Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween has gone to the dogs

An octopus, a shark, and a lobster walk onto the beach...stop me if you've heard this one.

The lobster (Gus) hated it but the octopus (Geege) and the shark (Mae) are resigned to costumes on Halloween.
I can't help it, I laugh myself silly when they're dressed up. But I know it's not their favorite. Their favorite is food, and lots of pets and rubs and running wild and free are a distant second and third.

So putting up with my insanity is not without reward for these dogs. After dress up day, I bribed them to love me again with the new Filet Mignon & Bacon Flavored Pup-peroni treats the folks there were nice enough to send los perros for them to try, gratis, in exchange for me writing a post about it.

Did they like them? Look at Mae's tail going a million miles an hour. Look at Gus and Geege staring at the bag in the second photo like they've got the eye of the tiger. They're dogs, and the treats are filet and bacon flavored...of course they liked them.That's like asking if humans like chips or ice cream. Everyone likes a treat every once in a while.

My dogs like what I like, and since choice steak and bacon are high on my list, these treats were high on theirs. These dogs have barely any teeth left so while I prefer the Isle of Dogs treats on a daily basis, these soft, chewy treats are great for treat days we all deserve.
To learn more about these treats, click here.

Speaking of treats, I hope you get a lot of them today for Halloween, even if you have to dress up like a fool to get them.

I am traveling and will reply to comments when I return. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 28, 2016


Is Amazon-ing a verb in your life? It is in mine.If I can't get it at a small, local biz, 90% of the time it's ordered from Amazon (the other 10% belongs to Target). I've been a prime member for years, and now I'm a prime member on steroids with Amazon Fresh. Rebecca at Knit by God's hand does a regular post about her Amazon-ing, and I've been saying forever that I'm going to do that. And here I am, doing that.

This is what I bought from Amazon in October. I'm probably forgetting a few things because this seems light for me.

Reusable sandwich & snack baggies by Art of Lunch, $19.97 - these are freaking awesome, and I can't believe it took me so long to purchase reusable bags of this size. My sandwich baggie usage was the least environmentally friendly thing about me and I'm glad I've kissed it goodbye. Special bonus: these bags can go in the dishwasher. Easily the MVP of the month.

Fleece for Mae, $8.49 - Little girlfriend gets cold.

Nature's Way Elderberry Capsules, $23.70 - Part of my regular health maintenance. I used to use the syrup, and sometimes when I'm actually feeling sick I still do, but these are much easier for daily use. This was for a pack of three, 100 capsules each.

Library Card Pouch and other prizes for Show Us Your Books giveaway - Varied prices, pouch is $12 and I'm including it here because the purchase of this pouch sends one book to a community in need.

Merry Christmas Stinky Face, and other assorted Christmas stuff - For a basket I made for a fundraiser.

Amazon Fresh Grocery Order - $108

Travelon Bag Bungee, $22 for two - My travel guru Mimi suggested them so I got a two pack for our upcoming trip.

After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid, $10 - I never travel without a paperback.

Brother P-Touch Tape, $9.46 - Label maker is life.

Travel adapters - $6.99 each

Halloween candy $30 - I bought it but did not hide it and MFD has been eating it. DAMN IT.

Dog treats - I prefer the Isle of Dogs treats, particularly the healthy minis and the chillouts. I also buy my dogs' supplements from Amazon.

Dream Zone Earth Therapeutics Sleep Mask, $9.49 - I've been using these for years. They are the best sleep mask.

Woolite travel laundry kit with sink stopper $7.13 - Realized too late that my travel laundry sink detergent is at the shore.

Are you a buy it all at Amazon person or do you go into the field for your needs? 

Annnnnd I'm out. Vacation tomorrow! Does anyone else inform their DD coffee people that they're going on vacation? Only me?

I spent some time blogging last weekend, so you can expect some posts while I'm gone. I think. I probably won't go back and check them so let's all cross our fingers and hope for the best. I'll be overgramming and MFD even re-installed Instagram for the occasion, so follow along with us if you'd like!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: vacation countdown

1. Allow me to remind you that I once had a Pete Rose haircut, wore short things, and posed with pumpkins. Basic bitch from 1977 on. My mom always posts throwbacks on Instagram. Follow her here.

2. Is there anyone out there who has everything they need before a long trip and has to buy absolutely nothing? If so, I want to meet you. Call me. And by call me I mean text me, of course. Also, is there anyone who has figured out how to beam their dogs wherever they are? I want in on that too.

3. Jana and I saw Jodi Picoult at the library! She has great energy and is very engaging and talked a lot about the conversation on race we desperately need in this country but fear having on a lot of levels. I appreciated her honesty and frankness. I bought a copy of her newest, Small Great Things, and I can't wait to read it...but it's heavy so I'm not hauling it to Ireland and it's signed so even if I did haul it I couldn't leave it behind there which is my M.O. on trips. Local friends, check out Author Events at the Free Library - some are free, some tickets cost $15 or $30. There's usually a book signing to accompany it but not everyone does photos so it was awesome that she did. They have an eclectic and impressive roster of writers in.
4. We walked out of the library and I was enamored by this little urban arty thing affixed to the light pole.
5. Center City has been feeling a little edgier lately, so I took an uber to the train station. My uber driver was old, listened to smooth jazz, and drove a pickup truck. Every time I have to take the train home late, I feel like I'm in the bus station scene from Adventures in Babysitting. As I was sitting there waiting on a train Tuesday night, trying to keep my eye on all the people around me and googling an image to use here, I came upon the perfect one...from my own blog last year. LOL. I guess I am perpetually Brenda in the Bus Station.

6. I did the thing: 10 full days and two half travel days packed into a 21 inch carry on. I'll report back on how this goes.
7. My brother is house and dogsitting for us while we're on vacation. Sorry for the blurriness but Mae is quite pleased.

8. Just in case you were thinking your candidate is going to win so you don't need to vote. Obviously this is skewed the way I like it but the same applies to all elected positions at all times. Tinfoil hat your vote doesn't matter conspiracy theorists, I'm not entertaining you at this time.

9. Reminder. Anything that's in your life is there until you let it go, and you are responsible for what stays and what goes.

10.  E-card of the week: Right about here right now.

Hit me with yours.

Linking up with Kristin

Stuff, Things, etc.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Shit MFD Said Vol 34

Me: There are creepy killer clowns in this neighborhood, you know. It was on the neighborhood Facebook page. Sightings from last night.
MFD: You don't know what I was doing after you went to sleep.
Me: Don't even joke. This is so fucked up. Fucking creep clowns. When I go to Target today I'm getting a bat. Do you need anything from Target?
MFD: Can you get me a clown costume?

Me: I just wanted to note that I noticed you emptied the dishwasher and washed dishes yesterday without asking for compliments.
MFD: Give me compliments. Give me compliments.

Me: I want to donate $1000 to the library next year.
MFD: What do you get for that, a free library card?
Me: Ho ho ho. Very funny.
MFD: What?

MFD: Here. I got you debate snacks.
Me: Cheetos?
MFD: They're the puffs
Me: Oh, okay. Oh I get it.
MFD: Get what?
Me: Did you get me these because I call trump Cheeto Jesus?
MFD: No...but it looks like I made a fitting snack choice.

Me: Why are you drinking out of a plastic jug?
MFD: I don't know. Why not?
Me: So stereotypical Philly, yo I'm drinking out of my Wawa jug.
MFD: My drink game is on fleek.
Me: No.
MFD: Are your shoes on fleek?
Me: Nothing here is on fleek.

MFD: What do you think about trump supporters wanting to repeal the 19th Amendment?
Me: Have you ever heard the saying don't poke the bear?
MFD: It's fun.

MFD: I can't find our house nail clippers.
Me: We're going to Target after this, you can get some.
MFD: I was going to stop and get some.
Me: I can't believe you talked to me about nail clippers just now. We've been over this.
MFD: I had to.
Hours later yelling up the stairs 
MFD: Steph
Me: If it's political, I don't want to hear it. I'm full up right now.
MFD: It's not but it might be just as bad...where are the nail clippers?
MFD: We just bought them a few hours ago!
Me: I am not entertaining this line of questioning.

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, Vol 33

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A year by the sea

Sunday marked the one year anniversary of buying the shore house. I woke up tired, going back and forth about going down to the beach to watch the sunrise or staying in bed. I usually go once a weekend, and Saturday was rainy...but it was so nice to lay there in the dark in an off-season silent sea town on a Sunday morning...then I remembered how I felt a year ago, and how I couldn't go to sleep because I was so excited to get up to watch the sunrise on the beach from my own house.

I got up, and I'm glad I did as always. I noticed how different the ocean looked from yesterday afternoon, and how lucky I was to see so many different faces of this ocean over the past year. I thought a lot about what this past year has meant to me. It has meant and been so many things. Euphoric highs as I cruised down the Atlantic City Expressway late at night, Bruce Springsteen blaring; hard knocks, when I learned something the hard way in a year of home improvements; the absolute joy of having a place for all of my beach stuff where I can leave it and never bring it home; a deep, deep appreciation for those who helped us out along the way with hard labor and those who understand when we aren't places we would normally be or doing things we'd normally do; minor anxiety with a dose of humility and a side of lessons in patience, kindness, and live and let live from a year dealing with renters; the security in knowing I never need to leave my dogs home; the great feeling of sharing this space with framily. It has been amazing with the highs far outweighing the lows. It has all been so, so worth any frustration or worry I've felt along the way.
It's also felt like living a double life - at a certain point in the summer, I really felt like my real life was down there, and that my life at home was the part time life even though that is definitely not the reality...yet, anyway. I still feel that way because I love the off-season much more than the summer. It's like living in the Boys of Summer song: nobody on the road, nobody on the beach. Regardless, sometimes I feel like I'm having an out of body experience, watching myself do things in my normal life but with a sense that I belong somewhere else.

If I could go back in time one year, I'd tell myself that it would be different, watching those sunrises now, but in all good ways: I have a beach cruiser to ride down now, and I bring my coffee and a mat and I have a little bag everything goes in. But that feeling of waking up at my own shore house to see it? That is the same. It does not get old. It does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

And if I could go into the future, to next year and the year after and on to infinity, it would be to give myself a nudge - to make sure I'm still grateful, that I still remember what a dream comes true feels like, even if we had weather issues that took a toll on the house or renters that drove us insane that year.

I'd also tell my past self to chill the fuck out and that everything would be fine. Hell, I'd tell my future self that too because you can never tell yourself that enough. We were fully rented for this summer by the end of January and really had a great first season. People treated our house well and they were nice. And we're already booked for four weeks for next summer before the end of October.
I went back and forth with writing this, because it's hard to convey how life changing this has been, not only on the outside with what we do and where we spend time, but on the inside with how I think in my head and feel in my heart. In the end I didn't want to let such a first anniversary go without putting words down for myself to look back on. If you enjoyed it too, that's a bonus.

VRBO listing

Monday, October 24, 2016

TWTW - the one before vacation

On the way home Friday, I returned clothes I did not need for vacation before getting the dogs together and heading to the shore where I zoned out watching Hogan's Heroes.As you can tell from Gus, we were all pretty beat. Goodnight Irene.
Saturday dawned windy, cold, and rainy. I walked the dogs, put some stuff away around the house, then eased into the day with some coffee and reading until MFD and Joe were ready to go. We went to Jon & Patty's for breakfast, then I picked up Italian bread at Bennie's Bread and some groceries at Boyar's.
I took the dogs for a long walk on the beach. Gus was like a Goonie - running around like a loon, all THIS IS OUR TIME! Mae was a shivery limpy mess and ended up just sitting and waiting for me to come get her while the boys jackassed around. MFD and Joe came down to fish and I carried Mae in my jacket as we walked on and all around town. That killed my back. Even though it was cold and windy, it was a cool day to be on the beach. The sky and ocean looked great.
I picked up my custom piece from Peace of Wood, finished The Mothers (read it!), made a pot of spinach tortellini soup in the afternoon, ordered Christmas cards and labels, and spent the evening blogging and relaxing while MFD and Joe went out night fishing. I also started Safe With Me
We're holding off on a lot of maintenance at the shore right now - much of what needs to be done this off season is outdoors  - but we've changed or added some decor and we just got all the exterior windowsills capped. File under: a shit ton of money you needed to spend that no one will ever notice but it had to be done. I went through some of my Gamma's things last week and brought a few of her shore themed things down here like this ice bucket. This is her town, after all. We also added the lat/long sign and the anchor Tara made for us fits very nicely with MFD's boats. 
Sunday morning I went to see the sunrise. I wasn't going to, but I'm glad I did. It was cold but peaceful. I was totally alone as far as my eyes could see, and it was a good way to center myself before an insane week ahead. It was quiet with the waves gently lapping the shore because there was a sandbar with the break far out (see second crappy iPhone zoomed photo)
After walking the dogs, I had coffee while they lounged, then I cleaned two bathrooms and the kitchen, wiped down surfaces on the main floor and in the efficiency, and vacuumed and Swiffer'd both as well. I was back in Philadelphia with laundry going before 12:30.
My face and nails were hideous, so I did a quick face mask and 60 second manicure, showered, and packed my health and beauty aids and makeup for the trip. And of course I had to go to freaking Target for a few things. I stopped to see my brother and Aubrey and Lola on the way home and ordered a fatass feast for dinner. 
Food prep can go to hell this week. Breakfasts are breakfast burritos from the freezer and lunch is frozen spinach mac & cheese cups. We're winging dinner and I need to get some honey crisp apples for snacks. 
 photo weekend_zps2e919702.jpg
Last week of work before vacation and I've over-scheduled myself at night. Hold on to your pants. Hat? I like pants. 

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, October 21, 2016

Life Anthems

In the five plus years I've been blogging, I have managed to successfully avoid a soundtrack of my life post. I've done summer playlists, songs I never turn off, songs I always turn off, a Christmas Playlist, but never any explanation about anything and I think a life anthem or soundtrack of my life post deserves a little explanation. To name an arbitrary number of songs that define me or have spoken to me over the past 39 years has always seemed like an impossible task. Then I started thinking well I don't need to include them all and maybe I could write a little backstory instead of a list and they don't have to be my favorites and it can be more than one post and just fucking try it. I mean the backstory is where it's at, really...because when I think of it, the songs that are my life anthems are not necessarily the ones I love the most - they're the ones that have followed me around through certain moods and memories.

This is me trying it with three to ease into things, and go along with Alyssa's blog challenge prompt.

Have You Seen Me Lately by The Counting Crows
This song has gotten me through some things. Driving around singing it as loudly as possible. It appeals to my fuck you all, I can do this by myself mood that I get into after I've been unexpectedly hurt by someone. If my blood is boiling or if I'd rather be defiant than sad, this is a good thing for me to listen to and it starts with the clanging guitar opening it up. Listen here.
Get away from me
This isn't gonna be easy 
But I don't need you
Believe me
You got a piece of me
But is't just a little piece of me
And I don't need anyone 
And these days I feel like I'm fading away

Thunder Road by Bruce Springsteen
Not my favorite Bruce song by a longshot, this song has nevertheless been a constant for me for what feels like my whole life. I've shouted it out in hundreds of bars, I've sang it on roads on both coasts of this country and in foreign lands. I've sang it through all of my eras. It's never been left behind as I moved on to another age or way. The harmonica intro pulls at something in me and Clarence's solo taking it on out always gives me the chills.

Into the Mystic by Van Morrison
This song makes me feel cradled and peaceful with just a dash of wistfulness. I walked down the aisle to this at our wedding because I wanted all of those things in my heart at that time.

That's all for now, I'll be back with more in the future. 
What are three songs from your life anthem list?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Thursday Thoughts: this song has no title just words and a tune

1. Today there is a pop up art installation at Dilworth Plaza highlighting the plight of homeless youth in this city. The proprietor of the Streets Dept blog is teaming up with Covenant House for this event, titled "Am I Cut Out?" Please check it out between 9-4 if you're going to be in Center City. I'll be sharing some images on Instagram when I get over there. From Streets Dept:

2. I do not operate on fear, nor do I live in fear of many things. So I'm serious when I say I am alarmed at the chatter from Trump supporters of voter intimidation at polling places. I'm also concerned about what Trump might incite supporters to do if he does not win this election. In last night's debate he did not say he would concede if he loses. Please remember that much of the world - the world Americans look down upon, mind you - has bloody battles over elections because one side says it's rigged and will not concede. This republic has always been more civilized and enjoyed a peaceful transition of power even when half has not liked the outcome. I fear the basest of his followers have been properly amped up, stoked, and fed a steady diet of conspiracy theories and that these people will act in a dangerous manner if their chosen candidate does not win. Words *do* have power...and in this case, words and ideas have the power to incite riot and civil unrest nationwide. Trump is engaging in sedition. There is a line and he's over it. God help all of us, because I fear it's too late to rein it in even if he was inclined to, which I don't think he is. In other news, there are so many more people who wear tinfoil hats and cover the windows with newspaper than I thought there were...everything is a fucking conspiracy these days. Newsflash! Just because you're losing doesn't mean the system is rigged. Jesus Christ.

3. When I was born, the triplets were seven. My mom's youngest siblings are 13 years younger than her and seven years older than me. Today is their birthday. My life is totally interwoven with theirs and I'm glad for it.

4. I never had a cousin I was thick as thieves with, and I never had a sister...only those I've chosen for myself. Lori has really fulfilled so many roles for me. I'm eternally grateful to have her in my life. I have never had to look far for support, encouragement, or friendship.

5. I find myself very jiggly right now. Less time at the shore = less activity. I need to get it moving again. Back to zumba more regularly.

6. It's time for the best apple of all apples: the honey crisp apple. My afternoon snack at work just increased exponentially in awesomeness.
7. I've been going to Central Nails on 16th & Chestnut for pedicures for the entire eight years I've been working here. They've gotten a little sloppy, rushed, and dirty. Tuesday I was walking past Young's on 16th between Sansom & Walnut and went in. I found a new BFF in Felicia and I'm going there from now on. Plus I like the pedicure basins. Is that weird? Toes are Essie's Warm & Toasty Turtleneck.
8. I had dinner with Jen, my oldest friend last night. We've been friends for 36 years. Time flies. Long time friends are one of my truest joys in life and Jen is my longest time friend.

9. Reminder.

10.  E-card of the week: Remember when the world worked like this?

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Things I've changed my mind about

Saturday night I looked down and thought welp, here I am doing two things I said I'd never do: wear Toms and wear leggings out of the house. I'm still not wearing leggings with shirts that hit at the hip, mind. I haven't gone insane. I'm perpetually on the hunt for long shirts and sweaters.

If you're a regular around these parts you know I'm solidly strong in my convictions and have no problems telling you about them. I am also a creature of routine and habit, but I like to try new things and I won't ever keep doing something that is no longer working for me or serving a purpose in my life.

I used to make my own cleaning products, particularly granite counter cleaner and Febreze. When Method and Mrs. Meyers became more accessible, I started buying those.

I had it in my mind that I wanted to do certain things: make my own laundry detergent, pick strawberries, perfect the pie crust...I realized I actually don't want to do those things, they just sounded like worthy things to do. They still do sound worthy...for other people. LOL

I swore I'd never use an e-reader...then some books were only available in that format, including everything from Netgalley. My friend PJ from jr high/HS kept recommending one and I resisted forever. They are great for travel. Now I'd say I read probably 70% real book and 30% e-book.

I used to use a lot of OTC medication, now I rely a lot on essential oils.

I used to think my house had to be dusted weekly. Guess what? It's not getting dusted weekly since I started managing two houses and we've all survived. Every other week is working out fine. There have been no deaths due to dust.

In line with the above, hiring a cleaning lady. I struggled with that decision forever and honestly? Best decision ever. It has removed a lot of resentment between me and MFD over who is doing what, plus Linda is awesome and my dogs love her.

Cruising. I never thought it sounded like my type of vacation. It's totally my type of vacation.

I was a devoted user of big mama planners: Franklin Covey, Erin Condren, Plum Paper. Now I have a slim At-A-Glance that I use in conjunction with a Poppin' notebook as an organizational system.

I used to take my coffee with cream and sugar. Now coffee with sugar in it tastes terrible to me.

I used to think I could never work at a job that required more than a 20 minute commute. I've been working at a job like that for more than eight years.

I used to say I could never handle more than two dogs. We now have three dogs. There are still situations in which I think I can't handle more than two dogs. LOL

I said I'd never be able to give up cable. We haven't had cable at home in over a year and a half.

I used to use no paper towels in the house. As the dogs have aged and have more accidents, paper towels are back on the scene for clean up.

What are some things you've changed your mind about?

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