Monday, October 31, 2011

Costumes? Really?

As scrooge-like as it sounds, I'm pretty much anti-Halloween.
 
Why, you ask? I blame The Ex and his psycho-weird family who basically forced me into costume for the 5 years we dated and turned their already hoarder-filled home into an even scarier sight with fake mummies and cobwebs everywhere. Although, in hindsight, maybe those cobwebs were always there? ::shrug:: My lack of enthusiasm was palatable and they hated me for it. So sue me. I am still upset I never felt skinny enough to rock lingerie and a silk robe with big flowy curls and go as a "Victoria's Secret Model" to their party. Maybe I'll crash it next year.
 
Anyhoo... Puff and I were out recently and stumbled across a rack of little kids Halloween costumes. And my maternal juices started flowing. I was "oohing" and "aahing" over all the little fairy costumes and pumpkin onesies. Plus, reading about the Corn Dawg Farm in Georgia from Katie Bower (HERE) had me planning little cowboy costumes for my unconceived son and visions of photos of him climbing on hay bales and trying to lift pumpkins as big as his entire body.
 
And in all that pre-motherhood gooey-ness, I realized that once we have kids, I will like Halloween again. I always liked it as a kid and have super fond memories of trapsing through not only my aunt's neighborhood, but also BOTH grandmother's. My cousins and I would pose for pictures on the bench in Granny's front yard with her scarecrow. We'd dump pillowcases full of candy on the floor and sort through the good pieces. I'd end up finding baggies of it in the back of the pantry around Easter that I forgot we had!
 
I had hilarious costumes too. Remember the early 80's when they had plastic masks with one little string to tie around your head? And the body of the costume was basically an apron you tied on? Yup... totally rocked Big Bird AND Cabbage Patch versions of those! The homemade bumble bee costume (complete with yellow electical tape) and then my too-sexy-for-a-10-year-old Cleopatra outfit was my favorite! Puff is such a buzz-kill sometimes, since he doesn't remember any of his costumes. Probably because his parents didn't love him enough as a child (remember when he never got a character birthday cake) and they forgot to take pictures to help him remember. (It's a running gag for us that they loved his brother way more than him!)
 
So, while Puff and I won't be dressing up this year, or carving pumpkins (that's a whole other issue all together) I am happy to report that hopefully within the next few years, we'll be much more receptive to the entire thing. And perhaps we won't hide in the back of our house on the 31st and eat the candy we had bought for the trick-or-treaters. Or maybe we will... at least until the kid is old enough to care about candy.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


My college roommate from Sims, sophomore year, lives near Charleston. Last year, she had some amazingly sexy and gorgeous photos taken of her and her adorable hubby on a beach with a lighthouse behind them. This was the place: Morris Island Lighthouse.
 
When Kimhead, Rach, and I shipped off to Folly Beach last month (HERE) we made a last minute stop here before getting on the road. Despite the long hike in the heat and sand (God, I hate sand) I was super pleased when I was able to get this photo. For as much as I hate the beach, it was an amazingly fun trip and I'm so glad we went.
 
And I'm glad we were able to hike our butts out to see the lighthouse. Even if there weren't any cute guys to roll around in the ocean with for photos!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saddle Up, Cowboy

Back in May 2010, Puff and I were hanging out at the Miami airport, waiting for our flight back to civilization following our wonderful week-long honeymoon in the Caribbean. In a fit of boredom, I bought a Rick Reilly book (we all know my love for him HERE and HERE) about weird sports. When I came to a chapter about a prison rodeo, I couldn't contain my excitement. It was one of the few "weird sports" where you could actually go and witness the event. (I mean, really, who would want to go to the Rock, Paper, Scissors championship?)
 
And it was decided... October 2011 would be the date we flew to Louisiana for the rodeo at the state penitentiary.
 
 
As I mentioned HERE, the first few days of the trip in New Orleans were less than impressive. But once we got on that two-lane back road, just north of Baton Rouge, we were ready to party. I was prepared for our car to be inspected by bomb sniffing dogs and to get an inappropriate pat down by a prison guard. But it turned out to be much more slack than I expected, but not in a bad way. My first impression of the "farm" that we had to drive through once we were on the property was one of awe. I was snapping photos left and right!
 
 
The event was fantastic. We strolled row after row of amazing hand crafted arts & craft items. We were so upset we hadn't driven, because there was no way that $150 Adirondack chair would fit in my suitcase. We did end up with a $20 leather belt for Puff and I scored a great deal on some beautifully carved wooden ornaments. Puff snacked on jambalaya and I kept eyeing the kids with cotton candy. Yes, kids. It was a family fun event... complete with rides and games aimed specifically for children! We listened to the prison gospel group and another prison band. We bought t-shirts that read "The Wildest Show in the South" and cheered on through all the ridiculous games and stunts they put the prisoners through.
 

 
When we were set to leave, it was the easiest exodus EVER from an event. And I've been to more events than I can count over the years! We took the scenic way around back to the entrance, but that was OK. I got to see more of their farm land, their ponds, and some of their barracks. (I use that term since I have no idea what they really call them!) And while we felt crazy safe the entire time, had great interaction with the prisoners that we purchased goods from, and are already planning on going back in a few years with our kids, there was never any mistaking you were in a prison.
 
 
But dammit... had it just been a regular rodeo, that would've taken some of the fun out of it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Movin' On Up

For those of you unaware, I am a total real estate stalker. Probably twice a week (or more often, if I'm procrastinating at the office) I'm scouring my favorite local realtor's website. I have my set price range and zip code I search. Always looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath minimum situation. Then I can sort through all my other wish-list items, like a 4th bedroom/bonus room/den/office or walk-in closets, an eat-in kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances.

I swear, I don't need much!


But then I found this house. Sure, from the outside, it's nothing crazy special. Until I tell you that it's on our most favorite street in the area. And the yard is just big enough to be pretty, but small enough to keep Puff from cursing me. Think of all the parties we could host!


Never mind it's over 2000 square feet (wheras The Bungalow is like 1300) and it has 3 giant bedrooms, walk-in closets, an eat-in kitchen with marble counters, separate living room PLUS a den, 2 full AND 2 half baths, and yeah... this...


I'm totally sold. Sure, it's at the tippy-top of our price range, but in this economy, there's room for negotiations, right? I'm conveniently ignoring the fact that we don't have any reason to move right now. And if we did, we'd have to sell our house first. I just go through phases... and with having to bat middle-schoolers off our property with a stick last Friday, I'm about to throw in the towel.

In the meantime, I'll just dream of this perfect house. And curse the new owners every time I drive past!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bop Bop Baby

I love the "shuffle songs" feature on my Ipod. It's like a little surprise every time a new song clicks on. And I love that I can go from listening to Shinedown to Tim McGraw to Chicago to Pink and it never seems to phase me. Recently, "Crazy Bitch" from Buckcherry came on. I smiled. I turned it up. I jammed with the windows down. Ya know, a normal reaction for me to a fun song.
 
Then I had a strange thought. What happens when Puff and I have kids and "Crazy Bitch" comes on? Are we required, as good parents, to change the channel? Or do we pretend to not notice that the lyrics are inappropriate? Do parents really have to censor their children as much as some do?
 
My "niece," Ollie, recently got a Kidz Bop CD for her 7th birthday. I have a few opinions on this matter. First, it makes me feel super crazy old that she's already SEVEN! Second, do you realize they are on version 20 of this crap? Oh... and I about died when I saw they have a "Kidz Bop sings Monster Ballads." Aren't half of all 80s power ballads about, ya know, SEX?!?! How do you make that "kid appropriate" by having some nasally 8 year old sing it instead of Bret Michaels?
 
Have I mentioned my complete and utter disdain for the sound of children singing? I am really, really, hoping our unconceived children sing as well as I do so I will never be forced to sit through anything with the words "children's choir" in the title.
 
I do think my favorite song on the latest version of Kidz Bop is that they covered Cee Lo's "F--- You" song! I could fall over right now laughing. AM I THE ONLY PERSON WHO THINKS IF A SONG HAS "FUCK" IN THE ORIGINAL TITLE THAT NO MATTER WHO IS SINGING THE SONG IT IS STILL NOT AN APPROPRIATE SONG FOR A KINDERGARTENER?!?!?!? Then there are songs that don't make any sense to me why they even had to redo them in the first place. Like Willow Smith's song, "Whip my Hair." Isn't a song by a kid perhaps, I don't know, already appropriate for a kid?
 
OK... I better stop. I'm kinda making myself violent here! The reality is, when I was growing up, I listened to the radio. I listened to whatever music my parents listened to. Was some of it a lot less sexually charged and racy than it is today? Sure. But was I harmed by listening to The Who sing their own songs instead of a group of crappy children singers? I suppose the jury is still out on that one. I understand that each parent has to make their own decision for their own children. And the reality is, I probably won't be listening to any vomit metal music around my toddler where every other word is "fuck" or "shit." (Not that I listen to that anyway!)
 
But there will not be any Kidz Bop CDs allowed in my house. Or in my car. Or anywhere near my children. They can listen to Trapt and REO Speedwagon and Taylor Swift and Matchbox Twenty and Robbie Williams with their mom and turn out perfectly normal. And just one last thing... if any of you ever buy my child a Kidz Bop CD, I will toilet paper your house every Sunday morning for the next twenty years. And maybe even throw your patio furniture on your roof while I'm at it. Oh yeah... and I will make sure that my son/daughter corrupts your son/daughter with all that racy Billy Joel music they're going to love so much!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Man Candy Monday


You know how sometimes a so-so looking guy will automatically become way hotter when he's funny and has a great personality? Well, that's sorta what happened with my crush on Joel McHale. I've been watching him for years on "The Soup" but it wasn't until I saw him without a shirt on "Community" that I decided he was worth drooling over.
 
Wait? Did I just admit to liking him because of his amazingly awesome body and NOT his humor?
 
Eh... you're allowed to be shallow when it comes to Hollywood crushes. Who's judging?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


In November 2008, Meghan joined me on a fabulous Caribbean "Lesbian Extravaganza" cruise that left from San Juan, Puerto Rico. I never would've realized it, but that's definitely the way to maximize your cruising experience, so you can hit more ports with less days at sea. I digress...
 
We booked an extra day in Puerto Rico so we could stroll the cobble stone lanes of the Old Town. (You know I love me some cobble stones. Refer back to any and every entry about our Scandinavia trip back in May!) We snapped tons of photos of brightly colored buildings, turquoise waters, and towels depicting naked women in souvenir shops. This was one I caught along the Paseo del Morro, which was basically a pathway along the footings of the outside walls of the old Morro Fort.
 
Even though I was traveling like the past 3 weekends, with one more trip on the books before December, I find myself looking through photos like this and just wishing myself there. Don't I always promise myself a beach vacation during the winter? One of these days, remind me to follow through on that promise!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

No Orleans

Earlier this month, Puff and I jetted off to Louisiana. We cashed in 80,000 frequent flyer miles, booked a swanky boutique hotel in the French Quarter, and imagined two days of photographing cemeteries and wrought iron.
 
 
This was the New Orleans I had envisioned. Gorgeous old buildings just oozing with charm. Quiet streets brimming with history. Beignets in cozy street-side cafes.
 
 
This is the New Orleans I experienced. Overall, I found the city dirty, drunk, and perhaps afflicted with syphilis. I'm no prude by any stretch of the imagination, but to walk down Bourbon Street and be greeted by glorified hookers in thongs in front of large photographs of two women engaged in a sexual act... Well, it was just a bit much. (Still trying to figure out what those tourists were thinking taking their children there!)
 
 
Then we had the hotel. The location was perfect... a block off Bourbon and within walking distance to everything you'd want to see. However, our room wasn't ready during check-in, so they upgraded us to a suite in the carriage house. I should've known something was up when they couldn't give me exact directions to the back of the building to arrive at said carriage house. Once we got past the smell of old barn, we realized the giant bathroom was missing one thing... a shower. A bit of bitching later and we were in another room. Except, it wasn't until the second morning that we realized we didn't have to take a COLD shower. Yes, I took a ho bath in the sink during a $500 hotel stay because we didn't immediately realize you had to run the hot water in the sink in order to get hot water in the shower. How naive of us! @@
 
 
Then we had the streetcar debacle. Since parking in the French Quarter was iffy, we weren't sure how the Garden District would be. And we learned the hard way the streetcar isn't the best option. Getting there wasn't the problem. We meandered through another gorgeous cemetery, had a nice lunch at a sidewalk cafe on Magazine Street, and ducked up a residential street to admire some stately mansions. I even snuck into the men's bathroom at the local library since I couldn't find the women's! However, after waiting a half hour for a streetcar to carry us back to the city, it arrived. And went right on past us. People were basically hanging out the windows, it was so jammed. Ten minutes later, another one pulled up. The driver said it was too full, but when a girl jumped off, I jumped on. And hoped Puff would follow. I got to know the couple behind me very well in those cramped quarters!
 
It was about that moment we decided we were ready to get the heck out of New Orleans and off to the Louisiana State Penitentiary.
 
We did find a few things to like about New Orleans though...
 
 
Like banana daquiris made with ice cream at 10 in the morning. And the super awesome service we had from a scruffy guy named Murdoch at Hard Rock Cafe. (It's pretty sad when the best food and best service we had in the entire city came from a HRC!) Oh, and a big ol' shout out to our amazing tour guide, Bill, at Haunted History Tours. The 2 hour ghost tour through the French Quarter was one of the highlights of our few short days in the city.
 
Unfortunately, those few things weren't enough to sway me to ever need to go back. I picked up my state. (I've now been to 44 of them!) I can say I've experienced the debauchery of Bourbon Street. Perhaps had I gone 10 years ago with a group of girlfriends and my "Lick for $5" t-shirt, I would've seen the city differently. Alas, Puff and I are old fogeys now who would rather spend time browsing arts and crafts made by prisoners than get wasted and flash drunkards for beads.
 
(Stay tuned for an upcoming post about our trip to Angola!)  
 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Under the Big Top

All my life, I have loved the circus. Now, to be clear, when I say "circus" I mean the uber-professional Ringling Brothers circus that features lots of animals and acts and quality clowns that don't give you nightmares. So when a circus popped up in town in a parking lot, and I was gifted free tickets, I figured it was worth a shot. I came equipped with very low expectations. I pictured carnies in rags parading one pathetic, malnourished elephant around a tiny ring. Puff? Well, he was thrilled.
 
 
When we arrived, the line was about 20 people deep and the car lot was practically barren. A few llamas and camels were in a tiny pen where kids could partake in a "free petting zoo." I use that term loosely since you couldn't reach the camels and were not allowed in to actually touch the other animals. That one pathetic elephant was set up for rides in a far corner of the parking lot, but he was unattended and no one ever rode him.
 
 
We were supposed to have ringside seats, but the entire ringside area was full. I wasn't about to argue for my free tickets, so I found the only person who seemed to be in charge (who was totally rocking a bright gray mullet) and he handed Puff two folding chairs for us to place at our leisure. I knew we were in trouble when the "safety net" for the first act was held in place by two scrawny, coked-out carnies dressed in all black. One later dropped his cigarette from behind his ear on to the ground, where camel poo had just been swept, and he picked it back up and stuck it right back behind his ear for later.
 
 
These girls were the best act we saw. They actually weren't bad to look at and seemed to have honed their craft. The clown looked like they drug him out of an alley-way and the other acrobats were so chunky in their skin-tight outfits, their muffin tops were delectably tasty looking. Not to mention the leotards some had with flames on the crotch. Good message there, kids!
 
 
I'm not an animal person, as you know. So when they led a herd of camels into the ring and had them running in circles less than 5 feet from my personal space, I was thrown into sheer terror. I tried to snap a few photos, but feared the camera at my face would somehow make my inevitable escape from a runaway camel all that much slower. Death by camel is not how I envisioned my life ending.
 
Much to Puff's dismay, I had had enough by intermission. They had started 20 minutes late and with them clearly not having their act together, I figured we'd be there past midnight just to see that one pathetic elephant kneel on command. Choking on exhaust fumes from a super awesome (insert eye roll) motorcycle in the air performance, we made a bee-line for the exit. The whole way home, Puff bitched about missing the second act. I promised him tickets to see the Ringling Brothers circus next time it's in town.
 
I even promised him popcorn just to shut him up.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gunslinger

Sometimes, I'm just a bit of a deviant. As much as I hated to keep this a secret from Puff, I decided it was the type of scenario that was best played where I asked for forgiveness instead of permission.
 
One day, awhile back, I went to the shooting range with a co-worker on my lunch break. And it was fucking amazing.
 
 
For probably the past 10 years, I've had "Learn how to shoot a gun" on my bucket list. (Remember, I mentioned it HERE.) I even dated several Marines (and one soldier) back in the day, but none of them would ever take me to the shooting range. I had a neighbor for awhile who was a cop, but he chickened out on taking me as well. Even Kimhead bailed on ever actually planning to go with me when I told her it would be a fun girl's activity. Nope, every single person decided it was wisest to not let Gail shoot a gun.
 
Then I met a new friend who didn't know any better. ::Insert grin::
 
 
It was kinda crazy how easy the whole renting a gun was. I was really surprised. I watched a 10 minute safety video, answered a few random questions that were totally common sense ("Don't point a loaded gun at someone else") and was handed a pair of eyewear, some giant headphones, and was told to pick my weapon of choice. Since I was a "newbie" I told the clerk I would trust his decision. He picked out some type of revolver, but it wasn't what I had in the cop drama I was running through in my head. So I decided I needed a semi-automatic weapon. Preferably, a girly one with not much kickback.
 
A .22 caliber Ruger was "flagged" and put in the bin for me, along with a .9mm Glock. Two boxes of ammo and two body targets and I was ready to rock 'n roll. I felt like a badass motherfucking rock star. My co-worker had been shooting before so I let him take lead on loading the gun for me and showing me how to actually hold it. He shot one shot into the target to make sure the safety was off. Then, he handed it over. By the third shot, I was nailing the red "X" area in the center.
 
I swear I warned everybody this was not a good idea. I was much better than I expected to be. And, worse, I totally loved it.
 
After two magazines with the Ruger, I took down my target to make sure I brought it home for safe keeping. I let my buddy shoot for awhile, even though he totally jammed the Glock on the first try. Guess who never jammed her gun? ::Rock Star:: After he shot for awhile, he offered me the Glock. It was a lot louder and had a lot more kickback. It was also the type of gun I knew could catch your finger in the slide, if you weren't careful. Guess who needed a bandaid? Not me. Told ya. Rock star!
 
I decided to take a chance and shoot the .9mm. Why not? And you know what? I hit the red "X" on the second shot. I didn't do as great with that gun, especially since the casings were flying every which way. Including one that went down my shirt (luckily, I didn't burn my boobs) and another that went behind my eyewear. I was quick enough to lay down the gun and get the glasses off before it did any harm. But that was scary enough for me to finish out the magazine and switch back to my trusty Ruger. I even mastered loading it, taking off the safety, and all that other "pre-shooting" business. I was so proud of myself!
 
 
I take credit for all the smaller holes (from my Ruger) and for the larger holes toward the bottom. The rest were his. Oh, no, wait... a few of those large holes in the center were mine.
 
::Points finger at self:: ROCK STAR!
 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

I Love You, Puff

Sometimes, it's good to just take a step back, slow down, and realize how great life really is.
In the ADD I have with life, I'm crazy guilty of over-packing my schedule. Earlier this month, I was traveling 10 out of 18 days! So, after a brief sickness, the travel, the 4 weekends in a row apart from my husband, work chaos, and general life insanity, it was great to just STOP this weekend.

Now, of course, our "stopping" isn't exactly a grinding halt. Nope, we had friends in town for a few days and kept plenty busy. (More on that in an upcoming post.) But what it did force us to do was for Puff and I to actually be at our house. Together. To sleep in the same bed and spend a lot of time regrouping.

So, Friday night, when the gang was circled around our living room, I found myself glancing across the room at Puff. He was wearing his frat boy uniform, sporting a little sexy scruff, joking around with everyone. And without realizing it hit me, I seemingly fell more in love with him. A giant smile spread across my face as my heart swelled with love for this amazing man.

Sometimes, we take each other for granted. We take our lives for granted. We don't spend the time we should spend together. And some days, I feel like I don't even deserve him. But in "stopping" this weekend, a wave of contentment washed over me.

I'm drowning in it and am loving every second.

Happy 17 months of marriage, Puff. Here's hoping you can put up with me for many more to come!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flash Bulb Friday


Last October, Puff and I ventured back to The Fort to celebrate the long awaited nuptials of my dear friends M & C. They have been together since high school and are probably the sweetest, nicest, cutest couple ever. I will never forget the night I first met C, when we braved the crowds to see Sugar Ray with the Goo Goo Dolls in concert. They brought along his friend "BJ" and it made my 17 year old self giggle when I realized that was actually what they called him. (Still kinda makes me giggle at 29!)
 
Their wedding was beautiful, sweet, and sincere... the type of wedding you always dream of witnessing. After many long years, they finally made it official. These pumpkins dotted the entrance to the church and were such a gorgeous minor detail touch that some probably over-looked. As they come upon their first anniversary, I wish them happiness, fun, love, and, of course, babies.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

If I Were a Cheater


 
I've decided if I could have an affair, it would be with the Audi A7.
 
No shame here, folks. Puff's a car guy. I'm sure he would understand.
 
A few months back, I made the scary trip to the car wash alone. (Yes, it freaks me out for some reason.) All the while I was waiting for them to dry off my SUV, I was making googly eyes at the guy in the black Audi A7 that had pulled in next to me. Er, well, I wasn't actually paying any attention to the guy. It could've been George Fucking Clooney for all I cared.
 
Nope. I was making love with my eyes to that fantastically sexy and seductive car.
 
In a few years, if Puff is allowed to get a BMW 3 series convertible for his mid-life crisis, then I should be allowed to have my own "toy" as well. C'mon, it's only fair.
 
Oh, Audi A7, the fun we could have. Purr.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Faithfully

Recently, I went back to The Fort to assist with a rock concert. It's good to have connections.
 
 
Steve Augeri was the lead singer for Journey from 1998 to 2006 and is the only singer I've ever seen perform with the band. (I'm too young for Steve Perry... although I definitely think of him first when I think of Journey!) So when I got the opportunity to help with the show, I hurriedly booked a plane ticket. I love the rush of working a concert. I love the all access pass around my neck. I love meeting rock stars.
 
 
The concert went off great and the next morning, I got to drive some of the band to the airport. They ran down their set list and talked about additional songs for their next gig, including "Be Good to Yourself." I was all ears when Steve Augeri started discussing the Neal Schon (Journey guitar player) and Salahi scandal. According to these guys, it's all for press. Journey does have a new album out! All told, they were great, down to earth guys who were appreciative and kind. Couldn't ask for more!
 
 
The rest of the visit was spent hanging out with family, gorging on a butter toffee coffee cake alongside a chocolate malt, and a baby shower for Rocket, who is due in November. Oh yeah, and lots of loving on my 4 month old niece.
 
 
Doesn't she just make you want one of your own? ::sigh::
 
I'm trying to conveniently forget the whole "your plane lost a flap on take-off but we're still going to fly you 400 miles at only 11,000 feet and greet the arrival with fire trucks" portion of the trip.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I Heart Rick Reilly

I just got back into town (more on that later) so I'm kinda cheating today. Back to our regularly scheduled bullshit tomorrow!
 
For years and years, I would subscribe to Sports Illustrated mostly so I could read the Rick Reilly article at the back of every issue. He's still one of my all-time favorite writers. This column made me tear up when I read it, back in July 2001. To this day, it's still one of my all-time favorite sports related pieces. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
 
 
When word got around that a local couple was going to donate a real baseball field to our Denver neighborhood, there was much joy among the Nuts. The Nuts, if you'll recall, are the Catholic Youth Rec baseball team that I've been coaching for eight years and that has consistently led the league in:
 
1) Jokes told. We require one joke per nine-man mound meeting. The most recent was by Drewski, our first baseman, who, during a very tense situation, asked, "What's brown and sticky?" Nobody knew. "A stick!" beamed Drewski.
 
2) Rally rituals. These include, depending on how many runs we need, caps turned exactly three inches to the left (if we're close) and right pant legs hoisted above the knees (if we're getting creamed).
 
3) Ground balls in the mouth.
 
We've always played on the worst baseball field this side of Chernobyl. It had a 40-year-old backstop, a buckled dirt field and the largest variety of North American weed this side of Berkeley. It also was the only baseball lot around for miles. Every piece of decent parkland has been gobbled up by the evil sport of soccer. And people wonder why baseball is dying in the cities.
 
Then the Nuts heard that this shiny new ball field would be built on the very spot of our hideous old one. They had only one design request: a 30-foot-high root beer mug just beyond left-field. After every home run a random Nut would slide down the mug into a giant pool of root beer.
 
The rest of the neighborhood, however, was underjoyed by the couple's offer. "You're not going to want a fence, are you?" the director of parks and rec asked the couple.
 
"A ball field?" a woman whined. "We don't want that kind around, do we?"
 
"I hear there are going to be lights and a concession stand!" one man wailed at a public meeting. "Won't that keep us awake?" I replied, helpfully, "No, I heard they had to lose that to make room for the chopper pad."
 
But enough arms were twisted and secretaries' dogs kidnapped that, little by little, a field started popping up with stuff the Nuts had never known: A mound! Dugouts! Infield grass! A backstop that actually stopped the ball! A regulation home plate! An outfield fence! Even a hand-operated scoreboard!
 
It was christened Fishhack Field, for reasons only the couple knew. Unfortunately, two weeks after the construction crews were gone, Fishhack resembled a dead mackerel. The sod was yellow, home plate was a swamp, and the infield dirt had more ruts than deer-mating season. Still, I loved Fishhack. It was our home field.
 
The Nuts and I took it upon ourselves to try to turn Fishhack into Coors Field. We mowed it. We raked it. We even lined it with a bag of flour one of the Nuts got from his mom. When we were done, the field actually looked worse—like a tractor pull had torn through the Pillsbury Bake-Off.
 
That's when I asked the head groundskeeper at the real Coors Field, Mark Razum, if he'd mind dropping by to take a look. After he laughed for 10 minutes at our doughy baselines, he offered some pointers on grooming the field and promised equipment and a day of his crew's time. Mark Razum is God.
 
Things have gone Nuts ever since. Grounders suddenly found their way into Nuts mitts. Nuts butts no longer got splinters from sliding across our old wooden home plate. Nuts home runs were followed by Nuts home run trots (occasionally backward). The Nuts didn't lose at Fishhack Field on their way to a 9-1-1 record and the regular-season title. If that can happen, can the 30-foot root beer mug be far behind?
 
Sadly, the Nuts will never be a team again—they'll all be too old next year at 15—and the trophies will soon be buried behind pictures of girlfriends. But pant-leg-up rallies and mound jokes, they last. So, too, will Fishhack Field.
 
Now the neighborhood is hooked on Fishhack. People are playing family reunion games on it, holding company softball games on it, planning fall leagues on it. Take that, soccer.
 
The wife and I even changed our morning walk so we could go by it. Turns out we kind of like having that kind around. The other day we saw only two people on Fishhack—a father throwing batting practice to a little girl almost taller than her bat.
 
We both thought, Best money we ever spent.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Premature Flash Bulb


I'm homesick.
 
Last weekend, I went back to The Fort for a super quick visit (more on that soon) so I felt inspired to offer up a picture from round-about the place I grew up.
 
I took this photo on a visit back in 2007, when I was home for a friend's wedding. ::waves to Michelle & Justin:: I battle quite often about moving back or staying in South Carolina. The fact that my life has been in SC for the past 11 years makes it harder to just pack up my shit and ship off. Especially when I realize that the weather is so much nicer here than there. Snow makes me violent.
 
So, in my moment of weakness today, I'm sending happy thoughts to the universe that one day I will truly figure out where I belong and where I should spend the rest of my days. Both The Fort and SC offer me wonderful life opportunities... just different opportunities. And that's OK. Sometimes we just need to remember where we've been to see how bright the future is ahead of us.
 
Wherever that future may be.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Girl Time

The weekend may have not started off as planned, but a girl's trip is a girl's trip, even if you're a few hours behind schedule.
 
 
And waking up to this view from our ocean front room at The Tides on Folly Beach was worth the effort. Three tired and hungry girls hit up a Chick-fil-A (because, according to Puff, white women LOVE some chicken biscuits) and then plopped our butts poolside. Once the bar opened, pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris were immediately in hand.
 
 
A freak 20 minute downpour sent us running for cover, but once it passed, we were able to take a long stroll along the beach. The light was picture perfect and every photo I took popped with gorgeous color. This is Kimhead prancing in the water. As someone who does not like sand and would prefer to wear galoshes whenever on the beach, I was just proud of myself that I didn't have a mental breakdown from the sand on the bottom of my feet.
 
Some time at the market in downtown Charleston, followed by some fresh seafood, and capped with a Gamecock victory, and Saturday turned out to be pretty damn awesome.
 
 
Sunday morning, we milked every last second of pool-overlooking-the-beach time before checking out. (BTW... the hotel was perfectly located and was OK, but the service sucked donkey balls!) Then we drove to the end of the island for a longer-than-anticipated hike over some dunes in the scorching heat to see the famed Morris Island Lighthouse. Poor Rach was so hot! But I got some awesome photos. I'll plan to feature my favorite in an upcoming Flash Bulb Friday. Stay tuned!
 
 
The Angel Oak on John's Island was another epic fail. Now I know why I try to plan this stuff out ahead of time! Work had just been too busy. Anyway... we drove the 15 miles over to see this giant ass tree. Only to arrive and the gates still be an hour from opening. I was able to snap a few halfway decent pics through the chain-link fence. Lunch at the super delish East Bay Deli made everything alright. Even if their waitresses were wearing capri sweatpants. Who am I kidding? I was super jealous.
 
Girl time is good for the soul. Thanks Kimhead and Rach for taking the trip with me! It was exactly what I needed. And probably need about once a month. Whatcha think?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

I'm back with October's list of crap you don't really care about, but since I feel compelled to share, you're just gonna have to read it anyway. ::Insert me sticking my tongue out in rebellion:: Last month's List o' Names (HERE) was very well-received and a bit of a pot stirrer. I figure this month's list won't be quite as controversial and hopefully I don't piss off as many readers!
 
As you should all know by now, I'm totally into music. Never mind my inability to sing and my lack of interest for instrument playing. Those issues were toppled by my love of musicians, especially bass players. Plus the whole mentality of music... the way it sucks you in, makes you feel good, tells a story for you when you can't find the right words. This was probably the hardest list to make, and we all know I'm a total OCD list maker over here. (C'mon, you know you totally re-write your grocery list to put it in order by the store aisles. Who's with me? Anyone?)
 
So.... in no particular order... My Top Ten All-Time Favorite Songs (for the moment):
 
1) "Lost Realist" by Trapt
 
2) "The Last Resort" by The Eagles
 
3) "Unwell" by Matchbox Twenty
 
4) "Sin, Sin, Sin" by Robbie Williams
 
5) "Lifetime of Dreams" by Journey
 
6) "When We Were Young" by Take That
 
7) "Follow Your Dreams" by Poco
 
8) "Everything" by Lifehouse
 
9) "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant" by Billy Joel (which narrowly beats out "We Didn't Start the Fire")
 
10) "Peace of Mind" by Boston
 
Seriously. Crazy. Difficult. Wowza! There are so many other amazing songs I would have loved to include like "Open Arms" by Journey or "Call Me" by Shinedown or even "Crazy Bitch" by Buckcherry. Perhaps "Telluride" by Tim McGraw or "Take Me Out" by Franz Ferdinand. Plus basically the entire collection ever recorded by Robbie Williams.
 
Any songs where you think of me when you hear them? Anything you think I totally missed? What tops your list?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Man Candy Monday


I know, I know. You're thinking, "Has Gail lost her friggin' mind?!? Is that seriously Bill Rancic?"
 
Why, yes, yes it is.
 
It's funny, but until a friend of a friend's husband had a Facebook status a few weeks ago asking if every woman wanted to marry Rancic, I had never really thought of him in that way. But the more I thought about him, the swoonier I got. (I know that's not a word. Just roll with it.) He's totally adorable. He's charming and articulate and interesting and well, he's got some cash too. Women like cash.