Got your goat

7 07 2009

So I know that according to blogging rules, I’ve broken a biggie: Thou shalt blog often. Not that anyone has missed me because the two people that read this have been busy with lives of their own. BUT, whilst I was on vacation with no internet access, it was surprisingly refreshing.  I’ve been back for about a week now and still enjoying be cut off somewhat, but, like a good margarita, it’s good to end sometime — usually when you lose your pants. What can I say. GUILTY.

So the time is now to get back at it. Holla.

A few notes:


Today I learned how to milk a goat. Now, unfortunately, I did not get to manhandle the goats because they were agitated from being milked, but it was an awesome experience provided for by Paradise  Gardens and Farms in Reynoldsville, and The Food Network Canada. More on that later, with some pretty amusing video.

But if you thought bulls were scary, check out a pissed off goat. They aren’t happy and will kick you. But their owner was masterful with them and was able to calm them the down and still gracefully squeeze the milk out of them.

I also recently learned the ins and outs of jump roping competitively, and let me tell you, it’s hardcore and the people that do it know their stuff. Check out some videos of them (WARNING: Shameless plug). You’ll be amazed.

Now, back to vacation.

Ah the beach. Land of sand, water, frozen drinks and plastic diggingware. Margaritas and clams every day, that’s how I roll. Interspersed with surf fishing, beach bocce ball, winning small plush alligators (OK I didn’t win one but my brother and his wife each scored something.) fannypackand pretending to like “running.”

But no, just because you are at the beach and it looks like you’re supposed to be able to run along the water like the lifeguards do at ass-thirty in the morning, it is not the place to try if you haven’t run in  4 years. Have you ever had to be rescued by a lifeguard….on land? Embarrassing.

My glaring observation from the beach is that it seems to be the land where everything that doesn’t seem OK in the “real world?” is totally acceptable: I.E. Fanny packs; straw cowboy hats; oversized t-shirts that say things like “italians do it better” or “born to kick bass;” bathing suits that don’t quite fit;  pretending like you are intuned to the ocean that no one else is to find shells for an empty glass dish that, if you saw on display at a store back home, you would think tacky; or allowing your kids to pee in the water where others are swimming.

Fanny packs — yes, they’re utility is indisputable but their appearances? Please. Also, why the hell are they called fanny packs when they clearly sit on your frontal groin area? WTF.


Horsing around

23 06 2009

At a very important moment on a very important date, I found out I was allergic to horses. Horribly, horribly allergic to horses.

It wasn’t at a pony farm or the zoo, or at a rodeo. It was on the couch, where all (hopefully) good dates should end up.

Margaritas had been made. An awesome dinner had been eaten. And now it was time for…well you know, the rest.

But something went horribly wrong.

In the midst of, some things, I felt something horribly itchy and painful overcome my bottom lip. My neck was screaming in fire and something just felt…wrong.

I was able to feign having to get a tissue and scurry to the bathroom, where, to my absolute horror, my lips had swelled up pretty ridiculously and embarassingly huge and a giant rash had covered my neck. As if second impressions weren’t more important then the first ones, this was an absolute nightmare.  I looked absolutely ridiculous. And ugly. on top of my own sub-standard looks.


Doing the next best logical thing, I called my best friend, who was, for matters we’ll discuss later was in my basement, and she came upstairs with a cold can of pop. My date, naturally was curious and kind of ” wtf”, and came and saw the hilarity/horror of my swollen mouth on a cold pop can and desperately needing an epi pen.

Trying to pinpoint what happened, we determined that my date, an avid horse person, had come straight from the stables with their beloved equine and right to my house.

Thank god, the swelling eventually went down.

Working girl

16 06 2009

grindergirl A good friend at work recently introduced me to GrinderGirl, as seen on David Letterman. For those of you unfamiliar, as am I, she is one of the girls surrounding the water tank on Letterman’s segment “Will it Float?”

She’s been described as “pinup girl meets superhero meets metal shop.”

For me, it’s like Betty Grable starring in Flash Dance.Oh, and she has a python.

Those sparks you see? They are coming from a CIRCULAR SAW mounted on her chest.

Talk about a sharp employee. Hey oh!

Hi. It’s me, Stan

16 06 2009

Sports in Pittsburgh. It’s been said before, but there is nothing quite like it.


I’m not going to give you some philosophical bullwag about the spiritual meaning of the Terrible Towel or Marion Lemieux’s back. Or rattle off some impressive stats about a 1982 Pens team or the Pirates, when they used to win things, like games, and not reality-tv winners from India as teammates.

But, it’s still a good question. Why Pittsburgh sports? Is it because of the long dynasty of teams like the Steelers, winning an unprecedented six Super Bowls?

Or the Pittsburgh Penguins with their own great ones, Mario Lemieux, and now, Sidney Crosby, the youngest player to bring home a Stanley Cup? Or that the University of Pittsburgh consistently produces men’s and women’s piergoie teams who are national contenders across the sports? Or the sheer lack of success by the Pittsburgh Pirates that they are one of the most losingest teams in Major League Baseball to that point that many who attend their games do so only for the great Pierogi races?


It is simply, my friends, because of this:

pghdino That someone would place a dinosaur in a Pens jersey.

Because a Pittsburgher giving birth during the Stanley Cup Finals would name her daughter Sydney.

Because there is a Web site dedicated to such similar things, called Steeler Baby.

Because we bury those we love in the colors they love, black and gold.

Because Oliver Onion, Cheesey Chester, Sauerkraut Sal and Jalapeno Hanah are household names.

Because The PensBlog is one of the best blogs written on the Internet and people across the world mourned the closing of The BurghBlog written by PittGirl, who told the city and the Pittsburgh sports world how it really is. And because of that, everyone knows which Pittsburgh sportsmen go by the Duke of Fug and Skeevey.

Or because a girl stood on the roof of a Ford Explorer Saturday at a No Doubt concert oustide Pittsburgh, took off her shirt and held a giant foil Stanley Cup over her head. And because some of No Doubt came out in Pens Jerseys during their encore.

Or because some sinister Detroit fans broke into my friend’s house and spray-painted their dog with a Red Wings Symbol? Knowing it would be the ULTIMATE defiling?

There is a reason they call it Steelers Nation, but there is a reason they call Pittsburgh a sports town.

Yes, it’s the talent and the coaches and the championships and the beer, oh the beer.

But most of all, for all of you people who say there is nothing like cheering for the Boston Celtics or the New York Yankees or the Fighting Irish, it is because of Pittsburgh’s fans and how completely inappropriate and far we will go to show it.

Flames a-plenty

15 06 2009

In Rachael Ray’s magazine “Everyday” (ugh) she has a section called Messes and Successes where readers send in their kitchen triumphs and bloopers.

kitchen_fire_wideweb__470x373,0I’ve thought about sending this one in, but it’s not entirely food-related, and only a handful of people know the real truth behind the great microwave fire of 2009. Generally what I told people is I was making microwavable rice and forget the water. The truth is, it was uncooked couscous, wrapped in a t-shirt.

But wait. there’s more.

Believe me if this idea would have worked, we could have all been very rich.

A friend of mine was staying over and had a pretty wretched headache. Back in the day of the Spring Hollow, we once kept a premature mouse alive by putting some rice in a clean sock, microwaving it, and placing said mouse on it to emulate the warmth of its mother. Lazarus, as he was named, stayed alive for a whole day. Genius right? The healing powers of the microwave.

So. back to the headache. It seemed that well, why wouldn’t the concept work again. Except this time there was no rice microfireonly couscous, and no clean sock, only a t-shirt. Would have been a good moment to just say maybe this is a bad idea and go and buy some Tylenol. Yet, we soldiered through.

So the couscous goes in the t-shirt, and the t-shirt goes into a microwavable bowl, which goes into the microwave for five minutes (another critical error) A few minutes in though, my apartment filled with black smoke, and the microwave was shooting flames. Chaos ensued.

We ran outside with the flaming plastic bowl and threw it in the snow and unplugged the microwave which had filled my apartment building with smoke. Try explaining the origin of that fire to a landlord. Obviously the microwave was ruined, as was the little cart it stood on, and the bowl with the melted t-shirt. It took days to clear the smoke out of the place.

So if I learned anything from the aforementioned situation, it is the following:

1. unplug your appliance after any electrical. do NOT use water

2. never wrap something uncooked in a t-shirt and microwave it

3. never think you can get rich by making anything in the microwave.

you’re welcome.

The saddest story ever told

11 06 2009

This will be one of the saddest stories I ever share with you. And you will probably find it very funny. Well, I’ve never liked you.

Back to the story:

Driving home from Kmart on a dark summer’s night, my best friend Shannon and I were zipping through the back country roads of the area we called home.

On a familiar stretch of road, I thought the Vangreene (the van) may have driven over something, namely a cat.

So naturally, we turned around at a driveway ahead, backtracked and stopped near where we thought might have been the injured animal.

Pulling up alongside it, I opened the driver side door and saw this: babyowl

The most adorable, little baby owl sitting in the middle of the other lane, content as can be and not a feather flustered.

And I swear on my life, he turned his little owlish head towards us and cooed.

So being the good citizens we are (lets ignore a long history of littering here), we pulled off to the side of the road because naturally in the van there was a towel, among several other items that could have been help. Being in the country, however, pulloffs had to be strategically picked. So we had to drive a small distance (15 feet) to get off the road safely.

Approaching the baby owl, towel in hand, confident that we were about to save a life, we heard it: the zipping of a car, a very, very fast car, coming a few feet behind us.

owleyes We tried to scream for them to stop. But it was nighttime and we were invisible to the speeding motorist. So was Mr. Owl.

All we could do was not look.

And then Mr. Owl was no more.

Shannon went back to the van crying. And I slunked back to the scene of the crime, scooped up what was left of him with the towel and buried him beside the road. We drove back to Shannon’s house, shells of human beings and devastated.

Luckily, her mom was there. The rest of this should be a no brainer right? A sweet woman comforts two devastated teenagers who just witnessed an atrocity.

Not the case.

She instead cocked her head back and had a fabulous laugh at our expense, as she has consistently done over the years, and everyone to whom we told this story to.

Every time we see an owl, we saw, awww Mr. Owl. And every time someone hears that, they laugh at us.

So, for Mr. Owl, to everyone who laughs, here’s a big F you 🙂

Growing a pair

9 06 2009

My first foray into gardening came in high school — that’s if you’re excluding the obligatory elementary school planting of a shrub in a styrofoam cup on the first day of spring. corn

Lo and behold one in either a sophomore or junior year, it seemed like a good and entertaining idea to plant corn. Rows and rows of it. To my parents’ horror, they returned from an evening out to find what used to be their flower bed torn up and rows of their very weird child’s new crop. Seeing they could not possibly change this, they said good luck, and went abouts their business.

Summer came and went, as did at the same time a lawn mowing business and the start of a carpentry dynasty, and the damn corn was just not growing. Then I remembered, we lived in the middle of the FREAKING WOODS and deer had probably eaten it. BUT THERE WAS ONE LITTLE SPROUT, a little adorable corn, that against all odds, seemed to grow.

bulldozer By the end of the summer, it semed this little man was ready to pick and be feasted upon, a small bounty from a big pain in the ass. The day I planned to harvest the one crop that made it, I came home only to find that it had been bulldozed by a crew repairing a busted water line in the yard.


And so that was the end of that phase.

Or so I thought.

A bunch of years later, the thought was had that maybe I could plant some herbs. In a little dish. Like everyone else. So I purchase two — Basil and Rosemary, which will be referred to as Baz and Rosario from here on out — along with an 8-lb bag of potting soul and two terra cotta pots. Seems simple enough. basil

Baz and Rosario ended up in the terra cotta pots on my window sill. God only knows where the potting soil went. The bag has gone AWOL. At first it was easy to remember to water them. But then it became easy to forgot. In less than a week, they shriveled.

So I moved Baz and Rosario into my landlords’ flower bed, hoping they would get some good sun outside and passing them by would be a reminder to water them.


No such luck. And we’re only on week two. It’s not looking good.