update update update

I PROMISE, you guys, that I’ll start writing again regularly. I know it’s no excuse (but really, it is!), but things have been absolutely crazy the past few weeks. Between accepting what, for all intents and purposes, is my dream job (no really, it is) to moving out-of-state and then STARTING said dream job all in a very short period, my stress level has increased exponentially.

But it’s really good, really amazing stress.

Moving was not as horrible as I thought it would be. It was horrible, yes, but by definition, moving is horrible. I was pretty weepy (read: VERY weepy) the week between looking for a place in DC and MOVING to DC. I had dinner with my pregnant BFF and I don’t know who was more teary-eyed—her or me.

In the two weeks since being here, my life has been a complete whirlwind. I’m loving every minute of it (including the ‘up all night’ editing parties the editor and I have had!) and have gotten to meet some really wonderful people. I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. I’m doing exactly what I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. I have to pinch myself at least twice a day to make sure it’s all actually real.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not homesick. Ohio will always have my heart, mostly because my family and lots of close friends are there. It kills me that I’m missing out on watching my sister try and housetrain her new puppy, missing all of the baby-related stuff with Sarah, and a myriad of other family/friend related things.

But what hurts the most is not being there when someone passes away.

This past week a very dear college friend’s mother passed away and I wasn’t able to be there for her. She’s going through so much right now and handling it with such strength. She gives new meaning to the phrase “Grace Under Fire.” I adored her mother and was so sad to hear of her death. All I wanted was to hop in the car and be there for my friend and her family. However, with my publication’s launch tomorrow, it just wasn’t possible.

That brings me to this morning. I found out my great Aunt Hanna passed away last night. She was the last living sibling of my grandfather’s (who passed away 10 years ago tomorrow), so her death really feels like the closing of a very big chapter in my family’s history. I’m sure that she was welcomed into heaven with open arms and lots of smiles and hugs last night, but it doesn’t make it any less sad. I have nothing but lovely memories of her: even when she fell ill toward the end of her life, I still always pictured her as a blonde dynamo, flitting about, giving the best hugs, and being the first one on the dance floor at ANY family function. I’ll remember her laughter, her great sense of humor, and her fierce love of her family. I was so blessed to know her and be a part of her family. The world is little less lovely today without her in it.

That’s the worst part about living away from your family (especially if you have a close knit family like mine): times when you just want to be home, sleeping in your old bed & wishing the big bad world would go away, you’re hundreds of miles away. I don’t care how old you are, sometimes all you want is your mom. And today, I just want mine.

To be fair, my parents were in town this past weekend (where they witnessed the de-Occupation of McPherson Square. It definitely deserves a separate post), so I’m really just being selfish. But today, really, all I want is my mom.

I didn’t mean this to be such a downer post, but I definitely wanted to get something up today. Promise the next post will be MUCH lighter.

 

what happens when your dreams change?

Well, it hasn’t been WEEKS, but it has been much longer than I thought between posts. As you can imagine my life has gotten incredibly crazy: trying to tie up loose ends with my life up in the C-L-E and trying to get ready for the next act that will happen in Washington (I’m still shaking my head at that sentence. I can’t believe it!).

Besides trying frantically to find a place to live (MAJOR stress-inducer) and writing/tweeting/tumblr-ing my little heart out (yes, I watched BOTH NH debates last weekend. And, no, I didn’t play the GOP drinking game. My liver couldn’t take it.), I’ve been spending as much time as possible with my family/friends up here. It’s bittersweet. I’m so excited and awestruck at this opportunity, but I’m also a little sad that this chapter of my life is over. I’ve made some really incredible friends and had some really wonderful experiences in the last few years in Cleveland that I’ll take with me wherever I go. I’ll still be back to visit—one of my best friends growing up is getting married on St. Patrick’s day in Cleveland, plus I’m definitely going to be back for a certain BFF’s baby shower (whenever that may be!) and (of course) after baby Kres is born. Yes, it’ll be different, but that’s not always bad.

In other news, my dad had shoulder surgery (surgery #3!) on Tuesday. He appears to be doing much better after a rough day yesterday. He’s happily taking pain meds and watching a ton of NCIS reruns.

Lastly, I urge all of you to check out my friend/sorority sister, Amber’s blog Life After Dreams Change. Not only is she one of the sweetest and smartest girls I know, she’s a terrific blogger. She and I went through similar experiences recently (her with Med School and me with Law School) and she’s done a great job of chronically those tough choices and uneasy decisions. She’s a great reminder to me that you CAN chance your dreams (and your life!) and be excited (and happy!) about it. She’s now getting her PhD in Microbiology and I’m off to our Nation’s capital to become a journalist. Seven years ago if you would have told the two of us that, we would have laughed at you—we were so convinced that med school/law school was THE answer for us.

It’s funny how things change. And, right now, definitely for the better.

BIG NEWS!

I’ve been completely MIA for the past few weeks. I apologize. There have been some big things going on in Casa D and in my life.

Chief among them?

In just a few short weeks I’ll be a resident of this place.

That’s right—I’m moving to Washington DC! My dream job that I told you guys about a few weeks ago? I got it! I’m still pinching myself to make sure that it’s all really happening.

The job itself is amazing—it’s a writing/new media gig at a media outlet and I am so so SO excited to be a part of it! It’s truly a gift.

Besides writing and tweeting and all that other stuff that comes along with the job (!), I’m also starting to look for a place to live—from Ohio. And it is making me want to pull my hair out. Moving is the pits.

I have a ton of other stuff to fill y’all in on, but I have a hair appointment in a few minutes, my sister is in the CLE for the weekend and I have actual work to do. But I promise the next update won’t be weeks away!

 

thanksgiving update!

I’m back from my self-imposed “break”. The holiday weekend and finals induced panic got me, but I’m breakin’ the cycle, people!

Thanksgiving was lovely (as always). It’s always so nice to have everyone in the house, eating and drinking and hanging out. My mom is a fabulous cook and made a DELISH dinner. I took lots of pictures which I promise I’ll post…once I find the camera cord. *whomp whomp*…

My sister & I went to go see “The Muppets” on Wednesday night. Oh.My.God. ADORABLE. Absolutely adorable. And, as predicted, five minutes in and the two of us were already crying. I’ll make sure to do a review of the movie because it’s worth talking about.

The rest of the weekend was spent (mostly) studying. But I did take a few hours out to help decorate the Christmas tree.

We were NEVER that family that put up the tree Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, I remember some years the tree not being put up until the 22/23. It’s not that we were a family of Grinches…we were just busy. But now, my mom LOVES to put the tree up right after Turkey Day. I think some of it has to do with the fact she’s obsessed with having her Christmas trees (yes, there are plural) look “just so”. I’m not kidding. After E and I would put ornaments on, if she didn’t like exactly where they were, she’d move them. I think her next career move should be in creating holiday displays in Department stores (and I’m not really kidding, either). I may joke that she takes the decorating thing WAY too seriously, but I have to admit. She has great taste and does a great job.

Here’s a picture of the tree, halfway done.

Sorry for the crappy iPhone camera, but I was livetweeting decorating. And, yes, I AM that lame.

It’s always fun putting up the tree. I LOVED it as a kid—I was always the one to beg to put up the tree as soon as possible. If it was acceptable to put the tree up in October, I probably would have…especially since I’m not the biggest fan of Halloween. Besides, it’s fun to look through old ornaments that we’ve accumulated over the years. My parents saved EVERYTHING we made as kids—every weird little ornament we’ve ever made. It’s also funny to be able to decipher who made what. Basically, if it is completely overdone and has more glitter than a Ke$ha concert, it was clearly made by baby Stacey (my glitter aficionado status was cemented at an early age). Also, fun fact? My kindergarten teacher one told my mom I was the worst colorer that she had ever seen in all her years of teaching (and she wasn’t exactly a spring chicken, if you catch my drift). This led to my mother making me practice coloring for most of my 5th (and 6th) year. Yup. I was forced to “practice” coloring…and cutting. Apparently my skillz weren’t up to snuff.

Aside from the homemade ornaments, it’s also hilarious to see the store-bought ornaments. Nic and I have a whole box filled with Barbie and Disney and American Girl Doll ones. If there was any sort of girly ornament marketed in a given year, you’d better believe that it was bought for the two of us. But that’s cute (I think, anyway). Who doesn’t want a Scarlett O’Hara or Molly McIntyre (from the American Girl collection. If you are a female and under the age of 35 and don’t know what that is, I feel sorry for you. You were robbed of a childhood) ornament?  Buying us girls ornaments was (is) fun.

Buying my brother ornaments? Not so fun. Aside from his “baby’s first christmas” ornaments, E has an entire collection of, well, ODD, ornaments. In place of dolls and angels, Erik has trucks and motorcycles. That’s right. Nothing says Christmas like Harley Davidson (especially if you’re a kid that doesn’t like motorcycles). All of his ornaments are either pickup trucks (at last count there was three), motorcycles (two), and, no tree would be complete without a Magic Johnson ornament.

Here’s E putting it up. Be jealous.

As you can imagine, there were lots of inappropriate jokes being told at poor Magic’s expense. But since this is a family-friendly blog, I’ll let you use your imaginations.

That’s really about it. Life will resume for me next week after exams (and regular blog posts, I swear). For now, I’ll leave you with a clip from the Soup (hands down one of the funniest shows on tv. And not just because my boyfriend Joel McHale hosts it.) Everyone knows about my love for Courtney Stodden and her weirdo husband, Doug Hutchinson (heart you guys! keep it riiiiiillll!) and my love of the Bravo! housewives. The Soup (I keep writing “the stoup”. blergh. It’s not a stupid Rachel Ray recipe) combined the two. The result. Only what I wish for in my dream of dreams.

Go to the E! website to check it out. Hilarious.

 

i’m elbow deep in garbage juice

No, not right now. But earlier this evening I was.

I thought I lost my aunt’s wedding band that I had reset a few months ago. To say that I was panicked would be the understatement of the year. I was going bat-shit crazy. I tore apart my entire house—twice. No dice. Under couches, under tables. Nothing.

So I ended up, elbow deep in the garbage, tearing apart through the coffee grounds, banana peels, old dog food, and general nastiness. Nope, not there. I then, sucked up the remainder of my pride and went though the garbage that was already outside. Nope, not there either. I smelled like garbage and old dog food, still no ring, and was contemplating about how to take apart the vacuum cleaner.

At that point, I almost WISHED that I was chasing my stupid dog down in my neighbors’ yard.

I gave up, convinced that my ring (with not just actual monetary value, but a whole lot of sentimental value) was gone. I cursed St. Anthony for being absolutely no help. I went to change out of my garbage-y (so not a word, but an accurate description) clothes. I peeked one more time on my dresser. There, among the piles of makeup and costume jewelry, was my ring.

Duh.

While 99.9% of me was just thrilled that it was safe and not in the vacuum (or my dog’s bowels), the other .1% (the horrible ungrateful side) was pissed that I actually went through the garbage and was going to follow my dog around with a shovel for the next few days.

I’ve just come to terms that with me and my idiocy, as my homegirl, Roseanne Roseannadanna (aka Gilda Radner) used to say, “it’s always something.” If you don’t know who Gilda or Roseanne is, you are missing out. Do yourself a favor and check out her Commencement speech to the Columbia Journalism School (fast forward to 5:55 if you just want to see her catchphrase) 

One of the funniest women to ever have lived and definitely the funniest to have ever been on SNL (although Kristen Wiig gives her a run for her money. I don’t count Tina Fey ONLY because I consider Tina more of a writer than a cast member).

That’s it for today. It’s getting to be the end of November (yikes!) and the end of NaBloPoMo…and I can’t believe I’m still on track. Crazy. I wish I could say the same for NaNoWriMo (I am so far behind, I’m too embarrassed to even tell you guys how bad it is). I was going to sit down and write a ton tonight…but after the whole ring escapade (I’m still SO mad at myself) and the fact that there is an entire evening of Law & Order (Michael Cutter episodes! yay!) on TNT, I’m clearly spoken for.

But as Scarlett would say

 

misadventures with Maggie May

My name is Stacey. I am a former sorority girl-turned law student and I have a small white dog. I sometimes have blonde hair. I am aware of what a cliche this makes me.

However, I’m sure that Elle Woods’s dog, Bruiser, was much better behaved than my little monster (and not in the good Lady Gaga  kind of way ). No, I am the proud owner of the worst behaved dog on the planet. She might look sweet and cuddly.

my name is Maggie and I am a princess!

But she’s actually the worst dog on the planet. Her biggest problem? Listening. You want her to come inside? Not gonna happen. Ask her to sit? She’ll look at you like you’re mental. She knows zero tricks. Her saving grace? Did you see her face? She’s cute. That’s about it.

I lied. She does know one trick. Escaping. She’s like a furry little Houdini. No space that she can’t find her way out of.

Take my backyard for example. It’s completely fenced in with a large six-foot wood frame. For most animals this would present a problem. Not Maggie. She has found little crevices and cracks in the fence to dig her way out. I don’t know why she wants to escape so badly. She has a preeeettty good gig at Casa D.

Except she clearly doesn’t think so. She escaped a few weeks ago (I tweeted about it) and I was pissed. I ruined a lovely pair of dress pants and killed a few of my neighbor’s bushes and THEN I had to give Miss Mag a bath (which she HATES).

Today, as I was cleaning the bathroom, I let her outside. Stupid me. I went to check on her and she was gone. So I threw on a pair of shoes (my favorite flip flops. Yes, I’m aware it’s November. Shut up) and sucked it up to go look after her.

My neighbors very likely hate me. I feel like I’m always traipsing into their yard, looking for my stupid dog. today, no different. I walked through the icky, muddy swale and climbed over their recently placed plastic netting fence (to keep THEIR dogs out of the icky very back, natch, snagging my clothes on branches and ensuring that nothing back there can actually GROW  by stomping on them. All while I’m screaming “MAGGIE MAGGIE!” at the top of my lungs, which, if you paid attention before, you know would be useless because she doesn’t respond when she hears her name. At this point I have now completely ruined my pedicure and manicure, little burrs and branches are stuck in my hair and allllll over my leggings (I’m still picking them out) and I’m still minus a ten pound furry ball of misery (ok, she’s not a ball of misery. But I was pissed at her). I’m now running through random people’s backyards, tripping all over myself, branches hitting me in the face and tearing up my leggings (yes, they are now pretty much in shambles) and reaaaaallly mad that my nail polish is totally ruined. I FINALLY see Maggie and she sees me. However, she thinks its now a game, so I am looking like an asshole, chasing my (now muddy) dog in a stranger’s backyard, screaming at her to stop.

I’ll let you pause with that visual: Stacey, looking like a hot hot mess, burrs and mud in hair, ripped leggings, smudgy gross manicure and yelling at her little white dog to stop.

Finally, after some more yelling, I finally catch her and try to figure a way back to the house without hopping over a large fence, dog in hand (because there was NO way I was letting her down). I realize I have to go back through my neighbor’s yard (the one filled with mud and burrs and branches). I grumbled through, telling Maggie what a bad girl she is, and I trip. Yup. I TRIP. I end up on my ass in the mud. Getting up, my hair gets caught in a tree and I’m screaming. Maggie, thinking I’m hurt, starts barking. We are making quite the scene. I de-tangle myself (luckily Maggie did not run away this time) and in the process of trying to hop over the plastic netting, I BREAK MY FLIP FLOP.

RIP, flip flops. I’ll miss you.

And, of course, once she’s safely back inside, what’s the first thing she does?

Stands by the backdoor, begging to be let out.

Yeah, I don’t think so.

"What? What'd I do? By the way, your hair looks awful, Stacey. Burrs are so not a good look."

Thanks for advice, Mag.

sunny days sweepin’ the clouds away

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I love the Muppets (and Sesame Street) in a BIG BIG way. Follow that Bird is my favorite movie. OF ALL TIME(s). No, really. It is. I’ve seen it probably more than any other movie in my life. I can quote every line. I can sing every song (including this fabulous Waylon Jennings tune. Yes, Waylon Jennings! did a song for the movie. It’s that awesome

)

My sister bought me “The Wisdom of Big Bird” (by Caroll Spinney) for Christmas a few years ago and I’m pretty sure I cried the entire way through. I own the Sesame Street 40 years of Sunny Days DVDs. I still have the “20 years and Counting” special on a taped VHS that I watch once a year (and, again, cry through. What can I say. I’m a crier. I own it).  I had a Big Bird record player that I played the crap out of for most of the 1980s. My stuffed Grover is in nearly every picture of me taken before I was four. I loved Sesame Street.

Sesame Street is so fiercely tied to my childhood that it’s nearly impossible for me to separate the two. So many of my earliest memories are tied to it, even through roundabout ways. I remember singing “L is such a lovely letter” with my mom. It’s how I learned who James Taylor was (to this day in Casa D, he is still referred to as “Jellyman Kelly”. I’m sure he appreciates this.). It’s how I learned to count to 10 in Spanish (thanks, Maria!) . In short, it’s the soundtrack to my childhood.

Sesame Street will always be my #1, but the Muppets are a pretty close #2.

 who wouldn’t love these guys?

“The Muppets Take Manhattan” was my favorite movie for most of elementary school (after I had grown out of “Follow that Bird’). The Muppet Show was already off the air by the time I got old enough to appreciate it. But that didn’t mean I didn’t love the Muppets. No, not at ALL. I came of age when the biggest thing on Saturday morning cartoons was THIS:

Muppet Babies. As anyone in the late twenties/early thirties and almost all of them will tell you that Muppet Babies was THE reason for getting up on Saturday mornings. Even now, twenty-odd years later, I can still sing the theme song, remembering fondly how much I LOVED that devious little Miss Piggy (still do!) and how Kermit was just the cutest little frog this side of the pond (still do!).

Muppet Babies provided MY generation an introduction to the Muppets. Most of our parents watched the Muppet Show and were thrilled that the Muppets would continue to live on. Plus, with the success of the cartoon, reruns of the old Muppet Show started to be re-shown. New shows were added to the Henson repertoire (Fraggle Rock, anyone???) and Jim Henson & co. seemed to OWN quality children’s television. Then Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel happened and with them brought some of the worst children’s television programming known to man (but that’s a rant for another day). In any case, the Muppets popularity went by the wayside and, with the exception of a few movies, the next generation didn’t fall in love with the Muppets like I did. There was a brief renaissance in the mid 90’s with “Muppets Tonight” (basically, the Muppet Show: the Next Generation), but only survived two seasons. Other kid’s programming was introduced and, sad to say, lots of kids today have only a brief concept of the Muppets.

That, however, is about to change (at least I hope!). Jason Segal (he of adult raunchy comedy fame) wrote a new Muppet Movie. And I, for one, will be first in line on November 23rd to see it (if they have a midnight showing, I will SO BE THERE).

Doesn’t this NOT make you want to see it?

What I like most about it, is that they didn’t try to “modernize” the characters. Segal and his writer partner Nick Stoller are “Muppet Purists” and didn’t want to see their (our) beloved Kermit insulting people, Miss Piggy deciding she had it with trying to be famous and becoming a social worker (yeah, like THAT would happen) or Fozzie Bear abandoning his dreams of being a comedian and selling real estate instead. They seem to GET the characters and get why the world fell in love with them. And they want to bring that to a new generation of children. Children’s television doesn’t have to be dumbed down. That’s what Jim Henson (and co.) taught us. That you could create a world of fun and silliness and sweetness for children that would appeal to adults too.

When Jim Henson (RIP) died in 1993, I think everyone was not only shocked and saddened (I still cry when I think about him), but concerned about the future of the Muppets. But, and I think this goes to show just how much they are loved, the Muppets have a tight-knit group of Puppeteers (Muppeteers?) that want to keep Jim’s dream and vision alive. They (along with Jim’s family) wouldn’t allow the Muppet name to be ruined with trying to “make the Muppets cool”. They don’t have too. The Muppets ARE cool. The reason there hasn’t been much new in the way of Muppetland is because they are so careful to keep with Jim’s idea of what the Muppets should be and SHOULDN’T be that they’d rather not do anything than do something that doesn’t ring true.

That’s why I’m so excited for this movie. It’s been 10 years in the making (the last full feature length theatrical release was in 1999!) and I think people are ready for the next adventure with Kermit, Piggy, Fozzie, Gonzo (and Camilla the chicken!) and friends. I can’t wait to see what new music Rowlf has written, what new bits Fozzie has worked out, what new invention Dr. Bunsen and Beaker have created, what new “performance art” Gonzo has come up with, and (of course) what utter FABULOUSNESS Miss Piggy has come up with for herself (as stated before, Miss Piggy is totally my personal—and style—icon).

Seriously. look at the girl.

hanging out with Marc Jacobs, no big

in a custom-designed Jason Wu for "In Style" Magazine

The girl (or Pig, whatever) rocks it. She’s blonde and bold and not afraid to chase down what she wants—clothes, frogs, whatever. If Miss Piggy wants it, she’s gonna get it. No question. And all while looking fabulous.

And, also, who can forget the best curmudgeons (sorry P. Garlock!) of all time, Waldorf and Statler

teaching the kiddies how to heckle

I think this movie is going to be HUGE. Mostly because it’s not just going to be families (think mom & dad and their little kids) going to see it. I predict that there will be a large contingent of people in their twenties and thirties (sans children) that will be lining up to see the film. For us, it will be a trip down memory lane with our old pals. Life gets messy and complicated and sometimes you need a release—a reminder of childhood when things were light and innocent and fun. And if by paying $9.50 for a ticket to recapture some of this is what it takes, then by all means. Take my money.

So, in anxious anticipation, I’ll leave you guys with a little video from my FAVORITE FAVORITE FAVORITE holiday special ever, A Muppet Family Christmas. It only aired once and (thanks, Mom and Dad!) my parents thankfully taped it. I watch it once a year (usually along with the Sesame Street 20 years and counting), laughing and giggling and happily remembering my childhood and how a simple holiday special could make everything a-ok. There are tons of great clips (so if you haven’t seen it, I HIGHLY encourage you to watch it. You can get it on DVD now. So check it out here: here), but my very favorite (and also the one that makes me cry) is of the late, great Jim Henson (and Sprocket the dog!)

See you folks later. If you need me, I’ll be in line for the Muppet Movie, singing “The Muppet Show” theme song. On repeat.