Saturday, May 26, 2007


4 times in one week my dog has tried to commit suicide. Let me preface the following with the fact that we live on a busy street. Let me also say we are extremely careful of anything in her plain sight. Jules' motto is "If it smells, eat it."

On Monday last week she yanked the leash from my hands and tore through the front yard and driveway before I dove and snagged it and her. The following day she escaped from the backyard through a hole in the fence...only to come scratching at the front door "Let me in!" Vince's heart was in his throat and within a half hour he and his cousin were at Home Depot buying up some new hinges and tools to fix the fence door. Later in the week I placed my newly purchased Bic Soleil razor on the shelf of the tub only to find the entire handle and razor in her mouth, chewed and ruined a few hours later. Attempting to slit her paws? Finally just now she got a hold of a Combat Ant Killer trap. She chewed through the plastic to the poison and Vince and I were on the phone with the Penn Vet Clinic (the emergency weekend vet) frantically wondering if we had to haul our suicidal dog into west Philly. Obviously throwing herself into oncoming traffic and slitting her paws had failed, so poison was her final straw.

This dog is under lock down until she gets herself under control.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


The Starbucks barista may have been flirting with me the other day when he asked me if I was having a good day and what constituted a good day...but it got me thinking. How do I define a good day?

Raindrops on roses? Whiskers on kittens? LOL. No. But let's see.

Sunny and 70.
Walking my dog/visiting the bark park.
Having food in the house and being able to make something yummy for lunch or dinner.
Enjoying a good cup of 'jo (even better when I can be in the city for yoga and stop at the Green Line on Lancaster Ave.).
Doing something relaxing like reading or blogging or scrapbooking.
Hearing good tunes on the radio (or my iPod).
If I can accomplish a few things on the never ending to do list.
No traffic.
No drama.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Wine or Mushrooms?

Vince and I went to the Cornerstone Inn - this adorable B&B in Chester County - for our anniversary earlier this month. We had an all inclusive wine tour complete with tasting glasses for all 6 of Chester County's vineyards. Let the following illustrate our priorities:

Loaded with 5 lbs of Kennett mushrooms, a box of canned marinated mushrooms, and 5 mushroom recipes, we visited 2 vineyards and purchased one bottle of wine and drove home, excited about our mushroom cuisine. Needless to say, you will likely find us here come September:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Orange Mocha

Yikes. Good thing I looked up the nutritional info on the newest addition to the Starbucks family. The rather yummy Orange Mocha Latte boasts a scary 220 calories for a tall (12 oz) nonfat milk version. That's 100 extra calories than a normal latte. Even more that the Caramel Macchiato (170). What a sin. I was just getting acquainted with Ms. Orange and her interesting delicious flavor. Maybe it'll be a once a week treat.

Chucking the Bar

I grew up with that allusive bar...the one I still strive to meet. For years I set the bar very high for myself and for all those who crossed my path. Most people have some inkling of motivation so while they may not have always met my crazy expectations, they show me they try.

And then there are those who simply do not rise to the occasion. The ones who don't just fail (because that means they tried), but simply have no concept of the bar and do not try. Period.

The underachiever, the one that will take the path of least resistance always, the road always traveled, figure out the shortest and quickest path from A-Z and if it means skipping very important letters and steps, who cares? The one who could work a 9 hour day for the sake of building a business but why bother when things are good as they are...greatness isn't an aspiration but rather, getting by with the absolute least amount of effort. The one that despises formalities, social etiquette, adult obligations and duties, anything that even hints at organized religion.

People look at me like I am crazy, accepting this. I say it's useless wasting my time locating the bar, setting it and insisting the underachiever - the complete and total opposite of me - acknowledge it and rise to it. I threw that bar out a long time ago. It's sad. But I suppose I still have my own. And out there exist people that do try.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Hail Pat

Pat Benetar that is. When I get my hair done, my stylist, "D" (as my family has called her since we were in grade school) always gives me a great cut and funky style complete with product out the wazzoo ("You need to embrace the product, Chrissie," she told me some time ago). Embrace it I have and I walk out with a slick mane that when touched, pulled, or tousled, will pretty much do whatever I want, including stick straight up in the air.

This particular day I was dressed in my hot pink puma sweatshirt, black pants and my black patent flats. All I really needed was Love Is A Battlefield playing to make the moment perfect.

Monday, May 07, 2007

From Beyond

I have this weird way of remembering someone on the exact day that a particular situation with that person occurred. Moreover, I'm also convinced that those who have gone before me find the most unusual ways of communicating with me. The day I fainted in April was the day my grandfather passed away 6 years ago. When I picked my car up at Villanova that evening, it was 7:30 PM, right when he passed. I thought of how despite the days surrounding his death being unseasonably warm, inside I felt alone, sad, wavering, cold. Sort of how I feel now. I carry around the weight of that memory with the situation of the day and my current career struggles - I'm strangely aware and saddened by all I think and see and experience this day - and I yet I felt calm like he was with me, reminding me to keep the faith. Had I been feeling better, I would have stopped at the cemetery.

In 2000 before I left for Greece, Pop Pop wrote me a letter expressing his excitement for me as I embarked on this journey but moreover, the many journeys I would soon experience as I graduated St. Joe's. Three weeks after he passed away on May 3, 2001, I sat in my Philadelphia apartment and sobbed over the incredible amount of loss I'd suffered in the last few months. I suddenly remembered this letter and found it in my desk drawer. I looked down and saw the date was the same. There I sat in a puddle of tears as my life crumbled around me, knowing he'd wanted more for me than what I was living right then, at yet also knowing he wanted me to find that letter at that moment. Through hiccups of despair, I knew he was telling me to keep the faith and take comfort that he was there with me. Years later, that letter still finds me on May 3. Sometimes in between to remind me of who I am.


Yesterday, May 6, Vince and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary. It was slightly surreal. It feels like so long ago that we were at the church, at the reception, that it was 1 AM and I didn't want to take off my dress because then it would mean the day was really over.

I made us pancakes for breakfast...we took Jules to the bark park in Wilmington, ran some errands which included stopping by my parents place, wishing them a happy 33rd wedding anniversary, and then had dinner at the Towne House. It was fantastic to go back and be in the same place we were a year ago.

It's my mission this week to do a few wedding related dress is still hanging here in my closet. Of course I need to try it on again. But I also need to get it preserved. My box of proofs needs to be sorted and placed in the cute albums I found on the bargain rack at Borders. My wedding scrapbook I started last fall needs to be completed, but I'd settle for a few more pages and now that Martha Stewart has graced Michael's, there's no excuse! Oh and we need to nibble on the top of our cake. Yes, we hauled it from the depths of the freezer, opened it and to our surprise, the entire top of it there staring at us, icing and flowers and all.

Meanwhile, Vince is enjoying his sandlewood shaving stuff and I am enjoying my 4 dozen roses.

2 years in a house, 1 year married, and a 6 mo. old doggie. Yay for us.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Arf. A Fire Extinguisher

The moment went something like this:

Me: Happily chirping away on the phone to the editor of Key To Philadelphia.

A loud bang interrupts my conversation and I peak over to see what fell - nothing. I continue with my chatting.

Jules: Arf. Arf Arf Arf [followed my 30 more seconds of loud barking].

Me: What the hell?? Sorry, Ron, my dog seems to be freaking out about something. Hold on.

I venture into the kitchen where Jules is in her pounce mode - her tiny ass sticking straight up in the air, tiny tail erect, jumping back and forth and barking. At what? I peek behind a corner. There, lying sprawled on the floor is the red fire extinguisher that she managed to knock over, the cause of the loud bang, and with its scary hose, it must have looked like a monster to her. A monster that would come after her and attack her. Clearly she had to give it a piece of her mind. I right the extinguisher and place it back in its corner. Jules finally stops her bark fest and gives it one last Look and turns to follow me out of the room.

This has happened not only with the fire extinguisher but also with the broom, mop and vacuum. Anything large (most things are larger than she), that can potentially move (either because I sweep, mop or vacuum or because she knocks it over and in her head, it moved) or make a strange noise - these objects come out of nowhere to spook her and after days of silence, she finds her voice and barks ferociously at these objects.

Granite Run Mall

I was just in my local mall for the first time in heaven knows how long. It's in a terrible state of decline - and it seriously reminds me old gas stations left to become a town eyesore, covered in weeds. So I sent a scathing email to Simon Property Group, the Mall's Management and sent a note to the president of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.

As a Delco resident, I need to vent about the decline of Granite Run (and perhaps even Springfield). I submitted a complaint to the Simon Property Group about what a disgrace this mall has become, but what concerns me most is that this shopping destination exists in the Middletown/Media area - an upper middle class area - and how can we as educated residents and consumers let this mall continue in its downward spiral? We shouldn't have to feel like to get quality stores we must leave the county - and take our dollars that should be funneling into/through Delco and sustaining our local economy - to Chester County or Montgomery County.

Is there a committee to save Granite Run (or shut it down?)...In all honesty, unless it took a serious turn for the better (competing with the likes of Exton and Willow Grove), I'd prefer another assisted living quarters...a strip mall like Britton Lake even (and I hate suburban sprawl). I walked around there this evening and the Gap is gone, there is yet another teeny bopper clothing shop, and I reminisce of days gone by when I worked at Deck the Walls (also gone), had my Coffee Beanery latte (gone, but thankfully taking up shop at FMFCU), and actually had a number of different shops to choose from in my quest for a prom dress. Most of the places there now turn over quicker than the wind changes direction. I recently heard teen cousins of mine say they make my aunts drive them Exton because the stores are better. And these are teens - a market segment with disposable income and to whom so many of these shops are supposedly targeting. Educated working 30 year olds like myself cannot go here because everything is too young. My mother, a die hard department store shopper, from Glen Mills treks elsewhere now.

Obviously the mall sustains itself somehow, obviously it still makes sense for the place to remain the influx of Chester and Upper Darby residents that rely on Septa to get them there? I don't understand how such a terrific area like greater Media, that boasts great homes, terrific school districts, and clearly favorable demographics can let this mall decline the way it has been for the last 3-5 years. I understand things change and with more residents come traffic changes, road expansions, strip malls, assisted living quarters, and now the new center going up at 322/1. I get that everything will eventually become the Golden Mile Springfield. I even get that boutique shopping - ala Suburban Square and Rittenhouse Row - are the trendy way to shop (this is actually how I shop now) and directly or indirectly leading to this very decline. But it sure doesn't mean I want my local mall changing the way 69th Street did and taking 20+ years to (sort of) turn around again.

What can we do?