Tuesday, July 31, 2007

HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY!!

Today is my blog's birthday. One year ago today, I started writing here because I was dying of boredom at work. It is astounding that a year has passed. The thought of not commanding this corner of virtual infinity seems incomprehensible. I'm making a green tea and berry cake in celebration, YAY!

The year in review:

July 2006 ~ As a result of being displaced as a vagabond, bored at work, and lacking good chat buddies, I started "For the Love Of Fireworks".

August 2006 ~ The phrase "Why not?" plagued me, which prompted the beginning of my career as a martial artist. I cannot imagine my life without the dojo or karate.

September 2006 ~ Ah, the Jersey shore with my second family (Hi Bethy and Mrs B!). Lovely times. My birthday was a disaster with the exception of the two hours I spent at the restaurant with the few friends who celebrated with me.

October 2006 ~ I ventured to the Midwest to visit Mr. Brownie Sundae for a four day weekend. I cried the entire way home. Not one soul asked me what was wrong nor did they sit in the empty seats next to me (I had three all to myself). The following day, I bought my POS car from a friend (Never do this people. NEVER EVER.) and applied to be a volunteer for World Teach.

November 2006 ~ I ate too much at Thanksgiving dinner. Kissed a boy with whom I went to high school, which prompted an unnatural series of events that remain the foundation of numerous jokes. And vowed to give up boys completely starting on Dec. 1.

December 2006 ~ While dancing by myself at a bar, I met Mr. Houdini. I had the worst Christmas I've ever had in my entire life as well as the worst New Year's Eve EVER. My aunt and uncle secured the spot of my most favorite family members as a result of their awesomeness during this month.

January 2007 ~ The farmhouse became my sanctuary. I drank lots of champagne, watched an astounding number of movies, and became addicted to Grey's Anatomy. I cut off all my hair.

February 2007 ~ My sister almost died in a car accident. Mr. Brownie Sundae and I started talking again. I had a snowball fight with a very cute boy from "The County". After seven weeks of being MIA, Mr. Houdini decided to resurface. Erin and I survived the blizzard.

March 2007 ~ I spent the majority of the month trying not to die. I passed my blue belt test despite how awful I felt, which taught me I can do pretty much anything after surviving that Saturday. The dojo was saved, Villanova played basketball, the wall was born, the Mouse Massacre began, and I saw the Celtics from a luxury box.

April 2007 ~ Hannah was born in a car the day before Easter. I gave up Mr. Brownie Sundae because he was "making a mess again". Erin celebrated her birthday in true BigStar style. Our house flooded and remained a disaster for three months. The Pillsbury Bake-off finally removed its grip from my life.

May 2007 ~ Whit celebrated her birthday. Mr. Houdini reappeared in the bar. I spent quality time with Kate in California where I saw Alé walk for the first time. My favorite aunt and uncle spent quality time with me parading around Boston. Welcome back Mr. Brownie Sundae. I was confirmed as a volunteer for World Teach Ecuador.

June 2007 ~ Lots and Lots of movies. "For the Love of Fireworks" was referenced online at the WSJ. KB came to visit me. BigStar and I fought off a burglar. Nick and Lindsey had a bridal shower. I'll refrain from commenting on my parents.

July 2007 ~ YAY HARRY POTTER AND HOGWARTS!! I got my next belt in Karate, as well as a hematoma that still looks like someone took a bat to my leg despite the three weeks that has passed. The infamous Red became my official blog friend. I quit my job! Oh and BigStar's life long dream came true.

Alas, It's been a pretty good year!

Thank you all for visiting. I certainly appreciate your two cents. May we have many more great years.

P.S. I'm looking for a creative graphic designer...I know exactly what I want if anyone has any recommendations.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

"Fashion is not a Luxury"

This week, I happened upon a very cool find: Sarah Jessica Parker has launched a line of clothing, "Bitten", featured exclusively at Steve & Barry's. She touts her creations by proclaiming "Fashion is not a Luxury" and follows up by providing sizes 2 to 22 at a price cap of $19.98. That is right, nothing costs more than $19.98. Now, I'm definitely not a fashionista, actually, I'm so far away from it I believe most males have better wardrobes, but I believe this is something about which to get excited. I might actually get pants that fit me now (I know BigStar is excited about the prospect of this).



She does make it seem like it is feasible to make yourself look presentable without all the fuss. I could support her efforts.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

What the heck!?!?!

I permitted myself to leave the house on Saturday once I finished reading. My friends were out watching the local 80s cover band once again at the light up dance floor bar in town. I joined them shortly after 11. We chatted up a storm and danced for a bit until Allison asked me if I read the epilogue. I stopped dead in my tracks and almost went running out of the bar. Instead of panicking, I stayed to spend time with my friends despite my deep desire to go straight home, plop down on my bed, and finish the last bit of the book. How could I forget to read the epilogue?!?!?! I suffered through a few songs until the band played the silly "Take My Breath Away" 80s song, which prompted most individual dancers off the floor. An interesting man approached our circle and asked me to dance. I accepted against my better judgment because I desperately needed a distraction from the final chapter calling from the corner of my bed where the book rested. Small talk ensued while we shifted through a crowd. After the song ended, he excused himself. Allie pulled me aside and asked if I noticed the ring on his left finger. I looked at her and said, "He was married?" She said yes and pointed to the couple standing a few feet away from us dancing passionately. Really? Yes, the male who just asked me to dance was standing no less than 10 feet away dancing with his wife. Ok...well did I miss something? If one is married and his wife is at the bar with him and he's not trying to hide the fact that he's married, why ask me to dance? Why not dance with your wife? Honestly, I was fine dancing with my friends. It did not take long for me to leave the bar slightly baffled yet on a mission. Things like this make me think I'd rather stay home with my books.

Monday, July 23, 2007

"For the love Of Africa"

Now that I've finished the Harry Potter Series, I am at a loss for what to do with myself. It is amazing how much time one can make for something she enjoys. I decided against jumping into another book, as fiction would only overwhelm me at the moment. Luckily a pile of shiny patient magazines beckoned me from my perch on the end of my bed yesterday afternoon. The July Oprah won first place prize for most interesting so I picked it up and headed to the beach.

I found a snug spot away from high tide where I settled in to read about Sveva Gallmann. Apparently, this gorgeous and amazing TWENTY SIX year old woman lives in Kenya where she is the peacemaker for disputing tribes, leads the Four Generations Project, and spends her days on the Gallmann Africa Conservancy founded by her Italian parents. She discovered healing properties of a Kenyan plant from observing rhinos in the wild. She proved her theory while studying at Oxford. She speaks languages of which I've never heard such as Pokot and Samburu as well as Italian and English. Sveva is invited to tribal celebrations older than my country and is frequently the guest of honor. Drinking goat's blood is not above her. Miss Gallmann has undertaken the daunting task of recording and understanding the tribal traditions of the Kenyan people. She has developed a curriculum to help the new generations understand their predecessors and is a champion for treading lightly on the earth. Conserving the natural environment and habitat of Kenya is another priority of hers. Instead of continuing, I will assume you've been humbled enough already, and therefore just suggest you try to find yourself a copy of this issue to read the article. (I'd be happy to mail a copy to those who'd like just the article.)

Reading this article while sitting at a four star resort on the New England coast mourning the loss of Hogwarts made me feel like a schmuck. SHE IS OUR AGE!! I am in awe of her motivation and devotion to such an unbelievable cause. She has done more in her quarter century lifetime than some do in 100 years. stories like hers are truly astonishing. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to get a life.


(picture from the GAC website)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

I'm not above closing myself in a room for a day...

In 14 days, I read 4,200 pages of Harry Potter. Some would probably say the pages were more likely devoured, and maybe spending the entire day Saturday reading book 7 was a bit much, but I do not regret it. I've always been a bit of bookworm...

I unabashedly left work at 9:30 on Friday morning to run to Borders to get my bracelet for the line to pick up my copy of "The Deathly Hallows" later in the evening. It was nearly impossible to control my excitement for any portion of the day. I even did work in an attempt to distract myself. Around 5:30, I found solace in a nice nap, which helped pass two hours time. Finally, 10:30 rolled around so I could head over to the bookstore to observe the events. Allie and I spent the time reading magazines, language books, and watching the very clever high school girls parade around in "Gryffindor", "Snape is Loyal", and "The Leaky Caldron" t-shirts that made me turn an unnatural shade of green with envy. It was not long before midnight rolled around and brought our attention to the debut of the book. The lines were formed outside and we were paraded into the store by the color of our bracelets. (I will admit I ended up telling off a very drunken man who was disturbing the peace in the orange line. He did not seem to understand the difference between the colors orange and silver.) Allie and I only waited 20 minutes before we received our copies...

I hurried home where I only got through 100 pages before passing out. I did not wake up again until 10 a.m. very much to my dismay. In less than 10 hours reading, I finished the final chapter of Harry Potter. I had been evading all text messages and telephone calls from people throughout the day. Unfortunately, I was the first one of my friends to finish. I will not spoil the fun for those of you who haven't completed the novel, and instead will leave you with the option of emailing/chatting/calling me to share your thoughts on Rowling's work as you finish. I look forward to hearing what others think, and will eventually post my opinion for everyone. In the meantime, Happy Reading!!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Many Thanks to my "Fan Club"

Friday night, I tested for my sixth belt in karate and for my last belt before I leave for Ecuador. I was fortunate enough to have my friends Amanda, Allie, and Lindsay join the audience. Having them there meant a great deal to me. They saw some very talented martial artists (my ukes) and were able to see where I spend the rest of my time when I am not with them. I was inspired by their presence, and made sure to put forth my very best effort. Luckily, I passed my test to earn the next belt, gave a quality performance for my "fan club" as my senseis so eloquently put it, and incurred a battle wound to commemorate the experience. I fear they may not be persuaded to join the ranks of karate martial artists after seeing the grapefruit sized hematoma on my left shin, which seems to be healing rather nicely in it's 10 inch by 5 inch plot on my leg. Next time, I'll make sure to adjust my sparring gear before I start fighting. Despite the injury, it was an amazing night.

Lindsay has some great pictures of the evening I'll share when she has the time to send them my way.

Thank you so much for taking the time to come watch ladies. I cannot express how awesome it was to have you there!

Friday, July 13, 2007

“And the award goes to..."

You might remember this incident, or maybe this one? How about the story here provided by Allie? Well, since we all love a good story, and he’s proved to make a fantastic story, Mr. Houdini has been nominated for the jackass of the year.

His performance last night sealed the nomination.

As usual on Thursday night, Amanda, Allie and I were enjoying a lovely meal at Allie’s when the topic of Mr. Houdini, which always provides great laughs, was mentioned. Honestly, I had not thought about him at all since I saw him walk into his house with another girl. I have had other things to do such as rendezvous with Harry and worrying about air pollution.

The triangle finished dinner then settled in to watch “Groomsmen”. Around 9:30, Mr. Houdini’s show began:

[Telephone lights up to reveal the little bright white envelope indicating a new text message was delivered.]

Miss Cupcake picks up her phone, with the assumption it was Mr. Brownie Sundae, with whom she had been messaging for a bit discussing the merits of Ron Weasley, and was shocked to see a telephone number she vaguely recalled as Mr. Houdini’s.

The message read:

Mr. Houdini: “Hi”

to which Miss Cupcake responded, “Hey.”

She busts out laughing to the girls, “Ah ladies, you’ll never believe who just sent me a message. He must have known we were talking about him.”

The girls, “SHUT UP!”

A few comments from the peanut gallery fly around the room, then we proceeded to watch the movie throughout which I received the following most spectacular lines of bullshit I have ever seen in my life. For your viewing pleasure, I present the show that won the award for JACKASS OF THE YEAR:

Mr. Houdini: “ ‘innocent friend who shall not be named’ wants a jager bomb? U?”

(Ladies and gentlemen this shows how well he knows me. I HATE jager. By the way, this is the first communication I’ve received since Memorial Day weekend when I stood him up.)

Miss Cupcake: “Not a fan of jager.”
MH: “What? A rendezvous at my place? Fan?"
MC: “You wish.”
MH: “Is that a no?”
MC: “It is and I’m busy.”
MH: “What’s his name?”
MC: “And hers?”
MH: “Stop playing hard to get. U want to come over and I want u to come over.”
MC: “I’m sure she can entertain you well enough.”
MH: “Alright. You’re wildest dreams will have to go unanswered for another
night.”
MC: “Oh please. What is she away for the weekend? Not cool 5 dimes.”

(“Not cool five dimes” is a phrase coined by the Lovely Miss Red, which we have turned into a daily phrase.)

[It’s 10:04, the scene fades to Miss Cupcake dropping her phone into her bag to enjoy the rest of her evening.]

At 5:00 a.m., Miss Cupcake awoke to get some juice. She noticed text messages and missed phone calls on the screen of her PDA.

At 11:58 p.m. Mr. Houdini sent: “Pick me up at local bar and we’ll call it even.”

Miss Cupcake dialed in to check her voice mail before responding to the text. It appears his audacity and ego had reached heights she did not believe were possible. Mr. Houdini’s last attempt to sway her included the words, “Alright, well played. If you want to come over, the door will be open. You know where my bedroom is.” Oh Really...Well you can imagine the reaction Miss Cupcake unleashed. Times like these make one wish she had an e-mail address, as not to waste any allotted messages on retaliating to the “dirt bag”.

Miss Cupcake answered with asperity,

“Fat chance. No where near even. Take a look outside your bedroom window. The apartment right there is Linz & Andrew’s. Last time I had dinner there, I saw you walk into your house with a girl. I’m not a moron, unlike some. I can assure you I don’t play these games. If you can’t call by day, you don’t get to play by night. And I never star as the mistress or the “friend”. Once again, your arrogance is astounding. You had your chance, you passed.” You are awful; Never ever call me again.

She would have written him nasty vicious names but none seem sufficient enough to express her utter disgust. GROSS. She also would have shared more of her thoughts on his behavior with him but didn't want to waste any more time or messages. Of course he had no retort.

And there you have it. I would now like to hand out the award of JACKASS OF THE YEAR to an ever so gracious Mr. Houdini.

Of course, the award is a sack of fire ants in your bed, which will be delivered shortly and rather easily considering your "open" door. (You might want to reconsider that.)

You can go away now Mr. Houdini.

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for coming. I hope you enjoyed the show. I can't imagine we'll have any more appearances from him at "For the Love of Fireworks".

May you all have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The WOES of Erin

Today, I decided to take a few minutes out of my very busy work schedule to read some pages in my “Living and Teaching in Ecuador” guide provided by World Teach in preparation of my journey next month. Let me just tell you, this guide is not for the faint of heart. I understand why they don’t send it to you until AFTER you are confirmed. I keep reminding myself I am PAYING for this experience. I have VOLUNTEERED for this cause *cough-deep breathing-cough*…

My comprehension of developing nations is probably more evolved than most, as I am an economist. I am from northern New England, therefore can rough it with the best of them. Advice on having no expectations has been accepted and implemented: currently picturing a blank canvas. Plainly speaking, I know I’m going to be roughing it. I guess the bus just hit me when I read:

“It is possible you will not receive your pay on a regular monthly basis and conceivable you will not be paid for some months at all.” Ladies and gentlemen, we’re talking about the “stipend” volunteers get for their positions, which is used to pay the host families with whom they are staying. The program proclaims room and board are included in the “fee” and are part of package for your noble efforts. They probably should have let us know beforehand we have to pay our families even though we might not get paid. Not sure, but that seems a little bit important considering we are going to be DESTITUTE.

“Living with a host family can be a trying experience, especially if you are used to living very INDEPENDENTLY. Your host parents may want to know where you are at all times or try to regulate your social life as they would their own children.” My parents are 17 and 20 years older than I, which uncharacteristically worked to my advantage growing up. I was allotted an alarming amount of freedom I never abused. I’ve had it all my life. Not sure about relinquishing it now despite how adaptable I am.

I can handle carrying my identification card and passport around with me. I think they are safer there anyway so I can use my karate to defend them if necessary. And I will because there is no way I’m going to risk not being able to return to the good old U.S.A.

My anxiety began rising when I read we have to pay to use public bathrooms. Ten cents a visit seems ok; it’s the having to carry your own toilet paper about which I’m weary.

The swells peaked once I read the following paragraph:
“ Most people do their laundry by hand...wash it in a bin and hang it to dry...Because of air pollution, you will probably find that your clothes get very dirty, very fast...the water in the tub will turn black. Don’t worry, it’s normal.” Oh really? Maybe you missed the part where I worship the washing machine and the dryer. I MEAN WORSHIP THEM. I consider folding freshly clean laundry straight out of the dryer a hobby of mine.

I immediately picked up the telephone to call BigStar at work. She fervently answered the phone expressing how she was stressed out when I interjected with my distress about the topics previously mentioned. She gawked vehemently protesting the unpleasantness of it all. I told her the good news, “I can text message people for four cents a message” to which she retorted with exasperation, “You can send text messages but can’t wash your clothes?”

I closed the guide, feeling as though I’d had enough anguish for the morning when I asked Erin about her stress. She sheepishly said she had so much to do, she wasn’t sure how she was going to fit it all in: “Hair appointments, getting my nails done, shopping, finding someone to watch the children while I spend a week touring the country in pursuit of Kenny, oh and I have to find Irving gas stations along the way so we can use the gas card Heidi received as a gift…”

Shaking my head, I responded with, “Oh the woes of Erin..” I have a feeling she will not be accompanying Allie on the visit in February.

Well, at least text messages are only 4 cents…

What on earth have I gotten myself into??

Monday, July 09, 2007

SAVE HARRY POTTER!!

Yes, I'm a 20-something year old female in love with these books. I don't care if I'm acting like at 12 year old school girl.

Even JK ROWLING admits she kind of doesn't want it to be over.

PEOPLE, SIGN THE DAMN PETITION!!

SAVE HARRY POTTER

Oh How I LOVE the Harry Potter Series...

On July 1, I started reading the Harry Potter books in consecutive order to ensure I was fully prepared for book seven, which is released later this month. I read book one in a day. I read book two in a day. I read book three in two days, and I read book four in two days. I have two more books to go to accomplish my goal, but Hogwarts is so much a part of my life these past few days, I can hardly imagine life without Harry, Ron, or Hermione. Honestly, part of me does not want to read book seven. If the book goes unread, I can keep all the characters alive in my mind as I wish. This is not to say they won’t live there regardless, but they will live there as I remember them with the possibility of being and doing anything. No one dies and Ron, Harry, and Hermione stay best friends forever-alive and well waiting for another year at Hogwarts. While this seems completely ridiculous and unreasonable to some, it is a feeling I am certain most fans share.

J.K. Rowling is a creative genius. I have never read more riveting works of fiction, and I have already read more than most will in a lifetime. Her amazing attention to detail is astounding. Her characters are touching and admirable. It is a pity these stories will come to a close this month. The one quality I love most about these novels is the friendship between Ron, Hermione, and Harry. I cannot express enough how much I fiercely love this trio. (Not to mention my small crush on Ron Weasley). I wonder if J.K. Rowling will have the heart to start another series. I doubt I would be able to for fear of betraying the delicate intricacies of the preceding masterpiece.

While I am engrossed in this series, I do not want to do anything but delve into the pages. I want to be at Hogwarts sitting at the Gryffindor table listening to the three darlings discuss what is next in their adventurous lives. If I had to choose any character in fiction I would like to be, I would pick Hermione Granger hands down. As far as favorite series goes, Harry wins without a doubt even next to Nancy and Sherlock.

I do not know how the story will end...but I do know I wish it did not.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sponsor a Girl

Cupcake is looking for sponsors to help with her trip for World Teach. For more information on how you can sponsor her by making a tax-deductible donation or by sending a creative idea for fundraising, please post a comment or send an email (found in my profile). Or you can help by purchasing something from her Cafe Press Shop. Thanks everyone!!!

(CafePress will be set up shortly so make sure to check back!!)

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!

Without a doubt, July 4th is my absolute favorite day of the year not to mention my darling of the holidays. Not one of the other dearly beloveds hold a candle to this day in my eyes. Not even my birthday. Paul Revere is one of my heroes, and every time I go to Boston, I try to put a penny on his grave. My signature would have lunar eclipsed John Hancock's, and there is no doubt I would have lead the Boston Tea Party. The fireworks make me so excited I can hardly breathe. As we stood in the pouring rain tonight, I could barely think of anything that would keep me from celebrating this glorious holiday. Not even the dead car that sat in my driveway for most of the day.

Allie and I grabbed breakfast at the local store then landed by the pool for the remainder of the afternoon. I finished the second Harry Potter book and started the third. And after we soaked up our fair share of the sunshine, we headed south to get some food at a famous little pub on the water. Of course no holiday would be complete without a little treat so we walked through the quaint Main Street to the "Candyman" shop to get fudge. I indulged in salt water taffy, two pieces of fudge, a dark chocolate peanut butter cup, and a chocolate pumpkin truffle, all of which cost me more than my lunch. And despite my small stomachache, it was well worth it.

So the car...Allie arrived at my house in the morning so we could travel to the beach together. We gathered in my car to leave first thing, however, after many attempts, it would not start. For the life of me, I could not figure out why. The battery is new, the starter and alternator are new..I was cursing the god forsaken thing all morning until Allie told me we should forget about it until tomorrow. It should not ruin my favorite holiday of the year. I did my best to overlook the P.O.S. After our food adventure, she dropped me off at home to freshen up before the fireworks. I walked by the car, gave it a swift kick to the bumper, then for giggles, I jumped in and tried to start it again. It would not even roll over. I put it in the accessory mode, tooted the horn, then turned the ignition again. Vroom, it started just like that. I was so excited I went for a little ride around the neighborhood basking in my temporary good fortune. (If you know of anyone who is looking to purchase a vehicle, please tell him or her I'll sell them a wonder for a GREAT deal...)

My day was shaping up to be awesome. I picked Allie up for the night's festivities. We climbed the hill just in time to catch the beginning of the pyrotechnics. I summoned my friend Alex as he was walking by us. He, Allie, and I stood in awe for the half hour show. It was fantastic.

We trudged to Andrew and Lindsay's for a visit, then headed home. On the way, Allie and I decided to make a list of the locations where we'd like to see the fireworks on Independence Day in the future:

1) Boston
2) Philadelphia
3) D.C.
4) New York

What an awesome day! YAY! Happy Independence Day & Happy Birthday America!!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

It's Official, I quit.

Monday was an exceptionally exciting day for me. I handed in my letter of resignation, as it is time for me to leave my post in the corner. To say I was unhappy in my position with the company for which I am working is an understatement. (Sure, let me bill someone, somewhere, for a project about which I have no idea an unidentified amount of money over ‘that’ period of time…You mean you want me to be telepathic? Was that in the job description? By the way, quarterly means every three months.) Needless to write, greener pastures await me in September. One of my bosses is out until Thursday, therefore, he still does not know. I hand delivered the letter to my other boss while he was sitting at his desk. I waited for him to turn around but he just said 'thanks' so I left. The entire event made me want to throw up a little, yet not because I did not want to leave or I was worried about what the future holds. My anxiety surfaced because I have no experience abandoning a well paying (but horribly mind deadening) job for a volunteer position in a developing nation. The next adventure into which I am delving is still ruminating through the walls of my heart and mind. Fortunately, my swells of anxiety vanished the second I walked into the office this morning where I was greeted by another easily avoidable mess. WOOHOO!! I am officially a grown-up. I think…well I pulled up my big girl pants at the very least. YAY!!

What a relief I will feel on August 24th. It has been a looonnnnnggggggg two years.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Oh How I Love July...



July is my favorite month of the whole year. This month has no rival as far as I'm concerned. Summer is rolling ahead with its end in the far off distance. Independence Day (my favorite holiday) is full of hope and promise; friends and food. It is a month of pure pleasure where one can bask in the goodness of what summer has to offer.

This year, I've declared it "Harry Potter" month. I read the first book yesterday and hope to finish the second one this week. Life is good.

Wishing you all a month of nothing but happiness and fun.