The Museum of American Armor


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As promised.

So, my beloved is a big time history buff.  Big time. He is a history teacher (when not forced to teach English by bad admin decisions (another story)).  He studied Chinese history as an undergrad, he went for a Masters in Public History, he loves Native American history, he reads big tomes about how the Russians won WWII and argues with people on the internet about the Civil War.  And that’s just scratching the surface.


We have had this conversation. For real.

While we were driving to our campground in NY for the Rammstein show, we passed a sign for historic Old Bethpage (the town we were camping in).  I didn’t see the other sign but P did.  The other sign was for The Museum of American Armor.  Armor is tanks.  And tanks are history.  You know what happens next.  We had all day Sunday before the show to kill, what better way to spend time before a German industrial show then looking at and learning about American industrial machines?  And since my love was being so gracious to come see Rammstein with me (never mind the cost), it was only fair to acquiesce to his request to check out the museum.  And it’s not like I don’t like tanks!

It was really cool!  Smaller than I thought but super neat.  Lots of different tanks and other vehicles (like the Dragon Wagon- which transported tanks!), many volunteers who were delighted to chat our ears off about the different tanks and their history, and a really good display in general.

Armor view

View when walking in

All of their tanks are functional too!  That morning I thought I was hearing fireworks when waking up in the tent, P thought a shooting range was nearby.  Turns out we were both kind of right as the Museum people had been putting on an Experience- they were out in some fields, all dressed up, and shooting the tanks off!  The museum was literally right down the road from our campsite.  Lots of the volunteers do reenacting too, so some were wandering around the museum in full WWII get up.

Armor plan

Battle plan for the reenactment experience

I’m gonna let the pictures do most of the talking with this entry.  I did enough chatting in the last entry, eh?

Armor tank up close

I forget what kind this is, but it was cool. Tiny driver space

Armor Israel tank

This tank was made by the US but was used in 2 wars in Israel- very cool personal history

Armor tank detail

detail of some battle scars on the side of the Sherman

Armor bad Betty

cute, no? (side of a truck)

Armor add tape

The ads were so funny! There was even one about Stetson hats helping keep secrets!

Armor comic

Found this interesting

me and P and tank and gun

Me and P in front of the Sherman- they gave him a gun! (fake)

me and P and 2 guns

And then they gave me a gun! (fake, but heavy!)

The volunteers were so nice and super chill.  One of them found out I went to Smith and got a picture with me because his daughter is going there (how sweet!).  Another lives up here in MA and told us about a really cool reenactment on some millionaire’s land with all kinds of tanks and stuff, and offered to have his group come talk to our students about WWII.  It was part garage, part museum, all cool.  A great way to spend the morning before the show.  Anyone in the area (Old Bethpage, Long Island, NY), I highly recommend a visit. (admission is like $12 too- totally reasonable). The website (linked above) is nice- good pictures and some videos of the reenactments they do.  Check it out!

Rammstein! Live!


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Those close to me know that my current favorite band is the German not quite metal, not quite industrial, but totally awesome Rammstein.  Husband has been dealing with my obsession (yes, it’s about that bad), for about 3 years now.  I’m like a high school girl with a crush.  On 6 grown men.  Whose language I don’t speak.  Who set things on fire and blow things up.  And sing.  You know, a totally normal crush. 😉

Anyway, they don’t tour the States often and haven’t had a new album since 2009, but there were rumors that they had gotten together and were working on one to come out next summer (2018).  So I was saving my pennies for a trip to Berlin or Prague or somewhere cool in Europe to see them when the new album came out.  Maybe tour around.  I’ve always wanted to travel over there anyway, and Husband was totally down- he’s always wanted to go to Budapest.

But then I learned that they were going to do some shows over here for the summer festival circuit.  The closest was Chicago, and it was a whole weekend and you had to buy tickets to both days (even though you only wanted one day for one band), and while Chicago is on my list to places to go (Dresden Files!), it wound up being too expensive. Alas.  But then! Then! They announced they were going to do a show in NY! There was no way I wasn’t going.  The morning the tickets went on sale I was up, 2 laptops and the desktop at the ticket website, ready to go 30 minutes before time.  When time came I was hitting “refresh” on three computers, looking for good tickets for 2, until 2 computers froze, but Husband saved me from a freak out and long story short- I got us good tickets. Orchestra section. One section away from the pit (which, for those who are unfamiliar is right up next to the stage).  I did pay too much for them.  I totally did.  I went through a 3rd party vendor and had a brief panic attack (after the fact) at the thought that maybe the tickets I bought had been sold to someone else too and then I wouldn’t be able to get in and oh my god how could I be so stupid!! plus many swears. Husband, again, saved the day with the plan to go down early, get in line as early as I felt we needed to (he said we could get there at noon if I wanted), so that my tickets were the first scanned and thus I was in, no problems! Phew.  Ok.  This was in like, December.  Panic fades pretty well over 6 months.

Back to the present- we got a campsite for 2 nights (cuz we are not only thrifty New Englanders, we are hearty!), about 20 minutes from the venue.  We got a pet sitter for the weekend.  We packed, we survived traffic in the City (“what do you mean 2 hours till arrival? You said that 2 hours ago?! Stupid GPS! What is wrong with you?!”  Lesson learned- plan leave time better), we set up camp, found something fun to do for Sunday morning (next post- promise! The American Armor Museum. TANKS!), and had a pretty chill time of it.  I didn’t make us get to the venue at noon, but I did get a little panicky and we got there around 5, doors opened at 7.  However- since the line went all the way back, snaked around, and back again by like 6:30, I was very glad we were so early! So very many people!

We had good line-mates.  We were behind a retired NYFD guy and his family.  Totally New Yorkers, and good people.  The dad made P think of his own Dad, which was cool and kind of comforting. He took his phone out to show us pictures of the full moon that came out when he saw Black Sabbath and we talked bands we’ve seen, and general small talk.  It was nice to hang with other fans who had good stories and were chill and chatty. While we were in line for awhile there were fun stories, fan-love, a security woman who was a hoot and a half (I swear she’d been a teacher in a former life: “I WILL make you go to the end of the line!”), barbecue (lots of people were tailgating), and great costumes/outfits.  I saw a lot of metal shirts- Slayer, Megadeath, Iron Maiden, and others I know of but wouldn’t know if I heard.  There were a LOT of Rammstein shirts too. And fishnet.  And black lipstick.  You know, the usual.

We got in.  I was bouncing and squealing and giggling.  I got a shirt (it’s very pretty).  And we got to our seats.  I freaked out a couple more times- Oh My God! We’re so close!!  Oh My God!  (I said Oh My God a lot that night. A lot).  And then I was able to chill.

Rammstein NY me n P (me)

obligatory selfie (before anything started)

We had a nice couple in front of us from Canada (farthest drive I met there, though I know there were some Germans in the audience, as well as someone from the Czech Republic), and they were Our People (ie: nerds) so we had a nice time with them passing the time until the show started.

Rammstein NY getting ready (me)

So close!

The countdown finally started- everyone was on their feet and screaming, I was bouncing again (total fangrrl. like, whoa)- and then the curtain dropped.  There was the stage.  There was the drummer (Schneider), there the keyboardist (Flake (prn. fl-ah-kay)), there was Ollie (guitar), hanging in back.  Then, from the rafters, lowered slowly, one platform on each side, come the 2 other guitarists- Paul on the left and Richard on the right.  I am nearly loosing my mind- they’re there! They’re there! I am seeing them with my own eyes! Holy crap! Oh my God they sound so good! They’re there! It’s really them! Live!  And then Till, the singer, comes out.  He’s in a white suit with top hat, and he taps his way out onto the stage, does a little dance, tosses his hat to the side and starts to sing. They start with their new song, “Ramm4” (this video actually shows how the concert started, though Till was wearing white when we saw him), which is a very clever amalgamation of nearly all the band’s song titles.  It also has the fantastic chorus of “Ja! Nein! Rammstein!”, which, as I’m sure it was designed to do, gets the crowd even more hyped (if that’s possible).

And then… things get a bit hazy for me.  I think I have all the songs they played, but definitely not in the exact order (except for the encore).  They did “Hallelujah”, “Reise, Reise” (which I did not expect to hear live but loved it, that was a happy surprise), and I think that was the song where Till had his white suit ripped off to show the black leather looking one underneath.  “Seeman” was third-ish? maybe? which chilled things down a bit (just a bit).  That is not a favorite song of mine, but it does showcase Till’s voice quite well.

So, I’ll take this moment to talk about how amazing they sounded.  Truly!  The sound was awesome.  Till was killing it!  He’s got such a baritone, he growls, he purrs, he yells- it’s wonderful!  It sounded better than the live videos I’ve watched, sounded almost as good as the album, but since it was live there was so much more energy.  Watching these guys live- they are loving it and you can tell.  The stage is their home, this is more than a show- this is what they are meant to do, and if you’re a fan at all, you have got to see them live just once- it is truly where they excel, it is their bread and butter, their meat and potatoes, where they reach their apotheosis (thanks Husband).  And it’s just so. fuckingcool!

After “Seeman”, in no particular order since I cannot remember clearly- we had:

Zerstoren” (where Till, controversially, comes out in a big overcoat, removes it at the end to show a suicide vest that explodes in fireworks).

“Links, 2, 3, 4”- got the crowd rocking and singing.

Mein Hertz Brennt“- which I also did not expect and went nuts for.  It would’ve been better with live strings, of course, but it’s such a beautiful song, even if it’s about monsters under your bed.  The video link is from a live performance from last year.  Yes, Till is pouring sweat- I am quite sure it’s hot being up under those lights, dancing around, and, you know, there’s lots of fire.

Feuer Frei” which, of course, had lots of fire (“feuer” is “fire” in German).  Till, Richard, and Paul all had flame throwing masks on!  Flames! From their faces! So much fire!

Ich Tu Dir Weh“- another favorite of mine, and where Till leads Flake into a tub, raises into the air on one of the platforms from earlier, and then pours flaming sparks down onto the keyboardist, who then pops out in a glitter suit and does a weird little dance. This prompted P to comment, “Flake is basically a Batman villain”.  Yes, yes he is.  (Till did not sound so out of breath when we saw him as he does here in the video I linked).

They then launched into “Du Riech So Gut” which was their first major hit (at least in Europe) and a fan favorite.  The sparking, flaming bow Till spins around is not to be missed.  So you only need to watch the first minute or so of the video, unless you’re liking the tune. 🙂

Rammstein NY flaming bow (N Bookstaber)

Photo by N. Bookstaber, Jones Beach NY 6.26.17

We also got “Ich Will”- which I love and wasn’t expecting, and by then my voice is pretty hoarse from the screaming and singing, but did that stop me? Hell no!

Also “Keine Lust” another crowd favorite and fun sing-along

And somewhere in there they played, of course- “Du Hast” which was their big hit over here in America (1997).  Now, this song is the only one that ever gets played on the radio over here, or did, and it’s the one song everyone who’s ever heard of Rammstein will know or know of.  So why perform such an overdone song, hit or no hit?  Because, in true Rammstein style, you can blow things up and light it all on fire!  Never mind that the entire crowd sang along- like all 15,000 of us- which was an amazing thing to hear and be a part of.  They had towers on each edge of the venue that blazed torrents of flame in a choreographed dance to the music.  Plus there were the flame shoots from the front of the stage.  And at one point in the song, Till shot something into the air and sparks of fireworks ran up wires from the center of the stage to the flame towers on the sides and then back down again.  It was AMAZING.  I am not doing it justice.  I could feel the heat with each burst of flame and the whole venue and surrounding area was lit brighter than the day.

This fan has her videos from the show up on her facebook page if you want to see.  She gets some of the fire for “Du Hast”, the fireworks, and the whole crowd singing.  I didn’t take video and only got one picture because we weren’t That close and I wanted to actually pay attention to the show, not my camera, but some people were closer and got good shots.  Like this person.  And there are some more here with a review of the show we saw.

Rammstein NY fire (J. Castle)

The flames in front. Photo by J. Castle, Jones Beach NY 6.26.17

I’m not sure that they ended this set with “Du Hast”, I don’t think they did.  … Found a set list! They ended with a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Stripped”, which is in English and with Till’s resonant baritone growl- uhn!  So good.  So so so good.

Then they go away.  But they come back! They always do an encore.  We got “Sonne”, which is my absolute favorite song, it’s beautiful and amazing and the stage was lit up yellow (“sonne” means “sun” in German).  Then they did “Amerika” which is a bit of a critique of American culture and how it’s everywhere (“We’re all living in America, America.”), but not inappropriate, I feel.  And they end with “Engel” (angel), another favorite, top 3 for me.  This was the only picture I took:

Rammstein NY Engel (me)

Till rising into the air

That’s Till, rising into the air as he sings.  The angel wings shoot flames at the end of the song.  It was just so fucking cool! Oh My God! So Cool!   Video (from this year, early June in Russia).  The song is about how he doesn’t want to be an angel since they’re all alone and cold up behind the stars. (“Gott weiss Ich will kein Engel sein.” God knows I don’t want to be an angel)

I got chills.  I bounced. I screamed.  I sang.  I was on my tip toes nearly the whole time and my calves were shaking.  My feet hurt at the end.  I thought I’d thrown out my elbow punching the air (I didn’t, just sore).  My neck was sore from headbanging. My voice is still not 100% back to normal, and yesterday I was hoarse and squeaky and loving it.

There was one moment where I just stood, silent, my hands in fists at my mouth, staring wide eyed and feeling… feeling like a little girl on Christmas.  When you first go into the room with the tree and it’s lit up so bright and beautiful, and the presents under the tree seem so very many, and you are just full of awe and wonder and love because you have this amazing beauty in front of you and so much love and joy behind you as your family joins you at the doorway.  It was like that. I felt small and beautiful in that innocent and unself-conscious kind of way, and just completely full of awe. Speechless.  And grateful. So incredibly grateful to not only be seeing my favorite band in the world*, to be seeing something so magical and beautiful and amazing, but to be there sharing the experience with the person I love best in the world.  This is something I will never forget.

At the end, which came too soon, they all came forward and bowed.

Rammstein NY bow (C. Ugaro)

Photo by C. Ugaro


I’m still floating pretty high off the experience, it was incredible.  But, I’m also on vacation now and so hopefully I can catch up on some posting.  I want to tell you all about the tank museum we went to (lots of pictures!), how Lucy scared me (she’s fine), and my first cosplay.

Thanks for listening, for reading, and coming along on my journeys, near, far, and in between.  ❤

*who are still alive (I would sell body parts for a time machine to go see Bowie live)


Pool vs. Pond


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Lately, last 2 weeks or so, I have been swimming for my cardio.  I want to be running, but I am still plagued by shin splints and now something terrible to my back heel (possible Achilles tendinitis?).  I’ve given up and am finally giving myself the time to heal.  Sister gave me the idea of swimming- super good work out, good cardio, you don’t have to do the crawl like Micheal Phelps, and easy on the joints. So I can give myself time to heal and not loose any cardio.

Our gym has a pool.  I’ve been swimming laps.  Simple breast stroke and moving up in laps and time.  My current workout is about 30 laps in about 30 minutes.

Today the pool was a bit crowded.  (It’s a small pool, only 3 lanes for laps in the evening).  I have shared a lane with someone, but it’s not my favorite, I feel squished and awkward and like I flail (since I’m new).  So I sat in one of the pool chairs for a minute, thinking. Then I got up and left the gym.  I went to the pond nearby.  I psyched myself up because it’s been raining, it’s only mid-May, so it was going to be cold.  But I psyched myself up, like I said- I can do cold, I can handle cold. And hell, if it is too cold at least I tried.

Image result for puffer's pond

Puffer’s Pond, sans pollen

It was cold.  (the kind where you swear under your breath and have to dive all the way in quick or you’ll never get in). But I warmed up about a quarter of the way across and then it was quite refreshing.  While I swam, I came up with some pros and cons between the pond and the pool.

Pro: It sounds more bad ass to say “I swam back and forth across the pond twice,” than to say, “I swam 30 laps in the pool.”

Con: In terms of distance, back and forth across the pond twice is a little more than 30 laps in the pool. (lol!)

Con: Lots of pollen on the pond right now which is kind of gross.  No pollen on the pool.

Con: Fish.  There are fish in the pond. Image result for minnows

Pro: The fish leave me alone and don’t care how ugly my swim-strokes are. They also eat the bugs that hang out near the top of the water.

Con: Pool is always 80 degrees in temp.  The pond is definitely less than that right now.

Pro: People bring their dogs and I get to meet them.  Like a reward for making it across the pond!  No dogs at the pool.  Sad.

Con? I have to swim around beavers.  No, really.  I thought one was a dog but nope- beaver

Image result for beaver swimming

not my picture, but what I saw

Pro: Smooth, clear water, no crowding for my swimming- I don’t have to worry about kicking someone or a wall

Con: Goddamn kids hang out at the pond, smoking and laughing! How dare they!

Pro: Sometimes those goddamn kids are playing good music.  No music at the pool. It gets boring as hell.

Con: Smells a little fishy in parts.

Pro: Doesn’t smell like chlorine.

Pro: Sometimes cute young men talk to me, which makes me feel (do note the emphasis there), makes me feel like I don’t look old or ugly.  There’s not the same demographic at the pool. There’s a much more, uh, wrinkly demographic at the pool.

So, I mean, even with the pollen, it’s definitely better being outside in the pond. But I do like having the option of the pool for raining days or if I don’t feel like swimming around beavers.  And I am definitely still lifting at the gym.  I’m not giving up my deadlifts!

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Raarrr!! (not me, obvs)

Although, hopefully my shins and my Achilles heal soon so I can start running again.  I have a half-marathon in July.  Hopefully the swimming means I don’t have to struggle too hard to get back up to speed, so to speak, with my running.  My goal is to run 8 miles (without pain!) before the half-marathon.  Not ideal, but a reasonable goal and something I’ve done before.  I know I can run the 13.1 miles in decent time (i.e. before it gets dark) with an 8 miler under my belt.

Go me, go me , go!  Whoo!



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Y’all know how much I love our dog- Lucy.  A lot.

morning selfie

She’ll be 5 this summer, and it’ll be her 3rd adopt-aversary with us.  We’ve worked with her on her manners and she does ok when she sees another dog at a distance- so long as there’s hot dog, and she even ignores the little barky dog downstairs now- her eyes on me, following my “With Me” command, and rewarded with a piece of hot dog or other treat.  But training her to not be reactive is a long, serious, and intensely involved process, and I’m not even sure it can be done.  This preface is just to let you know that I bear no ill-will, and to remind myself that it wasn’t my fault. (but to be honest, I am still struggling with that).

I took a tumble yesterday.  We were hiking up The Notch, which has a really pretty rocky steep beginning (600 ft P said), and some parts of the trail are narrow.  We noticed a dog coming down while we were going up.  P went ahead to warn them that Lucy is reactive, please leash your dog and ours will bark like crazy but please just pass by, it’ll be ok.  I took Lucy up off the trail, up a hill.

I had hot dog pieces in my fist and a good grip on her leash.  We did ok for a bit- no barking and lots of hot dogs eaten.  But as the dog passed closer, and when I had to dip my hand back in the treat pouch for more hot dog, Lucy started to bark and lunge.  I tried to lure her with the hot dog and I think that’s when I lost my balance.  I remember thinking, “NO! She can’t get loose!” but calling for P, knowing I needed help.  And then I was down, in the rocks and Lucy was loose and going for the other dog.

I don’t remember exactly what happened next, nor are things clear, but I was up and moving, getting there, getting to Lucy, couldn’t let it happen, couldn’t let her hurt the other dog.  There was barking and snarling, it sounded horrific.  The 2 women with their dog were trying to hold their dog back and out of the way and trying to keep Lucy away.  I remember getting in there and thinking clearly, like a newspaper headline across my brain: “you’re getting in the middle of a dog fight, you’re not supposed to get in the middle of a dog fight, this is not what to do, what are you doing?!” But the drive to keep Lucy from hurting the other dog was stronger.  I thought I was going to get bit, but I got in there anyway and grabbed Lucy by her harness with both hands and hauled her back. P was there by then (seemed forever but it was seconds, I’m sure), and took her, nearly picking her up and moving her up and out of the way.

Only then did I look down at my shaking hands and see the dirt and feel the ache of my fall.  I turned to the women and asked if she/he? was ok? “Is he ok? She didn’t get him? Is he hurt?”  They said their dog was ok, they hadn’t really been biting each other, and I apologized in a trembling voice- “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry!” They said it was ok, they can be very protective, it was ok, and moved on down the path.  “I’m so sorry!”

And then I was breathing fast, fighting tears, feeling like a failure, noticing that we could’ve stood off the path a little further down and downhill, that would’ve been better, more sensible, why the hell did I go up hill?!  But P took over and made me sit down on some flat rocks a little further along.  My hand was really aching, throbbing,  some blood from cuts on a finger and my thumb, and he checked me over.  “Wiggle your fingers for me? Good.  Do this?” He made a fist. I couldn’t make a fist.  (Later I would realize I’d grabbed Lucy with both hands and marveled at the effects of adrenaline).  Touch, gently squeeze, no sharp pain? Probably not broken.  Deep breaths.  Wash it off, use Lucy’s red handkerchief.  And then I started to cry.  I was so scared.  So scared.  She went after that other dog and I was so scared.  I couldn’t let her hurt that other dog!  More deep breaths. Drink some water and eat an apple.  Breathe.

We sat for awhile and caught our breaths.  P took over on holding Lucy. We kept going, I didn’t want to wreck our hike and my hand was ok (it ached a lot but it wasn’t broken). There were other dogs (2) but P kept Lucy firmly by his side, I had put her gentle leader on her, and fed her hot dog bits if she didn’t bark.  We went up and ate a picnic lunch, watched some turkey vultures soar overhead.  Then we headed back down.  There was a bit of a cloud over the experience, P was upset at Lucy (“she’s great, you know I love her, but right now our dog is a pain in the ass.”), I was trying not to grimace at every jarring step that jolted my sore hand.

We made it home and things lightened up.  I iced my hand, P gave me some ibuprofen, we put on comfy pants and I grabbed a beer.  We watched Anthony Bourdain.  Lucy passed out on the couch between us, her head resting on a corner of the pillow I was using to elevate my hand.  Silly pup.  Sigh.  P and I went out to dinner, drank some beers, watched the lightweight and bantam weight fights on the TV and shared a piece of chocolate cake.  It was good, a good night.

I can make a fist now, but I definitely did something sprain-ish to my hand. There’s a spot on the back below the last 2 fingers that’s still a bit swollen.  It’s still very sore and I’m icing, elevating, ibuprofern-ing, and trying to be left handed.  Sigh.

Image result for left handed

I love my dog.  So much.  But I cannot help but run over and over the events of our hike yesterday in my mind, trying to find where I could’ve prevented what happened from happening- having her wear her gentle leader from the start, being downhill off the trail, letting P hold her while I warned people- but it does no good.  It happened.  I worry that maybe she scratched one of the women or their dog (she refuses to let us clip her nails, and she definitely got me on the inside of my arm (I noticed once we were home)), and I worry that they think poorly of me or my dog, that she’s a “bad dog” and I’m a terrible owner.  There’s nothing I can do about that either.

All I can do is learn from the experience.  (Gentle leader on new walks, where there maybe other dogs no matter what.) And elevate my damn hand.  Do you know what a pain it is to type not just one handed, but with just the left hand? But, as she snores behind me on the couch, her head resting on the pillow, a paw resting at my back, I wouldn’t trade her for anything.



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It’s April break.  I have been relaxing well. I have a list of things to do, things I would like to get done- switching out my winter and summer clothes, vacuum out the car, dinner with friends.  And I have done some of these things, but it’s been nice to seriously veg.

I got a book on audio (I have a membership to audible and love it. It’s worth it just for the Dresden), and I’ve been listening to It.

Get it? Ha ha.  Yea, I’m listening to Stephen King’s It.  Haven’t read this one since middle school (I read a lot of King in middle school-early high school), and it’s just as good, if not better.  Definitely getting more out of it this time around.  Also, the guy reading (Stephen Weber, wish he narrated the Gunslinger books, I’d’ve finished them by now) is AWESOME! He does subtle voices and his voice for Pennywise is creepy as all get out.  I think listening to it is waaay scarier than just reading it on my own.  I won’t listen after a certain point, and I won’t bring the book into the bedroom.

So I’m listening to this book and because I can’t just sit and listen (it’s 45 hours long– I’m not driving around, when I usually listen to books on audio, for 45 hours just to listen to this book), I’ve been coloring.

From a Grumpy cat coloring book- Grumpy Cat Around the World

I’ve also been listening when I take Lucy on long walks, but mostly, I’ve been coloring.

About 4 hours of work

Some green filled in- maybe 6 hours total at this point

Detail, closer shot

P thinks I’m funny, sitting there coloring these beautiful flowers while I make gagging grossed out faces as I listen to descriptions of the monster “He poked the rotting fingers of his right hand through the diamonds of the chain link fence, and when he curled them, Eddie heard a dreadful squirting sound which he thought might drive him mad.”  Totally gag worthy, yes?  So we balance it with the flowers and lovely color combinations.  I’m about half way through the book too, 22 hours left! (I don’t remember how long the Grumpy cat took me).

It’s been a nice way to spend break.  Back to work this weekend- grading and grocery shopping and chores- but this has been a good break.

On being my husband (and other things)


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Things you may have to deal with:

A text, from me post workout-

Me: “Shake! Bitte” (cuz i’m listening to Rammstein and i fancy learning German)

P: “Shake? You want a milk shake?” (P’s confusion is that i am passing, on my way home, the place we get awesome milkshakes to go)

Me: “Si! (cuz i like other languages too)


P: “Ah. I thought you meant cumby’s.  On it.”

I pull into the driveway 2 minutes later.  Ha!

Post workout shower, I was finishing and P was out, offering to make me dinner-

Me: “Can I have 2 eggs?”

P: “Yes.”

Me: “With cheese!”

P: “Of course.”

Me: “In the middle! With sriracha!”

P: “Ok.”

Me: (toweling off) “Doesn’t that sound good?”

P: “Mmm-hmm.”

Me: “Say it sounds good!”

P: “I did!”

Me: “SAY IT!”

P: “I did! That’s what I said!”

Me: *giggle* “DANGA ZONE!!”

(i get dangerous when i get hungry)


We got a dog!  She is wonderful.  Her name is Lucy Noodle Belle.  Lucy, cuz we liked it and she seems like a “Lucy”, Noodle for my neice (her second favorite food right now), and Belle because she’s from the south, NC.  The only other thing we know about her history is that she’s about 3.

happy beach dog!

happy beach dog!

silly upside down dog!

silly upside down dog!

pretty girl

pretty girl

sleepy pup- she settled in nicely!

sleepy pup- she settled in nicely!

ready for school!

ready for school!

She is wonderful!  She’s learning fast and a complete and utter sweetheart.  She really wants to be friends with the cats, but when they hiss at her she bows her head and/or lays down (but then she gets up and follows Z around, wagging her tail, “you’re my best friend now!”).  They’re learning to tolerate her.  She looooves people!  Other dogs- not so much.  But we’re working on it and we have hope she’ll come around. Anyway, she’s great and we are so happy to have a dog again!

Also- P and I have been having fun with hair dye since it’s school vacation.  Yee-ah boy!

P went old skool mohawk!

P went old skool mohawk!

my hair is blue!

my hair is blue!

But I got tired of people thinking we were trying to match, cuz we weren’t, and my blue faded out pretty quickly.  So. . .

purple and blue- RAWK!

purple and blue- RAWK!

And that’s about it for now.  More later (hopefully!)



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Finally broke in my new running shoes (and myself!)

ooh yea!

they were white when i left

It was so gorgeous out I took the new kicks off roading.  I got stability shoes this time around.  I went to an official running store and they watched me walk and everything. It was a big deal! (and they’re expensive! want to be sure!) I’ve been running in minimalist shoes and I liked them, but would still get sore shins.  Figured it couldn’t hurt to try these.  First time out was not so hot- my shins cramped and it hurt a lot the next day.  I was very upset.  But my darling husband had a great idea- new shoes, new footfall, gotta train my leg muscles! Go for one mile instead of three and see how it feels.  Then up it to two, then three, etc. (in other words: be gentle with myself. He’s so smart. I love him).



So I went out today with the intention of doing one mile.  And I did.  And then I paused and gave the legs a good stretch.  Went off road and I felt good, better than previous run. So I kept going and did 2.66!  Whooo!!  My legs felt good, it was awesome fun to run in all the mud and wet too- felt like a wild woman! Rar!

mud makes me happy

mud makes me happy

A successful weekend, all in all.  Got all my chores done, made a lovely roast chicken dinner, lunches for the week, all that fun stuff.  And it was still light out when I was done!

The peepers are out in force too- spring is official.  I could hear them over my music while I was running!  I got a video: Peepers!  You can also see how wet it is where I was running. squelch squelch yo.

Oh oh!  And I have hit my first weight goal.  Took me 99 days but I have lost 13 pounds.  WHOOOO!!!!  I feel SO good and so strong and like I can do anything! ROAR!!

never really liked Superman anyway.

never really liked Superman anyway.

This is not the end


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So this past week was the last week of the Weight Loss Challenge I was doing with my local fitness place (anyone reading this who’s local it’s Energia/50-50 Fitness, check them out, they’re very nice!). I had my final weigh in Friday evening. I weighed myself Monday night as that was my scheduled weekly and I was at 147.  I wasn’t pleased. My lowest had been 145, so why was I going up?  I pushed hard- took 2 tabata classes and did barre class Friday, was very careful counting the calories.

But- pizza is pizza, even if you only have 2 pieces.  And, as I learned, Chinese food is high in sodium and things like that will make your body retain water.  So my final weigh in was 149.  I nearly cried.  And then I did cry, in the car, after my consult. I was so pissed/sad! Katie, the woman who teaches Monday’s Tabata and Friday’s barre classes and who I really like, was very kind and supportive during the consult.  And she pointed out some things I can be more aware of- like being careful of the salt (which is definitely a weakness of mine. salty fried potato products, mmmmm)- and that I have seen progress, I can get there.  She also very clearly let me know that I was doing enough, I was doing the right things, I just needed to keep going.  (So I couldn’t beat myself up about not going to the gym 5 days a week and eating less! Cuz that is certainly something I would do! But Katie said I was doing enough, I was doing it right! And I’ll listen to her since I can’t always trust myself.) She also took my measurements and I am very curious to see if there’s any change in those from the start.

For someone who never felt like an athlete, or like I could be strong and bad ass, Katie has really helped turn my opinion of myself around with simple comments about how well I’m doing in tabatas class- how much effort I’m putting it, how much progress she’s seeing.  And since tabatas is one of the hardest, sweatiest, and most bad-ass-fitnessy thing I’ve ever done (and didn’t think i could do at all at first!), I actually FEEL bad ass fitnessy cool.  Rar!

can't say no to this face!

can’t say no to this face!

Why pizza and Chinese food this week?  It was a rough week.  And, after some sleep, I was able to think more clearly about the choices I made last week in regards to food. I was away last weekend. P and I didn’t go grocery shopping, we worked through some leftovers in the fridge. But I only had enough spinach smoothie for 2 days, not the whole week.  And P didn’t feel like cooking and I was tired, so when he said “let’s order pizza!” I said, “oh hell yea!” And we ordered bacon pizza (remember what i said above about sodium making your body retain water? yeeah).  And then we got Chinese food, and I ate leftovers of that for lunch the next day.  So while my calories were within my goal range, the kind of calories I was eating were not going to help me get to my weight goal.

pour some salt on me!

pour some salt on me!

Sigh.  But it’s not my fault we had a rough week- the kids are stressed (and acting out), the teachers are stressed (and pulling their hair out), and I can’t hear about the Boston Marathon bombing without thinking about P’s dad and since the trial was starting last week, it was all over the news.  Emotions suck dude. You know, shit happens.

What I can do though, is learn from the experience.  I’ve discovered some yummy non-meat options from Trader Joe’s that I can load up in the freezer for lazy/tired nights.  I’ve got a good food plan for this week and I’m going to use today to prep dinner for tomorrow since I know it’s gonna be a late night (Drama Club for me, then tabatas, P’s got newspaper club and the gym).  I’m going to blender-ize all the bananas with spinach and yogurt and put some of it in the freezer.  And I’m going to try and make better plans for the weekends where we go away (since we tend to not grocery shop when we get back), maybe we make sure we have good basics before we go or I make an extra meal for the freezer or something.

Anyway- I weighed myself at home and discovered that the gym scale and my home scale do not match- at home I was 147 (so i didn’t gain 2 pounds in a matter of days! whew!), which was a small comfort.  And then I decided to take the weekend off.  I was still going to log my food, but I wasn’t going to worry about calories (much).  I wasn’t going to go to the gym either.  I was going to sleep in and watch tv (Drag Race season 7 gurrl!) and finish a hat and be ready to kick next week’s ass!

P and I are going to get back into our gym routine (he was kind of sick last week too), which is something we both feel good about.  I really like that getting fit is something we can do together.  I really value that time with him too.  I’m going to keep tabatas as my one Energia class/week for now.  And we’re going to keep working to make better food choices.

All of this is to say: This challenge ain’t over for me!  I’m going to keep going!  I’m going to get stronger and I’m going to kick so much ass!  RAR!!

(also- this morning i weighed in at 145. ha! ha ha!! (and yes, i will be using my home scale from now on.))

Snow birds and ice cream


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I live in New England.  We’ve been hit with a lot of snow (you may have heard/seen on the news, I may have complained before).  Instead of complaining about the endless snow and terribly high snow banks that you can’t see around and thus are taking your life in your hands when pulling out of your driveway, or whining about how I can’t wait for it all to melt so I can run outside, I’m going to share my favorite thing about the snow: bird prints!

hop hop hop!

hop hop hop!

Nothing cuter, for me, than after a snow to see all the little bird footprints and the paths they make all over the porch.

a little path

a little path

hopping up the stairs even!

hopping up the stairs even!

We feed the birds here.  It’s cable TV for the cats and something I learned through the matriarchs of my family.  Woodpeckers like suet, Finches like thistle, Blue Jays are bullies, and nothing more beautiful than a bright red Cardinal on a snowy bush. Unfortunately, feeding the beautiful, cute, and sweet Cardinals, Sparrows, and Chickadees (respectively) means fighting a never ending battle with the squirrels.  The squirrels have ruined it for everyone else by being fatty fat pigs.  They just hang on my feeder and eat the whole thing! The birds don’t get hardly any! The damn squirrels even dragged a whole feeder of mine away! (Bastards!)

So, now we just have suet and thistle, which the squirrels don’t like. Unfortunately, neither do the Cardinals or Chickadees.  But! We get Woodpeckers- they love love love the suet and when it storms I make sure to have 2 out for them (and the sparrows and whoever else wants some).

Downy Woodpecker, going to town

Downy Woodpecker, going to town

The Woodpeckers make Zelda nuts- she keeps jumping at the window and making inquisitive and slightly frustrated purring and squeaking noises.

We also get Juncos, Sparrows, and the occasional momma Gold finch. And recently, we’ve had a new addition!  I had to look him up, I’d never seen one before, but we have a Winter Wren coming to the feeder.  He seems to like the suet and the Woodpeckers share, so it’s all good.

Winter Wren (not my pic)

Winter Wren (not my pic)

I think they are adorably cute, all puffed up and the stripes underneath their tails make them look like they have striped pantaloons on!  They make pretty chirping noises too.

About the ice cream- I am still on the Weight Loss Challenge, still going strong, still making progress (although it feels slower now, but I am determined).  P got me my favorite Ben and Jerry’s and, when I told him how many calories I had left for the day, he figured out what the serving size should be for me so I could have some and enjoy it without feeling bad!  I thought it was super sweet of him.  And, in case anyone is wondering- 130 calories of Ben and Jerry’s Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream is 1/4 of a cup.

a quarter of a cup. how dear!

a quarter of a cup. how dear!

It was delicious.  Just the right amount to cap off my evening.  And I still have some for another rainy (snowy) day!

On the cat front- they’ve been quite snuggly with the colder weather.  So much so, that one morning, Zelda decided she needed to be on my lap while Ed was too!

can you see Ed's head down near the bottom there?

can you see Ed’s head down near the bottom there?

She sat ON Ed!  He was meeping pathetically under the blanket, very much in the tone of “Mo-om! She’s sitting on me!! Mo-om!!”  Eventually he wiggled his way out and Z just settled herself right down, like nothing happened.  Siblings! *shakes head*

To the vet and after


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Took the kitties to the vet today.  Nothing serious! No worries! Just the yearly check up and rabies. Zelda doesn’t mind going to the vet other than that she has to stay in her carrier in the car (and she tells me about it the WHOLE TIME we’re driving there). Ed hates the whole process.  He hides in the back of his carrier, only occasionally letting out the most mournful of meows to express his inner anguish.

Zelda, when she gets to the vet, gets out of her carrier and wanders the exam room like she owns it.  Ed hides and we have to open up the carrier to pull him out.  The vets love Z.  They give her treats, she eats them, she rubs against them- total sweetheart. Today- after they gave her (what she surely considers) her due, she tried to open the cabinets in the exam room to get more.  The vet and the vet tech stood there and watched her, incredulous and giggling.  I’m nodding, holding Ed (who is hiding his face as hard as he can into my armpit), saying, “yup, this is why we have to lock the cabinets at home with a rubber band.”

Ed was a trooper, took his shot and pokes and prods, and then hid quietly back in his carrier.  Zelda got bribed back into her carrier with a treat and proceeded to step on it so she couldn’t find it.  So bright she can open cabinets and wiggle into drawers from the side to eat bags of treats but can’t figure out she’s stepping on one.  My girl.

When we got home the beasts were freed and loved up.  Laps were offered in penance for their tribulations.  Ed, after a bit, goes over to the bedroom door (which we keep closed because he’s our pee-pee head), clacks it open and wanders in meeping.  I follow him (“don’t you pee on anything!”) and he jumps up on to the bed and looks at me. “Oh, ok, nap time it is!”  So I curl up in bed, Ed curls up on me, and we sleep for 4 hours.

let's sleep all day!

he’s on my lap right now. “let’s sleep all day!”

Apparently I needed the sleep!  It’s good to listen to your Higher Power, however she/he/it presents her/him/it-self to you.

P has decided it’s Be Irresponsible Day (he was feeling old and responsible) and ordered pizza for dinner.  I joined him, of course.  I slept through lunch so I figured it was ok to eat lunch and dinner in one meal.  We’ll probably go workout tomorrow, and we worked out Friday AND went dancing.  So I think pizza was acceptable.  I’m still within my calorie limit too.  Whoo!

rather be fat