photo friday: hey there, good job

3 Jul

Hey America,

We’ve had a pretty intense/good/wild/strange/sad/happy/WTF past couple of weeks. Months. 239 years. And I just wanted to say keep up the good work. I know it’s hard sometimes, and that it can really be quite sucky, and that there will never not be room for improvement.

But I think you have what it takes to go the distance, to really make it.

Happy birthday, country of mine.

I hope you like this card I made you with my mad Photoshop skillz, America. Can I call you Mer for short?

I hope you like this card I made you with my mad Photoshop skillz, America. Can I call you Mer for short?

open letters to my neighbors and neighborhood

1 Jul

Dear Neighbor In The Building Across From Us,

The red track lighting you have in your living room—of which I have a perfect view from my bedroom, because apparently neither of us believes in closing our blinds—PS, sorry about flashing you last week—is a bold choice.

I wonder if, from the inside view, it looks as discotheque-ish/devil’s lair-ish as it does from my angle? Because when the sun sets and darkness blankets the city as much as darkness can in a city, what with all the lights from cars and shops and life, the cherry red glow that emanates from your living room is quite distinct and almost seems to pulse with a life of its own.

I can’t tell if those red track lights are focused on something on your wall—I don’t see a TV, or a piece of art, so presumably they are simply focused on a blank wall? Though I do think I see the tips of plants peeking through the window, so now I’m wondering if you have some sort of greenhouse in the making going on in your loft apartment. Are you a budding horticulturalist?

Please Do Hide Your Light Under a Bushel,

Your Across the Parking Lot Neighbor, McPolish

**

Dear Neighbor One Floor Down and One Unit Over,

I’m sorry my dog always woofs at you every time you venture out onto the balcony to fire up the grill. It’s just that whatever you’re making smells delicious to her, much better than the kibble we feed her, even if we do douse said kibble with homemade chicken stock or mix in pureed pumpkin because God Forbid this dog eat plain kibble, what is she, an animal?

Anyway, she’s not woofing at you out of anger or because she thinks you’re going to rob us. She’s woofing because she’s demanding. Demanding that you give her some of your grilled meats. Demanding that you pay attention to her. Demanding that you just come on over here and let her give you a cuddle.

You’ll get used to it after awhile.

Sincerely,

Your Neighbor With the Adorably Demanding Pibble, McP

**

DEAR ASSHATS ARGUING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET AT 3 AM ON SUNDAY MORNING,

GO THE F HOME AND FINISH YOUR FIGHT THERE OR SO HELP ME GOD I WILL PUNCH YOU SO HARD IN THE GUT YOU WILL BARF UP ALL THE TEQUILA YOU JUST DRANK AT THE MEXICAN RESTAURANT ACROSS THE STREET WHICH IS A TOTAL WASTE OF YOUR MONEY BUT REALLY I COULD GIVE A SHIT BECAUSE OH MY GOD NO ONE GIVES A CRAP ABOUT WHO SAID WHAT TO WHOM THIS IS NOT AN AUDITION FOR REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ANY CITY.

NO, I WILL NOT STOP YELLING UNTIL YOU GET THE HELL OUT OF MY AIRSPACE,

A VERY IRRITATED AND MCPOLISH BECAUSE SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU WAKE ME UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT?

**

Dear Neighbor at the End of the Hall,

You smoke a lot of weed.

Well, wait—I don’t actually know how MUCH you smoke, but by the smells wafting from your apartment that are smellable as soon as the elevator doors open, I can say that I know how FREQUENTLY you smoke. Which, to be fair, I’m not sure if it is actually frequent or not in comparison to pot smokers at large. So maybe frequent isn’t the right word, either. What I’m trying to say is that you smoke weed, and your neighbors know it.

And I’m not writing you this blog-letter (bletter?) to judge you about your weed consumption. I could give a shit, frankly, and I wish for your and others’ sake that pot was just made legal already. I’m writing you this letter simply to tell you….

Well, I don’t really have anything to tell you.

So, yeah.

Have a nice day.

And sorry to bother you.

Carry on.

Best,

Your Down the Hall Neighbor and Condo Board Treasurer (Why You People Entrust Me With Your Money I’ll Never Know), McPolish

photo friday: berry, berry excited

26 Jun

DSC_0367

Berry season is here, and the number of ideas I have floating around this peanut head of mine are endless. Last summer I had the grand plan to pick strawberries while Swede and I were in Michigan one weekend, and then I realized how tall I am versus how low-to-the-ground strawberry bushes are.

Hence, I made an executive decision to simply buy a flat of strawberries instead and call it a day. One of the better decisions I’ve made in my life, I must say.

Blueberry picking, on the other hand, is different. The bushes are taller, for one, and two, well, really that’s about it.

But I’m not sure if I’ll have (re: want to make) the time to go out and pick some blueberries (last time I went–three years ago when the picture above was snapped–it was so humid I’m still trying to rehydrate), so I may just have to pick up a box (or two) next time I come across a road side stand (surprisingly often).

Oh, summer. Your fresh produce just keeps me so busy.

surprisingly, i am not perfect

24 Jun

Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do:

  1. Stay up past midnight on a school night to finish reading The Girl on the Train.
  2. Leave a brownie on the coffee table, thinking I can trust my dog not to eat it, because she doesn’t normally snatch things off the table. Lick them, yes. But eat them, no.
  3. Hide bacon in the refrigerator from Swede.
  4. Accidentally lock the cats on the balcony overnight.
  5. Frost a devil’s food cake less than two hours after I take it out of the oven.

Things I Can Do To Remedy the Things I Probably Shouldn’t Do Because I Most Likely Did Them Anyway:

  1. Stay up the entire night watching West Wing so as not to fall asleep and have a dream wherein Everyone Needs a Julie tells me while making her bed that she’s decided to become a serial killer and in response I try to talk her out of this by hitting her with a pillow.
  2. Give the dog a stern talking to and then dissolve into a cuddle puddle because HAVE YOU SEEN THAT FACE? LOOK AT THAT FACE. HERE, HAVE AS MANY FOODS AS YOU WANT I LOVE THAT FACE.

DSC_0423

  1. Blurt out, “THERE’S BACON IN THE FRIDGE, YOU CAN EAT ALL OF IT BUT FOUR SLICES,” in the middle of a conversation about grilled cheese.
  2. To be fair, this one was NOT my fault, as Swede was the one to lock up that night. But to make up for it the poor little jerks got an insane amount of treats, and then more treats because we felt like, hell, we’ve already traumatized them, let’s trim their nails and cut the matted fur from around their butts! We’re on a roll!

    I'm never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

    I’m never speaking to you assholes again. Until you give me ham. Jerks.

  3. Shove the cake in the fridge for awhile and hope for the best, then drive an hour to my parents’ house with the cake on the floor of the car and the air conditioning fan on full blast, and then when I get there immediately run it out to the refrigerator in the garage yelling, “I made you a cake for Father’s Day, Dad! Hope you like it! I forgot to get you a card!” and pray that you’re not about to serve your dad cake soup.

 

photo friday: last to know

19 Jun
Photo taken at 31st Street Beach in 2013, courtesy of Swede

Photo taken at 31st Street Beach in 2013, courtesy of Swede

Summer is here, but apparently no one informed Lake Michigan, because as I type the water temperature is hovering just above HFS That’s Cold. Here’s to hoping things warm up before Autumn returns.

and introducing….

17 Jun

Last summer, I never told you about how I was the Greatest Gardener On The Planet, did I?

(Yes, initial caps even on the articles. I’m That Good.)

I’m guessing I probably did not. Which is a shame, because I was. And probably still am.

In Summer 2014, I discovered that I have a green thumb galore. Specifically when it comes to plants in pots on my balcony. I had four plants—a veritable forest—each of them named and special in my heart. There was Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the basil plant; Vivian, the tomato plant; Clive the Chive; Dilbert the dill plant. They all thrived throughout the summer months, and I was in my element tending to them and only freaking out mildly when I’d discover that overnight a spider had spun an intricate web between Vivian and the balcony railing.

To say I was happy with my balcony garden would be an understatement. Let’s consider for a moment that the year before when I had a (nameless) tomato plant that produced all of seven tomatoes.

Seven.

And while those seven tomatoes were a semi-proud moment, last summer’s bounty blew that shit out of the water. Seriously, Vivian especially was incredibly rambunctious in her production last summer, popping out tomatoes well into October. Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler also held her own, and Clive the Chive would regenerate his skinny-stalked self within days of my snipping him down.

It goes without saying, then, that I expect this year to be equally as phenomenal, if not extraordinarily better. Because, as I mentioned, I am The Greatest Gardener On The Planet.

I’ve changed things up a bit in the balcony garden this year, partially because Clive the Chive (who is supposed to be a perennial) did not return, and partially because I wanted to try expanding my gardening gloves. This year, I have five—FIVE!—plants nestled on my balcony, ready and waiting for my deft, agile hands to tend to them with kindness and love, and also shoo away the g-d cats and dog when they get at little too nibbly at the leaves.

So, without further ado, I’d like to introduce to you this year’s balcony garden stars, all of whom will, if they know what’s good for them, provide me with a cornucopia of herbs and vegetables.

We have Fine Girl, a Brandywine tomato plant (the dog already shows a suspicious amount of interest in her)

Watch it, dog.

Watch it, dog.

Franklin, the basil plant

Oh, Franklin. I do hope you make it past July.

Oh, Franklin. I do hope you make it past July.

Pepper, the mint plant

Pepper

And Clooney, the rosemary plant (the g-d cats seem particularly taken with her; since Clive the Chive did not return, I have a feeling that Clooney will bear the brunt of their gnawing if I’m not careful)

Clooney

These were all starter plants that I repotted two weeks (no judging) after I bought them at the farmer’s market, but I wanted to also try growing something from seed, as I’d had such success with Dilbert last summer. This summer, I decided to plant cilantro from seed, because thank the good lord above I do NOT have the gene that makes cilantro taste like soap and honestly, I can’t get enough of the herb. If I could walk around with a bunch of cilantro in hand to sniff whenever I wanted and not look like a complete weirdo, I would. For now I will settle for inconspicuously inhaling and snuffling cilantro-scented candles.

ANYWAY, the point is I also planted cilantro seeds, and now there are a few buds peeking through the dirt. It’s like a miracle! Of nature! That I made happen! (Then again, are we surprised? I am The Greatest Gardener On The Planet.) Hard to tell, though, if this is actually cilantro, or if I’ve been fertilizing weeds the past couple of weeks, but either way I’ve decided to name her Nadia.

Nadia

Meanwhile, the rest of the plants seem to be doing….well. While I am The Greatest Gardener On The Planet, Franklin struggled for a bit there, as did Fine Girl, but I think they’re on the up and up. Pepper is growing like, well, like a mint plant, that is to say: We will soon have to move out of our condo due to mint infestation. Clooney seems to eat up the summer sun, and if all goes the way I’m hoping, she’ll stick around well into winter.

Welcome, Summer. And welcome home, balcony garden loves.

photo friday: four scored

12 Jun

Springfield Statehouse

Four score and seven weeks ago (or March of this year, whatever), Swede and I had a Travelzoo certificate for an overnight in Springfield, complete with tickets to the Lincoln Museum.

Let me tell you something you don’t know about Illinois’ state capital: It is lovely when lit up at night, with no crowds as you stroll around, wine in hand, which probably isn’t terribly legal, but no one seemed to mind, probably because the few people who were out and about at the late, late hour of 9 pm were drunk on cheap beer from the town’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities earlier in the day.

But let me tell you something else: Besides the capitol building and the Lincoln Museum (which is absolutely terrific, and I would recommend to anyone, history lovers or nay), ehhmm…yeah, there’s not a whole lot to do in Springfield. There is a brewery, and yes, of course we went to it (have you not met us?) but that’s about it: Capitol building, Lincoln Museum, brewery. Annnnddd….scene.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. I feel like, Springfield! You’re the state capital! Jazz yourself up a bit, man! But that begs the question, how exactly does a state capital jazz itself up? I’m thinking live animals, like elephants or penguins, to replace the security guards in the capitol building. That could be fun, no?

But please feel free to submit your own ideas in the comments below.

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