Stunted Adults

Welcome to Our So-Called Adulty Life


And A Snake Brings It All Full Circle

Last week, one of my co-workers told me, with eyes filled with terror and trauma, that she had seen a snake in her backyard.  She spun wild tales of snakes slithering amok all over our city and wanted to rally all of the exterminators to decimate these reptilian invaders.

I politely shook my head at the nerve of those pesky snakes and gently told her not to worry because, of course, they were just harmless little garter snakes.

Then I went all Jon Snow on her, telling her not to kill the obviously dangerous beasts in our midst because I am so noble, brave, and kindhearted.

There is no way this ends with anyone getting hurt….

But, much like Jon Snow, I know nothing.


When I got home later that day,  I threw on some old cut-off jean shorts because I had to do some gardening and then, once I was done in the yard, I went inside and started cooking dinner.  Country Boy stayed out in the front yard to continue planting those bulk plants that I told you about back in March.  Yes, we are STILL planting them.  Country Boy and I have never met a project that we didn’t want to start and not finish.

A while later, Country Boy popped his head through the front door and asked for a glass of water.  I began preparing a glass of cold refrigerator water with ice to positively reinforce his decision to finish up the garden, but, before I could finish that artisan water cocktail, he stopped me and told me that warm sink water would be just fine.

I looked at him.

I knew I was about to ask a question to which I did not want to know the answer, but I just couldn’t stop myself.  I’ve never met a bad decision that I didn’t like.

So, I asked “What do you need the water for?”

He sighed, recognizing my error, and responded “To clean up all of the snake blood off of the driveway.”

I whispered, with eyes filled with terror and trauma, “Excuse me?”

And, he, with a barely suppressed eye roll, said “There was a snake, so I killed it with my shovel.  It got blood everywhere.  I just need to wash it off before it stains.  Relax.  It was just a harmless little garter snake.”

I said “Right.  That’s totally normal.  Here’s your snake-blood-cleaning water.”

After Country Boy went back outside, I took a few deep breaths and talked myself down off the ledge.  I reminded myself that snakes are living creatures that people keep as pets.  People also keep puppies as pets.  Ergo, snakes are totally the puppies of the reptile world.  And puppies are awesome.  So, snakes are awesome?  Logically, this was no big deal.

If a snake is good enough to be friends with Britney, then it’s certainly good enough for me.

All was well until I realized that I had BBQ chicken cooking on the grill.

The grill that was outside.


And then I became like this guy, because snakes are not friends. SNAKES ARE NOT FRIENDS!

It was all terror and trauma up in my kitchen.  I did not want to go out in the backyard.

But, I also did not want to starve.

So, I took a deep breath and evaluated my options.

I quickly realized that there was only one option.  I had to go to the grill.

Apparently, my love of BBQ chicken trumps my fear of poisonous snakes.  It’s good to know that I have my priorities in order.

Maple-Mustard BBQ Chicken

There ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough, ain’t no snake scary enough, to keep me from getting to you.

But, I’m not dumb.

So,  I armed myself with a rake just in case Mr. Dead Front Yard Snake was friends with Mr. Alive Back Yard Snake and his crew.  I also cracked a Coors Light because liquid courage is never a bad idea.

And that’s how I found myself wearing grass-stained jorts, swigging a cheap American beer, and grilling meats while fighting off vermin with a homemade weapon on a Tuesday night.

I am totally one small step away from having fox in a box in my freezer and from serving raccoon to my holiday guests



The Man Is Crushing My (Marshmallow) Dreams

Now that The Great S’mores Hostage Crisis of 2013 is behind us, I spent this evening restocking my S’mores Kit with all of the requisite accoutrements.


Yes, I have a tupperware container with marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers in my cabinet. Who doesn’t?

Just as I was about to place the last item into the kit, and, obviously, reward myself with a delicious S’more for all of my hard work, something on caught my eye.

There was something different about my marshmallows.

Something was off.

After a few moments of the highest level of investigative journalism — and by that I mean utilizing the skills I picked up during all of those hours doing the hidden pictures page in Highlights magazine while at the doctor’s office as a child — I cracked the mystery.

It was this:

What is this world coming to?  Is there no joy left in it?

What is this world coming to? Is there no joy left in it?

That’s right, my marshmallows now come with an ominous warning label.


In what universe are marshmallows only supposed to be eaten one at a time while you are seated and supervised?  Certainly not the universe that I live in.

Are there really people out there trying to outlaw the double-stuffed S’more?  Don’t they know that the best marshmallow of the day is the one that you eat when you are home alone and standing in front of the microwave watching your urban S’more cook?

Who were these heathens?  Who were they to tell me how to eat my marshmallows?

I was filled with rage at the injustice of this oppressive exercise of authority.

Because, as I mentioned before, I fancy myself an investigative journalist of the highest caliber, I decided to launch an inquiry into what could have prompted the advent of this ridiculous bout of paternalism.

Move over Woodward and Bernstein, PinotNinja is on the scene now

Move over Woodward and Bernstein, PinotNinja is on the scene now

After about 3 minutes of emphatic typing and shouting at the Google to hurry up, I found my answer.  Turns out, in 1999, a 12-year-old died after choking while playing an intense game Chubby Bunny with marshmallows.


That is absolutely horrible.

Most likely based upon that very unfortunate event, the purveyors of the marshmallows are trying to curtail the playing of Chubby Bunny to prevent child deaths.  That’s not the worst idea ever.

But, if the whole point of this initiative is to prevent millions of kids from playing a fun childhood game (which is often played with the way more nefarious and warning-less grape), then I think their label could use some work.

Why not warn the public that “Jamming your mouth full of one more marshmallow than it can comfortably hold and then attempting to speak is a bad idea.  You shouldn’t do it.  And, if you do it and something bad happens, we totally told you so”?  Or “Friends Don’t Let Friends Play Chubby Bunny”?  Or “You can choke on anything, even heavenly marshmallows”?  Or the simple yet always apropos “Make good decisions”?

The marshmallow makers could even have a celebrity do a PSA with a catchy pop tune to drive home the dangers of Chubby Bunny.  I alone have definitely spent enough money on their delightful goods to fund a celebrity endorsement.  Katy Perry would totally be all over this.

Just lose the coal buttons and throw on a jaunty graham cracker hat and she's ready to go.

Just lose the coal buttons and throw on a jaunty graham cracker hat and she’s ready to go.

Mr. Marshmallow Eating Authority Figure, you know you want to eat two marshmallows at once while dancing unsupervised to a Katy Perry pop confection!  So how about you stop stealing the joy from marshmallow eating with this over-broad draconian warning label and tone things down a notch?

Just a little warning will go a long way, I promise.


12 People, 8 Lobsters, 1 Mission: A Holiday Travel Saga

As we stare down the busiest travel day of the year and a major storm in the Northeast, I am brought back to Christmas 2004.

This was the first holiday season that Country Boy and I were engaged, and we decided to split Christmas between our families.  We drove from our apartment in Boston to Connecticut to spend December 23rd and the first half of Christmas Eve with my family before heading back to Boston to catch a flight to Indiana to make it to Christmas Eve dinner with Country Boy’s family.

As our gift for Country Boy’s family, we were bringing them a traditional New England Christmas Eve dinner to go with their new New England family member.  So, after we cleared security at Logan International Airport, we headed to an in-airport seafood outpost to pick up our pre-ordered and pre-packed 8 live lobsters.

Everyone was tucked in tight on Christmas Eve night.

Twas the night before Christmas, and the lobsters were nestled all snug in their dry ice beds.

The lobsters, Country Boy and I arrived at the gate and  patiently waited.  We watched our plane pull up to the gate and we got ready to board.  We thought that we would be in the air and on our way in a matter of moments.

That did not happen.

Instead, over an hour later, US Airways cancelled our flight on account of “weather” and re-booked all of us on a 6 am flight the next morning.  While in the re-booking line, we met a band of 10 kids in their mid-20s who were also trying to make it home for the holidays.  They, strangers until that afternoon, had started out in New York City with tickets on a direct flight to Indianapolis, but, after having that flight cancelled, they flew to Boston in the hopes of catching our later flight to Indianapolis.

With our rebooked tickets in hand, Country Boy and I bid adieu to our new friends and hopped the subway back to our apartment.

We all reconvened at 5 am at Logan.  Country Boy and I had eaten absolutely horrific take out and stayed up all night keeping our lobsters alive.  Our NYC-based friends had stumbled upon a disco-themed Jewish singles mixer and were still covered in glitter.  We were all in kind of a weird place, but it was Christmas morning and we were going home.  Everything was going to be all right.

The gate for our flight was crawling with exhausted people.  The time for boarding passed, yet there was no US Airways agent at the gate.  We could see our plane.  Were we just supposed to seat ourselves?  The tension in the air was palpable.

It looked a lot like this.

It looked a lot like this.

Finally, a lone agent approached the gate.  She grabbed the microphone and said “Your flight has been cancelled.  There are no more available flights today.  No one will be rerouted.  Please go home.”  And then she dropped the mic, literally, and ran away, again literally.

The gate erupted into pandemonium.

Through the chaos Country Boy, the lobsters, and I pushed our way to our NYC-based compadres.  The 12 of us huddled together and instantly unionized.  The Indy Bound Crew was born.


One dude, who had no luggage, sprinted for the empty desk at a nearby gate and picked up the magical red telephone.  The rest of us spread around the periphery and kept watch while he worked the phone.  He quickly convinced someone at US Airways that he was a gate agent who needed to rebook passengers, and we then passed the phone around and rebooked ourselves on an American Airlines flight that was leaving for Chicago.  From there, we would hop on another American Airlines flight to Indianapolis.  As this was going down, an actual US Airways gate agent approached our stronghold.  We locked eyes.  I stared.  He turned and ran.


I was the Khaleesi of that gate.

We had 30 minutes to make our new flight.

All 12 of us ran across the airport towards the American Airlines terminal, with the lobsters and luggage in tow.  We set pick and rolls.  We hurdled luggage and small children. No one was left behind.

We had 25 minutes.

We came sliding up to the American Airlines ticket counter to retrieve our new boarding passes.  It was mobbed with angry and exhausted travelers.  The line was easily 350 people deep.


We stood at the side of the ticket counter, scouting for an open representative.  As soon as someone came available, the luggage-less dude sprinted to the counter.  Before she could point out the line, we swarmed her.  We told her what happened.  She told us that, before she could process us, we had to get a vouchers for boarding passes from US Airways.


But, we would not be stopped because WE WERE GETTING OUT.

We had 22 minutes.

We took off sprinting back across the entire airport, with the lobsters and luggage in tow.

We had 17 minutes.

We came skidding up to the US Airways ticket counter.  The line there was at least 475 angry and exhausted people deep.  We cut them all without looking back.  We swarmed, scared the hell out of the ticket agent, and managed to procure 12 vouchers for flights to Indianapolis on American Airlines.

We raced back across the airport for a third time in less than 15 minutes, with the lobsters and luggage in tow.

We had 13 minutes.

We yet again cut the entire line at the American Airlines ticket counter and procured our boarding passes.  We were on our way!

We had 11 minutes.

We hit the security line.  It was wall of people.


We made like the Mighty Ducks, got into a V, and pushed our way up the side lane for flight crews to the front of the security line.

quack, quack, Quack, QUACK!

quack, quack, quack, QUACK!

After sending the luggage-less dude first to hold the plane, we all scrambled through security before the mob behind us could find their pitchforks and torches.

We had 6 minutes.

We took off in a full sprint towards the gate.  I yelled at the slower members of our team as if I was Bobby Knight pre-anger management treatment.  There was no option but to hustle.



We had 2 minutes.

We raced up to the gate to find luggage-less dude in a full-scale filibuster.  He was standing in the plane door, singing Christmas carols, and refusing to move until every last one of us was present and accounted for.

We took roll call, we high fived, and we boarded our plane.


We taxied out from the gate.  And then we sat.  And we sat.  AND WE SAT.

We watched the clock tick away our 40-minute layover in Chicago.  This couldn’t be.  THIS COULD NOT BE.

All of this to just end up stranded in Chicago on Christmas morning?

Finally, we took off.  As we approached Chicago, we realized that we would have less than 10 minutes to make our flight to Indianapolis.

We came up with a plan.  Luggage-less dude would hold the next plane.  To make sure he was the first person off of our current plane, the rest of us would use our luggage to block anyone else from getting into the aisle.  Once he cleared the gauntlet, then we would take off running behind him.

We landed and put the plan into action.

After the luggage-less dude cleared the jetway, we had 6 minutes to make our connecting flight.

We sprinted across Chicago O’Hare airport, with the lobsters and luggage in tow.

We had 2 minutes.

We raced up to the plane and, yet again, luggage-less dude was staging a filibuster for the ages.

We had 1 minute.

We took roll call, we high fived, and we boarded our plane to Indianapolis.  Upon take off, we erupted into cheers and tears while the flight attendant passed us free mimosas.

After 18 hours, the Indy Bound Crew was finally on its way home, 12 people and 8 live lobsters strong.



To Twerk or Not to Twerk (I Cannot Believe that Was My Question)

A few weeks ago, I was invited to something called a Twerkshop.  Yes.  That is correct.  I was invited to a portmanteau of twerk and workshop.


This was all the doing of my dancer/fitness professional friend who was teaching said Twerkshop.

This friend is one of the most amazingly nice people on Earth and, over the past couple of years, her classes have completely transformed my body.  Because of this woman, I can finally, after about two decades of failed attempts, do push-ups like a boss.  I definitely owe her a solid and always want to do my part to support her.

But, twerking fitness?  Really?  REALLY?!

This was pushing it.

I went back and forth endlessly on whether to attend the Twerkshop.

To twerk or not to twerk was my constant question.

My freshman year English teacher was right, Shakespeare is always relevant.

My freshman year English teacher was right, Shakespeare is always relevant.

On the one hand, it would be a great workout, I would be supporting my friend, and I can always use some new moves.  Also, as anyone who has ever attended a wedding, party, or afternoon cocktails with me can attest, I LOVE to dance and have no qualms about doing it in public, especially after a wine or two.

On the other hand, twerking.  It is the ill-fated dance of Miley Cyrus.  I just couldn’t image me — 33 year old, home owning, desk job having, ballet flat wearing me — getting nasty on the dance floor on a weeknight while ostensibly sober.

Something about that just seemed wrong.  Very wrong.

But, as we all know, there is nothing I find more attractive than a bad decision.

If it's for Beyonce, it's for me.

If it’s for Beyonce, it’s for me.

So, last night, at the late hour of 8 pm, I slapped on my least tattered leggings, a neon pink v-neck t-shirt, and my running shoes, which was the closest thing I owned to the suggested “funky hip hop attire” (clue number 87 that this was a bad decision — I didn’t understand the dress code much less owned any appropriate items).  I slammed back a shot of whiskey for luck.  And then I took off for the gym.

While en route, I calmed my nerves by reminding myself that I was just going to the gym.  It was a place that I went almost every day.  It was my safe space.  This was going to be no big deal.

No big deal.

But then I arrived.

Where my gym had once stood was now a dark room with pulsing club lights and a DJ spinning in the corner.  My friend came bounding up to me — as welcoming and smiling as ever — but she was rocking pink hot pants, a black bra top, sneaker wedges (which apparently are a thing?!), and some serious hair.

This was decidedly not my safe space.

I was gripped with straight-up fear about what was about to occur.  But, I had just paid $20 for this class and, as y’all know, I’m cheap.  Plus, if I walked out now, I would definitely hurt my friend’s feelings.  So, I had no choice but to take a deep breath, frantically text Snarkoleptic for moral support, and stick it out.

And, stick it out I did.

For a solid 60 minutes, I strutted, I rolled, I did hairography (note to self, I need some hair extensions stat), and then I got down to business and started moving my hips all over the damn place.  My ass did things that I’m pretty sure are illegal in most parts of the world and that should never, ever be done in public again.  But, I was so sweaty and out of breath that I had no opportunity to laugh, to be self-conscious, or to even comprehend what I was actually doing.  It was all I could do to keep up.

That Twerkshop was hands down one of the hardest workouts I have ever done.  I woke up this morning and my abs and thighs were so sore that I could barely get out of bed.

Also, I learned that, while what Miley did does fall within the twerkosphere, you can twerk like a lady.


Here’s how.  First, stand with your legs apart, turn your toes out on at least a 45 degree angle, and bend your knees trying to get your thighs as close to parallel with the floor as possible.  This is also known as second position plie in ballet.  See, this IS legit classy, not classy lite.

Twerking and ballet are kind of the same thing.

Twerking and ballet are kind of the same thing.

After you take a moment to feel like an elegant ballerina,  put your hands on your hips and use them to push your hips forward and then backward a few times to get a feel for the movement.  Once you have that down, then its time to crank up the beats and channel your inner Beyonce.  Take your hands off your hips, move your hips forward and back to the beat, and throw out some serious attitude.  Within seconds every muscle in your body will be burning and you’ll be out of breath.

It’s twerk repeats every day from now on.


Miley Cyrus Crushed My Yoga Dreams

In what may come as a total and complete surprise, television and Country Boy are not the only loves in my life.

I’m also having a torrid love affair with both running and yoga.

I know.  I KNOW.  I am one of THOSE people who rearranges her entire schedule to fit in a workout and who actually looks forward to it.

My idea of a good time.

My idea of a good time.

Please don’t hate me.  I still eat cake.  Lots and lots of cake.

And by cake, I mean cake with wine.  Obviously.

And by cake, I mean cake with wine. Obviously.

About two months ago, I started training for a marathon.  I’ve never run that far before since I’m more of a 5K hit-em-and-quit-em kind of girl, but I decided it was about time I gave a long-term relationship a shot.

Up until a week ago, my training had been going really well.  I had worked up to running over 30 miles per week, I was still excited to go out and run almost every night, and I was remarkably injury free.

But, last Monday, I found myself with a gnarly blood blister on the bottom of my right big toe.  It was so mortifying and disgusting that I started referring to it as Miley Cyrus.

I woke up to find something of this caliber on my foot.

I woke up to find something of this caliber on my foot.

The next day, Miley and I decided to go to a yoga class.

I realize that is an obviously bad decision.  I knew that I should rest my blister so that it would heal quickly.  But, I’ve never been one to make good decisions, and I really needed to feed my yoga addiction.  So, off Miley and I went to the gym — a place where bad things often happen to me involving live television — with me swearing that I was going to take it easy and just focus on getting a good stretch.

By the time I walked into the studio, the room was bursting full of yogis and the only open spot was, of course, front and center.  I sighed, reminded myself to take it easy even though everyone would be looking at me, and took the dreaded center spot


At least being center square would bring me one step closer to Whoopi Goldberg. Pretty soon we’ll be living the dream singing Sister Act duets together.

For the first half of class, I stayed on message.  I modified whenever necessary so that I wouldn’t put too much weight on my toe, I kept my eyes on my own mat, and I almost forgot that I had a lot of people behind me while I was wearing very tight pants.

But then Jay-Z came on over the stereo.  My breath locked in with Hov and we were grooving together.

I couldn’t suppress my inner Beyonce any longer.

The teacher called out crow pose and, with Jay on my side, I popped right up into the arm balance.  I was feeling awesome!  I was flying!  And I was doing it in front of all the other yogis!

I was Sasha Fiercing the hell out of that yoga class.

The next directive was to move into a chatarunga, which is a low tricep push-up.

Instead of carefully coming out of the arm balance and stepping back to a push-up to keep my toe safe, I decided to jump back because that’s what Beyonce would do.


The move goes a little like this, although when I do it it’s high on speed and low on grace.

I did it!  I flew through the air!  I didn’t smash my face of the floor!  Maybe the class would give me a slow clap?  For sure someone would come up to me afterwards and give me a knowing namaste.  I’ve always wanted to be in the inner knowing namaste circle!

But that giant smile on my face disappeared the instant my right foot hit the ground.

There was a large pop.  I felt a searing pain as the right side of my body collapsed onto my mat.  And then I heard a gasp next to me.

Oh Miley, what have you done now?  WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

Miley had exploded upon impact, and she went EVERYWHERE.

There was blood on my mat, on the studio floor, and on my neighbor’s mat.  All that was missing was some bright yellow police tape and David Caruso.

I tried to play it cool and just casually slide my towel around on the floor to wipe up the blood spatter, but I wasn’t fooling anyone.  There was nothing cool and casual about what I was doing, and, because it was a veritable crime scene, EVERYONE was transfixed and could not look away.

After what felt like an eternity, the class finally ended.  At that moment, everyone in the room fled from me like the pariah that I am.  No one made eye contact and no one said a word.  The way these yogis were acting, you would have thought that I had just twerked all over their stash of kale and quinoa.

So much for my dreams of a knowing namaste.

Thanks, Miley.  You really know how to win friends and impress people.


That Night I Got Drunk With The Pastor

This past weekend I was lucky enough to watch two of my absolutely dearest friends marry each other.  It was truly amazing.

But, before that perfect moment, I got drunk with their pastor.


That’s right.

I pretty much got hammered with God on Friday night.


It all started out innocently enough.  You see, the pastor didn’t look like a pastor.  He was my age.  He was wearing hipster glasses.  He had carefully mussed shaggy hair.  When I met him at the rehearsal and he told me that he was the pastor, I sarcastically said “nice to meet you father” and moved on to the next person.  I honestly thought that he was just one of the groom’s fraternity brothers messing with me.

It was totally something that this guy would do.

It was totally something that this guy would do.

But then he stood up in front of everyone and started telling us how the ceremony was going to go down.  He was totally the pastor.

I pretty much told God that he was a liar.


When I saw the pastor afterwards at the rehearsal dinner, I invited him to sit next to myself and a couple of the bride’s close friends.  I was going to make amends, because, you know, he was probably pretty tight with the big JC.

The pastor, most likely against his better judgment, pulled up a chair with us.  After I apologized for our rough introduction, he kindly explained to me that “pastors are just normal people who happen to be interested in God.”

That was a valuable life lesson, but one that I perhaps took a little too much to heart.

Since we were just a bunch of normal people hanging out, the pastor, my two friends, and I grabbed some drinks and started telling stories.  Turns out JC is down with celebrating the gloriousness that is beer.

in the words of my new pastor friend, "I'm drinking Merry Monk, so its all good."

In the words of my new pastor friend, “I’m drinking Merry Monk, so its all good.”

After about two minutes of warm-up material, my friends and I got right down to brass tacks.  We started interrogating the pastor about his love life and began figuring out which of our single friends that he should meet.  You can’t let a nice, single, well-educated man like that go to waste!

During that conversation, I might have invited him to come visit me because I knew lots of single girls and could “guarantee him a good time, if you know what I mean.”

I pretty much told God that I could get him laid.


Just call me the dirty Yenta.

Just call me the dirty Yenta.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, then we started making cracks about how the pastor didn’t have to worry about driving home after our many rounds of drinks because he could just ask Jesus to take the wheel.  Yes, we quoted Carrie Underwood as gospel to the pastor.

I pretty much told God that it was cool to drive drunk because Carrie Underwood said so.


Carrie Underwood

She might just be God.  At the very least they are homies, because the only way you get hair that good is if you have a direct line to the big guy.

Here’s the thing about a pastor, you just can’t not tell him stuff.

After I shared with him that I knew some easy women and that I get most of my spiritual guidance from a former-American-Idol-constestant-turned-country-music-superstar, I then, along with my friends, told him all about the bride’s bachelorette party last month.  You know, the one with the bidet.


That’s right.

We told the pastor about what happened to the bidet and explained to him that our motto for the weekend was to be classy lite because we recognized that we were not actually capable of being classy for any extended period of time.


Guess what he’ll be picturing when he sees our motley crew parade down the aisle.

So, for those of you keeping score at home, before dessert had hit the table, I had insinuated that the pastor was a liar and had told him that I lived a life full of debauchery, idolatry, and errant excrement.

Well done, PinotNinja, well done.

But, of course, I had to outdo myself.

My dignity really took this to heart on Friday night

My dignity really took this to heart on Friday night.

At the end of the night and multiple bottles of wine, my friends and I dared the pastor to include some key phrases from our conversations in his sermon.  That’s right, I decided to turn someone else’s sacred moment into an opportunity for my own personal entertainment.

The afternoon leading up to the ceremony was fairly hectic, which caused me to temporarily forget about the drunken dare we had made the night before to that nice man of the cloth.

The ceremony began and everything was full-on classy.  We all looked gorgeous.  The outdoor farm setting was stunning.  Tasteful orchestral music played.  We all made it down the aisle, even the two dogs and five small children, without a hitch.

It could not have been more perfect and elegant.

But then, as always, the wheels started coming off the train.

During his sermon, the pastor mentioned the rehearsal dinner.  Suddenly, I remembered everything that we had said the night before.  I was overcome with a sense of panic.

The pastor mentioned how lovely the couple’s friends and family were.  He mentioned how warm and open we all were.  I relaxed, thinking that maybe we were in the clear.

But then he said, “the thing about the couple is that they really now how to keep it classy or at least classy lite.”

The dude did it.

He took our dare head-on and he knocked it out of the park!

Before I could fully process what had occurred, everyone from the bachelorette party lost their damn minds.  There was actual hollering, ear-piercing laughter, and above-head clapping.  The bride fell into a fit of giggles.  One of the dogs started barking in response to all of the chaos.  The groom just looked at all of us with a mix of amusement and exasperation.

And, with that, we had turned the event into a classy lite affair.


Our work at that wedding was done. PinotNinja and friends out.

At least we always keep it real?


Just Call Me Macaulay Caulkin…

… because I am home alone.

And, much like Macaulay in that amazing work of cinema, I’m acting like a child.

Me and Him.  One and the Same.

Me and Him. One and the Same.

Usually, my domestic game is pretty on point.

Most nights, I put together a healthy gourmet-ish dinner for Country Boy and I, often on my own since he works later hours than I do. I honestly love both cooking and vegetables (despite my ongoing battle with green juice), so I actually look forward to pouring myself a glass of wine, getting a little Beyonce going on the stereo, and whipping up an asparagus risotto or seared tuna salad.

Business as usual.

Business as usual.

I’m also a little OCD about clutter, which means that, as soon as I get home, the mail goes into the recycling bin, my dirty gym clothes go in the hamper, and my bag gets tucked away in the corner. I really like my house to be a calm and relaxing space.

But, whenever Country Boy — who is the messier one of the two of us by far and who would be happy eating a frozen pizza every night for dinner — goes out of town and leaves me home alone, all of that civilized behavior walks right out the door with him.

Within minutes, I turn into a feral animal.

Indeed, yesterday, when Country Boy left for a business trip, everything started to go downhill immediately,

As soon as his carry-on suitcase crossed the threshold of our front door, I fully regressed to pre-Country Boy PinotNinja.

A little time with my old self should be a good thing, right?

I really feel like it’s something that a therapist would recommend.

But, there’s a problem.

Country Boy and I moved in together when we were 22 years old. In other words, pre-Country Boy PinotNinja is a college senior.

Would you leave a college senior home alone in your nice adult house?

No. No you would not.

Yet that’s exactly what I did.

Yesterday, my bed went unmade. I left a trail of pajamas from the bed to the shower. I threw my towel on the floor when I was done with it. I spread my make up out everywhere (the bathroom, the bedroom, the other bathroom, and the kitchen). I left a crumby mess back in that unmade bed when I decided to sit there to eat an English muffin (without bothering to put it on a plate or even a paper towel) while I leafed through my stash of back issues of Self magazine.

And then I just left everything as it was, left all of the lights on, left the stereo blaring, and waltzed right on out the door to go to work.

Things didn’t really improve when I got home last night.

I went out for a run and, when I got back, I left my muddy shoes in a pile of filth by the front door after I had tromped all over the house in them, I threw my sweaty t-shirt onto a suede dining room chair, and then I sat down, without showering or at least changing, on my white couch. WHITE!

Home Alone PinotNinja don’t care.

Despite having a refrigerator stocked full of vegetables, fresh pasta, and wines that had been lovingly hand-selected and shipped back during my last trip to California, this is the meal that I selected for dinner:

Chips and diet beer. It's 2002 all over again up in this joint.

Chips and diet beer. It’s 2002 all over again up in this joint.

Not surprisingly, hummus and MGD 64 did not fill me up after a seven mile run.

But, instead of classing it up, calling that culinary travesty an “amuse bouche,” and cooking myself a proper meal, I opted to make myself a hot fudge sundae for my entrée.

I found this on my coffee table this morning.

I found this on my coffee table this morning.

Then I binge watched CW teen dramas (welcome back Hart of Dixie!) until after midnight before collapsing into my unmade bed amidst a pile of trashy magazines, English muffin crumbs, and dirty laundry.

Home Alone PinotNinja don’t give a shit.

This morning, I woke up to find that my house had been trashed.


There were muddy footprints all over my floor, stains on my furniture, clothes and make-up everywhere, dirty dishes and chip crumbs galore, and magazines strewn all over the place. My bed looked like a hamster nest. I was still wearing my dirty gym clothes. I found diet beer cans in 3 different rooms. And, I felt horrible since, apparently, my body can no longer run on chips, watery cheap beer, and hot fudge.

Someone needs to put me on double secret probation immediately, because things are really getting out of hand.

It's a damn good thing Country Boy comes home tomorrow morning, because Home Alone PinotNinja is mere hours away from turning out home into this.

It’s a damn good thing Country Boy comes home tomorrow morning, because Home Alone PinotNinja is mere hours away from turning our home into this.


Bonjour, mon amour.

I just returned from a two-week work trip in Paris. Well-timed, I might add, to coincide with Paris Fashion Week. I had the extreme pleasure of dragging my ass up and down the streets of Paris in ill-fitting suits and uncontrollable bed-head alongside women like these:

I just can't compete.

I just can’t compete in my polyester suits.

So, thanks Paris!

I love travel and don’t do enough of it, but in my line of work, there is no such thing as travel in the traditional sense. I have been blessed with the opportunity to visit some very cool places, but only able to see the sights contained within my hotel and conference room. I pretty much only have my passport stamps as proof that I’ve “been there, done that.”

Now, PN is an expert in all things Paris and had a lovely list of recommendations for me – all of which are still languishing in my inbox. You see, I worked 20 hours a day (roughly) and had no time for things like cafes and runs along the Seine. So although it was super cool to take up a two-week residence in Paris (PARIS!), I didn’t have an opportunity to fall in love with the city. I knew the cafe on the corner for a quick bite to eat, the security guard at our office space, and to always watch your step on the streets of Paris. Nothing fancy, nothing remarkable… until one evening late into my trip.

All I wanted to do was to avoid this.

All I wanted to do was to avoid this.

It was 3 am and my team was hungry. It had been a long day and it was stretching out before us into a long morning. I was lucky to be working with two Parisians who knew a great spot to grab a late night meal. Before we trekked over to the restaurant, one of them grabbed my hand and squeezed it tight before she whispered: “aligot.” Then she danced off down the street in her Chanel shoes (seriously, Parisiennes are remarkably well-dressed…).

At the time I was delirious and starving, so I simply smiled and laughed figuring that “aligot” was a French word that I missed in my last-ditch attempts to learn important French phrases. I sighed at my less than amazing handbag and footwear and hurried to follow her into the dark streets.

We sat down and I was immediately told to order aligot, no matter what I wanted for dinner. I sounded out the word to our waiter who laughed at my Americanness, but dutifully scribbled down my order of “meat and something called al-ee-go.”

When it arrived, my life changed forever.

Hello, lover.

That is sexy.

It’s like fondue and mashed potatoes made sweet, sweet love and created the world’s perfect food. It’s cheesy, it’s starchy. It’s heaven.

I nearly licked my plate clean. And it was from that moment on that I could say that I truly, madly and deeply loved Paris.

I have several tales of my French experiences (including when a group of amazing, leggy models and I joined forces in Charles de Gaulle to start a near riot at the Air France check in… another story for another day – just me and some models), but none of them will ever compare to the instant connection I felt with aligot.

I always expected that I’d fall in love with a starch/dairy combination. Who knew that he’d have a French accent to boot?


Stunted Conversations: Just Call Me Dr. PinotNinja Because Seth Cohen Is Canada

Thanks to the following interaction with ErinGoBrawl, I have finally figured out my calling in life.

PinotNinja:  I have only just started reading Vulture’s List of 100 Pop Culture Things That Make You A Millenial, but it is SO RIGHT.

ErinGoBrawl: Although I seriously love this list: (1) I’m a 1979 baby and (2) I seriously refuse to be lumped in with the Millenial generation because, with the exception of this list, they are identified as everything entitled and over-privileged in this world. Though under some definitions I think we are called Gen X, we are also firmly in Gen Y. But damnit, I do love this list. LOVE IT.  I mean, it’s like they took everything that I love unabashedly and plopped it in a list – “the baby sounds” in Aaliyah’s song.  Yes. Perfect. Please.  Damnit, Millenials.

PinotNinja:  I don’t think we can fight it much longer.  This is our generation and everything that we love, even if we hate them.  I suppose this all makes sense. We did hate basically everyone in high school and college and have managed to stick with mostly the same group of friends for the past 15 years. That is what any good self-loathing millenial would do.

It’s not like Summer Roberts or Blair Waldorf ever made new friends or liked anyone (except for Summer and Che, but Che was actually Andy from Parks & Rec, so who could blame her because I TOTALLY want to be friends with Andy and April, even though April TOTALLY would not have me as her friend. But then one time she would sing Time After Time with me and it would be amazing and all TOTALLY worth it).

ErinGoBrawl: I can’t even breathe I am laughing so hard at your parenthetical below. YOU ARE AMAZING.

PinotNinja: If only I could get a PhD in Josh Schwartz soaps with a concentration in NBC comedies. I would clean up in that program.

ErinGoBrawl: Have you heard of Anne Helen Petersen? That’s actually what she does! She’s a professor.


I can actually get a PhD in Josh Schwartz soaps with a concentration in NBC comedies?!

Chris Pratt, you are my string theory.

Chris Pratt, you are my string theory.

Best. News. Ever.

Since that moment, the little hamster in the wheel inside my brain has gone on a Jesse Spano style caffeine pill binge and I have not been able to stop thinking about my future career in academia.

I’ve even started my dissertation: The OC was actually an Animal Farm-esque satire of the international political climate in the early 2000s.

The beautiful faces are deep metaphors about international political instability.  Really.  I promise.

The beautiful faces are deep metaphors about international political instability. Really. I promise.


Just hear me out.

Seth Cohen is Canada, Ryan Atwood is the United States, and Marissa Cooper may be Saudi Arabia (that part of the theory needs some work).

You see, Canada is the nice funny guy who for some reason is friends with the guy who beats everyone up. He’s the Seth Cohen to the United States’ Ryan Atwood in season one.

Seth always has Ryan’s back, like Canada usually followed United States foreign policy at that time, but he’s also the first to pull the victim country aside and apologize, to say he didn’t know what came over his friend, and to say that he would do his best to keep it from happening again, which is much like Canada’s diplomatic policy regarding the war in Iraq. Seth never has a problem talking a little shit about Ryan and his tendency to be too aggressive with his fists, love of leather wristbands, and his inability to have a functional relationship with any other kids at school, but he never really says it to Ryan.

Seth/Canada keeps its mouth relatively shut, because Seth/Canada knows that without Ryan/the United States he’s just some kid who no one pays attention to because he eats lunch all the way over on this side of the world. On his own, Seth couldn’t even get Summer to look at him, but, with Ryan, the guy is a babe magnet who has to choose between two girls on Chrismakkuh. Like it or not, Canada needs the United States to get anyone to pay attention to this side of the world, but that doesn’t mean it can’t apologize for its behavior and be a little defiant, as long as it’s not too defiant (see Seth telling Ryan that beating up various people is a bad idea, but not going as far as to physically stop him from doing it).

In addition, Seth loves shuffleboard and Canada loves curling. Both are games that involve using a broom-like object to slide a puck down an alley drawn on the ground.

Totally the same thing.

Totally the same thing.

Seth has an irresistible but dorky affinity for comic books. Canada has an irresistible but dorky affinity for “artists” who have the goal of taking over the world with their musical stylings through their superpower of belting out ballads while wearing odd spandex-laden costumes.  Sounds kinda like a comic book to me.

That number was made for ComicCon.

That number was made for ComicCon.

And, Seth loves the cold weather. Canada is cold.

Ipso facto, Cohen is Canada.  Canada is Cohen.

As is noted above, Ryan Atwood is the United States.  My Marissa being Saudi Arabia theory is still in the works, but here’s what I’m thinking. The United States and Saudi Arabia really shouldn’t be friends, because of pesky little things like September 11th and human rights.  Similarly, Ryan and Marissa really should have broken up long before they did, because of pesky little things like Oliver, overdosing in an alleyway in Tijuana, Volchuk, and generally being a hot mess.  But, yet the United States and Saudi Arabia share a tie that binds (oil), much like Ryan and Marissa do (teenage hormones).

The poster child for investing in green energy.

The poster child for investing in green energy.

That Josh Schwartz, such a fucking genius.


Stunted Conversations: Britney Jean Spears

Welcome to the first installment of Stunted Conversations.

You see, PN, Snarks, and I spend more than a reasonable amount of time emailing and chatting – most of which never quite makes it to the page. Overall, this is probably a good thing for you guys, but sometimes our conversations reveal amazing things that must be shared. Indeed, PN and I have copies of conversations dating back over a decade that just reveal our own special brand of insanity.

Some breaking news this week required a return to the old format: Britney Spears’ new song “Work Bitch.” We are definitely Team Britney here at SA HQ, and the release of her new song demanded attention.

EGB: PN, we need to talk about Britney Spears and her new song. Please listen to it ASAP and get back to me.

PN: The first few moments gave me a Rhythym Nation vibe. You can’t go wrong with channeling Ms. Jackson.

Did she mistake her conservator’s last lecture to her on responsibility for song lyrics?

Chances that Kris Jenner is playing this to her daughters every time they walk into the room are high.

Is she sing-rapping with a British accent? She does realize that Madonna already did that, right?

EGB: It HAS to be the new Drag Anthem. Or at least, the number one song on my workout mix when I actually get back to working out.

When I heard the title I figured it was a song about my position at work. Was I a little disappointed in the lyrics when I realized this wasn’t the case? Yes, of course.

I feel like she’s nearly around the conservator bend, but I withhold all judgment until she totally redeems her Gimme More performance. I just don’t think this is the song that gets her there. That makes me sad. I need a Britney Jean Blowout, like now.

That being said, my invitation to Ms. Spears to come live in my spare room (circa 2006) still stands in 2013. She needed a safe space then, and she could probably use one now. She could totally bring her kids, I will bring the wine.

PN: Agreed. I would pay GOOD money to see Tim Gunn work it to this song in a glitter-kissed evening tailored suit.

This is not a Britney Jean Blowout at all. She needs to wake up, realize that Will.I.Am is the lowest of the Black Eyed Peas (an impressive feat), and find herself a better producer. If there ever was a moment calling for her to reunite with The Dream as a producer, it is this one right here. She needs her Umbrella and Single Ladies moment, and she needs it bad.

If you want Brit to come over, you know the way to her heart is with some Boone’s Farm and Doritos. No need to bust out the wine.

EGB: Yes and PLEASE with Mr. Gunn.

I totally figured she’s grown up enough to graduate to Pirate’s Booty and Bota Box. Baby steps. Let’s give her some credit AND agree that Booty and Bota is the slightly more grown up version of Cheetos and Boone’s Farm (and the name for my next theme party).

Lowest Common Denominator Peas aside, I guess I’m a sucker for hearing Brit Brit say the word “Bitch.” I can only imagine my fangirling would triple if she dropped the F word.

Then again, maybe I’m getting too old for this shit. I vividly recall sitting around the TV in college watching her dance to Slave 4 U and thinking: (1) we need a snake in this house and (2) wearing underwear outside if your jeans is a FAB idea. We were likely pretty drunk. I watched it the other day and thought: (1) where are y’all’s parents and (2) everyone go home and take a shower immediately. Any guesses on what the video will be?

PN: How do we befriend Tim Gunn? Should we stake out Mood?

Booty and Bota is fucking brilliant. You must do that immediately. You should also license it and market it to fraternities and sororities. It would be the perfect classy-trashy combo of pimps & hoes and a wine & cheese.

Brit should obviously say bitch in every song. “It’s Britney, bitch” should be her signature line. I mean look what hapenned on Scream & Shout — I think that was the only thing she did on that entire track, yet she got title credit and it was all over the radio.

YOU ARE NOT TOO OLD FOR B. SPEARS. YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD FOR B. SPEARS. And we did need a snake in that house, if for no other reason than to scare off that raccoon gang that terrorized our back steps. Imagine if we let a python loose on those mangy fuckers? Who’s the bitch now raccoons? I cannot believe how much hatred I still have for them after 11 years. Wow.

I think the video is going to involve B. Spears dancing hard in a glittered up leotard with HEAVY invfluences from Madonna’s Vogue. I also think she’ll be surounded by a bevy of adoring gays. While not savvy enough to get a better producer, I do think she’s savvy enough to position herself as the next Cher.

EGB: I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE RACCOON GANG. Yup, that is a totally scientifically sound basis for getting a python.

So two things: !!! [the Internet was two steps ahead on a Drag Anthem] and !!!! [Vegas, baby!].


And poo in a bidet on Reuters for implying that Brit Brit’s pop fame was harmed by her “troubled years.” FOR SHAME. BRITNEY 5 EVA.

PN: DIVAS BEGET DIVAS really needs to be on a t-shirt. Like immediately. Because that truly is the secret of life.

Nothing has harmed Brit’s fame, as is obvious by the fact that she has just been crowned the queen of Vegas. That is an honor reserved only for people like Siegfried, Roy, Liberace, Cher, Celine, and Elton. There is no finer company. NONE.

EGB: To wrap this up, I present the following image:

Needs no explanation.

Needs no explanation.

PN: I have never loved you more.