I’ll be the first person to admit it: I am not a fan of balloons in my house. Balloons have a purpose and I’m all for them being decorations at a celebration. They are festive! So is crepe paper — and no one would ever accuse a person of being a killjoy or a merriment killer for taking down some crepe paper after the party is over. Why is it then, that a person who wants to pop balloons and throw them in the trash after the party is done is a terrible person?

As you can probably guess, I am that person who pops the balloons and is accused of being no fun or called mean (or both). I’m fun. I swear. It’s just… Ballooons get in the way. I don’t like running into them. I don’t like tripping on string. I don’t like the kids going bonkers slapping them around (and in the process driving the dog absolutely crazy). So after a day, yes, I pop them.

There was one particular balloon — a Steelers balloon from the last time they won the Superbowl — that stuck around FOREVER. Months. I got so sick of it. It was a mylar one and didn’t seem to be loosing any helium, so I very ceremoniously threw it out (maybe I went a bit Elaine versus George’s toupee on it though). That moment has never left Bridget’s brain. It’s burned into her mind. I murdered the poor balloon! Plus, Brendan always talks about how I was mean and popped that particular one. There is no forgetting.

It’s become a bit of a joke (with an admitted kernel of truth) in our house that Mom Hates Balloons. Fine, it’s an exaggeration that perhaps I get a bit sensitive about but whatever.

Of course, this joke has gotten out. Bridget recently went to a schoolmate’s birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. There was a balloon on the table, but none tied on the back of the chairs. I randomly noticed that the decorations were different for the other parties but didn’t really think about it. Well, it turns out that Bridget told the birthday girl at school some point earlier that she wasn’t allowed to have a balloon. And that turned into: since she wouldn’t be able to have one, it wouldn’t have been fair for anyone to have them at the party. Thus, no balloons. So now I feel awful. I mean, it’s a bit hilarious to think about, but kids, I’m sorry if I’m the reason there’s no balloons at your next party.


Sometimes, I’m just so proud that I’m a Virginian.

Del. John S. "Jack" Reid had gone through this morning routine dozens of times. He’d reach into his pocket, pull out his small semiautomatic .380 handgun, release the clip and store the weapon safely in the desk drawer of his office on the seventh floor of the Virginia General Assembly Building.

But something went wrong Thursday. Reid’s pistol, which he said he carries for protection, fired as he popped the clip from the handle, sending a single bullet into the cushion of a bulletproof vest that was hanging from the back of his closed office door.


On Christmas Eve, we went on the Decorations Tour. The guide had this diary entry from the 1700’s she wanted someone to read, someone about the age of the girl who wrote it. She looks at me and asks, "How old are you?" And I totally blank. How old am I? I can’t remember. I know I’m older than 25 and not 30. So I say 27. Not the answer she wanted, she wanted 19 or 20. Later Brendan looks at me and says "You’re 26 by the way." Sweet Lord.

well then

If Brendan is going to make fun of my cake, I can make fun of him…

He likes to listen to Snow’s Infomer and dance around in the basement whilst trying to put in a heat vent.

So there.

Also on the we’re-embarrassed-to-admit-we-own-these-CDs shelf, is Ultimate Dance Party 1997. Good stuff. Oh yeah, and that one’s not mine, either.

r & d

Just about all of my husband’s purchases are highly planned. He does his homework. Take our camcorder for example. He researched what sort of options he’d want and what sort of tapes he’d need, if it would be compatible with our DVD recorder, and so on. With a model in hand, he then researched prices until he found the very lowest one. The result: a camcorder that works just right for us.

So when Brendan heard that Iron City, a Pittsburgh beer, was starting to be distributed in Maryland and Virginia, he was on it. He was searching and searching for a way to get it. He had his mom look at Thanksgiving when she was in Sharon (an hour or so west of Pittsburgh); and he did a full web search. Until he found out that there’s a beer and wine store in Vienna, called Norm’s that was carrying it. So he and Glen would take a drive out to Vienna and pick up a couple cases when we ran out, and we’d have it for game day.

You have to understand, specialty beer is a little hard to come by sometimes in Virginia. Since beer and wine are available for purchase at the grocery store (which is nice), there’s only so much variety. Norm’s is nice because they have domestics that I like — Prankster, Magic Hat — and imports like Young’s.

So yesterday when we were at Costco, we were a little caught off-guard to see a stack of cases of Iron City for sale*! There’s no telling if they will have it next time we need it; there’s still a case and a half left (because we had to be prepared in case we needed to have a Superbowl party, but we’re not talking about that), but it’s a hell of a lot closer…


*And also Smithwicks’ which is another favorite of mine.


Brendan joined the party on January 2, 2004. He's cool now.

Jessica has never been cool. She is OK with that.

And just so everyone is clear, what we say here is not endorsed by either of our employers.