fact that I am considering felting all of the flowers myself, making the cake with my mom, handmaking gifts, centerpieces, and favors, and designing and creating invites from scratch. Anyone who wants to offer advice or assistance, feel free! Any tips from experienced wedding planners is very welcome!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Road Tripping!

Thelma and Louise (actually, Suzanne and Joanna) hit the road...

After 738 miles and over twelve hours of driving, I have finally made it home! My mom was sweet enough to fly out to Detroit from Chicago so that she could make the trip with me. All in all, it was pretty uneventful, although it started out as a real pain in the ass. My mother ordered our TripTix through AAA, but when I started flipping through the book on Thursday night, I realized we had a problem.

Me: "Um, Mom, where are the directions?"

Mom: "What?"

The woman at AAA printed out our book without the turn by turn directions, which is the only thing we wanted in the first place. Normally this is no big deal, as you can print them yourself at home using the AAA website. Only my Comcast guy had just left the house 15 minutes earlier, after disconnecting my internet and cable. Sweet. So we hopped in the car and drove to the library, where the internet was down. Actually the whole network was down, so none of the other ibraries had internet access either. Luckily, a nice old woman sent us to West Bloomfield, where they had access, so we got our directions without further issues, even if it took us over an hour. Back at home, I checked our maps, and noticed how close we would be going by Niagra Falls.

Me: "Too bad we won't have time to stop at Niagra Falls. We're going right
through there."

Mom: "Niagra Falls? Are we going that far north? Are we going into Canada?
Because I don't have my passport."

Me: "Shit."

Now, you can get into Canada without a passport, but you can't get back into the USA without it, or at least a birth certificate and driver's license. This fact made our directions useless, cause there was no way I was leaving my mother stranded north of the border. So we packed the car, I sent my mom to bed, and I went out drinking.
Sidenote: Thanks to those of you who came out to 5th Avenue for my Bon Voyage Party. I'll miss you guys! And the Killer Flamingos ROCK!

In the morning, after 5 hours of sleep, we had to go to another AAA for new TripTix. The lovely woman behind the desk rerouted us, so we got on the road by 10, and had arrived at the hotel in Syracuse by 7. Up at 8 and back in Connecticut by 2:30. Not much excitement there! We sang along with Stevie Nicks, ate cheeseburgers, and that was about it. No shooting dirtbags, no picking up cowboys, no driving off of cliffs. Pretty pathetic by Hollywood standards, but this is my mom we're talkng about.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Pantry Raid!

<--"Say No to Cracks!"

Why is it that every time I plan on going to the pool, it starts raining? I have the whole day off, and it has been gray and wet since I woke up this morning. I decided to try and be really productive, unlike my last day off.

First goal: Cook everything in the pantry and fridge before I move out in two weeks, without buying more stuff. Not as easy as it sounds. But I'm getting there! First I made a huge frittata, taking a chunk out of the produce in my fridge. Then I baked a batch of Big Bear Brownies. Usually, I bake everything from scratch, but never brownies. They never come out as gooey as the boxed kind for some reason! My mom got me hooked on Kodiak mixes back in March, when she bought a case of it and handed it out at her birthday party. The pancake mix is killer, and the brownie mix is so good you would never know it's whole wheat. Finally I emptied a whole shelf of the freezer and made Shrimp and Green Pea "Risotto". It was delicious, and I love not feeling guilty about eating carbs! Carbs are yummy, and I love them. Now I'm stuffed.

Second goal: Start packing. This one is definitely hard. Which is a bit nuts, since all I really brought out here is clothing and craft stuff. However, to pack it all now means I need to plan out my outfits for the next two weeks and not make anything at all until I get back to Rhode Island. I decided neither thing is possible. So I spent my packing time organizing. I sorted through all of my supplies, set aside anything I think I may not use soon, and made special folders and labels for the rest. If you know what a pack rat I am, you know how hard it is for me to acknowledge that I may not need that stack of old take out menus, the bottle caps from Germany, or a bunch of Chinese fortunes. But I am letting them go. Deep breath. If the garbage man could see inside my trash, he'd think I am nuts.

Starting tomorrow I am working three double shifts in a row, so everything else is just going to have to wait...

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Craftsters Rock the DUCF

or What to do in Detroit, Part 3

All the craftster buzz had me psyched to check out the Detroit Urban Craft Fair today, and see in person the work of two of my favorite Michigan craftsters. After much ado, I ventured out, cash and camera in hand, to the Majestic Theater for an afternoon of oohing and aahing over all kinds of goodies. As expected, I wanted to buy tons of stuff, but luckily I had a sidekick, who helped me keep my budget in mind and my spending in check. There was a lot I craved but couldn't justify buying, like a $135 dollar diaper bag, cause you know, I don't have a baby. Or a clear vinyl Patti Smyth skirt, which rocks, but just won't go with the rest of my closet. I left without going broke, but with some fun treats and lots of business cards for shopping later!

First thing on the agenda was a brief visit with Miranda who makes such lovely crocheted hats, that I want to cast aside my "Just Say No to Hats" rule. If only I had normal person hair, I'd buy one of her little brim caps in every color! They are so cute, as is she, as you can tell from the photo!

I also love everything Miss Amie Miller makes for her shop enamor. Her booth was so well done, everything looked beautiful. The hostess aprons and totes are awesome! Alas, someone beat me to the punch and bought the whale tote I was after! It's my own fault for being late, but I'm still going to grumble.

Anyway, here is what I actually did buy. These kick ass postcards from Rar Rar Press make me laugh out loud. You know some of you can expect to see them in packages on your doorstep soon, the rest will go to Eric in Germany! I also bought a pair of amazing bark earrings by Heather Fagan of BirdsGather. My friend bought one of her cuffs and earring sets, too. They are so unique, and light as a feather. As for the laters, I will definitely be hitting up Lollibomb Beauty, formerly Lushbox, for some of her Sugar Plum Body Frosting as soon as her holiday line is released. I got a taste today, and I had to force myself not to eat it. Oh, and by the way, all of her products are vegan. For when that baby finally does come, I will be all over Rebecca Yaker's bags over at Hazel and Melvin's Room. The fabric and quality is fantastic, and worth every penny. Now I just need to have a husband who stays put long enough to knock me up. :P

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Lonely Wifey's Day Off


Yesterday was my day off. Usually, I love days off, but with a hubby across the ocean and all 3 of my MI friends at work, it makes for a lonely JoJo. I decided I would be productive, so as not to be sad. I worked out, I did laundry and cleaned the condo, I cooked a pound of bacon. I ate three quarters of the pound of bacon. To make myself feel not so gross about that, I then made the World's Best B.L.T., hoping that the lettuce and tomato would cancel out the fatty fat bacon rumbling around in my tummy. Next I made a batch of my favorite muffins and gave them there own little photo shoot. Mmmm... Then I took a nap. Luckily Kay called around 4:30 to prevent me from sleeping the rest of the day away. We went out to see her new boy's softball team play their last game at Liberty Park. Definitely the coolest park I've ever seen. You Beer League boys back home would be so jealous! However, while walking through the diamonds, Kay got hit in the leg with a flying baseball bat and ended up with a lovely welt. It could have equaled a good souvenir, had the guys won the game. Sadly the rest of the team didn't show up, so they didn't get to play at all. We just ended up having many beers and quesadillas, so all was well in my book. I have Sunday off too, so I need to make sure I have plans, and rid the house of all pork products in advance.

Now I'm rounding up the troops and getting excited for Saturday's Detroit Urban Craft Fair. Two of the craftster ladies will have booths there, so I can't wait to spend some money on them! They also have a few "Make and Take" workshops planned, so you can sit down and do a little project in the midst of your shopping. If you haven't got plans, come on down and hang out with us, bring the kids, have a few drinks, and support local indie artists! Yay!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

If I had a million dollars...

I would have spent it all at the Ann Arbor Art Fairs last weekend!

The 'rents came out from Chicago, and we spent all day Sunday cruising through three of the four fairs in downtown Ann Arbor. With over 1,200 artists from almost all 50 states, this is no Gaspee Days, kiddos! No water balloon yoyos, no face painting, and no glittery fairy wands; this is a real, hard core art fair. We spent five hours, and still didn't see everything. There were so many amazing artists, that even though I didn't find a single piece I could afford, I have inspiration for months. Not to mention the awesome people watching, great food, and sales at all of the area shops. Well worth the tired feet! Next summer Eric and I will most likely be living in Ann Arbor, so you should all come visit. Bring comfy shoes! And your kids' college fund.

On to the fun part... while I did see at least 25 artists who I loved, there were a few real standouts. Bryan Cunnigham makes mixed media art inspired by tattoo art, pinup girls, old school comics and carnival freaks. And he wears gold Elvis sunglasses. Hello? He should be my boyfriend. All of his work is dark and funny and bold, and would look perfect in my house. If I had to pick favorites, they would be the huge Anatomy skeleton and the raven, which you can find on his site in the gallery. (p.s. he's also on myspace!)

I also loved everything made by Darrell Ezekiel, an artist from Alabama who does both painting and funky assemblage. All of his paintings were quirky and ironic, especially my favorite huge Mouseketeer. Too bad it was way over my budget, and too large to realistically fit anywhere but my imagination.

L. Lee Junge had one of the most interesting booths, not only for the art, but also the presentation. It was like traveling through a labyrinth full of color. Not all of this stuff is my style; my favorite piece was a mixed media 3D work (left), and it was the only thing like it. But the depth and color in these paintings is just magnificent. I wouldn't hang them in my house, but I could look at them for hours!

Sadly my most favorite person of all, Miriam Carter, does not have a website. She's a fourth generation felter who has been at it for 18 years. I wanted to cry when I tried on a 400 hundred dollar jacket that fit me perfectly. It was my favorite color, and honestly looked like it was custom made for me. Alas, I have a bullshit job and a wedding to throw, so no splurge shopping for me. However, I'm going to online stalk this woman until I can afford one of her pieces, even if it takes me 10 years.

Monday, July 09, 2007

More Tigers

or What to do in Detroit Part 2

Go see a Red Sox game! That is, if they are playing the Tigers at Comerica Park. It was girls day out with Kay, Aimee, and Sky and we scorched. While this series was one of the most embarrassing I have seen in a long time (one that led a coworker to follow me at work with a broom today), the game was still worth every minute. If we have to get swept by any team, it had better be the Tigers!

Comerica Park is ginormous, and if you are like me and used to Fenway, it's even a bit overwhelming. They have a carousel and ferris wheel inside the park. And you can actually get tickets for ten bucks. Try that in Boston! While the hotdogs are not our my favorite Fenway Franks, they are pretty darn good anyway, especially with a yard-long daiquiri. Mix your flavors, and you get a psychedelic cocktail with a straw so long you don't even need to pick your drink up off the ground. Hells yeah.

On your way to the game, stop at Cheli's for a beer. Cheli's Chili Bar, owned by Red Wings player Chris Chelios, has three floors including a rooftop bar, and a killer view of the stadium. Fun stuff, cheap Long Islands, and nice people, even if you wear your Sox gear. Which you had better do! Red Sox nation was out in force yesterday. I sported my jersey even in 99 degree heat, just to show the love. And I only had to give a hard time to one guy, who was probably trying to flirt more than heckle, since he was young and a bit drunk. I just told him, "Usually, I'd tell you to kiss my ass, but I don't bend over for Tigers fans." Pbbblllt! The ladies found that pretty funny, even if they themselves are Tigers people. Actually, Aimee is really a Yankees fan, but I like her anyhow. At the end of the day, we posed for photos with giant stone tigers, ate takeout in Aimee's backyard, and I was passed out by 8:30. You know that means it was a good day.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!

or What to do in Detroit Part 1

Last weekend we ventured out to the Detroit Zoo, and I'm just getting a chance to upload the photos now... I know, I'm a bad person. Sorry. But, it was a great way to spend a Sunday, so add it to your list of things to do when you come to visit Detroit. (That is on the top of your list of things to do this year, right?) Actually, the Zoo isn't in Detroit. It's in Royal Oak, sort of like landing in Providence when you fly into T.F. Green. Anywho...

While most of this zoo is like any other you've been to, it has some very cool features unlike our beloved Roger Williams. It's ten times bigger for starters! They also have all of the big cats, fuzzy bears, gorillas, a pair of bald eagles, anything you could want. And you get to walk around with the kangaroos! Unfortunately we went on a hot and sunny day, so the kangaroos were in repose under the trees, but the idea that one of them could run over and kick you is still pretty sweet. They have a tunnel of glass that takes you through the seal tank, which is very fun to watch. The seals swim full speed at the tunnel, turning within 2 inches of smashing their noses against the glass, then come back and give it another go. It was entertaining, especially since one of them decided to drop a deuce right in front of us. Yum.

Also, unlike R.W. and most zoos I have been to, you can bring in whatever you want! Wagons! Coolers! Woohoo! There were lots of napping kids being dragged around by their dads, and lots of picnics going on. There may also have been some boozing, but I can't be sure. Next time we'll go prepared. I suggest you do the same, since the food and beverage options are like any other park: boring, overpriced, and not very appetizing. Unless 5 dollar hotdogs and 4 dollar frozen lemonades are your thing... Oh how I miss Del's!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Home again, home again

and man, is it good to go home! Even if our week back in RI was tightly scheduled, rushed, and otherwise insane, it was certainly worth it. Thankfully we got lucky and had some beautiful weather, allowing for some of those classic summer moments that I would have been severely depressed to have missed out on here in Michigan:

- Strawberry picking at Shartner's Farm We left with three flats full and I sunburned the tops of my thighs. Weird.
- An afternoon at Sand Hill Cove I mean, Roger Wheeler State Beach, or whatever you want to call it. Nothing beats a breezy, sunny day in the sand, reading a good book, smelling the ocean, and watching the sailboats. Yes we do have beaches here, no they are not the same.
- Clam Cakes and Chowder Period.
- Bonfire nights Eric has earned his honorary Boy Scout badge for mastering the correct structure for a killer bonfire. (Actually it was my idea, but shhh!) Fun times with good friends and good beer (especially you Katie, who may be the only person who actually reads this!)
- Family parties Charlie turned 1 year old on Father's Day, so the
obligatory massive family get together, full of beer, water, and frosting, ensued. What's cuter than a baby's first taste of cake smeared all over his chunky bod?

And of course we had to throw in a few other things, like lunch at Richard's Pub of all places (thank you Lynds!), going to Iggy's, and scouting a site for our reception. Which we finally settled on, so save July 5, 2008 on your calendars! And even though Blissful Meadows sounds like a home for retired veterans, it's not!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Cleveland Rocks

That's right, I'm a convert.

While it wasn't the greatest place I've ever been, Cleveland was a good time. I made it there in less than three hours, with only three bugs plastered on the windshield, and a quarter tank of gas left. Thank God for fuel efficiency, or the trip alone would have cost me forty bucks.

Saturday night we went down to the Flats, the entertainment district of Cleveland. We were told to do our research before heading out. I learned that the Flats has an East side, featuring these highlights:
- After a night of drunken debauchery in 2000, 3 people fell off the pier and drowned
- Raids in 2001 led to the closure of nine bars
- The current demolition project has left only ten hot spots open
- The East Side has a rep for crime and sometimes violence

So you can see why we chose to go check out the West side! And we are glad we did, because we had a blast.The West side is home to many more bars, clubs and restaurants, including the Powerhouse. A huge brick complex right on the water, it used to supply power to street cars, but now houses a crapload of cool bars. We didn't leave that building all night. We had dinner and beers at the Rock Bottom Brewery, where they make the best nachos ever. Then we had to go to Howl at the Moon. Let's just say I'm a sucker for dueling pianos. The place has bras hanging from the ceiling, and the guys did a killer rendition of "Sexy Back." Add that to the fact that there were seven bachelorette parties, a bachelor party, and two guys wearing kilts, and you have a hell of a good time.

The next day we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I could have spent 6 hours in that place! There is so much to see it makes you a little dizzy. Although Eric did have to stop me from going "AWWWW!" every time we saw something owned by a dead rocker that I adore. Cause face it, most of them are dead.

It's definitely worth the 20 bucks, and you have to go. Wait til after the 25th of May when The Doors exhibit opens, though. That's one thing I'm sad I missed. Anyway, my favorite things were:
- John Lennon's first passport. He was such a cute Rockabilly boy! And his grammar school newspaper, where he drew comics and made up stories about "Mr S. Kull, whose wife left him for unknown reasons, which are unknown."
- Tom Petty's handwritten drafts of songs. It was so cool to see the thought process as he crossed out and reworked lyrics.
- The puppets from Alice in Chains' "I Stay Away" video.
- Janis Joplin's handpainted Porche
- The hotdog, soda, and fries from Phish's tours
- The Pink Floyd's "The Wall" exhibit, 'nuff said

All in all, what I saw of Cleveland was not bad, not bad at all. There is certainly a lot to do there, if you are into museums, sports, and drinking your little ass off. I'm sure you all fall into one of those categories.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It's May Day

When I was little and still in Girl Scouts, we used to weave paper baskets and fill them with flowers to hang on people's front doors for May Day. Then we'd ring the bell and run away. Does anyone still do that? Or is that where the flaming bag of crap idea came from?

Anywho... I've been stationary for a while now, but it's not so much better than when I was running constantly. That's because now Eric is running constantly. I could back track and go on about his last few trips, but instead I'll just tell you that he was home for only 10 of the 30 days of April. That makes for lots of working for me so I don't go nuts. I worked 12 shifts in 8 days. For some reason my feet are black on the bottoms. Weird. Right now Eric is in Mexico, then he'll be flying all over the States, and he won't be back for two weeks. Luckily I get to see him this weekend, as he has to stop for a few days in Cleveland. That's right, I said Cleveland. Ohio. Hoo-fucking-ray!

Now not to offend any of you who may be natives of Ohio, but it's just not on the top of my list of "1000 Awesome Places to See Before I Die." Ok, it's not on the list at all. The only thing I can think of when I think of Cleveland is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Mimi from the Drew Carey show, and... Well actually, that's it. That's my East Coast ignorance talking. Luckily, an old friend lives in the area, and may be able to entertain us by feeding us many beers and tequila for Cinco de Mayo. Not that he's Mexican or anything. He's actually Puerto Rican, but in this country I think that makes him Mexican on May 5th. It's like how everyone becomes Irish for St. Patty's Day.

I will leave you with some educational tidbits, as I now feel guilty for trashing Cleveland. While writing this and simultaneously searching the web, I have discovered that Cleveland is home to some pretty interesting attractions. Like:

The Indians
, number one in the Central States, who knew? You can see them at Jacobs Field, where they serve hotdogs, beer, and SUSHI.
The West Side Market, one of the largest international farmer's markets around, started in 1912.
The Great Lakes Brewing Company, Cleveland's largest local brewery, with ten beers on tap. I have a feeling I'll be a big fan of the Holy Moses White Ale. Nothing like a stab at the bible thumpers to brighten my day:)
And although I doubt you'll find him at home, Paul Newman is from Cleveland. So was Thomas Edison, LeBron James, Eliot Ness, Dorothy Dandridge, and Dr. Henry Schwan - Father of the Decorated Christmas Tree.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

I've been there!

I made this little map today in between making shit, stuffing my face, and applying for jobs. The red areas are all of the places I have visited. Funny how I've done more traveling than most people I know, yet there is still all that white area to see. Man we RIers are sheltered people!

Anywho, I'm hoping things get a wee bit exciting around here, as I scored 2 jobs today. Not what I was looking to do, but it's only three months and I don't have a MI teaching certificate, so my options ar severely limited. I'll be tutoring little musical geniouses at a private music school a few days a week. I am postive this experience will be fun, since they'll all scoff at me for being unable to carry a tune. Meanwhile, all you math nerds will be thrilled that I am also going to work at a place called Pi. Yes, back to the old bar scene. At least I can wear the same thing every day and get people intoxicated by mid afternoon. What's more fun than that?

Friday, March 02, 2007

And we're back!

I've been neglecting this blog yet again, but who has time to write when you only get 2 months of home time? And now it's over... but I certainly enjoyed it while it lasted. Playing with my nephews, hanging out with my girlfriends, going to a show, eating real food, oh yeah, and speaking English! Pretty sweet. Now on to the next adventure...

Eric and I set out on Monday afternoon for our 800 mile (that's over 1200 km for you metric folk!) trek to Michigan. We arrived on Tuesday afternoon after a high class evening of dinner at Ruby Tuesday's and a snooze at the Super 8 Motel, Clearfield, PA. That's how we roll. Our condo is spotless and adorable, and no, we don't live on 8 mile. We don't even live in Detroit. It's a very suburban, very clean area with a million developments and every chain store/restaurant you've ever heard of, plus about 50 you haven't. Even so, last night I woke up when I heard voices, and discovered a drug deal going down underneath our window. For real. Small time stuff, but still. I guess I know who to go to if I decide to take up crack.

Now the hunt is on to find a job, while Eric works his 12 hour days. We all know sitting home all day like Suzy Homemaker just ain't gonna cut it. In the meantime, I'm back to my ATC addiction, Zetti style this time, so all hope is not lost. At least I can occupy a little time creating while I wait for someone to call me and tell me they want to hire me for a 3 month, part time, 20 dollar an hour position tasting pastries.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I actually have a minute to breathe!

So I will take that minute to update my very neglected blog! As most of you know I am home in RI on holiday until February 11. I've been here since just before Christmas, so lots has happened of course, and I have been far too busy to bother with this lame-o blog thing... So here's the quick and dirty...

Holiday travel madness led to hellish times in Heathrow, then we had Taco Bell, celebrated my birthday, then Christmas, then I got married, celebrated New Year's, sent Eric back to Germany for 6 weeks to finish some work, went to see "Wicked" (Looove!), did lots of shopping, visited every family member I have, watched football, moved temporarily into my sister's house in CT where I am now subbing at my old school two days a week, and watching my 4 yr. and 6 mo. old nephews the other three days, then it's back to Saunderstown for the weekends to do laundry, grocery shop, and make a week's worth of meals so Frank and D don't eat Subway five nights in a row. Phew! In the middle of all of that I successfully completely some way behind crafting projects, watched the Pats beat L.T., and got hyped up to watch Payton Manning cry into his jersey later this week. Oh, and did you notice the part where I got married?