Friday, September 30, 2016

Come on up, lay your hands in mine

Happy Friday, my friends. I'm still riding yesterday's coattails, basking in the glow of a very quick, very awesome photo opp with The Boss.
Bruce Springsteen was at the Free Library of Philadelphia promoting his memoir Born to Run, released earlier this week. I pre-ordered my copy from Amazon and am actually excited to read non-fiction - I know, who am I - so my signed copy is going to my Dad. He couldn't go yesterday and I might not be the huge fan I am today if I didn't grow up on this music. When he called not an hour after I was back at my desk I knew he'd say, "No, you keep the signed copy, that's yours," and SPOILER ALERT, he did. But it's mine and I do what I want and what I want is to give it to him.
I thought about some things I might say to Bruce in the three seconds we interfaced, like how I grew up on his music or how I cried when Clarence died or how his lyrics speak to the blue collar piece of me or how many times I used his catalog as a road trip playlist or how his energy in concert feels like a tangible parting gift he gives to every person in attendance; then I realized if I attempted to say any of those things I'd probably tear up or babble or squawk like a high pitched chicken, so I just smiled and clutched on to him for dear life, which he graciously allowed. He had a strong, calm, humble vibe like after all these years as a legend he was still surprised and grateful that people came out to see him.

Huge thanks to Jimmy for the pre-sale code and shout out to my peeps in line. Standing in the misty annoying rain for over 2.5 hours was worth it for the five second interface. Plus I got to test out my rain jacket for Ireland. Pass, with flying colors.
I never thought I'd meet The Boss, and I'm happy I had the opportunity to. I'll never recover in a good way. There are very few people I fangirl over, and he is at the very top of that list.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: full of estrogen

1. Too vain to open with nails? Too bad! The color is Zoya Aubrey.
2. Sooo...the debates. I would really like to reply to a lot of discussions on this and begin a conversation about systemic misogyny, which I think is the main cause of the absolute hatred for Hillary Clinton but would likely go over like a shit balloon because it's so ingrained in the fabric of our lives that it is very hard for people living in it to recognize..similar to, you guessed it, systemic racism. So I'll just leave this here, which I took from an article on The Telegraph, a UK paper...we are internationally known for this misogyny and mansplaining and manterrupting that's playing out on a global stage. I'd rather we be able to say I'm not internationally known but I'm known to rock a microphone, you know? I'm embarrassed.

3. I'm also a little unnerved that so many citizens don't know how debates work - like, you are asked a question and given time to answer said question and then your opponent is given time for a rebuttal. If you go over either time, you will be interrupted, asked to stop, and then you finish your thought to wrap up. Even Jesus Christ at the podium is not allowed over time. So Donald wasn't treated unfairly. He was asked to abide by rules of civility, which he clearly thinks is unfair. This is Debate 101. We were all taught this in school, and if you need to brush up, the Internet could tell you all about it. Yet people were all let Trump talk and why are they stopping him but didn't stop her and why can't we cheer for him. is important. So is civilized debate.

4. My liberal feminist killjoy heart has been working overtime all week. Especially when I see women in the comment sections disparaging other women for being weak or being pissed that someone pointed out that women are treated differently. Yes, there are a lot of us who are not afraid of smashing the patriarchy...just as there are a lot of us who are not there yet, who still work in stifling environments or live under the boot heel of a man or have been conditioned that women don't do or say this or that. It is really egocentric to only think of something like equality in terms of your personal situation and experiences. Do you think I put up with sexism? Hell no I don't. I'm more likely to put balls in a vise at the first hint of it. But I know others have to and the fight is not over until no one has to. I'm not going to sit back and say I made myself equal so fuck all the rest of y'all. I'm going to be out there banging that drum until you're equal too and until your daughters don't even have to know what the first hint of sexism feels like. Get it together ladies.
5. Where are my Wawa peeps? If you buy water from there, this one is a little more expensive, but when you buy the liter size you can help provide clean water to those in need. Pick some up today when you're picking up your free coffee of any size. Hydrate and caffeinate, my friends.
6. You can also help provide art to kids in Philadelphia by supporting The Clay Studio's Claymobile, which sends a teaching artist and assistant to under-served areas and brings all the materials and supplies necessary to give a ceramic art lesson. This is the type of cause I love. If you do too, click here to donate. No amount is too small.

7. I wonder how many photos I've taken of my dogs in their lifetime? At least 872 this week alone.
8. Sometimes I recall something I haven't made in a while, make it, and think hot damn I should make this more often. That was the case with these spinach mac and cheese muffins that I made and froze on Tuesday night. It also occurs to me that there are a lot of recipes I haven't shared. Summer was a little light around here on the recipe front as it usually is, but they're going to make a comeback this fall.

9. Reminder: you're not obligated to explain yourself to everyone in the world. The people who matter know.

10.  E-card of the week...Usually.

Happy birthday to my cousin Tyler today!

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Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Shit MFD Said: Vol 33

MFD: Steph, I want to get a hamster.
Me: A what?
MFD: A hamster.
Me: No.
MFD: Why not?
Me: One dog shit all over the house today and another cost a little less than a mortgage payment at the vet tonight and you want a hamster?
MFD: Mmm hmm. And a bird.

Me: If I die before you, no funeral. Cremate me, no receiving line, just a nice luncheon. No service. I will provide a soundtrack.
MFD: Will there be fart noises?
Me: What?
MFD: On the soundtrack...will we be eating and it'll just be a bunch of fart noises playing?

While watching COPS
MFD: This looks like a B&E.
Me: Is that breaking and entering for those of us not in law enforcement?
MFD: It is. You might also know it as home invasion. 

Me: Don't ride their ass because you're not where you want to be.
MFD: I'm fine where I am. It's you.
Me: It is. We're off my sunrise schedule.
MFD: Now I know you haven't seen a sunrise yet this summer...
Me: They're all different.
MFD: But they happen every day. We're going to see a WHALE. That never happens. 
Me: It'll be whale of a tale.
MFD: A hurr.

MFD: Steph, would you be able to use The Force?
Me: Where?
MFD: I don't know. Anywhere.
Me: Not right now. Could you?
MFD: I think so. Yes.

Me: I haven't even heard anyone upstairs.
MFD: I know.
Me: Are they not walking around? 
MFD: Maybe they levitate.

MFD: Remember that long eyelash I had last year?
Me: No.
MFD: You don't? You picked it out.
Me: Nope.
MFD: Well, he's back. Or he has a brother.
Me: Say it again?
MFD: He's back. Or he has a brother.
Me: Ah. That's what I thought you said.

We don't typically exchange anniversary cards or gifts, but he chose a hilarious one this year that is straight true (aside from sweetie...that word has never been uttered in our house aside from me saying Sweetie Darling like Pats). 

All read and approved by MFD before they go live...
Shit MFD Said Vol 1Shit MFD Said Vol 2Shit MFD Said Vol 3Shit MFD Said Vol 4
Shit MFD Said Vol 5Shit MFD Said Vol 6Shit MFD Said Vol 7Shit MFD Said Vol 8
Shit MFD Said Vol 9Shit MFD Said Vol 10Shit MFD Said Vol 11, Shit MFD Said Vol 12, Shit MFD Said Vol 13, Shit MFD Said Vol 14, Shit MFD Said Vol 15, Shit MFD Said Vol 16, Shit MFD Said Vol 17, Shit MFD Said Vol 18, Shit MFD Said Vol 19, Shit MFD Said Vol 20, Shit MFD Said Vol 21, Vol 22, Vol 23, Vol 24, Vol 25, Vol 26, Vol 27, Vol 28, Vol 29, Vol 30, Vol 31, Vol 32

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

TWTW - the one with the anniversary

I commuted to work from the shore on Friday, which meant I had the dogs walked and fed and was on the beach reading in time for magic hour.
Dinner at Ike's, homemade lemon meringue ice cream from George's, and a stop in Shriver's for salt water taffy. Their windows are done up for fall, y'all.
Saturday was gray, so it was only me and the birds on the beach at dawn. I took the dogs for a long walk and hung out for a bit relaxing.
We spent 2.5 hours on the Cape May Whale Watcher. We saw a humpback whale right out of the gates and followed it around a little. We also saw some playful dolphins on the way back in. No whale pics, I was holding on for dear life in the 4-6 foot seas and after glimpsing the majestic whale in its natural habitat took refuge at the back of the boat...upper deck, since the lower was full of people puking over the back. The captain was awesome and we both said we'd definitely go out again.
My Dad and Carol were in Cape May with her parents and her brother and Sue, so we stopped to say hi to them. We were going to get a bite then head out to Beach Plum Farm, but Cape May was crowded as hell and I was hangry so we steered towards home.
We had a late lunch at the Tuckahoe Inn with all the other old people there for the early bird special. Great views, good food, and we crossed another thing off my 40 before 40: leave a 100% tip.
We attempted to take a nap, but Gus was being a dick, so we rode our bikes to get massages instead, then settled in on the couch to read and do nothing. It was lovely.

Sunday was our sixth anniversary, so we were up with the birds to see the sun rise on a beautiful day.
Breakfast sandwiches from Sunrise Cafe and some lolling around, followed by some shopping at Blue Eden for lotions and potions and Peace of Wood for original art. I hung the wave photo upstairs at the house here and the quote is going to my office at work. I also commissioned a Buddha quote which I'll pick up in two weeks. They have an awesome vibe. One of the things I love about being down here is consistently supporting small businesses that are our neighbors.
We spent the afternoon in Corson's Inlet, MFD fishing and me reading and minding the assholes. Mae whined relentlessly, Gus was rummaging through my bag for food, and Geege was my best good boy as always. He is the only suitable for public dog.
We dropped them off, cleaned the sheets and towels out of the house from renters, then headed back to the beach for a few more hours. On the beach on a Sunday night at 6 pm is the best life. For you Shit MFD Said fans, he actually brought his own toenail clippers and didn't even ask me if I had any. This is also a good example of something he does that I hate with a passion and makes me want to barf but heyohhh, we're still married. We ate salad at home, then biked the length of the boards and had gelato at Shriver's.
I slept like a rock for over 10 hours and lounged in bed until 9:30 on Monday. It was fucking glorious. Breakfast at Jon & Patty's - I got the PB&J stuffed french toast - and a bike ride rounded out what was left of the morning.
A little work in the house and a little work work on the porch then it was beach time. You could not beat this beach day for it being September 26. We took what will certainly be my last swim of the season. The water was warmer than the air and perfect. What's not perfect at the shore, ever? My hair. Don't care.
Cleaned up, packed up, and rolled out by 6:30 Monday night.

Weekly food prep: breakfast burritos from the freezer for breakfasts, salads with grilled chicken for lunches, baked chicken breasts and roasted sweet potatoes with steamed green veg for dinners.

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September is my favorite month at the shore by far. This weekend proved it a million times over. 

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Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen - A.A. Milne

This month marks 14 years for us as a couple, and today is our sixth wedding anniversary. We've known each other since seventh grade. There's a lot of water under this bridge.

We've gone through tremendous changes in the past three years of our marriage. All for the better, but big changes just the same. I'm proud of how we've acclimated and adapted, how we've supported each other, and how we've hung in there even when it would have been easier to not hang in there. 

So often internet discussions of relationships focus on the great and sweet moments, which of course I love because who doesn't love great and sweet moments? But just like in every other area, I'm a realist when it comes to love and marriage. Some days are diamonds and some days are rocks. Both serve a purpose but one is so much prettier so we tend to focus on those glittering diamond days when things are so good it almost hurts to look at them straight on. Then you have the days where someone's an asshole, something is hard, things are boring - the rock days. Not so exciting, not pretty or special, not often mentioned.

Honestly? It's exceptionally easy to be married when everything is great, but you're going to be shit out of luck if you can only co-exist on the high have to be able to survive time in the trenches together as well.

That's why I've never tried to pretend we have the perfect relationship. I'm too proud of the hard times we've come through and I wouldn't let them go for anything - they've made us just as much if not more as the diamond days have made us. Besides, perfect relationships are a) a farce b) boring as fuck to even contemplate. We are imperfect people in an imperfect relationship living an imperfect life and it's pretty damn great. To those of you out there doing the same, I see you. 

Here's to another year of making dreams come true, of tenacity, of shit MFD said, of being real and true with each other, of support and encouragement and understanding, of love, and of adventure. 

A collage of the past 12 months:  (click on this to see 2015's collage and 2014's collage).
1 - In Grand Teton National Park on September 25 last year; 2 - October 2015 after signing papers on our shore house; 3 - November 2015 PanCan walk; 4 - An oddly warm beach day in December 2015; 5 - Cape of Good Hope in South Africa in January 2016; 6 - New Orleans in February 2016; 7 - Shawn & Maggie's wedding in March 2016; 8 - Back on the beach in April 2016; 9 - Chinese Lantern Festival in May 2016; 10 - before the Paul Simon concert in June 2016; 11 - Biking on the boards in July 2016; 12 - Tubing on the Delaware August 2016; us at Lucy the Elephant in Margate earlier this monthy

Happy birthday to Amanda today, one of our BFFs!

I'm off tomorrow, so maybe TWTW tomorrow night, or maybe Tuesday. I'll surprise you.
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Thursday Thoughts - r o c k in the U S A

1. Tired, fearful, and loathing: how we felt about Monday in our house. 
2. The skies around the Harvest Moon make my soul burn.

3. Lots of fighting on the internet about what it means to be a patriot in America. Everyone who knows us knows both MFD and I are very liberal. MFD always posts things with political or social implications on facebook and he has a host of trolls who dogpile on the rabbit and like to talk to those who lean a little more left in a patronizing manner, as if we are children or people who don't understand how the world works. They call us libtards which seriously? Boils my fucking blood. If you are friends with either of us on facebook and you see me ever comment on one of those posts, you know I have reached fuck this shit o'clock with the patronizing bullshit and am flying my ship right into the Death Star. No matter what side you're on in any issue, remember this: civil discourse is still a thing. People who think differently than you are not your enemy, you don't need to de-friend or block them. You don't need to attack or get personal. You can discuss matters like adults or you can, I don't know, refrain from engaging. Grow up. And remember: it's not just your rights that are important. It's all rights. 

4. In other news of the week...we have a systemic racism problem in this country that will not go away until we all acknowledge it. If you cannot see how black America is different from white America, do some reading on slavery and what happened during it, who owned who and how it ended; then move on to segregation, and what happened to people during those protests; then go to mortgage discrimination, which was still happening up until the late 1970s and is a major contributor to the urban decay we accuse black people of causing; then you look at crimes committed and lengths of sentences and you look at criminals in general and how we approach and talk about them...then you tell me with clear eyes and a honest heart how we all have the same opportunities and are treated the same across the board. If you tell me those things, I'm going to be asking some questions to make sure you actually did the reading. Do not discount how huge of a thing opportunity is in our lives.  Someone who planted bombs in NYC and NJ and had a shootout with police this weekend was brought in alive. These people are being gunned down in the streets for getting out of their cars. What the fuck is going on here? There is injustice and I will not be quiet about it. If you feel there is injustice, I hope you won't be quiet about it either. 

5. Now that my Public Service Announcements are over...I'm loving my newest Alex & Ani Jill gave me this weekend. It is the perfect addition to my collection and one that I identify with right now. Your friends just know sometimes, you know? Thanks Jill!

5. I finally got my food prep shit together despite Whole Foods fucking me and forcing me to use chard instead of spinach in my spinach muffins. I did egg muffins with asparagus and goat cheese, turkey tacos, and steamed asparagus with baked chicken thighs for lunches. Snacks are grapes, bananas, and noosa yogurt. 
6. The above was accomplished despite Whole Foods sucking. I use Instacart grocery delivery when I'm in a pinch - I need things for dinner that night and don't have time to get to the store. That was the case Monday. I worked late, my fridge was totally bare, and I had to get some food in the house. Instacart shoppers and service are great - but the stock at Whole Foods is awful. They never have anything. I ordered 12 items and 7 had to be replaced or flat out not fulfilled. Luckily Amazon was delivering the bulk of the groceries the next day so I could put the Whole Foods fuckery behind me and get on with the food prep. 

7. This is MFD's favorite old woobie shirt. We do our own laundry, but whites are done jointly because we don't produce a ton of them. Whenever I'm the one to do the whites and I lay hands on this shirt, I consider hiding it. 

8. I didn't watch the Emmys on Sunday, and I didn't scour the Internet for Emmy fashion. Who am I? p.s. I was all up on the fall of the Brangelina Empire. Team Jen for life. 

9. Important. 

10.  E-card of the week...Lots of know it alls on the interwebs these days. 
First day of calendar fall, Bs.  

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Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Any book worth banning is a book worth reading

That's what I think, anyway. Sunday starts Banned Books Week, also known as the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

According to Banned Books Week was started in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. According to the American Library Association, more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon the objections of a person or group. Not just them expressing their opinion, but actively trying to remove material from curriculum and libraries, restricting the access of others and threatening freedom of speech and choice. A banning is the removal of those materials.

Like many of you, I cannot imagine a world in which I would possibly stoop to tell others what they should not read for moral purposes. However, there are many fearful assholes in the world, and those people would and do want to tell others what they can and can't read.
Thanks to organizations like Freedom to Read, we are fortunate enough to be able to lay hands on the majority of these banned books. I donate to them yearly, this year in memory of Gamma as she was one of the readers who shaped my life. The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to express our ideas without governmental interference, and to read and listen to the ideas of others. The Freedom to Read Foundation supports the right of libraries to include in their collections and make available any work which they may legally acquire.

The American Library Association is all up in Banned Books Week, of course. As they should be. Librarians are typically badass warriors for the right to read. Next week, from September 25 to October 1, the ALA will be running pieces by authors on its Intellectual Freedom Blog. Be sure to check those out.

As the ALA states, it's not only the librarians, though: it's the entire book community - librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers - who support the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Personally, I like to read a banned piece every year during Banned Books Week, and next week it'll be Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman. I bet a book you loved has been banned or challenged - check out this list of classics, or the top 10 most challenged books of 2015 here.

First, just be aware that there are maniacs who think they should be able to tell you what to read. Go ahead and give them the finger.

Second, consider celebrating next week by reading some banned titles...because you can, thanks to advocates for freedom to read and those like us who insist on that freedom.

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