Laurel Hill Cemetery

After our excursion to the Eastern State Penitentiary, we found ourselves with a little more time. We have been meaning to head out to the cemetery for a while and since Spencer was down, off we went.

Fall has been on the tail end around these parts and on the way there I realized we should have come out to see it sooner. At the point we went, a lot of the Fall foliage was gone.

But, despite the lack of foliage, wow wow wow. I love me a good cemetery and this one was EPIC. It’s huge and is on terrace overlooking the Schuylkill River… super beautiful, scenic and historic. We saw many stones of people born in the 1700’s and one of a man that fought in the civil war. WHOA. Although my favorite part was the sea of obelisks.

Anyway, enough about it and on to the photos cause again, pictures speak louder than words.

The rest of the photos can be viewed over on the flickr set

Fill in the blank Friday

1. Waking up at the break of dawn to go shopping is my idea of craziness. There is nothing I want or need that would make me want to go out shopping around all those crazy people fighting over parking/sales/stuff. Unless Apple is giving away iMacs then you won’t see me out there.

2. If I were to go shopping today I would be on the hunt for a nice winter coat cause lord knows I am going to need it.

3. The best thing I ate yesterday was chicken and sausage gumbo.

4. Something I’ve been learning lately is you really find out who your friends are when you go through major life events.

5. I cannot start my day without lip balm. I’m a lip balm junkie.

6. My nighttime attire consists of drawstring pj pants, t-shirt and socks. I get too cold to wear anything less. Me = big baby.

7. I am looking forward to getting home (even if it’s Jersey for now), my bed and omg! Getting laid! 5 days in someone else’s home and room/bed sharing with the kid is a damper on the nasty time.

The Eastern State Penitentiary

One of the many things I have wanted to see since moving around these parts was the Eastern State Pen and since Spencer was here and down with the creepy, we made an afternoon out of it. So we hopped in the car on a very crispy afternoon and took the audio tour through the grounds (which is narrated by Steve Buscemi btw).

I can go on a big ole diatribe about the place and how AWESOME it is, how very much it is worth going, how creepy and eerie it is, and how my camera went NUTS… blah blah blah… I will let the pictures speak for themselves cause WHOA.

the rest can be viewed over on the flickr set. Definitely worth looking through them if you’re into this kinda thing.

fill in the blank friday

1. A nervous habit I have is picking at my split ends. It’s part of the reason why my hair hasn’t grown out as fast cause I keep having to get the ends seriously pruned.

2. Something that makes me sad is how jaded people are on a lot of things, love being one of the biggest.

3. Today I am thankful for all the wonderful people I know. On my birthday, my facebook page was an explosion of amazingness and most of it wasn’t cliche ass “happy bday” messages either. Sometimes I don’t realize how much importance and love people view me with, moreso than I view myself. I need to fix that.

4. My favorite room in my house is a tie between the kitchen I just re-did and the attic/studio/guest room space I am making up there. I love everything about what I have done to them.

5. I can’t stand ignorance. People who run their mouths about shit they know nothing about. Bigots, haters, racists and overall blatant stupidity.

6. If I had an extra $100 to spend on whatever I wanted today I would put it toward extending Spencer’s plane ticket. I am not ready for him to go already.

7. The last person/people I hung out with was/were Josh, Spencer and Reza. We spent the day in Philly/ Eastern State Penitentiary/ Laurel Hill Cemetery. It was fucking EPIC. I took over 300 photos so you can imagine what the next post is going to be. Photos galore!

In case you want to play along

good morning 37

For the past couple of birthdays I have posted a self portrait and here we are, the morning of birthday 37. I find myself this morning still very much sick with bronchitis but it is getting better, thankfully, cause being down and out is one of the worst feelings. I have been powering through it though cause Spencer didn’t fly all the way over here to be around a Miss Cranky Pants which I can very much be when I am sick. Hey, if you were coughing, hacking and felt like an anvil was sitting on your rib cage, you would be too.

I spent the past year thinking I was going to be 38, goes to show you how old one gets that the lines become blurred and it doesn’t matter as much. Well, not to me anyway. Sure I am more rickety than ever, thanks to the NJ weather pointing out every single spot that has ailed me in my lifetime. The other day someone cursed me for not looking my age, which I kindly took as a compliment. Goes to show you that staying out of the sun and away from tanning beds pays off for something…. but fear not, I don’t get carded anymore either.

I went into 36 thinking it was going to be a year about balance and I have to say it was without a doubt one of the most difficult in recent years. A LOT happened to me last year, some of which I would like to make a thing of the past and then there is the whole uprooting to another part of the world. It sure has been a test, that I can tell you. I am doing my best to be resilient to the changes that life has thrown my way, take it all in stride and roll with the punches. It’s a lot harder than it seems, I just try to put on the happy face cause I don’t want to be “that girl” who burdens people with her woes. If you knew me the way some people do, you would know that is just how I roll.

What will 37 hold? Getting my shit together, treating myself better, being a good friend to those who have stood by me despite the fact I am now on the other side of the country, loving and working together with my husband to find our place in the world, get those creative juices flowing again and survive the Winter. God, I am so scared of the Winter and what it is going to bring. But hey, what else can I do? I am here, I have no choice but to pull up my big girl pants and deal. Heh.

So yes, 37. Welcome and let’s go!


and in previous years: 36 + 35

I knew it was coming…

After months of being slacky I had a feeling it was going to creep up on me and sure enough, it did. I dunno what it is about me, shit, people in general. A lot of the times we do things to ourselves knowing fully well what the consequences may be but we still do them anyway! Case in point my current state of affairs. I knew that getting off the regimen the Tibetan dr. gave me was going to more than likely get me sick and unhealthy and sure enough here I am. Bronchitis.

The cough crept in pretty fast and after a Dr. appointment yesterday, sure enough, I have it and now I have to deal with this shit for 2-6 weeks. He said this kinda thing just lingers around and of course I am beating myself up over it cause Spencer gets here tomorrow and we have to travel to Louisiana for Thanksgiving. FUN. Oh yeah, did I mention it is also the week of my birthday? BAH. Happy birthday to you Ivonne, and in this box you get mucus and hacking. Good fucking times.

I am being all emo about this shit. After being sick for almost 3 horrible months last year, the last thing I want is to go back to that place again. It was a dark time for me on more than just an illness level and all it does is rehash a lot of feelings for me… well at least this time around I have insurance. Thank jeebus.

Of course this crud didn’t stop me from going to Tar-chez to get Reza some digs from the Harajuku Mini line at Target. Hey man, Mom has her priorities. hahahah. It is even cuter in person… and I fully expect it to sell out quick. if you have a little person in your life I totally suggest you pop down there. The only bummer is they didn’t make the animal hoodies over a 5T and Reza is past that. But that plaid ruffled dress is pretty awesome. So much so I ended up getting two, one for now and one for later. Girl loves her dresses after all.

So yeah, we are headed to the South for Thanksgiving. Honestly I am not looking forward to traveling on one of the busiest travel days of the year. There are reasons why I have never done it and that is one of them. Pair that with the funk in my lungs? Oh good times. It will be nice to see Josh’s family though, I just wish Jake was coming along. Reza seems to have developed a connection with him and I wish she was able to hang out with him most of all. Tis the woes of living far away from family. I am telling you, whoever invents the teleportation pod will be one rich motherfucker.

Anyway, I should be going back to lie down. It sucks that Reza is home today cause I am not on point and it makes me feel like a crappy mom. Moms do not get sick days. It’s ass.

That is all.

what is wrong with this picture?

Ha! Look at me, all proud of myself and my massive pile of leaves…. and dude, this did not include anything from the back yard, if it did it would be three times the size. And where is Josh? Inside the house playing Skyrim and doing laundry. I kinda had to do them cause I was on poop pick up detail but all the leaves caked over the grass. I had to pick them up in order to find Nena’s turds… that is unless I wanted to play “where’s waldo?” with her logs in the front yard.

Last weekend we had amassed this obscene pile of leaves due to some serious leaf blowing slackage. Josh, Reza, Tania and I were out there cracking jokes, getting our cardio on. It was almost embarrassing how large the pile was… weeks worth in the back. The township where we live has a “leaf collection team” that cruises by with a massive vacuum every other week and they just pick it up if you put it out in the gutter. It was pretty funny, Tania and I were watching them pick all this shit up and Reza runs to the front door and yells to them, “SORRY ABOUT THAT!!!” We laughed so hard.

And yes, I fully understand that I was out doing yard work in my pajama pants and I don’t give a fuck. It is the beauty of living in a place where sweats, pajama pants and UGGs are a daily “leave the house” fashion. I can do yard work looking dumpy and no one would really notice. I certainly don’t.

I am sad that Fall is working its way toward ending but this leaf pick up? While I won’t miss it, I will prefer this over snow shoveling that is for damned sure.

a very overdue reza documentation post

Boy have I been a slacker documenting things about The Nugget. I have been so caught up in home projects, life and adjustment that putting all the little nuances down has slipped away from me. The last time I updated was in August! Bad mom! *hand slap* So where are we?

Well, we moved into the new house and the girl loves it. We put her in a pre-K program and she likes it. Notice I didn’t use “love”? Yeah, we don’t love it either but it was the best we could do on a super short notice, needless to say I am shopping for a kindergarten elsewhere. She loves the changes of the weather although she still doesn’t understand that sleeping in just her underwear isn’t ok and no, you cannot go barefoot when it’s 40 degrees outside.

She likes to play dead a lot. When she hears us coming, she flops over and we usually find something like this….

She does so many things for herself now. It’s an odd but awesome feeling when you see your kid exuding their independence. Sometimes more independence than I would like. Sheesh. While we were raking the yard the other day, she went into the house and made Josh and I sandwich… no help, all on her own accord. She said it was “for all of our hard work”. She is so sweet and thoughtful, I hope she can hang on to those traits as long as possible.

On the 13th the lemon turned the ripe old age of five. I of course was going through maternal guilt that day, knowing she would have no birthday party or little friends to celebrate with. I took cupcakes and treat bags for her to share with her classmates and that evening I put together a little Triangle party with just us. I spent all morning shopping for gifts, balloons, cake… It was pretty funny, I bought her a ton of balloons and when I got home I lost a battle with a bush and more than half popped so I had to bolt back to the store to replenish.

We had cheeseburger dinner, I got her a little cake, she opened gifts and in general seemed to really enjoy all the attention (and presents) she got. Her favorite gifts were the fuzzy skull print bathrobe from Liz and the Scooby Doo Mystery Machine lunch bag from Tania. It was kind of bittersweet though, I won’t lie, I missed CA a lot that day and having her be around all of her friends that she has not forgotten. But still, my beauty turned 5 yo! Far gone are the days of getting shit for free.

Reza got to see her first “snow” fall, ironically on the same day as I did. No, I have never seen snow fall and although it was on the slushy side it was still ice falling from the sky. Can you take it? We have some freak day in October where the skies parted and gave us sleet/snow/rain. It was a TRIP. Josh of course was chuckling at my expense cause I wasn’t having it. You got to keep in mind we were usually trick or treating in a heat wave. But Reza? Something tells me she is gonna eat this shit up, she has her Dad’s cold tolerance unlike me and my popsicle limbs.

Halloween came around and I just didn’t have it in me to make a full on home made costume so we took her to the Spirit store and let her pick out something. She just wouldn’t make up her mind! It came down to a bat/ballerina and skeleton bride. She wanted the bat get up but it was SKIMPY, not in a slutty way but just was short on limb coverage and it was COLD that week so we intervened so she would have a more pleasant trick or treating experience. (I.E. not freezing her ass off) I ended up going to Joanne’s and bought more white tulle to enhance the costume and make it more “bridal” and voluminous.

Josh and I had a moment the night before Halloween… I was sewing on the tulle and we had her standing on a step ladder, Josh is helping her put her bride dress on and I am making alterations to the lengths… and it was just one of those moments where we flashed way too forward, envisioning the day our girl gets married (if she ever chooses to). It’s hard not to sometimes… especially when I did her make-up next day, smokey eyes, she looked so much more grown up and at times it is painful to look at, to see how fast she is growing up and we could totally see the teenager or young woman she is going to become one day.

It was pretty comical when I got her to school the next day. A) She was not into getting her photo taken much and not sure how I managed that shot but I snagged it. B) She was one of the 2 girls that were not Disney princesses. One girl asked her… “and what are you?” and in her best condescending tone Reza says, “I am a corpse bride silly!!” – The girl responded with “what’s a corpse???” – hahahah.

We ended up hooking up with our landlords and their family. They have 4 kids, two of which are close to Reza’s age and they had amassed a little possee to go out. Josh missed going with us cause part of the growing pains of a new place is we were totally unprepared for the fact that there is a trick or treating curfew here. 3pm-8pm only and with Josh an hour away in Atlantic City, and I had the car, there was no way he could leave to join us. He was really bummed out about it, shit, I was too. But now we know for next year! It was kind of an evening of fail cause I made the horrendous mistake of grabbing my camera with the dead battery still in it. I was pressed for time! And then I get to Reza’s school and they had taken all of her costume off. I was pissed! So with no time to go home, all of our trick or treating photos ended up being cell phone photos. I. Was. So. Sad. She of course knew no better and had a blast! I was just not into it as much this year, I was missing home and the friends/ritual we had every year.

I do have to say though, trick or treating in the day aside, there is something far more magical about candy poaching off people’s doorsteps in REAL Fall weather… watching little witches and ghouls crunch through massive piles of leaves, the colors in the trees… this is how Halloween really should be.

Let’s see, what else…

Of course it isn’t all sweetness and fun times… we got her progress report from school the other day and she is excelling in all things academic but when it comes to listening and following direction, that is a whole other story. She doesn’t listen and especially when it comes to me. She thinks she can get away with things and well, that shit just doesn’t fly with us. Other than punishment I am finding the things I need to do with her involves consequences for her actions. The other day she acted like a total heathen while Tania and I were in Philly with her. So much so that I took away her privleges to take her to the Nest for play time. She was PISSED but I am sorry man, I give you chances and if you aren’t going to listen or adhere to the things I ask for, I take away the things you want. It was just a bad day with her and I got home with tears of defeat in my eyes. It sucks when you try so hard to be the cool parent and no matter what approach (hard-soft-cool) you take you still get walked all over. I am far too sensitive and I take shit personally.

She started reading on her own. Just one day started reading off signs on the street/products to us. Nothing too crazy but it has happened enough at home that I talked to her teacher about it. She was tested and she got put in a reading program with the older kids. Our goal is to have her reading more fluently by Kindergarten.

She picked up a Jersey accent when she says “yeah”. It’s fucking awful and we correct her when can. Josh is not having it! Fuuuuuuhhhhhh…. the accents people have out here are not pleasant and the last thing I want is my daughter talking like that.

Right now her favorites are…

tv: Pucca and the Monster High webisodes
music: She loves “Helena Beat” by Foster The People
movie: Gnomeo and Juliet
toys: She loves Monster High. Hey, I would rather she play with Ghoulia the zombie daughter than blonde/big tittied Barbie any day of the week.
treat: italian ice (still)
food: apples – honeycrisps are in season right now and I have been buying them like crazy

the sheriff and cap’n take on Atlantic City

One thing Tania wanted to do while here was head out to AC for a couple hours. We took Reza to school and headed down a foggy yet very scenic expressway!

First stop was to head to Revel to meet Josh. He gave us a brief walk-thru of the back of the house and not only is this casino HUGE but it is going to be really nice. Modern, clean lines and best of all, not tacky! (see silver, beautiful, wavy building below). Since the property is not open right now, we took off for some lunch elsewhere.

After a tasty lunch of Americanized Cuban food at Cuba Libre, we parted ways with Josh and took off to walk up and down the Atlantic City Boardwalk. It is a lot more ghost town-like when it isn’t Summer, even more when the weather isn’t pretty but this is something you need to keep in mind: the people watching is ALWAYS there and rest assured, there is never a dull moment when there are casinos and riff raff involved.

After some taffy and trinket hunting we just had a good time laughing at the “fashion”, got sassed by a Starbucks barista, Tania got threatened for taking photos of those hideous pants with the wings on the ass and then there is the whole getting mistaken for hoo-ahhh part…

One thing AC has is a lot of t-shirt vendors. Horrible, tacky ass t-shirts that most people wouldn’t even wear as a joke. As we passed one establishment, I joked to Tania in my best porn star voice about how I would seduce Josh in this horrendous, purple floor length nightgown… “oh yeah, heyyyyyy babeeeee”. I tend to not gauge my own volume and apparently a person of the male form in front of me turns around thinking I was addressing him. There are a lot of hookers round those parts and it didn’t surprise us when he turns around with a big grin on his face in which Tania realized what was going on she says, “Oh no sir! She’s talking about her husband and we’re… we’re… TOURISTS”. We got a nice laugh out of the whole thing.

A pit stop to piss at Bally’s, $10 gone on a slot machine and getting mildly rained on later… we found ourselves back at Revel to wait for Josh so he could hitch a ride home with us. It was short and sweet and even though we didn’t do much, the conversation and laughs with Tania are always the best. We are so similar and so different but the common ground is the best of the best and when two worlds collide it’s like crimson and clover, over and over.

I took her to the airport earlier this afternoon and it was a total bummer. This is the thing, I do not have any real friends here and having one of if not my best gf come out and explore with me was something I sorely, sorely needed. Well, now she is gone and well, I am left with a brownie pecan pie and half (that she made us, more on that later) and an empty spot in the house. Thankfully it is the weekend and I have Josh to smooth my broken heart over a little. It also helps that we get Spencer next week, just in time to help me ring in my shift into the big 3-7. Holy shit y’all I am getting oh el dee.

Oh my Sheriff, thank you so so SO much for coming out to hang out with us and get to know what our new life and part of the world are like. You are a true friend and I count my blessings every day that you are in our lives. Miss you so much and I will see you in March!

fill in the blank friday

1. My favorite new blog of the moment is: Honestly I have had so little time in the past few weeks to find new blogs. I barely have time to keep up with the ones I already read. But, I love The Crave List, I just wish she posted a little more 😉

2. Something I am thankful for is
my family. I dunno what I would do without Josh and Reza.

3. Something that made me laugh this week was Tania and I watching the John Hamm Sergio SNL skit.

4. An item that is currently on my wish list is a pilates reformer but man are they expensive. New boots. I am having a hard time finding a pair I absolutely love.

5. I am excited about seeing Spencer next week! YAY!

6. If I were a color I would be
red. [insert cliche explanation here]

7. My favorite way to spend a chilly fall day is by snuggled up on the couch in my berkshire blanket, with warm beverage in tow.

play along