Why, hello, Charleston!

In a few minutes, I'm hitting the road and heading to Charleston, SC. It's my friend Sara's bachelorette weekend! I'm excited--I've never been to Charleston and have heard lots of wonderful things about it. Bryan doesn't get to go, it's Girls Only.

And then next week, I'll be in DC all week for a conference for work, then apparently we're heading to New Jersey or New York or Pennsylvania, depending on where Bryan's whims take us.

And perhaps one day I will stay at home for more than one weekend in a row... not that I'm complaining, but I have been quite the little roadrunner this summer!!


Get 'em, Granny!


Armed woman forces intruder to call 911

POINT MARION, Pennsylvania (AP) -- An 85-year-old woman boldly went for her gun and busted a would-be burglar inside her home, then forced him to call police while she kept him in her sights, police said.

"I just walked right on past him to the bedroom and got my gun," Leda Smith said.

Smith heard someone break into her home Sunday afternoon and grabbed the .22-caliber revolver she had been keeping by her bed since a neighbor's home was burglarized a few weeks ago.

"I said 'What are you doing in my house?' He just kept saying he didn't do it," Smith said.

After the 17-year-old boy called 911, Smith kept holding the gun on him until state police arrived at her home in Springhill Township, about 45 miles south of Pittsburgh. Video Watch how woman captured burglar »

The boy will be charged with attempted burglary and related offenses in juvenile court, Trooper Christian Lieberum said. He was not identified because of his age.

"It was exciting," Smith said. "I just hope I broke up the (burglary) ring because they have been hitting a lot of places around here."

Hangin' with the Fam

This past Saturday, my mom and brother and sister came down for a visit. Victoria and Zechariah had back-to-school clothes shopping money burning holes in their pockets and my mom's birthday was coming up (hers was Monday), so it was a perfect time for them to venture down from the mountains to the "big city." :)

I love when they come to our house. Vic & Zech were born when I was 13 and 14, respectively, and so by the time they were getting to an age that we would be able to interact like brothers and sisters (rather than me changing their diapers and chasing their little asses around so they didn't run out in the street), I was gone off to college. Add to that the fact that they live several hours away, and I missed out on really experiencing life with siblings. So now when I see them, especially in overnight visits, it just makes me all giddy inside. We spent Saturday night eating Mexican food, then lounging around the house doing a lot of nothing--playing Nintendo (the ORIGINAL), looking at stuff on the internet, watching the Olympics... oh, and the BEST part: getting back rubs from our Mama!! (And our Mama gives GOOD back rubs!!) I really cherish that time with them.

Sunday was shopping day. Of course Vic & Zech have very different shopping styles--Zech wants to get it over with and has a very set style, so he pretty much collects variations of his 3 staple items (t-shirts, hoodies, jeans) and he's done. Victoria, on the other hand... the aspiring art teacher... lover of all things fashion... inheritor of shopping gene from our mother... that girl could seriously shop for 24 hours, sleep for 2, and then go all over again. My mom and Zech had to head out so that Zech could get home for a good night's sleep before his governor's school orientation Monday morning, but Victoria was staying over to visit VCU on Monday, so Bryan and I were left to carry around her bags as she flitted around the mall. We definitely stayed until just before the mall closed, and I definitely fell asleep in the car on the way home. And Victoria will definitely be a certified fashion plate when school starts this year. :)

Sunday night we decided to take Victoria out for a little stick shift practice. She has had her learner's permit for a while, but pretty much every time I talk to her after she has driven with her dad, she is in tears over what a jerk he has been about her driving skills. So even though she *knows* how to drive, it was pretty good practice for her to have someone calm and collected like Bryan to show her how to do it properly. And let me tell you, that man could be a driving instructor. He did such a great job, and was so patient and explained things so well. I was impressed. By the end of the night, Victoria was well on her way to being a clutch master. :)

I christened Monday "Take Your Sister to Work Day," and Victoria came with me to work for a while before we headed over to the other campus at VCU for a tour. It still boggles my mind that she is going to be a SENIOR this year and will be going to college next year!! It was fun to walk around the campus with her and see her reaction to it all (overwhelmed much?). They gave us a voucher for her to eat free in the dining hall, so we headed there for lunch. When we handed the cashier the voucher and she looked at me and said, "Oh, are you the mom?" I about died. And then later, when the girl doing the School of the Arts tour asked me if I were applying to the school as well, I was resuscitated. :)

The School of the Arts tour was pretty awesome, even though we were both worn out by that point. I have never seen so many different art machines and tools and supplies and mediums (media?). Victoria was pretty excited by it all, and I think is pretty sure now that this is where she wants to be. It's not an easy school to get into for art, so I am keeping my fingers crossed for her, and hoping she spends some time on her portfolio this fall!!

After a couple more hours in my office, we set out for Charlottesville to meet up with my mom, and my family weekend officially ended. The house was certainly quiet when I got home. Can't wait for them to visit again!


Whoopsy Daisy!

This morning, I decided to wear a skirt to work. I grabbed it from the hanger and put one foot in as I stood by the closet, then went to put the other in.

If you are not a woman, you may not understand how simple it should be to put on a cotton jersey skirt with an elastic waistband. To give you menfolk out there some idea, it's kind of like standing in place, holding a hula hoop at knee level in front of you, and stepping into it.

Easy, right?

I fell over.

My freaking foot got stuck on the waistband somehow and with one knee sticking over the top of the skirt, my foot entangled in the elastic and the other leg totally through, I began to fall backwards, and I couldn't straighten myself out fast enough, and so down I went.

Thank God I had gathered all the many things I need to have dry cleaned and they were laying in a pile right underneath where my behind landed.

What in the hell.


Pissed at the Pringles.

Okay, what in the bloody hell is going on with potato chips.

Last week, I got a bag of Baked Lays out of the vending machine. Believe it or not, I prefer the baked ones to the regular ones when it comes to plain ol' Lays. But people, they have done something to them. I don't know what, but they were not flavorful like they used to be, not as much salt or faux-potato flavor or something. I was annoyed, but I get that the Baked Lays are supposed to be the "healthful" chip option, so if they have to mess around with them to make them healthier, well, I just have to suck it up.

But TODAY! Today, people, I got a little snack pack of Pringles. And pardon my French, but they have royally $@!%ed them up. And I am pissed about it.

The Pringles I know and love (and don't eat very often because they're so bad for you) are greasy, crunchy, salty crescents of potatoey goodness. The Pringle I bit into today? Bland, crispy (VERY different from crunchy), weak-ass, flaky imitation of a Pringle potato chip. I do not know what in the hell they did to my Pringles, but I DON'T LIKE IT.

Screw this nonsense about making JUNK FOOD healthier! How about we Americans learn a little SELF CONTROL and just eat LESS when we indulge in heart-clogging treats?!



Adventures in Turning 30.

Since I had my birthday party a week before I actually turned 30, I wasn't really anticipating much more celebrating on the real day. Of course I hoped we'd acknowledge it somehow, but I knew we'd be in Jersey for the wedding and really didn't care what we did. For that reason, we made no plans past attending the post-wedding brunch on my big day.

What followed that was what I've been calling my "fly by the seat of your pants" birthday. See, we had no idea what we were going to do, and did not bother to stop and plan it out that morning. Instead, we went and had the most DELICIOUS brunch, thinking it would all fall into place eventually. The hotel where the brunch was held happened to be right on the beach, and would you believe that New Jersey actually has NICE beaches? Forgive my ignorance on this subject, it's just that every time I'd ever heard any mention of the beach in NJ, I (rather unfortunately) thought of used syringes and trash. Where exactly this came from, I do not know. But let's just say when I heard the wedding was near the beach in New Jersey, my brain did not jump to, "Oh! We'll be at the beach for my birthday!"

And so I was pleasantly surprised to find that right in front of me was somewhere I actually *wanted* to spend time! :) Luckily I had thrown our bathing suits in the suitcase in case there was a pool at the hotel, and we tote travel blankets around with us all the time, and Bryan had brought a couple of folding chairs. (He's smarter than me about the Jersey Shore.) And so when I said to Bryan, "You know what I'd really like to do today? Just sit on the beach and read my book," he made it happen.

So the middle part of my birthday was spent doing exactly that:

After a few hours on the beach, it was time to move on. Again, we had no plan. Join our brother-in-law and nephew at the Phillies game? Go to Atlantic City? Go visit the other in-laws? Go home? Go somewhere else? And Bryan said, "Are the Yankees playing?" And they weren't. But the Mets were. So since we were (a little) closer to New York City than Philadelphia, we hopped on the Garden State Parkway and headed north to Shea Stadium and watched the Mets beat the Marlins. It was a blast.

On the way out, since neither of us had ever actually driven in NYC, we decided we just had to drive through Times Square. What an experience. I was quite relieved that it was Bryan driving and not me!

I have to say, it was quite a wonderful birthday. Made the whole concept of being "over the hill" now a little easier to deal with. ;-)

Congrats, Richie & Monica!

Bryan's cousin Richie married his best girl Monica this past Friday--one of those 08.08.08 weddings. :) The wedding was in Long Branch, New Jersey and, in spite of everything you hear about Jersey, it was beautiful. ;-)

We wish the new Mr. and Mrs. years of happiness!


Celebrating the big 3-0!

(Click image to enlarge collage.)

I don't turn 30 until this weekend (August 9, for all you well-wishers), but we will be headed to New Jersey for a wedding, so I had to celebrate a little early. :)

And celebrate I did! We had a great time this past Saturday hanging out with family and friends and eating and drinking and playing. We even borrowed this big inflatable water slide from my boss, and despite it being on its last leg, the kids LOVED it. What a great investment for someone who has kids at their house a lot!

Believe it or not, I was barely even hung over the next day. :)

My grandma and mother-in-law thought they would be cute and put 30 candles on my cake. And of course no one expected me to blow them all out with one try, but I DID! This is the advantage of having this sort of party while you're still actually in your twenties--better lung capacity. Ha! My father-in-law even snapped a picture of me blowing them out. It is just about the most unflattering picture ever, but I've included it in the collage because, dammit, I was proud!

Some played badminton, some played bocce, some played Apples to Apples, some just hung around and chatted and ate and drank. It was a great way to welcome my thirties!