Friday, October 31, 2008


Corey and I have decided that pastured beef and pork is infinitely more delicious than the CAFO stuff. (I'm eating some sausage right now! You should be jealous!) Absolutely and unquestionably worth whatever minimal addition in price. The taste is just so fresh and pure and...meaty. Un-be-lievable.

Same with the eggs. The yolks are bright orange. Anyone who read Omnivore's Dilemma and had a mouth watering, out-of-body experience reading about those eggs the chefs wanted to bake with can relate to my delight making omelets from these beautiful ova.

The cage-free chickens, however? Stringy. Tough. Kind of gross, actually. It's a bit like gnawing on airplane meat or something with the consistency of licorice.

I can't understand it. I am so sad about it. Why is the meat ungood? Is there something in the diet of these chickens that makes the meat this way? Have I had continued bad luck with my cooking abilities?

Surely cramming chickens into cages the way we do now can't IMPROVE the quality of the meat? Can it? I don't know what to do in this situation, because I can't see myself giving up poultry and I want to stick to my guns regarding this lifestyle choice. Anyone out there had any delicious free range/cage free poultry?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Nesting Update

Corey and I shuffled around the basement and remembered that we actually have a few overhead lights we never remembered to install when we lived in Bloomfield, NJ. One of them will be great to replace the breast-shaped hall light upstairs, but I'm wondering if the other is a good fit for the dining room.

This is a close match to the light, which is not a pendant lamp but a ceiling-clinging one. My parents don't have a pendant lamp in the dining area and I never thought that was weird. Is there some sort of rule about pendant lamps over tables? What do you wonderful readers think about using this flattish lamp in the dining room?

I know it would be a marked improvement over the gothic chandelier, but is it a better choice than the others I was thinking about?

Once Upon A Genius

I made a 10am appointment at the Mac store for my MacBook. Note to others in Pittsburgh: Don't make 10am appointments. The geniuses (genii?) are in morning meetings until 1015. All the appointments are pushed back. Make yourself a 1015 appointment and bring a book.

Anyway, my genius opened up the MacBook and confirmed my suspicion that something was not right with the cd drive. He feels there is a mini-disk stuck in there, which I assured him is impossible. Then an interesting thing happened.

The Mac Genius whipped out a little light on a stick, like the doctors use to look in your ears and throat. He began using this tool to give my MacBook a medical examination. It was very strange to watch. I started to get worried my laptop would be ill or need a shot. He next whipped out tweezers. Long, skinny tweezers. He shoved them around inside there, in much the way I could have done at home I suppose.

Eventually, he determined the problem was much too deep for him. Which is so funny because I'm reading The Lost Ravioli Recipes of Hoboken, and the chapter I'm on is titled "How Deep Do You Want to Go?"

I guess that might only be funny if you're me...

Anyway, the genius told me there was naught to do but take the computer apart, something that would cost me $300.

I asked what would happen if I did not get the optical drive repaired. Evidently, I'm looking at a computer with no cd drive. Since I don't have a spare $300 right now and I don't really use the cd drive very much, I'm going to forgo this repair until...probably forever.

My next planned computer purchase will be a new Mac desktop, so I can move to use the MacBook only for travel and interviews. (This of course after I buy a sofa and bookshelves and the other nesting items required for the downstairs!)

In the end, I got a nice bike ride in this morning and discovered that, if nothing else, I know how to diagnose my own computer. Maybe I should apply to work as a genius! I do, after all, own tweezers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

YAR! Attack!

I am having trouble with my MacBook! There is something wrong with the CD drive. I feel concerned. I have had this wonderful beauty since July of 2006 and not had a single worry in the world. I don't want something bad to happen!

Thank heaven I have my lovely new external hard drive in case my computer needs to take a vacation to the repair store. At least I can lug that to the computer lab on campus and access my files. Always makes me feel better to have a contingency plan!

Ah, State College

Penn Staters like to riot. This news article takes me back to the good old days, where people bought pizza from a hole in the wall, literally, and your only choices involved the number of slices you ate for $1 each. Then, after eating your pizza, you turned around to notice many thousands of other students (many singing Steelers songs or that damn E-A-G-L-E-S spelling bee) ripping things apart and blocking traffic.

I kind of wish I had been in State College after the Ohio State game...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Grand Plans

I have big plans for the downstairs. Huge! Corey says they're frivolous and consumer-y of me, but I say we haven't really moved in all the way without these changes. Here they are:

1. Purchase a rug for the dining room
2. Get rid of the God-awful gothic chandelier in there and get a light something like this or this
3. Buy some real bookshelves for the living room to house my book collection. It's not going to last forever upstairs, because we'll eventually need those rooms to house additional family members. I need bookshelves for downstairs, and not the crappy collapsible or junky ones I've been dragging around since college. Real shelves that properly store books.
4. Get a sectional sofa. Preferably one with a little bed out the one end for enhanced television viewing. Then I can get rid of the well-worn arm chairs I've been dragging around since college, since even before the bookshelves came into my life...the ones my friend Phil used to carry upside-down on his head helping me move in and out of the dorms and apartments in State College. Ah, chair memories!
5. Buy an ottoman/coffee table with storage for board games and sofa blankets when the house isn't cold

And finally, a bonus item for downstairs would be a rug for the living room or perhaps real dining room chairs, but those aren't as important to me as the first 5 things. I'm going to start slowly, with the inexpensive pieces, and make my downstairs dreams come true!!! (With or without Corey noticing...)

If anyone sees any real shelves or a good deal on a sofa, let me know!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturday's Still a Rugby Day

Just woke up in my bed in my parents' house. It's raining steadily. Checked the weather forecast for Harrisburg: location of our game in 3 hours.

100% chance of precipitation. Great.

The mental preparation to take myself out into the muck kills me. Once I'm playing, once I've set that first squishy butt cheek into the goop, I am fine. But until that moment? The lead up and the certain misery? It makes me wish I played tennis.

But then I think of my mom, who pulled out the rain boots and Gortex, and think, "Hey! At least I'm not standing stationary watching muddy rain rugby. Playing is way more fun!"

Can't wait for the swampy car ride home afterward! Yahoooooey.

Friday, October 24, 2008


I remember the massive piles of leaves we raked up at my family's house in my youth, and I thought all the trees near me produced brown, boring leaves. This memory was part of my excitement at living on a street where the trees all flame orange and red. Who wants boring brown oak leaves when you could have flame red?
Anyway, it seems like everything is changed from what I remember. I woke up this morning in my childhood bedroom and saw a rainbow outside my window: red leaves in Mr. Wilson's yard, though Mr. Wilson moved away like a decade ago. Red leaves in my own backyard, though I don't remember any existing before.

All the yards are still full of screaming children running through leaf piles, but they are not the children I remember playing with. Instead, they are the children of these children. It's very strange for me. Brian's dad is outside pushing Brian's son in a swing. Kelly's dad is running around the yard after Kelly's daughter, both screaming and hiding behind the turtle sandbox that has changed color since I used to hide behind it myself.

I feel really young and sad and removed from all this metamorphosis of memory and reality. Young because, despite my house and husband and job, I don't feel quite like a grown-up because I haven't reproduced. Sad because my kids will live far away and not get to run around on a random Friday with their grandpa while I'm at work. Sad because the tree with the red leaves is the one with some sort of blight, that my parents need to chop down.

It's amazing to me how drab and brown this place seemed when I was growing up, how desperately I needed to get out and live someplace, anyplace else. Now that I am here and see it in vibrant color, see the children of my childhood friends (children who will never know me as I knew their parents), I feel a little forlorn.

Pittsburgh is my home now and I love my life there, but I don't know what I'm going to do without extended family in close proximity.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Extremely Tired

Last night was my big volunteer night! I can't write too much about it because I am writing an article about the experience for Rugby magazine. However, I will say there were many, many fantastic mustaches on the site, rugby players are IDEAL for hauling things into houses, and the donated food was amazing. Amazing!

My back hurts and I'm a little weary today. Nothing a cup of tea and an aspirin won't fix, though! It's so great to do volunteer work.

Update: Here is a video of some of the folks returning their hard hats after the party.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Wild Pig Chase

I read an article recently that told me about a new-to-me (yet very old indeed) beer delivery style called firkins. It turns out Pipers Pub in Pittsburgh, a Scottish ale house on the Southside, serves Scotch eggs and dishes out ale pumped from firkins. I got really excited for both the beer and the sausage-covered eggs.

And then I remembered I'm not eating just any sausage anymore. I'm only eating pastured pork sausage, mostly from my freezer. I emailed Drew from the pub to see if he could tell me whence his sausage came. Thus began a chase that I followed most of the afternoon. What better fun when I have work to do instead?

My first stop was the sausage supplier in Erie, PA, where Drew told me Piper's purchases pork. I phoned them to ask about their pigs, the diet of their pigs, and where the pigs live.

They don't have any pigs. A smoker-cough woman transferred me to the meat facility, where another smoker-cough lady informed me that they just package the meat and ship it to restaurants. They actually procure their meat from a number of different sources.

Smoke lady wouldn't give me the names of these companies, but was begrudgingly willing to phone some of them if I could better explain what I was trying to figure out and if I told her how many pounds of sausage I needed to order.

I sighed, and realized it's a lot harder to trace the origins of an animal than I thought. Poor Drew might have thought he was buying PA pigs for Pipers. Little did he know his pork paraded in from all over the place. Michael Pollan was right: it's darn near impossible to trace our meals back to the ground it grew from.

Imagine all the hands involved in one Scotch egg from Pipers Pub? Countless pork farms raising hogs, sending them to numerous slaughter houses, who send the meat to various packaging companies, who ship it to distributors, who sell it to restaurants. It was starting to make my mind explode.

I emailed Drew to tell him about the chase and was surprised to get this email in response:
I will see what I can find out. It might take some time but I am curious to find out for myself.

I don't know about you, but I am heartened by his interest in his meat suppliers. So my pig chase left me with both hope and gloom. Sadness that the way things operate seem so complex, it's impossible to feel connected to the food that fuels me. But hope because other people care about these things, too.

Maybe Drew, as an actual sausage purchaser, will have more luck from the smoke-lady.

Dear Client who gives 1-week deadlines

A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

Katy (who is desperately reciting this motto and reminding herself that it's ok to ask for a rush fee when faced with scenarios like this, especially when clients want her to work on weekends.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Raining Again, Nearly Pouring

I just cannot get used to the ebb and flow nature of my work. I have been sitting around for weeks catching up on television programs and over-planning my lessons for the classes I teach because I haven't had any freelance assignments. This isn't entirely true. I had one small assignment, but I procrastinated on it because the dread reality was that if I finished that, I would REALLY have nothing to do.

The new book I've been raving about (this one. Buy it now if you are a writer!) says I need to do everything possible in my first two years as a freelancer to ensure I will never have ebb and flows again. None of this idling/hair-pulling alternate life styles. I need to have steady work. My goal should be a full plate of priorities, with projects in the hole and the chance to turn clients down. Not just every-other month, but all the time. A career, if you will.

I am not there yet. To get there, I spent the month of October thus far networking my face off. I read and re-read my new book, following most of the advice to the letter. So obviously, these missions bore fruit not in nicely spaced spurts but all at once. Bam! Here's your work. Do it or starve!

I am not complaining about having work. I feel so productive when I get going at 7am and work until 5. I feel energized by the 6 different clients, the full inbox, the chance to go buy pasta sauce and eat it (and then write it off as a business expense). But why did they have to come all at once?

This conundrum is complicated by my poor little project I procrastinated. I'm not going to sleep much this week, between Extreme Makeover volunteering and a suddenly full work schedule. It's probably ok, though, because I have this sinking feeling I'll spend a lot of time in December networking/moping again. Plenty of time to sleep then, when it will be colder and darker anyhow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Alas, Failure on Many Levels

Our house is 57 degrees today. Has been around this temperature since Wednesday, which has been ok cuz Corey and I got out the flannel sheets and I've been out of the house for student conferences during the day.

I was feeling strong, like I could last until at least November 1 without turning on the heat, but then I sat very still while watching the Stillers today, and my nose got really, really cold. Then my legs felt cold, deep cold in their bones, and I got shivery. I clenched my gut, loathe to think about the high heat costs approaching. Hundreds of dollars a month to keep the house at a breezy 62. I felt like a failure for my lack of resolve, but then I remembered that I have income now and I could treat myself to a little heat. It made me feel better.

I turned the thermostat to 60, just to take the edge off my freezing nose. The immediate difference in temperature (at least with my face pressed against the vent) made up for my gloom at breaking down so easily. We had blissfully wonderful heat blowing for about 5 minutes until Corey turned it off.

Someone (not placing any blame here) forgot to buy spare filters for the furnace and the old one was still in there from March when the furnace last blew heat. Dirty, cloggy, gross, inefficient. Off with our heat until one of us goes to the Depot.

After my failure of will, I suffered a failure of mechanical efficiency. Where am I after all this? Using my laptop to warm my thighs, periodically licking my nose to thaw it. Considering knitting some sort of nose guard that will allow breathing, yet keep my face warm. Also, watching Men in Black.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

We found out where we'll be volunteering today! Check out the Montgomery & Rust website, where they talk about the family we'll be helping.

We had such an amazing turnout between the men's and women's rugby teams. We have 36 people volunteering, plus 5 others who signed up past the deadline to get on our group session. We're doing two shifts: Tuesday night from 6pm to midnight and Wednesday night during the same time. I'm so excited to help out such a neat family with such an unfortunate last name (Slaughter...).

Stay tuned to learn about my adventures in home building!

I Have Died of Joy

Just got back from Trader Joe's where the demonstration pepople AGAIN changed my life. This time, I managed to survive the toast with honey-chevre and almond slivers. Instead, I died from the Ginger Sinbei Snacks. This fine woman blogs about the snacks here. I share an image she posted of the new best food in the universe:

People who know me well know that I love fortune cookies. I sometimes buy bags of them and just eat them on my sofa. When my sister lived in San Francisco and she took me to the fortune cookie factory, well that was probably the best day of my life. I got to watch these wonderful old ladies grabbing circles of cookie off the conveyors and pressing them around wonderful fortunes. They sat in folding chairs around this rickety, silent belt that moved so slowly and wafted the cookie smells into the street. The factory sold little bags of broken cookies that were still warm from the machines. Amazing!

Now, Trader Joes has done the impossible and improved upon the fortune cookie! They've added ginger and more sugar and spices to the outside. The after-taste is sensational and the delightful crunchiness makes for perfect movie-watching snacks.

I added some sports movies to my Netflix queue today. I can't wait to watch them sitting on my sofa with these beauties. I'm not sharing with Corey!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I just watched Glory Road before I have to go to rugby practice. Man, I am a sucker for a good sports movie. Corey came home from work to find me sitting on the edge of the sofa with an afghan in my mouth, terrified that Scoops was gonna die or else Big Daddy would have something bad happen to him.

I literally weep at the end of each of these films when the appropriate team wins the big game. Rocky. Rocky II-VI. Hoosiers. Remember the Titans. A League of Their Own. Wildcats. I get totally pulled into the plot, involved in the action. It's cuz I'm so damned competitive. I feel the burn of these athletes. I live their sacrifice. I yearn to be them, under the pressure of victory, feeding off the energy of my teammates. I need it!

Why aren't there more such films surrounding female athletic achievements? My college rugby coach hated that our team loved A.L.O.T.O. because he felt the ending was anti-competitive and that Dotty let Kit win. He might be right.

Also, Bend it Like Beckham is kind of a sports hero movie for girls, only the victory is tied into the central love story of the movie which, in a male movie, would have its place as an appropriate back story. Take Glory Road. Bobby Joe and Tina weren't central to the plot. Nor was Coach Haskins' love for his wife. Man, I want to see a movie where girls are trying for the big game because they're competitive and driven and hard and mean and want to win.

I don't want this win to be dimmed by a love story, either. Sports! Victory! Aggression!

Somebody get out there and make a girls' sports movie. Stat! I command you! Then, I can cry both because I'm into the plot and because I'll final see a model of my own life legitimized on the silver screen.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Freya brought up a really good point in the comments on my blog yesterday about forgoing CAFO meat for all eternity: What do I do about weddings and dinners with friends?

Weddings are pretty easy, since most people have either a buffet with lots of hearty side dishes or a vegetarian option. But dinner at friends' houses is a conundrum.

I asked my vegetarian friend Boo what she does in situations where she's a guest at someone's house and they serve meat. Now Boo has no trouble with this because she consumes no flesh at all and most people who know her know this. She says she just eats lots of side dishes and sneaks nibbles of protein bars from her purse if she gets hungry.

In theory, this sounds like a good solution. I also have the good fortune of running with large circles of vegetarians and vegans. All rugby functions, for example, have vegetarian food. None of Corey's bike friends eat meat. I never worry about it.

Sometimes, though, we go places that make the commitment more difficult. Like his boss's house. Last time we went there, they served really intricate meals with beautiful, carefully seasoned, glistening meat at the center. It would have made them uncomfortable if I skipped the main course.

I'd like to think I have the resolve to tactfully pass on the flesh. The bigger the gathering, the less noticeable this will be. As December rolls around and holiday parties and work functions emerge, I will see what happens with my resolve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Since May, I've been participating in a food politics book club. Before I started it, I had read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (and learned to make cheese, which I wrote about on here a lot) and the Omnivore's Dilemma, which completely made my brain explode. Since then, I've read 4.5 other books about all aspects of the food world, from industrial food to farmed food to even the Food Pyramid and seafood. I have come to a conclusion:

Like Barbara Kingsolver, I will no longer eat CAFO meat. Ever. At all.

This pretty much means I don't eat meat outside my house. This new lifestyle has been, so far, very easy. Restaurants have pretty many delicious vegetarian options and there are even a few here in Pittsburgh where I can speak to the chef and learn about where the animals come from.

This isn't to say there weren't a few snafus. The very first week of this decision, I totally failed and ate beef chili at the rugby bar. Then, I went to a banquet I booked months before and ate my chicken dinner I had paid $99 for. But since then? I find I feel pretty good about my ability to secure pastured beef, pork, and free range poultry at home while eating delicious vegetables outside it.

The true test approaching will be Thanksgiving. I am currently hard at work securing an appropriate turkey so I don't have to sit and smell my dad's baking bird, weeping. Luckily, food politics book club has helped me locate tons of locavore and sustainable eating web sites, so these products are easier than ever to get. I feel pretty happy that it's been relatively easy and affordable to change the way I eat and make a (small) statement. Maybe my boycott will be the one to change industrial meat practices!

Monday, October 13, 2008


Guess what I'm doing today. If you thought the answer was grading the mid-term folders in preparation for tomorrow's student conferences, you guessed wrong!

This girl is coordinating Pittsburgh Rugby volunteers to help out with Extreme Makeover Home Edition, which is coming to Pittsburgh next week. I can't wait to tell my grandma that I'm getting involved with an episode of the show. She loves that Ty and his special rooms.

We don't know any details about the project until Friday, but we do know there will be two groups of rugby players providing some community service on TV!

Saturday, October 11, 2008


You may have noticed me getting crunchier as the years pass me by. I wonder if this happens to all women who leave Lebanon County, PA or just my older sister and myself. After my big Terlet Paper post the other day, I was pumped up to talk about recycled paper products. I tried to engage my students in the discussion, and they looked at me like they wanted me to die. The faces they made when I brought up recycled toilet paper! It was like I had suggested they touch vomit or write extra homework. Worse maybe. Oh well.

Anyway, the next stage in my crunchiness is to use better products around the house. By better, I mean ones that don't hurt my friend the Earth. I've been waiting a little to start on this because these crunchy products tend to be a bit pricey. Friday, however, I got a BIG, BIG, BIG check I've been waiting for from my favorite client, so I dashed off to Target to start cleaning green.

A full cart-load later, I came across something that made me put most of that shit back. A box of Borax. I hadn't thought about Borax since 6th grade, when I went to a science camp and learned to use it for homemade silly putty. I remember making my mother buy a box (which is still, I believe, in my parents' basement 15 years later...) and forming smelly, bouncy goo in the kitchen. Who knew the stuff was so useful in other ways?

Borax, evidently, works with the strength of a 20 Mule Team, according to their website. I don't know about that, but in the past few hours it made my laundry nicer, scrubbed my tub, and de-odorized my garbage cans. The best part? I can use it to clean my toilet brush! I was just thinking last week that the toilet brush is probably the most disgusting thing I've ever thought about. Now the mules can make it better!

The next time Corey pees the bed, I can use Borax to remove both the stain and the odor. Or if I take up flower pressing? Borax! Clean the counters, soak my china, make silly putty. All for $3. And there aren't chemicals in it, just sodium, oxygen, boron, and water. It's like the Bryer's ice cream of cleaning products.

I'm not entirely sure where the mules fit into the scenario, but I'll take it. And I'll wash my shirt with it happily.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Back to Business

I have been reading a new book by my new favorite writer, Michelle Goodman. It's called My So-Called Freelance Life and it's teaching me to think of my job not just as a creative endeavor, but really and truly as a BUSINESS. I can't believe how my mindset has shifted in just the one week I've been reading it.

I think it's pretty easy for a writer to think of her work as art, and convince herself that art plays by different rules and that's what makes it separate from business and blah blah blah. Perhaps this works for genius-people like Jonathan Saffron Foer, who write earth shattering novels in their early twenties. This same man once told me that writing is like pulling teeth from his penis, but he nonetheless spouts gold from his fingertips. Me? I have to work really hard at writing, and I like that pursuit and I'd like it to be my livelihood. I want my writing to be my career, my small business. My entrepreneurial endeavor.

So I read these books. I knew pretty much immediately that I was on to a winner when the blurb on the back of Goodman's book came from Manisha Thakor, author of On My Own Two Feet, which taught me how to have money. As a girl who started her career in K-mart, I sorely needed an education in gaining, saving, and properly spending money.

I sucked in every page of Thakor's book last summer and even bought it for my sister when she graduated from college. What are the chances these two life-altering authors know one another, at least well enough to trade book blurbs? Anyway, I wasted no time.

Just as Thakor made me get an IRA and create a budget (and stick to it...mostly), Goodman is helping me set my rates and network and view interactions as BUSINESS, not personal, encounters. Also? She told me to buy an external hard drive, so I did. I am the proud owner of a 500g backup device. Whatever small part of me lost sleep over the consequences of dropping my laptop on the floor can rest easy knowing all my goods are safe. I have a little black box.

Perhaps the greatest gift I received from the book so far is motivation. Here is a woman who's been me and thrived. If that's not enough to get me out of my procrastination slump, I don't think anything would. Spurred by her prose, I wrote to three of my dream organizations offering my services. Goodman took that timid, doubtful voice in the back of my mind and slapped her upside the head. And you know what happened? I heard back from these people! They were "not right now, but we'll put you in our file" emails, but they were still responses.

I feel a change coming on. Not one brought about by luck or Hiro-esque powers, but a change implemented by my new mindset and renewed fervor in hard work. Look out!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Terlet Paper

My mom has always pronounced toilet paper as "terlet paper." Fun fact.

This morning I learned that terlet paper is generally made from virgin trees, meaning trees that are chopped down expressly for the purpose of wiping my ass. That made me feel really sad. I had a brief out of body experience in which I traveled back in time to a place where people used junk mail for terlet paper. Sears catalogs and whatnot. In this vision, there were happy birch trees waving in the breeze around my outhouse and a butterfly landed on me as I limped out with my tractor section. Nature was happy.

I think Corey and I will stop buying terlet paper and, instead, use the PennySaver or a Giant Eagle flyer. J/k. Really, j dash k.

In all seriousness, I do want to start buying post-consumer recycled terlet paper. I never heard of this before. Isn't it weird when something has been so visible for so long but you just never think about it so you assume it doesn't exist? Like racism! How stupid of me to ignore my paper product usage and pretend it wasn't wasteful.

I learned that the 365 brand that Whole Foods sells is like the best terlet paper out there for nature. It's 100% recycled, more than 80% post consumer, and I'm hoping it doesn't feel like cardboard. Because darn it, Charmin might be bad for nature, but it sure feels nice on my nether regions.

But there's more destruction of nature going on at my house that I want to stop. A few months ago I got jealous of our friends because they use cloth napkins all the time and just wash them. We got TONS of cloth napkins as wedding gifts. I'm going to dig them out of the cupboard and put them in a basket in the dining room so we remember to use them instead of the paper ones.
Since we also have more than 82 dish towels, I'm thinking of just not buying paper towels anymore. I'm not entirely sure about that one, though. I'll have to see how absorbant the Martha Stewart brigade can be. Although I guess we could always use the damn Penny Saver to sop up big spills and just use the dish towels to tidy...

Big changes on Duffield Street, folks. First, new terlet paper. Next? A brigther, happier world. Or else a grumpy Corey with a sore bung hole. Stay tuned!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Family Style

Corey and I are back in Pittsburgh. This is because everyone is either healthy or well on the way to becoming so, and boy does that feel different than last week.

Because the airline industry is in such a state of crap, Corey and I drove the 6 hours to his hometown on each of our journeys. What could in theory have been a half hour flight is never, ever like that. Each time his parents have come here, they've been delayed upwards of three hours. Factoring in 45 minutes to drive to the airport from Morningside, waiting in that security line, etc. it really isn't any faster in the end. So we drove.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike and I know one another intimately by this point. I know which rest stops have Quiznos before I see the blue signs. I know enough to lament that Ohio has far superior rest stops, ones with Au Bon Pain or Panera or something other than Arbys to eat. But I also know the secret to happy peeing along the highway.

Family restrooms. These are wonderful.

Take, for example, the Midway service plaza. Nobody is EVER in the family restroom. Ever. Except me. Inside, you'll find a little tiny toilet, a big person toilet, a diaper changing station, and one of those shelves with seatbelts so you can strap in your toddler to prevent running away while you pee. It's so nice in there, I was tempted to bring Corey along with me. I would use the tiny toilet and he could use the big toilet and we'd save so much time!

The best part of these bathrooms, other than the cleanliness from non-use, is the fact that you can wash your hands before you pull up your pants! The thing I hate most about public bathrooms is that I have to touch my clothes with my bathroom hands so I can be covered up when I journey to the sink. Who wants to do that?

So my standard operating procedure at rest stops is now to use the family restroom. I'll wait in line if it's occupied. I'm never going in the poo factory women's room ever again if I can help it. And I can help it!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Corey brought something very important home from work yesterday: Palin Bingo. Big Perm came over to watch the debates and answer health related questions and we all played Bingo. If only the grids had included the phrases "bi-partisan" or "traditional" it would have been a whole new game. And who decided to leave "Gay marriage" off the bingo card? What a tense five minutes that was!

Anyway, we decided there should have been a Biden bingo, too, and that each square would have said, "the fact of the matter is."

Also, did anyone else find it strange how hard and frequently Palin was banging on that baby afterward? It was like the kid had the croup when really, he was just dangling there, stunned.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Round the Corner

It appears Corey's dad has rounded a corner. This is a relief, to say the least. There came a day that I lost my optimism and felt the dark weight of fear just squishing down on my shoulders. But then it was like that washed away, slid right down my back in fact, when I heard the good news.

We finally came back to Pittsburgh for a few days to do some work and take care of the house. And a good thing! Because some sort of creature appears to have knocked out the light fixtures in the bathroom (perhaps a gnargle? a blast-ended skroot?) and they are smashed on the floor upstairs. Also? The kitchen is filled with ants. Lemonade remnants hastily wiped up, you know...

It's amazing to me how quickly I can return my focus to the mundane after my head has been so utterly distracted and consumed by fear for so many days. It feels so normal to worry about clients and revisions and whether Corey will wake up in time for work.