Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Goodbye, Christian Street

So it's official... I closed out the Christian Street apartment today. I gave back my keys to those a-holes at JMH (hopefully I will never, never have to deal with them again) and took some pictures to ensure we get our security deposit back.

I've never worked so hard in my life to get a security deposit back.... Alison gave the place a thorough cleaning and then Deb and I went through and patched all holes and repainted. Since the people at JMH are lazy mo-fos, the walls were only drywall with the merest whiff of primer paint. So after two years, they had yellowed rather unattractively. Not to mention they were incredibly susceptable to scuff marks, which we had to painstakingly scrub off.

I would like to state for the record that my girlfriend is a saint, and a goddess. She painted and patched and cleaned and hauled boxes of heavy shit cheerfully. She put up with my nagging insecurities ("Does this wall need to be painted? Does it matter? Will they see this mark on the carpet? I'm so worried we won't get our deposit back...") and my freak-outs.

For all of it's trouble, I will miss the place. Despite squirrel invasions and the fact that it's freezing in the winter and hot as hell in the summer, despite having to climb two flights of dirty, rickety stairs everyday, despite no laundry and no porch, despite the occasion cockroach and the occasional mouse, despite never being able to find parking, I did live there for two years and had a lot of fun. It's location is ideal, and the neighborhood will be sorely missed.

I took pictures for evidence of our cleanliness because I've learned never to trust JMH with anything, but I thought I'd post them here to say goodbye.

Our living room... it got such great light. But those windows did make it really frickin' cold in the winter.
Notice the beautiful caulk job on this shower. That was all me, baby. Or rather I caulked it and then Deb cleaned up the edges after me.

I'll miss looking down at Lindsay and Carrie's garden from my bedroom window... those sunflowers are out of control!

The view from my window.... I'll miss you, rowhouses!

Goodbye, Christian Street. Thanks for the memories.
Onward.... Deb and I leave for Maine tomorrow. More pictures and adventures soon!

Friday, July 27, 2007

A strange present

Or, Betty starts earning her keep.

I watched our crazy kitty streak through the house with one of her toys in her mouth this morning, and thought to myself: "That's strange, I don't remember her having a toy mouse". But this cat is such a weirdo that she has been known to attempt to extract (her favorite toy) a ponytail holder while still in my hair. (Ouch.) So I thought nothing of it.

Until Deb stumbled upon a very dead mouse placed neatly upright on our front entrance-way carpeting. We had never seen evidence of mice in this apartment before. And while Betty was feisty this morning, this is nothing new. We are often awoken by her prowling on the bed, searching for ponytail holders and stepping on our heads as she makes her way to her favorite window perch. And then loudly falling off of the windowsill when she is spooked by a large truck coming down the street. That's how this cat rolls.

But today was different... today Betty did something useful. It's the very first useful thing this cat has done. Although every time the mail is dropped through the slot she dutifully goes down to investigate, we've never been able to convince her to bring the mail back up with her when she's done sniffing around down there. She often pees right outside her litter box. She's broken nearly all of our Ikea glassware by trying to stick her paw or her whole kitty head inside the glass to extract the water from the bottom. She waits for us to fold our dark laundry and then takes a nap on it, carefully ensuring that each piece is covered with white kitty hairs when she gets up. She sleeps all day, usually in the way of a major walking area. Any piece of electronic equipment that we value usually ends up getting dragged along the floor. And did I mention the ponytail holders? Not only does she steal them, but she hides them. Imagine picking up a large area rug only to find ten of my precious hair ties underneath.

Today was different, though. The mouse was dispatched without much fuss (we didn't hear it, anyway) and without much blood. She simply killed it quite neatly and laid it down for us to find. Good kitty! I think we scared her a little with our effusive cooing, but Deb did take her to the dead mouse and give her a kitty treat at "the scene". Although we know her brain is about the size of a walnut, we hope she makes the connection.

After this major scene, Betty had to sleep for at least three hours in the middle of the hallway. It was exhausting work, but our kitty is finally proving herself somewhat useful.

Now if only we could get her to bring that mail upstairs....

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Tattoo You

On my recent trip home, I decided to take advantage of the expert artistry of my favorite tattoo artist, Doug Moss, the owner of Sacred Art Tattoo & Piercing. I've been wanting to get my third tattoo for a while now, but couldn't settle on what I wanted for the longest time.

I decided to pay tribute to my grandfather, who passed last April, by getting a verse from the hymn sung at his funeral tattooed on my shoulder. The hymn is This is My Father's World, a favorite of my mother's. Grandpa was such a huge part of my life, and his death impacted me very deeply. I'm sure he wouldn't approve of a tattoo (I kept the other two hidden from him!) but this was my way of saying "I love you, Grandpa, and I miss you."

This is the stencil of the tattoo-- Doug adjusted it a couple of times to make sure it was perfectly straight. And we repeatedly checked for spelling errors. Here I examine it in the mirror. I chose the "Black Adder" font and we fooled around with the layout for a while before settling on this stacked pyramid of sorts.
Doug at work-- when the flash went off for this photo he jokingly said "Ahhh! I'm blind!" Not something you want to hear from your tattoo artist. Or your surgeon, for that matter. Or your hairstylist. But I digress...

We're halfway through! For those of you who don't have tattoos or don't watch Miami Ink, it's pretty common for that mixture of ink and blood to get all over the area of skin being adorned. (That's why you always wear an old shirt-- and sleep on old sheets. Found that last part out too late this time. Sorry baby.) So the tattoo artist will tattoo for a few minutes, and then wipe off the ink and blood. Tattoo, wipe. Tattoo, wipe. You get the picture.

Here's the finished product! Looks pretty irritated, right? Well, lemme tell you how much getting ink on your shoulder blade hurts. I thought I'd experienced pain when I got my lower back tattoo and the needle hit my spine, but that didn't even come close to the shoulder blade pain. Of course, what I am really talking about? It was a good pain. And I survived. And I love, love, LOVE the tattoo.

This is Doug Moss, the artist who gave me all three of my tattoos! (And now I want a 4th...) He actually lives right down the road from my parents and, of course, knows my dad. As I was leaving he said to me: "Say hi to your dad for me! And tell him I didn't do that tattoo." Too late for that, Doug. Thankfully my parents have come to a sort of peace with my ink. Maybe not a like, but a peace.
After the tattoo was done, Joseph and I grabbed some lunch at Doug's Fish Fry (it was a Doug-themed day, apparently) and I hit the road for Philly. The tattoo is mostly healed now-- still a little scabby, but it looks more amazing every day. I'm super happy with it! Now I have a daily reminder of my Grandpa-- a tribute to the life of a wonderful, funny, kind man who I miss so very much. Thanks to Doug, for another incredibly tattoo, and to Joseph, for documenting every step.

Home scenic home

On my recent trip home, I took advantage of the gorgeous scenery. Let me know what you think of my nature photography-- a skill I'm definately trying to hone!

Mom always has the most beautiful plants hanging on the front porch....
Lilies by the fence...

Butterflies love my mom's flowers.

Gotcha, butterfly!

This is a view of Green Lake from the trail.

More Green Lake...

Dragonfly, in silhouette.

Tangled branches overlooking Green Lake.
Sunset over the pines at home.

Home for a week... the highlights.

This past week, I went home for a few days to see the family. Jonathan came in from Puerto Rico, so we were all together again! We had a bunch of fun and I got my fill of good old Homer, NY! There was an engagement party for Jonathan, bonfires, hikes, good eating, playing with the dog and of course, my favorite: doing stupid stuff with my crazy brothers.
Yes, that's right, they're shooting bb's off the hood of my dad's pickup. Yes, we live in the sticks. Why do you ask?

Well, now, I've got to try it....

It doesn't get much more redneck than this.

Jonathan: "Do you feel lucky, punk? Well, doya?"

I would like to state for the record that I am a better shot that my two brothers. I hit all 3 cans with only 4 shots. Suck on that, boys!!!

We all take ourselves very seriously, if you couldn't tell.

Dad, unsuspecting Molly dog and Jonathan are "setting up for the party". Yeah, looks like they're hard at work.

Shopping for the party at Sam's Club-- we picked up a mini fridge and a tall kid. The kid was on sale.

The day of the party! Joseph and his friend show us how to take care of the great spread Mom laid out for us-- waiting in line behind them: (l-r) Erik, Uncle Jim, Ellen, Mom.
Me and Joseph, at the party-- he's obviously too cool for school. But we knew that already.

Molly the dog, regulating the party.

Guests at the party, enjoying themselves. Look, Mom's finally sitting down and relaxing!

Me and Weas, cool as usual. Matt, confused as usual.

An action shot of Mom killing at cornhole! Uncle Jim looks impressed.

The White Legs club: (l-r) cousin Jenny (and bambino!), cousin Ellen, me, Weas, Matt.

Gun safety is very important to us. Really.

The family that shoots bb's together.... Matt shows Maggie how to line up a shot while Ellen supervises. Notice Joseph and Dad reloading in the back.

The next day, we took a family trip to Green Lake. This is the fam hiking around the lake while the boys scouted out a good fishing spot.

This looks like a good place.... Joseph instructs Dad and Jonathan on the best lures and techniques.

On his first cast, Jonathan hooked a tree! Joseph didn't even bother trying to conceal his laughter. Sadly, no fish were caught that day and we ended up scrambling back to the car because of a big old rainstorm.

In the car, we practiced our METAL FACES! ROCK AND ROLL! Look for our live show in your town soon.

After we left Green Lake, the rain cleared up and we were able to attend Joseph's softball game. He is quite the softball player-- I think it's the black socks.

We came back home and had a picnic in the dark-- of course we invited Matt & Weas. Here Weas warms up her lady parts by the fire.

The boys relax after the meal. Or scream. Or yawn. Hard to tell with those guys.
All together, it was an absolutely wonderful time at home. I'll be posting more pictures soon-- I have some great nature photography and some new permanent artwork photos to show you too!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Movin' on up....

It's official, I'm moving in with Deb tomorrow. I'm supposed to be packing now.

But I will have lots of photos to post from my trip home, and soon enough I'll be bored out of my skull so.... more soon.

Now stop distracting me from packing!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Deb celebrates her birthday with (no) class and style

On July 11th 1980 a cute little baby named Deborah Holloway was born in Texas. This year she turned 27 and we celebrated in our usual (drunken) style at.... where else? Coco's.

Behold the amazing Armadillo red velvet cake that Alison made.... Deb loves it!

Check that out! All made from scratch! Even the gray icing....

The Carousel cast came out to show some love.... (l-r) Deb, Cary Miller, Bill Hartery, Julie Hanson, Kelley Faulkner, Whit Baldwin.

Check out the red velvet awesomeness! (l-r) Steve, Amanda, roommate (and cake baker) Alison, front desk Alison.

Birthday spanking time! Whit gave Deb 27 smacks, plus one to grow on. Yep, that's my girl. Taking down her pants in a bar.

The birthday girl decreed that we should do Irish Car Bombs, so we did. (We had to, it was her BIRTHDAY!) For those of you unfamiliar with this, ahem, delicacy, the recipe is simple: half a pint of Guiness. A shot that is half Baileys Irish Creme and half Jameson's whiskey. Drop the shot in the Guiness. Drink fast. Feel unpleasant afterwards.

Me: I can't believe we just drank Car Bombs!!

Cary and Deb-- two pretty ladies!

Julie and Kelley smile as Whit pretends to be Julie's creepy stalker fan. You know, the guy who's seen Carousel 15 times and waits for her out front with flowers. That's not weird at all.

Deb with the two ladies she dresses-- Cary and Julie. Who star in Carousel as... well... Cary and Julie.

I think Amanda enjoyed the cake.

Thanks to Alison's lightning-fast reflexes, the beer was saved! Whew!

It was a great night-- happy 27th, baby!!