Jr. Associate

My family (which now includes a super healthy and increasingly mobile infant son) and I were snowed in for a few days and we made do with what we had in our pantry after a grocery store run before the storm. My husband (or, my “associate,” as he has been known) made a delicious chicken dinner out of a green pepper, a can of fire roasted tomatoes, spices, and refried beans over tortillas, and I said I was going to write about it for our fake cooking blog. Then I remembered that I actually have a blog.


We all used to have them! And they’re still hanging around, simultaneously forgotten and to serve as reminders for what free time used to look like.

Burgerphone holds a lot of awesome memories for me. I started it in 2005. I was 26, lived alone, already had Netflix, had a cat (RIP Milhouse) cooked a lot, and was single (though I had a host of good friends, including my constant chum Susan, who might still be my common law wife. I have to check up on that). Lots can happen in any ten-year span (or even in a year, see: my life in 2015), but now I have it all (“all” means Netflix AND Amazon Prime, HBOGo, and Hulu Plus). And I love checking back to see what I was doing up to 10 years ago, and to be reminded of crazy things my daughter said, and to either laugh at my old jokes or be confused along with the rest of you. And if you ever go back to read old posts: I didn’t get any better at growing tomatoes, but I have finished a book already in 2016.

Burgerphone filled the space that making a zine (which I had done semi-regularly for at least a decade as teen/post-teen) had used, and social media* and a freelance writing gig took up the space of bjournaling in recent years. Now I have no space and am behind on everything (I’ve been trying to finish a novel for years, and also I need to submit a school application for my daughter, among 400 things). I’m officially closing up shop on this site to remove Writing a Blog Entry from the list of things I’m supposed to be doing but not. Come back inside and get warm, Reminders to Send Thank You Notes for Christmas Presents!

If you ever read this, thanks. Odds are, I read your blog, too. And since this used to be my megaphone for whatever I was into, here’s a quick rundown of what that is now:

  • The Hamilton soundtrack

  • I love Budget Bytes the best of all the food sites I ever followed.
  • Another Round is currently the only podcast I always listen to.

*I’m on the twitter, the fb, the Instagram, and I shout at my dog a lot from the back door of my house when she’s in the backyard. I predict outside shouting as the next level of social media.


To me and her dad:

“Did you know about burritos?”

What she will do if her friend pulls her hair again:
“I’m going to punch him dead in the nose.”

When eating pancakes:
“I cut them out of an old blanket.”

(That is from a Peanuts strip. It’s what Violet says when Charlie Brown asks if she made the pancakes she served him).

When listening to “She Loves You”

“She does not! She doesn’t love you.”

While giving her dad a pat on the head:
“Dixie Donuts is closed. But it will be open tomorrow.”

On someone being from Wales:
“I’m from Sharks.”


our snowman.

My daughter has gone from having no Thomas and Friends things to only Thomas and Friends things so quickly that I think I must have passed out and missed the last few weeks because I’m not entirely sure how that happened.

My associate and I have tried to keep her away from the Disney Princess thing not because I don’t like Disney movies with Princesses in them, but I hate the marketing of it and the merchandise is really boring and uninspired.  We were so busy being anti-princess stuff that we were sort of blindsided by Thomas.

I didn’t want any branded stuff for my child at first but that was before she actually liked things. The $3 bottle of bubble bath with Thomas on it made her so happy, so it was hard not to then but the $1 cup at Target or the $5 tiny train. She loves watching the shows, and Thomas and Friends is something that her school chums like a lot, too. For her birthday we thought we were only selectively mentioning Thomas to people, but she is now decked out in Thomas gear (wall decals, blankets, neck tattoo, books).

I don’t really like to watch any of the shows she likes unless it’s Nick Jr (I think Wonder Pets is super delightful), and I think Thomas is not great. He messes up in every story, and the lesson is either you can get away with anything OR that you can make mistakes and your friends will still love you. But my daughter loves the mess out of Thomas (and Percy and Henry and Mavis)(but she thinks Diesel is scary). She even learned a joke from the show (What do you call a train that has a cold? Achoo-choo train!) and cannot make it any more known how funny it is to her that a line in the Thomas book is “with a peep and a poop.”

She also said “Thomas is making his ‘Kelly face'” at this picture:


The ‘Kelly,’ everyone.

I hope more than anything that my nephew loves Thomas eventually because he has about 8 boxes of this junk coming his way. Toot toot!

What my Camera Roll looks like now that I let my child use my phone unsupervised.


I’ve only had my new phone for a month, and she knows how to use it about as well as I do. I love those one-second forehead videos.

It took me years post-school to shake that August anxiety/excitement about school starting up, and even though kindergarten is a few years away for our kid,* I’m already starting to get that feeling again. But since we don’t have a school schedule, we have summer as long as we have summer weather, so I can’t fret yet that it’s almost over. Some things of note for family fun:

♣ We live about 1 mile from the river and until last year I hadn’t bother to visit it in years (I will save all those reasons for the book on Richmond I am not writing), but this year we’ve pumped up our river visits. While I still imagine that our not-yet-swimming toddler will get swept up in a rapid or bitten by a snake or get a beer can chucked at her, it’s been more pleasant than not. Plus it’s beautiful and free, and the river is never closed (except when it is. Because of flooding).

I have been taking walks to the river on my lunch break and that’s been great, and I found the entrance to the flood wall and finally walked on a small part of it.  We saw a million herons and other birds. So pretty.  Keep it up, James River. Don’t let the catfish with PCP keep you down.

♣ Also to keep cool, we’ve gone to the water play area at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. And since I ruined her baby pool by making it a rock box/mosquito hatchery, I just spray my daughter down with the hose and that’s also just as fun to her as anything.

♣ We took a short trip to Pittsburgh to visit best pal Nichole, my favorite place/person to visit. Even getting lost is a fun way to pass time because it’s a great looking city. We went to a Pirates game, and because I spend 80% of time kid-wrangling and concession-getting, I only caught about two plays (but a home run!) and a pierogi race between innings. We also went to an aviary, which was cool (though things like that are always a little depressing). Our kid loved a person-sized penguin/collection bank and for the first time in her life asked to have her photo taken, and kept posing with it with her arm around the penguin. Later she threw up on a sidewalk while we ate pierogis. Vacation!

♣ The major league game was her second baseball game. We went to see the Flying Squirrels earlier, and that was fun, too, but she wasn’t that interested in anything but eating hot dogs and sitting under the seats playing with stuff.  She saw and immediately fell in love with Nutzy, and although both of her parents are terrified of everything including giant fake animals (ugh, Shoney’s bear), her dad chased Nutzy down so she could get a photo. Nutzy is her friend.

So, between all that and working and grocery shopping, that’s been our summer.


Searching for river monsters.


*I almost wrote LO for “little one,” as found in parenting-related comment sections. I had to look up what LO means, and I still don’t know what DO means in Internet shorthand, but I like to think it means “dumb one” (“My little one and dumb one both love zucchini fritters!!!!”)

The other night we were trying to change gears to bedtime mode, and my associate told our daughter it was time to brush her teeth.  These are not direct quotes, but the exchange went something like this:

Him: Time to go brush your teeth.

Her: Not brush my teeth.

Him: Brush your teeth (in a sort of sing-song voice).

Her: Not brush my teeth (in total sing-song voice).

And then there was a pause after her voice lifted that last line into song, and as I washed dishes and listened to them I thought “Oh my god, this is it.  This is when the music starts and my life actually has a musical number.  Finally!”  But all she did was blow into her kazoo, say something toddler-ornery, and run away from her dad.

So, so close.

“Toddler” is the incorrect word to use to describe this particular phase of personhood.  To “toddle” means to walk unsteadily, and typically once a kid is considered a toddler he/she can walk fine, just either super slow or fast and headed toward the street.  I think it’s pretty well known that they are crazy, unreasonable, hilarious, and adorable and I don’t know what word could best describe that, though I did just describe the unstable best friend character from a movie or TV show.  My daughter is in that Rayann Walker/Kim Kelly phase currently. Or, to reference a more popular TV show: She is a mix of Phoebe/Joey/and Monica (specifically Monica watching someone about to put feet on her coffee table).  Here are some recent favorite things from my Phoemonicoey:

I used my stern voice to tell her to stop unraveling something after the second time she did it.  She looked like she was going to cry, and then reached down to an empty box that was next to her, put it on her head, and said “I’m a fireman.”

She put the same box on her head, walked up to me and with her eyes peering through the handle said “I’m Batman,” and then growled at me.  I told her to tell her father, and she walked two rooms over with the box on her head and stopped to growl and say “I’m Batman” again.

Note: Always have an empty Target diaper box on hand – it’s great for all the pets/kids.

When I came home from a run and her pop was making breakfast she was alone at the table, mid-conversation on her banana (her phone calls are “hello?  Okay, bye”).

She gets to pick out or at least approve her outfits.  I dressed her in black leggings and a green and khaki skirt, and she picked out her brown t-shirt with a skateboarding hot dog on it (her favorite, thanks Aunt Xie) and said “I’m dressed like a princess.”  Yes.

She also picked up a crumb of something on her plate, put it on her head and said “Do you like my princess hat?”  I don’t know what she thinks a princess is.

Her response to “because why?” when she says “because” is “because of goats” (or “ghosts”, we’re not positive, though either response is equally not applicable to whatever is being discussed).

She was in her kitchen tower and we were both drinking something, so I tapped her glass and said “cheers.”  Every time I did this I said “cheers” and she said “tower.”

She has created her own knock knock joke (which seems to come from a botched attempt to teach her “the banana/orange” joke).  “orange who?” “that’s a good orange” (loudly pretends to eat an orange)

Instead of saying “I’m scared” she says “I’m scary” (things she is scared of: the stepmother in “Cinderella,” smoke detectors, the church scene in “Wallace and Grommit’s Curse of the Were-Rabbit,” and thunder)

Hearing her talk to her baby dolls and stuffed animals is always adorable.  She is very encouraging and tells them “good job” a lot.  Which means we’re good parents, right?

She learned the words to “Tomorrow” from Annie in a very short period of time, but she can’t remember to say “please.”

She likes to hold earthworms but wants me to remove all inch worms that she finds (which, from a gardener’s POV makes sense, but she doesn’t know that).

When we go to places like museums or the nature center at Maymont she is always, always most excited by steps and ramps.

She never talks about something she has without mentioning who gave it to her or she thinks gave it to her (unless it came from her parents, then she doesn’t seem to care).


If you have a kid who says funny things, I encourage you to write it down.  I don’t know that I would remember half of this stuff if I didn’t document it.

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