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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Almost two years old.

Herbie may be growing up, but at least he still loves a squeaky hedgehog.

It's true; his once uncontrollable energy seems to be dwindling. It's been quite a while since he chewed a shoe or climbed in the bathtub looking for things to reappropriate as toys. He no longer jumps up to my neck when I have a treat, and he tends to do a lot more repetitive burying and less destructive chewing. Simply put, it now takes him a day to destroy a toy rather than three minutes flat.

I never thought I'd say this, but I think I actually miss having to wrestle multiple toys from him before coaxing him to go to sleep. He does still hold hands. I think he knows there are some things I can't live without. Convincing him to wait until I'm finished with this post, though - that's another story.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ellen my Melon

I met my best friend Ellen eight years ago. We both attended the summer program at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, and although the extent of our summer friendship was one tearful, two-sentence bus exchange, I think that was for the best; camp flings rarely stand the test of time. Instead we waited until the residential program's Welcome Reception in the fall, where we recognized each other and became best friends withinabout...three hours? Six graduations, one wedding, and several cities later, here we are - still bff and finally back within one day's drive.
Last Saturday, John and I met Ellen and her husband, Ryan, in Port Clinton, OH, which with the help of Google Maps, we selected as a dubious half-way point between Cleveland and Ann Arbor. Luckily, Port Clinton offered a fun Mexican restaurant, an ice cream shop, and a grocery store with a lighthouse in the parking lot.

Our night was important on many levels: Everyone got to hang with John, and John got to meet everyone; Ellen and I practiced the trip that we'll probably be making multiple times per month; and I had Pomegranate Dark Chocolate frozen yogurt.

When Ellen and I lived on the same hall, we went out for dinner on Thursday nights, ran through Reedy River Park in torrential downpours, sneaked to each other's rooms after curfew, discussed life's ups and downs face-to-face, and enthusiastically joined The Raid (flooding of the boys' side of the dorm) on the night before graduation. We've been chanting "SAME CITY" ever since, and I think this might be the closest we're going to get.

Our RA lovingly(?) nicknamed us The Bobbsey Twins, a term we love to hate. So now we're going to Bobbsey Ohio, Michigan, and everything in between: shopping, sleepovers, movies, dinners! Here's to us, Ellen - it's about damn time.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Southern Hospitality

So people in Cleveland are nice. Really nice. And this is coming from the girl who grew up in the Southeast, where people believe without doubt that they are the friendliest people in the nation.

So far, Cleveland's giving us a run for our money. Today a Trader Joe's employee failed to double bag my beer and wine, and five seconds later, my beer and noodles were all over the floor. I laughed as multiple people rushed in with mops. I got sent home with a Begonia plant for my trouble. Sure, it might have been the closest thing within reach that was below $5, but a sweet gesture nonetheless.

Our aforementioned neighbor bestowed his unwanted chairs upon us for our front porch. He's operating under the assumption that all "broads" like to "sit in front of the television watching those love shows like The Bachelor," but who cares, really - this broad likes the pizza shop he recommended in Little Italy.

I'm consistently surprised that people everywhere want to have cheery conversations: in the bathroom, at the grocery checkout, the gas pump. In Baltimore, we look straight ahead and mind our own business (unless we want a quarter, of course). Maybe I grew up with overt friendliness among strangers, but I had kind of forgotten it existed.

This weather does leave me slightly concerned. Ninety degree heat is my favorite. Give me the beach, a summer dress, and flip-flops any day, every day - any October day! But the Cleveland air is already cool and crisp. It's August 28th, and I'm wearing long sleeves. This does not bode well. I'm still shopping online for the Rocketeer-style backpack space heater that I hope becomes my personal accessory.

Herbie is glad that we've finally settled in one place. The two of us celebrated our one-year anniversary this week; he got a few extra treats, and we looked at old pictures from when I found him at the SPCA. A year of love (and fancy food?) seems to have done wonders for his coat...
then and now

Herb gets very angry when John practices Bartok. After sleeping peacefully by his side for Bach, atonality makes him run from the room screaming. He actually hides in the bedroom, refusing to leave. That's okay, though; I guess it's good to have at least one true Baroque lover in the family.

Monday, August 23, 2010


The After shots may take a while, but this is for our Moms - and maybe a few other friends who are interested enough to watch:

Many thanks to those of you who disregard my narrative voice.



Saturday, August 21, 2010

As it turns out, it's hard to update a blog while on a whirlwind tour of the Southeast. After a weekend of packing and goodbyes in Baltimore, John and I headed South to see our families before celebrating Sarah and David's engagement in West Palm Beach. We’ve spent a lot of time recently in cars, on planes, and in the back of a bright yellow Penske truck, but we’ve had a great time.

We got to visit both sides of the family, move my little brother into college in The Other Cleveland (Tennessee), say goodbye to John's Cobb Symphony friends in Atlanta, go vintage thrifting with Grace in Athens, have brunch with my oldest friend Brittaney, take a walk around Converse, visit favorite professors and the unbelievably grown-up Tally Vaneman, and spend a night in the never-disappointing Asheville with my sweet and fun-loving Aunt.

Being forced to find an apartment relying solely on Craigslist made me nervous, especially after three years immersed in the apartment shopping horrors of Baltimore. I’m happy to report, though, that we really like our new place. It’s big and adorable, with a little front porch that recalls the house in Oklahoma where we met. The bathroom is tiny but comical, and the lack of closet space will be creative exercise for us for sure. It’s the kitchen that we love, though. It’s big and spacious and inviting. There are windows and tall, old cabinets that will force even me to the top of a stepstool.

We live in the middle of Little Italy, which turns out to be a very welcoming neighborhood. Every restaurant offers outdoor seating to compliment the breezy summer nights; our next-door-neighbor who surely walked off the set of a sitcom already looks out for us; and there's a 100-year-old bakery with tantalizing made-from-scratch donuts. If you visit me, I'll take you. And if I really like you, I might even take you to see the giant sequined white-glove and purple guitar meant to memorialize MJ at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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