Animals, New Jersey is breathtaking, Uncategorized, Uncle Jesse

Things That Confuse Me When I Walk My Dog: A Photo Tour

My husband and I try to take our dog for a walk every day, which usually amounts to 3 times a week. The only option by our house is to do a full 2-mile loop, and some most times E.L. Fudge cookies in front of the T.V. wins.

Perhaps the real reason I am hesitant to embark on this exhausting trek is because so many things baffle me along the way. (Click on any of the pictures to enlarge.)

MILE 0.15: Here is where my dog decides to relieve himself. Every time. As if he KNOWS it’s just far enough away from the house to require me to carry his feces for the remaining 1.85 miles.

MILE 0.41: I cannot for the life of me fathom why climbing this hill mountain never gets easier. No matter how many vodka shots I turn down the night before.

MILE 1.05: I don’t have a picture of Mile 1.05, because Mile 1.05 scares me, and I’m fairly certain that if I showed you why, you wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, and then I’d feel really bad (but would mostly worry that you’d stop reading my blog). Suffice it to say, the house at Mile 1.05 has a rusted sign on the gate, leading up to a dome-shaped apartment/garage, and it reads: HONK BEFORE YOU ENTER.

MILE 1.11: And if you’re not already freaked out, look what I recently discovered behind this seemingly-innocent house: a legitimate cemetary! They did a very good job disguising it; it took me almost 8 months to notice. But this worries me even more. I have so many questions, the first being, as I’m sure you’d imagine, are those people or pets? …And this is why I need to stop asking questions.

MILE 1.18: Luckily, it’s not long before we land in Pleasantville, but this too perplexes me. Are forsythia bushes supposed to look like that, and have the rest of us been offending Mother Nature unwittingly? And, P.S., what kind of birds are landing at this residence? I didn’t think turkeys could fly that high.

MILE 1.30: Now not only am I in Pleasantville, but it is 1952 and the neighborhood kids have gone for a dip in the watering hole.

MILE 1.52: I have not yet figured out why these people have a miniature pony, nor why I feel so disappointed when it chooses to hide in its shack (in case you don’t already know, I could do without horses).

MILE 1.60: There were 3 sheep here before winter. It’s spring now. Where are they? Oh, god, don’t tell me they’re behind the house at Mile 1.11.

MILE 1.71: Every time I pass one of the three (yes, three) Christmas tree farms in our neighborhood, I wonder how anyone could ever think New Jersey is anything less than a magical, pine-scented armpit, where everyone says, “How YOU doin’, amongst this fine bucolic splendor?”

MILE 1.79: You might not be able to tell from this photo, but this mailbox’s general girth puzzles me. Just look at the massive posts holding it up. Do they often get large packages containing the parts needed to assemble Dolly Parton’s bra, or a shopping mall? Or do they have a very small-but-unhygenic houseguest who comes to visit frequently enough that it requires drastic sleeping arrangements?

MILE 1.90: Daffodils. They’re everywhere! Why?

MILE 1.91: I will never, EVER understand why this house always has a ladder resting against it. Not always in the same place, but always there. If someone is trying to sneak out (or in), they’re not being very sneaky, or consistent. And if repairs are underway, why am I not seeing any progress? That ladder HAS to be messing with their Feng Shui.

These are all things I don’t understand. What I do understand is that if <insert deity here> wanted me to walk 2 miles every day, he wouldn’t have made Fudge Stripes taste so good.


Wait, wait, P.S. – a little shout-out to someone else who’s confused: click here.

Marriage, Uncategorized

My Engagement Story is Better Than Your Engagement Story

"I know. It WAS better than yours!"

I like to think of myself as Old Money. Not because I have, or have ever had, any sort of real money, I just think if I did, I wouldn’t brag about it. I wouldn’t buy a McMansion on Millionaire Row and send my kids to ivy-covered prep schools, and I definitely wouldn’t drive a BMW. (I would buy a real mansion on secluded acreage, send my kids to boarding school, and have a chauffeur.)

What I’m trying to say is, I know I shouldn’t brag about my engagement. It’s just that, well, I’m so POSITIVE it’s better than yours (and am excited to read your comments to this effect), that it seems like I owe it to you to tell you that you can stop trying now. You’re welcome.

Four years ago, I said to my boyfriend something like, “My entire sense of self-worth is riding on how you propose, so I really need you to pull out all the stops.”

Unbeknownst to me, he took my words to heart and began plotting. When we flew to Las Vegas for my 25th birthday, he already had the whole thing planned. We arrived the day before my birthday, and on the morning of April 30, 2007, I couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t let his decrepit-yet-metrosexual shoulder bag out of his sight. I started to become suspicious, but when he took a shower and I poked around, no ring was to be found.

I tried not to sound disappointed when he gave me a toothbrush as a gift. I’m very passionate about dental hygiene, so it was quite a thoughtful token.

I won some money on the slots and we went to the Paris restaurant for dinner. Things were looking up. We were excited to go see Amazing Johnathan perform at the Sahara. I’d been wanting to see him live for FOREVER.

When we arrived at the Sahara, my boyfriend made a big to-do about going to get our tickets, and someone ushered me straight to the front of the theater as if they knew me. The suspicion returned.

The show began and, to my horror, my boyfriend started texting.

“Who are you texting!?” I hissed, reminding him through my narrowed eyes that not only were we two feet from the stage, but also that I knew how to make his life miserable because only one of us could cry on command.

He put his phone away and Amazing Johnathan asked if there were any volunteers in the audience whose name began with “E.” My boyfriend, Ed, raised his hand and was selected to go on stage. Amazing Johnathan asked if Ed was with anyone, and he replied,

“Yes, my girlfriend, Julie.”

This is it, I thought, and smiled. As I gracefully walked on stage, I can assure you that I was not shaking in the slightest (because that would be the normal reaction, and I was clearly far from normal, living out the most outstanding engagement story that was or ever would be told). Amazing Johnathan asked me to put my hand on an orange while he cut around it. It would have been an embarrassingly unfunny trick -for both of us- except that when he opened the orange, there was indeed a diamond ring inside! It looked so sparkly…and sticky.

“Do you know what that is?” Amazing Johnathan said, rather dumbly if you ask me, because we all knew why we were there, and Ed got down on one knee.

“Will you marry me?” Ed asked, and I tried to think of something interesting to say. Why had I not been rehearsing this for the last 25 years?

“I suppose,” I replied, sure my wit would go unappreciated.

Amazing Johnathan congratulated me and then kissed me on the lips while everyone howled. Well, at least I can be the vehicle for someone else’s applause, I thought graciously.

For some reason, Amazing Johnathan decided to continue with his show after that, while I spent the remainder of the night grinning and cleaning orange pulp out of my new accessory.

Four years later, I’ve yet to hear a better engagement story, but if I do, I’m willing to give you my ring. I can’t wear it. It makes me break out.