Agenda For The Rest Of The Day: Watch Nora Ephron Movies And Feel Bad About My Neck

It is a fantastic Thursday around here Blogstalkers.

Why you ask?  Because of drugs.  Loooottttssss of drugs.  I should explain.

I have a terrible neck that decides from time to time (about twice a year) to stop working.  The first time it happened I actually was in physical therapy for six weeks before I regained a full range of motion.  Since then I do daily neck stretches to prevent it from ever getting quite that bad again.  Very early yesterday morning I woke up to a familiar twinge in my neck.  I know from experience that the pain only tends to get worse throughout the first day so I quickly got up and took a muscle relaxer that my doctor prescribed the last time this happened.

Then I got a bit loopy.  Then I remembered that I had forgotten to rehide Zooey Deschanelf (our mischievous Elf on the Shelf) the night before so I quickly did that and climbed back into bed beside Ryan.

About an hour later Ryan got up and got ready for work and eventually asked "Are you going to drive me to work today?"  And I was like "Ahhh I can't today.  Something has gone seriously awry.  I've been neck poisoned!  Call the bobbies!"  So he was like "Oh your neck is bad again? I'm sorry, that sucks, I'll take the train." And I was like, "Oh darling, you needn't do that.  Like the marvelous wife that I am, I have arranged another ride, they should be waiting outside."  And he was all "Huh?" Then he gave me a quizzical look and headed outside from whence I heard "Dammit!" because he knew he had been bamboozled.

And in case you are thinking "But Lauren, Zooey Deschanelf is much too tiny to steer and work the pedals!"  I assure you I considered that.

Well done Tiny Danza, well done you perfect miniature horse specimen.

That's all for today.  Tomorrow is the last Friday of the month which means it is Blogstalker Bookclub day.  Has anyone read The Casual Vacancy in preparation?

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go lie on the couch and wait for Ryan to get home and drive me to the doctor's office where I assume, as per usual, they will give me a new prescription and stab me in the butt with a needle.

I Can't Wait Until Ryan Gets Home And Sees Our House. It Is The Most Festive On The Street For Sure.

Hey Blogstalkers!

Sorry this post is so late today, I spent the morning putting up Christmas lights and driving to Target three times to buy more Christmas lights and also more Starbucks peppermint lattes and then taking a quick jog about the block because I was so high on caffeine.  Oh you want to know what I was wearing whilst doing all of this?  Here is a picture.

I am no longer wearing these things because I had to shower after my jaunt around the block.

And then the cashier at Target gave me 10% off for Christmas Spirit.  Or because I had a coupon.  One of those two.

Anyway, I thought I would take a break from Christmas programming today (and you're doing a grand job of it Lauren!) to reflect on the subject of camping.  ::shudder::

I grew up as the oldest of five siblings and there is quite a large age difference between my youngest brother and me.  So there were always babies and toddlers in my life.  This I did not mind.  I was excellent at being quiet, escaping into a quiet corner with a jar of pickles and a stack of paperbacks.

Sidenote #1: I also brought a plate and a fork and a knife because that is how I ate pickles when I was younger.  Because I was pretending to be a long-lost princess all the time.  Obviously.  I even pronounced pickles as PIKE-uhls because I had a princess accent.  This is a true story.

Sidenote #2: Because there were always babies in the house my mother would freak out if someone rang the doorbell.  So I made a sign and hung it outside.  It said: 
            Inside this house a baby sleeps,
            And you will make its mother weep,
            If you come a struttin and press this button.
This is another true story.  I have always loved words and being weird.  Actually this was my second attempt at a doorbell sign.  My mom nixed the first one because it rhymed the word 'bell' with the word 'hell'.

I am very tangential today.

So anyway, I didn't mind the babies.  I LOVED the babies.  Unfortunately having all of those babies about meant that any vacations my family took had to be super child-friendly and probably not involve flying anywhere.  (I never even got on a plane until I was 15 and flew to my grandparents' place in Florida alone.)

So my parents decided that the logical solution to all of our vacation problems was to buy a used pop-up camper.  It looked like this.

From what I could tell it was from approximately 1972.  The inside looked something like this.

I will concede that it was well-cared for and very clean and everything worked, but still, it was not my favorite place to sleep.

So for years, many many weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day consisted of my parents and all of my siblings and me piling into our green conversion van and towing the camper to yet another campsite where we would do various camping activities and then pile back into the van and drive home.

Here is a run-through of the reasons camping was not my best friend.  And NEVER will be unless someone builds a candy and gemstone forest and lets me pitch my tent near the Jack and Diet Coke River.

1. Because before we even pulled out of the driveway in what was the classiest of vehicles my dad would make us do this dumb roll-call where he would randomly shout out our names and we had to answer in the affirmative that we were indeed in the car.  Except we could not just say "here."  Nope.  My dad would not pull out of the driveway until each and every one of the five of us had had our names called and answered with a "YO!"  And the lucky child to be called last couldn't even get away with that.  Only a "Yo Ho Ho And A Bottle Of Rum Punch!" would result in the journey finally beginning.  (My mom added the word 'punch' because she thought it was inappropriate for children otherwise.)

Our van looked like this except lighter green.  My sister Jordan and I called her "Tankie" which made my mom spitting mad.
2. Because of spiders and ticks and a monstrosity of a bug called a 'chigger'.  Because apparently one can not go camping and then not go hiking.  What!? That would be unthinkable!  And then once one has finished their six mile trek through the forest for no reason other than to not see any deer because five children are incapable of being quiet, one has to have one's sister check one's scalp for ticks.  And one's sister would always find ticks.  And ticks are cantankerous little creatures who do not like to be removed from the skin and are basically tiny ticking blood time bombs just looking a reason to pop.  And then once all of the ticks were apprehended one's mother would scoot everyone off the to shower house to wash away the dirt of the day.  And she would shout "Remember to check each other for chiggers!"  And then once one was clean and bug free, one would be sent to bed in a sleeping bag that had to be checked extensively for spiders at least seven to eight times during the night.

3.  Because of fishing.  Because no one did it to actually catch and eat the fish, which would have been sad but maybe better because instead all of the kids (except me who did not fish) would catch fish and then be entirely too squeamish to unhook the fish and toss it back and I would freak out that the fish was going to die and then even though I was equally scared to touch the fish I would inevitably be the one to grab it and unhook it and save its tiny little life.  And then cry a little.  Thirty times a day.

4. Three words - Fat Man Squeeze.  Which is basically a narrow slit that has been created over time in a huge rock wall that for some reason people think is fun to try to squeeze their bodies through.  It gets pitch black and is long and scary and takes like ten minutes to complete.  And there are people ahead of you and people behind and it is the most claustrophobic thing in the entire world.  I never even tried it.  But I just don't like that it exists.  People have legitimately gotten stuck over the years and the path has to be evacuated and safety personnel called in.  It should not be a thing.  And yet it is.  And people go to it.  On purpose.

So yeah, there are a lot of reasons I will never be a camper.  I just don't get it.  I'm not snooty or snobby or afraid of getting dirty (I actually really loved "MudBall" - a camping game we invented.) It's just that the combination of all of the things camping entailed made it so I was always nervous that I was getting vampirized by a bug or that there were wildcats plotting to leap out of the forest and make me their lunch.

I do actually have a bunch of fond memories of camping too.  Campfires are amazing and stars are beautiful and you have not lived until you've fallen asleep listening to a freaking Whipporwhill that has no idea how to shut its dang mouth. (Just listen to the first ten seconds of this video)

Plus the fact that I had bonafide camped in the wilderness gave me a sense of pride in myself.  Like when I was in elementary school and we read My Side Of The Mountain  and everyone else was all scared for the boy stranded in the forest I was like, "Pssshh except for the trained falcon, this shit sounds like last weekend to me."

And when I joined girl scouts I actually was sort of horrified at the "camping trips" they took us on.  Like seriously, staying in a lodge with running hot water and a curtains made of fabric and a McDonalds down the street is not camping.  Those girls did not deserve their camping badges!  I deserved the camping badge.  So to even things out, I made myself some fake badges that said things like "REAL camping badge" and "Touched A Fish" and "Found A Chigger On My Thigh" and sewed them onto my sash.  It was weeks before I was discovered.

So yeah, camping.  Love/Hate.  Mostly Hate.

And OH OH OH (backwards Ho Ho Ho because I am so excited and typing too fast) - An update on THIS POST -  Ryan P. Gallagher, under the almost constant peer pressure of one OJ and one HIS WIFE has relented and will be dressing like Santa Claus and walking around the city with us this December!!!!!!  Yes!!!!  Thanks so much for all of your help on FB, you really really helped convince him.  The date is yet to be determined but I will let you know as soon as I know in case anyone wants to join!  And yes there will totally be pictures.  

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town!!!!  

Stay tuned tomorrow for an update on little miss Zooey Deschanelf (what we eventually named our elf on the shelf) because she has been up to some mischief.  

The Note I Included In His Bag Read: I See You When You're Sleeping. She Knows When You're Awake. We Know If You've Been Bad Or Good. So Be Good For Goodness' Sake!

It's Christmas Season Blogstalkers!!!!  I'm so happy it can not be contained and I keep bursting out into little Christmas ditties.  This morning I woke Ryan up by dancing around the house singing:

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat.
Please to put a penny in the old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha' penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha' penny, God Bless You!

And he was like, "What the heck was that?"  And I was like "Oh just a song a learned in the class I took a couple of years back on antiquated Christmas carols.  And then he was all "I don't remember you taking any class of the sort." And I was all "Yes well it was self-taught and I was the only student in the class and it met at 3AM every night in October that one year I had really bad insomnia."

And then he groaned in frustration and got out of bed.  And I said "I'm sorry you have to go back to work today." And then Mr. Rude Pants Ryan was all "Are you kidding? I am overjoyed to be going back to work today."  I forgave him though because he used the word 'joy' which everyone knows is a Christmas word.

And also because he's not going to be so overjoyed to be at work when he notices the little surprise I slipped into his bag this morning when I was packing his lunch.

It's our brand new Elf On The Shelf.

Update:  Ryan has discovered the elf and called me.  And then we had this conversation.

Ryan: Lauren why the hell is there a small mischievous elf in my bag next to my chicken salad?

Lauren: She is keeping an eye on you for me.  And then she reports anything bad you've done while you were out of my sight to both me and SANTA.

Ryan: Santa has never brought me presents because of how I am Jewish.

Lauren: Perhaps.  Or maybe you've always just been really very bad.  This could be the year that you turn it around!

Ryan: I have to go.  Stop calling me at work.

Lauren: HA! You called me this time.  YOU stop calling ME at work.  I have things to do!

Ryan: *mutters something unintelligible*

Lauren: That elf is going to have so much to report to me today.

Update 2: Ryan just got home from work and when I gave him his usual giant hug he was like "Why do you smell like cinnamon?" And I was like "I may have put a lot of it into my conditioner this morning."

In other news, I have picked two winners in My Thanksgiving Giveaway  - they are Mrs H (who is thankful for hula hoops) and Megan (who is thankful for whiskey.)  If either of these people are you, please email me at to collect your prizes.

Also, My Christmas Campaign is going pretty strong, be sure to friend me on FB here and like my current status so I can make Ryan and OJ and Vanessa dress up and pass out candy canes on Michigan Avenue this December.

And OH, we have to name our elf.  I was trying to make Ryan do it but all of the names he suggested on the phone were very, let's just say, not for gentle ears.  Any suggestions?

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to be going.  Ryan is trying to take a nap and I need to go read him a Christmas bedtime story.  Don't feel bad for him, I gave him the choice between that and a lullaby.  He never chooses lullaby.  Maybe because the one time he did I sang "God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman" in a very deep soothing voice.

This Is A Long Shot - But I'll Never Forgive Myself If I Don't Try

Hey Blogstalkers!

This post is going to be super short since I am hosting Thanksgiving and I have three pies to make today completely from scratch as well as cranberry sauce and chicken stock for the matzo ball soup that Ryan requested for Thanksgiving even though that is not a Thanksgiving thing.

Matzo ball soup was actually his second request after I shot down "whatever tacos you think would go well with Thanksgiving."

So yesterday Ryan and I were lounging around watching last week's episode of Parks and Rec.  At the end of the episode one of the characters makes the remark "Life is short, why be an accountant?"  So Ryan of course started making fun of me for being an accountant.

Ryan: Haha that's like you.  Lame.

Me: You should teach a class on clever insults.  And anyway I am not an accountant any more, I am a sort of writer and a soon-to-be mother.

Ryan: Wait what?

Me: Relax.  I'm not pregnant...yet.  Although if you don't come around pretty soon I'm going to start circulating petitions.  How many signatures would I need for you to consider a baby?

Ryan: I don't know 5,000?

Me: Interesting.  How many signatures would I need for you to dress up as Santa Claus and walk around Chicago with me this December?

Ryan: Maybe 10,000?

Me: That seems backwards.  And yet I'm intrigued.  Challenge accepted!

Ryan: I'm not even worried.  You are for sure going to fail.

So here's the thing Blogstalkers.  I convinced Ryan that FB likes are the same thing as signatures.  If I get 10,000 then he will dress up as Santa Claus and I will dress up as Mrs. Claus and we will walk around Chicago passing out candy canes.

And my decolletage will be less stunning than this because of the children.  And that is the only reason. (CREDIT HERE)
And the dogs will be dressed as reindeer.

And they will LOVE it. (CREDIT HERE)

If only I had a small child to dress like an elf...sigh...



So I've got to try to get this to work.  10,000 likes's probably unattainable.  But how wonderful would it be if it all worked out?  I would take so many videos and pictures too for you all to see.  So I'm going to update my Facebook status now.  So friend me on Facebook and share my status and help me out?  If for no other reason do it to see OJ in man tights.

He'd make the most perfect elf.

Believe me OJ, I know.
I am crossing my fingers so hard that this works.

It's Pumpkin Pie And Turkey Time (To The Tune Of It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time)

Happy Thanksgiving Week Blogstalkers!

I love this week because on Friday I can officially talk about Christmas to anyone and everyone without coming across as crazy.  Well at least not as Christmas-Crazy.  I think we all know I always come across as Regular-Crazy.

Ryan sort of hates when this Friday comes every year.  He especially hated it last year because I rewrote We Three Kings for him and the dogs and performed it for them that evening.  And I changed one of the lyrics to "Queen forever, ceasing never, over you all to reign," as I made a grand gesture toward Ryan and the dogs.  And he was like "::sigh:: Forever is taking way too long to end."  And I was like "Shut it cranky pants, I have four more verses."  And then I adjusted my crown and continued.

Anywho, In the spirit of the holiday that celebrates giving thanks, I'm going to do a cliche little post and list all of the things for which I am thankful.  First though I want to tell you a little Thanksgiving story that explains why I am the way I am.

When I was a child and had to sit at the kids' table with all of my cousins on Thanksgiving, our parents, to keep us out of their hair, made us go around the table and say one thing for which we were thankful.  The answers were obvious "Toilet Paper" and "NOT my sister, that's for sure."  So eventually the little game got boring.

Until we came up with the greatest/worst idea of all time.  We kept the crescent rolls tightly wrapped up in a cloth so they stayed piping hot and then when it was your turn to say what you were thankful for, you had to grab a biscuit, rip it in half, shove your mouth into the biscuit, and inhale really deeply.  Then say what you were thankful for.

Except you couldn't.  Because you would collapse into a pile of sputters and coughs everyone else would laugh and laugh.  And then they would take their turn.  Because it was fun.  Obviously.

One time my Aunt Terri came into the room and saw us playing this irrational game and was all "Oh My word, whatever are you children doing?!" And then my older cousin Jon was like "Oh YOU KNOW, just gettin' high on biscuits."  And we all died of laughing even though some of us were too young to know what that meant exactly.  (Everyone died of laughing except for my Aunt Terri, who remained very concerned.)

To this day though, whenever my cousins and I ask each other "Hey what're you doing on Friday?" The answer tends to me "Oh you know, just gettin' high on biscuits."  Sometimes with a "It's just how I crescent roll," thrown in.  It is my favorite Thanksgiving memory of all time.

So there's that.  Moving on.  Breathes in deeply on biscuit.

Things For Which I Am Thankful - An Abridged Version - Otherwise This Would Read Like A Product List At The Cheese Emporium.

1. That last night, after I saw what I supposed was a leftover piece of popcorn on the table when the lights were dimmed to watch a movie and shoved it in my mouth, I had the werewithal to spit it out instead of swallowing it when it turned out to be a cotton ball instead.  Yes this happened.  I don't even want to tell you what the original use of that cotton ball had been.  I will tell you though that Ryan now says he is never kissing me again.  Which is JUST FINE BY ME.

2. That my dad owned a grocery store while I was growing up.  Because the grocery store had a claw machine (The Claw! The Claw!) and he let me play with it endlessly (as long as I promised to leave everything I won in the shute so it could be replaced directly back into the machine without my grimy child hands touching it.)  Because today, I am excellent at claw machines.  Like seriously, I can't fail.  Even Ryan admits that when it comes to claw machines, I am an anomaly.  It's one of my proudest achievements.  And sometimes Ryan even consents to taking me to an arcade (as long as they have a bar) so I can win all of the toys for any children hanging about and feel a bit like Santa Claus.  And then the arcade tells me I can not play with the claw machine any longer.  Seriously. This has happened.

3. That I have a BFF who is dreadful at giving driving directions.  Because it is a never-ending source of hilarity when she is telling someone how to get somewhere and she says something like "Turn left at the tree that looks evil, I think, Hold on, let me call my dad to make sure."  Her boyfriend calls it "Vanessa GPS" and now we all do it and have actually made a game out of it.  Just last week Ryan was driving me to my uncle's house for a party and I turned off our navigation system toward the end and told him I knew the way from here.  And then I was all "Keep going straight past the house of the kid that stole the statue of Grimace from the town McDonald's when I was in Junior High."  And Ryan was like "Dammit, I've been Vanessa GPS'd"  And then he had to buy me a lottery ticket and a Mountain Dew Code Red, because those are the rules of Vanessa GPS.

4. Speaking of McDonald's - That I have a husband who understands that the perfect amount of sausage biscuit from McDonald's is one whole sausage biscuit plus one bite of a second.  And so he lets me get two sausage biscuits when we are in the airport early in the morning (the only time I eat McDonald's) even though he knows I am not going to finish the second.

Sidenote: This habit of mine came about as a effect of that fact that I used to go to work with my dad really early on Saturday mornings and he would stop at McDonald's on the way and I would always ask for two sausage biscuits and he would be like "But you NEVER eat the second one!" and I would be like "But I'm STARVING today!" and then he would let me get two and I would eat one and be super full but take one bite of the second just so my dad would see that I really did need two.  Every single week.

5. That I have a sister who is so burned out by weddings (she's at that age where EVERYONE gets married) that she called me yesterday to inform me that when she gets married it is going to be in her backyard and it is going to by BYOLC.  Bring Your Own Lawn Chair.

6. And this is a real one.  I'm grateful for all of you.  You all have made the last 1.5 years of my life simply amazing.  I would not be the person I am today without all of you reading this silly little blog I put out into the world.  So yeah, thanks.

And in the spirit of that, I am going to send a couple of you care packages this holiday season.  Completely personalized and handpicked.  If you're interested in perhaps getting a care package full of inane goodies from me in December then just comment and tell me one thing for which you are thankful.  I'll pick a couple of winners randomly on Friday.  If you win I'll just ask for some of your 'likes' via email and use that to fill up a box just for you.  Because I am ALL ABOUT spreading cheer. I'm not going to do any extra entries for tweeting or sharing this post on FB or anything this time since I don't want anyone that doesn't have Twitter or whatever to be at a disadvantage, but feel free to do it all the same. :)

Oh and yeah a little reminder (the last one I swear) if you want a holiday card from yours truly send your address to  And then you will officially be on my mailing list.  And sometimes I send really random stickers and candy to people on my mailing list in like..August or February or something.  OH and for everyone asking to send a card back (and you totally don't have to) I'll post my new P.O. Box sometime this week.

Thanks so much Blogstalkers.  I couldn't be me without you.


Attempting to Post Today: Take Two

Hey Blogstalkers.

So a little bit earlier today I tried to post something funny.  But it did not work out.  My brain has felt sort of broken this week so I've really been struggling to come up with content.  I know it's just because I adjusted my anxiety medications very recently, which almost always results in a reoccurrence of my night terrors and in my head turning into a balloon - filled with nothing but air.  But it still can be frustrating when I feel an obligation to provide you all, my most beloved readers, with something entertaining or ridiculous.

Sidenote: I'm not feeling depressed or overly anxious or anything, just trying something new.

Blogging is a weird animal.  I like to think it takes a sort of confidence (or in my case, close to zero shame) to just throw your life onto the internet for the world to see.  It is so supremely personal.  It can require a thick skin.  Something that I am still very much working on achieving.

The highs in blogging are intense and insane and gratifying and stupefying and make every second of the lows worth it.  (Seriously you all make my hours and days and weeks and LIFE.) But that is sometimes hard to remember when someone leaves a nasty comment or I personally start shaming myself for being not unique enough or not likeable enough or not creative enough.

I know that as this is a personal blog, I don't technically owe anyone a certain number of posts or a certain quality of posts.  But then again, rationally, I totally do.  I have advertisers.  This is my job right now.  And you guys deserve the very very best I can give you.  And the post I took down today, wow, just dreadful.  I don't want to get in the habit of posting filler, so I'm happy with my decision to take it down.

My brain will regulate itself soon and it's likely, as my sister is making me going ice skating for her birthday this weekend, that I will have some sort of ridiculous story for you on Monday.  Or at least a picture of me in a cast of some sort.

Until then, forgive my tiny little hiatus?

To lighten the mood just a tiny little bit, here is a fact about Ryan: He is like excellent at ice skating.  And not like hockey skating, I'm talking like figure skating.  The last time we went (with his fraternity in college) he literally skated circles around me.  All of the other couples were holding hands and sharing hot chocolate and I was just floundering about alone while Ryan practiced his arabesques and made remarks like "with a little practice I think I'd be excellent at double axels, but right now I can only do a single."  I swear he's straight.

Lots of ideas for next week!

I Should Title This: The Worst Post I've Ever Written, But I Won't

Happy Hump Day Blogstalkers.

I'm really sad I just typed that.  Really very sad.  I hate that saying.  I'm blaming my fingers.  They're always doing things I don't like.  Just yesterday they flicked Ryan in the forehead with absolutely no reason or warning.  He totally didn't deserve it.  Don't worry though, I gave them a firm talking to immediately following the incident.  I was all "NO FINGERS! BAD!"  And then Ryan was all "I don't know how many times we have to go over this, but you have to stop pretending that your individual body parts do not act independently of your brain."  And then my foot kicked him.

I later rewarded my foot with a toe ring and a slice of pie - which my foot did not eat because apparently my snobby foot is on a diet.  I wish my damn butt would go on a diet.  Don't fret, the pie did not go to waste.  My mouth ate it.

Well that was just a load of nonsense.  I blame my fingers.

I don't know what to post about today, so here are some random things.

1.  A picture of me and my sisters when we were little.  I am the one that looks like a grape.  This was the unfortunate year in which I was the least cute of all of my siblings.  I am happy to repeat that has never been repeated in the years since.

The happy days before my brother came along and mucked everything up.
2. Today I drank a venti iced coffee from Starbucks while sitting on the couch and trying to write this post.  I was concentrating so hard on being funny that it took me too long to realize I was about to wet my pants so I raced to the master bathroom and um, well you know what happens in a bathroom.  Then I looked up and realized I had not closed the bathroom door and also that the blinds on the window in the bedroom directly in front of the bathroom - the window that faces approximately thirty apartments -  were wide open.  This is the third and worst time I have accidentally flashed my neighbors.  I panicked and waved thinking at least then anyone that saw me would think I was some sort of modern nudist and  not just an idiot.  In retrospect I wish I would not have waved.

3. A picture of Ryan and OJ skiing.  I am only posting this because just yesterday I found out via eavesdropping on a phone conversation that when Ryan and OJ go skiing they make a playlist and put it on both of their iPods and then start it at the top of the hill at the exact same second so that they are listening to the same music all the way down the hill.  And then I was like "Gross."  And then I made them a new playlist and sent it to both of them.

1) Man I Feel Like A Woman - Shania Twain
2) Tainted Love - Soft Cell
3) Invisible - Clay Aiken
4) True Colors - Cyndi Lauper
5) Afternoon Delight - Starlight Vocal Band

What can they say, girls just want to have fun.  
4. After I made that playlist I was like "That is actually a great playlist.  And then I listened to it on repeat for the whole morning.

5. I ordered two of these from Amazon yesterday.  One red and one yellow.  I'm going to carry them in my purse all of the time.  I can not wait for them to get here so I can start throwing them when Ryan does things like not letting me get the macaroni that is shaped like Spongebob Squarepants at the store or tells me that no he does not in fact think I would look great with a shaved head and he doesn't care how much easier that would make my life and why if I can shave my head can I not manage to do my legs every once in a while.

And then I will shout "There's a flag on the play!" And Ryan will be exasperated.
6. I already posted this on Facebook, but I got to the grocery store yesterday (yes I go to the store a lot, it's very close and I'm always deciding helter skelter to make cookies or something) and looked down and saw this.  Slippers and christmas socks.  Not even good, hard-soled slippers, just cloth ones.  I was walking around in glorified socks.  This is why they don't sell me alcohol.

7.  Just a reminder that if you want a holiday card from Ryan and OJ and I to send your address to me at  I won't actually send the cards until after Thanksgiving so don't stalk your mailboxes until then.  My Christmas card list is getting really impressive.  I'm up to like 300 people.  Super exciting.

8. This video has been around the block a few times, but it is awesome so I am posting it here.  That is all.

9. Tell me something about yourself in the comments?

In Which I Don't Act My Age

Hey Blogstalkers! I was going to write something poignant and probably life-changing but then I thought, nope, instead I will write about how I went to the grocery store today.  You are welcome.

I popped out of bed this morning bright and early, just like always or just like sometimes, one of those two.  I notice Ryan is still in bed which is odd since he is usually out the door before seven.  I contemplate how to wake him up, cymbals? face licking? putting the sheet over my head and pretending to be a ghost?  Then I remember that today is Veterans' Day which means the markets are closed which means Ryan does not have to go to work today.  And I am all "Great, he's going to be all up in my bizness today."  And then I think about ways to prevent that.

So when Ryan finally opens his eyes, after I stare at him for almost five solid minutes, I say, "That is quite the coiffure you have going on this morning.  It reminds me of when you got so addicted to Halo in college that you didn't have any time for normal things like haircuts and composing love poems for your girlfriend."  Thusly I have successfully planned Ryan's day as I now know he will make a hair appointment and then probably go buy Halo 4 and play it all day.

I pat myself on the back for being a beautiful mastermind genius.

I look in the mirror and take back the 'beautiful' part.  It is not a good hair day.  I consider taking a shower but then remember that the only thing on my agenda this morning is grocery shopping, and am like "Oh a shower before the grocery store Lauren, well aren't you just an elegant lady?"  So instead I just put on a hat and make sure my current sweat pants do not have any unfortunate holes in them as I do not want to repeat last Monday's mistakes.

I make my grocery list for the week, grab my purse and head to the store.

I methodically make my way through the store, shopping like a grown-up people do.  I pass the liquor section and think "OH I should grab some Blue Moon Winter Abbey Ale because it is delicious and I am legally allowed to drink it on Chicago evenings when a frosty brew sounds like just the thing."  So I put a six pack in my cart and continue on my way.

When I get to the checkout, I place all of my items on the conveyor belt, grouping them so that produce, cold items, meats, etc are bagged together because I used to work at a grocery store which imbued me with bagging OCD and I am now weirdly anal about how things are bagged. (I don't ever like say anything to the bagger, I just group my groceries on the belt and hope for the best.)

The cashier notices the beer and asks for my ID.  I pop open my wallet and show her my driver's license, which is in a clear plastic slot.  She looks at me quizzically and says "Take it out please."  So I do.

Then the cashier and I and eventually a manager that she calls over have a conversation in which they say things like "Take off your hat please" and "You don't look 28" and"Do you have another form of ID?" and "We are not in the business of selling to minors" and I say things like "I knew I should have showered" and "I swear I'm 28.  I'm married...which is probably not pertinent" and "Right, my college ID has a different name on it, because of how I'm married now, huh it was pertinent, way to think ahead brain" and "I'm not trying to get away with anything here.  What minor would attempt to buy $150 of groceries in the hopes that a six pack of seasonal beer slips through the cracks?"

During this whole conversation the woman behind me in line is laughing into her phone about "the dumb teenager in front of her."

Finally I just give up and leave the store without the beer and, get this, also without the cooking sherry I need to make tonight's dinner.

So I stomp to my car and drive the speed limit home muttering all the way about how this is "exactly like the time that Ryan and I tried to go see an R-rated movie three years ago and I didn't have my ID and so I had to buy a ticket to 'Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience' and then try to sneak into the other movie.  Which ended unsuccessfully and with me being escorted out of the movie theater and being called a 'punk kid.'"

If I had just had to leave the beer behind, I probably would have just taken some deep breaths and unloaded my groceries and told myself to take it all as a compliment.  But taking away my cooking sherry added insult to injury plus I did actually need it.

So I grabbed my passport and went back to the store.  I yanked a cart free and filled it with beer and wine and one bottle of cooking sherry and went back to the same cashier.  The manager was called over again but this time ended with her grudgingly allowing me to purchase ALL OF THE ALCOHOL.  You could totally tell she still thought I was somehow fooling her.

I thought about saying, "I'm going to have a party tonight and invite all of my friends who are all the exact same age as I am that is why I need all of this booze." But didn't because in the end I know they were just trying to do their job well.

And then I got home and called Ryan down from playing Halo to come help me unload all of the groceries, which were still in the back of the car, along with all of my more recent purchases.

He took one look at the back of the car and said "They tried not to let you buy any alcohol so instead you bought all of the alcohol in revenge right?"

And I was like "Yes, in retrospect I realize that is somewhat backwards."

And that is the story of how Ryan and I do not have to buy alcoholic beverages for the next couple of months.  Because I thoughtfully stocked our bar today.

Wow that was an angry little rant huh?  Settle down LAUREN, am I right?  Sheesh.

He's Bringing Baronetcy Back. Rough Title Today Lauren.

Happy Friday Blogstalkers!

Friday is my errands-running day so I'm off shortly to get shit done, but first I thought I'd pop in here and let you all know how the Great Pilgrim Standoff of 2012 is going.

So far Ryan is refusing to wear the pilgrim costume.  Also, yesterday he shaved like usual which I assume means he is also not growing a beard.  Because believe me, there is now no way Ryan can grow a respectable beard in time for Thanksgiving.  Truly if that was his aim he would have had to start like a week before last Tuesday.

He is also refusing to wear a "Colonial Man" costume complete with wig (instead of beard.)

"Nothing with shoes that buckle Lauren."

"Let me tell you something about my good friend George Washington, he sometimes totally does tell lies.  Just yesterday he told me this outfit looked ridiculous."

And a turkey costume even though it looks super comfy and warm.

"No way.  I know you too well to wear something like that.  You will just pretend to like, gnaw on my arms all day and fall asleep every time I say something and claim it was the tryptophan."  And then I pretended to fall asleep and he was like "What now?" And I was like "Huh it seems you don't even need to be dressed like a tryptophan-filled turkey to bore me to sleep."

I was like "But look at the range of movement this costume allows you, you could like, play basketball with the neighbor kids in it if you wanted."

I'm really sad that Ryan won't dress up for me.  Especially because of this.  ::sigh::

Now that is a REAL MAN.
So it looks like my halls will indeed be decked before Thanksgiving this year.  In fact, I'm headed off to Target this afternoon to pick up like A LOT more decorations because this is our first year in our new place and there are so many more rooms to decorate.

But since I don't easily give up on a notion once it has tickled my fancy, I did order this costume this morning. (From Target)
And then I will roll the windows down and blast "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer" every time we are driving somewhere.
Ryan is going to regret not dressing like a pilgrim probably.

What are all your plans for the weekend Blogstalkers?  Is anyone in the Chicagoland area heading to the Young House Love book signing at West Elm tomorrow?  Because I'll totally be there.  

An Offer He Can Not Refuse, Maybe, We'll See.

So Blogstalkers, this year my family and Ryan's siblings have consented to letting me host Thanksgiving at our house.  This was probably a mistake on their part but they do not know it yet.

But I'm getting pretty amped to host Turkey Day this year though because for one it means I will get to show off my culinary prowess in the kitchen.  I will be all "Dinner is served everyone!  I only dropped the turkey one time this year!"  And for two, costumes.

I know you're probably thinking, "She has gone and gotten her holidays all befuddled and backwards," but you are wrong.

I shall explain.  Today I sent Ryan this email.

'Twas the night before Thursday, when all through the house,
Permeated a smell, a juicy hot grouse.
The stockings weren't hung by the chimney with care,
Because Lauren, for once, was being quite fair.
She'd made Ryan a deal, that man whom she'd wed,
That no Yuletide would come 'fore the breaking of bread.
No chestnuts, no bells, no flakes or gift wrap.
No Santas, no snowmen, no Christmassy crap.
No spruces, no sleighs or gingerbread batter.
No tinsel, no lights, no reindeer paw patter.
Sure there may be some eggnog with nutmeg, a dash,
but just to go with the beans and the potatoes she'd mash.
In exchange handsome Ryan, the most dashing of beaus,
would don a black hat and tilt it just so.
His shoes would have buckles,  and his eyes - no fear,
because he is dressing to forgo Christmas cheer.
Now hear me out Ryan, don't be so thick.
Yes you're dressed like a pilgrim but hey! No St. Nick!
"This idea's the worst!" I know you'll exclaim.
So if it'll help to convince you, I'll dress just the same.
Two happy pilgrims, holding hands and a 'fixin,
to roll up their sleeves and get to gravy mixin.
Don't scoff at this notion, don't you dare have the gall!
Because if you do, I'll deck the damn halls!
It might even be fun, if you give it a try,
to be clad in tight breeches and eat turkey thigh.
Plus my siblings are coming and your siblings too,
It would make them so happy to see your pilgrim suit.
Think of the children Ry and then think of you,
happy and sated and bearded to boot.
Oh didn't I mention? Well let me expound,
in pilgrimmy times beards did abound.
And we wouldn't want to defile this pursuit,
with an incorrect costume, No! You must be hirsute!
Don't give me that look, don't call me a quack.
This is my offer, I can take it right back!
I know you hate Christmas, all things bright and merry,
So just wear the black coat and make your face hairy.
And then I will wait on the cans of fake snow,
and no tiny tots' eyes will aglow.
No shining tree with presents beneath.
No welcoming door adorned with a wreath.
No iced sugar cookies or figgy fig jelly.
Just turkey and stuffing to put in your belly.
No Fa La La Las and no toy-crafting elves.
No Merry Little Christmas to be had by yourself.
So just give your word and a nod of your head,
and I swear until Friday you'll have nothing to dread.
Of course I can't promise I won't then go berserk,
because come the next morning it's time to do work.
With bangles and baubles and Christmassy clothes,
I'll festoon things with ribbons and splash them with bows.
I'll ring and I'll sing and maybe I'll whistle.
A virtual wonderland creating missile.
Ok I'm getting off track, but you get it right?
So consider your options, we'll talk tonight.

And I attached this picture.

  And now I am waiting for his response.  So far, there's only been silence.

Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, I'm Bruised

Happy Election Day Blogstalkers!  Rock the Vote! Vote or Die! Stick a needle in your eye! Wait, no, not that last one.  Got a little carried away there.

Since I'm home these days, this election year I have the privilege of watching CNN all day long as the votes roll in.  Though I must say I thought it would be more exciting than it is.  So far the biggest headline has been "Virginia Could Go Blue Or Red."  How insightful CNN.  I assume your next story will be something like "Presidential Election is Today, Probably."

But I'm still watching I guess.  Does anyone else sort of love election days?  Yeah?  Do you also make caprese pizza for dinner and totally die the crust blue so that it is a red, white and blue dinner?  And wear your special silk flag shirt that you found at the thrift store for $.95 while doing it?  Oh no?  Yeah, me neither.  I'm not crazy and I definitely did not watch this clip from Full House seven times already today.  Definitely not.

Umm yes though, moving on.  A conversation with my husband during our trip to New York a couple of weeks ago.  Driving to our hotel in our rental car.

If you have never seen Friday Night Lights here is a picture of Tim Riggins so you can better understand this conversation.

Dillon Panther and General Heartbreaker

Me: I had the weirdest dream last night.

Me: I will take your silence on the subject to mean that you wish to hear all about it.

Me: Ok so you know how we've been watching Friday Night Lights recently?  Well last night in my dream I was at Starbucks again and two people ahead of me in line was Tim Riggins.

Ryan: So you're telling me that while sleeping you often dream about drinking coffee?

Me: Yeah I go to dream Starbucks all the time.  I think it's my brain's way of telling me to wake up because something interesting is happening.  Like one time I happily drinking a dream Frappuccino and then I woke up and there was a mime just sitting in the corner of the room.

Ryan: That doesn't sound like a thing that really happened.

Me: In retrospect that one could have been a misguided night terror.

Ryan: Misguided how?

Me: Because I'm not even a little afraid of mimes.  Like nice try stupid brain but that one was a big ol' miss.

Ryan: I think mimes are pretty creepy actually.

Me: That's dumb.  What is a mime going to do to you?  Imprison you in a fake box?  I would be like "Mime, pleeeassse" and then kick the mime with my real foot while he pretended to run away.

Ryan:  We have gotten so off topic.  Tim Riggins?

Me: Oh right.  So anyway, I'm at Starbucks and I see Tim Riggins and I am like "Lauren this is it.  This is your one chance to possibly hook up with Tim Riggins."  I should mention that in this dream you did not exist.

Ryan: That's fine.  I only have dreams in which you do not exist.

Me: What!? Give me an example.

Ryan: Ok so like I have this dream where there is a super plague, which you obviously do not survive and I have to help save the world.

Me: What do you mean I obviously don't survive?  That's a little rude Ryan.

Ryan: Lauren even if you survived the initial onslaught of disease, which let's face it, you would not, you would break your leg like a week later trying to navigate some rubble and there would be no antibiotics and so you would die of infection or of me neglecting you and your broken feeble bird bones.

Me: Well this conversation just got real.  So how do you save the world exactly?  You don't strike me as much of a hero.

Ryan: When there is a world to save, you have to make some sacrifices.  I would be leaving you behind for the greater good.

Me: Someone has been watching too much of The Avengers before bed again.  Ok so now you're a superhero and you save mankind how?

Ryan: By propagating the species.

Me: Ok first, no one but me is having your babies, be they dream babies or otherwise.  And believe me, we have had A LOT of dream babies.  Second, that sounds like a fancy way to say 'sleep around.'

Ryan: It wouldn't be my choice Lauren.  It would be my imperative.  Mine and Mila Kunis' imperative.

Me: Lovely Ryan.

Ryan: You can't get mad, you're the one dream hooking up with Tim Riggins.

Me: Oh yeah, no that didn't happen.

Ryan: How did you ruin it?

Me: I asked him if he watched Glee and then used the word 'melifluous' to describe Kurt's voice.  So....yeah.

Ryan: Haha that's awful.

Me: Yeah it was bad.  I tried to save the situation by eating a banana all sexy-like but then I just got yelled at by the barista for stealing a banana.  Which you think would have impressed Tim Riggins because he is a badass, but unfortunately, it did not.

Ryan: We are here.

And then I tripped getting out of the car and grabbed the valet all inappropriately and Ryan was like "And you think you'd survive a super-plague."

That's all for today Blogstalkers?  Had any crazy dreams?  Vanessa told me that last week she had a dream in which she had six small puppies and then she gave them all a bath and hung them on a shoe rack to dry.  And then she woke up.  And that is why we are BFFs.

Also - You may notice that I am once again writing my own content on Tuesdays.  Because of a situation beyond my control I've had to forego the idea of contributors so it's all me all the time again.  Yay for you....  Katie and I will still be reviewing a book once a month, on the last Friday of the month with this month's pick remaining The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.  Please if you are going to comment on this, only say lovely nice things about the ladies that were helping me out on Tuesdays because seriously, they are all wonderful.

Favorite Comment From The Last Post: Laurie H11/01/2012
You mentioned in your reply to my comment the other day that you change song lyrics. I also do that. We were standing in line for the train at Disneyland recently and I sang "Casey Junior's coming down the track with a smoky stack bringing sexy back"....thought you would like the JT reference. My husband pointed out he was pretty sure that is not how the song goes. My husband talks too much.

Now on to Christmas: never too early. I get so excited when I walk into Costco or Sam's Club and they have the Christmas stuff out ridiculously early.

Routine: Up at 4:30 (even on weekends. not much of a sleeper)

4:45 resentful I am only one up, make noise til husband wakes up then sweetly ask "what are you doing up so early"

5:00 Shower, makeup, hair etc.

6:50 leave for work (I carpool w/husband) spend next 20 minutes convincing him to stop for breakfast, usually successfully.

7:15 arrive at work, get alot done til people show up and interrupt me all day long.
Countdown to lunch, wonder if 10:00 is too early for lunch, decide it is not so eat food I brought for lunch.

2:00 try to convince employees to go out and get me food because I ate too early, unsuccessfully. Decide I make bad hiring decisions as no minions will do my bidding. Call husband, try to get him to bring me lunch, unsuccessfully.

Work, work, work,

4:00 Head for home

5:00 make dinner, eat, clean up, remove husband's pile of socks from underneath coffee table that he is convinced doubles as dirty sock storage (I am including as routine because it happens EVERY night!)

7:00 to 8:30 get daughter ready for bed, catch up on my DVR list, take sleeping pill with a glass of wine* (I call it a Judy Garland) fall asleep at 10:30, wake up 6 hours later and do it all over. *Glad I woke up because you should NEVER mix sleeping pills and wine. Don't try this at home people.

Just A Day, Just An Ordinary Day, Just Trying To Get By.

It's the second most wonderful time of the year Blogstalkers!

The first being my birthday week because Ryan during that week sometimes consents to things like dance-offs and contests to see who can fit more marshmallows in their mouth.  And he doesn't even get that angry when I change his outgoing voicemail message to "You have reached Ryan Gallagher.  I have a respiratory infection which is why my voice sounds like a woman's voice right now.  This week is my wife's birthday week so forgive me if I do not return your call with all the posthasteness in the world.  If you leave a message please wish her Many Happy Returns.  A-Wop-Bop-A-Loo-Mop-A-Wop-Bam-Boom."

But anyway, if you've been reading this blog for a while or if you've ventured back into the archives (and the lord have mercy on your soul) then you know that I'm sort of a Christmas freak.  Christmas season for me starts November 1st.  I know this is crazy and that I should wait until the day after Thanksgiving like most normal people but Christmas is one of the very few things that actually makes my depression recede entirely and so over the years I've started celebrating earlier and earlier (I promise never earlier than November.)  I think I truly enjoy the buildup of the season more than the actual day.  The pervasive feeling of goodwill and the music and the quiet jingling of the bells I place on my dogs' collars all work to truly uplift my spirit.  And so I ask you to forgive me if I sneak a Christmas tidbit or two into some of my posts starting today.  I will truly try very hard to keep in on the down low until the end of the month.

With that said, I get a lot of questions about what I do on a typical day, so here is a brief transcript of my morning.

6AM - Lauren pops out of bed! (Because one of her small dogs is whining at the front door) She lets the dogs outside and hops around on the porch in her bare feet while eating a Charleston Chew that was leftover from trick or treaters.  She then pops her butt right back into bed and rests her feet on the small of Ryan's back.  Ryan turns over and bops Lauren on the top of her head and says "Snooze," at which point Lauren respectfully moves her feet.

630AM - Ryan slithers out of bed and goes to the bathroom where he brushes his teeth and then blows his nose so loudly that I get a call from our neighbor who is concerned that someone is in our home murdering a goose.

635AM - Ryan informs Lauren that pretending to be on the phone with one's neighbor outside of the bathroom door and saying things like "I agree Mrs. Takamura, it does sound like he needs to see a doctor,"  and "The suggestion you have just made that perhaps raking the front lawn and getting some good clean air up into his sinus cavity would help the situation is entirely plausible and I will pass it on," is "played-out."

636AM - Lauren is like, "Darling I have no idea what you are talking about, now if you'll excuse me Mrs. Takamura has invited me over for porridge."  Stomps downstairs and makes big show of opening and closing the front door, shouting "Have a good day! Let me know what you feel like for dinner!"

642AM - Ryan finds Lauren hiding in the garage, giggling, eating a Charleston Chew and asks her if she can make Chickpea and Lamb Chili for dinner.  She agrees.

Sidenote: I realized after writing this post that I switched tenses at this point.  I'm too lazy to change things, so I'm going with it.

645AM - Ryan leaves for work.  I go back to bed until 8AM, and watch The Today Show on my iPad.

8AM - Time for breakfast!  Homemade Pumpkin Cheesecake Tart with Homemade Whipped Cream, Leftover Halloween Candy and one serving of Chocolate Chip Filled Plastic Cauldrons.  All washed down by Diet Coke, because I am on a special eating regime.  At this rate I will definitely fit into my Mrs. Claus suit in time for the holidays. 

I obviously only read Self for the prizes.
900AM - Time to be a good little housewife.  I finish cleaning up the kitchen from dinner last night and throw in a load of laundry.  Then I get an organizing bug and go through all of Ryan's and my clothes, deciding what can be donated.  Then I redivide what is left between the dresser and the closet while singing Irreplaceable by Beyonce.

"Everything you own in a box to the left.  In the closet, that's my stuff"

1015AM - I am momentarily sidetracked from cleaning when I discover A KILT in the depths of Ryan's pants drawer.  I remember learning at Epcot that different family clans have distinct patterns of tartan so I quickly Google the Gallagher family pattern and sure enough, it matches the kilt.  I call Ryan.

Ryan: Oh good, I was afraid you weren't going to call today.

Lauren: Keep your no-good cake-hating mouth shut.  How did you never tell me that we have a family plaid pattern?

Ryan: I don't know, didn't seem important.  Where is this even coming from?

Lauren: I have chanced upon your man skirt.

Ryan: Oh yeah, my kilt.  I got that in high school.  I completely forgot about that thing.

Lauren: I'm ordering myself a matching skirt.  And to think that I woke up this morning not knowing what we were going to do for our holiday cards this year.

Ryan: No can do.  I promised OJ he and I would send out cards together this year.

Lauren: Pffft.  Not happening.  What were you even going to do?  Wear the same lame sweater and pretend to be napping together and caption it "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen?"

Ryan: Do you have anything of value to say or can I get back to work now?

Lauren: You can get back to work now.  But I'm still upset about this plaid thing.  Do you know how many times in days past that I have wished I had a signature pattern?

Ryan: Chickpea and Lamb Chili.  Talk to you later.

Lauren: Hasta La Vista Baby, I'll call back.

Ryan: Please don't.

I'm going to be wearing an awful lot of this in the years to come.

1045AM - Receive email from Ryan that says "Happy November 1st, I have found myself a new way to get through this season, Whiskey Advent Calendar." (Credit Here.)   

"Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake."--W.C. Fields.

1100AM - I get back to cleaning.  I vacuum all of the carpet and sweep the stairs and make a grocery list for dinner tonight.

1200PM - I take the dogs on a walk.  I get really excited that I can see my own breath outside and burst spontaneously into song "Feliz Navidad Key Largo, Monteeeeeego!"

Inner Monologue: AHHHH WHAT!? That is not even close to right!  Did anyone hear that?  Shit.  That mailman is looking at me all suspiciously.  Say something to make this better.  Well that was the stupidest thing you've ever said to mailman.  Just run.

1230: Change the laundry, answer some emails, and start writing this post while talking to Ryan and Vanessa via gChat and OJ via text.  I take breaks for more laundry and to shower/change.


400PM - I finally post.  And now you all know what a typical day for me looks like, except for the chores change daily and sometimes I think about going on a bike ride.

Do you have a routine Blogstalkers?

P.S. If you follow me on FB, then you know that I'm sending out holiday cards to anyone who wants them this year, as a sort of "Thanks For Reading You Are Awesome!" All you have to do is send me your address to  Ryan and OJ and I have come to a consensus this afternoon and I promise you they will be ridiculous and signed by all three of us.  Lovely.  I now promise to cool it on the Christmas junk at least for a couple of weeks.

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