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All I’m Sayin’ is You Probably Don’t Want to End Up in a Pie. DO You?

It occurred to me over the weekend that some of you might find it odd that Justin and I are taking a separate-yet-together vacation.  That we’re married, and yet we would opt to arrive at the same destination via different means.  That I, the girl, would choose to toss my bags into the back of the Tracker and take a week to meander my way to Philly while Justin, the guy, will pop a couple of Dramamines and ask the stewardess to wake him up when they get there.

The difference in our travel philosophies is obvious.  For Justin, it’s about arriving at the destination as quickly as possible so he has more time to enjoy it.  But me?  I don’t like to be rushed.  The trip itself — as long as I’m not stuffed into a cramped plane cabin full of crying babies and plane farters — is a part of the vacation.

Especially when I have the chance to see other interesting places and people along the way.


After nearly nine years together, we’ve finally figured out that there’s really no need for one of us to conform.  If he prefers to fly, he can fly.  Since I prefer to drive, I will drive.  (Though I’ll admit this idea doesn’t seem quite as brilliant as gas prices creep closer to that $4.00 mark.)

Anyway.  Just because we’re married doesn’t mean we have to become the same person — some oddly morphed amalgamation of the individuals we once were.


I remain stubbornly independent.

It probably stems from my first real date.

See, I wasn’t the most popular girl in high school.  And I never really did have a boyfriend.  But there was this boy, we’ll call him Todd for reasons that will become obvious in a minute, whom I met while painting the set for our high school’s production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona or some other Shakespearian work we didn’t understand, in a junior year last-ditch effort to involve myself in the place so it would look like I cared on my college applications.

Todd was a senior who worked on the lighting, and I remember the flutterbies when he held my hand in the dark on the catwalk as we lay side-by-side on our stomachs, watching the play through the metal grates from above.

He asked me out not long thereafter, and it felt surreal when the night arrived.  A real boy was picking me up in a real car and taking me to a real dinner and not just a movie, but a play.  A college play, that was going to be performed in-the-round with a revolving set inside of a big black box and we’d be parked in the seats, not the catwalk, though I thought maybe I’d miss our aerial view from the catwalk a little.

The play had some silly name, Sweeney Todd or something crazy like that, weird but easy to remember the way it rolled off the tongue.

He said it was about a barber.

Now.  It’s important to remember that this event occurred before Johnny Depp brought Sweeney to mainstream culture.  So.  Imagine my surprise when Benjamin Barker cuts the first victim’s throat with a razor blade, red blood gushing oh-so-realistically as he pulls a lever on his specially crafted chair, turning it into a rigid slide of sorts, and the body, a once-jolly chap who’d only wanted a shave, falls through a hole in the floor and down into Mrs. Lovett’s kitchen where she grinds him up and turns him into a pie, of all things, and sells him on the street as the delicious individual pastries for which she soon becomes famous.  And they sing about the pies, people, about the human meat pies in a song called, God, that’s Good.


And I thought about the hamburger from Ruby Tuesday’s I’d just devoured, and I realized at that moment that maybe this whole romance thing was overrated.

So when Todd (the one I dated, not the one from the play) started to get a little clingy — showing up at my house when I told him I was spending time with my girlfriends and calling incessantly — I thought maybe there was a chance that Sweeney Todd had been a warning.

And maybe, no matter what happens in this life with the menfolk, I shouldn’t try to change who I am to fit someone else’s personality.  Nor should I expect them to change for me.  Sometimes the solutions are much simpler than what we make them.

And I definitely should never pay anyone to shave my neck.


My life is full of lessons, people.

I’m just here to pass them to you.

Let Me Tell You About This Trip.

No, not a psychedelic shroomie trip I maybe once had back in college.

I’m talking about this trip:

The one I’ll be taking in approximately one month.

The one where I’m driving, because I like to drive, and Justin will be flying to the endpoint, Philadelphia, because he’s a cheater and doesn’t understand the beauty of the road.  And also because he can’t take that much leave from work.

I’m incredibly excited about this trip for 2 reasons:

One, I will be going somewhere.  That’s right — it doesn’t take much to make me happy in this world, and ‘going somewhere’ usually does the trick.

Two, I will be visiting some of my favorite people on this planet.

Angie, the saucy Aussie, lives in Williamsburg, VA.  We studied rocks and maps together in college, and apparently Geology and GIS have tighter bonding power than whatever JLo used to stick her dress to her boobies at the Oscars last weekend, because even though sometimes whole oceans have separated us (her husband is in the military, too), we still always find a way to come back to our friendship.

Me ‘n Angie.  She’s trying not to look at my peeking areola.

Now.  If you’ve been reading this blog since my quarter-life-crisis days (which, let’s face it, will probably linger on into my midlife), you already know Erin.  If not, she’s the one who quit her job with me so we could move to Costa Rica for 2 months.  All it took was one trip to visit her in Frederic, MD and several cocktails, but eventually she caved.  And although she won’t admit it, I’m pretty sure she knows it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to her.  You know, aside from meeting her husband and moving to Annapolis and buying her awesome fixer-upper and going back to school to follow her life dreams.  But whatever.

And finally, there’s Anna and her family, who live in Philadelphia, PA.  What can I say about Anna?  Well.  The first year I visited Justin’s family for Christmas was a little… overwhelming.  My family is very small, not to mention divorced, and with just a handful of cousins, our holidays were pretty low-key even back in the days when we all got together.  So, imagine how I felt when I entered his grandparents’ enormous house filled to the brim with family.  Aunts, uncles, and 23 (or so?) cousins.  And that’s just his dad’s side.

When I met Anna, she took me under her wing.  One of Justin’s aunts through marriage, she knew what it was like to come from outside.  What’s more, we’re very similar in beliefs and personalities.  And while I love visiting that huge family whenever we can, I’ll admit it’s nice to know there’s someone there who understands a little about from where I come — and why, sometimes, I just need more wine.

The thing about large family holidays is that, while you can spend all of this quality time with people, you still might not really know who they are.  Think about it.  If you’ve never seen the place someone calls “home,” do you really know that person?  I loved visiting some of Justin’s other aunts in Colorado one year because we finally were able to see what home was like for them — and they weren’t these bustling, crazy houses full of people, but  normal family homes.  Just them surrounded by the things they love.

This is why I’m looking forward to seeing Anna and her family in their own element — just them, their city, and maybe a couple of Philly Cheesesteaks.

And maybe… maybe


Kids, I have never been to NYC.

Not once.

It’s shameful, I know.

I kept waiting for that publisher or agent to call me out of the blue and invite me up for cocktails and a book deal, but it never happened.


So here I’ve been sitting, less than 12 hours away from this country’s most defining city, just waiting for an invitation.

And guess what?

It just arrived.

So those are the major planned stops so far, but I’m open to visiting some other sights along the way.

Anyone know of something along this route that’s worth the stop?  An amazing restaurant?  The perfect thrift store?  The world’s largest ball of twine?  Do you have or know of a wonderfully designed home that I should photograph for Apartment Therapy?

Hey.  I’ll admit.  While I love a good road trip as much as the next girl, I’m not going to turn down the opportunity to make a little money.