Monthly Archives: January 2011

Guilty As Charged

When I started this blog, I was fresh out of grad school, jobless, and living with my boyfriend, Mike, in Pennsylvania.  I’ve gotten into thousands of fights about what the roles of both men and women should be.  Recently, I offended my friend, Jarvis, who is an incredible writer and professor of Creative Writing in Maryland.  He posted a picture of a stack of papers and a two lap-top set up, and underneath, he wrote, “Man’s work.”  Just joking around (as I have joked with Jarvis about this on multiple occasions), I said, “Where’s the tool belt?”  Of course, I was insinuating that men do hard labor.  Which is not at all the case all the time.

Mike, my darling boyfriend, has been known to say (upon seeing me drool over construction workers, mechanics, and farmers), “I need a man’s job.”  Now, when I look at Mike, I see nothing but MAN.  He’s a GIS technician who maps the land, hunts, fishes, fixes things, builds things, takes care of me, and so much more.  Mike IS a man.  And he certainly does man’s work.

So is Jarvis.

But I’m getting away from myself.  I’ve always been one to appreciate gender roles.  I found this article talking about how Generation Y (me) women don’t know how to do certain things the way we did before.  I don’t know how to cook a pot roast.  I probably should.  And if you’ll remember, I previously wrote about how I CANNOT STAND COOKING FOR MYSELF!

Mike tells me I’m a hypocrite–that I love this idea of a woman cooking for her man and taking care of a house and babies and ladeeda.    Unfortunately, he has a point.  Something along the lines of, “For someone who rejoices in the idea of a housewife, you sure don’t take on the responsibilities.”

He’s right.  And for a long time I fought this.  I said I wouldn’t learn to cook unless I had a reason to–that being that he asked me to marry him and I would cook for someone other than myself.  But I guess this is the time to practice.

When Mom married Dad, she made Mrs. Grass’s soup for almost two years…unless Dad cooked.  I want to be able to cook; it’s just so hard without a goal in mind.  So I’ll quit saying, “Give me a reason, and I’ll learn how to cook,” and maybe I’ll actually just start cooking.

Any good recipe ideas for beginners?  Mike likes bacon.


Posted by on January 31, 2011 in Domesticity


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Happy Birthday, Nick Carter.

Happy 31st Birthday, Nick Carter. In an odd, semi-conscious sleep, I dreamt about you last night.  You know I’ve always been a sucker for that squeaky pre-pubescent voice of yours.  Don’t worry, even though I have Bieber-Fever, you’ll always be my #1.

I want you to know that I have been celebrating your birthdays since 1998.  On more than one occasion, I sat at a table with my friend Caitlin (Frick), who was kind enough to buy ME (Frack-true BSB fans will get this) a cake for YOUR birthday.  It was usually blue and white.  Because you love blue.  And because you love the ocean.  Do you see where I’m going with this?

And I went to your concerts.  I swooned every time you hit a high note.  I lost it when you started dating.  My eyes always went to you in music videos, and I thought, “He’d be a good boyfriend.”

All through junior high (and embarrassingly enough, into high school) I wrote you into some stories.  Did you know that we were going to have a double wedding off the coast of Florida with Brian and my friend Caitie?  I figured you didn’t.

There were a few times that my mother walked into my bedroom when I was a teenager and saw me lying across my bed, my head hanging upside-down, listening to Millennium over and over and over again.  She asked me if I was okay.  Then walked away, shut the door, and I’m sure stood outside it for awhile to make sure I wasn’t sobbing over you.

When you appeared with your pants around your ankles on Rolling Stone, I bought five copies.

At the second BSB concert Caitie and I came to see you and Brian at, we got lost in the arena trying to find our way out.  It panned out, though, because we cut down a 12 foot poster of you and your band mates, rolled it up, and continued the search for the door.  “Hey,” we heard a lady say behind us.  “I’ll give you $20 for that.”

“Hell no,” I said.

“50,” she said, reaching for her purse.

“Absolutely not.  This is ours.”  Caitie and I stood with our hands on our hips, facing this woman and her daughter.


“No thank you,” we said, and walked away.

I gave up $100 for you, Nick Carter.

Actually…with all the posters, CDs, books, magazines, t-shirts, concerts, and McDonald’s BSB action figures…I probably spent close to $6,000.00 on you.

I’m okay with it.  You kept me in love and entertained for probably four years.  So thank you for that.  And then I saw you on House of Carter and realized how bad it had gotten.

While I’m not sure I would date you anymore, I still like when you sing.  So Happy Birthday to you, Nick.  And if you want to come visit Ohio, you’re more than welcome.

If AJ gets out of rehab, I’ll even buy a ticket to your tour with NKOTB…


Posted by on January 28, 2011 in Daily Happenings, When I Was Young


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Poor Jakey…

Lately I’ve been reading Coop:  A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg by Michael Perry.

Last night I got to a part that shook me to my soul.  Perry’s nephew Jake drowns in a pond.  The sheer magnitude of the situation is enough to startle you, but the way that Perry writes about it…it gave me chills.

You don’t expect it.  Everything is going so wonderfully in the book.  It’s here I have to marvel at the chapter that comes before Jakey’s death.  Perry is cradling newborn daughter Jane to his chest while all his nieces, nephews, and friends’ children run around him–including Jakey.

Jakey who thought he had to whisper to the stars.  Jakey who thought the moon was a cookie.  Jakey who tipped his tractors upright like in the movie Cars.  Jakey who died too young.

This scares the hell out of me and I don’t even have children.  To make matters worse, Jakey’s father (Perry’s brother) Jed lost his first wife, Sarah, after only seven weeks of marriage.  She was in a car accident, and Jed, who is a volunteer firefighter and EMT, was first on the scene.  Can you imagine?  Trying to save your wife of seven weeks, losing her, and then finding love again only to lose your firstborn son to a pond.

It’s not fair…

I promise for a happier post tomorrow.

That is all.

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Posted by on January 27, 2011 in Daily Happenings


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Choosing Your Own Name

What would you have called yourself had you chosen your own name?

Back when I was into the Babysitters’ Club, I would have called myself Stacey or Claudia.  When I was a hippy in college, I was kinda going for Willow or Storm.  Both of those still kind of make me happy.  I could go with either one and feel content.

Please don’t get me wrong.  There’s nothing wrong with Erica.  Mom chose it after watching soap operas all through her pregnancy with me.  Something about Susan Lucci’s character on Days Of Our Lives.  I don’t know.  But no one calls me Erica.  They call me Hooty. They call me this because of something I used to do as a child.  Whenever we were in a store, I’d ask, “Who is that?  Who?” to everyone that passed.  My father eventually looked at me, threw his hands in the air and asked, “Do your feet fit a limb?  You’re like a little hoot owl!”

They only people that call me Erica are the people that don’t know me and people at work.  Sometimes, I forget to respond to it.

Jenny calls me Rico.  Carmen calls me by my last name.  My Grandpa Gene calls me Ca. Sometimes, my father calls me Lou.

But what if we chose our own names?

I always figured that the names people chose for their children were the names that they wished they’d been given.  I know that I’m in love with the names I have picked out for girls (I’m not telling you, because you’ll steal them).  And the names I have picked out for boys are names that I believe encompass who I would be if I were a boy.

Some  Indian (Native American, for you PC folks) tribes choose their own names when they gain a certain understanding of who they are.  Often these names are based on an aspect of nature or animal.  Well, they already call me Hooty, so do I choose to stick with the owl?  Do I still maintain that desire to know who everyone is?  Does that stick to me?  I like to think that everyone I encounter, I try to learn something about “who” they are.

In terms of elements of nature, I could do without living by water or mountains.  But I love the sky, and wide open spaces (not-so-subtle nod to the Dixie Chicks).   I probably belong in Kansas, which is also a name I wouldn’t mind having.  She Who Sees the SkyCloud-Wisperer (spelled incorrectly on purpose–get it?  Wispy clouds?)?  Sky Owl?

Prairie Storm.  That’s it, because of the way I can explode like a storm front.  Maybe…  But I don’t live on the prairie.  I live on the plains of Ohio (ask Mike–he’ll tell you how wickedly flat it is).  But “plain” has so many denotations!

What would your name be?  Would you choose a nature name?  Or would you just change your regular name?




Posted by on January 26, 2011 in Daily Happenings


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Camp Lackawanna Grow Up

I never went to summer camp, but lately, I’m regretting that decision.  I did go to Camp Storer for a week in sixth grade.  I wasn’t ready for it.  I cried almost every night.  I cried when this douchebag counselor named Dirk reenacted the Underground Railroad way too realistically.  I quit halfway up the climbing wall.  I did like the cabin, though, and the ghost stories, and the night there was a tornado warning. I liked knowing there was a cabin of BOYS just across the field.  I dunno…just didn’t wanna be there in sixth grade.

But now I wish I woulda pulled summer camp duty.  As an adult, nothing seems as though it’s off limits.  If you’re old enough to pay, you’re old enough to do it.  I pay taxes, loans, bills…therefore, I can drink, live alone, have wine for dinner, pick the color of my curtains…  Whatever happened to someone telling me I can’t?

Because you all can agree with this:  When someone tells you that you can’t, it’s so much more fun when you get away with it.

So I propose to you, my friends and bloggies, that we begin a summer camp–FOR ADULTS.

We shall call it Camp Lackawanna Grow Up, and it will be in the hills.  We’ll have to earn our alcohol by winning competitions and races to the mess hall, and or we’ll have to sneak it in.  This is where the flasks engraved with “Shameless” that Jenny and I bought for each other will come in handy–whiskey and wine, baby.

There will be bonfires at least three times a week, and an endless supply of marshmallows for s’mores.  There will be ghost stories, and cuddling by the campfire.

NO co-ed cabins.  If you’re going to sneak a boy into your cabin, well you’d better get permission from your other bunk mates, and make them vow to never rat you out.  And then you have to keep the giggles under control when said man begins to snore and you have to pretend it’s you.

There will be canoeing, dancing in the moonlit summer rainstorms, music, food fights, skinny dipping in the lake, softball, catch, and awkward tan lines.  Hitchhiking into town, quiet whispers of scheming girls to attack the boys’ cabin.

GAH.  I missed out.  What do you say, friends?  We can’t do it for a whole summer, because we have jobs (we hope).  But we can do it for a long weekend.  Who wants to go camping this summer?  In East Harbor, or Mohican?  In PA?  WHO IS COMING WITH ME?!?!?

RSVP in comments.  Because I’m serious.  This thing is happening.  If I get a big enough response, I’ll set this thing up for summer time, and we can meet up, eat s’mores, and sleep in tents.  Yes?

Great, I’ll see you there.


Posted by on January 25, 2011 in When I Was Young


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Bowling-A Ladies’ Sport

I have mixed feelings concerning what I’m about to say.  And I think what I’m about to say my have solved some of my “finding friends in your 20’s sucks ass once you’re out of school” problems.

I bought a bowling ball.

Me.  A bowling ball!  I’m really excited.  It’s in Pennsylvania right now getting drilled.  To fit my fingers. I guess I’m so excited about this because I’ve never had a personalized piece of sporting equipment.  I played softball and tennis, but I just bought off-the-rack.  Besides the chintzy t-shirts given to us by the recreational leagues, nothing ever had my name on it–and it wasn’t personalized for me.

The bowling ball is both.

Let’s go back to the beginning of my career with bowling.

We all did the bowling thing in Junior High and High school–the GLOW BOWLING THING.  You know…farm kids hanging out in neon lights laughing at the fact that our teeth were blue, embarrassed by the fact that we had so much lint on our clothes.  Couples thought it might be more fun to make out in black light.

The rest of us tried to perfect our kick, to get the attention of that guy or gal that we were interested in, and to happen to fall into their lap on the fiberglass chairs by the end of the night.

And then we’d stand outside in the parking lot, rejoicing in the night, all hopped up on Mountain Dew, laughing at the snow, planning to do it again.

The score wasn’t important then.  We still thought it was fun to get a strike, but in the end, we got to laugh in the black light for a few hours, and that was enough.

And then we got to college, and the competition became the more important thing…but in a different way.  It became about who could sneak the most beers off the tables from the drunk regular bowlers.  It became about the “sex pin,” although most of us never held up on our word.  (((For those of you wondering, the “sex pin” is the bowling pin in the very middle of the triangle.  The opportunity to use the “sex pin” happens when you knock down all the pins but leave the middle one standing.  If you pick up that pin on a spare, you’re supposedly going to get laid that night.)))

I remember bowling with my cousin Heidi when I visited Ashland University before I attended.  She sneaked me a couple beers, taught me about the sex pin, and let me hang out with her now-husband’s little brother.  I felt freaking cool.  Tim McGraw’s “Red Rag Top” was the big song that year, and they played it so loud over the speakers that something about it made me anxious to get to AU for my own college career.

And then there was bowling here and there in grad school.  Mostly I just played along, not actually wanting to be there.  And then the night of Christmas 2009, all of my cousins, Heidi excluded, went out to Plaza Lanes off of Route 20 in Fremont, and we bowled.  BOY did we bowl.  I got my high score that night.  176.

You may not know this about Mike (boyfriend Mike), but he’s an avid bowler.  I bought him a bowling shirt for his birthday with “Big Ern” embroidered on the shoulder–as it is his bowling name.  He has the shoes, the ball, the bag, the nifty little thing that cleans oil of the bowling ball.  He’s hardcore.

And this weekend, after he made me tacos, bought me Skinny Girl margarita mix (it’s so good!), and let me watch Ghost Hunters, we took off on Saturday to do some shopping.  We ended up at Seneca Lanes and bowled a couple of games.  I realized how much I love it–and that we could do it together, and often.  But I also realized how much I freaking hate finding a ball to fit my hands.

So we went and bought one.  It looks like a peacock!  I’ll post pics when it’s done being drilled.

BUT the solution to THIS PROBLEM:  I can go bowling in Brunswick!  I can make bowling friends!  And if…WHEN, Mike gets here, we could join a league!  I’m super psyched about this.

Bowling.  The joy of it all.  😉


Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Domesticity


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Wine for Dinner

Based on the way my blog was going yesterday (i.e. the amount of views and my intense anticipation that I may beat my 117 visitor-best day this past summer), I had wine for dinner.  I had 149 visitors–yesterday alone!  🙂  I’m thrilled.  I will continue to embarrass myself for your amusement.

I have nothing spectacular to say today–only that the snow is coming down and it’s still sunshiney.

I do believe I should have doubled in graphic design.  It’s so much fun.

And I’m happy.  I’m happy.


NOTE:  I am going to try to go to the gym.  ARGH.  I will not be happy about making friends there, though.  😉


Have a lovely weekend, all!



Posted by on January 21, 2011 in Daily Happenings