Category Archives: Book Club

“I Married My Mother-In-Law”

If you’re reading this as either a married person or a person in a committed relationship, take a moment to think about your significant other’s family and your relationship with them. Do you get along? Does your father-in-law tease you like one of his own kids? Does your boyfriend’s younger brother annoy you? Do you share clothes with your future sister-in-law or do you kind of want to push her out of a moving vehicle? Do you have a “can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em” vibe with your in-laws? Do you feel like you compete with your mother-in-law for your husband’s attention? Are you glad you live thousands of miles away from your SO’s family or are you so grateful they’re down the street?

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I picked up a 25 cent copy of  I Married My Mother-In-Law from a book sale at the end of last year because the whole concept is so interesting to me! The book is a collection of essays, from a multitude of different pretty well known writers, about relationships with in-laws. The stories vary from genuine love for in-laws to “I’m so glad they’re dead”.

Obviously, when reading the title of the book, I immediately started thinking about my in-laws and what I have to say about my own, personal relationship with them…

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Long story short: I HAVE THE BEST IN-LAWS. Seven years ago I met this great guy who I  ended up marrying. I had no idea back then, though, I’d be winning the in-law lottery! You don’t ever really expect to be friends with the mom and dad of the person you marry, but that’s what we are. Joel’s dad, Ron (aka Ron Boogie), is the coolest guy I know, and his mom, Sheila (aka Sheesh or SheShe), is one of my best friends.

How lucky am I that my mom-in-law is my own personal ray of sunshine? Sheila Blumer is not only beautiful on the outside, but she is the sweetest person I’ve ever met. She is one of those people who would give you the shirt off her own back. Literally. One time I complimented her shirt and she gave it to me a few days later, freshly laundered and folded, of course. Just last week I sent a “pity me” text to SheShe telling her how I slipped on ice because I don’t have any winter boots and she showed up two days later with three different pairs of boots for me to try on and keep. Her kindness knows no bounds!

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I was the last person to marry into the Blumer family and sometimes I feel like I’m part of a really cool and exclusive club. Me, Joel, his sisters, and their husbands have this amazing example of what a partnership can be. Not saying Ron and Sheila are perfect, but with 45 years of marriage under their belts, they’re damn near close to it in my eyes and I’m going to keep them up on a pedestal where they belong.

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Did you know that marrying for love is a relatively new thing? In the past, people used to get married for the sole purpose of making ties with other families and gaining in-laws. These days, I feel like in-laws are probably just “those people you have to see at Thanksgiving” for a lot of people, but not for me. I am so grateful to have fallen in love with Joel and with his family too.

On the flip side of things, I’m kind of shocked to see how well Joel gets along with all of his in-laws, my crazy family. I get my lack of eyelashes, love of stray animals, and many more of my quirks from my mama. He definitely married his mother-in-law. Lucky guy!

Cheap Dates: Lunch And The Library

What ever happened to going to regular old Lunch on a weekend? All the cool kids are either waking up at the butt crack of dawn to buy vegan donuts for Breakfast or they’re at the hip new Brunch spot on the trendy side of town. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of both of those things, but sometimes I just want to get satisfied by a BLT + chips + a pickle spear around noon on a Saturday. Let’s bring Lunch back! #LunchIsTheNewBrunch

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A great spot to get lunch here in Pittsburgh is the Squirrel Hill Cafe; located in, you guessed it, the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill (my personal favorite PGH borough). You might recognize the place from the latest episode of Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown, where Tony sat to have burgers with local author Stewart O’Nan. If you want ridiculously good, cheap food this is the place (the total for 3 people- 1 bacon cheeseburger, 1 BLT, 1 fish sandwich, 1 beer, onion rings, and fries- was $33!!!!!). Be aware, though, that although it has “cafe” in the name, you must be 21 or over to enter Squirrel Hill Cafe and that it is one of the last remaining bar/restaurants that still allows indoor smoking (gross, I know, but worth it for cheap food). Hey look! They decorated for Halloween!

Since we’re a married couple with no kids, we have alone time in spades. And since we love the company of my favorite sister, Annie, we invited her along to be the third wheel. Who else would be able to stomach taking photos of Joel and I reenacting Lady And The Tramp with fries?! Annie then surprised us by picking up the tab, turning this Cheap Date into a FREEEEEE DATE!!!!! Thanks, Annie!

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Speaking of free, the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Libraries is right across the street. I’m not sure how the libraries in your city stack up, but Pittsburgh’s are superb! Have you ever taken a date to the library? Probably not since college, huh? Well why not grab a few from the fiction section and get cozzzzy at a table with your significant other. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… havin’ fun isn’t hard when you’ve got a library card….

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A few blocks away from the library and cafe, are some outdoor chess/checkers tables, which would be cool had we known about them and thought to bring along the chess pieces my nerdy husband owns. On the next installment of Cheap Dates, we see how many times I can hear the phrase “check mate” before having a full-on mental breakdown…

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That’s What She Read

Let’s talk about books, baby

Let’s talk about reeeeading

Let’s talk about all the good books, all the bad books that we read

Let’s talk about books….

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Among some of the other goals that I made for myself at the start of 2017 (like learn Italian), I am also attempting to read at least 52 books before the year ends. If you’re good at math and didn’t just have to use Google to double check how many weeks there are in a year, you probably figured out that it averages out to be 1 book per week. ARE YOU NOT IMPRESSED?! I just finished my 27th book and have started on number 28, so I’m right on schedule.

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I wanted to do a post about this not only to share my love of reading, but to happily accept book recommendations as well. I’m not going off of a list of books to read before you die or anything like that, just picking books that pique my interest, are on sale for 25 cents a piece, or are New York Times Bestsellers. Hey, if they’re good enough for the masses, they’re good enough for me. My favorite question to ask people (mostly just when I want to come off as the intellectual, pretentious asshole I pretend to be sometimes) is “what are your favorite books?” Go ahead and tell me all about them so I can add them to my list.

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So far I’ve read a good range of things from The Princess Diarist, by the late and great Carrie Fisher, to Andre Dubus’ dark and dramatic House of Sand and Fog, to rereading one of my childhood favorites, Bambi (it’s definitely different than the happy Disney movie version FYI). I really want to read Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood after finishing The Swans of Fifth Avenue by Melanie Benjamin and I’d like to know more about Capote so I’ll be picking up a biography or two on him. I also want to reread Choice Theory by Dr. Glasser, because I remember it being extremely interesting when I read it a few years back, as well as the Everworld series that I was obsessed with when I was 12 to see if they still hold up. Some other good ones I’ve read are Ready Player One, The Girl Before, Big Magic, Anne of Green Gables, Future Shock, and The Boston Girl. I am currently about halfway through Shanghai Girls and am loving it.

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As much as I love READING books, I also love buying them for their spine color for home decor purposes. Don’t know if I’ll ever get around to reading Kendra Wilkinson’s autobiography, but I totally own it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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I JUST LOVE BOOKS, MAN! I love getting lost in another world without having to leave the couch. I love learning about interesting people or subjects I know nothing of! I love going to the library without knowing what I’ll check out next and coming home with at least three new books and using the eenie meenie miney mo method to pick which one to start first.

I think Arthur the Aardvark (from the PBS cartoon, Arthur, duh) said it best when he rapped that “having fun isn’t hard, when you’ve got a library card”….

YA GOSH DARN RIGHT, ARTHUR.