miles: a tribute.

This is going to be a tribute to my parents’ dog, Miles. Also my dog! The family dog, although he moved into their house when I already was living on my own.

On Monday, Miles had to be “put down,” as they say. He was 11, old for a large dog, and his back legs didn’t work well and it got to the point where they didn’t work at all and he couldn’t walk or even live. My parents had to make the terrible decision that pet parents must make every day – it was better for him to be guided by science into a peaceful eternal slumber than to live another day feeling scared, confused, hurt, and unable to do anything he loved.

The death of a pet is a nightmare many of us know too well. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry for my mom and dad, I’m sorry for me, I’m sorry for all of you. Animals like cats and dogs do not live nearly long enough. Birds can live like 80 years and turtles like 100…but not cats and dogs, our closest animal companions.

You KNOW I love birds and turtles (tortoises?). But this is a tribute to Miles. So here goes.

We got Miles in Spring 2009 and he was very small and cute. AND SOFT. I just love puppies and I feel like I don’t get to hang out with enough of them.

I don’t know if it was the day we got him or just the first time I met him, but we went into the “back field” behind my parents’ house and he was running around after us on his little puppy legs and we loved him so much. He instantly was very sweet and kind and cuddly and fit right in with all of us.

Miles was a dog that loved people and always needed to be around people or he’d be sad. Not even mad or agitated, just sad. Crying and howling and jumping out and breaking our kitchen window one time, cutting himself on the glass so he needed stitches. This was how desperate he was to be next to us. There is not a love so pure anywhere else in the world.

Miles was cuddly if he felt like it, but not too cuddly. You may be aware I dislike cuddling overall so he was the perfect dog for me. He would sit right next to me on the couch and be cute but not smoother me with himself. Unlike my sister’s pitbulls, who are cuddly in the way that they seem like they want to be INSIDE of you, acting like fully merging their bodies with yours so they can FULLY BE A PART OF YOU is their only goal in life.

It’s fine, they’re still cute.

Another characteristic common for large dogs is just like…fear? They’re very big but somehow they’ve evolved to be terrified of certain things: fireworks, thunderstorms, the sound of an NFL game on the TV because they know their dad might yell. Miles was really very scared of many things: he had a thunderjacket for storms and patriotic celebrations, and he would hide behind my mom and I when the sports game was on. He also got really scared of gunshots or the sounds of trucks in the distance when we were walking in the woods and we would have to reassure him.

I always thought it was so sweet that he would look to us for comfort and he would usually accept our reassurance. He was a good boy.

Miles loved walking and running in the woods and breaking off his leash to chase deer and rabbits. He did this a few times and he was in BIG TROUBLE and then he was not allowed that kind of leash freedom again. We didn’t want to lose him!

Although he was part lab, he wasn’t much of a swimmer. He preferred to occasionally wade in the river to cool off and take a drink, but he certainly wasn’t jumping in and swimming around like a true lab would. If we were out in the water he liked to stand on the shore and whine until he got tired and went to lay down in the shade.

Miles really was a big baby. A great dog! But a baby. He never wanted to be away from us. I already said that but like, HE REALLY DIDN’T WANT TO. We were his reason for existing and if we weren’t around or not paying attention to him he was beside himself.

Over the years I made a ton of silly videos of Miles barking at me while I was babysitting him. He would always bark NONSTOP and I don’t know what he was trying to say but it seemed along the lines of “HANG OUT WITH ME I MISS MY MOM I HATE YOU I LOVE YOU,” over and over again. It made me NUTS when I was trying to work or get something done or take a nap. But eventually I figured out that if I hugged him in the same style as his thundershirt he would calm down.

What a weirdo.

He often climbed up onto couches or chairs next to us and would paw at our arms to get us to pet him. He wasn’t much of a “fetcher” but he would bring a toy over just for a little toss so he could engage with us for a minute and then sit back down, curled up happily with the toy. He loved his squeaky blue football and had it for many years.

Everyone loved Miles, and he loved everyone. Every visitor that ever came over was his friend, even if they sucked he still liked them.

He loved to go out to eat and calmly sit under the table at outdoor restaurants. He love, love, LOVED the All About Downtown Festival in Jersey City and attended it like 5 years in a row. It was his favorite day. I know because he told me.

He spoke to me, he spoke to all of us.

He was such a good dog, and we love and miss him so much, and I just wanted to think about him for a minute, so thanks for listening.

Miles is survived by my mom and dad, my brother and sister in law and niece and nephew and their dog Leroy, my sister and my brother in law and their pitbulls Apollo and Ziggs, and Finn and Smee the goats, and Pony the pony, and Jax the horse. And my boyfriend and our 4 budgies Elvis, Birdie Sanders, Blondie, and Franz Birdinand. And me. Also, his closest companion and partner in crime Guinness, the oldest dog alive. He has a big family and he made many people and other creatures happy and we love him so much. That’s all I wanted to say.

So now, at the end of this dog obituary/eulogy, I invite you to think of the pets you have lost over the years. And think about how great they were, and how much you miss them. And know that it’s okay and normal to miss a pet and still think about them, years later.

Because I say so.

Rest in power, Miles. But like, also in peace. I hope you’re not too scared without us there to hug you. </3

meet the birds.

Did I ever tell you about the time I went to Meet the Breeds? Well, that will have to wait. Because this is meet the birds.

The birds! We love them! We got them a few weeks ago on New Year’s Eve at Paterson Bird Store and we’ve never looked back.

Actually, we HAVE looked back because some of them are grumpy and screech a lot and this adds to the pain of my constant daily headaches.

But we still love ‘em so let’s meet ‘em.

elvis costello.

Elvis is our first bird and we already had him so you may already know him. But he is a GOOD BOI. He is quiet and patient and he tries to keep order in the cage.

He’s kind of the boss of the others because he was here first. When they start to act crazy he begs them to calm down.

They usually don’t listen.

Elvis loves to fly in laps around the living room and eat kale and basil. He’s the only one that can leave the cage right now because we are trying to train the rest and it’s taking literally forever.

Elvis is so cute.

blondie.

Blondie is mean and grumpy. I’m sorry to say it but she is. She yells the most and she bites the most.

Yes they bite! My parakeet when I was little didn’t bite, and Elvis doesn’t bite, BUT BLONDIE BITES.

They just bite when they’re scared, so since I do my best not to scare them, Blondie has luckily only bitten two or three times, when we’ve needed to move her around. They hate it when you grab them and I don’t blame them but occasionally you have to do a gentle little grab to get them from one place to another quickly and safely.

Now that they’re in their cage and we’re trying to train them we shouldn’t have to grab her anymore so hopefully she’ll feel less scared and won’t bite anymore.

HOPEFULLY.

Blondie is very pretty and she’s kind of my dream when it comes to coloring. I didn’t realize that there were so many different color mutations for budgies and as soon as I saw ones like her on the internet I was like, “it will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine.”

She was my number one pick at the store and it makes me sad that she’s so grumpy but we’re doing our best to win her over.

According to the internet they take a long time to train and to like you or even just tolerate you so I guess it’s going to be a long ride. Blondie also always YELLS and it is ANNOYING.

Like not a nice little peep or even a loud but clear and sweet chirp but like a SCREECHING YELL. She is OUTRAGED. No amount of “talking to her in a calm soft voice” helps.

Sometimes she does make a pretty, sweet chirp and I’m like “Blondie you look so pretty when you smile!” And I know, saying that to her is UNFAIR.

And I’m sorry.

birdie sanders.

Birdie Sanders was my boyfriend’s number one pick at the store and he’s pretty cute. He just hangs out most of the time.

Eek I need to clean these branches.

I felt terrible for him when we got him because the people at the store trimmed all their nails and one of Birdie’s nails was cut too short (a common accident) and started to bleed. The blood looked super red and dark and dramatic coming out of his tiny pink foot. It actually really hurt my feelings.

They cleaned him right up and he was and is fine but that’s how I’ll always think of him, with his bleeding little foot. Ugh I’m gonna cry.

A lot of the time Birdie sits apart from the others and I’m not really sure why. At first it seemed like they picked on him a little but now it just seems like he likes to do his own thing. I also think he’s older than the rest of them, maybe even older than Elvis, because of the way his eyes look.

You can tell their age by their eyes, kinda. When they’re no longer babies, they start to have a lighter part around the their eye, and Birdie has that.

franz birdinand.

Speaking of eyes, Franz Birdinand is a straight up tiny baby because his eyes are HUGE and dark. He’s always just staring with his huge baby eyes, looking for an answer.

Franz is peeking out behind Blondie🤣

Franz and Elvis get along best and it seems like they’re really close pals. They often sit close together and groom each other and it’s really cute.

Franz still gets pretty scared when you approach the cage or put a hand in. He won’t even join the others as they eat millet treats out of my hand. He remains very suspicious of humans, but we’re working on it.

I also kind of always wanted a bright yellow one and Franz checks that box, he’s very bright and pretty, WITH HIS BIG ASS EYES.

So those are the birds! Expect to hear more about them as I get to know them better and continue with their training. They are so cute and I love them so much but the training really takes forever please let it go faster thanks.

They also have an Instagram account that they set up all by themselves and it’s called @herd_ofbirds

gail’s pumpkin patch.

Just a quick little tribute to Gail’s Pumpkin Patch.

GAIL’S GLORIOUS PUMPKIN PATCH!

Gail is a KuneKune pig that used to belong to my sister.

Gail!

She’s great! But she kept escaping her pen and roaming around and causing a disturbance and my sister felt she’d be better off on a larger farm with more space and perhaps more of her Suidae kind so she gave Gail to a farmer who promised to never…”harvest” her.

Gail again! But she got bigger and needed more space <3

Even though Gail is gone, her pigpen is still here and she left behind a full-on garden that sprouted from the seeds of foods she was fed combined with natural fertilizer. And that’s all I’m going to say about the fertilizer.

Over the summer there were tomatoes! And at the end of the summer pumpkins started to appear!

These pumpkins, of course, were ready for picking. So yesterday we braved the pouring rain and went outside to pick them.

There were 5 pumpkins and they were all pretty big, so that was exciting. Especially because they had just grown on their own without any amount of human effort or consideration. Just Gail living her life caused them to grow so large and beautiful.

I have to Google this but I also think because they were fresh off the vine they were more…moist…and therefore heavier. Also they had some kind of weird clear slime that came out of them when we carved them. I’ve never seen that in all my years of pumpkin carving.

OMG CUTE LIL MINI CURLY VINE
The wet looking stuff is “slime”

My sister and I both carved what I call a “Classic Jack” and it was funny to me that we both carved almost the exact same thing without discussing it or looking at the other’s pumpkin while carving. I guess our style of “Classic Jack” is ingrained in our Pop brains from childhood.

After we carved we also baked the seeds and the were INCREDIBLE.

Carving pumpkins and baking the seeds is one of my favorite things EVER so I was really excited to use these special backyard/Gail’s Pumpkin Patch pumpkins this year. It really made me very glad.

My sister said she was going to throw the guts and some seeds back into the pigpen so there can be a Gail’s Pumpkin Patch Revival next year!

Next year’s pumpkins!

CANNOT WAIT.

outdoor baby shower.

Hey look it’s us! Of virtual bridal brunch fame! We’re back with an outdoor baby shower!

This past weekend we had an outdoor baby shower for my lil sis. The same lil sis we had a virtual bridal brunch for back in April.

We really wanted to have a gathering with actual people that were actually physically together. It felt important.

Of course we followed all the social distancing rules. Like why wouldn’t we? But that meant we had to have the shower NOW while it’s still warm enough for people to hang out in the outdoors and before there is a huge fall spike in COVID cases, as predicted.

So we had to have the shower a bit early. My sister is due at the end of February, and usually a shower for that would happen in like…December? I don’t really know. But I do know it would happen a little later because most people look very pregnant in their shower pics. That’s really all I have to go off of.

My sister only looks kinda pregnant. Like you can tell she is but she’s not waddling around yet. That’s the usual shower look. BUT NOT AT THIS SHOWER BECAUSE WE HAD TO GET THAT SUCKER DONE BEFORE THE WORLD PRESUMABLY SHUTS DOWN AGAIN.

Cutie 💕

MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES AS THE GREAT LAURA INGALLS WILDER SAID, OR MAYBE IT WAS HER DAD, AND I WORE MY COWBOY BOOTS DAMMIT.

Cowboy boots.

So we planned it out, and by “we” I mean my mom and my sister’s mother in law, and I think we did okay. I THINK WE DID GREAT.

These things are always difficult and complex to wrangle, even when you’re not in the midst of a global pandemic. There are just so many moving parts. At one point I thought I’d be good at this shit because I spent so many years “producing”…aka literally orchestrating other people’s lives like they were my own personal marionettes.

Gift haul.

But it’s still hard. It’s a lot of planning! And plotting! And pondering! JEEZUZ I AM EXHAUSTED.

Anyway here’s what we did.

decorations.

The baby is a girl, so as far as decorations we had some pink things like plates, tablecloths, and balloons. Beyond that it wasn’t overly cutesy.

Nicest deck ever.

The shower was held at my sister’s mother in law’s house (my mother in law, in law?) and she did an awesome job of decorating with hay and pumpkins and scarecrows.

It was seasonally appropriate! And adorable! I enjoyed walking around and looking at all the little scarecrow babies.

There were also pumpkins there that they grew in their own backyard and as you can imagine I was PUMPED AF about that. Pumpkins in their own backyard?! Wahooo!!!!

games.

Okay I’m going to be honest about this. No one likes games. No one wants to play games at a baby shower or at any shower or party overall across the universe.

I’m sorry I had to be that direct. But no one likes games. I personally despise games but I made an effort to infuse some games into the party and was met with a flaming pile of disinterest.

We did play one game where people get an ice cube with a tiny plastic baby bottle inside and the first person whose ice melts screams, “My water broke!” and then they win a prize. Luckily one of the kids present won the game and the prize.

BECAUSE GAMES ARE FOR KIDS.

Do kids even like them?

(Not the kid that won)

Anyway after one game I decided we wouldn’t do the second game because no one showed much interest in the first one.

I was proud of my ability to read the (outdoor) room and pivot on a moment’s notice.

You’re welcome.

foods.

THERE WERE SO MANY FOODS AT THIS PARTY.

Our mom made stromboli, which is my most favorite thing that she ever makes. I ate like 5 pieces. I’m sorry.

My sister’s mother in law made meatballs and stuffed cabbage. I meant to try the stuffed cabbage because I’ve never had it! But I didn’t get to. I really blew it. Hopefully she makes it again at a future family function FINGERS CROSSED.

There were a ton of desserts and I ate two of each. I was saving up my full week of dessert consumption, 6 days worth of desserts, for this party. I didn’t feel well afterwards but it was worth it.

Look at these cute little net tents to keep flies off the food! Perfect for an outdoor baby shower, if you ask me. And you’re here, so you did.

notes to baby.

There is all kinds of baby shower stuff online and you can’t do a “baby shower stuff that doesn’t suck” Google search without coming across something like these.

These little lists are cute and give prompts and require minimal effort, a perfect combo! We passed them out to the guests to fill out while it was present opening time so they had something to do besides gawk at my sister and her husband while she opened presents.

Look at this awesome handmade quilt!

As far as present opening during the party, I don’t know that everyone does that anymore? I think it’s your choice but not required. Either way choose your choice and feel good about it. I give you permission.

caramel apple bar.

My mom and I were most excited for the caramel apple bar and I’d like to say my sister also liked it best. She’s usually a big sweets-head like me, but she hasn’t been feeling so great in her first months of pregnancy and moved away from the sweets. Frankly she moved away from most foods overall. But caramel apples still catch her eye and make her glad so that’s why we made the bar!

If you look up “caramel apple bar” online a whole bunch of shit comes up. Go ahead, try it.

Some of the articles/blogs/pins/whatever said to cut them in slices or soak them in vodka or stand on one foot while you dip them in caramel. There are many methods.

Our method was to stick a popsicle stick into an apple and dip it in caramel, then dip it into whatever toppings the recipient wanted. I say “recipient” because I was preparing the apples with gloves on and I was the only person touching the toppings. We tried to keep it COVID safe.

Overall no one was interested in the caramel apples except my sis, sis in law, niece and nephew, my mom, and me.

Whatever, the rest of them don’t know what they’re missing.

Also when I was done making my apple and sat down to eat it my 6 year old nephew told me “Don’t go and take a cute picture with your caramel apple now <eye roll>.” So then I did. He’s not the boss of me.

dudes were there too.

My sister requested that my brother in law’s pals be there too. My dad was there, and some husbands and at least one uncle, my Uncle Tom who gave my Grammie a ride. Some of them said it was the first baby shower they attended and they liked it and I was glad. It’s a party after all, the more the merrier. I mean we were eating and drinking and making merry, baby stuff just happened to be there.

I think it’s a nice move to include the dudes. As an experienced baby shower-holding professional I say go for it.

So that was the outdoor baby shower! It went great! We were all very proud of the turn out and glad to get it done before it gets too cold or the world shuts down again.

I already said that, but the doom is upon us and will arrive eventually and we must prepare ourselves.

virtual bridal brunch.

You guys, I’m depressed. I can’t deal with this shit anymore. But there was a slight bright light this weekend and that was throwing a virtual bridal brunch for my sister. As you can see, it took me 4 full days to recover because I haven’t written a post since then.

I’ll begin by saying that I didn’t WANT to have a virtual bridal brunch. WHO EVEN WANTS TO HAVE A VIRTUAL ANYTHING?! WHAT IS OUR LIFE?! But we had to have a virtual bridal bunch because the world demanded it of us.

I just don’t want you to think that I feel all sunshine-y about this BECAUSE I DON’T. I AM SAD MY LITTLE SIS DID NOT GET THE REAL LIFE, IN-PERSON BRIDAL BRUNCH SHE DESERVED BUT DIDN’T REALLY WANT. PLZ ALLOW ME TO GRIEVE AND MOURN THX.

Okay now I’ll tell you about the virtual bridal brunch.

the invites.

Hey cute check out this invite we sent out for my sister’s bridal brunch:

Oh, also cute, check out this sad as hell postcard we had to send a few weeks later:

The postcard itself is beautifully designed by me. It’s the sentiment that’s sad. I still hate looking at it right now.

Online invitation companies have A SHIT TON of templates for rescheduling things. I got the original invites from Zazzle, so I got the “WE’VE GONE VIRTUAL!” postcards from there as well. They really have a ton of options, you’ll be fine.

EVERYTHING IS FINE.

the guests, as in getting the guests there.

To corral the guests I included my email on the postcard and said, “Email me for the link!” It was tough to say if people would actually understand this. I know all of us over here in our large Northeastern city, working from home ivory tower think that everyone knows how to use Zoom…BUT THEY DON’T. There were grandmas! Multiple grandmas!

Almost everyone got back to me and I sent them the Zoom link with some simple instructions and suggestions. My helpful AF cousin also volunteered to help our Grandma in person! They were safely socially distancing DO NOT WORRY.

the simple instructions and suggestions.

Were you wondering what these were? I basically just told them where to download the Zoom app and some tips on using it.

The guests were told they could dress up! Like they were really actually going somewhere! Anything to feel like life has purpose again!

Dressed up but a bad angle.

I also let them know I would be drinking (a bottle of) Prosecco (to the face) and recommended that they include some of their fav beverage as well. It didn’t have to be alcohol. We allow all kinds at our virtual bridal brunch, my friends.

My sis gave me this prosecco!

the food.

Since it was a brunch, food was also going to be served in real life and I suggested the guests serve their own faces in this virtual situation. I made these two things and they were both flame emoji:

Breakfast Casserole

Blueberry-Lemon Bars

the surprise.

My sister was told we were having a “family Zoom” so she should keep 1pm on Sunday open. In case she had something else she was planning on doing.

Who am I kidding THERE IS LITERALLY NOTHING ELSE TO DO.

Her fiance revealed the bridal brunch concept to her right before it happened so he could hang up some decorations! Local pals and my mom and my sister’s fiance’s mom dropped off some gifts and treats for her that were revealed throughout the party.

Sis and fiancé!

the games.

Both my sister and I are not big fans of games. Like at all. But something needed to be done, instead of just staring at each other on Zoom, or the party would have lasted for 10 awkward minutes only. So the party had to have a SCHEDULE and a STRUCTURE and that agenda involved games.

Not excited about games.

The first game was “go around and everyone tell everyone else how you know my sister and maybe a funny story about her.” I guess that’s not really a game, more of an icebreaker. But I liked it! I think others did too.

Not related to games.

Next up was a game I found a template for online. It was the traditional “bingo” type of game that you’d usually sit at your little table at the shower and fill out. Except this version LIVES ON THE INTERNET. It’s a list of stuff people could possibly have in their phones. I shared the template with everyone and they filled in their own column. Reminder to give everyone “Edit” access to the Google Doc! The template also added up the points! Something I could never do.

The winners were a tie and I sent them each a $15 Target gift card because Target is god.

Before the virtual bridal brunch, I sent my future bro in law a list of random “Newlywed Game” questions and it was fun to hear my sister’s answers for them. She got a lot right!

Last game, when everyone was pretty drunk, or at least I was, we played Truth or Dare. My mom sent me these little cards. I had to fill them out with truths and dares and put the little scratch off stickers over them. I had no idea for any appropriate truths and dares so I googled it and found some great stuff. I honestly was dreading this because I felt like it was too silly and people would be annoyed but it seemed like everyone was having fun so it counts as a win.

A game.

the end.

Overall, I feel proud about how the virtual bridal brunch turned out. I think my sister enjoyed it, and I think the guests enjoyed it. That’s all I can ask for. I have never hosted a bridal brunch, and NO ONE IN THE HISTORY OF TIME has ever hosted a virtual bridal brunch.

Until me. You’re welcome.

we got a bird.

Today, we got a bird! He’s a small green parakeet and his name is Elvis.

I didn’t name him but I guess that name is okay. It references the Elvis Costello Elvis. Not the other Elvis. GET IT STRAIGHT.

You may be aware that I love birds so I’m very excited to have one as a family member. I had a parakeet named “Petite” as a pet growing up and I really loved her a lot so I’m pumped to hang with this guy as well.

Elvis is still settling in, he’s quiet and shy for now. He’s made a few little soft chirps and has eaten a ton of food. Today I ordered him some toys and a mirror and a bath and perches and also a cuttlebone. Still not 100% sure what a cuttlebone is or does but it’s something FOR HIS HEALTH and therefore very important.

Currently he has full wings, they aren’t clipped. Which means he could fly off into the sunset and never come back, or he could fly into a wall and hurt himself. So we have to be careful taking him out. And I guess we’re supposed to clip his wings? That makes me kind of scared. But seems like it doesn’t hurt? And would keep him safe? Maybe I’m wrong. We’ll just leave the wings alone for now anyway. Since it’s the apocalypse.

We put our photo by his cage to watch over him.

I wasn’t aware of this previously but he also would enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables according to the internet! So I look forward to sharing those with him. I’ll share the fruits. I’ll give him all of my vegetables because I don’t want them. DON’T TELL.

We discussed getting a bird previously but getting one today was a surprise! A surprise to me, my boyfriend went to pick him up and said he was “getting a palm tree” (which I also still want), and when he got back he was like, “Close your eyes!” And he walked me through the living room and I bumped into everything in the living room and when I opened my eyes the bird was there!

We got a bird!

call your grandma.

You should call your Grandma.

Sing “Call Your Grandma” to the tune of this. And dance. You’ll thank me later.

Now more than ever, get her on the line.

Grandmas understand how to live a socially distant life because a lot of them do it EVERY. DAY. We all will one day get to a certain point where it gets hard to get places. Maybe we’ll have a hard time moving, maybe we won’t be able to see or hear very well, maybe we’ll no longer have a car, or a license. Older folks don’t really get to go places often, or as often as they would like. They rely on US, younger relatives and pals, to show them a good time. And we do our best to do this but it’s hard to do EVERY DAY so they’re stuck home a lot.

BUT NOW THEY ARE THE EXPERTS AT BEING STUCK AT HOME. Oh need something to do? PLAY SOLITAIRE. You need groceries? YOU SHOULD PROB HIRE SOMEONE TO BRING THEM TO YOU. You’re not allowed to go anywhere? COOL I WASN’T PLANNING ON IT.

So like, when you call your Grandma, you’re definitely going to get some great being-stuck-at-home ideas and also the commiseration you have been searching for from someone who has lived this life before you even knew it existed.

Also, Grandmas have SEEN SOME SHIT. My Grandma was born in 1930, during the Great Depression. EVER HEARD OF IT?! Times are tough now but times then were WAY tougher and they didn’t even have the internet. Can you imagine being stuck at home right now WITHOUT THE INTERNET?! It’s inconceivable.

Either way, you should always call your Grandma, even when it’s not a global pandemic out there. Grandmas have great stories about all kinds of shit (Grandpas too)! Historical events, family history, vintage FASHUNZ…the list goes on.

I know it’s hard to find time for a call. I mean, it’s hard for ME. I hate calls and never want to use the phone and always feel like it’s a huge production to call someone and I don’t have time for it.

BUT I MAKE TIME FOR YOUR GRANDMA. (I meant “my” Grandma here but I wrote “your” by accident and it made me laugh so I’m leaving it. But just know that I do make time every day to call EVERYONE’S Grandma across the world.)

Call your Grandma now, thanks.

it’s pop’s bday and it’s poppin.

OMG. I can’t believe I didn’t write/post this yesterday on her actual bday and I am SO SORRY. But it’s Pop’s bday AND IT’S POPPIN.

Pop was born in 1989 and it was almost Easter. This started a life-long annoyance with “Easter” because it always happens on completely different days and I think that’s spooky as hell. I’ve never forgiven it. But we were dyeing eggs one minute and then the next we were going to the hospital to meet Pop!

I had a vague idea that we might get gifts from this new fam member, I think probably because I got a gift from my brother when he was born, so I was SUPER PUMPED. And I was right about the gift! Pop got me a little baby doll thing that had batteries in it so it moved around. AND I LOVED IT.

We called Pop “Melissa” at the time and she was very, very pretty. She’s still very pretty…but she was a very pretty baby. Babies mostly look weird and squished up but I don’t think she ever did. She just looked like the most spot-on perfect representation of our superior Popov genes. It was undeniable.

She was lucky she was very, very pretty because she cried LIKE A LOT. She was always, always crying. Maybe it was hard being so beautiful and she really couldn’t take the pressure. I don’t really know.

As she grew, we all began to notice her copious stores of kindness, consideration, and empathy. She really, really cared about other people and animals. Besides a quick brush with violence when she bit the head off of a pet store fish when she was like 3, her record was clear and humans and animals alike would go to her for comfort and understanding. She’s still this person today!

Pop was always good with horses. Horses terrify me personally because they’re enormous and their eyes always look like they’re up to something. They also seem nervous as hell and I don’t trust the nervous. But Pop trusts them and they trust her! This is an amazing skill that I don’t think many people have, especially today because we don’t use horses as our cars anymore so no one really knows what their deal is anyway.

She also loves a sweet treat! LIKE A LOT. This is how I am too, we get it from our dad. Although I think he took it too far when she was little and fed her a lot of M&M’s and that wasn’t great for her little teeth. But she still loved every bite so I don’t think she’s mad. I mean, I’m not.

Like most of us in this crazy mixed up world, she went through a phase where she partied too hard and we got a little worried, but she made her way out and recovered flawlessly. She lives a beautiful life on her farm with her lover and their animal children. I still miss Gail the pig though. 🙁

Pop is scheduled to get married to her man Tyler in June. June 6. EVERYONE CROSS YOUR FINGERS THAT THE WEDDING DOESN’T HAVE TO GET RESCHEDULED. This is your gift to Pop. Please cross them. NOW.

Happy Birthday Pop I love you!

wedding tuxedo shopping.

You guys I had the busiest weekend and I just wanted to sleep yesterday. So I did. But now I’m ready to tell you about one of the busy things I did during my busy weekend, wedding tuxedo shopping.

I went in knowing nothing about wedding tuxedo shopping or tuxedo shopping in general. I went once with a prom date but my shit was all picked out so I didn’t really care what he was getting and didn’t pay attention. So my brain was ripe for new knowledge!

Ready to learn!

My future brother in law, his stepdad, his best man, and my dad, and I, went to Men’s Wearhouse in Quakertown, PA. I grew up in a forest/cornfield but getting to this place from my parents’ house was a forest/cornfield ON CRACK situaish. Sorry I forgot we’re not supposed to call stuff “crack” anymore. You get what I mean.

And if you don’t know I’ll tell you now, it was all trees and farms and beautiful rolling hills. I saw a ton of signs that were like “preserved farm land” and “preserved open space.” KEEP IT UP, PENNSYLVANIA.

Back to the wedding tuxedo shopping, it wasn’t that serious but I was nervous at first. My future brother in law asked me to go with them, I think because I like fashunz. But that doesn’t mean I know anything about BOY fashions?! So I was scared that I would blow it but I think I did okay.

You walk in and it’s suits, suits, suits, and ties, ties, ties, and I’m like yawn, yawn, yawn because I am super NOT into dudes in suits. Like fine if you wanna dress up that’s cute or whatever but as far as the day to day you won’t catch me hanging out with Suit Guy if I get to choose who I’m hanging out with.

I do enjoy this colorful display!

We had an appointment with Ethan (woo Ethan!). And he was like 17 and I think we really stressed him out and made him nervous but he did okay I swear.

It’s really pretty simple –

1. The dudes choose “suit” or “tux”

Suit or tux?

2. They measure the dudes

3. The dudes try on samples of their chosen garments

4. The dudes choose all the details

Okay the details part was hard. We had to pick colors, which would have made my head explode. But we were lucky because we already got our bridesmaid dresses, and Men’s Wearhouse is in cahoots with David’s Bridal in some kind of wedding industrial complex conspiracy so they already knew the dude colors that would match.

FYI this is a lot of colors.

I guess in this case the wedding industrial complex conspiracy played in our favor.

Then they had to choose shoes. And bow tie or regs tie. And vest or suspenders. But NOT vest AND suspenders. That’s TOO FAR, according to Ethan. DO NOT EVEN TRY IT.

I would choose regs tie and then I would wear this tie BECAUSE IT HAS CHAMPAGNE CHEERS ON IT.

Also “jewelry.” What?! There is tuxedo jewelry?! WTF is going on?! My sister doesn’t know what jewelry she plans to wear yet so I couldn’t help with that besides just sharing my opinion and that is that I liked the white and gold.

Uhhhhmmmm…?

Okay but something that I DID actually learn while wedding tuxedo shopping is that the distinction between “tuxedo” and “suit” comes down to the the cut/style of the pants and jacket. I think? Google it.

I also read this informational poster and that counts as learning.

Overall I was impressed that the dudes were simply measured, tried things on, chose their choices, and were on their way. I think this was a group that’s not trying too hard to do something crazy or different or statement making and I like that about them. Please leave the crazy and different and statement making to ME, thanks.

But JK because LeXX did order a special outfit for himself that includes a jacket with tails. And that is why LeXX is the ultimate…warrior. And I’m excited to see his special outfit! It should be special! He’s the father of the bride! Like the film!

After tuxedo shopping we went to Red Robin WHICH IS MY EVERYTHING even though I haven’t been there for like 8 years.

PUMPED AF.

I got an Impossible Burger in the style of the Burnin Love Burger with a side of zucchini fries and a chocolate milkshake.

THE FLAG SAYS IMPOSSIBLE,” BITCH.
😘😘😘

Wedding tuxedo shopping is the greatest! Have you been? Do you have any thoughts? Don’t you love the Burnin Love Burger at Red Robin?!

victory brewery in parkesburg, pa.

On Saturday we went to lunch at Victory Brewery in Parkesburg, PA and it was just about as good as it always is which is pretty, pretty good. We do go there a lot, sometimes twice a month, so frankly I consider those of us who are lucky enough to be in this family to be experts on Victory Brewery in Parkesburg, PA.

personal history of victory brewery.

We weren’t always experts. Well, one of my family members always was, my sister in law. She worked at the Victory Brewery in Downingtown, PA and ostensibly knew everything there was to know about Victory Brewery.

In my immediate family, it started with Golden Monkey. At least for me…it started with Golden Monkey.

This thing smells ridiculous but I always feel I need to smell it.

I didn’t drink in high school and when I got to college I was all about that jungle juice because it went down fast, tasted fruity, and was highly (HIGHLY) effective. I just didn’t have the time or patience for beer and also the only beer avaiabvle at the stupid Rutgers frat parties I went to was Keystone Light or some shit. That’ll be a hard pass.

It was probably my brother that first introduced me to beers that went down fast, tasted good, and were highly effective. But I don’t really remember because I was drunk. But I DO remember going to liquor stores (in NJ we have “liquor stores” that sell hard alcohol and beer and wine all in one place AND THAT IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE DONE JUST FYI) and searching for Golden Monkey because I liked the taste and the results best of all.

Golden Monkey will get you sloshed. I think they sold it in 4 packs and maybe still do but I don’t really know because it’s not my favorite anymore. But we did have a good run, ya know?

My current fav, Prima Pils.

When my brother and sister in law were living in sin in Downingtown, we visited them a few times and we would walk to Victory Brewery from their apartment (we referred to it as “Jamrock”…the apartment, not the brewery), get pretty sloshed, then walk home. It was fun! It was family time!

Then they moved and they weren’t as close. BUT GOOD NEWS BECAUSE A NEW VICTORY BREWERY IN PARKESBURG OPENED SHORTLY AFTER. If you don’t know where any of these places are, I refer to them as “beyond the Mainline.” If you don’t understand that you’re beyond help on this matter because I’m not going to explain it further.

victory brewery in parkesburg, pa

The Victory Brewery in Parkesburg, PA is badass! I’m not just saying that, it really is. The best part about it is the SELF GUIDED tour. So you can get a little drunk and then just walk around and read the things and you don’t have to pay attention and respect an actual person and you can leave at any time to go back to your table where you belong and order beer.

This self guided tour area is also a big space where little kids can run around and yell and do little kid things, so that’s nice for my niece and nephew. They have cornhole up there, and windows to see into the factory. My nephew was always very interested in a “robot” that is some kind of machine but it’s usually “sleeping” on the weekends so I don’t truly understand its appeal.

Victory Brewery in Parkesburg, PA is usually a manageable level of crowded. Like people are there, it doesn’t seem like the place sucks, but you can always get a table. The wait staff is very, VERY friendly and they will remember you if you return often. I think they remember us because we’ve been going twice a month for like 5 years BUT STILL. THEY REMEMBER.

Not too crowded.

victory beers.

Victory beers are delish! I’ve already mentioned Golden Monkey, my parents love that. So much so that my nephew refers to it as “Golden Lexx.” I like the Prima Pils best, that’s what I usually get. My sister in law, I THINK, like the sour kinds like the Kirsch Gose, but I’m not sure because she usually is a responsible designated driver and gets water. I believe my brother always gets his growler filled with Hop Devil, but they also have Hop Wallop which I prefer if I’m getting an IPA. JUST BECAUSE I LIKE THE NAME.

My niece and nephew love their CRAFT, BARREL AGED apple juice and lemonade, since you asked.

foods of victory.

They also have food! I know! It’s crazy!

Their menu has changed a lot in the 6 or so years I’ve been going there, but it stays pretty good.

The pizza there is always good. It’s not NY/NJ pizza but it’s really tasty in its own way. We’ve been getting the Roasted Brussels Sprouts pizza lately, it’s topped with a fried egg! My mom loves eggs. LIKE A LOT.

We also often get the Loaded Fries, and have tried the Flash Fried Cauliflower.

Our family plan is as follows: 1. Order drinks 2. Get drinks and order appetizer 3. Get appetizer and order entrees 4. Get entrees and order growler to go 5. Leave. We cannot deviate from this plan, we would all be very upset.

Playing!

Victory Brewery in Parkesburg, PA has specials every day that always change, and they post them online. We prepare for our Saturday visits by checking out these menus beforehand. This past Saturday, I got a Chicken Corn Chowder from the specials and I enjoyed it, although it didn’t have the thickness of a chowder. But maybe that’s better for me, in the long run. My jeans are feeling very tight and I refuse to buy new jeans which leaves me with one option and that is to STOP STUFFING MY FACE. Plz halp.

My mom and sister in law got a special pizza that had a bunch of vegetables on it and I ate some too, even though I hate vegetables. I actually liked it!

playtime at victory brewery.

As I said before, Victory has a ton of space upstairs in the self guided tour for kids to run around. They also have a big grassy lawn outside and we run around out there when it’s warm out. It’s kind of in the middle of a field so there isn’t much traffic and I really enjoy the outside space.

Even more playing!

They often have events over the summer, different beer and BBQ things. There are also apparently events during the week but I don’t live there so I don’t know their life.

The merch store is pretty extensive and you can get all kinds of merchmerchmerch as well as beers to go.

I took this fun pic in the merch store and was scorned by my brother but I think he was just grumpy about his inability to enjoy taking a fun pic. That’s just a guess. Don’t be a hater, BROTHER. JKJK LOVE YOU.

Victory Brewery in Parkesburg, PA is a great place to go with your fam or your mom or your date or honestly by yourself. I would suggest you go. It’s a bit of a haul from Jersey City/NYC where I usually am, and I think where most of you are according to the analytics tools I barely understand, but if you get the chance to go DO IT.