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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Life Ain't Nuthin' But A Funny Funny Riddle

I stumbled upon an old high school classmate because I was stumblin' around and, as is the case around here, found a great bit of joy in blogging just for the sake of blogging.

Cheers to the new revolution, er, resolution.

Learn your skill sets folks, because soon you will need them.

Insert random punk rock YouTube clip here:

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Have Mercy

I had to wait for the bus again today.

In the pouring rain.

Fay came... although a few days ago they said she wouldn't.

And she was about as exciting as a Larry Brown novel.

My sons came off the bus and started to run for the cover of my umbrella.

"Where's your raincoats?" I hollered to them as they were in mid-stride.

"Cole left his at school," said my 8-year-old third grader with a flash drive.

"And he left his lunch box too," he said.

"Wh-wh-what?" I gasped.

"Go easy on him dad," he said,
"It was his FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!"

And how was his first day of school?

"Great," said Cole.

School Daze

School started this week and with it came a whole lot of drama.

The school has swelled past its student limit in recent years and now the campus is littered with trailers which, as it turns out, still isn't enough so they have decided to do some construction.

However, due to the construction of the new wing, the school has changed the procedure for drop-off and pick-ups: you can no longer park your car and walk your kid into school or park your car and pick your kid up from school.

Anybody who has ever spent any time in long car lines knows that having the option to park and avoid the shenanigans is key.

I really only need to endure it in the mornings as both kids will be taking the bus home (although the first two days the bus was 45 minutes late. WTF?).

When you go to your kids' school's open house, they give you a list of things your kid will need to bring in for the following year. Usually this involves things like rulers, wipes, notebooks and your basic scholastic swag. But this year my 3rd grader needs to bring in a flash drive.

I shit you not.

A sign of the times indeed.

School starting is a mixed blessing; I'm excited my youngest is going to school but it seems like only yesterday he was being born. It's hard to make the transition even though I have been looking forward to it for so long. Not only is my youngest officially out of the nest, but it also signifies that my job as a stay-at-home-dad is drawing to a close. Not that I couldn't find a job - like freelance writing - where I work from home, but rather the day in/day out sheep herding of infants and toddlers has come and gone.

I'm happy and sad at the same time.

I guess that's why I had that dream where all my teeth fall out the other night.

School starting also means summer is over. I had an insane summer last year with a bachelor party in Hollywood, hernia surgery,tick bites and a CD release show.

There was going to be no way that this summer could trump that...

But it did.

It wasn't all bad.

There was the beach trip to the Jersey Shore to see family and I lost my lake virginity.

But now it is fall, the boys have started football (flag for the youngest, tackle for his older brother) and the future most certainly must be brighter than the recent past.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mustard & Jelly

This has been circulating around the at-home dad blogsphere.

I always wanted to do heavy metal versions of fairy tales...

Friday, August 22, 2008


In recent posts I've talked about one of my brothers and life at the beach.

This one involves both.

And a bachelor party...

In the spring of '87, I was a freshman at Salisbury State, a small college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. It was March and my brother was set to get married to his college sweetheart (on his birthday no less) in Pennsylvania.

I was living off-campus with my roommate Crazy Marty, playing rugby and barely going to class. These were the days before cell phones and emails so I didn't find out about my brother's bachelor party until the last minute.

I had missed my opportunity to catch a ride back home with some of the kids I knew who often made the 3-and-a-half hour trip. They call campuses like these suitcase colleges because a majority of the students went home on the weekends.

So I was sitting around with my rugby friends lamenting the fact that I was going to have to miss my brother's bachelor party when one of them chimed in, "why don't you hitchhike?"

He went on to explain that it pretty much was a straight shot down US 50 with not much in between. They convinced me without a doubt that it would be easy to score a ride. All I had to do was get a ride from Crazy Marty to the liquor store on the outskirts of town and find a eastbound traveler.

I managed to land one pretty quickly and the guy happened to be from my home town... but he was only going as far as Cambridge. Depending how you look at it, this could have been a crucial mistake because now I was farther away from school and in a town few stop at on the way out. I set up camp in front of a store with my duffel bag and waited.

And waited.

Bored of waiting, I figured I would just start walking and eventually I would find a ride. So I crossed the bridge and started walking. My logic was that with each step I would only get closer to my goal; sitting on the side of the road seemed like a waste of time. That was until I walked for about two hours with my thumb out and didn't have much luck.

It was then, looking out at the vast nowhere in front of - and behind me - that I started to curse my friends for what now appeared to the most ridiculous of all ideas. Out there on the open road, I had a lot of ideas to ponder.

And that's when a car pulled off the side of the road in front of me. I saw the reverse lights come on and I knew I had a ride.

He told me he was headed to Pennsylvania and that he figured he needed some company for the long ride. He had recently been divorced and had come down to visit his brother in Ocean City. His brother, so he claimed, was a major drug dealer at the beach and he'd done partied enough and decided it was time to head back home.

There was some general talk of drugs and cops and other hazards of his brother's occupation. As we spoke he reached into some sort of olive green army bag and scooped out a handful of bullets, waved them in front of my face and said, "Nobody is going to fuck with me."

"Fuck me," I thought.

Always one to face the most darkest times with the most driest humor, I bellowed out, "Now why would you need those?"

It was then that he reached under the driver's seat and pulled out a mayo jar full of a white powdery substance.

"Because I've got all this blow I need to unload," he said.

Great, here I am in a primer grey Ford Pinto station wagon with some guy tweaked out on blow who appears to be packing heat. He's got loose lips and a few hours to kill on a drive and I became his guinea pig passenger. I blew through my arsenal of stories about rugby hi jinx fairly quickly and had to labor through him endlessly bitching about his ex-wife and all the hot coke sluts he banged back at the beach.

"I'm not lookin' for a relationship right now, just lookin' for some fun youknowwhatImean?" he said while elbowing my rib cage.

Caught up in conversation - and wanting to avoid any possible confrontation - I didn't have the heart to speak up when we came to the DC/Baltimore split. About twenty miles later when he noticed a sign for Baltimore he recalled that I had originally stated DC as my destination. He offered to turn around but I insisted Baltimore was okay. My sister lived there after all so I was going to have to just roll with the plan.

When we got to Baltimore, he thanked me for the conversation and I thanked him for the ride.

There I was standing on the edge of the Inner Harbor looking for a pay phone with my head up my ass.

I rang up my sister and explained the situation.

Living in the city, she didn't have a car but her boyfriend did and she'd have him come get me. Once again I decided to split the distance and started to walk towards my sister's place on Calvert Street. But at some point I got disoriented and switched streets. It didn't help that I had only met my sister's boyfriend once and wasn't sure who to look for. Suffice it to say I ended up walking most of the way before I got the smarts to call from a pay phone and give the cross streets on the corner I was at to him.

He was an English teacher and Dead Head and the cool guy whose class everybody probably wanted to take. Intrigued by my adventure, he was eager to hear my tale. He was a Dead Head after all and had traveled all over the country following that band. There was a deli below my sister's place and he bought me a sub and a pitcher of beer. I flipped through the pages of the City Paper while I told him my ordeal and that's when I noticed an ad for the Descendents playing that night at the now legendary punk rock dump the Marble Bar.

"You know what would make this day even crazier?" I said to him.
"If I went to this show."

No doubt he could relate. So he promised me he would drop me off there. My sister was planning on going to Mexico for her law school spring break the next day so she asked I not come home real late. Her boyfriend also volunteered to drive me back home the next day to get to my brother's bachelor party.

So he dropped me off and there I was sitting at a punk club about to watch one of my favorite bands when all of the sudden these skater kids I knew from Salisbury show up. They had driven up from school to see the show and we going to drive back afterwards. People did shit like this for punk rock back then.

When the show was over I asked the skater kids if they could give me ride up the road to my sister's and they said sure but on the way we past Loyola and feeling like I wanted to continue down this Kerouacian road to nowhere that I was on, I had them stop and let me out there. One of my best friends from high school went to Loyola and I knew he'd hook me up with a place to stay so I ran up the hill to campus and made a bee line for his dorm.

But the dorm door wouldn't open.

And the place was like a ghost town.

I asked a security guard what was going on and he said, "spring break."

Fuck me.

At this point, it was too late to call my sister so I did what I had done all day: I walked.

I walked for hours and miles before finding my way to my sister's place. The kicker was that it was just after 4am and she wasn't going to get up until 6am. So I attempted to sleep on a bus stop bench, then made my way into the alley behind her building and propped myself up against the wall. I didn't really sleep much so I decided I'd go back to the bench - at least from there I could see a clock on a building - a clock I would watch until I saw the light come on from my sister's room.

I waited about a half hour before I buzzed her to let me in, then immediately passed out on her couch.

After my mid-morning nap, because that's really what it was, I got my ride home and by night's end was at some house with a bunch of dudes watching blue movies and drinking beer. At some point we made our way into DC to go to a strip bar.

I have no idea how I got back to school.

I think my oldest brother Jimmy gave me a ride back...

Monday, August 18, 2008


The only time Barbera comes before Bukowski.

It's all this guy's fault.

Beat Poets have set up camp here.

Thanks to Larry Ferling.

Are bloggers the new Beat Poets?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Cloris Leachman Just Killed It

I just came home from working a Sunday evening catering shift.

Exhausted from losing my lake virginity the day before, where I drank bastardized versions of Wild Orchids, rode jet skis and made a very feeble attempt to water ski (note to self: close mouth and let go of rope), I soldiered through a shit ass'ed catering shift.

My shift involved setting up for some extreme German baptism party only to have a storm roll in and have to move slash lift eight foot tables (with place settings) from the backyard to their wrap-around porch.

Channel surfing away from the Olympics, I stumbled across the roast of Bob Saget. Saget is most known for his role on the TV show Full House or as the host of America's Funniest Home Videos.

I watched a few mediocre comics roast the man.

Then Cloris Leachman came on.

And killed it.



Oh and Don Rickles made an appearance.

Suddenly I remembered a recent late night informercial on Dean Martin's variety show.

I had just labored through trying to finished the Nick Tosches biography on Dino before my recent trip to the Jersey Shore.

I never made it to the finish before it was due at the place where one of my friends works. I didn't want to return it all full of sand and stained with suntan lotion. Plus it's one of those dense as fuck books that would demand more attention that I could possibly give at this juncture in time, so I pledge to myself I would purchase a copy and return to it when I could better digest the Crocetti family lore.

Here's a clip from informercial I recently saw and what I think comedy is all about.


Thursday, August 14, 2008



This is me with my brother Mike.

He's four years older than me but we shared a room growing up so we sometimes act like twins.

Even though he lives in Pennsylvania and I live in North Carolina, we pretty much talk just about every other day.

He's probably one of the funniest guys I know.

I can't recall a family get-together where we weren't cracking each other up for reasons that would seem unexplainable to everyone else in the room. And we usually get the spousal lectures before family visits that include the caveat: "you and your brother better behave yourselves...'

He is a simple guy with simple needs: he gave up wearing underwear years ago when his waistline no longer fit into them and he deducted shortly thereafter that one doesn't really need to use underwear. It was his first philosophical breakthrough regarding consumerism.

He also told me once how he doesn't like that feeling of being wet after he takes a shower and often blow dries himself with a hairdryer.

Back in the day, he was like Richie: he taught me how to sneak out of the house and the proper way to egg cars and was sort of a hoodlum in junior high but by the time he got into high school he was too consumed with sports and girls and didn't have much to do with me.

The whole dynamic really took a turn when he went to college.

That's when suddenly it became my job to go retrieve him when his semesters ended at West Chester. The drive was about three and a half hours from home which made it more encouraging to get there, sleep over, and come home the next day. Picking your older brother up from school was a cool thing so I often enlisted the help of my friends to ride shotgun.

One time it was me and my friend Kevin. We had arrived early and neither my brother nor his roommate Jerry had come home from school yet so a guy who lived below them offer to let us stay with him until my brother came back from his last class. It was everything off-campus housing should be: cassette tapes everywhere, empty beer cans littering the coffee table and the rank smell of pot in the air.

When my brother came home we asked him if he'd buy us some beer. So he went out and got us a six-pack of Genesee Cream Ale. After playing a few rounds of darts with my brother and Jerry, Kevin and I decided we wanted to venture out and see the campus. We walked down the three flights of stairs and made the trek to High Street. It was night time and most of the campus had already started to shut down for break so - dejected - Kevin and I made our way back to my brother's crib. When we reached the third floor and the door of his apartment, the hall light was out which made it pitch black and rendered us blind. We had to feel our way with the key to the doorknob only we had no idea which key it was which made our efforts even more of a challenge.

At some point I guess I was trying to line up a key to the hole with Kevin standing right over my shoulder squinting in the exact same position as me, when we suddenly heard the click and the door opened. But the key was stuck in the handle. I yanked it out and ended up butting my elbow into Kevin's nose which quickly exploded with blood. By the time we got to the top of the steps inside blood was everywhere. When my brother saw Kevin's face he jumped up and hollered, "Jesus Christ what happened?" Much to my dismay, Kevin uttered, "Somebody sucker punched me."

"What!!??" screamed my brother.
"Where? Who? " he said.
Then he turned to his sleeping roommate and said, "Jerry get the fuck up. Someone tagged Greg's friend in the face."

Now Jerry was a Marine who took up boxing and could lick any body's ass in two quick seconds.

"Where is the guy?"

It was then that Kevin realized the seriousness of the situation and 'fessed up that it was a joke and that I had bashed his nose with my elbow.

But it also was one of those defining moments when you realize that despite what differences you might have or the beefs you got into as kids your brother had your back: that he would kick some body's ass for kicking yours without question.

Of course, neither of us have ever had to ante up on that, I mean we're Italian - we are as they say, "lovers not fighters."

So this year I was super excited to be able to vacation with my brother and his family. It had been almost 15 years since my brother and I got to hang out at the shore with one another. So in honor of that, I reprised a look I had 20 years before and went and bleached my hair for the occasion.

This time around, only one person managed to come up with a witty Billy Idol jab...

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Anybody See Any?

My 8-year-old got me up at about 5:45am this morning.

We saw maybe three shooting stars before we decided that it was getting chilly (and my neck was starting to hurt from looking up!).

But there's always tomorrow morning.

Hopefully I'll have the same luck this person had last year:

Monday, August 11, 2008

Set The Alarm Folks

It is coming.

Of course, there's always this to consider.

Another Puzzler

This one irks me even more than that JC Pennys ad.

Dear Budweiser,

I've never really liked you.

I think your beer sucks.

Mostly because your alcohol is rice-based and rice-based alcohols, like sake almost always leave me with a headache whether I have consumed two or ten drinks.

But now you have gone and sold your soul to Belgian-based InBev yet still claim you are an American lager.

How can that beer?

The people have spoken - you can no longer stake that claim.

In all fairness, brewing beer wasn't an American invention - especially lager so your claims are comical at best.

Now could you please stop with the Great American Lager campaign already?

Really, first it was Ford trucks (with their Mazda engines) and now you Bud are coming at me with this.

I don't really care about the sale or your beer.

Maybe I should be taking this up with the ad agency?

And don't me started on the radio spot about how important the glass is to the Bud experience...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Early To Rise?

It's time for meteor showers folks.

So if junior or the little miss are early risers, try bottle feeding outside and looking up.

Or set your alarm clocks.

I've been fascinated by the night sky for as long as I can remember.

Especially moon shadows.

And anything moon related even though some days the moon can make me feel like going bat shit crazy.

One day I will own a really tricked-out telescope.

Hopefully before the aliens abduct me.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Add Delete

Had to tidy up the Blogroll today.

Some bit the dust and others were welcomed to the family.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Sacrilege or Pure Genius?

Has anyone seen this?

I never thought I'd be the one coming to defend director John Hughes much less some teen flick movie but something about this just rubs me the wrong way.

And I'm not the only one in an uproariously confused state about it.

These people are as curious as me as to what fucking tweener out there will be able associate with "we're different but all in this together" subplot.

My guess is that they are selling kids clothes through the parents because it is mom and dad's credit card that's footing the bill but what teenager wants to by clothes their parents think are hip?

Advertising, you've failed me again.

I'm sure Whit has something to say about it.

Or maybe Chag.

Too bad Rock Star Mommy doesn't still blog.

I know she'd have something to say about this, especially the shitty Simple Minds cover.

Not Feeling It


Some days you just feel like throwing in the towel.

Or maybe just throwing sand in the face of that which irks you.

It's been a long summer.

Very long.

And even though I love summer, sometimes it can even give you the blues.

I want the summer to end because I want to put all the voodoo behind me.

Yet when summer ends in just a couple of weeks, it will usher in a new phase in my life: my youngest will start kindergarten and I will begin the inevitable transition back to working full-time.

I want to work and look forward to it.

But when my youngest told me he was going to miss snuggling with me it took all of my strength to keep back the tears.

So here's sand in the face to a shitty summer and a little hardcore ditty to lift the spirits:

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Against My Better Judgement

I let my boys watch a few episodes of Wildboyz.

Mostly as a cure for boredom as it has been nearly one hundred degrees the past few days, that and the boys are still going through a delousing from the whole head lice debacle which pretty much keeps them stuck inside for the better part of the day.

Yesterday we got the thumbs up to go swimming but with the temp so high in recent days, the pool was like bath water.

God knows what kind of communicable diseases you can get from bath water.

So after tiring of video games, on came the Wildboyz.

Then the unthinkable happened.

Today a black mamba woke me up.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

I Can't Make This Shit Up

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Shiver Me Timbers

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The big joke between my wife and I since we got back from vacation is that when people ask we say, "we went to the shore but didn't go in the ocean."

And it's true.

The water was freakin' cold.

Arctic cold.

Frigid you might say.

Somewhere in the high 50s/low 60s.

But that didn't stop this dude from tuning blue in the name of fun.

I think I went in twice in 10 days and only know am I starting to feel my balls and the tips of my toes again.

I think a road trip to Wrightsville might be on deck for Saturday.

The current water temp there is 79...

I Didn't Even Take This Picture

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But I totally dig it.

Donut Burgers


Getting donuts on Sunday after mass is a Barbera family tradition that goes back as far as I can remember.

So when I was at the beach and I didn't see my brother around after mass on Sunday morning, my nephew Michael told me he went to get donuts.

"Creme donuts," he said.
"Ever had 'em?"

"Yeah I've had creme donuts before," I told him.

"But these have special creme," he said.

"Oh, you mean the kind that makes your teeth itch?" I said.

"What does that mean?" he asked.

"It's a Pop Pop term," I said and explained how my dad uses that term for things that are sweet.

My brother and sister-in-law returned, put the donut box on the table and then I opened it up.

Sweet jesus.

Would you look at those things!

My nephew referred to them as "donut burgers" because life for him is full of Simpsonalia.

These of course, should not be confused with these donut burgers which couldn't possibly be more disgusting.

Although I bet Homer would eat one.

R'n'R Beach

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A Sea Isle City Sunset

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Technically, it's probably Townsends Inlet.

The Cowtown Cowboy

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Once you get over the Delaware Memorial Bridge, you hang a right on 40 and head east to the beach towns.

There's not much to see during this stretch except endless rows of corn or maybe the Jersey Devil which is known to inhabit the Pine Barrens of south Jersey.

And then there's Cowtown.

When I think of Jersey, rodeos don't immediately come to mind.

Nope, more like The Boss or Yo La Tengo maybe some Silver Queen corn or Maxwells in Hoboken.

I definitely don't think of cowboys and rodeos.

Cowtown has always intrigued me.

We should have stopped.

I always want to stop but am always too eager to get to the shore.

You'll know you are in Cowtown when you see the cowboy.

Of course it came up on us sooner than I expected and what with the digital camera taking forever to boot up and my wife's lead foot, I managed to only capture a sliver.

But I like the sliver.

Because that's just one of my patented typos away from silver.

And silver always makes me think of this junkie cowboy chestnut...


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Shortly after experiencing the joy that was the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel, my kids lost their bridge virginity on this bad boy.

It's the world's longest twin suspension bridge and going over it, according to my 5-year-old, was like a ride at the NC Sate Fair.

I Heart Baltimore

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Most of our family trips involved a direct line to three places: North Topsail Beach, cabins in Ashe county or going home.

Going west or east in the state of North Carolina, there's not much to see. Sure on the way to the mountains to get to pass by Winston-Salem which at least gives the kids something to look at besides trees and going east you get, well, you get to see not much of anything.

So when we saddled up to do vacation this year, the kids were jazzed at the prospect of staring off out their windows at something else.

They screamed when we entered the Harbor Tunnel in Baltimore. They've heard the stories for years about Baltimore from my wife and I. Both of us went to school at Towson University which is located north of Baltimore.

I used to ride my mountain bike down Charles Street into the city and people watch at the Inner Harbor or maybe take a trip to the seedy side of town.

When were were courting, you could often find my wife and I seeing hair metal bands at Hammerjacks . I think we saw Slayer there. I remember I almost got thrown over the balcony's railing because apparently where I was standing had good sight lines and some metal head wanted that spot.

And of course they had heard many (censored versions) of rugby tales over the years that involve the Charm City.

So when we saw the city's skyline on the horizon with the harbor to the right of us, we debriefed the boys that the tunnel was a-coming.

If you find yourself with some time on your hands in Baltimore, don't forget to get yourself some pie from Rodney.

Saturday, August 02, 2008


What do you like to bring back from your family vacation?

T-shirts from the boardwalk?


Sea shells combed from the sea shore?


Sand in your car?


This year we decided to add something else to the fold: head lice.


Fuck me.

At one point during our stay at the Jersey Shore my son complained about an itchy scalp and how he had found a bug in his hair but I chalked it up to sand and told him to wash is hair a little better.

But after that I noticed he kept scratching his hair behind his ear like a dog.

Wednesday we took the ferry from Jersey to Delaware and made our way to Ocean City, Maryland, to see the in-laws. We crashed early and got up the next day and hit the boardwalk so the kids could do the whole skeeball-in-the-arcade and rides thing (which every kid must experience once in his lifetime) and then retreated to the condo to rest.

My wife took a nap while I entertained the kids by initiating some PS2 because even though me and the old lady were bushed, the kids took a cat nap in the car on the way back.

At some point Spencer scratched his hair again and pulled out a bug.

"Here," he said.
"These are the bugs I have been finding," he said.

It was as big as a grain of rice.

I took the bug into the bathroom, called my wife and mother-in-law in and we all looked at it and said, "head lice."

Then the mad scramble to delouse his ass began.

My wife darted off to CVS and purchased some lice killing shampoo. When she washed out his hair a good 60 to 75 adult lice floated down the drain. [The wife said I was exaggerating and should reduce the number in half - ed.]

After the shampoo (i.e. a pesticide) you are required to take a fine-tooth comb and comb out every possible strand of hair to remove the bug... only my son has a mop of hair.

It was painfully clear that he needed a haircut as we're talking total infestation.

And he acted like Samson.

I called Jersey and gave them the news but as we looked deeper into the how, why and where of it all it became painfully obvious that he probably had them before we left and that he probably had them for awhile.

The life cycle of head lice is about 40 days and you can't see an adult until after about 20 days.

Ad therein lies the psychological disturbance of it all: they could be everywhere.

Beds, blankets... you name it.

I've heard of people having head lice but never has the full scope of it been communicated to me: the three-times-a-day combing of hair to find nits and nymphs, the endless washing/drying everyday of everything your head has touched, and the overall pain in the ass of at least seven to ten days combating it just to wait and see if you have got them all.

Re-infestation is common.

So for the last day we have been delousing the homestead, the kids and ourselves.

What a way to end your vacation.

Enough already.


Somebody bring the good news, I've had enough of the bad...

Friday, August 01, 2008

Just Got Back...

... from a very long vacation which involved beaches and shores, bridges and tunnels, and even a bridge-tunnel.

Until I can pull my head out of the sand, let's take a look back at previous summers had here at the House of G.

In 2005, it was all I could do just to survive the summer with two kids, my oldest on the brink of kindergarten.

By 2006, summer was far more enjoyable but it took me weeks to post about it. Expect the same this year.

Last year, I was quicker on posting about my vacation exploits, but still wrestled with the art of Blogger and its pic-posting cousin Picasa.