Thursday, May 18, 2006

Four Cousins and A Wedding

Yes, there was a point to all this Pittsburgh madness: my cousin Ryan's wedding! Now Ryan was born when I was 10 years old, so one can imagine what a milestone this was for me (by which I mean I feel old, by which I mean decrepit).

Once I awoke (Jared and Jaime had of course already been up for hours), I showered and then debated dress or slacks, dress or slacks. The dress won out when Jaime showed me hers (plus I knew my mom would probably be mad). To the ironing board! Literally.

Before I go on to the evening, I have to mention this weird doll my brother has hanging in the back window of his car.

Everytime I sat in the front seat I kept thinking someone was trying to get into the back of the car because I kept seeing the thing over my shoulder. Apparently it's from "The Planet of the Apes" although I don't know which one, Heston or Wahlburg. Anyway, it's weird.

So we drove, drove, drove out to the wedding for Ryan and Meghan. Now Ryan I had seen a few years ago when he came out in the Pittsburgh direction from school in Ohio, but Laura, Kendra and Alyssa I hadn't seen since 1998, aside from random pictures and MySpace profiles. Needless to say, I was excited.

The wedding was beautiful, of course: Meghan was gorgeous, Ryan was dashing, the preacher didn't stumble over TOO many of his words. I managed to not cry, although at several points I almost asked Jamie if she had brought any Kleenex (she hadn't) because it hadn't even occurred to me (it should have). The hardest was not to cry when Laura sang, because she looked so beautiful and did it so beautifully. (An aside: this was the first wedding in YEARS for which I was not asked to sing (gratefully) but I stupidly didn't figure out why until Laura grabbed the microphone - duh!)

The McClures:

The Bush's:

The Hatfield's:

I just would like to note here that the reception was, in fact, in OHIO! So in less than two weeks I've gone through New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Not bad for a homebody.

The reception was dry. And I don't mean that it was a witty send up at The Friar's Roast. I mean, no social lubrication. At a reception that probably could have used some (my side, not Meghan's, although my side probably wouldn't have been smart enough to use it - at least take the edge off, people!). While I love my folks, I utterly abhor tension, and there is definitely going to be tension with that many "grown-ups" around. Quizzing you on what you're doing now. Where you're living. Why did you cut your hair. Nevertheless, I obfuscated by taking myriads of pictures.

Aunt Adrienne (in black) talking with Aunt Susan Lynn and Aunt Pam on the right; Aunt Pam and Uncle Scott on the left:

The Susan Family (my Uncle Scott, Aunt Adrienne and my MOM!):

Cutting the Cake:

Cutting a Rug:

Jared & Jaime:

And last but not least, your moment of Zen: The Four Brendas

Me, Alyssa, Laura and Kendra.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The day that never was...

So Friday as a day virtually did not exist for me...because I slept for most of it! I woke up when Jaime and Jared left for work, was up for about two hours, and then slept like a cat until about 3:30 or so. Ridiculous! But so comfy! Once awake and showered, I pilfered some Diet Coke and took my laptop and cigs out to the back porch. That was when I had internet (it wasn't to last). Around 5:30 Jared & Jaime got home, and it was out to the bars!!!

First stop: Cupka's (pronounced chup-kuhz) where I had a McCupka. That's right: all beef patty, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun. Hysterical! I also partook of a lovely Hoegaarden, being that there was no Harp (also, the excuse for last night's Yuengling).

Next stop: Smoking Joe's, which carries over 200 beers. THEY had Harp. I had Harp. It was delicious, but the spot was boring and we had nowhere to sit (and you all know what a diva I am).

Third stop: Dee's.

It's as rundown as it sounds - and perfect. Pretty crappy pool tables, but for $6/hour, it's a steal. Plus have I mentioned how ridiculously cheap Pittsburgh prices are? I got an Iron City (that's right, reckanize), a shot of Jameson's and a Captain & Coke for $8. Eight dollars!!!

My cousin Mark and his girlfriend Shelly showed up, and much pool playing ensued. Unfortunately, I was pretty off my game that night, so the egos of my male family members survived unscathed...for now.

Fourth stop: I can't remember the name. I was still itching to drink and play pool, and my brother and his girlfriend were itching to crawl into bed (being that they were up at 7 AM, not 3:30 PM), so I split off and checked it out, being that there was a pool table right in the front window. A deserved honor. This bar had Harp in the bottle, at least, so I ordered that and, mais bien sur, a Jameson's. When the bartender asked if I wanted one or two fingers I knew I was in the right place.

I got to play several games with the lovely owner and his girlfriend, who were both quite good, being that they also play APA (albeit in the 'Burgh, which means they're probably severely under ranked).

Good times were had, bar was closed down, I went walking home.

Where a really sweet thing happened - I was walking probably about 3/4 of a block behind a huge group of people when a guy from a smaller group I was passing came over and said, "Are you trying to catch up to them?" When I assured him no, he replied, "Okay, just wanted to make sure you were okay." Only in the 'Burgh, my friends.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Get Onto The BUS

Get Onto The BUS

That's right! Next stop, da 'Burgh! As in Pittsburgh. As in home of your National Championship Steelers!!! Word!

The train ride was relatively uneventful, if long. I left our nation's capital (a Capital City, may I remind you) at 2:55 PM and arrived in my homeland at 11:33 PM. Along the way, the following exciting events occurred. Remember my penchant for excruciating detail? I also have one for making up a story where none exists:

The apple I swiped from Jules' and Frank's kitchen counter.

Me eating the apple.

Just when you think, "Good Lord, I'm reading this?" the following was spotted at one of the stops (perhaps Martinsburg, I don't quite recall):

I can just imagine it now...

Crackhead's Last Stand

Halal Heaven

Maude Mauls Martinsburg

Fatty Finds a Home

Anyway, I thought it was Gi-larious!

By the way, I would recommend against the Amtrak Tuna Salad Sandwich. It's not so much that it was bad, it was just weird - I mean it incorporated pickles (and not much else) into the mix. Now I'm all for pickles, but not as a substitute for proper celery and onions. And the bread was mushy. Ew.

Upon arriving in Pittsburgh, my awesome brother picked me up and took me to his swank abode on the South Side. After dragging my bags upstairs, I turned around, took the key and hit the South City Tavern. Where everyone was younger than me by about 10 years. And very impressed that I sat there drinking a Yuengling and a Jameson's neat.

Dude: Is that a boilermaker?
Me: I think it's only a boilermaker when you drop the shot in and chug it. Hence the boiling and the making.
Dude: Oh.
Me: (sigh)

Yay alcohol, boo being old broad. And... scene.

Oh, wait, as John Stewart always says, "Here is your moment of Zen."

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I can't help myself

I just love this. I know it's been seen a million times, but I can't help it. I want to record a soundtrack to it.

"What you got? What you got, huh? What you big-ass shabby tabby? Watch my hands, see my skillz, note my....whuhmp!"

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


What does this mean? I'm scared.

What's the deal?

Seriously, people, I think that I may have to consider looking into anti-depressants. I just watched less than two minutes, TWO MINUTES of Little House on the Prairie and found myself practically bawling. Why they got to make Auntie Brenda cry? I've turned it off now - God only knows I couldn't take a second episode without some serious sinus damage. No one should have access to daytime TV.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Have you kissed your inner Thespian today?

Woke with an INCREDIBLE hangover, but my attendance to Kilee's dress rehearsal for "Much Ado About Nothing" was NOT to be denied! After showering and dressing up a bit, I grabbed the coffee that Frank, in his infinite wisdom, had brought home for me after dropping Torre off at school, and walked up to Kilee's school.

I found the auditorium/lunchroom and took a seat in the back and Kilee came over when he saw me. After reminding me that when at school, his name is Kyle, not Kilee, his teacher (whom I also believe was the director of the play) asked him if he had someone he wanted to introduce to the class.

Kilee: "This is my Aunt Brenda."
Class: "Hi, Aunt Brenda!"

Okay, after having a weird out-of-body experience where I was suddenly in some preteen self-help program, I shook my head free of the remaining hangover cobwebs. Kilee came back over and said, "They all think you're pretty." Which you'd think is just about the smooshiest thing ever! But it gets better - so he gives me a big hug and kiss and goes back to the stage where they're all getting ready. A bunch of other classes file in (noisily, I might add, but then that could also be the hangover talking) and take their seats on the floor. A young girl passes me a program (A program! Yay! Because it's not like I'm a packrat or anything). And the performance commences.

Kilee starred as Claudio, one of the lovestruck suitors in the play. And he rocked! He projected, he had stage presence, he knew all his lines, he danced! I took lots of pictures and giggled at their ability to boil down "Ado" to it's very (very) barest essence. An awesome time was had.

And, before I knew it, the play was over. I waited for all the other kids to file out, and then it was time for me to go. I went over to Kilee and he gave me a big hug and kiss again and said, "I love you, Aunt Brenda." Right in front of his classmates, his peers. I sort of teared up, because there was such an innocent generosity (as always) with Kilee's emotions, but also his complete unselfconsciousness about it. It overwhelmed me. And it really made something very clear to me that I think I lost track of.

Love. True love, unadulterated pure love is the MOST important thing in the world. In my world. More than attraction or money or success or health or work or anything. More than sex. More than food. That precise moment of knowledge when I said to myself, "THIS is what I want from my life. Love."

And I have it. It's been right in front of me. I just had to get my head out of my ass.

Kilee, take a bow. You deserve it.

The Watermelon Incident of '06

Almost forgot. I think they're self-explanatory:

And one of Torre, for good measure. Ironically, he had been eating watermelon with a spoon.

Rainy Days and Mondays...

Being a brilliant person, I went to sleep Sunday night with earplugs in, knowing the kids would be getting up much nearer to the crack of dawn than I preferred. However, the catch-22 in that scenario is that once everyone was gone, it was so quiet I slept until about noon! I motivated to get up and get coffee (my sissy should own stock in their neighborhood Starbucks that is so close that "around the corner" does not quite describe it well enough), hung out with Kilee when he got home from school and then went down to Dupont Circle to meet Rebecca for dinner.

Wait! Isn't she an NYC friend? That's right, but she's here for work, so yay for me!

Then, looking over Beck's shoulder I saw this girl that looks EXACTLY like Tara from Accounting on Padre Nuestro:

I'm pretty sure it wasn't her, because a) what the hell would she be doing here; b) dressed like that?!? Anyway, if anyone knows...

After dinner, I found a place to play pool (of course I did - it's surprising that I wasn't in felt withdrawal by that point). And out of the 4 Yuengling's and 3 Jameson's I had, I paid for how many?


And that's including not having to pay for table time. That's ridiculous. Apparently the former New Yorker bartender was so enamored with the fact that I say "Word!" all the time that I became his pet for the evening. Which is all good. Even made sure I got into a cab and didn't get mugged.

Cab, you say? But Dupont Circle is only one stop away from Woodley Square!

You are correct my friend, but did you know that the Metro SHUTS DOWN AT NIGHT!!!! AT MIDNIGHT!!!! WAY BEFORE EVEN THE BARS CLOSE!!!!

It's unamerican.

Monday, May 08, 2006

The Day After...Tomorrow

Sunday was a lazy, lazy day, with lots of sitting around in jammies, reading the paper:

Yes, I was reconstituted as a frog. Yes, I sit that way all the time. Yes, I'm weird.

There was a big nap involved in my afternoon, but in the evening we watched Rent. Now, since I had never seen the musical to begin with (I know, I know, it's almost sacrilege, but true), I was pretty much in for a treat. What I didn't know is that it would inspire a new song! Yay!

Where does your love go
When love dies
Is it in a place
I just can't find
Who can fill the vacancy
That's left behind
Where does your love go
When your love dies

Who will take the blame
Now that you have gone
Find another way
To carry on
How many sleepless nights will pass
Another dawn
Where does your love go
When your love's gone

Another beer, another cigarette
I'm trying to forget
What once was real; a disappearing act
Our fiction was a fact
That I believed
I was deceived
How was I to know you wouldn't stay with me

How do you let go of what's
In the past
Can you live each moment
as if the last
Who will keep the memories
From fading fast
Where does your love go
When your love's past

Where does your love go
When it's reached the end
Is it in some place
We can't comprehend
Why can't we go back in time and
Just pretend
That when your love's gone
It's not the end

Another beer, another cigarette
I'm trying to forget
What once was real; a disappearing act
The fiction was our fact
And I believed
I have been so deceived
How was I to know you weren't meant to stay

*and probably some sort of reprise/ending/thingy - don't have piano here, so working this all out in my head.

The inspiration came from [SPOILER ALERT: if you haven't seen RENT or La Boheme or Moulin Rouge or any other number of permutations of this story line, stop reading this post NOW!] the sequence where Angel dies and Collins is left behind, alone. I just thought it was a really powerful idea: what happens to your feelings/emotions when the object of them is gone. It doesn't necessarily have to apply to death, but that's at least where this particular POV came from.

This is only the first pass at these lyrics, by the way. I'm sure I'll post this and then look at it in two days and scream my bloody head off.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Lordy, Lordy look who's...

Today was Julie's birthday, and many birthday activities were in order. Being that the girls were ruling the roost (between Jules, Aunt Trisha and myself), we took matters into hand. Priority 1: Caffeine and sustenance, brought to us by the ever-thoughtful Frankie. Priority 2: Shower and make-up, for cleanliness is next to godliness and godliness is next to Clinique. Priority 3: Leave household to the ever merciful Frankie (if you had seen Torre's disposition that day, you'd understand what a mercy this was) and head down the street to Julie's favorite consignment shop.

After shopping and purchasing to our heart's content, Jules, Trish and I stopped of for the prerequisite birthday lunchtime bottle of wine, chased by some salad and bread, at a lovely little Italian place near the consignment shop.

Finally we tromped home to a frazzled Frankie. On our way we were communicated to by the gods of power transformers:

After a slight "disco nap" Frankie pulled out the stops and brought out the cake.

Note that Torre is trying to grab Mommy's knife arm - somebody gonna get a-hurt real bad! However he managed to make up for it by being insanely adorable in his and Frankie's matching ballcaps.

While Kilee played the disaffected teenager attached to the internet.

Finally we adults left the apartment in the capable hands of Karen, the babysitter (the gorgeous woman in the picture above behind Kilee) and went down the street to have another Italian place!

Now, for those of you who don't know, I live in Little Italy in NYC, but never eat there, so the irony of having to go to another city to manage to eat at an Italian restaurant strikes me as funny. And, nothing against D.C., but I think maybe I should stick closer to home for my Italian. Seriously.

But dinner we went to. More wine did we imbibe in. Yoda am I!

Later, after cruising back home, we relaxed in front of the fire. By which I mean the A/C. Because Washington, D.C. is nothing if not humid, even in May.

And on a side note, my nephew is the most beautiful boy ever! Seriously, all you twelve-year-old girls out there: STOP READING THIS BLOG, THIS CONTENT IS NOT SUITABLE FOR YOU!