Posts Tagged ‘Erie PA’

Stacey thanks the land of her birth

Thursday, November 4th, 2010

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Ten days of note writing on Naked Thanks left! Hard to believe we’re almost done and our goal of 365 thank you notes a piece is a mere week and a half from fruition. While today, on our tenth to last entry, Karin is thanking the City of Lights, I figured I’d thank the City of Erie — not so fancy or mysterious, but a town that’s been just as important in my own life. It’s funny, I think for both Karin and me, travel has been something for which we are both so grateful. But for as much as we love to get away and experience a new city, we also love going back to the place we’ll forever think of as home. In her case: DC. In mine: Erie.

If you’ve been reading this blog, you can’t possibly have escaped my constant chatter of this little city by the lake. It’s cold in the winters, yes. It certainly has its fair share of junky dollar stores and crappy Aldi food markets. But if you look past all the city’s quirks and issues, you’ll see a diamond in the rough.

Maybe it’s some sort of chemical runoff from the lake, but I swear that city breeds good people. Loyal friends that you’ve known since birth and also acquaintances that will surprise you by popping up all over the globe. When I was in Fiji, driving through the jungle on the most ghetto looking tour “bus” imaginable, all of a sudden I looked up and realized a girl I worked with in high school was sitting in the row across from me. Another time, while browsing the produce selection at a grocery store in Santa Barbara, I realized a boy from home was picking out grapefruits next to me. Whether it’s in Times Square or Disneyland, I encounter Erie people when I’m least expecting it — like a nice little surprise gift wrapped and shipped to me from my home town.

Plus, up until now, in every city I’ve ever lived, I’ve had my Erie friends right there. Of course at Penn State the Erieites were too numerous to count. And then Philadephia had its fair share as well. But those cities are both in Pennsylvania. You’d expect that. It was when I studied abroad in Sydney and bumped into Erie folks that I started wondering if there was something more to this phenomenon. When I moved to Coronado, I still had girls with whom I played Barbies as a kid living a block away. Then when I went to Arlington, it was the same thing. Friends that I’ve know since I wasn’t even wearing bra were a stone’s throw away from me. Now in Lewes, I don’t have any Erie friends close by, but I’m sure at some point — and soon — that will change. It’s like the Law of Erie Magnetism; it’s only a matter of time before we connect!

So here’s to you, Gem City: My sincere thanks.

Grey and I sailing on the good old Lake Erie (my husband is like an honorary Erieite in my book -- I mean, the poor guy has had to listen to me talk about it forever.  That has to count for something!)

Grey and I sailing on the good old Lake Erie (my husband is like an honorary Erieite in my book -- I mean, the poor guy has had to listen to me talk about it forever. That has to count for something!)

Stacey thanks her dad for being both handyman and manny

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

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Last week my dad drove down from Erie to help us with tying up some loose ends in the home renovation department. For lack of a better term, he was pretty much our bitch for five straight days, doing things like painting the front fence, putting up an arbor outside, installing door trim, fixing the porch screens, and basically every project we could think of that we don’t have the time or energy to do.

Not only was it nice to have the help on the house, but it was also great to spend some time with my dad. Ollie enjoyed seeing “Butt-Butt” (apparently how he pronounces, “Gramps”) and I had fun too (especially with a live-in babysitter for the week).

The only snag in my dad’s trip was when we accidentally “glutenated” him (he’s a Celiac, so can’t have anything with wheat) by giving him a bag of regular pretzels. But after researching how to stave off a gluten attack (apparently a shot of tequila and some Benadryl — who knew?!) he didn’t end up getting sick — which was a good thing.

The other crazy part was when my dad and I dropped Ollie off at his preschool. When we said goodbye, we heard the teacher say, “OK, Ollie, say byebye to Mommy and Daddy.” HA! They thought he was my husband. Which is gross — AND distrurbing, at least for me — because that means the teachers either think I’m a goldigger who married an old guy or else they actually think I look old enough to be married to a 63-year-old!!

I have to give my dad credit though, he doesn't look 63, and it's not just the tie-dye.  Here he is reading to Ollie the spelunker.

I have to give my dad credit though, he doesn't look 63, and it's not just the tie-dye. Here he is reading to Ollie the spelunker.

Stacey thanks her brother for being a shining example

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

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My little Ollie, not quite even two years old yet, has developed a funny habit: ass slapping. I realized this the other day on the ferry when he was giggling and going up to every woman he saw and swatting her on the butt. The little flirt thought it was hilarious; he’d stealthily sidle up to a girl and then spin around and slap. And let me tell you, no amount of distraction on my part could take the fun out of this new game.

Oddly, Ollie is not the only guy in my family that has a strange predilection for booty attacks. My brother will probably kill me for writing this, but as a young tot, he too, had a thing for touching strangers’ backsides. However, whereas Ollie likes to slap asses, my little bro liked to pinch them. We’d go to the grocery store and there he’d stand in the canned good aisle — goosing female store patrons. One time, my mom toted us out with her for a bra-shopping expedition (oh the fun of childhood) and he hid in the racks of lingerie and randomly popped out and squeezed unsuspecting woman’s butt cheek’s in his pudgy little toddler hands. Strangely enough, every single one of his victims thought it was adorable. He was the sweet baby bum pincher. Aawwwww, precious.

It’s the same story with Ollie and his ass slapping. Women think it’s darling. Ollie smacked one lady’s enormous booty on the ferry the other day and she athought it was so adorable that she took pictures of him with her camera (or maybe this was for a police report, I don’t know). I had to laugh when one male passenger astutely observed this situation and piped up, “Bet you wouldn’t think it was so cute if I did that!” Touché, sir, touché. Oh well, my philosophy is, work it while you can, kid!

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Ian takes Ollie out for a tricycle ride when we were in Erie last week. I suspect this quiet walk was when Ian explained the joys of booty attacks to his nephew.

Stacey thanks her partner in thank-you blogging

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

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This week, I’ll admit, while I’ve been up in Erie, I’ve been getting a tad lazy and thinking, “Aw, it’d be nice to skip writing a thank you note today.” I’m on vacation; I’ve been staying up late, sleeping in, and just acting generally careless. Consequently, writing thank yous hasn’t seemed so appealing.

But then I think of Karin, on vacation in Nepal and I imagine her scrawling notes into some mountain climbing manual with the burnt edge of a stick and I feel ashamed to be so lazy. Seriously, Karin is a die-hard thanker. I mean, I’m here in Erie PA and I find it hard to keep the routine of posting and she can do it while climbing the world’s tallest mountain? Uh, that’s kind of pathetic on my part. But really, if you’ve been reading this blog at all, you probably don’t think that’s so crazy. Because while I thank the makers of Cheez Balls Karin thanks her marathon running shoes. While I can be sloth-like and loafing, Karin is determined and persistent. Truly, we are opposite creatures in so many ways (but yet bonded together in friendship by things like a shared love for efficient hair removal and F. Scott Fitzgerald novels…you know, the important stuff).

When we started this blog almost 9 months ago we figured it was good that we were so opposite. I’m a mom, she’s a single gal. I’m blonde, she’s brunette. But we never really took into account that we’d learn so much from one another’s differences. Yet now, with only about three months to go on our year-long thanking goal, I’m realizing just seeing my thank yous so close to hers on a daily basis has definitely enhanced me as a person because it forces me to compare myself (and life) with hers.

So maybe it’s as little a change as not reaching into the chip bag to devour that last handful of salt and vinegars after reading a post about her running 21 miles. Or it could be something as simple as me deciding to shave my legs and dress myself in something other than sweatpants after reading about an extra glamorous gala or fashion shoot she attended. Whatever the small change, this blog has been a great experience even just to look at someone’s life outside my own and compare mine too– something for which I’m very grateful (the main point of this blog!).

Stacey thanks a local (Erie) legend

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

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I’ve been having so much fun during the last week that I’ve been here in Erie. Granted, it’s way better now that Grey has flown up to join us, but something about this place in the summer is amazing. Although really, there’s no time I don’t like being in Erie; everyone who knows me knows that I have tons of hometown pride. One of the things I especially love about my “Mistake on the Lake” (a misnomer if I ever heard one!), is that there is so much local legend circulating about this place. I mean, I know all towns have their share of lore, but Erie just seems to have way more — relatively speaking of course. Just like we supposedly have “more bars and churches per capita than any other city in the country” — I’d venture to say we also as more regional mythology as well.

Take for instance the famous Mad Anthony Wayne. Apparently he was a Revolutionary War general who had his bones boiled right here in good old Erie (because this was normal practice in the 1700s) and then transported across the great state of Pennsylvania to his final resting place. Of course, some parts got lost along the highway and now every good Erieite knows Mad Anthony’s ghost haunts the area looking for his lost femurs and metatarsals. You can’t make this stuff up.

A few of my other favorite examples of this legend include the deer man — a half man, half deer creature that haunts the local woods after midnight. And, of course, the mythical nudist colony that no one’s ever been to but sits somewhere on the outskirts of town. Then there’s Ax Murder Hollow, where some guy chopped up his wife and threw her body down a well 80 years ago, which is now inhabited by “gypsies” who will throw bricks through your car window if you drive there on Halloween. Oh and then the vampire’s grave in the Erie Cemetary — an old mausoleum that is black as night and is devoid of all writing except an upside-down “A” with wings on it (a dead give-away a blood sucker is housed there). Plus, you can’t forget the wolf-boy (who my dad swears lives over on Plum Street and who I’m convinced just needs a good brow wax) and also the Lake Erie monster (affectionately called “Bessie” by the locals).

I’m sure you could ask any Erieite and they could tell you 20 more kooky tales they “swear” happened right here. Maybe the long winters cultivate active imaginations, or maybe the name “Erie” just lends itself to weirdness — I don’t know — but I like it!

Here's Mad Anthony's historical marker in Erie.  But maybe more importantly is this crazy looking old lady with it.

Here's Mad Anthony's historical marker in Erie. But maybe more importantly is this crazy looking old lady touching it.

And of course, Bessie -- the Lake Erie Monster!  Watch out!!

And of course, Bessie -- the Lake Erie Monster! Watch out!!

Stacey thanks her trusty trip planner

Monday, July 26th, 2010

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Today Ollie and I are hitting the road again, this time up to Erie. Grey’s flying in later to meet us so we can all celebrate my Nana’s 90th and then drive back together next week. So for now, my only companion is my little road warrior, Ollie, who actually doesn’t mind driving because of his obsession with all the “f*ckers” on the road.

Luckily, I really don’t min driving long distances. I usually get a book on CD and listen to that or sometimes I just prefer wonder about travel in general — like — “Why do Sheetz bathrooms smell so good?” or “Would wearing Depends while driving be such a bad thing?” Today when I drive I plan to take lots of breaks (read: OUTLET SHOPPING!) and get there whenever I get there.

I really can’t complain about the length of the trip because it could be worse. I’ll never forget when my best friend Julie and I drove cross country together and not 10 hours into the drive ended up losing all her luggage from the top of the car when the roof rack mysteriously busted loose while we were barreling down the highway somewhere in Indiana. I was at the wheel and suddenly I looked in the rearview mirror to see the rack and all her worldly possessions skidding down the highway — sparks flying — toward a gigantic Greyhound bus that was swerving to and fro trying to avoid hitting the rogue rack. Long story short, her bags landed in a swamp off the highway and we had to accept assistance from a toothless man in overalls (and no shirt) who helped us retrieve the luggage to stuff into the back of her Jetta. By the time we crossed over into California two days later, the soggy swamp luggage smelled like someone’s ass had exploded all over the back seat. It was the trip from hell. So, luckily, I always have that trip to compare any other driving expedition!

ERIE OR BUST!

ERIE OR BUST!

Stacey thanks the man that saved her from perpetual summer swamp ass

Monday, June 28th, 2010

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Growing up in Erie, I considered 60 degrees a hot day. In fact, if temps there reach above 53 you can count on everyone in the entire city busting out shorts and flip flops. As a young kid, I clearly remember one rare time when it was 101 degrees and I sincerely thought the whole town was going to be boiled alive. Maybe this was because my dad told me, “We’re all going to be boiled alive!!!” or maybe it was because Erie never really got that hot so I wasn’t used to temperatures so high. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was raised as part-Eskimo and being in extreme heat really screws with my mind.

Add that to the fact that I am five months pregnant and, well, it’s just a recipe for being sweaty and miserable. And I’m not usually a sweater! Even with my last pregnancy, the heat bother me at all — and I was waaaay more pregnant in the summer since I was due in August rather than November. But this time around, I’ve actually been toying with the idea of writing a book called, They Never Tell You About the Swamp Ass: Secrets About Pregnancy You Should Know just because, well, who knew butt cheeks had so many sweat glands?

So that’s where Mr. Carrier comes into play. He invented AC back in the early 1900s and I praise his name. I love the fact that I have air conditioning to cool me off. I mean, I don’t really mind the heat if I’m submerged in water, but because let’s face it, I’m a human and not a submarine.

"What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Apparently, the joys of the first chiller.

"What'chu talkin' 'bout, Willis?" Apparently, the joys of the first chiller.

Stacey thanks Erie’s amazing theme park

Monday, May 24th, 2010

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A warm weather trip to Erie always includes a trip to Waldameer, the local amusement park. It’s kitsch and cheesy, and absolutely perfect. As a kid, every school year at Our Lady’s Christian (my gradeschool) would culminate with a trip to Waldameer. I’d literally look forward to this day for months. I’d plan outfits for temperatures ranging from 40 to 90 degrees (ah, Erie weather!) and save my allowance for all the funnel cake my stomach could hold before I barfed it up on the Paratrooper or Scrambler. The park was the site of my first kiss (Phil Auditori, Old Mill ride, 3rd grade, no tongue) and countless other childhood adventures.

In my humble opinion, Waldameer’s crowning jewel is the Wacky Shack, a “dark-ride” that is the quintessential haunted house. In fact, since I’m home visiting my parents, I actually just read the other day in the Erie Times News that the Wacky Shack just celebrated its 40th anniversary!  That means generations of Erieites have passed through its doors.

Actually, I’m sure if you asked most anyone from Erie about the Shack and they’d talk about its smell. I have never in my life experiences a more distinct aroma– it’s like an entity all its own. As memorable as Chanel #5 or gasoline, one sniff of the Wacky Shack and the scent will haunt you for the rest of your life. Not that it’s a bad smell, it’s not…exactly. It’s like a mix of carmel apples, pee, sweaty kids, stale air, popcorn, and a slight hint of mildew.

Ollie, of course, is still too young for most rides at Waldameer — especially the Wacky Shack, but we still took him for a visit yesterday. Last summer we just strolled him through the park and he was oblivious to his surroundings, but this year, he had the time of his life on the Merry-Go-Round, kiddie trucks, and train. It’s like a rite of passage!

Whoops. I guess it's the "WHACKY" Shack -- as in whacked, I guess?

Whoops. I guess it's the "WHACKY" Shack -- as in whacked, I guess?

Stacey thanks the people that made THE WIG

Sunday, May 23rd, 2010

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I seriously think this blonde mullet wig is magic. Purchased for Grey like six Halloweens ago, the wig has now been relegated to a costume box at my parents house. I came across it yesterday while I was hunting for my old report cards in the attic (because I do random crap like this when I’m home visiting). Touching its plasticky platinum locks immediately brought a smile to my face.

I don’t know what it is about this wig, but anyone who wears it looks obscenely ridiculous. It confuses your gender and makes you act like you’re an escaped mental patient. Donning the $14 dollar hairpiece is the equivalent of drinking ten beers and smoking a fat joint. While wearing it, everything is a game and the world is a happy place full of rainbows and puppy dogs.

It’s amazing.

This may be the most hideous picture of me ever taken.  I was hesitant to include it, but as you can see, the wig temporarily transformed me into a deranged man with extremely shiny skin.  My brother, just by standing next to me while I'm wearing the wig, is affected by its power.

This may be the most hideous picture of me ever taken. I was hesitant to include it, but as you can see, the wig temporarily transformed me into a deranged man with extremely shiny skin. My brother, just by standing next to me while I'm wearing the wig, is affected by its power.

See what I mean about the gender? When Ian puts on the wig, he suddenly looks pretty as a school girl.

See what I mean about the gender? When Ian puts on the wig, he suddenly looks pretty as a school girl.

Like I said, it's like smoking a giant joint.  Or in my dad's case, like taking a hit from a ten foot bong.

Like I said, wearing the wig is like smoking a giant joint. Or in my dad's case, like taking a hit from a ten foot bong.

Ollie just looks cute in the wig.  And kinda like a little girl from Pennsyltucky.

Ollie just looks cute in the wig. Like a little girl from Pennsyltucky.

Stacey thanks the makers of the best all-natural-casing wiener

Friday, May 14th, 2010

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Tonight I’m heading to a BBQ at my friend Ingrid’s house (coincidentally with a bunch of displaced Erie people) and I can’t help but think it’s officially summer. Yeah, Memorial Day is still a few weekends away, but whatever, with temps in the 70s and people wearing white pants everywhere I look, I say SUMMER.

One thing that just screams sunny season to me is a cook-out. Growing up I remember sailing our boat to Gull Point beach on Lake Erie and scarfing down hot dog after hot dog that my dad cooked up on an old school charcoal grill. And of course, since we were good Erieites, the only hot dogs found at any of our BBQs were Smith’s.

Smith’s is a local family-owned food company that’s been filling the mouths of Erie folk with deli meat for four generations. There’s just something about a Smith’s weenie that puts all other frankfurters to shame. In addition to the fact that they’re products are all delish (don’t even get me started on the ox roast! YUM!) — I also love the fact that everyone in Erie, no matter where they are now, still has pride for the local bologna factory. Plus, I think it’s great that when I visit their website, I see testimonials about how delicious their dogs are from kids with whom I went to nursery school or dated in 9th grade. These are the kind of businesses I want to see thrive.

Like my friend Chiz so aptly puts it, “You’ll never have a weiner quite like this in your mouth!” Truly. Smith’s hot dogs are the BEST.

This picture is on their website.  I wish I had a copy for the walls of my house.  I need a picture of Ollie in a white lab coat holding a gigantic log of bologna; those kids at the right are priceless.

This picture is on their website. I wish I had a copy for the walls of my house. Not to mention the fact that I need a picture of Ollie in a white lab coat holding a gigantic log of bologna; those kids at the right are priceless.