Mama Said There'd Be Days Like This

It's been one of "those" days. You know the ones. Those that are caused by little pockets of cosmic evil that randomly float through the universe, looking for someone to screw.

And let me just say, they did a dandy of a job today.

First, it's been raining for three days straight. And while I understand that rain can be good and necessary and essential for all growing things blah blah blah, it's a pain in the rear to have to be out running errands in, and that is precisely what I have to do today. Plus, it's not even a good storm-inducing rain. There's no thunder and lightening to get excited about. It's just a gray rain, succeeding in only getting me wet and making everything overly gloomy.

Second, (although this should probably be first under the causes of "those" days) is that I am PMSing like Attila the Hun, were he actually a woman and assuming that that wasn't his normal sunny disposition. My emotions seem to be bouncing back and forth between anger, depression and intense self-loathing, all with a hair-trigger switch. Add to it that the fact that I'm cramping enough to stagger a charging rhino and make it curl up, whimpering, into the fetal position, and you'll be somewhere in the ballpark. Does it help to know that all this is caused by simple yet malicious hormones, and that all my feelings are exaggerated and not to be trusted?

No. No, it does not.

Third, (and this one really burns me up) is that I seem to have instantly been transformed overnight into a complete and utter moron. I have lost all sense in my scowling little head. Case in point: Tony asked me to do some laundry. (Normally he wouldn't even have to ask since I consider laundry to be one of the few duties of a Stay-at-home-whatever-I-am, but since my surprise transformation to moron, light housekeeping has suddenly become beyond my grasp). Anyway, he asked me to the laundry, since he was out of clean jeans to wear to work. So I gathered up all the dirty clothes, and I took them downstairs to the washer, and I tossed them in (taking care to stuff in as many pairs of his jeans as possible). And I started the washer and returned to my perpetually bad mood. And forgot all about the laundry. Tony got up to go to work this morning and had no jeans. It appears that not only did I not transfer any of Tony's jeans to the dryer so that they'd be nice and dry for him to wear, but I simultaneously failed to even close the lid on the washer, so the wash cycle never started. Basically, I took all of Tony's clothes and just managed to make them sit in a tub of water for 12 hours. There you go, honey! Enjoy! (Luckily, Tony was able to unearth a secret emergency pair of ratty old jeans of that were of a Dirty Dancing, Patrick Swayze-esqe tightness to wear to work. Had I known that they existed, he wouldn't have even had those). I'm thorough in my moron-ness.

Fourth, (and I'm just whining at this point) is that I'm only running on about three and a half hours of sleep. Oh, I went to bed at my normal time (3am), but for some bizarre and sadistic cosmic reason, I woke up again at 6:30 and couldn't get back to sleep. I think the rhino-cramp was what officially woke me at first, but by the time I got up and managed to find the box of Midol and get a glass of water and then struggle with the stupid foil backing on the blister pack and eventually give up and let Tony open it (see above mention of incapacitating stupidity again since I can't even seem to tear the foil open to get a pill out of its packaging), I'd had my eyes open long enough to officially dismiss going back to sleep. Am I tired? Oh yes. Will I be able to get a wink of sleep before 3am again? Not a chance.

So here I am, b*tching and complaining and officially alienating readers who don't want to read about me just b*tching and complaining. Yeah well, tough cookies my friends. It's my crappy day and I'm sharing it. But I will try to limit it to just today if possible. Rarely, the cosmic evil flotsam that triggers crappy days will be evil enough to hit twice in a row, but I'm really hoping that that's not the case here because chances are good that some innocent bystander will not survive a second day of my foul mood. Until then, Mama said there'd be days like this, and aren't you so glad that I'm not Attila the Hun?

The Book List

For those of you who are my Facebook buddies, you're going to recognize this list as one of those trivial little quizzes that everyone publishes in their notes section. I apologize for the redundancy. However, I thought it was an interesting list, and I wanted to share it with the non-Facebookers (you know who you are).

So I found this list of 100 books. Perhaps they're classics. Perhaps they're just popular. Perhaps they're favorites of the person who made the list. I don't know. Both where the list came from and why it exists have been lost in the annals of Facebook's copy and paste history. The reason I bring it up is because it happens to be a good list of very good books, and I, for one, am always on the hunt for the next good book. Not that this list is exhaustive, obviously, but it's a good place to start. I've bolded the ones that I've already read, in case you were curious, or just looking for a reason to have me guest-speak at your next book club.

Without further ado, "The List":

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (read and reread...a favorite!)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (read in 8th grade)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (read starting in 2002)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (read in 6th grade)
6 The Bible (partially)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (read in 2009)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (partially...I've read all the comedies)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (first read in 7th grade...reread over and over since then)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (loooooved it!)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (read in 1995)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (tried it once...I couldn't keep all the characters straight)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (read in 2009)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (read in 1996)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (can't remember...might be worth a reread)

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma-Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein
38 Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (10/11/09)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (on my library list)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (read in the 7th grade)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (a favorite)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (read in 1998)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (reading it now)

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (read in 1996)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (read on 10/1/09)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (partially)
76 The Inferno – Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray

80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

For most of these, I can thank my English classes for assigning, but there are others that I managed to discover on my own. Some I loved (Austin, Tolkien) and some were decidedly less cherished (cough-Steinbeck-cough), but I wouldn't argue that each one isn't special in its own right. Feel free to comment about the ones you've read, or would like to read, or additional books that you would add to the list. You can never have too many books.

***Edited to add: I've continued to bold these as I read them. So at the time of the post, I had 25 read, but I've finished some others, so I've come back to bold them also.

The Poo-pooed Plans of Mice and Men

A friend of mine emailed me today that she was pregnant with her second child. I wrote her back, sending my congratulations, and as I was hitting the send button, I saw one of those ads that Gmail puts along the right side of the screen. You know the ones I'm talking about- where Google has picked some word out of your email and has bombarded you with ads that it thinks will appeal to you based on that word. Being that the word Google had latched onto was "baby", the entire right side of my screen was filled with baby-related websites. Normally, I am really good at ignoring these things, but one in particular happened to catch my eye. It was the "Are you ready for a baby?" quiz. And I thought, what the hey, I'm bored and I have a minute...I'll take it. (Not that this means anything! I repeat! Baby quiz means NOTHING! Read that again...especially you, Mother. I just like quizzes! IT MEANS NOTHING!)

Anyway, this particular baby-readiness quiz peppered me with such insightful parenting questions like, "Do you find that you have often forgotten something (purse, groceries, etc) in the hot car?" and "How do you feel after a night with no sleep?". (If you answered "often" to the first question, then even I, baby-dunce that I am, can tell you that you don't need to be in charge of the safety of a minor, and anyone who answers anything other than "Cranky as hell" to the second is a flat-out liar liar pants on fire, and probably shouldn't be watching over anyone who is morally susceptible anyway).

Regardless, I finished the quiz, and 15 unimaginative questions later, the results were...inconclusive. My baby-competency meter was lukewarm at best. The gist was, "Well, we don't think that you'd kill your offspring on purpose, but maybe you might want to remain child-free just in case. Either way, don't sue us if you screw it up".

I think the answers that hurt me were the ones where I admitted to being unemployed, and having an aversion to baby poop. (Seriously, does anyone claim that they like baby poop? It's another person's fecal matter for crying out loud! You put up with it, sure, but to claim to like it? That's a cry for serious therapy, my friend). And while I can understand where unemployment might make the baby quiz people nervous, that completely rules out all those stay at home moms, and they never once asked about my fail safe: Tony.

I have often thought that a good partner overcomes your weaknesses with his strengths, and vice versa. And in the event that we were to suddenly find ourselves in a family way (Heaven help us), I would be totally secure in the knowledge that Tony's maternal instinct far outweighs my own. For one, he actually has an income that can take care of our needs, and two, the man has an incredible tolerance for poop. (I mean, he used to be a zookeeper...he spent all day scooping animal poop. And even now he comes home and empties out litter boxes morning and night without complaint. Obviously, of the two of us, he has a much better relationship with, erm, waste product). So I was not worried.

At least, not until I happened to mention the quiz and the results to him in passing.

"You're going to have to learn to handle poop", he said.
"Really? I thought we could, you know, divide and conquer. I'll be in charge of input, and you handle output", I wheedled.
"No", he said.
"But we can play to our strengths! I'll teach the kid to read and do all the late night last-minute science fair projects, and you take care of diaper duty".
"But you're okay with poop! You did poop at the zoo! You do the litter boxes! What's a baby but another little defecating animal?"
He shook his head. I panicked.
"Okay", I said, "How about this? I'll take care of all the wet diapers, and you just handle the solids. That's only, what, once or twice a day?"
He sighed.
"And", I pressed, "they're only in diapers for what, two or three years? At two poops a day for let's say two years, we're only looking at, um, carry the one...1460 poopie diapers! I'll bet we can foist at least half of those off on the grandparents, and if we employ daycare for when we're at're only looking at an average of 350 diapers total! That's a steal when you compare it to 12 years of Popsicle-stick dioramas and 3am Playdoh solar systems!"
He looked at me. I looked at him.
"We are soooo not ready for a baby", he stated. End of discussion.

I was shocked. Here I was, secure in the fact that I had found a natural nurturer that could counterbalance any emotional and/or physical damage that I could possibly inflict on my future unsuspecting young, (thus saving them years of therapy), and he was balking at what I considered to be one of his no-brainer strengths. Poop tolerance is a rare gift in my book. I'm lucky to have found someone who possessed it in abundance! (Tony is my child-bearing loophole). Still, it seems that the baby-quiz people might be onto something here. If left to my own devices, my kid would survive, but neither of us might be very happy.

Perhaps instead, I should just start trying to leave my purse in the hot car more often.

Road Trip!

So Mom and I are officially back from our Mother-Daughter pilgrimage to Chicago to see the Other Daughter, which, if you're following the family tree, is also known as the Seester. We drove up on Thursday and came back on Monday.

And in between, had crazy amounts of fun.

(You know how people get back from a trip and recount absolutely Every. Single. Thing. they did in excruciating, mind-numbing detail, and with pictures to boot? Yeah, that's about to happen here. So sit back and relax, because we're going to do the official trip recap. BYO Popcorn, ya'll).

Commence with the flashback waves.

We pulled out of K-town around 3:30 Eastern, all ready for our cross-country (well, north and south anyway) adventure. Mom and I have radically different tastes in music, (she likes country; I like just about everything but country), so we each decided to contribute 3 CDs to the 6 CD changer in the car. I burned my own, packing each precious disc with 80 minutes of enlightened mp3 goodness, spanning genres and decades with the best music had to offer. Mom chose 3 discs of some fellow named Kenny Chesney. I tried to convince her to at least mix it up with some other artists, but she likes Kenny's blue eyes the best, so half the trip consisted of a rolling shrine to Kenny. (Dear Mr. Chesney...I had no idea who you even were before this trip, but I can now grudgingly identify approximately 75% of your songs. This is not something that I am proud of). Other than the battle of the bands, (where we mostly agreed just to disagree) the trip up was none to bad. Traffic was good, weather was nice, and a Cracker Barrel somewhere in Indiana gave us a good excuse to stretch our legs and fill our bellies. We hit Chi-town just before midnight.
The Seester lives in that building riiiiiiight (pointing) there.

The day started with breakfast at our favorite breakfast eatery, Yolk, where I had the delicious Banana Nut French Toast. (I tell you, Heaven is paved with that stuff). Then it was a quick jaunt over to Play It Again Sports, where Tony had his brother Adam buy him a goalie chest protector a week ago, only it was the wrong size, so Tony sent it up with me to see if I could exchange it. (I couldn't...does anyone need a youth large goalie chest protector?) Then it was over to Midway to drop the car off in economy parking, and back to the apartment to get ready for "cocktail hour". (A note about the Seester...she loves to dress up all fancy-like and go to places for overpriced sophisticated cocktails). And in no time at all, she had me trussed up in one of her jaw-dropping outfits like Urban Class Barbie, and off we went to a place called Violet Hour for drinks and appetizers. (I must admit, I did look halfway decent if I do say so myself. I'll give the Seester this much...she has excellent taste in clothes).

All dolled up at the Violet Hour

Finally, it was over to Shaw's Crab House, where we had (you guessed it!) some most awesome crab legs. (In addition to Banana Nut French Toast, Heaven will also have Alaskan King Crab just running around, marinating themselves in drawn butter and begging to be eaten).

Steph's buddy Zack and hubby Patto

Saturday dawned with yet another trip to Yolk, (seriously people, you have to try it next time you're in Chicago), and every intention of hitting the architectural boat tour. Alas, the tour was sold out for the day, so we pre-purchased tickets for Sunday and instead meandered down to Navy Pier. (I love Navy always has so much to see and do. And more than its fair share of people to watch). We came, we saw, I drug everyone down to the very end of the pier on a quest for the Elusive Grape Slushie...a good time was had by all. Of course, after that we were kinda hungry, so once again it was back to the apartment to regroup and order authentic Chicago pizza for a nice night in. Steph's friend Zack joined us, and general hilarity ensued when we tried to teach him how to play Spoons. (Be warned, he cheats).

A shot of the famous Navy Pier

The Seester on her Segway
Sunday turned out to be our busiest "tourist" day, beginning with a Segway Tour. (The Seester's hubby Patto was a little nonplussed about the dork-factor of a group of us zooming around the city on Segways, but even he was totally having a blast by the end of it). The machines are instinctively easy to use...if you can stand, you can ride a Segway. I highly, HIGHLY recommend it, even if it does involve wearing bright orange helmets.

After the Segways, we ran right over to do the Architectural Boat Tour up and down the river. Our guide spent a lot of time waxing poetic about the joys of Post-Modernism as she pointed out each of the buildings, but it managed to be fun and educational at the same time. We finished out the evening with roughly 900 lbs of Chinese food back at the apartment. (There will be major gym penance for all of this food we've eaten). At this point, our gracious hosts said their goodnights since they had to work the next day, and everyone bid their adieus.

Mom and Yours Truly on our Segways

Picture from the boat tour. Look at all that Modernism!

Monday really just consisted of Mom and me just lounging around the quiet apartment for the first half of the day, slowly packing bags and eating more leftover Chinese. Patto burned some Tim McGraw Greatest Hits CDs for Mom from itunes, so at least for the ride home, Kenny was out and Tim was in. (I kept my original selections and thus my sanity). Mom has the ability to read in the car without getting sick, and I have the ability to drive and not fall asleep, so we just stuck to our strengths. We were back on the road just by 4:30, but we hit some traffic and construction zones, so we didn't get back in until about 1:45am. All in all, not a bad road trip at all. I even told Mom that we should consider making it an annual thing.

Swim Star the latest installment of self-improvement, I have decided that I am going to learn to swim.

Well, maybe.

I'm going to try anyway.

And yes, I realize that it is a little odd that I have managed to make it 29 years without really knowing how to swim, but it's true. Oh, I'm pretty sure that at some point along the way, someone somewhere tried to teach me, but apparently the very first lesson one must master in learning to swim is the whole sticking your face in the water thing, and I do not do that at all thankyouverymuch. I believe my unrelenting response to that was, "Yeah...I don't think so" and if they persisted, "You're going to want to take about three steps back or that whistle is going where the sun don't shine".

(Needless to say, my enrollment in the 5 year old "tadpoles" swim class was short-lived).

It's not that I'm scared of drowning or anything. It's just that I can't seem to master blowing air out of my nose while under water. (Here's the problem with my nose. No matter how much air I blow out, water still races upwards and immediately makes itself at home in my sinuses for the next three days. And that hurts. I know, I know, it's physically impossible for water to go up my nose if I'm busy blowing air out, blah, blah, blah-it happens anyway. Don't ask me why. My best guess is that I have an invisible third nostril somewhere that I don't know about. I wouldn't put it past me).

Anyway, up until now, I have been a world class dog-paddler, but the whole sticking my face in the water and actually swimming thing? Not so much. And I was absolutely fine with that, until something happened that changed my (non-) swimming life forever.

The first thing was that I noticed that whenever I happened to pass the pool at the gym, all those people busily splashing back and forth, back and forth, in their little bobber-lined lanes looked ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS. They were thin, they were strong, and they had toned legs and shoulders that I was like, "where do I sign up for those?". Even the 90 year old guy had better looking legs and shoulders than me! (The rest of him was just a wrinkly bag of bones, so you can't tell me that it was genetic). And I was like, all these people are in the pool all the time. Coincidence? I sure hope so, because I'm still not sticking my face in the water.

The second thing that happened was that after all those beautiful people with their fancy swimming rubbed their perfect shoulders and legs in my face for a little while, I decided that maybe it wouldn't be so bad if I just brought a kickboard and kicked my way up and down the lanes a little bit. So I did. And it turns out that that's kinda fun. (Of course, I wasn't fooling anybody into thinking that I was one of the serious swimmers, but I did make a big deal of moving my shoulder around and grimacing a lot so they'd all think that I was doing physical therapy and not laugh me out of the pool). And that was cool too.

The third thing that happened was that one day, while I was busily kicking along on my little kickboard and muttering things like "stupid rotator cuff" whenever anybody got close, I happened to glance over at the woman in the lane next to me. At first, I thought that she was just readjusting her goggles, but right as I looked up, I saw her pull something off of her nose. And I was like, "Excuse me! What the heck was that that you just pulled off of your face just now?", and she (after looking really surprised that the weird muttering kickboard girl had just lunged over the bobber-line and invaded her lane) was like, "Oh this? It's my nose plug to keep water out of my sinuses". And I was like, "Reeeeeeeeally".

And then a little nose-plugged shaped light bulb went off over my head. Because ya'll, while technically I knew that such a thing existed, it wasn't something that I spent much time contemplating. And even if I did spend my time sitting around musing over such things, this nose plug was a lot more sophisticated than I would have expected. This one, first of all, was completely clear, so had it not been for the fact that she stood up out of the water and messed with it, I would have never ever guessed that it was there. Second, they don't have those dorky little neck straps on them anymore. She actually clipped hers to the side of her goggles when it wasn't on her nose. And third, she was able to swim like an actual real live honest to goodness swimmer without GETTING WATER UP HER NOSE!

I'll be honest with you; it was a watershed moment for me. And I was like, if I had a fancy new-fangled nose pluggy thing, then I too could do super-duper swim moves that would make Michael Phelps green with envy. (And who doesn't want that?)

So off I ran to Wal-mart to pick up some pretty blue goggles and a matching new nose plug. And I have coerced the seester into trying to teach me some official moves. (She used to be on the high school swim team and learned all about all that kicking and moving your arms and stuff, whereas I, well, never did). I figure that in a couple of weeks, I'll be swimming like a fish and giving old wrinkly bag of bones guy a real run for his money.

Eat your heart out, Michael Phelps.

Still Wishing it Was Mario in the Attic

There's been some excitement in the House of Quirk lately. The other night, just as Tony and I were settling in to bed for the evening, (well, Tony was settling in...I was preparing to marathon my way through the eight episodes of Storm Chasers residing on the DVR), we heard the unmistakable clomping sound from what was either an authentic Dutch Clogging Festival or a tryout for America's Top Dance Crew coming from above our heads. Tony's eyes lit up. Ever since our exciting adventures with Trapper Dan vs the Raccoon That Came To Live in Our Attic, I think he's been secretly hoping that another will come stay with us. (A raccoon, I mean, not Trapper Dan...he still owes me for the flower pot he broke). So while I stood in the hall and prayed that it was just Mario Lopez up there, scouting for talent behind our Christmas decorations, Tony took a flashlight and crawled into the attic to see what all the fuss was about.

A few minutes after Tony's top half disappeared into the attic and his bottom half stayed rooted to the ladder in the hallway, a disembodied voice floated down to me. "Ah. Yep. Yep. There he is. I see him. We officially have another raccoon!" My response was, "Oh crap". Tony's response was "Oh cool!"

See, you have to understand something about Tony. He was a zookeeper. He still is at heart. All animals great and small, my dear Tony loves them all. Whereas I'm like, "Oh joy. Another giant rabid rodent.", I think the world seen through Tony-vision consists of cuddly, big-eyed animals that resemble those found in the animated movie Bambie. Raccoons are no exception.

"I'll go get a trap", I sighed. Don't get me wrong. I like animals. I just think that they should live out there. In nature. Away from me. It's for my own good. Luckily, Tony agrees with me, only he thinks that animals should live out there, in nature, for their own good. He has the raccoon's best interest at heart. I'm thinking of how bad raccoon poop will make our boxes of out-of-season clothes smell.

So we start trapping. It turns out that you can buy those Haveahart live animal traps at Home Depot, so we picked one up and stuck it in the attic to see who was smarter, man or beast. "Man" tried sweetening the deal with dry cat food, then wet cat food, then two ears of corn that I specifically purchased for my own dinner. "Beast" was having none of it. "Woman's" role in all this was to climb up on the roof and repair the spot where "beast" was getting in once beast was caught. (Until that time, "Woman" spent most of her time getting back to her interrupted Storm Chasers documentaries).

Days go by. Tony has taken to climbing into the attic and checking the trap four or five times a day, which I'm sure makes the raccoon wonder what kind of nosy neighbors he's inadvertently settled in with. Then, one day while I'm walking down the hall, completely nonplussed with the sight of Tony's legs dangling from the hole in the ceiling, I hear him say, "Uh-oh".

"What?", I yell up to him.
"Babies", he yells back.
"WHAT?!?", I yell louder.

Apparently, our attic invader is a Momma Raccoon, and she has just dropped at least one baby raccoon into the comfy nest of insulation that she's managed to pull together. I said, "Oh double-crap-crap-crappity-crap!" Tony said, "Awwww, isn't he cute?"

(Just as a note, apparently baby raccoons are little hairless brown blobs. They look a lot like bald moles if you ask me. I'm sure that once the fur grows in, they become more cuddly and raccoon-like, but at the moment, cute was not the word that immediately sprang to mind for me.)

We debated the pros and cons of getting an official licensed trapper, and if we should call East Tennessee Wildlife Services, who apparently adopt orphaned raccoon babies, and researched how old a baby raccoon needed to be in order to survive on his own, outside an attic. Tony, whose maternal instinct puts mine to shame, was beside himself.

I wish I could tell you that this story has a happy ending and that the baby raccoon grew up and became Tony's constant companion, riding around on his shoulder and answering to the name "Chippy", but sadly, it was not to be. The mother raccoon, shortly after dumping Junior, took off for greener pastures and/or less populated attics and was never to be seen again. Alas, Junior was not long for this world without her. Tony was crushed.

It probably would have been easier if I had gone up to get Junior's remains since I didn't have the emotional zookeeper to ugly rodent bond that apparently Tony had, but he wouldn't hear of it. He thought that having to deal with a dead baby animal anything would make me sad, so he took care of it himself. That's just the kind of guy he is. Big-hearted to all creatures, even me. I suppose the good news in all of this is that the mother, who is required by law to be euthanized if caught, made it away safe and sound, and is still free to break into someone else's attic whenever she chooses. Plus, I was able to get up on the roof and fix the spot where she got in in the first place, so hopefully our quota of attic squatters has been officially capped.

I hope the Momma Raccoon sticks around for Tony's sake. Sometimes, when I'm sitting out on the porch at night, I'll see them running through the trees in the backyard. It'd be nice to show Tony that even though we couldn't save the baby, the momma is still out there, climbing trees, dumping the food out of my bird feeders, and generally doing whatever it is that raccoons do.

Just as long as she isn't doing it in my attic, I think we'll all be happy.

Surprise Package

I ordered a car charger for my PDA a few days ago, and I've been waiting for it to arrive.

Yesterday, a note showed up in my mailbox, telling me that my package was at the local post office and I needed to pick it up. And I jumped up and down and cheered and did a happy dance in honor of my spiffy new charger. So then this morning, all excited, I went to go get my package.

And I get there, and I show them my little pick up slip, and they bring out a box.

A very big box.

And not very light either.

And I think to myself, "Self, this does not look like the box containing a teeny little car charger." But it has my name on it, so I open it up.

And guess what I find.
Hockey pads! And not only hockey pads, but goalie hockey pads (the monster truck-sized version of hockey pads), purchased off of the Internet with my ebay account.

And since only one other person knows my ebay account password (because he refuses to use his own), and lives in my house, and has been known to buy goalie equipment online, I have a pretty good idea who these new monster pads and gloves and I-don't-even-know-what-that-other-thing-is belong to.

So. Number of cute little PDA car chargers that arrived today: 0. Number of giant boxes full of stinky, bulky goalie gear:1. On the up side, number of happy Tonys: 1. Although number of times I looked around the house and said, "You know what we need around here? More clunky hockey pads": 0.

I just hope this massive box of hockey pads didn't scare off my little car charger.

The Deliciousness that is Tomato Pie

I don't normally post that many recipes on here because, let's face it, me telling people how to cook would be like the Pope trying to tell people how to be a porn star. It's just wrong on so so so many levels. BUT. I, (unlike the Pope) am going to make an exception here today because OH MY GOODNESS, I have come across the best (read:easiest) recipe for tomato pie, and because I am a wonderful, selfless person, I am going to share it with you (no Vatican hijinks required).

It all started with my lovely little tomato garden, which has been working away, producing the prettiest tomatoes that you've ever seen. (I get a huge kick out of meandering through the garden each day, picking cucumbers and tomatoes and blackberries straight off the vines like it's my own personal farmer's market). The only problem is that we're now officially at the point in the summer where I'm picking more tomatoes than I can eat in any one sitting. I needed some way to be able to use them in a dish...preferably one that used lots and lots of them.

Enter, the tomato pie.

Now, to be completely fair, this is not my recipe. I totally stole it off of Let's Eat. But since I needed to unload some tomatoes fast, and she just happened to have a recipe calling for six of them, I figured I'd give it a go. And oh my goodness, the deliciousness that ensued!

Below is the recipe straight from Let's Eat, with my own little helpful hints in italics:

Tomato Pie (which I'm not really sure does justice to this dish. I mean, when I think pie, I think sweet, and the idea of sweet plus tomatoes is kinda eh. So don't let the name throw you. Call it Super-delicious-tomato-dish if it helps).

6 tomatoes (me again. Let's Eat doesn't comment on the size of the tomatoes that she used, so six may be a bit confusing. Personally, I used 1 beefsteak, 2 good-sized better boys, and a handful of cherry tomatoes. I say just slice 'em up until you have enough to fill the pie crust.)
Kosher salt
Pepper (optional) (I dashed some in, in case you were curious)
1 (9-inch) pie crust (By the way, she means the frozen kind here, like you'd use with an apple pie or something. Don't make the mistake I did and think that she means graham cracker. Fair warning).
8 bacon slices, chopped and cooked (I used turkey bacon because I'm trying to get my arteries to see my next birthday)
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (I didn't have any fresh, but my little container of dried basil worked just fine...and if you use the dried stuff, better knock it down to 1/8 cup- unless you really really like basil)
1/2 to 3/4 cup mayonnaise (again, I used fat free because, hello, the arteries?)
1 1/2 cups fancy shredded Italian cheese blend (I didn't have any fancy Italian blend on hand, so I did fancy shredded fat-free Cheddar and mozzarella blend...1 cup mozzarella and 1/2 cup cheddar, because that's what was in the fridge. It worked just fine).

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut tomatoes into slices, and place slices on paper towels. Sprinkle tomatoes with kosher salt and, if desired, pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes; then flip the tomatoes, and sprinkle with a little more salt. Let stand 15 more minutes. (Best to do this while surfing the 'net or something, because 30 minutes of watching the tomatoes dry out gets boring really fast)

2. Meanwhile, place pie crust in pie plate; crimp edge of crust. Prick holes in crust with a fork; bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (Cook your bacon now too. Eat half the bacon while waiting for the crust to finish. Cook more bacon. Swat Tony's hand when he comes downstairs and goes, "Oooooh! Bacon!)

3. Layer half of tomato slices in prepared crust. Sprinkle with half of bacon and basil. Layer remaining half of tomatoes; sprinkle with remaining bacon. (Easy enough).

4. Combine mayonnaise, shredded cheese, and remaining basil in a small bowl. Spread mixture over top of tomatoes. (Next time, I'm going to go a little easier on the mayo so that it doesn't overpower the cheese/tomato combo. A little dab'll do ya' here).

5. Bake for 25 minutes. (It kinda resembles a deep-dish pizza when it comes out, only with whole tomatoes instead of sauce. But the taste! The taste is just fabulous! Soooo good!)

So that's it. It reminds me a lot of a BLT only without the L. Or like tomato and mozzarella appetizers, only with bacon. (And as we all know, bacon can make anything better!) It's a little hard to get the pieces out of the pie plate (note to self: might want to use smaller tomato slices next time), but it doesn't really matter because you'll end up licking the pie plate clean anyway. Combine it with a salad starter and you have a yummy dinner that makes eating your veggies oh so good.

You're welcome.


It sounds strange to say it, but night is my favorite time of day.

I had some errands to run today, and since tonight is Tony's regular poker night with the boys, I figured that 10:00 pm was a good a time as any to be out running around. Now I know that some people, women especially, don't like to be out after dark. The shadows make them nervous. But I love the night.

I like to put the top down on the convertible, and I take the dark winding back roads as much as possible to avoid the streetlights. I love the way the air smells...sweeter, and somehow cleaner than it does in the day. You can pick out the faint scent of night-blooming flowers that are all but overpowered during the day. I love the way the wind feels cooler and heavier against my skin as it rushes by the open car. I love the sounds of the crickets and cicadas singing their night songs, and the way the fireflies flash randomly in the tall grasses as I pass. I love the emptiness of the streets, when all the busy people who spend their days running from one place to the next are tucked away inside their homes, drifting off to sleep by the ambient light of the TV. I love the moon, pale and ghostly in the sky, making all things subtly glow silver in its light. (Sometimes I think that I would like to be the moon, content to just observe without intruding, lazily watching the silent stories of all things below). I love the way the stars wink at me as if they know some amusing antidote that they cannot wait to share. I love the way the darkness is a tangible thing and I can become submerged in it, like wrapping myself in a cloak or slipping into the water of a dark pool. I love the shadows, and the way they stretch on infinitely into the blackness. I love the stillness, the calmness, when I can release this breath that it feels like I've been holding all day and then

The night is a living, breathing thing for me, and I welcome its companionship. There is a kind of quiet energy here, and being out in it makes me feel soothed and alive at the same time. Why do we lock ourselves in our stuffy, artificially-lit homes where we hide and wait for the dawn to come? This is the best time. This, right now, is when the magic happens. This is nightfall, the eventide, the witching hour. And I, in truth, am a creature of the night.

"It often seems to me that the night is much more alive and richly colored than the day,"
- van Gogh, in a letter to his brother Theo in 1888

Daylight, or The Use of Music In Advertising

One of the latest advertising trends that I actually appreciate is the use of emerging artists in commercials. It's win-win, both for new artists (or some not so new in the cast of BEP and Target) and for me, because I get exposed to new songs that I wouldn't normally find by myself.

Case in point: I found Shiny Toy Guns from a Lincoln car commercial, Sleepy Rebels from the JC Penny spots, and most recently, Daylight by Matt and Kim on that Bacardi commercial.

(If anybody else regularly reads Slate, you'll know that Seth Stevenson totally disagrees with me. He thinks that well-known artists, such as the Black Eyed Peas, are selling out artistic integrity for corporate advertising greed by allowing their songs to be associated with products in commercials. I say well-known or not, TV advertising works for every artist who wants to get a song out there. I don't club-hop, and my radio listening is almost non-existent, so if you want me and my i-tune downloading ability, you better get me either on the TV or the Internet. Besides, as Rob Levine said at this year's Clio Awards, selling out is pretty much a dead concept).

(Plus, I really get a kick out of how well they blend in to the background on those Target commercials.)

But back to my point. Because of an evil money-grubbing ad exec for Bacardi, I am totally hooked on Daylight now. Totally. and completely. Hooked. I know it actually came out last September and I'm late to the party, but I luvvvvv it anyway. (My favorite part is the very first two lines- "We cut the legs off of our pants, Threw our shoes into the oceans". I'm seriously considering that phrase as my new outlook on life. All I need now is an ocean.) And I suppose that it's possible that I would have eventually found them without the Bacardi commercial, but if I'm going to sit through commercials at all, it might as well be to a song that catches my attention.

By the way, if you have no idea what I'm talking about, check out the song and tell me if you don't automatically feel like dancing around the room. Even better, Matt and Kim are sponsored by Mountain Dew's Green Label (more selling out, or just taking advantage of an opportunity?), and they are giving the song (plus two remix versions) away for free download on their website.

Who says you can't get anything good from commercials?

Disposal Diaries

Oh ya'll, this is going to sound totally vain and egotistical, but I need to share it with someone anyway, so just bear with me.

I am, as the kids are saying now, "da man". *

Either that or I'm a total doofus for not seeing something really obvious and simple about a month ago.

But I'm choosing to go with "da man".

See, a few weeks ago, Tony went to put something down the garbage disposal, and it didn't work. Not like, "Oh help, the blades are stuck" kind of not working, but the "Not even making a peep" kind of not working. It was, in professional plumber-speak, dead.

And of course, Tony immediately turns around, puts his hand on his hips and bellows, "Goose! What did you do to the garbage disposal?!?" And before you get all morally outraged on my behalf that he immediately blamed me for killing the disposal when in truth it could have been anyone, just let me say that statistically, I'm probably a safe bet. (See, I belong to the view that kitchen appliances will do what they're supposed to do. We do not need to coddle them. If they're going to stay in my house, they're going to have to pull their weight.** So I do not pre-rinse before stuff goes into the dishwasher, and I figure that the garbage disposal will dispose of anything that I throw at it. Egg shells? Cucumbers? Entire rack of lamb? Stuff that baby down, I say! Tony, however, is totally suckered by these appliances. He not only pre-rinses, he just flat out washes the dishes completely before they go into the dishwasher, and he pre-chops everything to paper-thin consistency before he even considers easing it gently down the drain. So chances are good that if the disposal quit, it did it out of offence at my abuse). Still, that didn't stop me from being all morally outraged anyway and yelling back, "What makes you think that I did it?" And he answered by sticking his hand down the disposal (ew! Ew! EWWWW!), pulling out some watermelon rinds that I had tossed in there earlier, and then giving me that one raised eyebrow look that says, "And you were saying?"

Don't you hate it when men are right?

And yes, okay, I'll cop to the watermelon rinds, because I still maintain that they should have been no problem for something called an Insinkerator, (which just sounds like it can handle anything, doesn't it?) but I'm not conceding that they were what actually broke the disposal.
(Alas, even after the watermelon rinds were removed, the disposal still sat there, giving us the silent treatment. And it looked like this was going to be the end of our disposaling days).

Fast forward a few weeks, with Tony occasionally mentioning that we need to get a new disposal and me not doing anything about it. Until today, when I finally got around to comparing disposal prices and installation plans and blah, blah, blah. And by the way, if you haven't looked at installation prices for replacing a garbage disposal? It's more than the actual disposal itself! For what the Lowes guys told me would be about half an hour's worth of work, tops! And that's about the time that my miser-meter kicked in and I said something like, "I have no idea how the plumbing and electrical go for installing a garbage disposal, but I refuse to pay ransom rates for some bald guy with a plumber's crack to climb under my kitchen sink for 20 minutes when I can very well figure out how to do that myself"***

So under the sink I went, and started examining the current disposal so I could remember what hose went where when I brought the new one home. And you know what I noticed? (Ya'll are going to think I'm really stupid here for not doing this earlier). I noticed that there was a little button on the bottom of my garbage disposal that looked a whole lot like the little button that I had seen while studying these installation instructions online. The one on the online instructions was called a "reset button". And apparently, you're supposed to push this reset button after removing, say, watermelon rinds. And I thought, "what the hey, it couldn't break it any more than it is now", so I pushed it. (Have you guessed what happened yet?) It worked! Who knew that following instructions on how to use your garbage disposal would actually allow you to use your garbage disposal? I know, I'm amazed too. Not to mention happy that I don't have to spend over $200 for a new disposal and Bubba to come out and install it.

Now, don't tell Tony that all I did was hit the reset button, because when he gets home, I plan on making a huge production about how I spent hours working to fix the current disposal. I'm scattering my biggest wrenches around the kitchen floor so it looks like I did a major overhaul on the whole thing. It's the only way to redeem myself for breaking it in the first place. Plus it gives him a reason to keep me around, because after all this tinkering with the disposal, I'm suddenly in the mood for some watermelon.

Three guesses where the rinds are going.

* Are kids still saying that these days? I'm not really sure, seeing how I am so far removed from what the cool kids are saying that we're in different solar systems. In my day, we said "da bomb" or "bomb-diggity" or something like that. So if "da man" is out, please substitute "da bomb" or whatever wording will not make me seem like a complete and total loser.
** Ironic coming from me, huh?
*** Well, minus the baldness and plumber's crack, anyway.

American as the Plants in My Backyard

It's been a really nice day today. The kind of nice where the sun is shining and the sky is blue, and the air is just the perfect temperature for summer, but without all the humidity. So nice in fact that I spent a lot of the day lounging around in the hammock and enjoying the flowers that are blooming around the back yard.

And as I was sitting there, swinging in my hammock and enjoying my pretty flowers, I was like, You know what? I have some very patriotic flowers here. These flowers would be the perfect way to celebrate the Fourth of July. And really, what says God Bless America more than me spending too much money at my my local garden center?


First off, representing the blue in the old Red, white, and blue are my hydrangeas. I have an entire corner of the yard dedicated to hydrangeas because they are some of my favorite flowers. Every few days, I safari my way into the middle of them to find blooms that are hidden either at the bottom of the bush, or in the back by the house. These get snipped off and put in vases around my kitchen. That way I have their pretty color inside and out.

I feed them their acid fertilizer every week so that I can get deep blue flowers, but I have one plant that continues to strive for pink, even with the acid. Here it is below. It actually reminds me of those bags of cotton candy that vendors walk around with at sporting events. You know the ones that are half pink, half blue? This is my cotton candy hydrangea bush. It's not exactly stars and stripes forever, but if you think about it, Cotton candy could be very Fourth of Julyish, don't you think?

The white is represented best by my Rose of Sharon, which is currently busting with white flowers. This is only my second year with this bush, but it's doing very well here, so I think it'll be another banner year for it. I thought it might be cute to see if I had 50 white blossoms to represent the 50 stars, but somewhere around number 19, I was assaulted distracted by a bee and forgot which flower I was on. So just pretend that I have 50 of these blooms all over my bush.

The red is a little harder because 99% of my yard is landscaped in blues and purples and whites, and having a red in the middle of all that would definitely disrupt my color palate. But I do have some really really fuscia gladiolas, and they're kinda, almost, maybe-if-you-turn-your-head-sideways-and-squint red, right?

Not buying the gladiolas? Okay, okay, I understand. How about this bad boy then? I know he's not quite red yet, but he will be in another few days. (He had a lovely brother tomato that was a really beautiful red that I could have taken a picture of, but he became a really delicious tomato sandwich two days ago, so you'll just have to imagine this one instead). This little fella is one of my beefsteak tomatoes, and you can't tell it from the photo, but he's almost the size of a softball. I have beefsteaks, German Queens, Better Boys, and cherry tomatoes, and I find that between the four of them, they cover just about all of my tomato needs. Plus, you know what else is a Fourth of July staple? Hamburgers. And what goes great on a hamburger? A big ol' slice of beefsteak tomato. See? It all works.
So that's my patriotic garden. Showing my Fourth of July pride surrounded by fuscia red, white and blue. The Rose of Sharon hangs out next to my grill, the hydrangeas are in a vase sitting on the counter next to the macaroni salad, and the tomato will be taking a very active role as topping on my Fourth of July hamburger.
Those are definitely colors I can stand behind.

Smooth Criminals

So I had an interesting thing happen to me today.

In my never-ending quest to procure employment that actually, you know, pays me, I was filling out an application online. (I'm not telling you where, just in case you're better qualified than I am. Finders keepers and early birds and all that. Nothing personal).

Anyway, the extremely thorough and/or possibly wee bit distrustful company has a little note in the education section that says, "Oh by the way, we're very thorough and a bit distrustful of all you people claiming to have degrees and everything, so please send us your transcripts". And since I kind of miss having a company-matched 401k, I was all like, "Absolutely, you delightfully paranoid company, you!"

And off I went to get my college transcript.

The good thing about living in a college town where you also happened to go to college is that you can just pop right into the registrars office instead of having to wait for them to mail it to you. So I did. I skipped right up to the counter (God bless summer when all the students are gone and the registrar is actually feeling helpful) and proclaimed that I was here for my transcript. And the very nice woman at the counter went clickity-clickity-clickity on her keyboard, and everything was just going along fine.

And then she said, "Hmmmm".

(And if the registrar saying "Hmmmm" while trying to pull up your transcripts doesn't immediately set off warning bells, I don't know what does.)

And I was all very innocently like, "Problem?" Say no, say no, say no.
And she says, "Yes. You have some holds in your account".
And I say, "Holds? Why I declare, I'm sure I have no idea what you could possibly mean"*
And she, (apparently not a Gone with the Wind fan) says, "Well it says here that you have some unpaid parking tickets. One from 2007 and one from 2008. And I can't release your transcript until you pay them".
At which point I threw myself onto the front counter and wailed "It wasn't me, I tell ya! I'm being framed, see? I'm inno-wait. Did you say from 2007 and 2008? That really wasn't me then. I wasn't even here those years."

And I looked at her, and she looked at me, and apparently I've officially lost my ability to pass for the college-aged subset, because I think she actually believed me. So she dials parking authority and hands me the phone, and I start over with them about how I'm not the illegal parker that they think I am.

So now I'm on the phone with a fabulous guy from Parking Authority named Jim**, and he's doing his clickity-clickity-clickity thing on his keyboard while I vehemently deny ever even setting eyes on staff lot 25, much less parking in it, and he says, "Looks like the first ticket belongs to a 4 door Chrysler, and the second is a 2 door PT Cruiser convertible". And I say, "Ah-ha Jim! I do not own a car by either of those descriptions! Somebody's been unlawfully parking under my good name, the scoundrels!"

Jim offers to look up who the plate numbers are registered under. It's a sad day indeed when felonious delinquents can get away with ruining the good parking records of innocent citizens (not to mention put holds on their transcripts), and I for one am happy that Jim is hot on the trail of the nefarious parking ne'er-do-wells. I nod at the registrar as if to say, "Today, justice is being done. Truth is on my side".***

Jim comes back on the phone. "I see the problem", he says. "These cars aren't registered under your name, but they are registered to two people who happen to have the same last name as you. Sometimes that kind of thing gets mixed up in the system." I nod. Completely understandable. Unfortunate that I would share a surname with criminal masterminds, but understandable.

"Maybe you know them", Jim says. "Are you familiar with these names?" He reads a pair of names off to me. I am about to tell Jim that I do not associate with scofflaws and hooligans. I am about to tell him that fugitives quake at the very thought of my spotless ethics.

Instead, I tell him that why yes, those are my parents.

Seems to me that Mummy and Daddykins have a little explaining to do.

Jim tells me that because he is such a nice guy,**** he's going to forget the first ticket from 2007. He writes it off as some kind of visitor parking snafu and sweeps it all under the rug. The second one, however, I have to get the 'rents to cop to before he'll remove it from my record.

I call the house. I'm humming "Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha' gonna do?" while the phone rings. Finally, Dad picks up. Ah-ha! Mr. Big himself! I explain the situation (should I be wearing a wire?) about how both he and Mom have apparently been busted for parking willy-nilly all over campus, and how the fuzz is trying to get me to take the fall for it, and how I made a deal for immunity and my transcripts and possibly witness protection if I started naming names.

At first, Dad's playing innocent. "What parking ticket? I don't remember ever getting a parking ticket", he says. Then I tell him how they're willing to forget all about his parking ticket if he'll agree to take the stand against Mom. She's not there to defend herself, but Dad implicates her anyway. Apparently we're a family of snitches.

I call Jim back. "He sang like the Vienna Boys Choir!", I announce. Jim arranges to have the ticket changed over to Ma Barker's name instead of mine so that I can get my transcript out of hock. The registrar is laughing like crazy. "You know", she says, "I've seen a lot of parents' transcripts get held because their kids have parking tickets here, but you're the first one whose ever had a hold because of her parents!" Yes, ma'am. They're like the Bonnie and Clyde of expired parking meters, my parents.

In the end, they let me have my transcript. All I had to do was sell my very own flesh and blood up the river. If we're lucky, they'll let Mom out in a few years on good behavior, providing she keeps her car between the white lines and stays out of the staff lots. Meanwhile, the transcript that started all this trouble will probably end up being moot anyway. Even if they wanted to hire me, the company will never be able to find me under my new witness protection name.

At least we're keeping it all in the (crime) family.

*Because I apparently channel Scarlett O'Hara from time to time.
**Who actually listened and tried to help, which is mind-blowing, because back when I was in school there, Parking Authority embraced the "tow first, ask questions later" philosophy.
***Imagine me standing in front of a waving American flag, with marching bands playing and wind blowing my hair. That, my friends, is the sweet look of justice.
****Seriously, where was Jim back when I did go to school there?