Uncle Jerry’s Top Ten

My uncle and I share a birthday!

10. If you need it, chances are he’s got it stored somewhere.

9. Alpacas are useful pets.

8. If you don’t have a kitten in your shirt pocket, you’re wasting a pocket.

7. He knows every single way there is to drive from Texas to Pennsylvania.

6. You can always build another animal pen, so what’s another dog or cat?

5. Dancing with the Stars should be on everyone’s weekly calendar.

4. Always have a spare car.

3. Family is so not about just blood ties.

2. He invented the whole patience is a virtue thing.

1. Me and mine are so lucky to be loved by him.

And now October starting with Marc

One more for catchup. Seeing how I was with Marc on his birthday, I think I can be forgiven a brief delay.

10. Surprise parties are really only a working theory.
9. Soccer is the only sport in which you can cheer for a non-Pittsburgh team.
8. Fly fishing is not just for old men or the 19th century.
7. That masonry training is going to pay off one of these days.
6. Potatoes count as a vegetable.
5. He is always older than me.
4. German is really a very useful language.
3. He introduces us as his family. Because we are.
2. You just have to laugh when he does.
1. He appreciates other people always.

Double List

So September was a long and crazy month. I forgot birthdays! So Nitolas and his mom, my cousin/sister, Tee Tee.

10. Permission is a relative term even at two.
9. Do all the homework! Now!
8. We should be Project Runway judges together. You know, outside the living room.
7. You can, in fact, be too thin.
6. All fish should aspire to be yummy sushi.
5. He will be the first to buy a real lightsaber.
4. He’s made being the middle child into an art form.
3. The same goes for overachieving.
2. If you are in the hospital, pray he is your nurse. You will be well taken care of.
1. There is nothing like the family bond being reinforced with friendship.

10. If you can still lift your hand from the table, then you aren’t wearing enough rings.
9. She’s a family member I trust to do my hair.
8. Daytime television is more fun in her company especially if it involves ugly wedding dresses.
7. She will always come to the rescue whether it involves eyebrows or car engines.
6. We share an anniversary and are not above celebrating in Atlantic City.
5. I really think they invented the Keurig for her.
4. She can make a two room cabin sleep 15 comfortably.
3. She celebrates everything her sons do even if it scares the bejeebus out of her.
2. My kids squeal with delight whenever I say we are going to see Tee Tee Tina.
1. In this case, c-o-u-s-i-n spells sister.

Will’s Top Ten

The last of my siblings! I love you so much, Will.

10. I like to think that being raised as the only boy in a house with three women has helped him with the ladies.

9. Learning to play a kick ass guitar is a way more useful life skill than anything from senior health.

8. Jumping from a shed roof onto a trampoline while on your snowboard is totally a good idea that will not age your mother at all.

7. The Princess Bride or The Mighty Ducks is the more useful movie to have memorized. Discuss.

6. OK, yes, Peter Jackson’s Tolkien movies are amazing, but do they contain the song “Frodo of the Niiiiiiii-ne Fingers and the Ring of Doooooom”? No. They should.

5. Texts are always better emphasized with a well placed gif.

4. Did you know that road signs in Athens are in Greek? Also so are the names of hotels.

3. Making everyone laugh when it is needed the most makes you a pretty terrific person.

2. Being a human jungle gym may make for a sore train ride, but it makes you the world’s best uncle.

1. Working hard at what you love is the true success.

Wyatt’s Top Ten

My brother is 16. I know. I don’t believe it either.

10. He made up his own swear word at two. Shushy to all of you.

9. Clippies do not belong on the banister, Aggots.

8. Piñatas are the devil, especially Spongebob ones.

7. The MMORPG you play is totally more important than what religion you are.

6. Once a brony… No wait… Scratch that.

5. If your hair insists in being a white man’s ‘fro, then you might as well own it.

4. What happens at the beach, stays at the beach.

3. A sense of humor will take you far in life, especially if it is based mostly on sarcasm and snark.

2. He’s a really smart guy who I am glad to be related to.

1. His niece and nephews think he is lots of fun.

Jessica’s Top Ten

This one’s for my sister-in-law. Happy Birthday, Guess-i-ca!

10. iPhones don’t float, but that doesn’t mean a couple of three-year-olds won’t try and disprove physics.

9. You can totally look glamorous while giving birth at least according to all pictures.

8. Hosting a party is a solemn duty that one should not take lightly. It takes a lot of work to have fun.

7. Life isn’t worth it if you don’t do it in style.

6. It should also always have a theme.

5. All the better if chocolate and/or pink are involved.

4. Run everywhere.

3. Nicknames come from a place of love.

2. She gives more than she ever even thinks about getting.

1. Once she makes you family, it’s for life, and you are blessed.


Preparing for the Inevitable

This post is slightly inspired by Mandy, who shares my pain.

Knowing an old friend’s time is coming to an end is not an easy thing to accept.

This, my friends, is The Awesome Leather Bag.


Since I found it in a Wilson Leather outlet, and my mother sneakily bought it for me for Christmas circa 1997 or ’98, it has served not only as a simple purse, but a college backpack, an overnight bag, a laptop bag, and even a diaper bag. I’m pretty sure it has an undetectable extension charm placed on it.

I have had other purses. I went through a fairly significant Vera Bradley phase, but I always came back to TALB.

As you can see from the photos, it does not have an impervious charm on it. The lining has been shredding for years. One of the zippers has a hole that makes it stick. The clasp does not stay shut anymore. I once caught the strap in a locker, and it ripped slightly. It has held up, but it won’t forever.

The TALB won’t last forever.

I am pretty sure I can count its life in months, not years. I don’t want to bury my head in the sand and ignore the signs. I want to be proactive.

I need to start thinking about a replacement.

This will not be an easy task. I’m pretty sure Hermione Granger has not opened an etsy shop. So I have been looking.

I started a Pinterest board.

Here is the criteria.

It must have a crossbody strap.

It needs to be bigger than a clutch but smaller than a messenager bag. (TALB is 9x9x3.)

I would prefer a neutral color, but that is not a deal breaker.

There needs to be organization, pockets, and dividers including an easy access one for my phone.

I want to pay around $50. I would go up to $100, but then it needs to be a birthday present request.

So that leads me this: I am asking you, my dear readers (I hope there are more than John and Dann. At least one female would be nice.), for any suggestions. Do you have a go-to bag that you love as much as I love TALB? Have you seen one online that might fit my needs?

Thank you for helping me through this trying time.

Dann’s Top Ten

So the downside to a relaxing beach vacation: I forgot a very important top ten birthday list for like the one person who reads my blog AND was on the vacation with me. Sigh.

10. When you need a shovel, he has a shovel.

9. Also fire gloves. Also pretty much anything you will need to deal with a fire.

8. He can’t watch the Doctor Who episode, Blink, when alone.

7. He haz all the body heat.

6. He is the opposite of a mogwai. Feed him when he is hungry, not matter what time it is.

5. Do not touch his piles. Even if they are of ten year old receipts.

4. Science is fucking cool, right?

3. He’s a firefighter. As in he runs into the fire when everyone should be running out because, you know, someone has to put it out.

2. He’s a proud twin dad.

1. He made me introduce him to my best friend, and he’s been making her happy for 15(ish) years.

Anne’s Top Ten

Anne, the girl who engineers all the things, has a birthday today!

10. If you need it done, find a Girl Scout.

9. Having a mini van in college will make you totally popular.

8. Cook with wine whenever possible.

7. Gluten and dairy free foods can be tasty. She will totally make them tasty. Cross my heart.

6. If you have a camp fire, you can cook anything. Anything. Even a pie. A whole pie like at Thanksgiving.

5. Never fear an angel turd.

4. The structure of a building is way more interesting than the stories of the people in it.

3. Best friends are important. For instance one might say to you, He is totally cute. You so should go after him.(No quotes. I paraphrase.) And you end up happily married.

2. Being the girl among the boys takes balls.

1. Her bravery in facing all the things in life awes me.


Alex’s Top Ten

I AM THE WORST SISTER EVER!!!!!!!!!!! Ain’t nobody got time for that.


10. Chores can always be negotiated.

9. Wear your clothing however it is comfortable. That may mean no clothing. That may mean a bathing suit as a hat.

8. Wendy’s fries do not get dipped in ketchup. They belong dipped in a frosty.

7. Waiting tables is an art form.

6. So is teaching six-year-olds to read.

5. If you think it is clean, chances are she can make it cleaner.

4. Motherhood is not for sissies.

3. Neither is aunt-hood.

2. Sisterhood, however, makes both of those things way easier.

1. I could not survive without her in my life.