It’s a Casa D Thanksgiving!

It’s not going to be November 24th for much longer, so I wanted to take a quick pause and write a super quick post in honor of Thanksgiving.

We host T-giving every year at Casa D and it’s always my favorite holiday of the year. I’ll post pictures & recap tomorrow. But for now, I wanted to do a top 10 (at the request of my sister, Nicole)

So here it is. Stacey’s Top 10 Things I’m Thankful for (some serious, some silly. some of these are meant to be funny)

10. large fountain diet cokes on ice: If I could marry diet cokes on ice, I would. Quite possibly my favorite thing on the planet

9.  magazines. books will always be my #1, but I love the feeling of getting a brand new magazine (either in the mail or from the store—whichever!) and spending an hour or so flipping through. Plus, the Bullseye in EW is my favorite part of the week.

8. Our armed service men and women. we have the best military in the entire world and I am so thankful to the men and women that serve and that are away from their loved ones during this holiday season, so that I can be with mine. Thank you really doesn’t seem enough.

7. my dog. even though I complain about her sometimes, Maggie is really an incredibly sweet dog and I love her to bits and pieces.

6. my education. I’m so grateful that I was afforded the opportunity to get a college degree and am in the process of a graduate degree. Education is something that no matter what, no one can take away from you.

5. my iPhone. Sure, it’s completely superficial, but (besides the fact that I love my phone almost as much as I love my dog), cell phones have made it easier for me to keep in touch with my friends and family that are scattered all over the place.

4. somewhere to spend the holidays. I’ve never had to worry about where I’ll spend the holiday season because I have a whole mess of people that love me and would welcome me with open arms.

3. my health I’m healthy and happy right now. Can’t ask for much more than that.

2, my friends. I have amazing friends all over the place. They make me laugh, inspire me to do more, and challenge me to be better. I don’t say it nearly enough, but I am so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.

1. my family. as Anthony Brandt one said “other things may change us, but we begin and end with family.”  I can’t even put into words how completely and totally blessed to have the people that make up my large, loud and (sometimes) crazy family. I have amazing parents (that I am so eternally grateful to and mean more to me than they could EVER possibly know), fantastic siblings who are not just family, but my best friends, plus grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins that love me & support me, no questions asked. Ever. Sitting around my folks’ dining room table earlier this evening, I couldn’t help but feel extremely lucky to have all of these people that would literally do anything in the world for me. I hope that everyone has the chance to feel that sometime.

So that’s it. It’s getting late and there’s still stuff that needs to be put away & cleaned. I hope everyone had a wonderful and blessed holiday!

current obsessions

I don’t really have much to say today (for my thoughts on the Michele Bachmann-Jimmy Fallon drama rama you can go here). It’s the day before Thanksgiving in Casa D which means one thing: everyone will be home (yay!) and we’ll be doing a lot of this

and this

and watching a lot of this

But my favorite thing is that it’s now completely and totally acceptable to start watching Christmas movies.

Confession: I LOVE cheesy and horrible Christmas movies. The worse, the better. I’ve seen ABC Family’s opus Holiday in Handcuffs at least six times. Recipe for a Perfect Christmas? I will  have the DVR set. Anything starring Tori Spelling, Jennifer Grey or someone that “revived” their career by Dancing with the Stars? I.Am.IN. If it airs on ABC Family, Lifetime, or the Hallmark Channel, I will watch it. And I will LOVE it.

It’s not just made-for-tv movies either. Deck the Halls with Danny DeVito—I was probably one of three people (besides my brother and my sorority little) that actually paid money to go see it. And don’t even get me started on the awesomeness of Jingle All The Way

Arnold was clearly robbed of an Oscar.

But, in Casa D, there are two movies we watch on repeat for most of November and December: Home Alone (1 & 2) and Christmas Vacation. I’ve seen both more times than I can count. And, even though I’ve seen them both a hundred times, I still dissolve into fits of giggles when the Griswolds’ Christmas tree catches on fire   or when Kevin McCallister throws bricks at Marv’s head 

*giggles*

But mostly, it reminds me of my family (specifically my siblings and my dad) and makes me all warm & gooey inside.

Even as I write this, I’m sitting on the couch with my dog at my feet, Christmas Vacation on the television (and thinking about cracking open one of these suckers chilling in the garage ) and arguing with my dad about whether or not Johnny Galecki is a good Rusty or not (in summation: Stacey says yes, Lee the D says no)

Life is good.

I’ve been meaning to blog about my new favorite song for weeks, but haven’t found the right scenario to talk about it. Today, however, I don’t care if it’s a total non sequitur. I’m obsessed with it and have been playing it pretty much on a loop for the past three weeks. It’s that good

Oh Bruno Mars, because your song is so good, I’ll forgive that it is from Twilight and that K-Stew and R-Patz make cameos in the video. (if you weren’t able to watch the video, it’s Bruno Mars — “It Will Rain”. It’s amazing. If I could eat it for breakfast, I would).

Hope everyone has an amazing holiday!

fierce fabulous…and female?

I haven’t written anything super positive or happy in a few days, so I wanted to remedy that. Since I railed on Bella and co. for a few hundred words on Sunday, I figured I’d make up for that today. I’m dedicating today to my top 10 favorite awesome, bad ass, butt-kicking, all-around awesome and inspirational girls from television, books, and movies. I deliberately chose to use fictional characters as a sort of foil for Bella Swan, mostly because my last post about her was sort of catty and mean. I don’t like cutting down other women, real or fictional. I just wanted to put it out there that there are other REALLY amazing female characters (some old, some newer) that, for me, personify what women should be about: not being afraid to speak your mind (even if your voice shakes), not rely on anyone to “rescue” you, not being afraid to be smart or funny or brave or “too masculine.” I am by NO means a prototypical feminist (I own too many pairs of shoes and bottles of nail polish that would probably bar my entry), but that doesn’t mean that I don’t  admire and love my own gender. I think there are smart, beautiful and AMAZING women out there (in the real and fictional worlds) that are better role models for the next generation than a whiny teenager that sits around waiting to be saved.

This is by NO means an exhaustive list, but my personal opinions. I’m sure there are tons of other great female characters out there (leave them in the comments if you so choose!), but these are the S-Dizzle approved “fierce fabulous females”

10.  Sammy Joyce, Sammy’s Hill by Kristin Gore (there’s no movie or tv show, so the book cover will have to do)

I love Sammy Joyce. She’s an Ohio girl, working in DC for a US Senator. Aside from the fact that she’s a Democrat and I’m a Republican, she could be my fictional twin (sort of). Sammy’s smart, loads of fun, doesn’t take herself too seriously (especially considering she at one point gets peed on by a baby in her “only stylish item of clothing”—a suede skirt) and is really good at her job. And she TRIES to be good at her job and doesn’t let anyone try to tear her down (office bitches) or a stupid boyfriend who demeans her boss (spoiler: she lets him have it). And when said stupid boyfriend cheats on her? Instead of crying into a bowl of ice cream, she comes up with a hilarious “gotcha” plot.  If you haven’t read Sammy’s Hill yet, you really should.

9.  Stephanie Plum, One for the Money (and the rest of the Janet Evanovich series)

Bounty Hunter Stephanie Plum. LITERALLY an ass-kicking chick (sometimes without meaning to be so). After accidentally falling into the family bailbonds business, Stephanie became a bounty hunter for people skipping out on their bond (called “skips”). Along with her weird crew of associates (a former ‘ho named Lula, an almost-alway high stoner named Mooner, a cross dresser rocker named Sally Sweet, her fellow kick-ass grandma Mazur, and her two ‘almost loves’—cop Joe Morelli and former army ranger, Ranger) Stephanie manages to solve mysteries in her New Jersey suburb without getting herself in too much trouble. She’s fiercely independent and has no problem being alone, doing things for herself and takes it so far as to actively tell people that she’s NOT a damsel in distress and that she can fend for herself. Add to that a predilection for blowing up cars (accidentally!), she’s an awesome girl that I would totally be friends with (but probably wouldn’t let her drive my car).

8.  Buffy Summers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer 

I just had to do it. Sorry folks. Buffy is absolutely 100% Bella Swan’s opposite. Instead of hanging out with vampires and letting them throw her birthday parties, Buffy was more concerned with stabbing them with wooden stakes. She sort of brought in a new wave of butt-kicking chicks (with really great hair!). What I like most about her (other than her witty retorts) is that, like the other girls on the list, she never waited for someone to save her. In fact, SHE did most of the saving. And she never let a guy get in the way of what she was born to do (even if the love of her life happened to be, in fact, a vampire). Also? She’s a REALLY good friend (another BIG +1 on my scale. Being a good girlfriend to your friends is key)

7.    Olivia Benson, Law & Order: SVU

Another +1 for the ass-kicking chicks. Olivia was the first female detective in the Law&Order franchise (and for sure its best). Besides being drop dead gorgeous, Olivia isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty by going undercover, chasing down a perp in a sketchy alley, or stare down a creep in interrogation. She can be the tough bad-cop when she needs to be, but also has true compassion for victims (especially children) and has no problem embracing her maternal side. She’s the best example of using femininity in the right way (not overtly sexual or ‘poor me, come rescue me’). And she gets to carry a gun and a badge. I’d rather have her as my back up than Fin.

6.  Anne Shirley, Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the series by L.M. Montgomery)

I loved Anne growing up. She was plucky and fiery and had red hair that she hated (I hated my own mousy-brown hair too). Anne’s story is totally inspirational: the girl was an orphan & was accidentally sent to Green Gables. But instead of being forced to be sent back, Anne stayed with Marilla & Matthew and became a seriously awesome lady. She was really smart and instead of playing dumb to get boys to like her, she pushed herself further to be top in her class (ok, and maybe smashing a slate on Gilbert Blythe’s head too). She had a crazy awesome imagination, did things that no other girls would dare (walking along a roof because someone dared her? no problem) and (like Buffy) was a really really good friend. Her friendship with Diana Barry is the stuff that all female friendship magic is made of. She chased her dreams, didn’t settle for “good enough”…and still managed to have a job, a husband and a bunch of cute kids.

5.  Veronica Mars, Veronica Mars 

I came across some Veronica Mars DVDs back in 2006 (the show was already airing) and fell in love with Neptune and all of its crazy residents. Especially Veronica. She was a sort of modern day Nancy Drew, working as a PI (and later on getting her license and scoring a 95 on the exam!) and helping solve “mysteries” in and around Neptune. She had a huge pitbull named Backup (adorable) and more surveillance equipment than any 17 year old girl should have access too. In short: she was awesome. Add to it a sassy, spunky personality and you’ve got a character that everyone (guys and girls) fell in love with. What I love most about Veronica is that, like most of the other ladies on the list, she isn’t some damsel in distress. If she gets herself in a sticky situation, she finds a way to get out. She’s not about fitting in or doing what’s “cool”, but doing what she thinks is right.

4.  Scarlett O’Hara, Gone with the Wind  by Margaret Mitchell

What list of fierce and fabulous women would be complete without Scarlett? None. In her own twisted way, Scarlett manages to be a pretty independent lady (in between all of her marriages, of course). She’s the one who manages to save Tara and saves her husband, Frank Kennedy’s, lumber business (which she ended up running). Sure, she was horribly selfish most of the time. And she tried to be a delicate little waif that needed to be saved…but she ended up doing the saving more often than not. She was a survivor…and did most of it on her own (ok, maybe with a little help from Rhett)

3.  Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

A blonde sorority girl turned law student picks Elle Woods. Surprise surprise. But hear me out. Elle on the outside looks like just another dumb sorority girl—concerned more with the latest sale at Bendel’s and getting a ring from her boyfriend than with anything else. But, we find out, she’s actually much more than that. She’s smart (duh, she did get into HARVARD), but more than that, she’s a good person. She never commits the cardinal sin of turning on another girl, doesn’t get catty (even when other women are HORRIBLE to her) and does everything in her power to do what’s right. She makes no apologies for liking manicures or having a small dog. Instead, she made all us female law students (and ladies in general) see that you can still succeed in a typically male dominated profession (law, banking, medicine, etc.) without hiding that fact that you are, in fact, a lady (and maybe one that likes pink and manicures and shopping). So what if she’s a fictional character. She’s the best.

2.  Liz Lemon, 30 Rock 

Since I couldn’t put Tina Fey on my list (stupid self-made limitations), I had to include her fictional alter-ego, Liz Lemon. When 30 Rock premiered back in 2006, I instantly felt a comradery with its main character, head writer Liz Lemon. She’s hilarious (sometimes without meaning to be), a little awkward (ok, a lot awkward) and yells things like “nerds” and “blerg” a lot (and, my personal favorite saying of all time “I want to go to there”), but, all joking aside, she’s the head writer of a television show. Not too shabby. She bought her apartment (and the one above hers) by herself, no husband to help her. She’s a pretty kick ass lady. I could go on and on about my love for Liz, but instead, I’ll just let you decide for yourselves

1.  Jo March, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The first fictional character that I really identified with. I was probably 7 when I read Little Women for the first time and I love love loved Jo. She, unlike her sisters, didn’t care too much about dresses or parties. She was more interested in writing stories and going on adventures. My favorite favorite favorite line from any book is one that she utters. When someone tells her she should have been a lawyer, she responds with a smile and “I should have been a great many things,”. She slays me. I love her so much. Alcott created a character so completely ahead of her time. When she is proposed to by her BFF, instead of jumping and saying yes (knowing she’d be taken care of for the rest of her life), she turns him down because she knows she wouldn’t be happy and she wants something more. She set out on her own (and, in the late 1800s, this was SO not the norm). She was ambitious and creative and smart…she’s everything that, as both a young girl reading it at age 7 and a young(ish) woman reading it again at 27, I aspire to be.

So there you have it. My own person fierce fabulous (fictional) females. Any I missed?

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

 

drinking the haterade

Contrary to popular belief, I really DO try to live my life without too much hate. I’d rather focus on things that I love (my family & friends, my dog, politics, writing, nail polish, funny & sassy books written by amazing women, tv shows that make me laugh, etc.) than on things that I hate.

But once in awhile, something comes along that I have such a physical & visceral reaction to that I can’t help but write (i.e. complain) about it.

Today’s rant is brought to you by this

If you know me, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of one of my hate-fueled Twilight (the book and the movie) rants. I make no bones about my feelings for Bella, Edward and company: I can’t stand them.

I read the books—well, two and a half. I was halfway through Eclipse and realized that I was actively rooting against EVERY CHARACTER in the book (with the exception of Jacob, sassy Jessica, and Bella’s dad, Charlie. To quote my girl, Jen Lancaster I’m Team Bella’s Dad!) so I had to stop the insanity. I never finished it and never picked up Breaking Dawn. I never considered my life incomplete.

Today, however, with the incessant buzz about the new movie (even my beloved Entertainment Weekly had those bozos on the cover!), I wondered if maybe I was missing something. Maybe I had been too stubborn in my hatred and really just needed to give it another chance. I was “breaking down” (see! see what I did! I made a really awful pun of an awful book!). Armed with only my pride (and a very large diet coke), I sat down with a copy of Breaking Dawn. I was determined to give it a fair shake.

I made it thirty WHOLE pages before I physically couldn’t take anymore and had to stop or my eyes would become permanently attached to the back of my head (and they hurt from the constant rolling). Thirty pages in and I remembered why I hated all of the characters (minus Charlie Swan! Team Bella’s Dad!) and wanted to get Bella into a very serious deprogramming rehabilitation program (she drank the vampire kool aid BIG TIME, folks). I couldn’t help but pull out my phone to check the definition of “stockholm syndrome” and realized that Bella was (is?) a textbook case.

Some people (including family members that I love dearly!) cannot understand why I drink the Twilight haterade. My answer? Have you READ the books? Or seen the movie? There is so much to dislike and hate on!

My first beef was with the book itself. I’m alllll about people reading. I love to read and probably have read a book or two a week since I was a kid (I’m really not kidding). Obviously not all of them were gems. I’ve read some really awful and terrible books. Some waaaay worse than anything Stephanie Meyer had written. But none of those terrible books have the cult-like devotion that fans of Twilight have.

I’m all about liking a book,even if it’s terrible (I do own almost every Babysitters Club book ever written). But I have to draw the line at obsessive behavior over a creepy antihero (but more on that later). Mostly, I have a problem with people thinking Twilight is some great fantastic piece of literature or an eternal love story. Let’s call a spade a spade: it’s a Harlequin Romance Novel (minus all the sexy bits) for adolescent girls and emotionally starved women. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less.

I’ll hand it to Stephanie Meyer for tapping into a market that had been drying up for some time. When I was a teenager, we had Sweet Valley High and boy bands. As stated before, I spent much of my pre-teen and early teen years convinced I was going to be Mrs. Nick Carter. I don’t fault girls for having a crush…but this OBSESSION with Edward Cullen goes beyond my schoolgirl crush. It delves into Charles Manson Family territory. Scary stuff.

But my appreciation for Meyer ends there. I think she’s a terrible terrible TERRIBLE writer. She has no sense of how to develop a likable main character (I’m convinced she accidentally made Jacob likable. There’s no other explanation) and has no concept of how to move or even start a plot. Her characters are flat and one-dimensional. I have no reason to like (or even relate) to Bella. Bella is a “perfect” character if you think about it. She has no real faults, other than she’s clumsy. Seriously. That’s it (and that in itself is a MAJOR cop out). She whines her way through four books (five movies) waiting for someone to save her. She never even considers saving herself. She meets Edward maybe twice and then in hopelessly and eternally “in love” with him. Yeah. At age 16 she is “hopelessly and irrevocably in love with him.” How about you graduate from high school first, Bells. Maybe go to college, date a guy who doesn’t think your scent is like a “drug to him,” get a job, maybe move out of your dad’s house? Just a thought.

Anyway, besides Bella being incredibly stupid, I also have a problem with Edward “Ike Turner” Cullen. I know, I know, he’s not physically abusive like Ike Turner, but I couldn’t come up with anyone else. Edward is supposedly based on the triumvirate of old school male love interests (and many a girl, including this one’s, literary crushes) Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride & Prejudice, Edward Rochester (whom E. Cullen actually shares a name) from Jane Eyre and (my personal favorite) Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables (and the rest of the Anne books).

Seriously, who can forget this scene from Anne of Green Gables?

 Anne and Gil meet for the first time. And Anne does NOT fall hopelessly and eternally in love with him (that doesn’t happen until, like, the end of the THIRD book). He teases her by calling her “Carrots” and she breaks a slate on his head. Sassy, feisty and independent, that one. I was totally smitten with Gilbert (in the books AND the movies)—and why wouldn’t I be? He was nice to Anne (without being creepy or stalky), was her FRIEND first (for a looooong time), encouraged her to go out and follow her dreams and was a-ok with letting her go (hoping that after she’d been around the world, or at least Canada, she’d come back. Guess what. She did.) Lucy Maud Montgomery created a lovely romance between two people that made sense and that you rooted for. But I digress. My love for Anne & Gil is a post for another day.

This is about why I think Edward is terrible. Besides being annoying (seriously? the brooding? didn’t like it with Mr. Darcy, certainly don’t like it with you), he’s also way possessive and stalker-y (breaking into her house and watching her sleep for months? That’s not sweet. That’s a FELONY). You would think that in a hundred or so years he would have picked up on the what-not-to-do’s when courting (Oh, God. Did I just say “courting” apparently I’m channeling 1898 Stacey. I apologize) a lady. Hell, he’d be better off asking Leon Phelps for advice than to go with his gut instinct (which, of course, is to be creepy and weird).

The books are terrible, no doubt, but the movies almost make the books look like Pulitzer Prize winners. The awful acting, coupled with atrocious dialogue makes for cringe-inducing filmmaking.

I guess what I don’t understand is WHY? Why are women (and girls) obsessed with this stuff? I understand the need for a good romance novel or a sappy chick flick (Hell, I’m WRITING a chick lit novel!), but I don’t understand the undying and unwavering love for these unlikable characters! I don’t understand people that say “man, I SO ‘get’ Bella”. I don’t…what’s to get? There’s nothing there! She’s a flat character! My DOG is more complex than Bella! (and likely a better actress than Kristen Stewart). And Edward? Oh girls, if I could wrap up Gilbert Blythe, Atticus Finch, Rhett Butler, Nick Carraway, George Knightley, and Theodore “Laurie” Laurence and send them to you, I would.

Anyway, this is getting waaaaaay too long. If you disagree, feel free to comment! I won’t take offense 😉

do me a favor?

I was going to sit down and write something really fun and fluffy this morning. But, after receiving some truly awful news, I did a 180.

A childhood friend of my sister’s died this morning. She had been in an accident a few weeks ago and had been fighting some very serious injuries. And, sadly, this morning her little body couldn’t take it anymore and she passed away.

I’m still in shock.

Nicole and Michaela hadn’t seen each other in years—her family moved when we were kids, but I have nothing but good memories of her. She was an incredibly sweet girl with a kind heart. She was the kind of kid, even at age 8, who would go out of her way to say hello to my parents (and as she grew up, she continued to do so). I still remember her as the little brunette that was such a foil to my sister’s tall (and very blonde!) stature. My heart goes out to her parents and her family & friends. Losing someone (especially a child) is never easy and losing one during the holiday season is heartbreaking. They were (are) such a nice family and all of my thoughts and prayers are with them today.

So, I want everyone reading this to do me a favor today. Life is (sometimes horribly and tragically) short. Give someone that extra hug. Call that person you’ve been thinking about just to say “hi, I miss you.” Tell the people you love that you love them. Don’t waste your time and energy being angry, spiteful, or nasty. Be joyful, thankful and kind to one another (even if it’s reaaaaalllly hard).

And so something kind for someone today: hold open a door, donate to charity, volunteer a soup kitchen, let that person in in front of you on the highway, put an extra dollar in the tip jar at Starbucks—whatever. It doesn’t matter. Perform a random act of kindness for someone in Michaela’s honor. And maybe say an extra prayer for her & her family this weekend. I know I will.

they say it’s your birthday…

Today is my baby brother, E’s, birthday. I remember my parents bringing him home from the hospital 23 years ago and my life changing forever. It wasn’t that it was a new thing for me, having a sibling (we had already gone through the “Stacey is no longer a princess” when Nicole was born a few years earlier). Nope, my life changed because (with the exception of the dogs and an occasional hamster or fish), my family was complete. We had our very first Thanksgiving as the D-Quintet in 1988 (Lee the D made meatloaf & mashed potatoes. I probably cried and said I wanted grilled cheese. I was an awesome kid.)

Erik was born on November 18th: the same day as Oscar from the Office, that kid from iCarly, disgraced Sen. Ted Stevens, Owen Wilson, Megyn Kelly (my personal hero) and, of course, the girl who played Angie in Life with Mikey. November 18th is also a special day of remembrance of Jim Jones & the People’s Temple mass suicide at Jonestown (sorry, buddy. I know that’s kind of a bummer to think about on your day. But, hey, I don’t write the history). But, on a happier note, November 18th is also the birthday of Mickey Mouse! So at least you got that goin’ for ya (which is nice).

But all of that pales in comparison to November 18, 1988. Erik Matthew Disterhof made his starring debut in the misadventures of Stacey.

I don’t often write about my brother, not because I don’t love him to bits (I do) and not because he’s not hilarious (he is), but because he’s been insanely busy with school (he’s studying to be an architect or something else smarty-pants-like). He studies allll the time and doesn’t have time for my shenanigans right now (which is too bad. shenanigans are always a good time).

Erik is awesome. Seriously. Growing up, he was my little snotty-nosed brother, always pestering me, breaking my barbie dolls (he and his bff created a game known as “Bar-Ball” in which they used barbies as bats), and generally being the biggest pain in the ass EVER. But over the course of his lifetime, I’ve had the pleasure of watching Erik turn into one of the kindest, smartest, finest men that I know. He’s, quite simply, the best (and if you are imagining Jack Donaghy singing Tina Turner’s “simply the best” right now, I owe you a high five).

I don’t tell him enough how much I’ve grown to respect him and admire him. He’s the type of kid that will go out of his way to do something nice for someone—opening a door or helping to carry something or just calling my grandmothers up to say hi. He’s thoughtful and has a sort of quiet intensity to him. Even though school didn’t come as easily to him when he was younger, he didn’t let that defeat him and instead worked his ass off and has become a textbook-aweome college student (I should probably take notes). And he still manages to be one of the funniest people I know.

He and I have a shared love of all things comedy: books,movies, television. Even if no one else thinks its funny (see the example below of the fine fine Tom Arnold classic, Carpool  ) He’s my favorite person to go to the movies with (especially since he’s sometimes the only person who will go see weird indie documentaries with me) and definitely my partner-in-twilight-hate-crimes. Even though he drives me nuts sometimes (but don’t all siblings), he’s still one of my very best friends and I’m so lucky to have him in my life.

So, without further ado, my 10 favorite pictures (and memories) of E-Dizzle (that I have in iPhoto).

10. Christmas Eve 2009. We were at church, leaving after mass. This guy had been sitting in the pew ahead of us and my mother became obsessed with him (because, duh, he looked like Santa Claus). As we were leaving, she mentions to him that he better get moving if he wanted to make it to all those houses in a single night. He smiled, gave her his card which was (no joke) a Santa Claus card. Turns out, he was a Department store Santa. My mother had been wanting an updating D-Trio Santa picture for years…so she got her wish.

9.  SNOWpening Day, 2007. Erik, Nicole and I LOVE baseball. Like, LOVE it. And we love Cleveland Indians Opening Day. And, because we live in Cleveland, we don’t always know what the weather is going to be like. Sometimes we wear shorts. 2007, however, it was a blizzard. We, however, pressed on and braved the cold (and, for real, it was cold. we weren’t acting). E’s face cracks me up—you can tell the poor kid is frozen solid. The game ended up being cancelled because the snow was so awful that they outfielders couldn’t see the ball. This was also the year that all of the home games for the first couple weeks were played in Wisconsin because of weather. Yes, the CLEVELAND Indians had to go play in MILWAUKEE because of weather. I’ll let you ponder on the hilarity of that statement. 

8.  Erik and Ronald McDonald, 2010. At an event last summer for the Ronald McDonald House (told you my family is super involved!). Erik is such a ham. 

7. Erik and Tara, Fourth of July, 2010 E’s been dating his girlfriend, Tara, for a million years (ok, it’s really more like 5, but whatever). I love Tara (I couldn’t love her any more than if she were my blood-related sister) and I’m so glad that she and Erik found each other. So rarely do you see high school sweethearts actually work in the real adult world, but they do. Last year, we went to go watch fireworks (which I think are dumb. I am in the minority of my family), and stopped for sparklers. As you can see, E & T are like Barbie and Ken. This picture has been dubbed in Casa D “Barbie and Ken play with fireworks.” I think it should probably be on the wall of some fancy pants gallery. 

6.  Erik and yours truly on vacation, circa 1992 Just to prove that I am, in fact, a very very good sport, I put up a horrible picture of me, but a darling one of E. I was a nerdy nerdy nerdface (completely with huuuuuge glasses and a perm) but look how stinking cute Erik was? We were in Florida, visiting some family, and either my mom of grandmother took this picture. I have long hated it (because who really want to remember looking like THAT!!), but I’m all about full disclosure. And besides, this is all about Erik and that face he’s making is so funny (and so very Erik at age 4—he was such a little tough guy!) that I  had to include it. 

5.  Erik and Dad, 2009 E’s 21st birthday (in which we went to see Wicked. Not his idea, but we got GREAT seats!) but stopped and had drinks in honor of Erik being the last Disterhof (seriously, he’s the LAST Disterhof) to reach the legal drinking age. So we celebrated with beers. I come from a really tight-knit fam, but it’s a well-known fact that E and my dad are legit BFFs. It is also a proven fact that no matter what, it is IMPOSSIBLE for these two men to take a bad photo. Believe me, I’ve tried. 

4.  Erik and a twi-hard, Halloween 2010 It is no secret that Erik and I share a particularly special hatred for all things Twilight. So, E, being the wannabe comedian he is, decided to dress up as Edward Cullen last year for Halloween. He did the hair, the v-neck and the Ray Bans (and, yes, his nametag does read “Bella’s Bitch”). I have no idea who the girl in the picture is, but she’s CLEARLY a fan of Eddie Cullen (which makes the picture all the better). 

3.  Me, E, and Nic, Switzerland, 2008 Probably my all-time numero uno favorito picture of the three of us. From the all-time numero uno favorito vacation that we’ve taken. We are LITERALLY standing on a Swiss Alp (as you can see in the background). We went on a craaazzzy awesome EuroTrip (but not like the Scotty Doesn’t Know movie. We did not have Harriet the Spy with us.) where we were in London, Paris, Switzerland, Florence and then Rome (I’m tired just remembering it). I’ll post more pictures and tell more stories sometime (because it is probably the best time I’ve ever had), but this serves as a reminder of our time over there. And, we just look happy. Like GENUINELY happy to be together, it didn’t matter that we were standing in the middle of a mountain in Europe (although that was pretty cool). After the picture was taken, Nicole and I sung a few bars of “Edelweiss” (duh, we were in Switzerland where it’s basically the national flower. Or something) which Erik caught on tape (I’m sure) with his ever-present video camera. If I can somehow get him to upload some footage of our trip, I’ll link it. 

2.  Nic an E, circa 1989 If you know me (and my family) in real life, you’d know that when we were little, Nicole just LOVED our little brother. She called him “bebe” (pronounced beebee) and doted on him for the first few years of his life. They were (are) best buddies and Nicole spent the first few years of his life babying him. This is one of the sweetest pictures we have (and, uh, the only one scanned into a computer) that encompasses their relationship for the first few years of Erik’s life 🙂 Also, can we even talk about how blonde Nicole is??? How adorable is she? And what a sweet little chub HE was. I have really cute siblings. 

1.  E as Borat, Rome 2008 Borat came out sort of around the time we went to Europe and my ENTIRE (including my parents) were obsessed with it. We quoted it alllll the time (still do, even though it’s clearly not cool anymore), but E takes the prize for the best Borat impression. The three of us were wandering around in Rome (after Erik knocked over a small Asian lady pickpocket. True story, btw.) and we saw the Roman equivalent to the subway. We made Erik stand in front of it and out came the Borat impression…and thus the Erik-as-Borat-in-Rome picture was born. I laugh whenever I see this picture. This, also, encapsulates Erik in a nutshell: funny and brave (as in he didn’t care that he was blocking exiting traffic on a busy subway platform just to make his sisters laugh. He’s a champ). 

So there it is. Erik’s life in pictures (well, 10 of them, anyway).

Happy birthday, buddy!  Love you soooo much! Hope your day is awesome and fantastic and full of laughter (it will be, duh, because you’re spending it with me, Nic, T, mom & dad…oh, and I guess Maggie too) Oh, here’s a bonus picture

 (Maggie says “O-H-I-O, bitches”)