Some Thoughts About NYC

Previously published on A Writer Who Fashions, May 12, 2019. Some updates have been made. 

I know y’all have been hitting that refresh button every 30 seconds in anticipation of this moment. Well, hold on to your mouth-flapper, folks, ’cause it’s about to DROP.

I FINALLY LEARNED HOW TO PACK

Where’s my freaking trophy because I have achieved professional packing status with this trip. I actually did the thing that magazine articles have been telling me to do for years: I packed only what I needed and made multiple outfits from only a few items.

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Pictured: Anna Wintour’s slow nod of approval.

I can feel your disbelief from here. “Whaaaaat?!” you screech while spitting coffee at your computer screen. “Are you telling me,” you continue, uncaring of the comical amount of liquid dribbling down your shirt, “that you didn’t overpack this time? You didn’t close your suitcase by sitting on it and bouncing up and down as it hilariously strains against its outlandish girth?”

No, my friends. Not this time.

What I had to get past was the idea that I needed a completely unique outfit for every day of my trip. That I, for some reason, might need those weird-colored shoes that I never wear, just in case Vacation Jessie would suddenly be gasping to wear salmon sandals that MATCH NOTHING I OWN. (Drunk-shopping is not a joke, friends.)

In fact, I made an actual list of what outfits I would wear each day, and stuck to it as if deviating even slightly would cause my suitcase to explode. Like the movie Speed, only with even more sexual tension.

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So hot.

WALKING TOO FAST AND PAYING TOO MUCH TO SEE THINGS WE’VE ALREADY SEEN IN MOVIES

For the record, we had a blast. Now that the boys are older, we don’t get to hang out with them as much as we’d like.

So spending time as a family was much needed. And NYC was definitely cool. A vibrant, buzzing atmosphere of diversity and culture. And the occasional helpful subway crackhead. (True story. We were about to get on the wrong train and a suspiciously cheerful gentleman pointed us in the right direction. Thank you, kind sir! Please enjoy an extra hit on us.)

But it was also exhausting and expensive. There’s so much to see and as anyone who has ever traveled with a group knows, it’s impossible to do everything everyone wants to do. And it’s been so long since we’ve been on vacation as a family I somehow forgot that my husband is not exactly a “go-go-go” kind of traveler. He’s more “I’m on vacation so I’m going to move infuriatingly slow” whereas I’m “we paid all this money to be here so quit dicking around and LET’S GOOOOOO,” so there were some moments. 

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“Hahahaha, isn’t it funny how I’m choking you?”

STATUE OF LIBERTY HAD ME FEELING SOME FEELINGS

When the boat pulled up next to the ole gal, I just started thinking of my German grandpa, who emigrated when he was only a little tyke. I imagined my great-grandparents holding him, all excited and nervous about starting over in the land of opportunity. It legit got me choked up. The boat was filled with tourists from all over the world and watching them eagerly take pictures made me realize how iconic she is, and not just to Americans.

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Photo by Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels. (All my photos contained European tourists.)

There are so many more stories I could tell:

How I accidentally ordered sushi but it ended up being my favorite meal in NYC. (Courtesy of the rooftop restaurant at Sanctuary Hotel).

How our first night there my husband went to a little shop to get snacks and a guy pulled a knife on the shop owner (who was unimpressed, but only because it turns out they were friends and the guy was messing with him and/or gullible tourists like my husband).

How the boys let themselves be caught by one of those flyer-flapping dudes and Eric and I mocked them mercilessly for blocks. (“You made eye contact?! Rookie mistake!”)

But I’ve rambled on way too long, so until next time… here’s a tightly cropped shot of us at the Empire State Building because there were approximately 894789 other people all waiting to stand in this exact spot. 

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Winter is here and I’m not ready

Once again, a new season is upon us and I’m woefully unprepared. Despite the fashion world flagrantly displaying itself before my dazzled eyes on a daily basis, I have yet to purchase the items essential to my survival this winter.

For example, how can I properly winter without:

A Belted Camel Coat Brimming With Groovy 70s Vibes

I’m still stewing over the fact that this Helmut Lang coat was on sale at Rue La La and all I needed to do was shell out $500 (regular price $1,295) and it could have been mine. My mouse actually hovered over the “Add to Cart” button for a good 30 seconds before I came back to my senses and realized I had to buy stupid things like electricity and Christmas gifts for my loved ones. Damn them.

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Sorry for the blurry image. It’s how it looks through my tears. (Photo credit: Pinterest, Rue La La.)

 

Louis Vuitton Sunglasses That Rock So Hard I Want To Cry

Look at them. WHY AREN’T THEY ON MY FACE RIGHT NOW? The only thing that keeps me from buying them (other than the $665 price tag) is the sad realization that while they look good on the lithe model with the perfectly symmetrical features, most sunglasses are too wide for my undersized face. But that’ll be cold comfort when the winter sun blinds me in my unprotected eyeballs.

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Yes, I took a picture of a magazine ad. The Party Square sunglasses, $665 at Louis Vuitton

 

Cropped Cable Knit Sweater For Those Ab-Showing Winter Days

You know what I love about winter? How you can wear something as unsexy-sounding as a cable knit sweater but still rock some abs. Plus, for extra warmth the sleeves are long enough to cover your hands, so does it really matter that you were forced to do crunches in December when every other self-respecting person is eating chocolate chip cookies? But the sweater! It’s cozy, yet seductive in its coziness. And it could be all mine for a mere $420. One could say that’s a lot for what’s basically a half-sweater but I prefer to think of it as half-fabulous, which is kind of my brand.

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This particular sweater from Acne Studios is no longer available, but you can find a similar style from Shopbop for the aforementioned $420. (Photo credit: @sabinasocol on Instagram.)

 

Gray Over-The-Knee Boots So Buttery Soft They Should Be Served With Warm Biscuits

Have you ever seen a more delicious pair of boots? I maintain that you have not. Gray boots have been on my “Why don’t I have this already?” list for years and I think it’s about time I crossed it off.  I’ve always been drawn to gray as my go-to neutral. Gray is a folksy sort of neutral, which suits me down to my Midwestern, corn-fed soul.

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Will my meat-and-potato thighs be up to the challenge? TBD. (Photo credit: The Tieland Boot, $798 at Stuart Weitzman.)

 

A Chunky Turquoise Ring That Distracts From My Parchment-Like Chapped Hands 

Bonus: Lotion That Isn’t a Pleasant-Smelling Lie

I like my jewelry like my chicken soup: chunky. And turquoise is my favorite color/stone and therefore must be on my hand at all times. My dry, patchy, chapped, farmer-man hand. Seriously, can someone get me some lotion? And some chicken soup, while you’re at it.

 

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To those doubters who believe turquoise is only for summer: Behold! (Photo credit: Etsy.)

 

What are your winter musts? Or do you just burrow under the covers until spring?

Driving With No Sense of Direction: The Jessie Pingle Story

Can we all just give each other multiple praise hands emojis and be glad we live in a world with GPS? Because GPS finally cured what lots of young people (okay, just me) had back in the day: Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™

There were no cell phones or Google Maps or Waze when I was a 20-something lass accidentally driving through bad neighborhoods. You know what we had? A folded-up map that all dads made us put in the glovebox that a) was totally useless because maybe 2% of people can actually read a map b) even if I could read a map, I was terrified to unfold it because everyone knows it is physically impossible to refold a map.

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Like this, but with paper and a lot more swearing.

Let me tell you just how bad life with Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ could get in those dark days before GPS.

It was St. Patrick’s Day sometime in the 90s. My boyfriend was a monster but he looked like a normal human so my stupidity is excused. We were going out with his friend and his friend’s sister (who was also a monster but masqueraded as a Hooter’s waitress). We went to a bar in Columbus that to this day I refer to as “that place where I threw up in a leprechaun hat.”

After everyone was completely wasted, we all piled in a car to go to the next bar and get completely wasted. (I’m sorry to tell you that drinking and driving features heavily in this story.) I looked around blearily and realized that Monster Boyfriend was not in the car. I tried to tell the monster sister to turn around but it was like the Quaalude scene in Wolf of Wall Street. In my head I was talking normally but in reality it was just slow-motion and hilarious nonsense.

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Pretty spot-on, actually.

The friend was on the verge of passing out but through some sort of drunken telepathy I managed to convey the seriousness of the situation. He convinced his monster sister to take us to his car and we would go back to the bar and retrieve Monster Boyfriend.

Somehow, I ended up driving because apparently “passed out” is a higher level of drunk than “threw up in a leprechaun hat.”  I then got behind the wheel (bad idea) and drove around an unfamiliar city (even worse idea) to try and find the bar.

You guys. It was awful. My Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ was even further impaired from the mass amounts of alcohol coursing through my veins and I’ve never tried so hard to sober up in my entire life. I think I knew the name of the bar, and maybe remembered the street name. Meanwhile his friend was passed out in the backseat and it was basically like driving around with a dead body. It took hours… even though in hindsight I’m pretty sure the bar was only twenty minutes away. I had to stop at multiple gas stations to ask for directions. Because GPS had not been invented yet. Also because I was drunk and kept forgetting what they said but mostly the GPS thing.

By the time we found the bar, the place was deserted and the manager was ready to call the cops because (surprise, surprise), Monster Boyfriend did not take kindly to being deserted by his girlfriend and friends and had not been shy about expressing it.

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Exactly this.

I’m just going to skip over the screaming fight that ensued and bring us to the part where we started the long drive home. I drove perfectly… right up to moment I was pulled over five minutes from home. I felt quite sober at this point but I’m guessing a sobriety test would have said differently.

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“Her blood alcohol level is too high but her dance skills are off the charts.”

 

But no worries, people! Because this was 20 years ago and I was in my prime. Even after throwing up in a leprechaun hat I had enough va-va-voom left over to bat my eyes and solemnly assure the sweet, innocent highway patrolman that yes, I would be very careful driving, because “there are a lot of crazy people out tonight.”

Monster Boyfriend was grimly silent during this exchange but after the kindly officer tipped his hat and skipped off whistling into the night, his friend woke up long enough to mumble, “Way to go, Jessie,” before he passed out again.

It was the worst night of my life up to that point, and still ranks somewhere in the Top 10 twenty-some years later. And it could have all been avoided had GPS been invented…wait. Is that even true? I think the situation actually came about because we all drank too much. Even if GPS had been invented I was still a drunken idiot.

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Time travel… GPS…. leprechaun hats… THIS MATH MAKES NO SENSE.

Wow, this was a real waste of time. Sorry, everyone. Just be grateful you’re born in a time when Driving With No Sense of Direction Syndrome™ has finally been eradicated. Also, don’t drink and drive. That’s why Uber was invented.

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Uber: You probably won’t get assaulted!™

Summer is almost here and I’m not ready

One of the downsides of my job as a fashion copywriter is that I’m forced to constantly look at magazines, blogs and do comparison shopping all in the name of research. I know. The horror. But it IS a problem, because then I see every new thing that comes out on the market and 100% of the time it is something that I must have, like yesterday. Did I also mention that I use shopping as therapy and I relate all too well to the cringe-worthy protagonist in Confessions of a Shopaholic?  

All that to say that summer is one of my three favorite seasons and it’s coming up fast. And I am woefully low on:

A CUTE ONE-PIECE SWIM SUIT THAT FITS MY WEIRD GOURD-SHAPED BODY

When you’re shaped like a beloved Thanksgiving-themed decorative fruit, shopping is difficult enough without throwing in “Oh hey, one-pieces are back from the Baywatch-shaped hole they’ve been hiding in for the past 20 years.” How did this happen? Why are they back? And how can I get one immediately? IF I can find one that will fit my long skinny upper body and my bulbous lower body, that is.

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NSFW: Behold, me in all my naked glory.

 

BODY JEWELRY THAT I CAN ROCK LILITH FAIR-STYLE

Shut up. Body jewelry is back and you’re just going to have to deal with it, society. I remember back in the day, I owned not one, but several belly bracelets. And just because that was twenty years ago when I was dreamily listening to Sarah McLaughlin while drinking Zima in my dorm room does not mean I can’t adorn my still-pretty-alright body with some sparkle. It’s not like I’m some 41-year old woman who still wears crop tops. Oh wait…

MATCHING CROP TOP AND SKIRT SET BECAUSE PINTEREST

Except I’m exactly the kind of 41-year old woman who wears crop tops! And why not? Do I force myself to go to the gym 4 days a week only to not wear crop tops, like some kind of not-crop-top-wearing idiot? Summer was made for crop tops and I love that they are still a thing. Especially since now they have matching crop top-and-skirt sets all over Pinterest that are freaking adorable and I need all of them. But only if I can wear it surrounded by flowers on a cobblestone street with messy yet perfectly done hair while drinking out of a pineapple. Obviously.

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Okay, I made up the pineapple but the rest is SPOT ON. (Photo credit: Pinterest, Chanel Bags & Cigarette Drags) 

FANCY LUGGAGE SO I CAN FEEL BALLER FOR A FEW MINUTES BEFORE THEY SEAT ME IN COACH

I have always been obsessed with luxe luggage and by “always” I mean since I spotted a fabulous Gucci luggage set in a UK Vogue about six years ago. Gliding through the airport in my just-right traveling outfit, with my perfectly matched luggage is almost as good as the vacation itself.

Except my fantasies of airport chic come from the Mad Men era, before 9/11 turned us all into shoeless animals forced into X-ray machines, all while being groped by the airport equivalent of mall security. To add insult to injury, my neatly packed luggage ends up looking like someone searched it using a giant Kitchen Aid mixer. (Note: Just kidding, TSA. You guys are the best!)

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But seriously, I need these ASAP. (Photo credit: Pinterest, Henri Bendel)

 

WHITE JEANS THAT DON’T LOOK LIKE I’M WEARING A KITCHEN TRASH BAG

Why don’t I already have a pair of white jeans? White jeans are quintessential summer. They look so fresh and breezy, yet when I squeeze myself into a pair, one or both of the following things happen:

  1. As with most denim, they fit super-snug in the butt and thighs, yet gap in the waistband. (See above, re: gourd-shaped body.)
  2. They are basically made of white tissue paper and show literally every bump, even ones I didn’t know were there. Oh, I got razor burn this morning? Good to know. Thanks, white devil.

GIRD YOUR LOINS, CREDIT CARD. IT’S ABOUT TO GET WEIRD.

Sadly, this is only a small part of my list but I didn’t want to overburden you all with too many fabulous things. Because then you’d know what it’s like to be in my head and I wouldn’t do that to you.

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You know what else I need? SLIDES. They’re flip-flop’s fancy out-of-town cousin! (Photo credit: Urban Outfitters Striped Bow Pool Slide, $24)

P.S. Let me know in the comments what lovely things are on your summer must-have list! I promise I won’t steal your ideas.

P.P.S I will totally steal your ideas.

 

 

Water Into Wine: The Real Story

I’ve always found it interesting that the first recorded miracle Jesus ever did was change water into wine, aka the best miracle ever. I know, I know, the whole “raising people from the dead” thing gets more publicity. But if you ask me, changing water into wine puts him in the Wedding Guest Hall of Fame.

If you don’t know the story, allow me to enlighten you:

This was a wedding of a close friend or family member of the Jesus clan because not only was Jesus and posse invited, but Jesus’ mother was there as well. Everyone’s having a good time, the bride and groom cut the cake, everyone dances to the old-timey version of The Funky Chicken, the usual wedding stuff.

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There’s always some douche who brings his own sitar. WE GET IT, MYRON. YOU’RE IN A BAND.

Then the unthinkable happens: they run out of booze. I think most people would agree that they would rather the bride run off with a Federal Express guy, à la Runaway Bride, than run out of alcohol. At least then the abandoned groom would have all that alcohol to console himself.

Okay, so they’re at this wedding and there’s nothing to drink other than water. A bunch of people who (most likely) can’t stand each other, forced to sit at a crammed table eating cold chicken and limp salad. And there’s nothing to drink.

At this point, Jesus’ mom (you may have heard of her—she’s not too well-known outside of Christmas but the Catholics love her) Mary realizes what happened and says to herself, “Wait a second, my kid is the son of God.”

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“He can totally turn this party around!”

Mary elbows Jesus in the ribs. “There’s no wine,” she hisses.

Jesus, however, just shrugs it off. “So? Not my problem.”

Mary then does what any mother would do at this point: she ignores him and goes on with her plan like he agreed to it. She marches up to the servants—who are freaking out at this point, by the way. “They’re all going to turn on us!” There’s nothing worse than half-drunk wedding guests who were thwarted in their attempt to get full-on drunk on free booze. Those poor servants had already resigned themselves to their fate: Stabbed to death with empty wineglasses.

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“Somehow, I always knew it would end this way…”

Anyway, Mary tells the servants, “See that man right there? That’s my son. He’s gonna get you some wine. Don’t listen to him if he says he’s not. Believe me, he will.” I’d like to think at some point she said, “Son of God or not, I’m still your mother.”

So Jesus, probably rolling his eyes, tells the servants to fill these six stone jars with water and take them to the master of ceremonies, which is apparently a thing people had at weddings back then. (For some reason, I picture him wearing a purple sash.) He tastes the water that is now miraculously wine, impressed that the groom saved the best wine for last.

So not only did Jesus turn freaking water into wine, he turned it into fancy-schmancy wine, the kind you usually serve first, while everyone’s sober. Then when everyone’s sloshed you give them bottom-shelf, gas station wine. That’s standard wedding procedure.

I’d love to have seen the groom’s facial expression at that moment. Because I bet he was in charge of picking up the wine. He was the groom, he had only ONE job to do, and what was the one thing that got screwed up? Exactly. Just like a man, he went to the liquor store, picked out a couple bottles and was like, “Eh, that’s good enough.”

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DONE.

I remember one year we had a ton of people coming to our house for a holiday dinner. And I told my husband to pick up rolls and he comes home with eight rolls. Eight rolls total. One sad, little bag of eight measly rolls. I looked at it, and then looked at him. “Is that all you got? You know we have like, 25 people coming over, right?” His face at that moment looked close to what this groom’s face probably was when he realized they were out of wine.

I’d also like to think that at some point the groom was looking frantically at all his half-drunk relatives lurching around shouting, “Who’s hiding the wine?” He’s freaking out, thinking they’ll turn on him at any moment (once they were done with the servants, of course). He buries his face in his hands, moaning, “Oh, Jesus. Jesus Christ, what am I going to do?”

Jesus smoothly appears behind him as if from nowhere. “Don’t worry, bro,” he says, clasping his hands on the startled groom’s shoulders.

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“I got this.”

Quotes by Caleb, a birthday tribute

Caleb is 16 today, you guys.

And what better way to celebrate Caleb than to feature his most ridiculous quotes in my blog? He has inspired me a few times, after all.

Who could forget the time Colonel Sanders appeared on our doorstep in  Typical Evening at the Pingles? Or the time Caleb tried to make eggs for a “snack” after eating a double Baconater in And This is Why Candy is Bad for You?

So here, in no particular order, are my favorite Caleb moments of all time:

 

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Happy Birthday, Caleb! The world thanks you for being born.

 

(And by “the world,” I mean all my fans, obvi.)

 

 

The Grinch Who Stole Pingle Christmas

It has been brought to my attention that I haven’t written a blog post in a while. I would love to say it’s because I’ve been lounging on a beach while husky bronzed man-servants brought me fruity cocktails. Alas, the real reason is sadly bereft of oiled muscles and sexy coconuts.

Last month, whilst wearing a green visor and using an old-fashioned adding machine to balance my checkbook (as everyone does), I discovered a thief had absconded with a large amount of my hard-earned money.

The description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.
Description I gave police. How they have yet to find this guy, I have no idea.

Somehow, someone way smarter than me hacked into a bunch of debit card numbers. My card and my husband’s card were included in this nefarious plot to ruin Christmas. I have no idea how this person got both of us. What I know about hackers is what I see in TV and movies, and somehow I don’t think it’s as easy as they make it seem.

"Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD."         "I don't think that's how it works."
“Type in a bunch of code and CONTROL THE WORLD ” “Um… I don’t think that’s how it works.”

What really, really sucked is that it was our debit cards, so it was like, real money. They drained our checking account. So we basically woke up and Christmas was gone. The Grinch snuck into our checking account and cleared out the place. He got the presents! The ribbons! The wrappings! The tags! The tinsel! The trimmings! The trappings! The bags!

Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?
Okay, I’ll stop. But first, what are “trappings,” exactly?

I just felt so… violated. Did I bring this on myself with my sexy online purchases? Did we drop our poor, innocent debit card into a shady part of the internet and just walk away? All I know is that our debit card is now curled in a corner of the shower sucking its thumb. That’s on you, hackers. How do you sleep at night?

"Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually."
“Since I bought a cruise with your money, pretty well, actually.”

Anyway, I don’t know how it happened, but it happened at the worst time possible. Not that there’s a good time to get money stolen, but right before we go on the biggest shopping spree of the entire year? Kind of bad timing, guys.

Our bank credited back our money eventually but we had to get through the entire month of December with nothing in our account. The week of Christmas we finally got our money back. THE WEEK OF CHRISTMAS. My husband and I were both in our busy time of year at work; we couldn’t take any days off, so he did all the shopping on Christmas Eve while I worked from home. Shopping and wrapping all the presents on Christmas Eve? Not fun. Luckily there was plenty of wine left over from Thanksgiving or I would have been very grinchy indeed.

Christmas Eve, basically.
Christmas Eve, basically.

Needless to say, it was hard to get into the Christmas spirit this season, and no one was happier than me when it was time to kick Santa’s big butt out the door.

For my husband and me, 2015 looks to be filled with paranoia and lots of hiding money behind toilets. Maybe not even our toilets. By the way, don’t look behind your toilet.

DON'T LOOK IN THERE.
DON’T LOOK IN THERE, EITHER.

Nothing to see, folks.

Staying home on Black Friday: Better than free unicorns

Here’s a little-known fact about me: Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. But immediately following a lovely day of gorging myself into a coma is my least favorite day—Black Friday.

Don’t get me wrong: I love Christmas shopping. Leisurely strolling through stores, sipping on my Starbucks Peppermint Mocha,  hand-in-hand with The Hubs, finding the perfect gift for my loved ones… that’s what I like.

I know. We're adorable.
I know. We’re adorable.

Black Friday is pretty much the opposite of that. As much as I enjoy a good bargain, I’m not willing to sacrifice sleep, family and my sanity to get it. (Notice I put sleep first? Not an accident.)

And the people who set up camp at midnight or whatever… all for a cheap Christmas present? Are you kidding me? They could be giving away free unicorns, you guys. And that still wouldn’t convince me to give up my nice comfy bed and 8+ hours of sleep I so rightfully deserve. (I NEED MY SLEEP, PEOPLE.)

Yawn.
Yawn.

But I get that for some people, the bargain-getting part is fun for them… or, more likely, gives them a high that nothing else (legally, that is) can compare. I’m convinced that for some, searching for a good bargain is like a drug addict looking to score. And once they find it, it’s like the euphoria of the first… snort? Smoke?  Whatever the kids do nowadays.

Something with eggs? That's a thing, right?
Something with eggs? That’s a thing, right?

Think I’m exaggerating? Have you seen people on Black Friday? Compare them to a crazy-eyed drug addict and tell me what the difference is. I dare you.

This is actually a picture of a drug dealer's house.
This is actually a picture of a drug deal.

But for me, everything about it just turns me off to the point that I refuse to even leave my house on Black Friday.  Since my husband and I host Thanksgiving, I use that day to recover from my hostess duties, aka lie on the couch so long that we weld together and create a human/couch hybrid. This year my cat joined us and we created a never-seen-before human/couch/feline hybrid. I expect a call from National Geographic any day now.

Take that, free unicorns.

The Fun Continues: His ’n Her Heart Attacks!

This has been an interesting six weeks, folks. You may remember that at the end of September my dad had a heart attack. Not to be outdone, a few weeks later my mom had her own heart attack. Because in case you haven’t heard, society, women can do anything men can do.

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“Um… this isn’t what I had in mind.”

Yes, both my parents had heart attacks within a few weeks of each other. After approximately 150 years of marriage, my parents do everything together and that includes His ’n Her heart attacks. Now that’s romance.

The medicine-pushers (or “doctors,” if you’re a non-believer in conspiracy theories) think her heart attack was brought on by stress. A lot of women don’t have pain with heart attacks and she probably would have never known she even had one. But she was in the hospital for bronchitis when it happened, which was… lucky, I guess?

"Thanks, bronchitis!"
“Thanks, bronchitis!”

After I heard the news, I rushed in to see Mom only to find her sitting up in the hospital bed eating lunch and lecturing Dad to take his cough medicine. (Dad had bronchitis at the same time, because of course he did.)

Let me tell you, people do not have heart attacks in real life like they do on TV. There was no dramatic chest-clutching or yelling at dead relatives in the sky.  But there was Jell-O, so that’s something. What is it with hospitals and Jell-O, anyway? Are they being blackmailed by Bill Cosby?

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“There’s always room for Jell-O. Or else.”

The doctors declared Mom good to go and released her the next day. And, just this morning, Dad had the second stent put in to fix his other blocked artery and was sitting up and eating (Jell-O obviously, eh, Bill?) a couple hours later.

So the Heart Attack Twins are doing well. Hopefully they will follow doctor’s orders and take it easy. Next time, let’s try doing less heart attacky activities. Flying over the Bermuda Triangle, perhaps?  Or how about standing in the front row of a black cat parade?

"Yeah. Like you could get us to participate in a parade."
“That doesn’t even make sense. Cats HATE parades.”

Cooking Without Salt Is Apparently A Thing

For those who don’t personally know me, a couple weeks ago my dad had a heart attack. Well, actually THREE heart attacks, because my dad is nothing if not thorough. He’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. It’s called work ethic, guys.

"Only one heart attack? That's not the kind of ethic we look for at THIS company."
“Only one heart attack? That kind of half-assery has no place in THIS company.”

Hopefully you can tell by my jocular tone that he is fine. Or maybe you just think I’m an awful person. Well, either way you’re in luck because both those things are true: My dad is doing fine and yes, I can be pretty awful. Not like, Internet awful. Just normal awful.

Like one time I made a joke to my mom on the phone about drowning in paperwork by saying, “I’m like Natalie Wood over here!” She was not amused.

What was I talking about? Oh, my dad! Yes, he’s good but getting really tired of grilled chicken.

Because, you see, after a heart attack you have to change your diet, if your diet is the thing that caused your heart attack. And he’s 100% German, which means it’s not a meal if there’s no red meat and potatoes. And salt. Lots of salt.

"Is this all the salt we have?"
“Is this all the salt we have?”

Because I am awful yet also a wonderful daughter, I’m trying to think of meals I can make him that are German-approved and heart-healthy. To the Googles!

*cue hold music*
*cue hold music*

Okay, I found “7 Festive German Recipes” on a website called LifeScript. Not only German but festive German? Things are about to get wild, y’all.

Fotothek_df_roe-neg_0002478_002_Jugendliche_beim_Musizieren
If it’s not a German party with accordions, then it’s not a party AT ALL.

Now all I need to do is go to the store, buy all the stuff, find time to cook… Huh. These recipes call for a LOT of ingredients.

“Reduced-sodium chicken broth?” Is that even a thing? “No-salt-added tomato sauce?” That sounds gro… I mean delicious, Dad! It sounds delicious.  What does salt even do, really? Clogs arteries, that’s what. And, you know, adds flavor. But I’m sure it will be fi… chicken sausage? Now they’re just screwing with me, right?

And fennel? What’s a fennel? It sounds like a Dr. Suess character. I’m not feeding my father a beloved cartoon creation, no matter how delicious, Mr. LifeScript! What kind of monster do you think I… wait. Oh. Apparently a fennel is in the celery family. I didn’t know celery HAD a family.

Why did I volunteer for this again?

IMG_1302

Oh, yeah. I love my dad. Guten tag, everyone.