By Definition, Curse Words, Fuck You, FUN!, Language, Life, Opinion, Rules To Live By, Truck Drivers, Vocabulary

Like a Truck Driver

**WARNING: This post is filled with all sorts of foul language. I am advising discretion to those of you who are sensitive to the vulgarities of those who swear like truck drivers. This might not be the post for you. Truck drivers, of course, are welcome.

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I have always had a potty mouth. I have no idea how I got it, since my parents are quite religious, but I got it, and it’s here to stay. A potty mouth paired with a censor-less brain-to-mouth internal wiring system and intense sarcasm can sometimes lead to catastrophe, or some really meaningful and hilarious sidebars.

Once I fell and skinned my knee on the concrete. I yelled “SHIT!” My sister heard me and blackmailed me for YEARS over that. One day, when I was a teenager, she said, “Do this, or I am going to tell mom what you said.” I replied, “Oh fucking hell, Mom, I said “shit” ten years ago when I fell and skinned my knee. Would you like to see the scar?” Then we all just laughed and laughed.

I grew up climbing trees and playing any sport that had the word “ball” in it (I love balls). I even ran track for a season so I wouldn’t be bored. Sports as a female teen were always interesting. You learn about sex on every bus ride to away games, and by the ripe age of 15 have a general knowledge of all of the bad words, their definitions, and proper usage.

By the time I went to college, I was a professional “verbal truck driver.” My very first class in college was an English course with a very attractive gay man. I can’t remember his name, but I am certain that I was in love with him, regardless of his non-desire for me (that is generally the way it goes). I like to think that it was because his first lecture was all about the bad words, and why they aren’t bad at all, they only sound bad.

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He started his lecture by saying the “N” word. I cringe every time I hear that word. It is ugly and harsh and gross… no one should EVER use it. Then he said a whole bunch of other bad words, which made us all giggle and blush a little. He asked us what all these words had in common (minus their vulgar meanings, of course). He went on to explain to us 18 year old champions of foul language that curse words don’t necessarily mean bad things, but they are concocted with sounds that are harsh and brash to the ears. They also take on the flavor of what you are saying and how you are saying it.

The SH and T in SHIT keep the word short and hard, as do the F and CK in FUCK, as well as the B and TCH in BITCH. You can see where he was going with all of this very interesting information. Then he came back to the “N” word. He explained the difference between using the word with and ER and an A at the end. By ending the word with an A, you have a “friendly greeting.” By using it with an ER at the end, you are a fucking racist. Again, I find this word to make my ears burn and wish it never existed. I am particularly turned off when adolescents are using it, listening to music with it in the lyrics, and singing along to them without a second thought.

The use of harsh, short letters really make all the difference. For instance, compare the following by saying them aloud:

SHIT! vs RATS!

FUCK YOU vs SCREW YOU (please use a Schwarzenegger accent)!

DAMN IT! vs DARN IT!

ASSHOLE! vs MORON!

Yes, they are all excellent words that can successfully be used appropriately, but some are stronger than others.

An interesting side-note… Learning about the effects of the sounds changed my writing in many ways, allowing for subtle hints of joy or anger, even sarcasm. Alliteration is a powerful friend, you Seven Sided Son-of-a-Bitch.

Anyway, I had never experienced a classroom setting where there were so many (or any) curse words used, but also dissected and recombined to affect meaning and level of offense or emotion. Needless to say, I loved college from that first class. My mind was blown wide open. I realized that cursing was okay, and was used as a poignant display of emotions, whether it be a raging anger or dubious excitement. Sometimes cursing can also be used as pain reliever, like when I scraped my knee as a child. I try not to curse around kids or old people, out of common sense and respect, respectively, but being able to hold these words in when they come out so naturally is like zipping your lips and then trying to swallow the key… it’s just not possible.

There are ways to curse excellently and ways to curse like a douche. For instance, in Star Trek: Generations (1994) when Data utters his first expletive, “Oh Shit!” … That is genius! Not only is Data an android and has no feelings or use for such vocabulary, he has also never used a curse word ever! It’s so unexpected that it’s funny.

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For a bad example of poor curse word usage, please watch the character Deb in any Dexter episode. She is terrible at cursing. It’s so forced and awkward. It’s like the actor was originally a ballerina and has never used profanity before in her life, and was cast to play the part of a tom-boy potty mouth super cop. Um, no. It’s just plain bad.

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I have usually worked places where cursing was a norm. Working in factories and workrooms, the girls curse just as much (if not more) than the guys do. Even the sweet blonde from Georgia will slide and angry “Fuck!” in there every once in a while. I even once went to an interview, where the owner was cursing up a storm. I remember thinking, “hmmm, I might actually like it here.” Of course the cursing isn’t directed at anyone, but tossed into the universe. Like, “Shit, I just cut the shit out of my fucking finger!” or “Fuck this shit!” As long as those kinds of negative statements are offset by “Shit! That looks great!” and “Fucking hell, this is the shit!” then the energy in the universe can keep a (somewhat) dynamic equilibrium.

I find cursing to be self healing. When I jab my toe or crack my elbow on something sharp, cursing helps me emotionally and physically present that pain to the world. It helps me cope with a pain that feels like it may never go away. I also find that cursing at objects makes them do what I want. For instance, when I am at work trying to pry loose a fabric that needs to be put to work, I pull and tug and say, “Come on, you fucking fuck!” and just like magic, the roll pulls out. Name calling is also effective in these situations. When called a slut, the fabric responds in a similar manner.

Whoever said “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” probably never got pelted with a sharp, hurtful “FUCK YOU.” I have a  stockpile of those in my “emotional cursing arsenal” saved for just the right moment when I need to let someone know exactly how I feel about them. While I do not always intentionally throw it out there to act as a dagger, it is  certainly expelled from my lips with a force reserved specifically for causing pain. Sorry (but also probably not sorry because the person, most likely, fucking deserves it).

My favorite curse word is FUCK, as you can probably tell from the amount of F-bombs dropped already. To me, it is the most versatile of curse words. It is an extremely passionate word. You can bring someone down (Fuck You!) or rile someone up (That’s fucking awesome!). You can express anger ( I’m not a fucking moron!). You can also use it to let things go (Fuck it! (which was my personal motto from 2002-2011)).

My least favorite word of all time, besides the “N” word, is C*NT. I can’t even write it. The “C” word should be reserved for situation where it’s use is absolutely necessary. A nice alternative to the “C” word (but just as vulgar and ear exploding) is C*NT’s dainty cousin, TWAT. A gal pal of mine uses this word, and she’s so sweet that she makes it sound like a term of endearment. How charming! C U Next Tuesday is also a sneaky way of throwing some shade at an asshole.

When my niece was about 1 year old, we were in church and she dropped the toy she was playing with. She yelled, “SHIT!” and bent down top pick it up. I said, “Excuse me, Gabby?” She looked me dead in the eyes and said “Shit.” in the most serious and sternest way possible. Being the cool aunt, I brushed it off with a smile and a high five (that’s my girl!). The church ladies did not approve. I didn’t give a fuck.

I have tried to rationalize having a  swear jar, but I’d be really broke all of the time with a huge vacation fund. Perhaps that is the only way I will ever save money to travel the world. Then I can learn how to swear in other languages, which may come in handy if I , say, stub a toe in Spain, or smash my kneecap in China.

My dear readers, I leave you with THIS.

And please remember, there is always room for a fucking swear word, just please curse responsibly.

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The Hiatus

Thank the fucking stars that winter is, at last, over. For the most part, so is Spring. Although Springtime in New York City is generally a week of really great weather followed by either cold and rainy weather or hot and humid days that will never end because your office has yet to turn on the Air Conditioning. I read my last post, dated October 13, 2014, and wonder why the hell I was ever so excited for the end of summer 2014. I must also apologize, once again, for my absence. I had a few complaints from friends and their mom’s wondering if I might be dead. I am not dead, although after the past few cold, cold months, I feel a little corpse-like. With June upon us now I am basking in the hot, humid sun, getting ready to complain about different awful weather.

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I am cold just looking at this.

So, what have I been up to? October was an amazing month of visitors and travel. I stuck my feet in the Pacific Ocean as well as the Gulf of Mexico (both destination wedding related). Captain Clam and I visited 5 airports in the span of 10 days that month. We were exhausted and happy from adventure and catching up with old friends and family. Plus, I got to see Northern California, and I cannot wait to get back!

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Pacific Coast Highway

November was another month of bustle, traveling to Virginia for Thanksgiving, and celebrating my 33rd year. I am getting old. Fuck! Captain Clam and I adopted a foster dog, Nena, who slowly made us realize that we don’t want a dog, or probably children… eek!

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Hey! Watch your hands buddy!

December was a little more peaceful. We celebrated at home and cooked for about 13 friends on Christmas Day. We invented Bronx Fries, which is just essentially asparagus wrapped in bacon and scorched with garlic. We spent the New Year in my old Loft building with my good Friend Paul and his girlfriend, Ebonie.

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An extremely accurate representation of Ebonie & Paul from the Guest Book.

January is a month that I have forgotten most of. All I can remember was my New Year Resolution of replacing my mascara tube, which I have managed to procrastinate for 5 1/2 months. February is the worst month of them all, and this winter really gave it to us. If the temperature was above 20 degrees, I experience some sort of relief, like maybe I didn’t need to bundle up so much. But then the wind would blow and I’d immediately regret not wearing a butt scarf (essentially just a scarf that is tied around the butt).

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The First Day of Spring 2015, New York City.

At some point, we were able to find a home for a little kitten that our neighbor found. She had been smashed up a bit and needed some serious snuggling. Our friend Josh, who is the biggest softy ever, came by in the middle of the night, serenaded her with music on a broken guitar, and fell in love. He took her home that night and named her Prudence.

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Contrary to popular belief, Captain Clam and I are NOT an animal rescue!

During the winter, I became bored and switched my instagram name a zillion times. I settled on CommutersOnTheGreenLine, and have dedicated the majority of my posts to stalking strangers on the 4, 5, and 6 trains. Follow Me!

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February 19, 2015

In early March, I found myself shopping for a dress for an old friend’s funeral. That sucked more than I ever thought anything ever could possibly suck. The joy of March was driving down to MD to drop off the foster dog to her new owner, Rich. We (and by “we” I mean “the kitties”) finally regained control over the apartment. Hooray! We were also blessed with a trip to Wisconsin to visit the Captain’s Family Farm and B&B for his dad’s 70th Birthday. If you are ever in Wisconsin, in the little town of La Farge, please stop in and visit Trillium Cottage B&B. It is one of the most magical places I have ever been to and I can’t wait to get back there (they have miniature donkeys!).

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See? Magic!

May proved to be the busiest month yet, with almost every weekend spent out of town. Captain Clam and I went to Long Island for Mother’s Day and a spectacular family reunion where both of my sisters and their kids (and husbands) were gathered in one place, talking loudly with intense accents. At one point my dad pulled us aside and told us that my mom hasn’t looked this happy in a long time. I looked over to see her playing monkey in the middle with two of my nephews. She was giggling in her usual tickled fashion and was completely kicking their little butts at the game. She was genuinely, unabashedly happy.

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That is one Happy Momma!

The following weekend, one of my Best Pals since forever got married in Baltimore, so we road tripped out there and Airbnb’d it 2 blocks from where the Baltimore riots had taken place a few weeks earlier (Captain Clam and I are gluttons for adventure). Of course I cried at the wedding because I am a wimp, but Elyse BFF was certainly the prettiest bride since Cleopatra married Mark Anthony (or since J-Lo Married Marc Anthony…).

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Meet the Meyers!

I would also like to take this time to brag about what a hunk my Clam is in a suit!

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The cutest clam in town!

Memorial Day Weekend was spent in the woods camping at Clarence Fahnestock State Park, as an early Birthday Gift to the Clam. He’ll be 32 in a few weeks! The last weekend was spent prepping for a Jumble Sale that we have been organizing with some friends in our Community, presented by the South Bronx Yard Exchange and hosted by the Mott Haven Bar. The Sale coincides with the Mott Haven’s killer Brunch, so feel free to come by for the sale (June 6 & 7) and stay for some Eggs Benedict and Bloody Mary Specials!

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Subliminal Message.

So, what’s coming up for these summer months? Well, June is filling up with the Jumble Sale, Shakespeare in the Park, Groupons for a Yankees Game, Clam’s Birthday, an illegal rooftop garden, and a bunch of other blog posts that I have had in the works for a very long time. As promised, Like a Truck Driver is set to be published within the next week or so, and I am working on another gem The Noise Hole to keep you entertained while you are supposed to be doing paper work or checking emails at your boring job. Early July boasts an epic camping trip in New Hampshire and Acadia Nation Park in Maine, so that should keep my brain from exploding for a little bit longer. Stay tuned!

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small joy: another 40 days

When I started this next 40 days, I was considering not doing this project anymore. I was bummed out about all sorts of different things, like my job, my family, my life… and was just feeling especially down on myself (I am my worst critic). Then Captain Clam told me that he was inspired by my Small Joy posts to make a conscious effort to do one good thing a day. So, I once again felt obligated to trudge on with the project. I hate to write it that way, but that’s how I am feeling some days. It is nice to know, however, that these small little specs of my life can affect my readers, even my special little Clam.

So here we go again on this journey. I hope these next 40 days bring you joy.

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Day 81: House guests from Wisconsin.

Day 82: Getting caught in the rain.

Day 83: Double Date Picnic in Central Park.

Day 84: Going out to  “move the truck” to the other side of the street and ending up in Connecticut.

Day 85: THIS example of joyful living.

Day 86: Took 2 hours to almost get home and Captain Clam picked my up from 125th street, then our super neighbors came over with surprise pork chops!

Day 87: Received a photo update on Max. He is thriving in his new home! yay!

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Day 88: Talking to my sister.

Day 89: Finally starting that art project I have been meaning to get to.

Day 90: Discovering a half bag of uneaten all natural licorice in my purse!

Day 91: Getting hit on by the cute guy behind the cold cut counter. Ooh la la!

Day 92: Watching the sunset after a rainstorm.

Day 93: Woke up after dreaming about being in a pet store…for the entire night! Captain Clam and I adopted bunnies and kittens and a dog name Hubert. Best dream ever!

Day 94: A new dress.

Day 95: Farmer’s market flower shopping for Saturday gardening.

Day 96: Sleeping in past 8am.

Day 97: Feeling ridiculously sexy for no reason.

Day 98:  Receiving mail.

Day 99: Dinner Date with wine and oysters.

Day 100: Helping a neighbor with groceries and getting an ice pop in return!

Day 101: World War Z.

Day 102: Almost burning the apartment down warming up taco shells = NEW TOASTER OVEN!

Day 103: Ran into Ice T at the Bronx Ignites Street Fair.

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Day 104: Netflix Binge OITNB!

Day 105: A Strangers “Good Morning.”

Day 106: Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, and a House Guest.

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Shenanigans.

Day 107: The hottest day of the Spring.

Day 108: Inadvertent half day at work.

Day 109: Getting my floor repaired, and that moldy leak in the bathroom (at last!).

Day 110: Helping a stranded driver push his car out of traffic.

Day 111: Greasy Diner Food.

Day 113: Talking to my dad about his flower pots.

Day 114: Petting a puppy first thing in the morning!

Day 115: Six “Good Morning’s” before I got to the train this morning.

Day116: Captain Clam’s Birthday!

Day 117: Butt Dialing My Sister.

Day 118: Waking up to a clean apartment and coming home to the best house guests ever!

Day 119: Leaving a bagel with cream cheese for a homeless person sleeping on the street.

Day 120: Watching a lady talk to and feed the squirrels in Union Square.

Have 40 more days passed already? For a while there I was too bummed out to do this everyday and kept having to go back and try to remember something amazing. Then I decidedly got my shit together, and life somehow became a little easier. I also started to follow Captain Clam’s lead (which you can see some of in these past 40 days), and started bringing small joys to the lives of other people.

How do you bring joy to your world?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Road Trip: King George, VA

My biggest sister has a little slice of Horsie Heaven down in Va, where the Potomac River separates Maryland from Virginia. A few times a year, captain Clam and I hop on a Megabus and clunk our way  down to DC where Annie and Jeff pick us up in the middle of the night. Since being blessed with Dino Gadget (pictured way down below), we have abandoned the luxuries of the Megabus and decided to clunk down there at our own leisure.

The trip was planned for a few weeks, since we had been talking about heading down for a little R&R and Junk Shopping. We had visited my family the previous week and were bringing a little surprise down to VA. His name is Max.

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Maximus Spero Beuche

Friday was such a gross day, but we knew we wanted to spend an entire day in VA, and not have to worry about getting up early to make the trek. As I came home from work, I could tell how bad the weather would be based on how low the planes were coming into LaGuardia. It felt like you could just pull the aircraft out of the sky, which was kinda awesome.

We headed out around 7pm on Friday. And, as dictated by luck, the skies opened up as soon as we hit the NJ Turnpike. Between apocalyptic downpour and traffic from a “lane merge” it took much longer than expected to get anywhere. By the time we finally stopped to rest, we were about and hour and a half behind schedule. The line for starbucks was it’s own traffic jam, so I opted for Burger King coffee. I also purchased the BEST postcard for my parents. It had a giant red pepper on it. Who knew that New Jersey was known for it’s red peppers!

After the horror show that is the NJ TPKE finally ended, we zoomed over the Delaware Memorial Bridge and skirted towards Baltimore and through that cool little tunnel on 895A. The sky had started to clear and a big, delicious Waning Gibbous framed in storm clouds shone through, lighting the way for us. The moon looked like a giant flower petal in the sky, waiting to be plucked. The stars started coming out, too. It’s been too long since I have seen a star that isn’t an airplane.

There’s a funny thing about driving for so long at night. The dark tends to play tricks on tired eyes. We were cruising down 301 and I swore that a yield sign was a 7′ tall deer. It was moving and prancing and I panicked at the thought of it darting in from of the truck. But it was, seriously, just a sign rattling in the breeze. When I did see a deer, I pointed to it and asked the Captain if it was real. He said that he didn’t see anything. I am questioning my sanity.

We rolled down Annie’s 1/2 mile long dirt driveway in the middle of the woods just a little before 2am. Max was amazing in the car and snuggled with the Clam most of the way. Of course, I got to drive the full 7 hours, which was a first for me. I was exhausted and somehow ridiculously proud for making the entire ride behind the wheel. We went  to bed immediately and slept like rocks sleeping in a rock pile.

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The Beuche Farm, King George, VA

We “slept in” until about 8:15, and woke up to a screaming nephew and a dog that really had to go pee.  Ann was out on a trail ride, so my niece offered to drive us around to some of the local antique malls so we could find some junk to bring back to New York City. If you read my post entitled Sixteen Years Ago Today, you will understand how close my niece and I are. She is just so cool. Jeff took the top and windows of her Bright yellow Jeep (name: Jessica), and we flew all over King George with a 16 year old at the wheel. She is actually a very good driver, just needs to be a little more patient when shifting into 4th gear.

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Teenager at the wheel!

Our first stop was Wal-Mart. I don’t usually patronize WM because I don’t believe in how they treat their employees, there are no WM’s in the City, and Captain Clam is banned for life. I reluctantly went anyway… and spent $80… on clothing. Who am I?

Our next stop was the Discount Tobacco Center in the Wal-Mart parking Lot. Captain Clam can smoke under water. Crazy, right?

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Next, Gabby took us up and down 301 to all the antique shops. We weren’t looking for anything in particular, but had our hopes set on coming home with some sort of sofa or settee for our living room. Our Fancy Futon needed to be moved to the second bedroom to accommodate some house guests the following weekend (although Captain Clam and I ended up sleeping on it), and we wanted to set up a nice sitting area, since we don’t have a TV and futons are for college kids.

We ended up at A Unique House Antique Mall, where we perused the endless booths of bric-a-brac, junk, antiques, collectibles, etc. We were also fortunate enough to go there on the 3rd Saturday of the month, which meant they had an outdoor flea market and some bad ass barbecue. We spied a few items that we wanted to purchase, and some we might be interested in next time, if they are still available.

After three hours of browsing, we thanked Jessie the Jeep for our amazing new windblown hair-do’s, hopped back in Dino-Gadget, and set out to find some Road-side BBQ and discuss the goodies that we wanted to drag home with us. Of course, we headed back to the antique mall, but all of the food was gone (gasp!). So we popped in to this Crazy Cajun place to get some grub. Captain Clam ordered something or other, which was made from a frozen pork Chop, and I ordered a BBQ Rib Sammy bathed in the House Sauce. The Captain’s  meal tasted like a flash fried frozen patty, and mine tasted like pure piggy heaven. We topped it off with Lemonade flavored purely by chemicals and some Cajun fries (which were delicious). And while the Clam pulled the Gadget around, I laid on the grass and took pictures of the paper-machete pig out front.

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The food did us good, even if half of it was kinda yuck. We U-turned a few times and found ourselves back at the Antique Mall purchasing an old Church Pew and a Mid-Century Night Table. Jackpot! These items now grace our Living room where the Futon used to sit.

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Some awesome finds, Koali, and Mr. T.

Thank goodness for Pick-up Trucks! After a long day of junk shopping, we returned to the farm, ready for a nap. Instead, we got a Horse Party. I had prepared well for the Preakness event (or so I thought) by purchasing a horse print dress. What I forgot was a giant, gawdy hat. At some point, I realized that I had forgotten my ENTIRE make-up bag (and also neglected to pack socks or t-shirts for Le Captain), so I had to use Gabby’s goods. And suddenly I was 16 years old again getting ready for an awesome party. I had washed my hair again (since it was so windblown I couldn’t get a brush through it), and just moseyed on up to the mirror with the other gals and started playing dress up.

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Horse Party Dress.

The guests began arriving and I helped my sister set up food… and then I helped myself to the bar… and then I helped myself to the yummy offerings of their guests (pumpkin cookies? yes,please!). The race lasted less than 2 minutes, and I couldn’t help but laugh at all of the carrying on that the guests were doing. Yelling. Hooting. Hollering. I couldn’t believe just how much they were all into it. I mean Horse enthusiasts… it’s a thing!

So after the fanatics calmed down, Captain Clam and I roused everyone into collecting firewood for an impromptu Bon-Fire. Whenever I visit my VA family, I insist on a fire. We then just sit around, play with fire, listen to  my brother in-law’s political tirades (this particular tirade was about how Global Warming is fake), drink beer, and just shoot the shit. Captain Clam, for being a sea creature, is particularly good at lighting fires. He was quite diligent in stoking the flames and inspiring the teenagers to go get wood and kindling.

We stayed out watching the flame lick the night until half past 2. I’m pretty sure us grown ups had a little too much to drink, but not enough to pay dearly in the morning. I woke up to a pancake breakfast, just like my mom’s: thin and buttery instant pancakes fresh off the griddle. Any hangover was sure to be diverted by all that magic.

After breakfast, we piled into my sister’s new monster truck and headed off for more antiquing. We visited some new places that I had never been to and scouted all sorts of junk that I wanted but couldn’t fit in the truck.

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Makes for some interesting jewelry making, eh?

Then we headed off to Colonial Beach for some ice cream, driftwood, baby duck sightings, and window shopping. As tradition would have it, we popped into Nancy’s Ice Cream Shop for some sweets. Lo and Behold, standing in front of us was the following:

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Annie gets photo bombed pretty hard.

This woman stood there for about 5 minutes with her hands down the back of her pants. I know it’s mean to post this (as I have been told by some of my Facebook friends), but seriously. What the hell?

Now, here is another wonder… it’s my brother-in-law smiling. This never happens:

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See, he CAN smile!

Well, after all that commotion, I needed the feeling of sand beneath my toes. The lot of us headed to the River. I wasted no time in removing my shoes and digging my dogs into the sand. Captain Clam and I read each others minds brilliantly and started collecting uniquely shaped pieces of driftwood.

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We headed down to the pier and found a “raft” of baby ducks. They were so little and cute and completely cautious of us.

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After all that fun, we headed into the local Pottery Shop to steal a plastic bag for our driftwood bounty and check out the wares. It was nice to see the pottery items, as well as the photography and art pieces. There were also some cool driftwood sculptures, and loose pieces of driftwood for sale. We ended up spending $2 on a note card to send along to my parents (which I still have  yet to mail since I am staggering this card with the postcard from New Jersey). Then I got to take a picture of these faces::

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Tyler! ❤

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Gabby! ❤

After our beach adventure, we ventured back to the homestead for what would be our last meal of dried out leftovers from the night before. We kissed Max goodbye, who looked like he was so sad, yet so happy, and headed down the long driveway for the journey back to the greatest city in the world.

We hit a Dunkin’ Donuts to fuel our exhausted bodies and saw this in the garbage can:

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huh?

All was well until we hit the Turnpike. As usual, New Jersey has the magic of a toilet bowl on taco night. Captain Clam almost made the entire drive back, but gave up once dusk hit, so I finished the final leg of the journey.

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Captain Clam gettin’ his road trip on.

We did run into this:

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Hanging Tough in NJ.

which made part of the traffic through hell only slightly amusing. We finally re-entered our home-state, reluctantly paying a ghastly toll on the GWB. All we wanted to do was get to sleep, but we had nearly forgotten about all of the stuff needing to be carried up five flights of stairs.

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Dino Gadget and our Treasures.

We were so exhausted that we couldn’t get the damn church pew up the stairs. I went up to the building Super’s apartment to beg for help, but no one was able to  help except his wife, a 60-something grandma ANIMAL! She pretty much single handedly dragged that beast up the stairs. I mean Captain Clam was there to help carry the heaviest part and all, and I was supervising, doing my best to hold up the middle of the bench and boost morale, of course.

We finally made it. It was a little after mid-night when we pulled our shoes off and collapsed into our bed. Exhausted but happy, we bid the day goodbye. Of course we were a little sad about leaving Max with his new family, but we were happy that he was finally happy. Now, if we could only learn to take a proper selfie, all the world would be right.

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Another Captain Clam and StephaJane selfie fail.

 

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Adventure, Change, Community Garden, Dogs, FUN!, Garden, New York City, Recycle, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring, Things to Do

Project: Community Garden 6.20.14


Holy Mother of Pearl is it hot out! This week has been an up and down weather event! On this beautiful last day of Spring we decided to venture out to fill in the mystery hole (yes, it’s as dirty as it sounds) and fix the places that were plowed over by a city truck. Yes. A truck drove into our garden and did this:

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Of course we can’t be too mad because the truck is very wide and we are probably (most likely ) trespassing. The flowers that were run over seem to be okay, but we are considering transplanting them to avoid any future destruction. They also seem to be thirsty in their current location, so that is also a factor. Perhaps next time.

I popped over to Union Square Market on Wednesday to pick up some new additions. The garden is looking a little yellow these days, so we were hoping to add some purple, white, and green to make it a well-rounded display. Here is what happened next:

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Shasta Daisy “Lacrosse” and a bunch of New Guinea Impatiens of various colors (NOT YELLOW!).

Today we vowed to get that hole built up. I carried our supplies over to the heap (minus the 5 gallon jug of water that Captain Clam so victoriously lugged) and a palette was recovered from the back of Dino Gadget (our pick-up truck). I had been on an adventure to rescue a neighbor and her groceries when I spotted a pile of pallets outside of a Burger King on 149th Street. I dragged the Clam there later that evening and we recovered a few of these wooden boxes for our little diamond in the rough project. This might be the only time that Captain Clam ever said “Thank you Burger King!”

So we toiled and dug and raked and sweat into the evening. It’s still amazing to me how an hour and a half and a pallette filled with some plants can change your day and the neighborhood that surrounds you. It was so depressing walking by that giant hole everyday, and the inner sense of fulfillment is so grossly satisfying that I can’t even begin to describe it. Seven (7) people stopped in their cars/trucks/vehicular transports and shouted the most encouraging things to us. “Good Job!” “Nice Garden!” “Keep it up!” Maybe it’s just Friday and everyone is driving home and are in a good mood, but it was so meaningful coming from strangers. I don’t even know if they live in the neighborhood.

Today’s achievements include filling in the strange hole, adding a new palette garden, repairing the damage done by the drive-by, and fixing the moat system, which was working well until the flash flood rain storm came upon us last week. We have also befriended the car shop downstairs, who lets me use their hose and bathroom when it’s absolutely necessary.

Without further rambling here is our progress:

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WAY BEFORE!

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WAY AFTER!

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BEFORE (MAX!)

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WAY BEFORE!

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DURING.

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AFTER.

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BEFORE.

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AFTER.

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GLAMOUR SHOT.

We still can’t believe we are actually doing this! We are covered in dirt and enjoying a well earned can of cheap beer. We can’t reiterate just how much we love the South Bronx and  what is is like living here and working out way into a very unique community.

Stay tuned for more #Garden134 updates, as there will be more to come very soon.

 

 

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Adventure, Community Garden, Dogs, Drink, FUN!, Garden, joy, Life, Overload, Save The World, Spring, Things to Do, Today was Awesome

Project: Community Garden 6.7.14

What a fun fucking day! I had visited the Union Square Farmer’s Market again yesterday and picked up the items below from Patchogue’s own Fantastic Garden. I was a little mad, so I felt that I deserved flowers out the wazoo. I may have gone overboard… totally worth it.

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Today’s lovelies include Early Sunrise Tickseed, John Proffit Ice Plant Delosperma, Red Valerian Jupiter’s Cock (just kidding, Jupiter’s Beard) Centranthus, Early Sunrise Coreopsis, Zagreb Threadleaf Coreopsis, and shrubs that I don’t know the name of.

We woke up late today, probably a little hung over from the mystery shot of whiskey from a good friend down at the pub last night. We motivated, and spent nearly 3.5 hours in the garden today. Captain Clam was quite the machine, and I am so happy to have his motivation (and other things) in my life. Our “grand garden” is becoming a reality, and he has just been the best these past few weeks. Considering that my back is “out”, The Captain has had the greatest enthusiasm and has been supportive with the garden and other home stuffs. He hasn’t  yet had to wipe my ass, but I’m sure he would if I needed it.

ANYWAY, today was Fucking awesome. I can’t even begin to explain how many people we met. Most people had the same questions, which include:

Are you doing this for yourself?

Are you funding this yourself?

What are you doing?

Why are you doing this?

Is this for the city?

Do you have a cigarette?

Of course most people were full of compliments and very happy to have the neighborhood being cleaned up and respected. Our answers to the questions were so easy.

No. We are not doing this for ourselves. As much as this benefits us as two people who seek relief from our own vices, we really want to make a nice, safe place for a community of dog walkers, grandmas, babies, toddlers, grown ass men, hopefuls, dreamers, and anyone else who needs a place to go and get lost and find themselves in nature… one little flowering plant at a time.

Yes. We are funding this ourselves. We have spent just under $100 for what we have already done. We look for things in the trash and gladly accept donations from our neighbors, which have included 0ld baby crib pieces and water from the hose. The garden is community based, and will be suported by the community via labor, donation, and whatever can be salvaged from what others are discarding. Maybe that’s gross to you, but please know that we wear gloves and aren’t particularly picky.

We are making a garden. We are playing in the dirt. Today there was some day-drinking from paper bags going on. We are trying to make a place for people to feel welcome and think “Oh hey, that’s really nice!” We are doing a community service. It isn’t even court appointed. It’s a little selfish, but at the same time, it’s for everyone. We WANT you to come and visit the garden… spend time there, share your stories, come and help…. be a part of something important.

We are doing this because: WHY THE FUCK NOT? How many people do you know who live in a huge city who have a yard or garden? Nature is so much more important than most people realize. To be able to transform a desolate, littered space is such a blessing for me and Captain Clam. We revel in the dirty work  and hope to inspire other to follow suit.

No. This is not for the city. You’d have to be a real asshole to reprimand anyone for planting flowers and making a space beautiful. If you do, then you are a DICK… and probably don’t have a grandma. I feel sorry for you.

Yes. We can share a cigarette. Always.

So. Today’s journey started with a hangover and the passion of a Clam. I might sound a little wispy and in love, but that’s only because I am. Today’s gardening started with a few beers and a gross amount of hope. We headed out and saw some people sitting under the overpass getting their car repaired. I thought that they were BBqQ-ing, but I was sorely incorrect.

We said hello and started digging, pretending they weren’t there. At some point, we needed beer, and I ran to the store, making sure I asked everyone in the vicinity if they were in need of anything. I ended up buying a bunch of waters for the mechanics, and some beers for the gardeners. After I returned, brown bag and all, I made sure to give the gal waiting with her boo a giant beer. My only words were: “Just take it.” And she obliged. I think her boyfriend was happier than she was. She may have also needed a massage.

Long story short (as if that is ever a real thing), we kicked ass in the garden. We met so many people, a lot of them neighbors, who were very interested in helping out and had advice on different programs we could get involved in to receive free supplies and plants, etc. We met a neighbor who lives below us and we are getting ready to head down there right now to share miojitos and horror stories.

Today was fantastic. We had received an old crib from our neighbor, which The Captain made into stairs:

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That’s a baby crib.

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That’s a baby crib.

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That’s a baby crib.

There was a ton of progress today. We planted the flowers and some shrubs, and realized that the “soil” was just sand and rock clean fill. We built a moat/irrigation system for watering, and are fairly confident that it will be effective.

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A River Runs Through It

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A River Runs Through It

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A River Runs Through It

There was a particular amount of testing done on the new watering system, with at least 3 runs to the local car shop to gather water in a 5 gallon Great Bear Jug.  We are confident that the plants and flowers will thrive with the new configuration. We also hope that they don’t drown to death.

I have a lot to say today, and don’t have enough puts-pa to get it all out. We were in the garden for 3x longer than usuall. We met 1 million people. We are sore and sweaty and sunburnt. And we are ridiculously happy. At this point, all I can do is show you this:

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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PROGRESS

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A Sexy Clam!

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An exhausted Clam… still sexy.

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We are about 10 bags of garbage, 2 palettes, 1 baby crib and $80 in plants deep.

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Just for fun, this is where we started almost 4 weeks ago. It might not look like much to you, but it’s pretty awesome. And yes, I wish we still had Max here.

 

Lots of progress going on here today. We look forward to showing you more. Please stay tuned for more #Garden134 Updates, and keep it real. That’s important. Time to go tend to this sunburn. Heyo!

Also, PS… what important things have you been doing lately to make your community a better place to live, and thrive and just be?

 

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Adventure, Community Garden, FUN!, Garden, joy, Life, New York City, Recycle, Save The World, South Bronx, Spring

Project: Community Garden 6.4.14

Has it been 2 weeks already? I can’t even make excuses, other than Captain Clam and I had some rain showers, some long weekend Company, and a bit of Bronchitis and a thrown out back. Okay, the bronchitis and bad back were from me, but Captain Clam had to listen to me cough and complain, and was required to be ever-present to pick up anything that I might have dropped.

We are finally back at it! Well, I should say that the Captain is back at it, and I spent the evening being his flower shopper, cheerleader, and Supervisor (and comedian). I stopped back into the Union Square Farmer’s Market yet again to take advantage of all the lovely blooms from countless vendors. Today I picked up some of the lovelies below:

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Something called “ground cover”, Kiss Frosty Mix, Blanket Flower (Gaillardia Xgrandiflora), Alyssum, and of course, the Left over Lavender from two weeks ago.

 

I tried to grab flowers that were very happy to be stuck in the sun and a little bit thirsty. I am realizing now that perhaps what the South Bronx needs is a cactus garden. Then again, maybe not (direct Quote from Lumiere, Beauty and the Beast). The plot had been mowed earlier in the week, and we instantly realized just how big this project was going to be. I cheered my Clam along like a red-neck at a Rangers game as he sweat and mucked his way through the dirt. I even tried to help with some shoveling and raking, but that seemed almost counterproductive. His first order of business was this area, where we had collected a broken palette a few weeks back and wanted to find a useful place for it, since it is clearly trash:

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My handsome Captain Clam!

I had very little idea what he was planning there, so I went with the flow and made sure to insist that we were “on the same page.” As usual, we were not. But that’s what makes this exciting (well, that and the hungry mosquitoes that  love to dine on my fragrant flesh)! Once we figured out what we could do and were absolutely unable to do be because of the laws of Physics, we ended up with this satisfactory compromise:

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Oh, just wait until it grows in!

At this point, a handful of people had already stopped in to say hello and asked what we are up to. A few of them were our neighbors. One gal in particular popped by to share her excitement and her own experience starting a Community Garden. She graciously offered her help and invited us to come meet her parents so we can find out more about starting a garden for the community as a Non-Profit Organization. What? That’s bananas to me! Regardless of that kind of step, we are so happy to have the offer of help and support.

We continued digging and planting, and a few other people walked by, everyone saying hello and passing on their support. I got to pet a lot of dogs tonight, so I am on a piece of the 9th Cloud. People started honking and waving from their cars, including firemen! Needless to say, Captain Clam is exhausted, I am covered in bug bites, and we are both extremely happy with the progress and the support from our community. Now all we have to do is sit and wait for the rain to come so our newly planted foliage can have a well deserved drink.

 

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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Please note, the giant hole is preparation for our next palette tier, which we hope to get in the ground in the next few days.

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If you’d like to donate time or supplies (not money), please email me: stjanecek@gmail.com. And please stay tuned for more updates on #Garden134!

 

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