I hate yew.

Ever feel like a hamster on a wheel?  Me too.  Especially this past weekend.  My husband and I have a real knack for making more work for ourselves when there’s already plenty to be had.  We spent Saturday out working in the yard.  We planted, and laid drip hoses.  We put down sod.  Round about knocking off time (for normal people) we decided IT WAS TIME.  We got out the sawzall and put on some gloves, we gathered our daughters and then, one by one, we took out four bushes.  WHY?  Because I hate yew.  My husband hates yew.  And truth be told, our daughters hate yew too.

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Weekend w/ Mommy part two

It’s hard to top the March Madness that was Weekend w/ Mommy (part one), but we were willing to try. That’s right everyone, my Mommy is HERE.  IN PHILLY. RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE!!! take THAT, Atlanta.

Saturday night. The Borgata. After the buffet, a decent $5 chardonnay and 2 cloyingly sweet but free white wines, here were the totals.  Me $161.50. NOT TOO SHABBY. John $69. WOOHOO.  My mom: HAD FUN ANYWAY.  And we’ll leave it at that.

Sunday. Peddler’s Village. Brunch @ the Cock n’ Bull. The corn pudding was excellent and the petit fours a dream.  Post meal roundup: Me, Mommy, Maddie & Georgia, ALL OKAY.  John: NOT.  B/c John got food poisoning and spent the car ride home vomiting into a shopping bag.

Afterward, John & I went to the Eagles game. YES MY HUSBAND IS A TROOPER.  And thank Goodness.  B/c the game was AMAZING. Except that this was my view.

And this was John’s.

Yes, that is a security guard sitting on my husband’s lap.

Although my husband put a brave face on things, by the end of the game it had gotten OLD.  When we complained, we were cursed out by the higher-up security guards on the field – the one even threatened to beat the hell out of John.

On a good note, I was not sat upon. And after the game, David Akers threw his wristband to ME! And I also caught Deshawn Jackson’s sweaty towel.  Both of which I immediately put on.  ANd even though everyone around me said EWWWwWWwWwW.   I said AHHHhhHHHHHHhHHHH.

The Joy of Camping.

This past weekend we went camping with friends in Lenhartsville, PA, close to Hawk Mountain. We’d been planning the trip all last week, and everyone was EXCITED!! Though I haven’t done a whole lot of it, I actually enjoy camping. The fresh air, the dirt, the marshmallows. And even though it POURED Friday night, by Saturday everything was just fine. Or so we thought. Unfortunately we had not been briefed that *FAMILY CAMPGROUND* is really code language for WE HOUSE DERELICTS WHO LOVE TO PAR-TAY. Don’t get me wrong. We like drinking too. Of course we like drinking. It’s the only thing that makes camping tolerable.  When the pluses of doing something include: 1) having an excuse not to brush your teeth, 2) getting to pee in the bushes, and 3) wondering who’s going to fall into the firepit, well – drinking is simply par for the course.

But let’s be reasonable. Quiet Hours were posted as 11 PM – 8 AM. I didn’t have a watch to check and being in the middle of the forest, didn’t have a clock to reference either. BUT I think we pretty much stuck to that. All of us – our good friends P & E, and S. We all have kids. We put our kids to sleep – well, except for GEORGIA, but that’s another story altogether. Yes, we were drinking. But we were not making this camping trip into the bacchanalian orgy that our neighbors so clearly took it to be.

I will be honest. The folks renting the campsite on the far side of us were simply ANIMALS. And they should have been rounded up at 3 am and sent to the stockyard. But as I am not yet in charge of the universe, they continued on ALL NIGHT LONG.  AT one point I woke up and it sounded as though they were actually attacking a woman.  I could not deduce from the screaming whether or not she was enjoying it. And I couldn’t have helped her even if I wanted to.

You see, I was pinioned between my younger daughter and a tent wall for most of these NOT-SO-QUIET-HOURS.  B/c Georgia would not go to sleep.  Oh no.  At some point in the evening she spotted an insect in the kids tent, and refused to go inside.  I don’t think the bug was even in the tent – just sandwiched between the top of the tent and the fly – but how do you reason THAT to a 4 year old?  Needless to say, Georgia was bunking w/ us for the evening.

Unfortunately I am claustrophobic.  ACUTELY CLAUSTROPHOBIC.  As my husband and I were sharing a tent which comfortably sleeps 1, you can imagine how cozy it was w/ 3 of us.  In order to get Georgia to sleep, I finally had to ZIP HER INTO MY SLEEPING BAG beside me.  Rendering it more of a cocoon. I spent most of the night unable to move, smashed up against the side of the tent w/ the roof just inches from my face.  It was like being trapped inside an MRI machine, except the noise of the hammers was replaced with drunken revelry from the campsite 2 down.

Nearing daybreak I Couldn’t take ANYMORE.  I woke my husband long enough to unzip me from my iron maiden and I hightailed it to the spacious kids tent next door.  There I spent the next 2 hours, sleeping intermittently, trying my best to squash my tall frame into a toddler’s size sleeping bag. Even w/ four feet in my face, compared to my previous accommodation, it was HEAVEN.

Lest you think the trip was sheer torture, the art reception we’d attended the night before – w/ its scrumptious catered food and WINE BAR – was simply wonderful.  As was seeing the Blue Rocks Boulder Field, a glacial river of rock, parked literally beside our campsite.  Being w/ our beloved friends, whose company makes any situation bearable, was marvelous.  AND for the sheer fact that it didn’t RAIN, I will be eternally grateful. But being trapped next to prison escapees, NOT SO HOT. I may never do it again. At least until the memory fades. Which given the way I drink, could be as soon as next week.

CLICK HERE for all the fun in photos.

New York, New York

Saturday – in honor of John’s 37th birthday – we went to NEW YORK. Almost a year since our last visit. October 2007, boarding the Norwegian Spirit on our way to New England & Canada. As exciting as that trip had been (taking in the sights of the NYC passenger terminal and Penn Station), this time we wanted MORE.

Behold the American Museum of Natural History.  Isn’t she PRETTTY??  YES_SHE_IS!

We got to the museum early. We’d debated the merits of driving v. taking the train and finally decided just to drive. Mostly b/c it allowed an extra hour of sleep. There’s a parking garage located conveniently beneath the museum, so we were able to park all day for just $46 bucks. WOW. My lovely friend Pannonica had set aside Super Passes for us and let me tell you. NOTHING BEATS FREE. The “insider touching privileges” and executive washroom access were just icing on the (proverbial) bday cake. Make no mistake, Biologists are ROCK STARS.

The museum is massive, so we had to prioritize. Several sections are similar to the Academy of Natural Sciences here in Philly, as well as the Penn Museum and the Smithsonian. So we skipped those. NO NOT ALL OF THEM.  A few we walked through, doing the YES I AM PAYING ATTENTION dance. The place is just way too big to see in one day. So we did the best we could. We took in the scenic tour of the Food Court. I recommend getting there as soon as it opens, before the bagels are fondled too much. At lunchtime the place is an absolute zoo. I wanted to try the empanadas, but as the line was 5 deep, I gave up. The half of a bacon cheeseburger I pried away from my husband was o-kay. But not an empanata. We checked out one of the gift shoppes. The girls wanted cool moving-picture book marks, which were indeed neat, but at $6 a piece left me aching for an empanada.

2 meals in the food court and one gift shoppe visit later, we took in the actual museum. Which is very quiet and clean 1st thing in the morning. Disintegrating into a combination swap-meet/ Macy’s parade atmosphere as the day wears on.  We saw as much as humanly possible w/ 2 children in tow and swarming hordes of on-lookers. The highlights included the breathtaking Hall of Ocean Life. Also, the Dinosaurs Alive! IMAX film, which positively enchanted my older daughter, though not my husband. Always a critic. We all very much enjoyed the Lizards & Snakes: Alive! special exhibit, which, I confess, has left me longing for a Burmese Python. The whole museum – from the dioramas to the miles-long array of minerals, to the beauty of the building itself – is awesome. Fascinating. Overwhelming.  By the time we left, I felt like someone who’d tried digesting 5 billion years of history w/ one too few Tums.

BUT THERE’S ALWAYS ROOM FOR DESSERT.  And what trip to New York is complete w/out a visit to the sweetest place on earth (at least for a child) – FAO SCHWARTZ.  We made our way through Central Park, ambling towards 5th Avenue. It was simply lovely. The undulating trunks of the American Elms, the couples in love, the roller dancers making fools of themselves. AHHHHH. What a day to be alive.  Even the teeming crowds outside the Plaza weren’t enough to throw off our bliss.

Until we arrived at FAO SCHWARTZ.  I must confess that my daughters were MORE THAN A LITTLE skeptical regarding this particular store.  They kept asking, over and over – What IS THIS??  WHERE ARE WE GOING??  IS THIS FUN>> IS IT FOR KIDSSSS>????  As though we’d lost our senses.  TRUE the name does sound more like a financial institution than a toy store.  But once we stood outside the glass walls, and the girls had spotted the doorman dressed as a toy soldier, they knew GAME ON.  Once inside, we managed to make our way through the two stories and come away unscathed.  The ladies agreed to one small Playmobil set each. I was awed by the life-size Lego recreations of Chewbacca, Hagrid and the Harry Potter gang. But enough is enough.

Next stop: American Girl Place. Anyone who knows me can JUST IMAGINE WHAT I WAS THINKING. And you would be right. But I kept it BUTTONED. Through 4 floors of crass commercialism, personal shopping, doll hair salon, and cafe. I simply smiled weakly and let Daddy treat his daughters. Afterward I needed a drink. BAAAAAAAAD. We walked up 5th Avenue, past stores I will never be able to afford, surging with the crowd. We ate dinner at a cozy Irish place, which YOU KNOW HAD ALCOHOL. We stood in Times Square, gazing open-mouthed at all the neon and craziness. And then we walked, slowly, back to the car, taking in the sights. Watching the blocks morph from tacky souvenirs into respectable stone. And silently wondering what life must be like for those fortunate enough to live in such splendor.


ATTENTION PHILLY!! ART ART ART~!

Why waste this gorgeous blue-sky Sunday indoors?? Today on Penn’s Landing is the fifth annual ART STAR CRAFT BAZAAR. A free event featuring the juried work of 150 regional artists, amazing live music, as well as food vendors – all alongside the beautiful Delaware River. AND did I mention IT’S TOTALLY FREE??! There’s no reason not to go. So head over & check it out. Tons of AMAZING BARGAINS to be had on everything from jewelry and clothing to paper goods, paintings, prints and pottery. We spent half the day there yesterday and even w/ the lousy weather, we had a BLAST.


Our lovely friend Erika is showcasing her exquisite letterpress cards and prints, as well as a special nautical card just in time for Father’s Day.

I got mine yesterday! Don’t miss this opportunity to stop by and show your support. Enter from Chestnut Street. Erika’s booth is straight ahead, on the far platform overlooking the river. You can’t miss it. And Where else can you get a frame-able print this divine — for only FIVE DOLLARS??! WOW. But only today, 11-5 PM. SO.GET OVER THERE NOW! and Tell Erika I sent you!.

I’m BACK!

I would ASK if you all missed me, but those butterscotch-sweet comments speak for themselves. You guys are the BEST! Thank you for making me feel like the belle of the ball. Unfortunately, in real life I am feeling a lot more like the Ty-D-Bol Man caught in a perpetual flush. This weekend was F-U-N with a capital F, but the 30 hour car ride has left me reeling. With my head on spin cycle, I am ever-so-slowly rejoining reality. It’s almost 8 PM. I am still in my PJs, I have not brushed my hair, but I did this morning brush my teeth. Things are looking up.

We left Thursday morning for the reunion, and drove straight through to Davenport, Iowa. The family had reserved a block of rooms at a local hotel, and upon arrival John & I discovered we’d been given the “Honeymoon Suite.” Sweeeeet. Well, it would have been, were we not also sharing it with our two children. Oh well. We joked about the mirrored ceiling the rest of the weekend, and instead of a seductive soak in our massive jacuzzi, the ladies and I took a pre-party bath together. As my younger daughter said, a little weird, but still fun.

We spent much of the weekend partying b/c THAT is what my family does best. Some families drink to escape, but us, we drink to further enhance our feelings of good will. We are one fun loving bunch. We played games, swam in the indoor pool and spent a boatload in the arcade. We ate. We are SCHOLFIELDS after all. We ordered pizza from 2 different Midwestern chains, with specialty pies called The Inferno, The BLT, and The Taco Joe. I had never seen a pizza covered in Doritos before, but now I have. Not quite as strange as seeing that pizza with a whole fried egg on top like I did in France, but. strange nonetheless.

The weather was cold and rainy for much of our stay, making Philly seem positively balmy by comparison. On Friday, a hotel employee came round to announce a *Tornado Warning* until 5 PM, saying we might have to evacuate to the basement. WOW. Getting my drunk on in a darkened basement might not have been my first choice, but I’m always game for something new. The wind shook the building, and the rain came down in buckets – actually leaking through the roof in places – but that was it. No evacuation. Perhaps next time.

Saturday was the formal luncheon at Deere Run, the John Deere golf club. It’s a lovely place and seemed a particularly fitting choice for the event, given that my grandfather worked for them most of his life. After eating, we took turns lining up for posed portraits, which although slightly tedious was still sort of fun and of course much appreciated by G-ma. It’s amazing how little everyone has changed in 10 years. My cousins, aunts & uncles all pretty much look the same. If it weren’t for the kids, we could still be back in 1998. I will keep telling myself that anyway.

Later in the evening, we met at the hotel-cum-retirement home where my grandmother lives. This rendezvous was for a very special event. The Wearing of the Scholfield Family Reunion T-Shirts. This tradition states that all family members as well as Guests (and yes, we do provide t-shirts for them as well) must don an Official Scholfield Family Reunion T-Shirt for a prescribed length of time, during which many photographs will be taken for posterity. This tradition seems to divide our family into one of two vocal groups: The Lovers of the T-Shirts and The Loathers of the T-Shirts. These white tees are emblazoned with emblems from all of our past reunions, and on the back is written your name and a catchy slogan. I will not tell you mine b/c it is a FAMILY SECRET, but this year there were some new winners. For instance, my cousin’s new husband from Down Under got, “Lawrence: Australian for Scholfield”. Yes, We ARE CLEVER. These t-shirts switch hands every so often, as a new person is elected to produce the new batch of emblems. At this reunion I requested that my Aunt send them to me next. This may or may not have something to do w/ the fact that my mail service is so PISS POOR I’ll likely never receive them. Oops. No need to confess where I stand on this most precious family tradition.

This weekend was a trip. It was a physical haul, driving straight through from Philly to Davenport, Iowa. BOTH WAYS, With only 2 DAYS of heavy drinking in between. I of course have vertigo. again. Which makes me almost as depressed as leaving my family. I have lived my whole life so far away from my relatives. And now my parents and my only sister also live 800 miles away. When we parted on Sunday, I was sobbing like a baby. But worse. I love my family. They are GREAT in every sense of the word. Fun. Full of life. Even my 95 year old grandmother. Now that I am home again, I miss them terribly. I know scores of people who long to escape from their relatives, but not me. I only wish we lived closer.

Today is my grandmother’s 95th birthday. It’s hard to believe. 95 years is a damn long time. 90 years longer than my younger daughter has lived. 60 years longer than I have been around. A whole lifetime of time. And although her body is failing, her mind is still strong. She dishes her guilt with almost surgical precision. She may have a brain tumor impinging on her thoughts at times and occasionally garbling her meaning, but she is still very much with it. So she’s confined to a wheelchair, she gets around. And even has a BOYFRIEND. My 95 year old grandma, as frail as she is, is one tough old bird. God bless her.