Supermodel of the World

We took Shae shopping over the weekend, because when I wasn't paying attention for like 10 minutes last Tuesday evening she hit a rapid growth spurt and shot up like 6 inches in an hour or something and all of the sudden none of her clothes fit any more. Not even shorts that I bought back in May. What is it about heat and light and water and the Miracle-Gro that they are evidently putting in the food at school?

She does have a few things that we're keeping from last year, because I overshot how much she was going to grow over the winter, but we had to pack up a whole bunch of pants and shorts because this kid is all spindles. Her legs are almost as long as mine, and I am already a full-grown person. (Allegedly.) She still fits into some 3T's in the waist, but those pants are comically high-watered, or if they are shorts, borderline obscene. (Hello, baby booty!)

Instead of going to the outlet mall 10 minutes from the house, where we have had some luck in the past but not so much this time around (largely because stuff is FUGLY), this time we decided to go "old school" and visit the VF Outlet Center in Reading. When I was a kid I used to go there with my parents for back-to-school shopping, and I remember that I used to love it because there was always something different there versus what I could find at mall stores which I couldn't really afford anyway. One year I got a pair of Lee jeans that were purple and probably a size 7 and I loved them.

Here's the short version: those Outlets are not quite what I remember, and definitely not what I am used to. It wasn't a complete waste of time -- we got Shae three pairs of jeans for $4 each -- but it was very cluttered, crowded, and not all the stores were actually outlet stores, but retail stores in the outlet center. Which means I ended up spending more on some things than I might have if I used my Retail Ninja Commando skills at Kohl's or somewhere else.

But we did get a lot of stuff, and we didn't overpay too much, and like I said, we got jeans for $4, which is almost as cheap as free. I even got myself a pair of jeans for $6, which is definitely Not Too Shabby. (Especially because I plan on not fitting into them for very long.)

I wanted to put on a little fashion show where Shae can model all the cute stuff we got her, but she does not take direction and all she wants to wear these days is "princess dresses" and "Cinderella shoes" which simultaneously breaks my heart and makes me want to throw up a little. Princess dresses. Pshaw. I need to make sure that they are playing gender-neutral dress-up games at school because I'll be damned if I am raising a damsel in distress. Cinderella can put on her own darn shoes.

Anyway ... these are the best of the "model" shots I could manage. Her posing is ... weird, to say the least.

Look #1 Look #2

Look #3 Look #4

And her very favorite outfit? Was in a bag of hand-me-downs from my sister's in-laws.

Look #5A Look #5B

It doesn't fit -- too small in the chest and shoulders, and too short -- but the good news is, her dress from my cousin Beth's wedding still fits, and I think that's what we're wearing for Christmas. Where people can actually SEE her in it, this time.


Test Pattern

Hi there. I am in no shape to talk about anything today because I stayed up too late last night watching the Emmys -- which, by the way, I missed the opening number because I forgot the Emmys were even on but it turned out to be a surprisingly entertaining evening of television -- anyway, I hear that opening number was really good and I hope I can catch it on YouTube or something before it disappears forever -- and do you see what I mean about being in no shape to talk about anything? honest to God, who knew there were this many dashes even possible in the entirety of the English sandwich? -- and then after the Emmys were over I finished up Mockingjay and basically I couldn't turn my brain off and so I was awake until after 1:00 in the morning and then my husband basically had to shove me out of bed with a cattle prod when the alarms went off and I have been pretty much mainlining caffeine and nicotine and I just hope I can make it to the end of the day so I can go home and die in my own bed.

Have a nice day. Here, enjoy this picture of dresses from the Emmys that I thought were very pretty.

Does Clare Danes look like ten million bucks, or what? For serious.


The Bucket List

I know it's a cliché to have a "bucket list" these days, but I do. Even though I'm only 36 and I don't plan on kicking that proverbial bucket any time soon. Maybe other people have bucket lists to somehow put off dying -- "I can't leave this Earth until I finish War and Peace in the original Russian" -- but I like to think of my personal bucket list as a way to get to living.

My list is very meta, in the way that it's a clichéd list that is itself a cliché, but still and all, I have one, and the things on are things that I have always wanted to do: See a game in every major league ballpark (yes, even Yankee Stadium). See the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Pyramids, Big Ben and Parliament, the Great Wall of China. Take a cruise. Visit every one of the United States. Learn to surf. Catch my own lobster and eat it for dinner. Finally get around to intentionally making a flaming dessert. Ride a camel. Meet a President of the United States. See Cher in concert. Go up in a hot air balloon.

Make that: ride in a hot air balloon AGAIN, because at Palmer Community Days, I got to take a little ride in a hot air balloon, and even though we just went straight up and back down, even though the whole thing only took about 3 minutes, even though the weather was gross and the skies were gray and there were five of us cramped in that little basket, IT WAS AWESOME, and I can't wait to have another chance.

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It was something I wanted to do with Shae, because I knew the balloon people were going to be there, but while my My Anonymous Mother saved our place in line, they managed to talk her into coming too. I don't know how I convinced G to come along -- I think I might have just asked him. He didn't take much cajoling. I think that he was slightly disappointed, but he won't ever say anything, because he knows it was important to me. I mentioned something about someday going to Albuquerque for the Balloon Fiesta, and he seemed like he was on board. (Added bonus: I would then be able to cross New Mexico off the list of states I have visited!)

The Gang

I know all of this makes me sound like a giant dorko -- "OMG I went up in a giant balloon and didn't die squee!" -- but this is kind of a big deal to me. I was nervous about it. I don't like heights. You saw what happened on the ferris wheel. If I never go on another ferris wheel again as long as I live, I will perfectly happy. But I want to go for another hot air balloon ride. This is progress, as far as I am concerned.

All A Blur

My Dad and my other brother-in-law and my sister stayed firmly on the ground, humming random songs from "The Wizard of Oz." (Daddy did, anyway -- he remembers the Man Behind The Curtain leaving Oz in a hot air balloon.) My sister would have thought it was kind of lame, but she has gone bungee jumping on purpose, and she said she'll be the one taking Shae on the Hoolahooper someday. Whatever. We all have our own worst fears. Mine are spiders and falling to my death. This baby step for her is HUGE for me.


Blow-Up World

Know what else they had at Palmer Community Days? Giant inflatable things!

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And a Moon Bounce!

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And "World Famous" Kiddie Bumper Boats!

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And a K-9 police demonstration!

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And an item off my Bucket List, which is coming up tomorrow!


Obvious T-Shirt Choice Is Obvious

Palmer Community Days were over the weekend -- a wonderful little fair in the town where I grew up, where I used to have to go work at bingo for the choir and where I could, half a lifetime ago, stalk ex-boyfriends until they would give up and call me just to get me out of their hair for a while. It was the early '90s, and mistakes were made.

This is the first time we went to this particular carnival with Shae, and I don't know that I would have been overly excited except for one thing: PONY RIDES. (Well, actually, there were two things, and I will get to the other one on Friday.) I've always wanted to go on a pony ride, and you never know when they're going to pop up, so you better believe that we went.

Pretty Ponies

Ponies are SO COOL. I can totally understand why little girls get completely gaga over them. A very big part of me wanted to just stand there and pet their manes and do some braids and tie them with ribbons. Yes, for real. I didn't even tell my husband that.

This Is Fun?

Shae had her choice of ponies, because when we got in line there was nobody else there. I personally would have gone for the pretty palomino-ish one with the golden hair, but Shae chose "the little one."

(Not) A Flying Talking Donkey

Which is actually a donkey. But not a flying talking donkey, sadly. I'm not sure she could have handled that much excitement. Although it would have been AWESOME.


And just for the record, SHE picked out her sparkle horsey shirt to wear to the carnival, not me, although I was not about to discourage her.


We Did It! We Did It!

You might not be able to tell what these pictures are about, just from looking at them, so let me draw your attention to the yellow thing with the rainbow belt on the side of the pool to give you a little clue.

Kick and Reach
Freestylin' It

At the beginning of the summer, Shae told me that by the end of the summer she wasn't going to need her swimmies any more, and as God as my witness, she's actually done it. I won't leave her alone in the pool without some kind of flotation device, but every weekend she swims without her bubble further and further, more and more.

I think the music is appropriate, somehow. And God help us all, but someone is getting proper swimming lessons over the winter. She might be on the swim team by this time next year, carrying on the family tradition. Tell me: are any 8 & Under Thunder relays currently recruiting?


Thomas the Tractor Engine

My grandparents' neighbors have two little kids, a daughter who is maybe a year older than Shae and a son who just turned two, I think. They had a birthday party for him last weekend and Shae invited herself over to play with all the kids. (Technically, I think they invited her, but only after she kind of ran over there and started playing on the inflatable jumpy things. Three-year-olds are not so good with boundaries.)

But here is the really clever part: the little boy is really into Thomas the Tank Engine (I can't remember his name, but the daughter's name is Lauren), and the dad found a way to make it work.

Thomas Tractor

They painted their lawn mower the same colors as Thomas, and took the kids for rides in the yard, back by the cornfields. Pretty genius, if you ask me.

Good Times

Who doesn't love a train ride?


Nobody, that's who.



Oh, yes, we have been up to shenanigans.


And we'll be telling you all about it. Soon.


Parsons, We Have A Problem

I would really like to know what has happened to my beloved Project Runway. Because it really isn't a very good show any more. And I, like Tim Gunn*, am concerned.

Back in the days when PR was on Bravo -- and it feels like it was hundreds of years ago, now, but it was only two years and three seasons -- PR was groundbreaking television. It was not like many other reality shows at the time: it was, is, and remained about fashion. First, last, foremost, and pretty much only about fashion.

Sure, in a competitive reality show, you're going to have some interpersonal interaction, but this was not like Survivor or Big Brother. This was a show about making great clothes. Do, or do not. There was no negotiation, no politics. There was no "voting off the island." It didn't really matter whether the rest of the designers liked you or not; at the end of each episode, you either made good stuff and stayed around, or you made crappy stuff and got sent home.

Now, I am not not naive, and I understand that people are not cast for a reality show about designing based solely and entirely on whether or not they can actually design. But since fashion is a creative industry, and what with creative people being how they are, there has been no shortage of "characters" on this show. You might have heard of one or two of them: Jay. Wendy Pepper. Austin. Santino. Jeffrey Sebelia. Christian Siriano. Laura Bennett. My favorites, Chris March and Nick Verreos. Fascinating people, every one, but they didn't do what they did because they were "popular" or "players" -- they made it, or didn't, based on their clothes.

I still think that's the case with PR, but something has changed. The show switched from Bravo to Lifetime, and I really feel like the focus of the production has shifted from "interesting people making beautiful clothes" to "a bunch of big-mouths being nasty to each other and causing drama and sometimes making something that someone in the audience would wear." There has always been some drama and nastiness -- see: Wendy Pepper, mentioned above -- but when PR started the nastiness was shocking because it seemed like such an anomaly.

(Come on, Tim Gunn has got to be one of the nicest guys on Earth. Do you think he would have signed up for this if it was going to be all drama all the time? I sure don't.)

If I had to come up with an explanation for what drove the shift from "making high-quality television" to "making highly-viewed entertainment," I would say that it came when the producers and the network changed. Now the show is produced by Bunim/Murray, the same outfit behind The "Real" World (emphasis added), and the show airs on Lifetime, the network responsible for that cinematic classic Mother May I Sleep With Danger? starring perennial Oscar-bait Tori Spelling.

And please note that I say this from a place of love, because I used to watch The Real World religiously back in the day, and I actually kind of like Tori Spelling -- but these changes blow.

Now the show is an hour and a half long, instead of just an hour, and that extra half hour? Is nothing but the designers criticizing each other's designs and basic general bitchery. It's stupid and unnecessary. Nobody looks good under these circumstances. If these people were really that good, they wouldn't need a reality show on basic cable to get people to buy their stuff. And I assure you: there are only maybe three people on this show whose clothes I would actually consider buying, and one of them has already been eliminated.

I don't know that I really have a suggestion on how the show can be fixed. I would definitely recommend cutting out the extra half hour, and maybe going back to Bravo. But I'm not sure even going back to the original homebase will help; some of the stuff that we have seen on PR is slowly creeping into other quality Bravo shows now. I don't really care how much the contestants on Top Chef hate each other -- the more I have to see the giant egos interacting, the less I feel inclined to eat at one of their restaurants. I don't want to eat where the chef doesn't respect anybody but himself.

And don't even get me started on Work of Art, which was seriously an unmitigated disaster.

Maybe what I am saying is this -- Dear Project Runway people: If you're reading this (and I doubt that you are, because you are not my mother, so why do you care?), stop with the drama! Just make clothes! You're making Tim Gunn* concerned, and I don't like it. Concerny faces give me wrinkles. Thanks! PS - Stop showing the Schick Quattro razor-trimmer commercial during PR because I really don't want to think about the shape of other women's "topiaries." Eww.

* Tim Gunn is probably not concerned, but that is what he says all the time.


I Swear To God, I Used To Have A Life

It's getting to be that time again where I show you my fall TV schedule and My Anonymous Mother looks at it and basically goes, "Ugh, for this I paid all that money for college?" because apparently in my head M.A.M. is Yiddish. Would you like to see this year's pretty little chart? (If not, too bad, because here it comes anyway.)

(Incidentally, guess who just got a new color computer at work? THIS GAL, that's who.) (Well, it's the department's color printer, but STILL.)

The changes in shows and/or timeslots are highlighted. It looks kind of similar to last year's version, doesn't it? That's because THERE IS NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN, people. I am basically watching the same shows as last year. There are only a couple of differences which I will discuss below:

  • You will notice a marked lack of purple on this bad boy; that is because I never know when Top Chef, Project Runway, Burn Notice, White Collar, Psych, In Plain Sight -- basically, all my shows on cable -- actually stop and start. I will keep watching them as long as they are on (especially Burn Notice and White Collar because Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, and Matthew Bomer are yummy) but I have no idea what time any of these shows actually air because I have a TiVo.
  • Yes, I just said the Bruce Campbell is "yummy." I can't help myself. He is funny and charming and devilish and I have absolutely no defense against that demographic. I don't care if he is old enough to be my (sugar) daddy. Don't you judge me.
  • Outside the cable shows, which were intentionally omitted, four shows are completely gone from the list -- Ugly Betty (finished), FlashForward (cancelled), NUMB3RS (finished), and Gossip Girl (too stupid to keep watching). Lost never appeared last year because it didn't have its season premiere until February, and it is the only show that I will actively miss. Thank God for the complete series on Blu-Ray, which of course we will be getting.
  • Every year I say I am "done" with Survivor, and every time a new season starts I still get sucked back in. This time I am watching for two reasons: one, to see how long before Jimmy Johnson (yes, THAT Jimmy Johnson) sticks around -- hopefully not very -- and two, to see how badly the changes they keep making are wrecking my show.
  • For the record, not that you asked, but I still stand by my assertion that Ethan Zohn is the best Survivor winner in history. He has a foundation. Go check it out. This is a public service announcement. Also, he is very, very funny and charming and have I mentioned that I have no defense against that demographic?
  • Yes, I'm going to at least check out the "reboot" of Hawaii Five-O, because I am an asshole, and also because Daniel Dae Kim is lovely and charming and I am glad he has work so soon after Lost. Not entirely sure how I feel about Scott Caan, and I don't understand why CBS is so completely in love with Alex O'Laughlin, but come on -- Hawaii! Cops! "Book 'im, Danno!" You know you're going to watch, too, at least once.
  • I would personally like to thank the television executives who made the decisions to move Survivor to Wednesdays and move Glee to Survivor's old timeslot on Thursdays Tuesdays (Ed.: fixed), because that resolved one of my most major scheduling conflicts. Now I only have one left, on Mondays at 8:00, and I am going to have a hard time deciding whether House or How I Met Your Mother gets bumped to repeats. Chuck stays put, always and forever, amen (because of the cute and charming and no defense and hello have you even been listening?).
  • No, I don't know why The Defenders looks interesting, but it does.
  • Big jeers to both ABC and NBC, who only have two shows each on this chart. Why can't you guys make good television, ABC and NBC? Modern Family and Community are fantastic. Chuck and Castle are great. MOAR PLZ.
  • Dear CBS: When can I expect the next mortgage payment on my soul? Get that check in the mail STAT or I will stop watching CSI: NY, which kind of sucks any more anyway.
  • I'm giving The Big Bang Theory another chance, even though I kind of didn't like it early in the show's run. If you must blame someone, blame Linda Holmes at NPR's Monkey See blog, who has been making quite a case for it. You can also give an assist to Wil Wheaton, who also loves the show and has been a guest more than once. I trust that Ensign Wesley Crusher will not steer me wrong.
  • Gaaah, I still can't believe that I am going to voluntarily watch Jimmy Johnson on television. WTF is WRONG with me? Damn you, Mark Burnett! Damn you straight to hell!
  • Oh hell yes I'll be watching Conan's new show when it airs. I will NOT be making that mistake again. Team Coco Forever!

Any other recommendations? Last year someone (my sister?) said something about Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice, but I can't get into them -- not a big soap fan, really (which is a large part of why I gave up on Gossip Girl -- that, and the unrelenting stupidity). I find Mad Men to be intolerably slow, and the entire concept of Breaking Bad scares me, but I am giving Rubicon (also on AMC) a shot. I missed out on BSG and I think I am a little late to the party for Eureka but if someone thinks they're worth trying to find on-demand I will see what I can do.

And for the love of all that is Good and Holy, let's hope that Jimmy Johnson does not win Survivor or my head will explode.


Somewhere, A Key Lime Pie Is Dying Of Loneliness

I am not 100% sure about this, but I think that the calorie restrictions from my diet are causing starvation-related brain damage, because for the last few days I have been seriously entertaining the notion of joining a gym.

And that, Gentle Readers, is CRAZY TALK.

I'll be the first person to tell you that a good 50% of the reason why I look like I do is because I am pretty much violently opposed to exercise of any sort. I hate sweating. It's gross, stinky, and there's really no way to look dignified while you're doing it -- at least, there isn't for me.

Which is funny, because literally half a lifetime ago, I was an athlete. Not exactly a world-class one, hardly even decent, but passable most days. My sport of choice? Swimming. Specifically, distance swimming. I used to swim the 500-yard race for my high school team, and I trained for the mile (1500m) event for the Y.

And let me tell you something: even you are not a particularly good distance swimmer, you train just the same as everyone else. You swim many, many miles a week, up and down the pool, over and over again, flip turn after flip turn, there and back again, lather rinse repeat, every day, sometimes twice, for two or more hours at a time. When I was in the most "intense" part of my training, I was swimming anywhere between 3-4 miles a day, and about 12-15 miles a week.

I know people who are in pretty darned good shape who don't RUN that much every week.

But that was the rub, of course. Swimming is a pretty solitary sport, and practices get boring and lonely fast. I would say that's doubly true when you train for long races. You get your program for the day and you do it, and while you're in a lane with other swimmers, you don't really interact with them much. There isn't time. You do your sets and you take your 45 seconds between 100's and during that 45 seconds you're trying to catch your breath. Everybody is competition, trying to beat you, to take your place on the leaderboard. You don't socialize, even if you wanted to. Your hips and knees and shoulders are jello and your brain turns to mush and all you want to do is be done so you can get out of the pool and throw up and then die on the floor in the locker room. Only to start all over again the next day.

I was not a good enough swimmer to earn a swimming scholarship, so when I got to college and found myself not on a team for a change, I allowed myself to enjoy the lack of routine. I didn't have to arrange my classes around a practice schedule. I kept saying that I would get in the pool to get some exercise, once I got settled in. Once I got a handle on all my classwork. Once I made a few more friends. Once I knew what my major was going to be. Once I memorized the calendar of free movies and plays and parties. Once I felt like I needed some exercise.

That day never came. I spent four years at Syracuse, and I never once saw the inside of the natatorium. I am not entirely sure that Syracuse actually has one.

Fast-forward 18 years in the future, to now -- and here we are. In the last half of my life, I have joined a gym three different times. Each time, I went a handful of times, and then got bored with the routine and frustrated with the changes I needed to make to my schedule. I don't like to be put out. I don't like to sacrifice. My time is mine, and I want to spend it doing something fun. Like watching "Phineas & Ferb." Or putting off doing laundry. Or bathing the cats.

Now I'm working really hard at losing weight. It's true what they say: it doesn't get any easier when you get older. But try telling that to any 18-year-old, and they'll laugh in your face. That's what I did when people tried to warn me. My "freshman 15" was more like a "freshman 50," what with stopping swimming and eating nothing but carbs in the dining hall and living for several semesters on ramen noodles, Pringles, microwave popcorn, and Mountain Dew. Since my freshman year, I've added another 50 pounds, and then some. Eighteen years of excess weight. And I want to lose that weight by next Labor Day.

Thus far, I've been doing fine with the calorie restrictions that my Lose It plan are setting for me, but I'm starting to feel like I should do more. I'm down more than a pant size, but not quite two, which is pretty awesome -- people are starting to notice. But instead of feeling better about myself by degrees, I am starting to get more critical. Around my middle, where my chunk used to be smooth and solid, I am looking lumpy and jiggly. Smaller, but jigglier. I am starting to feel self-conscious about my flappy old-lady chicken arms. If I want to attempt to put on a bikini next summer (and in the back of my mind, this is one of my goals), then I am going to have to do more than starve.

So a gym it is, then, right? But how can I justify the expense when my husband is still out of work? The local Y costs more than $80 a month for a family plan, and more than $50 if it's just me. That's a really lot of money, especially because I'd only be using the pool and the weight room. They have eleventy million different classes, all kinds of stuff I'd love to do, but everything is at 9:30 in the morning on a Tuesday, and I can't leave work for a bellydance fitness class. I was thinking about a gym chain with locations right near home and on my way to and from work, with a pool and a gym and conveniently-scheduled yoga and Pilates classes, and that's only $9 a week. But I've seen the people coming in and out of that gym, and they're already young and fit and out of my league, and I don't want to be judged by strangers in bicycle shorts.

Plus, I really, really hate exercise. Really hate it. I don't want to do it. I know I should, because it's only a matter of time before I am down to only 1,200 calories a day, and nobody wants to live like that, plus I don't want to be thin but unfit. I want to look good. I want to have nice toned arms and strong legs and a cute booty. I'll never have six-pack abs and I'll probably always have a little pooch in the tummy, but I want to be flexible. And confident. Which I've really never been in my entire adult life.

But mostly, I want to be able to eat key lime pie without eating nothing but carrots for three days.


Parting Shots

A couple of last pictures. My "other" sister and brother-in-law are sorely under-represented, but they were there, and as far as I know they had a nice time.

Shel & Joe

And this is maybe that rarest and most precious of all pictures, ever: the one where everybody is shown, and we're all looking at the camera at the same time.

All Of Us

Last, but definitely not least, one last movie of the kids digging in the sand.

So ... when is our next adventure?


Wonder Twin Powers Activate

On Thursday, the last night of our full-family vacation (both my sisters left the shore on Friday -- one so that should could visit other family members while she was "local" and still make it back to Chicago in time for work on Monday, and the other so she could find out she is going to have a girl, although I am personally holding out hope that it might possibly be a unicorn) -- on Thursday, we went to the boardwalk at Seaside Heights. When we were kids, we used to go to Seaside Heights for our summer vacation, and I had vague and hazy and soft and fuzzy memories of the boardwalk. I recalled it was awesome.

Um, yeah, not so much. Thanks, Snooki. *eyeroll*

Big Wheelie Thing

But there are still lovely parts, if you ignore all the "As Seen On 'Jersey Shore'" signs and the "Welcome Back MTV" signs on the club marquees. It smells pretty darn good, that combination of salt water and sand and Coppertone hanging in the air, mixing with the aromas of all the different foods you can eat on the boardwalk -- pizza, cheesesteaks, fries, freshly-made salt water taffy, ice cream, lemonade. I love the sounds, too, the jangle of arcades and the rolling of skee-balls and the pit-pit-pit of those big wheel games and the crash of the waves and the laughter of the gulls and the screaming of children. And nothing anywhere in the world looks as inviting and exciting as the lights of amusement-park rides reflecting in the glimmering ocean. (Too bad I am a terrible photographer -- you will just need to take my word for it.)

For all that waxing nostalgic, at the time I was upset about our trip to the boardwalk, because it was not quite like I remembered. I used to think the boardwalk was so cool, because there was nothing like it near my house. It was five miles or so of complete sensory overload, and I loved it. It kind of squicked me out this time, and it never occurred to me until my brother-in-law said something, but it kind of does look like one giant church carnival. You know, if your church is "Our Lady of the Meat Market."

I was kind of devastated, and I blamed MTV: yet again, they have stolen and ravaged my youth! I didn't eat anything, because I felt like everything was dirty, somehow -- Snooki-fied. I made up for eating 700+ calories more than I was allowed on Wednesday by eating almost 900 calories LESS than my budget on Thursday. I didn't even have any ice cream.

And then I got home, and I looked at the pictures, and you know what? That trip to the boardwalk gave me exactly what I wanted all along.

Oh No They Di'int
Just As Long As We're Together
Wonder Kid Powers Activate!

These two, walking around all night in their "matching" outfits, holding hands, being together. Looking adorable. Just talking.

Walking One Off

Teaching each other to fly.

Flying Lesson

And, you know, having ice cream, which has the calcium that is very important for growing superheroes.

Delicious Soft Serve

So, all told, it was a pretty damn good vacation. Let's do it again.

Boardwalk Photo Strip



Fear of Flying

I struggled mightily with the order in which the next two posts should go up: do I want to put my favorite pictures up first, and then the terribly embarrassing video? Or do I want to go with the hysterically funny video clip, and then the bittersweetly lovely pictures of the kids looking adorable? In the end, chronological order won out (even though, technically, everything is out of sequence vis-à-vis everything else -- the pictures you are seeing today were taken on Tuesday, and the pictures you will see tomorrow were taken on Thursday, and the pictures you have already seen? Were taken both before AND after both Tuesday AND Thursday. But as I said when I saw Pulp Fiction for the first time, lo these many years ago: Non-linear storytelling kicks ass.)

So. Anyway. On Tuesday night during our vacation, we went to Fantasy Island Amusement Park, which you might remember from last year's trip to the shore. This year we went earlier in the night, because we knew it was there (prior to last year, I swear to God I had never heard of the place, even though My Anonymous Mother swears up and down that my Aunt Kim used to take her kids there). It's not really a dress-up place, but I got Shae all dolled up anyway, because I had packed a little skirt outfit for her, and by God she was going to wear it someplace.

Sunglass Hut

See what I mean about the pictures looking like they were taken for a catalog? Anyway. Things started out well on the boat ride ...


... and were okay on the train ride ...

Choo Choo

... but we did not do so well on the traffic jam ride ...

Not A Good Time

... although we did better on the honey bee ride (you will just have to take my word for it).

Honey Bee

BUT. Things really went off the rails on the ferris wheel. Oh, dear sweet Jeebus, my arch-nemesis the ferris wheel!

Ferris Wheel Cinematographer
Ferris Wheel

See that picture of me, holding the video camera? That's going to be important in a minute or so. Shae did great on the ferris wheel ...

... but, um ... okay, let me just put it this way and then cut to the clip. I'll be totally honest here: I am deathly afraid of heights. DEATHLY. Well, not heights, exactly, but falling to my death. I can handle airplanes for some reason -- I love to fly, actually, although I do have trouble with take-offs and landings -- but I really, really don't like being in high, open places because I can picture in my head all the terrible things that can go wrong and I can't stop it and ... well, even though the audio commentary on this clip is all me, having a nervous breakdown in front of my 3-year-old on a stupid ferris wheel at a perfectly lovely kiddie park at the shore, it's still pretty funny. I can admit that.

Next time G is getting ferris wheel duty. Shae's going to be on her own with the roller coasters, though.