Thursday, August 27, 2020

Scavenger Hunt HP Style


Update 8/17 – 8/23


Hi Friend!


My big excitement for the week was concentrated on a 24 hour Magical Marauders Scavenger Hunt run by a Harry Potter Trivia Duo.  They did an amazing job! The rule book was over 20 pages, and the challenges came in a 19 page booklet.  I convinced my team to participate under the guise that we could do it for a couple of hours, have some fun, and then go about our day.  I know you’ll be shocked that I did not follow this plan.  First, I started digging into the puzzles.  Rach and I were on the phone working though a bunch of logic, picture and crossword puzzles for about 2 hours when I paused and asked, “Are you having fun?”  Rach replied, “Yes!!” And my heart filled with glee that my BFF was just a big of an HP nerd as I was, and we kept going until after 11.  Then, I continued to get through a bunch of the other “easier” challenges.  D&J knocked out all of our team specific challenges, and Lindsay was amazing with all of the creative cosplay and acting items.  Ultimately, we earned over 2500 points, got first place in the trivia bee and finished 7th out of 40 participants.  I am extremely proud of all of the work, and it really was one of the most creative weekends I’ve had since this pandemic started!


I may have mentioned prior, but my pup sometimes has a hard time breathing.  Given that he was born not breathing, I’ve always chucked up his momentary hacking as “a thing he does.”  Over the past year, though, I’ve noticed it’s gotten worse, and I started suspecting that it might be allergies.  The vet told me that I was not actually insane for thinking this, and provided some meds that I suspect is just a very low dose of benedryl which I then cut in half.  I only give it to him when he needs it.  And I know when he needs it because he’ll wake up, struggle to breathe, and then wake me up, walk me over to where the medicine is kept, wait until I get it and wrap it in a bit of American cheese, and then move to where I can easily pick him up.  I’m establishing here that he absolutely knows and wants this medicine, and then he makes me forcibly open his jaw and shove the medicine down.  We had to do this just now, during the day, and then like 20 min later I forgot that we did it and made him go for a walk – which only lasted 15 min because he tugged me back home.  Whoops, sorry buddy.  I forgot!  And Happy Dog Day!


On Saturday evening, I stopped by Jamie’s for a lil birthday Celebration for Jen!  I arrived late to (purposely) miss the unmasked food portion of the evening (this time is so incredibly weird) but it was so nice to see some friends I haven’t seen in over 6 months.  Sadly, I actually tried to write down some of the funny things people were saying, and even though I was stone cold sober, I can’t decipher what I wrote.  All I know is that before I arrived, Shana face planted while playing with her pups, and her pups just walked right on top of her sad, scraped, lying body while her friends and parents all laughed at her misfortune.  Maybe I’m not telling the story right… but while they were laughing so hard they were crying, this is what I was picturing.  Pobrecita.  Oh! And maybe Jen’s daughter June has been building little communities, and then she collects spiders and brings them to their new homes, which is seriously adorable (for those of us not desperately afraid of spiders that is.)


Sunday was another glorious day out, so I made Percy go on three long walks – gotta get those lovely walks in before it starts raining, because I’m still going to make him walk when rainy season arrives. 


I think that’s about it for this week, hope you’re doing well!






I went to a Sounders game with Dr. Rach which is always a blast and checked out a sidewalk art festival in Redmond.



Back in 2017, I had a sleepover at Dawne’s. Not an impromptu one, but the kind where Jordan goes away for the weekend and then I come in to entertain (which I am always happy to do!)  I also made two spur of the moment decisions to book two trips, one to Nashville (to see Kenny Roger’s last concert with Dolly Parton – boy was that a great decision!) and another to Germany. 

Me: What do you want for dinner?
Zach: Not to pay for it.

This quote was also in my notes, “Who are you eating dinner with? I have Zach with me.” Which even out of context makes me giggle because it feels like a sick burn, but maybe someone was just genuinely curious. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Sunrise is Very Off Brand for Me.


Update 8/10 – 8/16


Hi Friend!


Boy do I drag my feet writing you when I have really dull weeks.  After almost 6 months, Percy and I are finally getting into a groove working from home.  I have abandoned my “desk” set up.  It was going alright when it was just a folding table and chair, but then I brought my gaming chair from work, raised the height of the folding table and now, I feel like a lil kid whose feet don’t touch the ground and I’m reaching up high to try to type.  Ultimately, that room “AKA: Zach’s room AKA: the room Zach moved his stuff into, slept for two nights and has never returned to” gets a lot of sun, so if I close the door on hot days, I can maintain a reasonable temp in the house.  So, now, I have picked a spot on the couch that works perfectly. It’s close to a side table, has good lighting, and the wall behind me is neutral but fun. (I have a ginormous mirror I stole from Dawne, so it’s a bit of an Alice through the looking glass situation but without the jabberwockys.  This means that in certain spots, you have a full view of all of my books and games, which would be fine if they were more organized… but I have stared and thought about reorganizing for so long now, that I know it will never happen.)  I work from my kitchen table when I need to be professional, and I stand up at a bookshelf when sitting is unbearable.  Percy moves around a bit, but mostly snores softly on his Mister Chief pillow, and I take daily pictures of how adorable he is, and then abandon the pictures because my phone cannot capture the full power of cuteness.  And we make sure we get a couple good walks in to stay healthy. 


My work week was crazy-town.  Though, it did prove once again that when everyone is freaking out, I get super calm.  (Conversely, if no one is freaking out, I do, because someone HAS to.) Maybe I should have been a 911 dispatcher?  Or maybe that would be awful for the calm callers…  Either way, I had a lot of work calls to make, and on the top of my notes page, I wrote “NO ONE IS READY FOR JOKES, TIFFANY.”  I thought this note worked, until my co-worker thanked me for cracking jokes in all the calls.  Just imagine if I wasn’t trying to be serious!



I learned on Friday that the “gaiter” masks I was wearing while walking outside are worse than not wearing a mask.  Well isn’t that just kick-ya-in-the-head-spit-on-your-neck Fantastic! Not a real big deal, but as Maureen pointed out, the idea that someone might wear a mask into a store and be told it’s not good enough is definitely going to cause more tension.  In happier news, Ryan made the trek over towards me on Friday, and we got a good long walk around the park and tuckered out the pups, and then I headed over to Rach & Anders’ place for socially distanced catch up.   Saturday & Sunday I spent at Dawne’s.  It was wicked hot, which is probably why I woke up with a migraine, but after two cups of soup and a Gatorade, I was able to leave the house.  We lounged in the lake, then Nater and Lindsay came over, and we had a lil picnic on the boat, followed by a lovely evening of chilling on the deck before watching French Kiss in the pool.  Sunday was much of the same sans headache. 


Lucas is settling in well in his new pad.  As I mentioned before, all 6 of them are musicians so it’s the perfect scenario for him.  They have basically been having dance parties every night, and because Lucas is the only one with a 9-5 job, he’s justifiably exhausted.  It reminds me of that summer that there were a bunch of college kids at the compound, and Matty and I tried to stay up every night drinking with them.  It was a super good time, but I remember the weekend they all left to go back to college I had the best sleep ever, and my liver sighed with relief.  I’ve never felt so old, and that was a good ten years ago.  We asked Lucas what he’s been eating and how they are handling food in a house with that many people.  He said they just eat whatever is in the house and then venmo the owner for what they ate.  Such a simple and elegant solution, and one that I totally didn’t have access to back in my day.  But then, I had a roommate who’s mother sent her back to school at least once a month with a freezer worth of meat, and all I had to do was pick up the smiley fries / sides.  Lucas also explained that a couple of the roommates work at Pagliacci so they get lots of free pizza – which I think might be almost as good as the freezer of meat.


I chatted with Mo on Sunday because they were in Ocean City, MD and it was raining on Sunday which meant that they were doing a puzzle in the hotel room.  Apparently the rest of the trip was amazing, though.


Pat: I think this is the best trip I’ve ever had down to Ocean City. 

Mo: Really? Even better than the time you proposed to me?

Pat: Oh yeah that was a pretty good time.


Me: Patrick is with you?

Mo: You’re just like Kevin. As if we would ever drop off Patrick at school and then have a family vacation.

Me: I don’t know. You all dropped me off at college and then went on a cruise to Alaska.

Mo: Oh, did we do that?


I got a text from Erin saying she found a picture of us together in Verona in ’99, (and Tuscany and Venice and probably Rome).  My brain hurt a little trying to remember everyone in the photo. 


Erin: I am literally wearing a different sweatshirt or coat in every photo.  I can’t imagine how heavy my suitcase was.

Me: I am fairly certain that I wore that same Ireland jacket and that exact pair of jeans on every vacation I went on for 3 years.


Me: Do you remember when [our Jewish friend] Lee yelled, “JESUS IS COMING!” during the parade in Florence?

Erin: Well, now I do.

Me: and how I threw a fit about not going to church on Palm Sunday until finally I was allowed to take a cab with Janette to a Church at like 5 am.  I told the cab to come back in an hour and half b/c Palm Sunday is the long one, only in Italy it lasted 30 min and we got to walk around the city at dawn.  #suchateenager #myrebellionincludeddemandingigotochurch

Erin: That’s sweet. I obvi didn’t care.  I do have a pic of us in the dark on the roof of our hotel waiting for the sunrise.  So you were a real early riser that trip.  I look hella pissed about it.

Me: Who organized this?  It’s like we decided maybe we could achieve a robbery if Heather Ann hadn’t decided to wear WHITE.

Erin: Victor told us the sunrise was amazing and a small group of us got up early and went. Sunrise is very off brand for me.

Erin: I had almost booked a flight to VA beach….and like that day they asked that people save the lines for people that needed to make Covid arrangements.  I had to call because I was using miles.

Me: I like that you had to explain why you were calling to make sure I didn’t think you were a weirdo.

Erin: Totally.  I was like Tiff will think I’m lying about an alleged trip.


Okay I think that’s about it for this week! Love you! Mean it!



Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Snapchat, you win this round.

 Update 8/3 – 8/9


Hi Friend! 

Percy got a new haircut and then I accidentally used a snap chat filter on him that made me giggle for hours. 

I’ve been disturbed by the situation with the USPS, so I’ve been amping up my support.  I was already being pretty nutty, sending a lot of “pandemic” themed notes out.  In June, I had a moment where I thought maybe it would all end quickly, so I started accelerating and then realized “whoa buddy, you have plenty of time” and bought over $300 dollars’ worth of notes from etsy – and of course all the stamps in the land. And the USPS is making a killing on each postcard in which I affix a forever stamp!  Granted all of these are more in line with my humor… so I had to choose carefully on recipients – so my parent’s 90+ year old neighbors will not be getting all of these – however my dad’s Christian Brother friends will find a few in their mailbox, and Aunt Audrye is getting 100% them. 

I spent the rest of the week working, taking walks (Including forcing Ryan and Joe to come to the park near me!) and hanging out at the lighthouse.  Tried teaching Dawne how to make a friendship bracelet (that didn’t going super well), played a new game based on Hocus Pocus with Nater and Lindsay.  Oh! Lucas moved out and into a house with 5 other people – all musicians.  Jordan was worried the floors might crumble under the weight of their combined records, and I heard at one point on moving in, Dawne saw 6 keyboards and a baby piano.  Sounds like he found the right crowd – lets see what his neighbors think!


Anniversary of Nala in our lives! Here is her first pic:


Because I don’t have a ton to share I’m going to dive into 2017 when I was on vacay and of course share some of the amusements I found this week. 




Sean’s fam, Maureen’s fam and myself all went to Disney world.  Great minds and all that, Sean bought us all matching mickey shirts, and then I made everyone shirts based on their favorite Disney character.  All of these matching shirts were red, and honestly it made the day a lot easier when you’re in a group of 11.   


Upon entering one ride, a character said to us: There's more red than khaki in here. That never happens.


At one point, we are at Epcot, waiting for the doors to open, and when they do, we all start running.  But we lose Kevin in the sprint, and he’s the one person who doesn’t have a phone, so Mo stops and goes back to look.  I keep heading to the destination – Norway for the Frozen ride.  And there he is, standing nervously near the head of the line waiting for us.  I wanted to be mad, but he knew the plan and he did it better than all of us!  You have to understand that it was brutally hat the week we were there.  Like crayons melting on the pavement by 9 am hot.  And Kevin had been growing his hair out to donate – and he has really gorgeous thick hair and at this point it’s down past his shoulders.  He refuses to pull it back in a hair tie all day.  Then, the next morning, he asks Mo to cut his hair, but is super upset about it (though I think a lot of this has to do with just not wanting the attention).  He doesn’t want to come downstairs, and so Maureen tells everyone not to comment at all about his hair.  We all get the message, he comes down stairs, Sean walks in from another room and goes “WHOA KEV! You cut your hair!”

I wonder if they work for the state or Disney
Morgan roll down your window and ask
Rolls window down, Morgan: what am I asking?

While we were at Epcot, really enjoying the round the world drinking aspect, my brother-in-law admits, “Bailey scares the shit of me.” I don’t think I’ll ever forget this statement, ever.   

While enjoying an Italian Ice:
Morgan: really enjoying that, huh?
20 min later.
Morgan: where did you get that?  who gave her another?

While at Universal, running back to get a phone that was left on a counter, the person there said, “Oh don’t worry about it.  People leave their wands and phones all the time!”

What would you do if everyone who speaks Spanish got up and left right now?

Me: I can't believe I broke my feet today.
Jackie: Remember that time dad broke his foot and I made him carry me off the soccer field bc I fell?
Me: This is what I'm saying!!

Please continue to hold your applause.  

Morgan: Look it's a dad sweatshirt.

Sean what does that mean?

Kyle: It’s a sweatshirt that pop-pop would wear.

Sean to Stace while splitting a meal with Stace: what did you get?

It would be great if we can get our check
Maybe we would if Morgan would stop nibbling on croutons.

Me: N for new and Nala
Kevin: And knowledge!

Bailey: let's start walking to the exit so there's no opportunity for them to do something else.

Morgan(to me): act surprised
Jackie: here - ( handing me new Minnie ears) one of them flew off on space mountain.

(This was after Jackie borrowed my mini-clip on ears.)

Sean:  it's far
Morgan: I'll run there with you
Jackie: In spirit

Stacey: The French are nice if you try
Me: Everyone is nice of you try
Sean: Jackie's not.

Stace: Can't you just take a nice normal picture with the princess. She's a princess!
Morgan: So am I!

The girls are allowed to get one item, basically anything they want, on the trip.  After 5 days and great deliberation, Bailey gets a pencil case.

Little girl who didn't pull out the chair: it's too tight, I don't think I fit.

Sean holding a hair-tie: is this yours?
Jackie: I'll take it - is it cold?

Me: Is it wrong that I want to go to sleep and it's only 4:45
Sean: Take a 30 minute nap, and then go wait in line somewhere


Tuesday, August 4, 2020

We WERE number one.

Update 7/27 – 8/2


Hi Friend!


Monday morning I was supposed to have a tree guy come and trim back my massive laurel in the back yard.  He had asked for me to try to get very specific spots for his truck… three in fact.  I had to talk to neighbors I didn’t know and ask them for favors (which I’m not a fan of) and then tried to watch the middle visitor spot all weekend for an opening that never came.  When the tree guy arrived, 45 min late, he was furious.  I offered two spots that were about 15 feet away but that was too far to carry the branches I guess, because he just got angry with me, which totally made me want to cry, but I couldn’t b/c I was late for an interview call.  All of this, b/c I was trying to do an adult chore of doling out a heap of cash for my tree that had gotten out of control.  And I guess the guy was supposed to go to D&J’s afterwards and just never showed.  So that was my mini-drama to start the week.  The good part of the day is that I finally got my passport!!  I have no idea when it will become useful, but it sure does feel nice to have one again.


On Tuesday was a Harry Potter virtual trivia night and Bailey and friends were joining me from a couch in Martha’s Vineyard.  We did pretty well the first two rounds, but then the third had a logic table we had to solve, and we definitely needed more time.  I was prepared to be in 12th place, but as they were going through the ranks, our name wasn’t called.  Totally befuddled, I thought I just missed our team name, until they named us the winner! They put us back into our break up rooms and I find the girls in a fit of giggles, because NO WAY did we get all the answers correct.  So, I did Hermione proud and told them there was a huge mistake.  But for a fleeting moment we were #1! And maybe that’s all I should have told you from that story. (I played again on my own on Thursday night and got 8th place which wasn’t too shabby.)


For Dawne’s birthday, I got her this foam mat for the lake.  It’s pretty squishy, so Lucas decided to grab a sleeping bag and sleep on top of it at the end of the pier.  All was going well, until he heard something rustle.  He opened his eyes to see 6 inches from his face to a river otter who also thought the mat was pretty squishy.  Lucas squealed which made the river otter squeal and then hop back into the lake.  When Lucas pondered how he got up on the pier, Dawne told him that she has seen the otter climb up the ladders.  Knowledge that would have been helpful BEFORE the camp out. 


My friend Mukul’s photo of a river otter, and a pic of the scene of the night time meeting. You should totally follow Mukul – he is an AMAZING photographer!!


It was harder to walk during the day so I had to get out early in the morning or find shaded paths, which I got Joey to meet me at a place near me on a particularly hot day and Percy thought that was a much better idea (if his lack of panting was any indication.)


Friday, by the end of the day I wanted to crawl up in bed and cry, so I went to go do that, but just as my head was hitting the pillow, someone called me and I had to put on a happy voice, so I got out of bed and forced myself to be cheerful.  Since I was up, I took a walk around the hood and got the mail to find a package from Erika with a totally inspiring message.  She has just learned how to make friendship bracelets, and made me one!  It was perfect timing.    And then she called, and was surprised that I sounded like I was upright haha.  We chatted for a bit on my way to meet up with Ryan (who I haven’t seen in person since February!) and we walked around a park in Mercer Island for two hour.  Much healthier way to cheer up than drinking.  (I recently decided to only drink to get happier not to get happy.  I learned this brilliant idea from a Reese Witherspoon movie, so it must be sound advice!)


Spent the rest of the weekend hanging out with Dawne and Jordan, alternating between pool and lake.  I noticed that Sean and fam were at Jeanine and Kevin’s watching a movie in a pool the same night we decided to watch a movie in the pool!  The difference? They were watching JAWS  while we watched a slightly less intense movie, Bend it like Beckham.  Fran didn’t like the movie though, said it was “too predictable” and Zach’s response was, “But you love RomCom’s the most predictable of all the genres!” Or maybe it was just Kiera Knightly’s 90’s haircut that was too predictable…

 Dawne and I played Timeline and the first card was "Jesus is crucified. Year: 30"  But he was 33, it's like one of the few dates everyone knows.  And from then on, the game was suspect.  

And some random things I found funny this week!



My mom sent me a feast for 30 from Katz Deli!


And I was at Halo Outpost Discovery in Chicago!  I got to hang out with some awesome authors, and amazing fans!  And, one morning, I realized I had an extra couple of hours before the show opened, so I called Aunt Audrye and asked if we could hang out… like now.  So grateful for random opportunities like that!




This week, Dawne’s Aunts and Uncles and Our shared Aunt and Uncle were all in town the same weekend.  We made introduction (some of the cousins didn’t know each other), but in other instances, I feel like the two sides of the family meeting up together hadn’t happened for decades. 


We asked Elizabeth to sew up Percy’s favorite toy bear.

Me: It’s a little dirty.

Elizabeth: I’m going to need some scissors and some anesthesia  


And I added pictures of Percy hiding and being cute… 😊





I was grabbing some extra treats for Percy before dropping him off with Dawne for the week.  They didn’t have what I needed, so I got back in the car, and before I was able to back out, I looked back and watched an SUV slowly back into the side of my car… and continue to back up and lift my tiny Fiat from the ground all before I was able to think to honk my horn.  Eventually, she realized something was off, and we got out, looked and she give me her name and number (although, honestly when that happens, you kinda know nothing will come of it) and I drove to Dawne’s.  I had a lil time before I need to go to the airport, so we went to grab dinner.  We got back, and I’m just sitting in the kitchen chatting for a while until it was time to leave – at which point I realize I don’t have my wallet.  I don’t have time to head back to the restaurant, so I just have to head to the airport (because I had my passport and a credit card on me and luckily didn’t rent a car.)  I made it to the airport on time, got upgraded to first class, and got to FL in time to meet the fam.  I had gotten a room at this place Dawne always stays at for the night thinking Mo and her family could use it for the night and I could take a nap because I had taken the red eye.  Turns out, Mo got to the hotel, told them her name for the reservation and couldn’t find it anywhere.  Luckily, Mo knows I have a serious problem with “new” names (At this point, they would have been married for 18 years), and asked if there was a room under her maiden name – and there was!


Also, I decided that my fiat was perfectly large enough to pick up a bunch of packages at work.  When I got to the mail building, and told them my name and work alias, they were like, “WHOA!  I’ve always wanted to meet you!  You get SO many packages!” Weird thing to flex, but flexing anyhow!


Love you, Mean It!