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As I went to check out at JoAnn Fabrics today, I heard the Maynard running the register telling another clerk that he had “this respect for the era” of the 80s and that was how he knew all the songs on the intercom.  So I was already giddy with the urge to slap somebody. Then he tosses to his colleague, “Hey, do you know what the first song played on MTV was?”  duh.  I had to ring in with “Video Killed the Radio Star by the Buggles.”  He was unduly awed and I said, “Well, I DID graduate high school in ’85.”  He  kind of laughed and said, “I wasn’t even BORN in ’85!”  Are there no child labor laws in this state?  Sheesh.  He also confessed to enjoying “the old classic” version of Trivial Pursuit.  “But those are HARD!”  I gave him the invaluable tip, “when in doubt, guess Madonna.”  I tip I figured out in ’84.  Several years before he was born.

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Mom has dial up.  I know!  It’s like she lives in a yurt in Tibet.  So she has to pull up photo-heavy posts and then just go to bed.  They’ll be loaded by lunch time the next day.

First–Steve’s birthday was the 20th.  If you forgot to send him a present, or just couldn’t figure out what to get him, he likes money.  Ben Franklin is his favorite old dude.  I, however, made him a pie:

It’s the Alton Brown apple pie and it is FABulous.  Click here for my full pie post and lovely photos from the first time I made it.  It’s perfect.  And while time-intensive, not at all hard.

We went to Philly a couple of weekends ago.  We decided to walk across the Ben Franklin bridge and then meander around the Independence Hall area.  It was a gorgeous fall day (we thought about going into NYC but couldn’t quite work up the enthusiasm for the hassle of getting into and out of the city.  And it was a bit too far to walk).  Ben was a bit apprehensive as he’s going through a fear-of-heights thing, but he did fine.

That’s Grandma and Grandpa there with Lily.

Why yes, those are hot pink chickens on my pants.  Thanks for asking.  You can see Ben’s enthusiasm in this one as he nearly lifts off with the up-draft…

When we reached the other side, we found ourselves at the Christ Church Burial Ground.  The other adults did not share my enthusiasm, but the girls and I opted to go in.  They gave up ice cream to go look at gravestones.  I am so proud.  At first, I thougth I wouldn’t have nearly enough time, since there were so many so very old stones, but as it turns out, most of them were worn completely blank by city rain over 200 years.  And they were so very sad:

There were a lot of above-ground family crypts, which I found interesting.  is Philly particularly low-lying?  And there were a lot of these weird things that look like dining room tables.  Julianna and I were referring to them as such and Lily finally said, “Mommy, why do so many people want to have dinner in a cemetary?”

Nah, they just like to play cards with the dead, honey.

The original entrance is lined with family crypts:

Here’s the top of one of the legible ones:

So there are EIGHT people in that hole?  And the above ground crypts are similarly crowded.  And the deaths aren’t always that far apart, so do they just dump a body in there?  If there’s a coffin, how do they fit more in?  I referred to them as “just stacked up in there.”  And then Lily called, “Hey look mommy!  This one has a stack of babies!”

Um, yeah.  Thanks for that, honey.  I’m going to pretend it’s full of house pets, thanks.

Most of the stones were worn smooth, but some were newer (having been replaced by decendents) and some were of a better stone.  I’ve instructed my children not to give me a granite stone.  It just wears away.  It’s too bad they were blank b/c these old stones can be kind of wordy:

First–Ann Davis?  Didn’t she play Alice on the Brady Bunch?  I didn’t even know she was sick!  In cas you can’t read it, it says, “This stone is sacred to the memory of George Davis one other of the children of George and Ann Davis .  Who departed this life on 6th April 1826 aged 30 years, 1 month, and 12 days.  For rigid punctuality and love of order he was remarkable.  His mortal remains are here interred by the side of his dear relatives.  His immortal spirit is is believed have joined (unclear) in the realms of bliss.”  If they were charged by the word, this is a costly stone.  And he’s very near Ben Franklin’s grave,too.  I bet that’s prime real estate.

Once we’d scanned the whole burial ground, we met up with Steve and Ben while the grandparents walked BACK across the bridge to get the van.  We killed time by going to see the Liberty Bell.  The kids had just been a couple weeks before, so they weren’t as stunned by patriotic pride as they might have been.  Julianna faked it well:

I remember seeing the bell on some class trip or family vacation and I remember leaning on it with one hand to look up under it.  And it was outside, under a pavillion of some sort.

Then we hung around and waited for our ride.  Hey Lily, turn around!

Okay, now may I see your face?

In truth, the first pic is what I usually see.

Ben:

Nanna:

I think that may be the most times I’ve mentioned Ben Franklin in one post….

I am tradition-and-ritual resistant.  I hate feeling obligated to do anything and kids have made it worse, they leave you little wiggle room.  But Halloween seems to be the only place I’ll allow it.  When Julianna was little, we always went to Summers Farm pumpkin patch and I had photos of a rapidly growning and changing Schmoo in the same setting year after year.  Much like the lake photos.  For the last 3 years, though, we’ve switched to Jumbos Farm and we share our tradition with the neighbors.  We meet at the farm, ride the tractor out to the pumpkin patch, select the pumpkins (average time for selection–Julianna: 30 minutes.  Steve: 30 seconds), go back to the Donalds’ house for a potluck and pumpkin carving.  Finish up with a bonfire.

The weather forcast was for rain all day Saturday (and it was right.  Oy, was it right), so we decided to do it Friday night.  We’d all worked all day (I had Kindergarten art.  More on that later) and were shattered, but Tradition Must Stand! so off we went.  We had fun though.

Ben, Julianna and Molly, on the trailer to go to the patch:

Lily and Brooke:

Steve takes a meeting on the hayride:

Finding the perfect pumpkin:

Where, oh where is the return wagon?

I can’t remember where I left my pumpkin…

If the trip was a Project Runway field trip for inspiration, I’d use this photo:

No trip is complete without drama.  She tripped on a vine and fell and no one came to fuss over her.  The horror.

Molly and Julianna return from the far reaches, triumphant:

The hunters and their prey.  Ben chose his b/c he liked the blood-like drip of pokeberry bird poop on it:

Lily’s design, ready for carving:

Blair at the bar, Ben and Julianna, ripping out pumpkin guts:

After the carving, the kids watched Ghostbusters while the adults went out for some well-earned wine and a bonfire.  It was a perfect night for it.  Love a fire in the fall.  When the movie was over and the fire out, we went in to light the pumpkins before heading home:

Mine is the one with the Mr. Yuck face.

It was late:

Molly’s cute little gourd:

Steve’s very creepy pumpkin:

Now it is Saturday, and pouring, so I’m glad we went yesterday.  It’s 3:30 in the afternoon and all I’ve managed to do is go to the farmer’s market.  I hope to wash dishes before nightfall.

The irony is that when I’m really busy, I don’t have time to write about what might be interesting…So I’ll take a few moments to share photos from a couple of weeks ago.  Aunt Carolyn and Uncle Ralph came through Frederick on their way to Delaware and we took them to our favorite short hike trail.  It’s at Cunningham Falls State Park, and it’s just the perfect hike for little kids.  Enough rock climbing and steep hill scaling that they feel like real hikers, but simple enough that they can do it.  And, you know, so can I.

Lily was very proud when she was able to scale the rocks:

Yeah, they’re all kinda lame.  See this uncle I have?  Uncle Ralph?  He’s a photographer and he had his camera…so when he sends me some of those photos (hint. hint.) I’ll post them and they’ll be beautiful.

Steve and I went to a fancy-schmancy new restaurant last night.  We sat in the “chef’s dining room” with a view of the kitchen.  I got a 5 course vegetarian tasting menu–small dishes of many things–and it was delicious.  Full write up on my local food blog:

Review of Volt

I liked it a lot.  It wasn’t Sushi Yasuda, by any stretch.  I didn’t actually moan when I ate the food.  I didn’t feel like I never wanted to eat another thing because I never wanted that taste to leave my mouth.  I doubt I will lie in bed plotting when I can next go back.  But it was damned good food, well presented.

…in case you had noted that the 15th anniversary is the Crystal Anniversary and you were thinking of buying me a vase or wine goblets.  Or Crystal Lite.  Yes, fifteen years ago today, Steve and I got married.  I woke up at my parents’ house and went to Captain John’s for a yummy breakfast.  We’d had the rehersal dinner at Boondocks for crabs the night before–you had to be 21 to go into Sambo’s, so that was out, even though it makes a better name to tell people.  From breakfast, we headed over to the Maple Dale Country Club for a rehersal.  I was bustling around, getting people in their places when we got the call that Steve was still at the restaurant with Kevin, the best man.  No one had taken them to the Club.  In my mind, I imagine receiving this call on my cell phone.  But that clearly did not happen.  It must have come via Western Union or something.  But anyway, you don’t REALLY need the groom for the rehersal, right?  So one of my friend read Steve’s lines and we soldiered on.  Greg went to get Steve and Kevin (hey Greg Saltis, where are you?) and I briefed them.  Then we hustled about placing mums and arranging a backdrop and telling the country club staff where to put the tables.  In the end, I didn’t even have time to take a shower before the wedding.  I got my hair done and picked up my dress.  Stacey drove me back to the country club (while praying mantises poured out from under the hood of her car.  hello?) and I had just enough time to get dressed before the wedding.  Steve was there too, apparently.  He says that he was all alone in the men’s locker room and no one came to talk to him. Aww.  The wedding itself was pretty speedy, on to the food and beer!  We stayed until the end, went to the Sheraton to sleep.  Next morning, brunch with all the out-of-towners, and then off to Tenerife and back to Germany for another year.

On the one hand, if feels like yesterday.  And on the other hand, it feels like another lifetime ago.

Why yes, my dress IS beautiful.  My mom made it.  I helped by bossing her around and making all those flowers around the neck.  My head piece is a flower wreath from the Maryland Renaissance Festival.  I’d been writing my thesis there, so I had my pick.  Yes, the cake is also lovely and the flowers are edible b/c I do not cotton to things on cakes that you cannot eat.  Oh, and by the way, it was made by Carol Neulander. And better?  Fred Neulander blessed our marriage.  But so far so good, so thanks Fred!

Okay, I’ve had it.  I need a full household staff.  How did we get away from this?  I can live without a lady’s maid, and I’m sure Steve will get by without a valet (say val-et, please, as if you were British), but honestly there’s just too much to do to not have a butler, cook, and downstairs maid.  I need to:

paint the dining room

hang shelves in said dining room

paint upstairs bathroom

will upstairs bathroom sink into functioning, even though it has been clogged solid shut since two weeks after we moved in here, 4 and half years ago.

retile upstairs bathroom floor in something that does not look as if it has muddy paw prints all over it 15 seconds after it is mopped (slaughtering the cats might help with that, too.  Maybe I need a butcher)

mop all the floors

refininsh all the floors

clean rooms (as if)

go through hellish cave of horrors basement and toss at least 1/3 of its contents

practice yoga more than once a month

sew some more product for my shop which no one ever buys from so what’s the damned point anyway?

read the huge stack of books I need/want to read

learn to knit

watch the Rachel Zoe Project

watch the Vicar of Dibley reunion shows I got from the library

clean animal cages

create Small Angels Rescue products for CafePress or Zazzle site

take a picture of my bedroom so that you can see how very, very badly I need staff.

This is not to mention even the laundry, cooking, and general tidying that really should be done every day but cannot b/c of my rigorous blogging schedule.  So if you have Irish immigrant relatives who are looking for work and won’t mind sleeping in my leaky garage…and won’t mind the fact that I cannot pay them…ship them over.  I’m drowning here.  I barely have time to feel stressed about my impending middle age (I’m working it in though, don’t fret).  Baring that, send Xanax.

Thanks to Andi, I was able to create my superhero self.

Fear me, for I am Yomamma.  Behold! I wear an apron, for superduds are expensive to clean. My two-tone leggings are slimming, yet fierce.  My pearls signal my femininity, and suggest that you cannot afford me.  My club is at the ready b/c SOMEone needs an ass-whuppin’. I wear a cape, because capes are awesome and really ought never go out of style.   And my soft leather boots…because I might suddenly need to go to the Renaissance Faire.  It happens.

a

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October 2008
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