Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Shit MFD Said Vol. 35

Before leaving for Ireland
Me: Do you think we'll have to poop on the side of the road?
MFD: nodding yes several times No! Where do you think we're going, the 1600s?
Me: It's rural!
MFD: I hope you ask your dad this question.

Me: I noticed you posted all of these photos on Instagram...from the shore this summer. It's November. We just arrived in Ireland.
MFD: I had to catch up. I didn't want to post photos from this trip then go back and post the good ones from this summer.
Me: No, that means you don't post those photos. That's not how instagram works. Insta means now.
MFD: Well, I'm keeping everyone on their toes.

MFD: If I fall asleep you can watch whatever you want.
Me: Oh, can I? Thanks.
MFD: hahaha
He turns on Excalibur
Me: You should go to sleep now.

Me: Look at this hat I got. Isn't it awesome?
MFD: It means Hugo Boss.
Me: No it doesn't.
MFD: That's what it means to me.
Me: No!
MFD: I don't know why you'd want people to think you're Hugo Boss.
Me: Ruiner.
MFD: Hugo Boss.

After I've yelled at Mae for being Hazel
MFD: You are like the Svengali of dogs.
Me: I am.
MFD: You're all I'M THE BOSS HERE I'M THE BOSS in your mean voice...then we can all live here together in some nice voice. Good one.
Me: I *am* the boss...but we can all live here together.
MFD: Whatever you say.

In Marshalls
MFD: Seriously? We need two carts?
Me: Yes. Trust me.
MFD: I don't think so.
40 minutes later
Me: Stay there, I want to take a picture.
MFD: Of what?
Me: Of the man who questioned the Master of Marshalls about how many carts we needed.

Doing Christmas lights
Me: I don't understand why we're untangling them if we're just going to tangle them up.
MFD: If they're going to be tangled they're going to be tangled in an orderly fashion.
Me: laughing uproariously That's fucking insane!
MFD: You don't know Christmas like I know Christmas. There are methods to the madness.

MFD: Steph, would it make you happy if I decorated the window tonight?
Me: Yes.
MFD: Would you like me to make you happy?
Me: Is this a weird game?

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, Vol 34

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Things I Wish we Knew About Puppies before we got a puppy

This weekend we saw the cutest little puppy, which set me to reminiscing. We adopted Geege when he was a few days from three, and who the hell knows how old Mae was when we got her...her old owners told us two, but my vet says she thinks she's much older than that. Gus is the only dog we had as a puppy...and his puppy behavior is probably why it was more palatable to us to adopt non-puppies after that. Gus was hell on wheels as a puppy and to be honest he's still hell on wheels now, so it's definitely a factor of his personality.

Don't get me wrong, I adore puppies - they're mischievous and roly poly and a ton of fun and cute as all get out - but I love to pet and hug and love them and then walk away while someone else cleans up their messes and deals with the massive destruction they can unleash.

Some things I wish I knew about puppies but only found out after I had one:

1. Puppies can have their days and nights mixed up like human babies. Exhibit A: puppy Gus. This dog got up at 3 a.m. every night for six months and was up for the day. MFD did not get up with him. I did. And I hated every second of it.
2. A bored puppy is more destructive than the tasmanian devil. When Gus was 10 months old, we decided to liberate him from his cage and gate him in our postage stamp size kitchen. One day I came home at lunch to let him out and found every blessed thing in the cabinets destroyed. Rice packets, pasta, flour, sugar, tin foil, plastic wrap...every single thing was ripped apart and destroyed. I stood there gaping and snapped a photo with my, you know, flip phone, so I no longer have photographic evidence. He did this again when I was away for work and my Mom went over to let him out. He didn't only destroy the kitchen...he ate every freaking thing in his path. He was insane.

3. They can't walk on leashes until you teach them. Gus had zero interest in walking around the neighborhood. It did not occur to me that he had no idea HOW to walk on a leash.

Have you ever had a puppy? What surprised you about them?

Monday, November 28, 2016

TWTW - the one with the thanksgiving

There's not a damn thing like a five day weekend filled with turkey sandwiches, peace, and family.

Wednesday morning I changed sheets, finished packing, did some general lollygagging, then headed up to Lori & Jack's. Debbie arrived shortly after me. Lots of outside time for dogs and relaxing. We also pre-empted Thanksgiving and had turkey breast sandwiches which was an awesome call on Lori's part.
Thanksgiving morning started my favorite way - with a walk. A false start, as it turns out, because Mae sucks at long walks and had to be dropped back off at the house before we crossed the creek where we encountered bear poop. The answer to does a bear shit in the woods is yes....close to the house, too.
We had the delectable bacon sugar butter toast and I did some online shopping, purchasing this wrap from Modcloth.
I debuted my new pug leggings on Thanksgiving. LulaRoe scores again. Perry, Maria, and Ashley arrived, we stuffed our faces multiple times, and I was sleeping by 9 p.m. Perfect balance of a day.
Black Friday started with a walk in the woods, just how I prefer it to start.
We spent the rest of the day talking about poop, farts, and laughing all the way through a small business shopping day. We all wanted this dog. Speaking of, Gus ripped my ear and my uncle insisted I had rabies and told the world I had rabies and between that and not being able to get the back seat up, I almost wet my pants laughing outside of a Dandy.
Friday afternoon we pulled in and I was ready to pack my car up to head home in the morning, only MFD surprised me by showing up and we ended up staying until Sunday morning at 7.
Saturday Maria and Ashley headed home; Jack and Perry helped out a neighbor farmer; and Lori, Debbie, MFD, and I patronized small businesses, attempted the epic fart of the Troy hometown Christmas, and had lunch out. Those of us left reconvened at home to watch college football, make fun of each other, read, and lounge. We were all spent, especially the dogs, except for Mae...she was busy fangirling over her spirit animal, Dots the cat.
Sunday morning's drive home was a breeze, we left at 6:45 and got home before 9:30. I did laundry, pulled my Christmas stuff out and realized I hated all of it, finished a book, and waited for MFD to get home. I was going to make dinner but we ate at Boston Market before hitting Marshalls to buy new Christmas shit. We came home and sort of decorated, but I move stuff around for a while so that'll happen this week. As in this picture below is already false - I always initially clutter up the entertainment center then move a bunch of shit off. My ceramic trees have not been unleashed and the tree, outside, and front window haven't been done yet either. So basically there's shit all over the house that may or may not stay out. Ho ho ho mofos!
Weekly food prep is egg muffins with green onions and cheese for breakfasts and a beef noodle soup for lunches. Dinners will be baked chicken with roasted sweet potatoes and either brussels sprouts or broccoli & cauliflower.

I adore the long Thanksgiving weekend. How was yours? 

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, November 25, 2016

Uncommon gifts from Uncommon Goods

Welcome to the biggest shopping day of the year. Also known as the day I shop at small businesses and online, but typically don't step foot in a big retailer. This year will be no different.

I'm not the greatest gift giver, but I am a great admirer of unique items, and they can be found by the boatload at Uncommon Goods. I've shopped there in the past, and they were kind enough to send me a gift card to purchase some items and post about them here.

One of the things I like best about this company is their commitment to featuring items made from recycled components like these luggage tags made out of recycled bike parts. I paired it with minimalist bike lights for a solid Christmas gift under $30. Gifts for men tend to be hard for me to come up with, so this was a home run.
They have great stuff  for women too - like this super cute tea mug that holds the tea bag on the side and candles that smell like Jane Eyre. Lots of unique stuff.
Lots of unisex gifts, too of course. Like are you looking for a gift for a dog lover? I bought this for myself, which fits well with the one for you one for me style I typically shop in for Christmas. Everyone loves their dogs, and only disgusting people do not pick up after them but no one likes carrying smelly poop bags around. Turdlebag to the rescue. It not only holds the bags for easy disbursement, it also carries them after you tie them up, and it clips to the leash. Win win all around. Perfect for a dog owner.
If you're looking for a unique gift, something thoughtful and fitting, check out Uncommon Goods. They're also a B Corp, which is always a bonus in my buying.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Expect nothing. Appreciate everything.

Appreciation to and for

Tribe -  MFD, my dogs, my niece Lola Jean, my two brothers, all of my parents, the kids in my aunt army, old friends, new friends, family I like enough to consider friends; people I'd lay down in the street for and who would do the same for me. Friends I've made through blogging, people who stand up for themselves and others, strong women, funny people, people who empower others, people with conviction, people who work for worthy causes, guardian angels.

Basics - food, shelter, heat, air conditioning, electricity, access to clean water: things that are basic to us but not to everyone, things to be thankful for on the days you think are bad...imagine those days without these things and it gets hard to breathe.

Opportunity - to travel, to try new restaurants, to seek out beauty, to affect change, to get a great education, to try new things, to drive a reliable car, to rest and practice self care, to see a great roster of authors at my local library, to support charities who do good work, to observe and write about my observations, to spend so much time at the shore, to see the sunrise, to sit outside in the shade and watch the day go by, to apply the salt air cure as much as I need to.

Freedom - to pick up and go away for the weekend, to climb into bed early with a book, to read what I want; of speech, assembly, the press; to choose, to build the kind of life I want, to speak out against my government, to voice dissent, to say no, to say yes, to encourage others, to tell others to fuck off; to, in general, do what I want.

Shitstorms - because while it is easy to exist and be grateful in those halcyon days, character is built in the dark; because nothing tastes as good as rising from the ashes; because refusing to sink shows you your backbone; because life requires yin and yang; because we all have comeback songs on those playlists and we identify with them for a reason.

Cherries on top -  sunglasses, books, coffee, Instagram, fresh sheets, LulaRoe leggings, fall foliage, nail polish, Tom's slippers, sun flare in photos, Amazon Prime, pedicures, Netflix, lists, people who make images out of my favorite quotes so I don't have to, Le Pen colored pens, PaperMate Sharpwriter pencils. I could go on about the little things for days.

Everything. I am grateful for everything I have, big and small. I think I'm allergic to being generally ungrateful. Ingratitude pisses me off.

Last but not least, you. Thanks for reading.

MFD and I will not be together on Thanksgiving for the first time in a billion years but I am one of those the actual holiday is just one day and you can't do it all in one day types. We see each other most days and we are grateful for each other and the life we have built together...check back when we are decorating for Christmas together later this weekend to see if this still holds true. LOLOL

Wishing my fabulous friends Gwen and Jenn happiest birthdays today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Three Things November

I did this last month and liked it, so as long as I can come up with some different prompts, I'll keep it going since I'm a fan of the Q&A games, of lists, of the rule of three. As always I'm curious about how you'd reply to these, so if you feel like playing along please do so in the comments, for all of them or cherry pick your favorites.

Three things I frequently forget
Power breakfast muffins when I'm bringing them for a snack to work, they often end up on the counter and MFD has to put them back in the freezer
Ages of other people and sometimes myself

Three errands I love to run
Library day!
Bank - a block from my office, it couldn't be easier
Anything that is a quick drop off or pick up and requires no time spent in an establishment

Three errands I hate to run
Produce Junction - just navigating the parking lot makes me sweat
Post Office - everyone is a miserable dick at the Suburban Station post office
Sam's Club - the eternal lines and hideous music from some speaker they're trying to sell = hell on earth

Three restaurants I want to try
Abe Fisher - it's been on my list for over a year
Mr. Martino's Trattoria

Three famous people I'd like to meet
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Michelle Obama
Judy Blume

Three famous people I'd like to avoid
donald trump
Russell Brand
OJ Simpson

Three things I recommend
Theshold Performance Sheet Sets from Target - they stay ON the bed and believe it or not I actually like 400 thread count over the higher thread counts.
Mixing cucumber mint sparkling water from Target with a bit of cranberry juice.
Golden turmeric paste for dogs with joint or arthritis issues.

Three books I loved in the elementary/junior high days
Christopher Pike's Final Friends trilogy
Judy Blume's Forever
Irene Hunt's Up a Road Slowly

Three things I always look forward to
The weekend
Starting a new book

Three things I always dread
Taking the trash out
Encountering a million legger

Now you go. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

TWTW - the one with the serenity now

Last week was rough. I left at 4 Friday, spent a few hours with the fabulous Lola Jean, then picked some turkeys, stuffing, and gravy up at Target to donate to our local food pantry. Dinner was fresh black sea bass caught by MFD last week, couching, putting laundry away, and packing a bag. 
Saturday morning and early afternoon were spent at funeral services. MFD went home to go to a peace rally and, wrung out, I headed to the shore for a night of solitude. As soon as I got there, I went and sat on the beach for two hours. No book, nothing but phone as camera. I just sat there with some coffee and let it all hang out. Salt really is the cure for it all. 
Saturday night I ate Wawa in lounge attire, then drove over the bridge to hit the Dollar Store and Pier 1 for a few Christmas items. I was held hostage by a millennial cashier in Pier 1 who wanted me to buy Unicef cards and cut the design out and paste them over the personalized cards already in my possession. Girrrrl. I also watched Overboard and Walk the Line and totally vegged and really enjoyed alone time in a quiet off-season shore town. 

Sunday morning I took a cold bike ride to the beach. The wind was insane and you can definitely see the erosion that's been present since the failed Labor Day weekend hurricane. 
A lot of people like a clear horizon for sunrises. I prefer a cloudy horizon. And as I sat there watching the light peek through I was reminded of the Leonard Cohen quote, "There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in." I've been thinking a lot about how polarized we are after this election. Some of my compadres are in a bad spot and feel hopeless. I was reminded that sometimes you just need to find the crack to see that there is light. And sometimes you need to be the crack for others to find. And still again sometimes you need to stand next to people and bang on the crack until it busts a big hole for the light to rush through.
I did some shore Christmas decorating since I won't be back until after Thanksgiving, drank a pot of coffee, did some online shopping, and addressed Christmas cards. See this tree for why I have not decorated a tree in 14 years. 
I hit a few of my favorite small businesses before I left to do some Christmas shopping. It was windy as hell. 
Sunday afternoon we celebrated miss Amelia's first birthday. Such a sweet, smart, pretty little lady. Insert heart emojis. 
I was just done when we got home. I finally finished the book I started last week - it's been an eternity since it took me a week to read a book - and started another. 

Ix-nay on the ood-fay ep-pray this week. I'm only working two days so I'll have breakfast burritos and spinach muffins out of the freezer. 

How was yours?

Linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for Weekending

Friday, November 18, 2016

Two Days in Scotland

This better fucking be worth it is what I was thinking as we sat on the tarmac ready to take off for Scotland on Sunday afternoon. That morning we had dropped Stephen & Aubrey at the Shannon airport to head home, picked everyone up at the hotel and headed towards Dublin. The oil light was on, I had very little sleep, we could not seem to locate the hotel to drop our bags off, and I almost wet my pants. When we finally got to the airport we had the worst customer service ever from a Ryan Air ticket desk person, could not print our boarding passes out, and then MFD lost his boarding pass. It was a stressful day and I was just done at that point.

And in the end, was it worth it? So, so worth it.

The flight from Dublin to Scotland was less than an hour in the air. If I could do it again I'd spend another $50 and fly another airline. I was not pleased with Ryan Air at any point. We left most of our bags in Dublin at the Carlton and just took a carry on and went.

We stayed at the Apex Hotel on Bath Street, which was about 20 minutes from the airport. The service and rooms were great. I recommend them. Totally spent by the time we got there, we decided to have tea. Initially three of us ordered high tea, which was huge and we were happy they only had enough baked goods left for one. Dinner was at Two Fat Ladies which was a quick walk from our hotel - loved the food and the service.
We were in bed early because Monday we did a 12 hour small tour with Rabbie's up into the Highlands. That was honestly my main impetus for going on this side trip - to see the Highlands. It was totally worth it. I think it was under $60 a person and it was totally worth it to just relax and not drive or plot out routes and all that we'd been doing. We left from right across from the government building and it was about a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Our first stop was Loch Lomond. One thing I dislike about Europe: there are places where you have to pay to go to the bathroom and if you don't have change you're screwed. We rode out of there to the tune of The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond - the tour guide played some good music all day.
Our next few stops were scenic viewpoints in the Highlands, and good Lord the scenery was incredible. I don't know what I was expecting, but whatever it was, this was more. We happened upon some people taking wedding photos - can you imagine?
We also trolled around Fort Augustus, which is the town that houses the infamous Loch Ness. Peters got some motion sickness but the rest of us were actually out on the Loch Ness trolling for Nessie. No signs of her, but it was a beautiful little hour-ish boat ride.
Our next stop was the Well of the Seven Heads. Scotland has a brutal and bloody history and the story surrounding this is a testament to that.
We also stopped at an ancient forest so we could see the landscape that made the Romans say fuck this place and build Hadrian's Wall that they stayed well under. North of the wall was Caledonia (Scotland) and south was Britannia. We also stopped at a memorial and in the town of Pitlochry before we totally lost light. It was a great day, and we ended it by having one of the best Italian meals I've ever had at Sarti right across from our hotel. There were a lot of restaurants in Glasgow below street level. I dug that.
Our final day in Scotland was meant to be a Glasgow wander, and that's actually what Peters did. The rest of us did MFD's wildcard, which was a quick trip up to Edinburgh (Peters had vacationed there before). We took the train up and back in around the amount of time it takes me to commute to work daily. I loved Edingburgh, or what we saw of it anyway, which was essentially the Royal Mile stretching from the Palace of Holyroodhouse still in use by the Queen today to Edinburgh Castle.

I loved the architecture. It looks like a brooding little town, but it's quite light feeling.
We actually went in and toured Holyroodhouse, and that was really cool. No photos allowed inside, but MFD and I freaking ran into people we were on tour in South Africa with in the bedchamber of Mary Queen of Scots. It was a scream. We weren't even supposed to be in Scotland and we definitely weren't supposed to be in Edinburgh on this day. Life is funny.
You also couldn't take photos in St. Giles Cathedral unless you bought a photo pass. Luckily MFD did. Unluckily I have not had the opportunity to get the photos off of his phone yet so you get some dark outside photos. If you're ever in Edinburgh, it's worth a wander in. It's gorgeous, the Mother Church of Presbyterianism, and contains the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle, which is Scotland's chivalric company of knights chosen by the Queen. Entry is free, taking photos costs a few pounds.
At the other end of the Royal Mile: Edinburgh Castle. We did not wander in, but milled around in front.
We were on a train back to Glasgow shortly after. Additional miscellaneous Edinburgh scenes:
After a late lunch and a wander, we headed back to the hotel. A cold rain began, and by the time we were on the tarmac at 8 p.m. that rain was snow. We sat there on the hot plane for over two hours with no communication from the crew. We were 2.5 hours late getting back to Dublin.

But was Scotland worth it? Yes. Yes it was. All in all we had a really great family celebrating my Dad's 60th birthday, and I think he enjoyed it.

See also: A day in Dublin, Ireland: The mountains, the sea, and Bunratty, Ireland: Clare, Galway, Blarney
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