Monthly Archives: May 2010

BENNY Bombardement: Weekend Invasion At The Jersey Shore

Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark, New York

BENNY.  If you’re from NJ you know the word BENNY.  A BENNY is someone who lives in North Jersey or NY and invades the Jersey Shore on the weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Being a former BENNY myself, I travelled in the wee hours of the night to avoid traffic at all costs.  I was down the shore every weekend.  I would even sleep in the back of my Camaro if I didn’t have a place to stay.  Now that I am a resident of the Jersey Shore I find BENNYs to be a gridlock creating breed of tourists who are good for the economy but bad for my peace and quiet.

I won’t even go near the beach or boardwalk on the weekends.  The crowds are monumental.  A 5 minute in-town drive might take you 35 minutes or more.  It’s insanity.  My husband and I wait until Sunday night after 10 pm to attempt a boardwalk visit.  By that time the crowds have dwindled and the traffic is minimal so the boards are a good bet for a late Sunday night of fun.

This weekend was the kick-off of the summer in NJ.  I always have to work the Friday before and stress about traffic.  I have a 20 minute door to door drive to work that might take 2 hours or more via the GSP.  This Friday was a record for me (in a good way) – I made it home in under 30 minutes thanks to back roads and Route 18 South.  It’s a Godsend.

For the rest of the holiday weekend I usually sequester myself to my property perimeters, venturing to a neighbor’s or to the nearest liquor store for supplies.  I don’t dare travel within a mile of the beach.  Last time I tried to buy bread at Fortunato’s, I got stuck in the “beach” traffic on Mantoloking Road.  Needless to say, I never made it to the bread.

When I was a BENNY from North Jersey I hopped in my car every single weekend, could have sat in traffic for hours and if I left on a Sunday afternoon, it would sometimes take me 4 hours to complete a 1 hour drive.  As I get older I have less tolerance for crowds, traffic and annoying people, so from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I do what many other shore dwellers do.  Stay away from the beach and boardwalk unless absolutely necessary.

I don’t know if I’m turning against my people or I’m just getting crotchety in my old age, but the BENNY Blitz has only just begun.  If you’re my friend, welcome to the Jersey Shore, if you’re obnoxious, invasive and frankly a cavone, stay out of my sector and try Jones Beach.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

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Kitty Talk: An Embarrassing Admission

I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but baby-talk to my 2 kitty cats.  My husband makes fun of my catlingo but my babies know exactly what I say – at least I think they do.  With names like Bailey Boots Little Pussy & Peaches N. Crème de Menthe, it’s hard not to have fun.

Besides Peaches and Bailey I call them tons of names.  I don’t know how they know who I’m talking to, but they do:

  • Bailey, Boots, Bear, Buddy, Mommy, Bootseree, Baldor, G Boy, Mommy’s Boy, Kitty Cat Bat, Tee La, Mommy Ska La, Foo Fighter, Pretty Boy, Boo, Smee, Snuggy, Ma Moo, Boo Bear Boy, Teess, Swee, Cheese, Chicken, Mummy, Boodis, Butter Bean….
  • Peaches, Bear, Mommy’s Girl, Mommy, Bunny Girl, Cotton Tail, G, Buddy, La, Peachka, Snuggy, Bunny, Buddy Girl, Cheese, Chicken, Mummy, Butter….

They also have their own theme songs (yes, I’m nuts).  If I sing Bailey’s song, he comes and Peaches does the same.  Do you want to hear them?  Again, I know I’m nuts but I love my babies.

  • Bailey Bear with black hair, he’s my Bailey, Bailey Bear.
  • Peaches N. Cream, Peaches N. Cream, little itty bitty, bitty Peaches N. Cream.

My Catlingo continues to not only names and songs but to everyday cat chat.

Food is foodis.  Do you want me to open the door for you is you want Mommy opee up?  Do you want to go to bed becomes you wanna go seepy in the bed?  The only thing that seems to stay the same is do you want to eat? The backyard wildlife all have names too.

  • squirrels = squirrlees
  • chipmunks = ship monkeys
  • birds = birdies
  • rabbits = bunny wabbits
  • bugs = buggies
  • mice = mousies
  • ants = anties
  • cats = kitty cat friends

That about covers the yard and surrounding areas.  I know I sound like a total nut but I remember my parents always talking baby talk to our dogs when I was growing up.  Even with my pets, my mom, when she was alive and my dad always talked baby-talk to their grand-cats.  It’s a given.

Do you?  I think almost everybody does it, but many don’t admit it.  I can’t believe I am!

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

On The Radio, Oh Oh Oh Oh, On The Radio…

Running late as usual I dashed out of my house hoping I had everything I needed:  lunch, phone, tampons and my IPOD.  I turned on the radio to see what my NJ DJ was talking about today.  I hoped he wasn’t bashing teachers, I was so sick of hearing it.  To my surprise he was talking about a subject that I am all to familiar with:  LEFT LANE DICKS!

You know, the people who hang out in the left lane that’s supposed to be for passing only.  Well anyway, he was reading a piece on the LLD and it sounded so familiar.  All of a sudden I realized that he was reading MY blog on Discourteous Richards:  Alive And Well In NJ.

MY BLOG!  I was so excited that I was smiling, clapping while driving with my knee and frankly, feeling a little superior.  I was pleasantly surprised and shocked at the same time but so thrilled for my 15 minutes of fame.

I had a crummy 2 weeks before and I needed to smile, and boy was I smiling from ear to ear.  Talking to myself and still clapping while I listened to people call in and bitch about the Left Lane Dicks in NJ, I was finally in a good mood.

I was sailing up the left lane on the GSP and passing car after car enjoying my driving freedom and my sense of accomplishment.  My good mood was short-lived when some DB cut me off to get in the left lane and slow up like a typical Discourteous Richard.

The Left Lane Dick ruined my great mood – but I guess he is why I was in a good mood to begin with!

Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010

The Dinner Mix

Les Piétons
8, rue des Lombards
75004 Paris

Téléphone: 01 48 87 82 87

This religious kitsch tapas bar serves up good food and fun.  Whether it’s an ornate cross hanging on the wall or a glass of Sangria in your hand, this place is cool.

During my last month-long visit to Paris I stayed in Le Marais, the 4th arrondissement.  I was always a left-banker but La Rive Droite was working well for me this time.  The sights, shopping, local merchants, people and food are all fabulous.  A largely Gay and Jewish quarter, the Marais is a must-visit.

When you walk into Les Piétons, there is a long bar on the right, you are immediately surrounded by gaudy religious objets d’art and you will be quickly greeted by a friendly server.

Try the Formule Midi.  You can choose 3 tapas and a dessert, or an entrée and theplat du jour (usually Paella) or a plat and a dessert – all for 13,50 euros – and don’t forget the Sangria!

Les Plats de La Semaine change daily and for 11,00 euros , you’re getting good food at a good price.

So when you’re in Paris visit Les Piétons, take in the sights, the people and the food.  Enjoy because isn’t that what life is all about?  Or should be all about.  Americans need to take lessons from the Europeans.

Relax.  Sit down and take a load off.  Sip Champagne, drink a Blanche or knock back some café and enjoy the moment.  Santé!

The Avenue
23 Ocean Avenue
Long Branch, NJ 07740

732-759-2900

http://www.leclubavenue.com/

If you’re ever at the Jersey Shore, you must visit Pier Village.  It’s a small paradise on the Atlantic with shops, restaurants and clubs.  It’s a fun place for all.

One of my favorite restaurants there is The Avenue.  It’s an upscale French / American brasserie type eatery that will not disappoint and Le Club upstairs is a super place to just chill with your friends.

Stop by for Happy Hour and enjoy a martini or specialty drink – 1/2 price from 3 to 7 and on Friday until closing.  The oysters are fresh and delicious and a must have at the bar.  If you’re going for a snack try Le Petit Plateau but don’t expect to be hungry after that.  It’s a seafood feast for the picker and the drinker alike.

If you’re staying for dinner try their Prix Fixe Menu or any one of their succulent dishes.  I suggest theEscargot or Macaroni Gratin to start.  The Braised Short Ribs are melt in your mouth wonders that will titillate your taste buds.

You can’t go wrong with Le Steak FritesNY Strip Au Poivre or Moules Frites and don’t forget to try the Brussels Sprouts.

The Avenue is a taste experience to savor, but if you just go for cocktails, you’ll be hooked.  Located on the beach you can sit at their magnificent bar (check out the Mrs. Butterworth’s bottle up top) or enjoy a view of the ocean dehors.

Either way, I think the Avenue is a must-try.  Bon Appétit!

Craig’s
292 Princeton Avenue
Brick, NJ 08724
732-295-7929

If you’re down the shore – the Jersey Shore – there’s no better local place than Craig’s.

The food is very good and very eclectic.  You can order anything from a sandwich to a burger to a full prix fixe meal.  It’s open late and you can sit in the dining room or in the bar at any hour.

Craig’s daily specials are delicious.  Just about anything you order will be scrumptious:  the pastas, the steaks, the fish.  If you’re in the mood for a burger try their Peter Luger Burger smothered in onions, Peter Luger steak sauce and cheese.  The Jersey Shore Burger is a must try, complete with pork roll (Taylor Ham if you’re from North Jersey) to make you feel like a local.  The soups are also great.  I like the Shrimp Bisque or Potato Soup.

I’ve never had a disappointing meal there and I’ve been a patron for years.

So next time you’re in my neck of the woods, stop at Craig’s for a casual yet satisfying meal.  Whether it’s for lunch or dinner or the Sunday Country Breakfast, give it a whirl and enjoy.

Angelina’s Ristorante
399 Ellis Street
Staten Island, NY 10307
718-227-2900

http://www.angelinasristorante.com/

When my husband told me that he was taking me out for my birthday, I thought he was going to take me to a French restaurant in Montclair that I was dying to go to.  I was wrong.

A while back we heard about an Italian restaurant called Angelina’s in Staten Island on Brindiamo, Ornella Fado’s restaurant review show.  We fell in love with the atmosphere immediately and Angelina’s became my birthday surprise.

Staten Island is really close to the Jersey Shore.  It took us no time to get there.  At first you think that the ever reliable GPS (cough, cough) is taking you into a creepy industrial area that can’t possibly be the right place, but as you continue down the long, dark road, you discover Angelina’s Ristorante at the very end of the street.

First we were greeted by its super friendly valet parkers who were, let’s say, really cute and personable.  We walked up the stairs and confirmed our reservation for 9:00 then made our way over to a packed bar.  The staff was very accommodating and moved their bar station over so we would have room to stand comfortably.  We ordered two 007s and started looking around.

The bartenders were friendly and genuine even though they were extremely busy.  The clientele was one that I prefer:  slightly mature, Italian, ladies dressed to the nines and upscale.  I felt at home.  WE felt at home.

After polishing off five 007s we were led up to the third floor and seated at our table.  The waiter came over immediately and place napkins in our laps and asked for our drink order.  We requested a wine list and ordered a Francis Coppola’s Director’s Cut Pinot Noir.

When our server came back with an aerator and an aerating carafe I thought I’d died and gone to wine Heaven.  Not only did he aerate and decant the wine but her aerated the sample pour as well!  It was titillating.

With an array on breads placed on the table, some eggplant caponata and a teaser wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano we were ready for a flavor explosion.  I ordered the pasta special as an appetizer:  Garganelli with shrimp, exotic mushrooms, peas and truffle oil.  The flavors were so complex and interesting I savored every bite.  John ordered the Baked Clam Oregonata and the super spicy hot stuffed banana peppers that I must say were delicious.

As a main course I had the bone-in Filet Mignon special with a red wine reduction that rivaled any filet I had ever tasted.  My husband ordered Bistecca alla Siciliana which was lightly coated in bread crumbs oregonata and olive oil, green olives and peperoncini.  This was delightful too and though stuffed, we ordered dessert.

A double espresso and a red velvet cupcake for me.  Coffee and fried banana cheesecake for John.  The cheesecake rocked but the cupcake fell short of my expectations.  It was good but a little dry.  I would definitely order the cheesecake again.

Music was playing from below as we walked down the stairs to head back to Jersey.  The place was still packed and the parking lot, complete with a white Rolls, was jammed as well.  The experience we had at Angelina’s was a wonderful taste orgy for both the mouth and brain.  The food was fabulous and the service impeccable.  The family-runned atmosphere was refreshing and noticeable.

It’s too bad that Angelina’s is not around the corner because I’d be there every night – well, maybe that’s a good thing.  In any case Angelina’s Ristorante gets my vote for food, service and atmosphere.  Try it out.  You won’t regret it.

Due Amici
420 Higgins Avenue
Brielle, New Jersey 08730
732-528-0666

http://www.dueamicibriellenj.com/

This is not your ordinary restaurant or an ordinary restaurant review.  This is the place that I like to call home.  The food is great.  The service is great.  The people are great.  Can you ask for anything more?

The first time I went to Due Amici was a few years ago when it was our friends’ turn to pick a restaurant for dinner.  When Terry & Al said we were going out for Italian, John and I were more than skeptical.  I make Italian food, grew up eating Italian food and consider myself an Italian food snob among other things.

After a few bites of my appetizer I knew that I was in love and kept going back again and again until I became a “regular” around the bar on Higgins Avenue.  It’s a great place for dinner or drinks and apps.  There’s even a Friday night  jam complete with music and dancing.  You have to check it out if you live locally or you are visiting the area.

Some of my favorite off the menu items are:

  • Hot Antipasto for Two:  a traditional hot antipasto with a taste of all your favorites
  • Pasta Fagioli:  garlicky and delicious
  • Seafood Salad:  an array of shrimp, calamari & scungilli in a lovely Italian vinaigrette
  • Sautéed Broccoli Rabe: need I say more?
  • Tortellini Bolognese:  my personal comfort food – delicious
  • Capellini Boscomare:  angel hair with shrimp, arugula, shiitake mushrooms and plum tomatoes
  • Chicken Pepadew:  with pepadew peppers, long-stemmed artichokes, white beans, asparagus in a white wine reduction
  • Veal Chop or Steak Arrabbiata:  Try this spicy wonder with an oreganata crust.

The specials are delicious.  I love their chicken special with portobello mushrooms, sliced sausage in a Madeira reduction sauce served over broccoli rabe.  Due Amici’s cannelloni is a comfort food must taste and the stacked polenta appetizer special is amazing.  The seafood tower with lobster, shrimp, crab and oyster and clams on the half shell is perfect way to start off your dinner.

I dropped in the other day and had a pasta special with linguine, scallops, shrimp and chunks of crabmeat in a Pici-Paci sauce which to my surprise, was very light, not at all heavy.  I can’t wait until they have it again so I can order it.

So take a ride to Brielle New Jersey, sit at the granite bar or at a cozy table, maybe even by the fireplace, order a glass of Pinot Noir or Pinot Grigio and get ready to enjoy a great Italian meal at a great family owned restaurant.  Buon Appetito!

© 2010 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.

Advice From My Mother

I have to say that my mom was 99.9% right about everything.  As much as I hate to admit it, I have to tell the truth.  She was a tough one my mother and had a heart of gold.

Our parents are always trying to save us from ourselves.  They do it because they love us and really do (most of the time) know better.  I didn’t realize that until I was 25 years old (I’m 43 now).  I guess we eventually become our parents and with age realize that it’s not so bad.

I’ve been thinking about all the advice she gave me.  I think about all the crazy and funny things she used to say and I had to put it down on paper – or computer.  I’m sure your parents said similar or even the same things.  I find myself recycling her wisdom as well.

She would say, “Jacq, listen to me.  I’m your mother.”

  • Always wear a girdle.
  • Don’t shit where you eat.
  • Blood is thicker than water.
  • Your kids will stick it up your ass so make sure your marriage comes first.
  • Why would a man want to buy the cow when he gets the milk for free.
  • If you want something done right you have to do it yourself.
  • Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.
  • Be self-sufficient and get a good education.  Never depend on a man to support you.
  • What do you need to have kids for?
  • I’m your mother FIRST and then your friend.
  • Trust no one.
  • Men are stupid.
  • I’m right.  I’m always right.

There are so many more but then I’d be here longer than my ongoing Shoe Shock blog.

Moms are wise, smart, caring, crazy, fun – a little bit of everything.  My mom was.  I know she’s in Heaven keeping busy and probably running the show.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Discourteous Richards: Alive And Well In NJ

I love to drive.  I own a BMW for Pete’s Sake.  They say it’s the Ultimate Driving Machine – and it is.  I love to maneuver up the Garden State Parkway sans traffic, put the petal to the metal and enjoy the ride.

With the top down, my IPOD at full blast I am unstoppable until I am hindered by none other than the Left Lane Dick.

The discourteous Richard:

  1. has no idea he or she is an idiot retarding your progress.
  2. has no clue that it is the law in NJ to keep right and pass left.
  3. is from New York or Pennsylvania – notorious Left Lane Dicks.
  4. is hanging in the left lane on purpose because he or she really is a douchebag.

Nothing makes me road rage more than a taste of a left lane lagger.

I have a 20 minute drive to work door to door and I find myself losing my mind as I try to fly up the highway.  I tailgate.  I scream.  I swear excessively.  I hand gesture and flip the bird.  I drive with my knee.  I pull up next to people and actually yell at them.  I cut them off.  I lose my mind!

When one of my road adversaries gets cocky and thinks he can scare me by tailgating my pristine automobile, I look in the rear view mirror, gesture to him to come closer, swear a few times, then slam on my brakes.  He usually backs off.

I’m tired of being strong-armed by stupid men and women on the road.  I drive like Mario Andretti – not a typical chick – no offense to my gender or any other but STAY OUT OF THE LEFT LANE!

Even if I’m passing on the left doing 95 mph and someone wants to go faster, I move it on over because that’s the way it should be.  Bottlenecking every single lane of the Parkway does nothing but create traffic and cause road rage.

Don’t we have enough of distractions on the road?  We need eyes up our butts and are distracted by screaming kids (not me), loud music, rubber-necking, LLDs and now the GPS.  It’s always so confusing.  It should stand for Go Ahead And Piss Me Off System.  It finds new ways to screw me up while I’m driving but I have found a new use for it.

I Spy.  Remember that game?  You tell me.  What do you see in my picture?  At least it’s good for amusement purposes.

So with all we have to worry about while driving, I wish we could get rid of the Left Lane Dick and push him into extinction because no one should be held back by a jerk off.

You can use that advice in life too.  Good luck.

© 2010 J. H-M and CultureChoc2010.

Enlightened By Life: A List Of “Stuff” I Need To Get Off My Chest

Today so much was made clear to me.  As my shitty month progresses, I keep getting more and more pissed off.  Do you know how that say “It’s better to be pissed off than pissed on”?  Not in this case however.  I’ll take a little urine if I could give up these chest pain riddled, anxiety laden weeks of late.

I need to vent, preach or otherwise – so here we go:

  1. If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.
  2. No matter how much good work you do at your job, you will keep getting screwed over year after year.
  3. Teenagers are horny bodies of hormones bursting at the seams.
  4. A man will always be a man, whether he’s 60 or 6.
  5. Male cats are men too, who skid mark just as much as their human counter parts do.
  6. I am a World Language teacher, not a special ed teacher – I am not that nice of a person..
  7. People sent to install appliances in your home don’t necessarily know what the F they are doing!  I now have a flood.
  8. I hate procrastination but practice it myself.
  9. My mother was always right.  I hate admitting it.
  10. I think I would make an excellent Dominatrix – pain infliction is premium.
  11. I hate phony people.  I wouldn’t want them to kiss my butt with their 2 faces.
  12. Food makes me feel better than alcohol.  Shocking but true.
  13. My intense ambition is often thwarted by people around me with shitty attitudes.
  14. I hate having my bubble burst.
  15. Closure for me would be beating the crap out of certain sub-humans.
  16. I want somebody to take care of ME for a change.  100%.
  17. I don’t mind peeing in a cup.  I just hate bringing the cup up to the nurse.
  18. I actually DO hold back.
  19. It’s better to take a mental health day than to snap like a twig and lose your job.
  20. Summer vacation can’t come fast enough.

So there you have it.  The same raving lunatic’s rants for yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Be well.  I hope my luck gets better!

© J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010, 2010.

GRAVY. Mmmm, Mmmm Good.

Gravy is my comfort food.  When I talk about gravy, I’m talking about the RED stuff you put on macaroni – not brown gravy.  If you’re a North Jersey Italian-American, GRAVY is where it’s at.

I was always taught that tomato sauce comes out of a can.  What you put into that tomato sauce makes it gravy.  I firmly believe this with all of my heart.  There was nothing better than a pot of my Grandma’s gravy (or my Mom’s) cooking on the stove on Saturday night and all morning Sunday.  We had our Sunday dinner at 1 pm in our house and the whole house smelled incredible.  Sunday was always macaroni day for my family.

On occasion I remember my mom making roast beef or some other dish on Sunday.  My dad and I were always very disappointed when we didn’t feast on Rotelli or Shells with a big piece of hot Italian sausage and a delicious meatball.  It was torture.

On Saturday night Mommy and Grandma would make the meatballs and brown all the meat in the oven.  My dad and I hung around the kitchen waiting for the meatballs to be ready.  We would grab a small Dixie cup and plop one of those bad boys atop and eat it like a hot ice cream cone.  When Grandma made the Brasciole I would steal the Pignoli nuts that she rolled inside and eat them by the handfuls.  My mother always had to hide the bottle.

Then the gravy-process started in that giant white, porcelain pot set on top of 2 grates so the gravy didn’t burn.  The browning of the garlic rocked as it wafted through the house and the neighborhood (if the windows were open).  Neither used onion or tomato paste (I do) so spices, herbs, crushed tomatoes, water, grated cheese, sugar and the magic ingredient “pepperoni” were all tossed in the pot, brought a strong simmer and cooked for an hour or so before adding all that yummy browned meat.

I watched like a ravenous dog waiting for a treat to drop on the floor as I stared at the CREATION.  Meatballs, hot sausage, sweet sausage, steak, pork bones (spareribs) and sometimes even a piece of veal were blended together to form, quite frankly, a mouth-watering masterpiece.  My mouth is watering now.  Fortunately I learned how to make a kick-ass gravy and meatballs to boot.  I actually went back to my great-grandmother’s recipe and made it my own.  When my husband tells me that I make the best meatballs and gravy that he’s ever eaten, it makes me glow with pride and happiness.

I miss the days when we spent every Sunday having a family dinner in the middle of the afternoon.  I miss that giant bowl of pasta and an equally giant plate of meat.  I miss the good Italian bread and the salad that we ate with or after our meal.  Those were the days.

It’s before everyone got too busy to make time for family.  Weekly quality time with a family who loved you and who you loved back.  The older I get, the more I long for those days as there are more and more of us in the earth than on it anymore.

Every time I smell my gravy cooking on the stove, it fills me with wonderful memories and actually transports me back in time.  I see it.  I hear it. I smell it and I taste it.
Gravy IS my comfort food.
GRAVY is my time machine.

GRAVY IS RED.

© 2010 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.

Bailey The Cat, The Wonderful, Wonderful Cat

I grew up having dogs all my life.  I was a total dog-person and never thought that cats were pets.  I always found them so aloof and anti-social that I never wanted a feline as a companion.

Despite the fact that I am highly allergic to cats, my husband brought home a stray cat that he found in Elizabeth.  This black and white fur ball was living under a pallet where he worked and the guys there would feed him and play with him every day.

In November John decided to bring the histamine home even though I told him not to.  He called me and told me to pick up food and a litter box because he was bringing the cat home PERIOD.

When John arrived with the little cutie, he was small, furry and absolutely adorable.  I fell in love with him within minutes and 8 years later he’s my boy – which was actually a surprise when we took him to the doctor’s.  His name was originally Tia Maria.  Oooops!

Bailey is a one-of-a-kind pet.  He’s smart, beautiful, mischievous and spiteful like a spoiled rotten child.  I think he’s part human.

My kitty is notoriously spoiled.  I know it’s my fault but he’s my baby.  Shouldn’t pets be spoiled?  It’s that unconditional love thing that they offer.  When he wants something, he lets you know it and if he doesn’t get it, watch out.

Bailey is unique.  He doesn’t like to be alone, hates when we go on vacation, wants HIS way ASAP and gets really mad when I come home late from work.

Example # 1
When Mommy goes upstairs, Bailey follows.  When Mommy is on the couch, Bailey’s on my lap.  Wherever I go, he goes.

Example # 2
When I went to France for a month my dad was the grandcat-sitter.  He treated my 2 babies like a king and a queen and spoiled them even further (if that’s possible).  Bailey ignored me when I came home then promptly peed in my suitcase.

When we vacationed in Myrtle Beach he was so angry that in the middle of the night, he emptied my purse of all its contents and used it as his personal port-a-potty.

Example # 3
On Saturday morning Bailey was hungry at 8 am.  He jumped in the bed, walked on us, bit us HARD, meowed and just sat there staring.  I got up to go to the bathroom and promptly told him that he shouldn’t be strong-arming me and I was going back to bed.  I suggested he do the same.  I went back to bed and a few minutes later I heard a noise.  When I got up I discovered yellow liquid pooled in the bottom of the sink and my tube of collagen swimming  atop.  Bailey!

Example # 4
On Friday I came home really late from work.  Eight hours later than scheduled in fact.  When I got home he was waiting by the door, crying and anxious to eat.  I fed him and Peaches (my girl cat that we adopted later) and went upstairs to change my clothes.  A stop in the bathroom revealed that Bailey had no peed in my sink, but POOPED.  Yes, poop.  WTH?

These are Bailey antics – just a few examples.  My cat believes that HE is the KING of the house and frankly, is treated like one.  He bullies my girl cat incessantly and even though she’s older, he knows that he was here first.  He is the BOSS.  I feel so sorry for Peaches sometimes.

Bailey is a character.  Most people who don’t like cats, like Bailey.  Me?  I’m a convert.  My cat runs to the door when the bells rings, lets me know if there’s a commotion outside and never lets a bug or a mouse leave the house unscathed.  He’s such an amazing hunter.  He catches flies by jumping in the air and snatching them in his paws and if he smells an intruder, he will stay up all night guarding the house – after a nightly perimeter search of course.

He’s an acrobat, an expert hunter, a mountain climber, a tightrope walker and high wire act, a guard cat, a cuddler, a comforter and a tough, little fur ball who brightens my day.  When I’m upset and crying, no matter where he is in the house, he comes over, jumps on my lap and kisses me.  He’s more in tune to me than most people.

That’s what I call love.  That’s who I call LOVE… Bailey the cat.

© 2010 J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010.

A Raving Lunatic’s Rants Of The Day: Part Two

This weekend was a boring yet stressful weekend.  I stayed in the entire time (except for Friday) cleaning and cooking and being a good wife and kitty mom.  On Saturday, my husband electrocuted himself (low-voltage) in the laundry room trying to disconnect the dryer.  I heard a loud scream, ran down the stairs at top speed almost falling and saw my guy in the laundry room with blood spurting out of his hand everywhere.  It was so scary.  I felt like fainting from all the red.

Being the typical man that he is, he opted out of an ER visit for stitches or tetanus shot despite my urging.  After the initial shock, we went on with our “stay-at-home” weekend.  I worked out.  I made Sangria.  I chilled after housework.  All was well.

After courageously stepping on the scale Sunday morning, I decided that I HAVE TO STAY on my diet!  Everything in moderation time.   In honor of my impending suffering, I cooked a nice linguine in white clam sauce so I could “get it out of my system”.

I knew I was going to be cranky but had no idea how crabby I would actually become.  My poor students.  I was a drill sergeant today tolerating NOTHING.  When I woke up this morning, I felt refreshed – little did I know what the day had in store for me.

First I don’t know what took me so long to get ready (I was in fashion-crisis today), but I took a little longer than usual.  I jumped into my car to discover – guess what? – no gas again!  Already late, I had to stop at the Gulf on the way to the GSP and put in $15 to tide me over until I hit a cheaper gas station.  I raced up the parkway thwarted by every left lane dick in the tri-state area but finally made it to work with enough time to make coffee and eat breakfast before my home room got there.

The ride to work was a little bumpy, so I checked my tires in the parking lot to see if they were ok.  They weren’t.  I had a giant bubble in my tire.  Damn low-profile tires!  Now I had to call and get a price – and quickly.  Two tires at the BMW dealer cost me over $600 last time.  I was hoping for a cheaper option, so I made some calls and finally got a price of $230.  A bargain.  Sure.

Next I had to postpone home instruction because I didn’t want to ride around on a bubbled tire.  I e-mailed the mom and switched it to another day this week.  I couldn’t wait for the day to end.  I drove over to Red Bank (with fingers crossed) to order a Whirlpool Steam Dryer.  Of course, there was a 3 week wait from the factory.  My luck or lack thereof.  We tried 2 more brands and finally hit a bullseye with a GE.  It costs a little more but delivery on Saturday was the cherry on top (a good cherry).

Afterwards I was on my way over to see Alex to find out if it was alright to drive on my bubble.  The phone rang and it was my husband.  His car broke down 5 minutes from his work (an hour away).  That meant that AAA would have to tow it back down the shore and no work for him tonight.  OMG!  What was happening?

Happily they told me that I could drive on the tire (no donut for me) but sadly under 95 mph.  I stopped at Shell for gas and shot over to the parkway south.

Driving home I was thinking that it had to be Murphy’s Law or a giant black cloud looming over my head.  An expensive day in the life of a teacher who only gets 3 more paychecks until September 15th.  Maybe a summer job?  The hubs doesn’t want me to bartend or be social in any way.  Maybe I can start silk-screening tee-shirts earlier than planned.  What would be a good job for me?

A summer job where I can set my own hours and pay?  Lemme brainstorm…  Ah……

A whore perhaps?  Just kidding – I think.

© J. H-M. and CultureChoc2010, 2010.