Navigate / search

Quick Snap: Who, What, Where, When

A more substantial post is in the works for this afternoon, but in the meantime, here’s a quick snap:

Who:  Stacy and Katie

What:  Movin’ boxes and counting down.

Where:  Directorate of Public Works

When:  23 July – 0830

You May Be Right…I May Be Crazy

Okay, this post is not “By Katie,” as it automatically notes above.  Anything in this post rudely interjected by me (Katie) will appear in this lovely green italic font.  I can do that because it’s my blog.  Our special guest poster for today is my dear friend Stacy.

Okay, I’ve actually only known her a few months, but since she was hand-picked by Erin and me to replace Erin here in Gray Cubicle Land when she moved off to Frederick, MD, we knew we’d all get along.

And we do.  Swimmingly.  It’s people like Stacy who make it a little harder for me to leave this place.  Lucky for me, she’s decided to relieve some of that burden.  In light of this whole Costa Rica thing, people frequently ask, “How can you leave a great job and go work for nothing??”  To that I say, “Define ‘nothing.'”  As yet another twenty-something struggling with a crisis-of-career faith, I think Stacy can provide some much-needed inspiration – and perhaps even clarification – about what makes “nothing” so damn great.

So here she is:

If I were superstitious, I’d say this tripod of cubicles is cursed.

My predecessor and current desk mate, known to you (respectively) as Erin and Katie, just quit their jobs to work on a chili pepper farm in Costa Rica .  Who does that?  

The third leg of the tripod, Ms. Middle Chair, has been empty for months.  I suspect its former occupant became some sort of Russian spy, Congolese chimpanzee charmer, or a hapless, ham-fisted victim who plunged to her death while trying to snap a perfect shot. 

Whatever the cause, after just four months of staring at Erin’s derelict potted plant…

…and watching Katie’s ever-growing stack of ne’er-to-be-recycled Starbucks sleeves…

…I’ve got the “itch.”  

“Isn’t there a cream for that,” you ask? 

Not for this itch.  The only cure is ACTION! 

Am I accompanying these two brave ladies on their Costa Rican adventure?  No…but I am doing something that might raise a few eyebrows:  I’m going back to school…to become a park ranger.

I know that might sound anticlimactic, but as Katie often reminds me, “The heart wants what it wants.”

(Thanks for that picture, Stac.  Really.)

I know that, in a hopeless economy, I should be content with my first bachelor’s degree and cling desperately to gainful employment.  I know that it makes no sense to go back to school to enter a field that pays less than what I’m making now. 

But I keep remembering what this Yellowstone park ranger said during a conversation with my man:

My Man:  “This must be an awesome gig, right?”

Park Ranger:  “I love it.  Every day is an adventure.”

My Man:  “But you won’t get rich doing it, huh?”

Park Ranger:  “No…” (contemplative pause) “But I’m rich in other ways.”

Hell yeah, she gets to wear a really cool hat!

Rich in other ways?  Wow.

I once thought I was rich, pre-this job, when I worked in insurance.  Insurance was great, except for the whole “being at work” part.  Hmm…How can I put this?

I read, grasped, and regurgitated insurance forms – you know, those nasty things most people immediately shred or file away in some dusty bin or bake into a fruit cake – for FIVE YEARS.     

I lived for Fridays.  I dreaded Mondays.  I stopped laughing.  I needed a stiff drink every day after work.  I started talking in my sleep.  I forgot who I was and what I wanted.  

When I finally reached a breaking point, I called my mom.  “If you stay in insurance, you’ll just be a rich alcoholic,” she said. 

So I took a 50% pay cut and took the environmental writing gig here, next to Erin’s dead plant, empty Ms. Middle Chair, and Katie’s corrugated cardboard coffee sleeves.

It’s been a great run.  I like my job, but it feels like a segue, like something’s pulling me in another direction.  I’ve spent too long trapped in cubicles, and now I want to play in the woods.

Is it wrong for our dreams to evolve?  Is it worse to listen, or to ignore?  Am I crazy?  Are we crazy?

Time might tell.  All I know is that, in about a month, these three cubicles will all be empty, and Katie, Erin, and I will be unemployed but pursuing richness in other ways. 

I’ll leave you with my mantra, from The Avett Brothers’ Head Full of Doubt / Road Full of Promise:

“Decide what to be, and go be it.”

Everyone Likes to Get Down & Dirty

So I mentioned yesterday that I ran my first 10K race in Philadelphia’s first annual Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run this past weekend.

However, in all the post-race chaos, I failed to snap a photo of Chuckles and me in all our dirty glory.  I wish I had the excuse of being on hardcore hallucinogenics at the time, but I don’t.  I just totally didn’t even think about it. 

I am, in the words of Napoleon Dynamite, a frickin’ idiot.

Anyway, despite being a total flake, I still pulled it together enough to take some candid photos of my fellow runners braving the mud pit.

And, man, do I love these people.

Everyone seemed to have a different strategy when it came to the mud pit. 

Some tackled the challenge head-on.


Some tried a more delicate approach. 

And some came prepared for whatever happened. 

Goggles.  Genius. 

Then there were those who got by with a little help from their friends.

While some required other forms of, uh, gentle encouragement? 

“You’re a very nice person!” this drill instructor was yelling.  “You’re also a snazzy dresser and I admire your haircut!”

 Basically, the moral of the story was this:  You either embraced gettin’ down & dirty. 

Or you didn’t.

But, it didn’t really matter.  Because, either way, you got down & dirty.   




After all, this wasn’t the “Merrell Clean & Sanitary Mud Run”.

This man had no sympathy for anyone, by the way.

And we all made it to the Finish line with smiles on our faces and mud in our teeth.

And the crowd goes WILD!

And, in the end, it was well worth the dirty running shoes. 

Or maybe not. 

But, hey, at least we got free burgers afterward.

And that’s all I need to call it a good day. 

Long live the Down & Dirty!

I Like to Get Down & Dirty

So let’s ignore for a moment the fact I promised you guys a somewhat useful (and some might even say compelling and delightful?) series of posts reviewing the various infomercial products I have tried–

Seriously, why do you guys always feel the need to bring up old stuff?

–but I did something really dirty with my husband this weekend and just had to share.

I have to say, I was a little nervous at first since I’d never done anything like it before but was surprised by how quickly I got into it.

And it was in public.

It even involved other people.

Lots of dirty, sweaty, half-naked people.

And some children, too.

Wait, this post is taking a really weird turn so I should probably just tell you now we did the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run before the authorities show up to confiscate my computer as evidence.

To those unfamiliar with the Merrell Down & Dirty Mud Run, it’s a national series of 5K and 10K races sponsored by Merrell Footwear & Apparel featuring off-road courses with military-style obstacles and LOTS of opportunities to get mud in your mouth. 

You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Which, it just so happens, Chuckles and I are.

The Mud Run is held each year in New York, NY; Sacramento, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and, for the first time ever, Philadelphia, PA.  The goal is raise money to support our troops through Operation Gratitude, a nonprofit that sends morale-boosting care packages to front-line American service members deployed overseas. 

Since they began in 2004, Operation Gratitude has shipped nearly 560,000 care packages.  As a former deployed service member and the spouse of one, Chuckles and I couldn’t think of a better reason to get ‘down n’ dirty’.

So, early Saturday afternoon, we loaded up the truck and drove the three hours up to Philly to prepare ourselves to join 1,510 other 10K racers (a whopping 4,500 runners in total) participating in the sold-out event early the next morning.

After a relatively uneventful drive…

Welcome to Delaware.  Period.  It’s almost like even the sign understands the irony.

…we arrived just in time to pick up our race packets before registration closed and get settled in at the Philadelphia Hilton.

Now, normally we are not ‘Hilton folk’, but they had a special group rate deal and the hotel is less than a mile away from Fairmount Park, where the race was taking place. 

Still, waiting for the elevator in the lobby with the fancy chandelier and baby grand piano while holding plastic grocery bags that served as our luggage, I felt like I’d be a little more at home sleeping in the shrubs outside the Hilton than in one of the actual rooms.  And the fact that there were all sorts of classy people in fancy evening attire milling around waiting for a wedding to start in the Hilton’s reception hall didn’t help me feel any less like a hillbilly.

We retreated to our room where I immediately tore into my registration goody bag like a wild, angry raccoon in a burlap sack.  Cause I’m a sucker for free stuff.

Chuckles, however, went about it with a little more restraint.

All in all, we got some pretty decent loot…

…Paul Mitchell samples (no, those aren’t condoms), a few bottled drinks, an awesome moisture-wicking T-shirt, and a handkerchief-sock hybrid thingy I had a little trouble figuring out.

Fortunately, Chuckles was on hand to show me how the hankersock’s supposed to be worn.

Thank God, cause otherwise I might’ve gone out in public looking foolish or something.

Then, of course, I had to check out the other free loot we get…

Crabtree & Evelyn products at the Hilton?  It’s like I’ve died and gone to a small, single-serving Heaven.

After doing a full room sweep in search of any other fancy amenities the Hilton offers…

Hey Katie?  You’ll never guess where I’m calling you from…

…we were ready to go out and experience all Philly has to offer!  See the sights!  Embrace the culture! 

Or not. 

You’re not tired, are you?

I did manage to drag Chuckles out of bed long enough to make him drive me two miles into Manayunk for an early dinner. 

Manayunk is a quaint strip of cute shops, good restaurants and laidback bars.  It reminds me a lot of Frederick.

After carb-loading on tasty cuisine at Munk & Nunn, we headed back to the hotel and watched T.V. til we passed out at 9 p.m.  ROCK STAR!

4:45 a.m. the next morning came way too early.  So early that I didn’t even consider breaking out my camera.  So, instead, I’ll paint you a picture with words. 

So, the night before, we’d decided that our plan would be to wake up super early and drive over to the park so that we could find a good parking space and go back to sleep for another hour or two before the traffic started at 6:15 a.m.  Smart, eh? 

That is not, however, how ‘the plan’ ended up going down. 

What did happen was we drove to the park only to find the entrance gates closed, where we then proceeded to bicker while driving around aimlessly for 20 minutes looking for an open entrance before finally pulling into a grassy field just as the crowd started arriving. 

So we never did get to go back to sleep. 

No matter, we pounded a few energy drinks and followed the equally bleary-eyed mob across the field to the Start line.

As everyone began gathering together in the pre-dawn light, the excitement started building and the adrenaline started pumping.

Despite the day’s rising temperatures and humidity, it was hard not to be happy in such a festive, upbeat atmosphere.  Chuckles and I even made up.

Right, snookums?

And you know what?  As we stretched and hydrated and pinned our numbers, I even started to feel like a real, honest to God runner.

It just so happens 482 is my lucky number.  What a coincidence!

 Now, here’s where this post gets a little light on photos.  I had to check my bag (and camera) because I didn’t want to subject it to the heat and water and mud and all the other horrible, unspeakable things I’d be subjecting my body too.

Suffice it to say, we sat through a race pre-brief telling us to behave ourselves like good boys and girls, filed into roped-off sections for a staggered start, and then gradually shuffled toward the Start line until it was our turn for the cannon to go off.

And then we ran.

And it felt good

The course took us up and down hills, along roads, through snaking woods trails, across a stream, down rocky embankments, and through a variety of obstacles, including a haybale scramble, cargo net climb, low-crawl under netting, rope scale, etc.

Chuckles and I got separated about halfway through the course but I encountered plenty of friendly fellow runners who were down with trading a quick joke or word of encouragement during our 30-second friendship.

To me, the end came all too soon, and before I knew it, I rounded the corner after finishing the last obstacle and came face-to-face with a roaring crowd.

Ah, the Finish line is in sight!

But wait, what’s that just before it?

Oh, it’s a HUGE mud pit. 

That I have to crawl through.

On my stomach.

If I’d somehow managed to stay relatively clean for the majority of the race, this is where all of that ended.

After climbing under the camo netting, I gracefully hurtled face first into the mud pool.


Like this guy, except less graceful.  And less bald. 

From there, I awkwardly crab-crawled through approximately 15 more yards of muddy terrain before sliding down the last embankment on my stomach like a harpooned seal.

Then, with the sound of the crowd cheering in my ears, I stumbled across the Finish line, grinning stupidly and raising my arms in a V for victory. 

And then I spit a gigantic wad of mud out of my mouth.  The end.

Chuckles wasn’t far behind and I got to watch him slither across that mud pit with the agility and grace of a man who did this for a living for many years.  I’d never been more proud of my boy.

Here’s where I have to admit I totally pulled a Katie.  After the race, we were so high on adrenaline and so disgusted with ourselves (seriously, I had mud up my nose) that we ran off to the showers without even thinking about stopping by Bag Check to pick up my camera and get a picture of us in all our filthy glory. 

Sorry, guys, but there’s no ‘money shot’.  I know, we’re totally ashamed of ourselves, too.

But the good news is there were professional-looking photographers there at the Finish line taking pictures so hopefully some photo of us will surface on the Interwebs over the coming days.  Unless those photographers were just taking pictures of strangers for their own private collection.  Which is just kind of creepy.

Anyhoo, I’ll be sure to keep a lookout and post any ‘After’ pics I find. 

In the meantime, I did muster enough common sense to grab my camera and start taking pictures of the other runners.  And, man, were they a riot. 

But I won’t post those pictures until later because:

1. I took, like, a thousand photos and need to wade through them all to find the top blog-worthy contenders.

2. This post is already ridiculously long.  In fact, you guys have probably stopped reading by this point and now are just skimming for any key words that might grab your interest.  In which case, BOOBS, PORN, HOT NASTY MONKEY SEX.  (Paying attention again?  Good.)

3.  This morning I’ve been busted writing this post by almost every single one of my coworkers.  How I suffer their steely-eyed judgment for you all.

So anyway, expect more pics up soon (but not like the infomercial series — I’ll actually follow through on this project.)

Oh, but before I go… the best part about this little story?

I ranked 13th in my age group!

Here’s mud in your eye, other runners!

When Does the Fun Start?

On my way to quench my coffee addiction this morning (a habit on my list of things to kill before the big Costa Rica trip), I decided to stop over at the military hospital to get my second shot for Hep A and B.  Ouch.  (But I’d rather take 8 more of those in one arm – no, in my face – before I’d choose to subject myself to another Typhoid shot.  That’s just the kind of baby I am.)

Frequent responsible and health-conscious travelers, how do you do it??

At least I got a hot pink band aid out of the deal.

(‘Scuse the image quality – that was taken with my phone.)

As the nurse drew the curtain closed and pinched my arm fat so she could administer the medicative juices, I started to consider the fact that there’s a lot of merit to just taking off one day with absolutely no initial research or preparations.

I read an online article over the weekend about a kid who did just that.  He was fresh out of college and had been running a hospital shuttle bus for a few months, and then BAM!  He saw an ad on Craigslist or something for a room for rent in Costa Rica and just decided to go for it.

No vaccinations, no Spanish-English dictionary, no trip insurance.

He brought just himself and a strong pair of cojones.  And his brother.  And his brother’s cojones, if you want to get technical.  Okay and maybe he brought a toothbrush.  And maybe he put that toothbrush in a backpack – but I’m guessing he didn’t try on a bunch of packs at the store and post questions on travel forums about the best way to carry his DSLR.  That’s all I’m sayin’.

And I thought, how great would it be to have the guts to just go for it – don’t worry about professional courtesy of giving work notice, don’t worry about reading up on the history of the country, don’t worry about contracting potentially life-threatening blood borne pathogens – it’ll all work out in the end.


But then I realized.  I may not be much of a planner – I’m not good with itineraries or playbooks or remembering which day of the week it is – but I will always be a maximizer.  (It’s a word I learned during an office retreat, so it must be real.  And it must always be typed in bold font.)  At any rate, I will always try to make an experience the best it can possibly be.

The maximizer in me knows that if I go into a trip like this without understanding anything about the local people or the ecology of the region, I’d spend so much time while I’m there trying to figure those out while not looking like an ignorant idiot that I’d forget how to just enjoy.

So I’ll deal with the shots.  And the hot pink band aid.  And the questions about what I’m going to do when I get back.  The works.

And I’m bringing a damn dictionary.

And I think – I really think – it’ll be worth it in the end.  And maybe my shoulders will thank me for doing a little research about the pack.

My Therapist Makes Me Drink

One of the best things about being military is moving new places and meeting new people.

One of the hardest things about being military is saying goodbye to people you’ve begun to consider not just friends, but family.

Countless people have entered and left my life over time, but never so much as in the past 7 years.

I’ve started looking at the different places I’ve lived as different lives – each unique in its local climate, cuisine, culture.  But it’s always the people – not just the locals, but those military people who weave in and out, each affecting me in different ways, who impact me the most.  All of the experiences they share, so many faces they wear, countless backgrounds that inevitably bleed into my own.  They change me.

We’ve been unusually stagnant for the past few years, staying in this one place while our friends from this place and lives past flit from state to state, country to country.

The most recent people to leave our lives are Mike and Sarah.  During their all-too-brief stay in our neighborhood, this young couple somehow managed to become the glue in our little group of neighbors.

Mike, aka. “Manchild,” always brought the party.

His wife Sarah always brought the wine.

As I sat with them in their kitchen one night shortly before they moved, I noticed the synchronization they’ve achieved in their relationship.

(You’re nothing at Mike and Sarah’s place if not relaxed.)

Sarah cooks, Mike watches.

Mike comments, Sarah gets annoyed.

Just kidding.  They’re pretty laid-back.

And I think that’s what makes them work so well.

Sarah gave me this as a going-away gift (even though she was the one going away).  It’s just the kind of gal she is:

Can’t argue with that.

Enjoy the friends in your life while you have them.

You’re missed already!

I Heart Infomercials (Pt. 1)

So far, you guys have been really good sports to put up with my endlessly trivial ramblings about refrigerator lint and sponges and whatnot.  

But, let’s be honest.  There’s probably only a finite number of those posts you’ll tolerate before you start assembling into a mob hellbent on delivering swift Indian burn- and swirlie-style justice. 

Or just, uh, stop reading entirely. 

Wait, scratch that.  That’s not an option.

Fortunately, with the recent return of my marital manfriend Chuckles, I’m feeling rather magnanimous and altruistic and big-wordy today.  So, in a rare act of mercy, I will forego the inane anecdotes I usually post about and actually dispense some semi-useful information.  

If we were in a late 90’s house party movie, this is where the music would screech to a halt.

I know you’re all like “Say wha’?” right now.

But I’m here to tell you: “Fo’ shizzle.”

So, here goes.  I’ve already confessed that I’m a shameless infomercial addict who’s spent obscene amounts of money buying stuff because some toothy maniac on TV was shrieking at me to, right? 

Well, I figure I might as well exploit my utter lack of self-restraint by imparting my wisdom unto the masses on which products are actually worth buying and which ones are, in fact, the useless crap that they appear to be to just about everyone but me.  

On a side note, I like to think I’m a pretty smart cookie in real life.  I don’t let myself get taken by Nigerian princes or real estate scams selling beachfront property in Iowa.  So I don’t know why I’m so darn gullible when it comes to infomercial pitches. 

Maybe it’s the warm, comforting glow of the television that beckons to my lonely, sleep-deprived heart in the wee hours of the morn.

Maybe it’s watching some schmuck-actor’s mind-blown elation at his long-awaited deliverance from the sheer agonizing torment that had been his life before this product.

Thank GOD someone finally simplified THAT convoluted process!

Or maybe some small, hopeful part of me really wants to believe that at least some aspect of life could be blessedly simplified in just three easy payments of $19.95.

No matter the reason — my loss is your gain today, friends! 

So here’s how it’s going to work:  I’ve got a lot of products to review since I’ve been at this whole ‘infomercial bidness’ for a while now, so I’ll be breaking this down into semi-manageable blog-chunks over the next couple days.  

But since I’ve already reached a massive word count just to preface this little project, we’re only going to have space to review a couple today.  Oops.

So, without further ado…

Shake-It Flashlight (, $8.95 for 2)  

The concept behind this battery-less, bulb-less flashlight is to draw upon your own energy reserves to generate, through vigorous shaking, a reliable, maintenance-free, limitless light source. 

Sounds nice, right? 

It’s not.

After shaking this sucker for the amount of time necessary to maintain a feeble beam of pale yellow light for any extended period, you will no longer require a flashlight, as you have developed a massive, hulking bicep and are now able to punch through car doors, concrete walls or any other pesky obstacle impeding your access to more convenient nearby light sources. 

This isn’t the Shake-It.  I just wanted to use this photo.  Huh-huh.

Verdict:  There might be other shake-able flashlights that work out there, but this ain’t it.  So unless you find a better brand or you’re prepared to start sewing size XXL sleeves onto all your S/M shirts, just take my advice and stock up on batteries.

Up next…

George Foreman’s Lean, Mean, Fat-Grilling Machine (, $14.99)

Thanks to George Foreman, I managed to narrowly avoid malnutrition despite a steady, four-year diet of Bojangles BoBerry Biscuits, late-night gas station hot-dogs and Busch Light back in college — look for my new diet book, available January 2011! 

Occasionally, when my eyes and skin would take on a sickly yellow pallor and it’d smell like a deep-fryer when I sweat, I’d break this puppy out, slap a few protein-rich chicken breasts on it and be nursed back to health in no time. 

Of course, nowadays I look like Gollum from Lord of the Rings if I happen to accidentally skip my 20-vitamin routine one morning, but I digress…  

Verdict: Consider this a great — nay, life-saving — graduation gift for any college-bound kid.

Ok, so that’s all for now!  I’ll be sure to cook up plenty more tasty product reviews for your consumer appetite (can you tell it’s almost lunchtime?). 

But, in the meantime, feel free to chime in below with your own infomercial anecdotes so I don’t feel like such a total loser. 


Because Words Are Lazy, Useless Slackers.

After spending the last two weeks of my life negotiating, bargaining, pleading, and possibly even making thinly-veiled threats against a coworkers’ family in a vain effort to hash out this one teeny-tiny, cosmically insignificant newsletter article on health care program management (yes, the same one I mentioned way back  here), I have come to the conclusion that words are primitive, ineffectual communication tools.  

Much like the homeless guy in Baker Park who mutters and makes borderline lewd gestures at the birds, you know language is trying to accomplish something, you just can’t quite tell what.  (True story, by the way.  Frederick homeless people, you so crazy.)

As such, I will no longer be wasting my time with it.  I am so over words. 

From now on, friends, my main mode of communication will be through bar graphs and pie charts — and the occasional Venn Diagram to keep things sassy.

So, I could devote the next 30-45 minutes on this post trying to relay to you how I’m feeling this morning… or I could just sum things up in five minutes with a handy-dandy pie chart. 

Hmm, what to do?

Voila!  Such is the awe-inspiring magic of Microsoft Office Excel 2007.  Bask in its glory. 

Seriously, I said bask.

And since that felt oh so good, I believe I’ll do another one.

I think I feel a bar graph coming on…  Yep, here it comes…

Nice, right?  It’s easy, gets to the point, leaves no room for misinterpretation.

I don’t want to brag, but I think I’m revolutionizing communication here, people.

Spread the word.

I’m Too Sexy for my Hep Shots

Since Erin is busy gettin’ busy with her hubs who made it home yesterday, I thought it might be helpful to address some of the questions I’ve been getting about my level of preparedness for this upcoming trip.

Do you remember how my prep work for our trip to Hawaii entailed attempting to get bikini-ready by faking a tan and trying to work out?

Well, my preparations for our (much longer) trip to Costa Rica are panning out a bit differently.

The truth of the matter is, in my attempts to resurrect my feelings of carefree youth by quitting my job, booking a ticket to a foreign country, increasing my alcohol tolerance level – the works – I’ve started to realize that in light of this upcoming experience, I’m going to be regressing a hell of a lot further back than I ever wanted to go.

You see, I’m not just reverting – I really am a baby.

I’ll explain:


The most glaringly obvious sign of my unpreparedness is the fact that I don’t speak a lick of Spanish.  Okay, fine.  I learned the words “platos” and “cerveza” from some of the guys I worked with at a restaurant, but that’s really about it.

Enter Rosetta Stone.  I’ve been working my way haphazardly through the lessons over the past couple of weeks, but I’m going to have to pick up the pace if I want to do anything more than tell people, “The cat is black.”  El gato es negro.  And there’s a good possibility I screwed that up.

Let’s face it – it’s unfair of me to expect people to speak my language while I’m living in their country.  But with my computer’s microphone not cooperating, the best I can expect in the end is to sound like a 2-year-old.  But I can deal with that.  Oh, and I’ll need to be spoken to the same way.  “No, Katie – caliente!”


Once I (finally) graduated college and joined the real world (I may have had a couple of missteps along the way), I thought I was free of the back-of-the-mind burden that comes with living paycheck to paycheck.

Well, it turns out that the idea of living with no paycheck at all is a bit more daunting.

Of course, I would not have quit my job if it would’ve meant losing the house or becoming delinquent on my student loan payments – I’m not an idiot.  But still, it was kind of nice having my “cushion” of pay every couple weeks.  It was nice to be able to spring for the fancy $10 bottle of wine, ya know?

But you know what?  A little bit of life experience holds more value to me right now than a new car or hardwood floors.  Besides, my ’99 Chevy Tracker only has 140,000 miles – she’s still got a lot of life in her.


Do you remember the plethora of immunizations/vaccinations you needed to get when you were little?

They usually came in the form of a shot administered to your arm, thigh, or my personal favorite, your butt.  Well up until a couple weeks ago, I didn’t really remember these shots.  I’m not really a queasy person when it comes to needles or blood, but let’s just say that a Typhoid vaccination injection is not one of the key ingredients to a kick-ass party.  The shot for Hepatitis A and B wasn’t too bad, except for the looming thought that I need to have it repeated two more times.

By the way, here’s a text excerpt from several hours after I got my immunizations, one in each arm.  (For some reason the nurse wouldn’t honor my butt request):

Me: I am now immunized against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid.  My arms hurt.  They hurt so good.  :)

Erin: Lucky!  I want MY arm to hurt!  (Haha, and why not Hep C?  Guess they knew they’d be wasting their time.  Slut.)  ;)

Ahh, I love traveling with loving, trusted friends.


So I just want to clear a little something up from this post, in which Erin described some of the lovely ailments her doctor told her to look forward to experiencing during a trip to Costa Rica.  Anything we might acquire while there would likely be due to us being travelers (aka. babies) in a foreign country.

See, our bodies are used to little buggies in the water here, but American little buggies are different from the little buggies in the Costa Rican water, which can lead to something known as travelers’ diarrhea.  It’s not because their water is unsafe – unless we decide to drink directly out of a river, which wouldn’t be smart no matter where we are in the world.

We’re lucky enough to be staying with a really great family (more on that later), and we anticipate many, many good times to be had in the sweltering jungle heat between bouts of the craps.  Which, it turns out, can be caused by more than just exposing our unacclimated bodies to the elements.  According to our host:

“LMFAO, you will most likely not get the craps unless you drink a lot of Guaro, the Tico moonshine, the water is good to drink right out of the tap in the whole country.  It is no hotter than Frederick Maryland in the summer, or NC.  There is a possibility of being wet during this time of the year and you could be very wet, like Seattle wet, with the small difference that there are dirt roads everywhere and you will most likely be wet and muddy.  But it’s nothing that an icy cold cerveza can’t take care of.

Just wanted to clarify that your doctor’s are quacks and if I am wrong I will buy you both a beer!

Adios from the malaria filled, steamy, sweaty, hot world of Guanacaste Costa Rica!


Okay, so maybe we won’t be adhered to the toilet with explosive diarrhea (darn).   Maybe we won’t be able to fry eggs on our foreheads.  Maybe our bodies won’t be so bloated and water-logged that friends will send us boxes of gas-X and ShamWows.  There is just the slightest, teensy-weensy-tiniest chance that we were exaggerating our hardships just a bit.  But hey, we’re writers – that’s what we do.

Meaty Make-Up

Here’s a juicy, meaty picture of the sandwiches I made tonight…

…to make up for yesterday’s debacle.

You want to make these sandwiches.  Trust me.

I call them “Katie’s Favorite Sandwich” – otherwise known as “Marlboro Man’s Favorite Sandwich” courtesy of The Pioneer Woman.  She’s a genius.

If you want to impress your meat-loving significant other, test these puppies out.  And don’t you dare leave out the Tabasco – only use a couple splashes if you’re afraid of the heat.

Doesn’t get much easier or tastier than this.  The end.