Archive for the ‘family’ Category

Small side note: this week someone searched “I don’t want to work today” and got to this site.  This fills me with glee. I’m with you, anonymous internet searcher.  I don’t want to work today either.

Which is why I’m going to talk about The Antique Road Show.

I’m not sure how up on current events you guys are, but I really am (by current events I mean whatever pops up on Google News, People.com, and Gawker.  Don’t ask me about the debt ceiling because you’ll get nothing but a blank stare in response).  And recently, this story has been everywhere: A guy takes some junk he had sitting around his attic to the awesome Antiques Roadshow television program, and it just so happens his junk is worth A MILLION DOLLARS.

You’ve read this, right?  Or seen it?  The junk in question is a collection of 5 rhino horn chinese tea-cups, and the guy is some dude who lives in Oklahoma.  He says he bought the cups in the 1970s “for cheap” and they’ve just been hanging out in his attic since then. When Antiques Roadshow rolled into town, he took them over on a whim.  Which then turned him into a millionaire.  Here’s a picture of the magical cups in question (that crazy looking person is not the owner, but the ‘Asian Art” expert from the show).

I am officially obsessed with this story, on a variety of levels.   First of all, I adore Antique Roadshow.  It’s an awesome show for people who like old things (me), low-budget public access television (also me), and average Americans acting silly on TV (me, duh).

On another level, people who hang on to inordinate amounts of worthless (or maybe not!) crap are very close to my heart.  See, some people in my family has a slight slight problem with not throwing things away.

No no, they aren’t hoarders. How dare you even suggest that.  They don’t belong on that awful TLC show with the seriously mentally ill people who have dead cats mummifying in their homes, oh no.  Sentimental, fine. Nostalgic, sure!  But mentally ill?  Well…no comment?

I kid.  I kid because I love.  Certain family members who will remain unnamed can’t really help themselves.  I’m convinced it’s a gene, passed down from one generation to another. For whatever reason, science has instill in them the DNA code that says “I CAN’T GET RID OF THAT HOW DARE YOU TRY TO THROW IT AWAY WHEN I’M NOT LOOKING PLEASE STOP TOUCHING MY STUFF I’M SAVING THAT FOR (INSERT INSANE REASON HERE).”

I’m now going to start the campaign for “let’s find some valuable stuff amongst your piles of “important items” that we can sell for a huge profit.”  Does anyone know when the Antique Roadshow comes to New York?


PS: Never seen Antique Roadshow?  Brian Regan has it down pat, below.  Advanced apologies for the terrible quality…it’s worth it though.


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Leader of the Band

I know Father’s Day isn’t until Sunday, but for a variety of reasons I am not going to be with my dad on Sunday.  So I thought I’d take this post to say: Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

Here is one of my favorite things about my dad: he looooves to have a soundtrack.

Christmas Morning?  We weren’t allowed downstairs until he could cue up just the right Bing Crosby carol to join us in the present opening.

St. Patrick’s Day?  Of course we were awakened at 7AM with blaring bagpipes

Birthdays? The regular old “Happy Birthday” didn’t suffice.  We had a special Happy Birthday song (what uppp Tom Chapin, kid-song-singer-extraordinaire) that was playing as we sang along before eating cake.

It’s not even big holidays or events that get this treatment.  It’s really anything that he can think of.  And my gosh does he think of plenty.  Perfect example: this past June 6th (D-Day, you uneducated fools) every single Wood child was called up and met with the swelling instrumental score from one of our favorite Wood Family Classics, the WWII series “Band of Brothers.”   And when my brother’s Alabama-native girlfriend came to visit New York for the first time, you better believe Dad made absolutely sure he had the Crimson Tide fight song cued up as she walked in the front door.

It’s a quirky and charming trait and I have to say, I have grown to love it.  It’s sort of like living in a movie.  A movie with a totally awesome soundtrack.

It is of course one of many fun qualities that he has that makes him a entertaining guy to be around.  But the soundtrack thing is not something that everyone does (at least I don’t think so!).  His superior music-appreciation even found me a theme song: Red-haired Mary (I gloss over the naughty lyrics and focus on the red-haired! and the Mary!  Pervs.)

Anyway.  Dad, I hope you have a fabulous father’s day in Boston.  I love you!  Here’s some Harry Chapin (and no, I am not going to do Cats in the Cradle…because that is a depressing Dad-centric song) to commemorate the day.

Instead, something more topic-appropriate:


PS: Dad, you’d be really proud…I’m voluntarily listen to Harry Chapin at work.  Job well done!

PPS: SICK mustache, Tom Chapin.

PPPS: It appears I can’t help mentioning mustaches in every. single. post.

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Oh hey guys.  How’s it going?

I know it’s been six months since I went on “hiatus” (sorry for not warning you.  My bad. Things got a lil busy.), but guess what? Now that summer has rolled around and I have a little more free time, I think I can pick this business back up.

Also, and this has NOTHING to do with it, but my little sister C. stared a blog too–not only because she wants to emulate me in every way possible but also because she’s in Hawaii for her post-grad summer. Just hanging out on the beach. Meanwhile, I got a JOB after I graduated college…but that’s neither here nor there.  I’m ecstatic for her and not even the slightest bit smug that she can’t figure out the Hawaiian public transit system.  Look, I’m so un-bitter about this whole thing that I’ll even link to it: http://summerinhawaii.wordpress.com/

She’s a doll and she’s pretty witty so you should go visit.  Also, she gets really tan and I’m sure she’ll document that heavily as I sit wasting away in pale misery in my cube.

Now, you would think that as my blog was lying dormant (it was hibernating!  There you go, that’s my excuse) it would slip through the cracks of the vast internetz.  However.  That was not so.  You see, WordPress has a handy and very entertaining feature called “Top Searches” that shows you how people found Better Off Red. And to my utter surprise, not only did my busiest day come mid-hiatus, but people stumbled onto this site in the strangest of ways even sans-updates.

So, for my grand return to blogging, I give you the list of search phrases that led people to my humble corner of the web:

Search Views
hipster glasses 44
snowpocalypse 16
ironic mustache 9
dirty hipster 9
creep stache 5
better off red wordpress 5
hipster goatee 4
wordpress better off red 4
people with mustaches 3
george leier 3
snowpocalypse new york 2010 3
beard hipster glasses 3
new york snowpocalypse 3
moustache 3
betteroffred 3
you’re doing it wrong stache 3
+”synthesize ddt” 2
ironic mustaches 2
шнауцер 2
better off red blog 2
snowpocalypse.jpg 2
turbot dill 2
tom selleck mustache eyes 2
awesome moustaches 2
snowpocalypse gizmodo 2
hipster with glasses 2
cop with mustache 2
hipster fashion 2
the ironic mustache 2
scraggly beard “angry” 2
novel red led alarm clock sports cool cubby hole design 1
winter squash canelloni 1
noodles for breakfast 1
winter squash manicotti filling 1
turbot fillets en papillote 1
turbot en papillote 1
щенки морки 1
worldpress “better off red” 1
ragey glasses 1
betteroffred.com 1
jamie oliver stuffed cannelloni 1
maryewood 1
julia child’s cookbook 1
betteroffred.wordpress.com 1
fashion disaster exercise clothes 1
your doing it wrong 1
hipsters glasses men 1
the ironic stach 1
turbot en papillot 1
dead fish apocalypse 1
red mustaches that look good 1
snopacalyspe 1
snowacalypse sanitation workers strike 1
david tutera 1
ironic moustache 1
dirty hipster glasses 1
hipster facial hair glasses 1
ferris beuler’s day off 1
snowpocalypse new york 1
snowpocalypse nyc 2010 1
tom selleck black and white 1
ironic stache 1
no no no don’t lie 1
dill papillote sauce 1
better off red 1
hipster beard hat glasses 1
subway snowpocalypse 1
dirty hipster pics 1
hipster in glasses 1
unwonderful 1
ugly hipster 1
“must grow a mustache” 1
pedophilia your doing it wrong 1
“better off red” blog 1
porn stache selleck 1
cop stache 1
mens hipster eyeglasses 1
turbot wine sauce 1
evil genius moustache 1
ironic hipster glasses 1
http://www.betteroffred.fantake 1
tribecataco 1
duxbury croakies 1
turbot en papillote recipes 1
wonderful mustache 1
tom selleck porn stache 1
ultimate hipster glasses 1
alone again naturally flip side 1
hipsters mustaches 1
squash manicotti 1


Let me first say that it is so stupidly ironic that the phrase “mustache” and “hipster” bring the most people to my site.  Because, as you know, both things are the bane of my existence.  Funny how life turns out, isn’t it.

A few of my favorites off this list:

– “george leier”: either my dad’s BFF is googling himself a lot OR someone has a stalker!  Sorry George.

– “щенки морки”: I am dying to know A. what language that is and B. what it means.

– “no no no don’t lie”: Okay okay…I won’t.

– “scraggly beard “angry””: Which is how I described H throughout much of college.

– “tom selleck mustache eyes”: Only because the idea of “mustache eyes” kinda freaks me out

– and finally, “red mustaches that look good” : I can answer that one for you.  Those don’t exist.






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You guys!  It’s DECEMBER.  How did that happen?  Wasn’t yesterday like, August?  Labor Day?  Where did Autumn go?

It is suddenly the Christmas season, and I’m not exactly prepared for it.  Maybe it’s because it snuck up on me so fast, maybe because we don’t have a Christmas tree yet, or maybe I’m just being a total Scrooge, but I am having a very hard time getting into the holiday spirit.

This is a problem.  Because  I love Christmas.  I love everything about it.  I love sparkling lights and snow storms and family togetherness and eating until you are too full and buying  presents for people you love and listening to Bing Crosby crooning carols on repeat.  The list could go on and on.  There isn’t anything about Christmas that I don’t like.

Except, in the past few years, since I started working, basically, Christmas has lost a little bit of its magic.  In my first year at my job, I was positively aghast that we didn’t automatically get Christmas Eve off.  I was even more disappointed that I didn’t have enough days to just take it off.  I was stuck going to work on Christmas Eve–a travesty if I ever heard one.  I had to take the stupid Metro-North home on Christmas Eve, and it pretty much made me want to cry.

When I was a kid, obviously, Christmas was chock full of spirit and cheer.  My parents were awesome about keeping the Santa pretense alive, supplying the best presents, and creating lasting traditions.  Even in college, the fact that I was home loafing around for 4 weeks meant that I could lay underneath the tree to stare at the blinking lights and inhale Christmas-Tree Smell to my heart’s content.  Now, though, I am an adult.  And adults, apparently, have to work extra hard to get in the holiday spirit.  Or at least, this one does.

It’s not only the job factor, though.  I automatically associate Christmas with my family being together, alternately irritating one another and making each other laugh, watching favorite Christmas movies (what up, Muppet Christmas Carol), and just hanging out. But in recent years, as it is wont to happen, my family is slowing growing up and apart.  Siblings are scattered to what seems like the 4 corners of the earth (really, just Boston, North Carolina, and Alabama), and the lead-in to Christmas, which I think is pretty key in enforcing the Christmas Spirit, has been drastically shortened.  To like, 1 day.

So now, we don’t decorate the Christmas tree together.  We don’t watch Dad throw a hissy fit when he A. can’t find the outdoor lights, B. can’t find the ladder to hang the outdoor lights, and C. can’t make the G-D outdoor lights stay up on the G-D roof.  We exchange names for Secret Santa via email and text message instead of picking them out of a hat, and the days of searching for Reindeer tracks on the roof on Christmas morning are long gone.

I’m not saying that we get together for two days and then abruptly peace out, but it’s different from how it used to be.  And if there is one thing that I am not the hugest fan of, it’s change.  Especially when it comes to my favorite time of year.

This is not to say that I mope listlessly around until the moment I am able to escape to my childhood home and start celebrating.  I do make all efforts to bring the Christmas to my current home.  This very evening, actually, I am forcing H to buy me a Christmas tree and drag it home (while I watch) in the sub-zero temperatures we are experiencing here in NYC.  And then I’ll put on my own Bing Crosby Carol mix and decorate the tree myself.  Sure, it won’t be weighed down with ornaments lovingly and painstakingly collected over the last 25 years, but still.  It’s something, at least.

And it does help, somewhat, to be in New York City during Christmas.  Because even if this  place is dirty and stinky and gross every other time of the year, something special happens to it during Christmas.  You might have to look beyond the glaring HOLIDAY SALE signs and the tourists clogging the sidewalks (just elbow them out of the way), and it sounds pretty cliché, but New York at Christmas really is just the best. Even if our snow turns gray 5 minutes after it’s fallen.  It’s just so sparkly here.

So with festive New York City, and my very own tree, and maybe an emergency viewing of It’s a Wonderful Life, I think I might start slowly inching away from Scrooge-dom.  Even though we aren’t chasing the dog around the house with a Santa hat, even though there aren’t 8 million boxes of ornaments to hang on my tree, even though I probably won’t get to sit on Santa’s lap this year, I think I will somehow, some way, make it.  I am starting to realize that like too many other things in life, being cheerful at Christmas isn’t automatic: you have to make an effort for it. So as soon as I stop waiting for Christmas to come over me, as soon as I go out there and insist upon it, my problems will be solved. 

To kick-start things for myself (and hopefully, for you guys too) I give you two clips that I dare you to try to watch without feeling at least the teeniest bit Christmasy.  Double-doggie-dare you, actually.

PS: Try to tell me that the Ghost of Christmas Present doesn’t remind you of a certain oafy character in my life (aka, H).  IMPOSSIBLE, CAUSE HE’S BASICALLY H IN MUPPET FORM.

PPS: I am teary-eyed at work.  Wood. Family. Classic.

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People are generally astonished when I tell them that I still have a tiny teeny weeny baby brother (who is 15 years old) still attending (GASP) High School.  Okay, so my parents had 5 kids, and okay, so the last one was a little bit late.  Never mind that.  The point is, he’s here, and we love him.  More importantly, through him we get to experience High School once again.  Even after all these years.

Last weekend (not so) Little B was playing in the annual rivalry football game in my hometown: Rye (us) versus Harrison (them).  Now, not to toot my own horn (or my town’s horn) but this game (often called “THE GAME”) is not just your typical high school football game.  It’s been going on for 80 years or so, draws thousands of people, and ignites intense feelings of pride (and maybe more than a little disdain for Harrison) in all those lucky enough to call themselves Rye, NY residents, past or present!

Photo courtesy of famed sports photographer John D. Wood

I have a theory regarding Rye-Harrison. Once you graduate from Rye High School, you generally fall into one of two camps.  The first being the kind of people who return to Rye every year for this hallowed event, decked to the gills in Garnet (yes, our HS mascot is a semi-precious gem) gear, maybe your old sports jersey, perhaps some face-paint.  So what if the kids playing were toddlers when you attended our Alma Mater.  So what if there are now coaches who are younger than you.  You’re attendance to Rye-Harrison weekend is not a question.  You are going to be there, tailgating at 9AM, garnet and black pompoms waving, cheering on our boys with the fervor of a fratty SEC football fan.  And it will be grand.  Like Christmas, New Years, and St. Patrick’s Day all rolled into one.

A small sliver of the tailgate (also courtesy of JDW, famed tailgate photographer)

Then there is the other camp, in which, while you had your fun at these events whilst actually a Rye High student (and maybe as an early alum), you now realize that perhaps your time here is done, and it’s only fair to allow a new crop of Rye-ites take over.  Sure, you take some interest in maybe hearing who wins, and it warms your heart to see pictures of Rye students diving into a questionably clean brook to celebrate a victory on Facebook, but really, this is a closed chapter in your life.  High School was fun, but High School, sadly, is now over.

Now, before I go on, let me be clear: I’m not saying one camp is better than another.  They both certainly have their pros and cons.  I’m just saying: you either go and are into it 100% and you look forward to it every year, or you’re just kind of meh about it.

In my heart I am firmly in Camp Meh.   But (not so) Little B. has kind of put a wrench in things, being a High School student and all.  What is a supportive older sister to do?  I can’t just ignore the fact that he’s playing against the mini Evil-Empire known as Harrison, NY.   So where do you think I found myself, last weekend?

Tailgating happily with the Rye faithful as I insisted to anyone who would listen that the only reason I am here is because I still have a brother in High School.  That’s where.

So you see my conundrum: new high, or new low?  Don’t get me wrong, I had an awesome day (really, what’s not to like about tailgating on a beautiful fall day?). The game was great, I was an obnoxious Rye fan, and I got to see my babiest brother play against our ingrained-in-the-DNA arch rivals.  A new high, all around.

But I graduated high school six years ago. So shouldn’t I be, like, over it?  Shouldn’t I be admiring this kind of thing from a far, a little nostalgic maybe, but looking forward to my blindingly bright future?  Or something?  With that arguement, it’s a new low.

Oh screw it.  Who am I kidding? I had a ball.  I’m going to milk this until (not so) Little B. walks across that graduation stage…when I’m almost 30.  Who cares!  New High.

Hang the Huskies!

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So my mom was in the hospital last week for reasons that I don’t feel like explaining (this is a lighthearted blog, people).  The important thing is that she did great, she’s home now, and she’s on her way to recovery with some help from her new friends Oxycontin, Percocet, and Dilaudid.

I unfortunately was not present for this new high (new low), but I was sent photographic proof and felt the need to share it with the world.

If you’ve never had the express pleasure of being a multi-night patient at a hospital, please allow me to let you in on a little secret: hospitals kind of suck.  It is bureaucracy at it’s finest.  It smells funny, there are lots of annoying beeps and alarms, and you don’t get to pick your roommates.  Plus, there are sick people everywhere.  And old people…lots of old people. So you can imagine how psyched my mom was to finally go home on day 6 of surgery-fest 2010.  Except you can’t just pack up your stuff, unhook your machines, and go.  There is a process.  A long, obnoxious, complicated, form-filling-out process.

So the inital “yay you’re going home!” feeling my siblings had when they went to go get my Mom quickly devolved into more of a “WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG I’M HUNGRY IT’S 5PM AND WHAT IS THAT G-DAMN BEEPING NOISE” kind of thing.  And that’s when “our man (nurse*) Phil,” as my Dad kept calling him, stepped in.  And delivered this:

The Remains of the Feeding Frenzy

Not sure what you’re seeing?  I’ll tell you: you’re seeing THREE TRAYS of hospital food that Phil bestowed upon my brothers, sisters, and dad.  Without prompting.  Probably to shut them up.  Have you ever witnessed 6 people crammed into a hospital room corner? It ain’t pretty.  I don’t blame Phil at all.

You know all those horrible things you hear about hospital food, right?  Well, all those horrible things are true.  It’s gross.  And yet–you see the photographic evidence–it was devoured with gusto.  What a bunch of Freaks.

New low, DEFINITELY.  Because hospital food should never be voluntary consumed. Belch.

*Yes, my mother had a male nurse…a profession which is totally respectable, but sadly a big joke, thanks primarily to Greg Focker in Meet the Parents.

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Hi friends.  I know it’s been quiet on the blog front, and that is due to a couple of reasons.

1. It is hot.  I don’t do well in extreme weather.  I am a puddle.  Could we somehow rig it so that the world remains at a constant 75 degrees out?

2. It’s summer!  I have better things to do than sit around and blog.  It’s called LIFE, people.

3. This is sort of going on in the same vein as 2, but I’m going on vacation on Saturday.  Because it’s summer, I deserve it, and I want to.

Maybe if you’re lucky you’ll get a post from the paradise that is called Long Beach Island (please see my other Jersey-centric post for more info on that).  But more likely than not I”ll be stuff my face with seafood and beer, shopping for summer clothes, and attempting to tan my pale bod without getting 3rd-degree burns (we all have our dreams).  Meaning, no time for typing and being witty.

So this really is just a post warning you that I won’t be posting in the next week or so…

Oh wait!  There is another reason for me posting today:

To Wish the Happiest of Birthdays to the Best Mother in the History of the Planet!

Want another list? Okay!  Here’s why:

1. She has 5 children, and she never forgets any of their names.

2. OK so maybe she confuses names, but definitely never forgets them.

3. She is a very talented art lady!  She paints!  She sculpts!  She makes jewelry!  Which I then steal!

4. She is an expert Finder of Things.  You know the type.  “Mom, do you know where –insert missing item here- is?”  “Oh yeah, I saw it in the family room, underneath the coat rack, to the left of the TV.  It was under 4 winter coats and a couple of magazines.”  AND BOOM.  IT’S THERE.  Magic.

5. She was always supportive, no matter how weird our interests got:  Okay Mary, you want to go to summer camp at the local historical site and dress up like a colonial person?  GO for it, girl!  You are a total freak but I’m okay with it!

6. Sometimes, she just gave up on doing the ‘right’ parental thing, and let us do what we wanted.  Way to pick you battles, Mom (I’m looking at you, little brother who would only eat hot-dogs for the entire 5th year of his life).

7. She knows how to do holidays.  Santa tracks on the roof at Christmas.  Easter baskets & Valentine’s Day candy in the mail during college years.  Always getting the gift you wanted (Little Mermaid sleeping bag…enough said).

8.  She is a baby-whisperer.  They love her, she loves them, it’s a beautiful thing.  This I am holding onto for the future, when I have brats of my own, because they will inevitably be terribly behaved, and I will hold them out to her like, “FIX IT, MOM.” And she will.

I could go on.  And on and on.  But I think you get the point.  Suffice it to say that I am not exaggerating when I say that she is the best mom on the planet.  Sorry guys.  She wins.

Okay, I’d say this is officially the most rambling post I’ve done so far.  The crazy had to come out sometime.  Sorry I’m not sorry.

(See what I did there?)

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