Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake

It goes without saying that Jimmy Fallon is killing in the late night television realm.  Late Night was a breath of fresh air in the somewhat stale format.  When he took over the Tonight Show, this tasty treat had sugar sprinkled on top because it was moved to a more reasonable time for old people like me.

So, we had a winner, winner chicken dinner already with just Jimmy on these things and then someone thought to throw Justin Timberlake into the equation and what we have is some of the best television ever.

That team is hilarious!  So, thank you, NBC for listening to the whispers of God when he said, “Pssst.  Invite JT on and let’s get something going.”  And thank you, God, for thinking of that little bit of heaven on Earth.

Here are some of my favorites (beyond the obvious History of Rap series).



Please, someone who can make things happen on the TV, make a show centered on this duo.  Pretty please?


Yesterday was my maternal grandparents’ anniversary.  63 years, my mother told me. We lost both of them in the last year.  Nana on Dec 28th, 2012 and Pop on June 20th, 2013.

They were both such pillars of my family that life feels weird without them.  But, more on that perhaps in another post.



My grandmother was a character.  A firecracker, if you will… and I think you will.

Pop in the back, on the left. Nana in the front, on the left.

Pop in the back, on the left. Nana in the front, on the left.

 One of the many things I like to remember about her is the way she would sing “Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams.  You see, she did not just sing it.  She did this adorable little shoulder shimmy and gave you flirty eyes.  Usually, she just sang the chorus and it made me smile every time

Yesterday I was returning something to Forever 21 and entered the mall through Macy’s.  When I entered, what was playing?  “Hey Good Lookin'”  It made me smile and I hung around in the women’s section just to here the remainder of the song.

Happy 63rd anniversary Nana and Pop.  I miss you guys like you wouldn’t believe so your little check-ins are appreciated.


Making Stuff: A (Pop Up) Sketchbook

Who doesn’t love a pop up book?  Crazy people, that’s who (or bibliophobics, I guess).

Enter: the Sketchbook Project.  A few years ago my mamma participated in this little experiment run by the Brooklyn Art Library in, you guessed it, Brooklyn NY.

no sleep…

She entered a little sketchbook that she spent a few months working on.  The little book traveled the country in a little truck with many other little books submitted by people all over this fine planet of ours.  At the conclusion of its long and winding road, the little book retired to a little cottage in the woods overlooking a still lake whose shores were gently kissed by a canoe being pushed around in the waves, coming to shore.

Kinda like this

Oh no, wait.

No.  That’s not what happened at all.

The little book ended up back at the Brooklyn Art Library where you can check it out to this very day.  Like, right now!  Go; go and see it!

This year she and I went to my beloved American Visionary Art Museum to peruse through the 2013 editions of the Sketchbook Project while they were in town.  They were simply lovely.  My favorite was a collection of artifacts from a mother’s life, assembled by her daughter.  The mother has Alzheimer’s and does not often remember much at all of her interesting life.  The little scrapbook serves as both a tribute and a record of things easily lost to the hands of time, even before one departs this realm.  It was beautiful.

I was inspired to make my own little book for the traveling show.  And this is what I came up with.  It’s a little Pop Up Sketchbook about paper planes.  It’s threeeeeee deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!



It’s full of fun facts about paper planes.



He’s nervous



I think the plane can outrun me.



Pandas can do a surprising amount of origami, considering they have no opposable thumbs.

It's called the ninja.

It’s called the ninja.

Book7 Book15 Book8 Book9

Rosanna's famousa!

Rosanna’s famousa!


The end!

Look for it at your local stop on the 2014 tour!

Making stuff: A Zipper Rug

We have this dog.

He likes his antlers.

He likes his antlers.

His name is Kepler. And he likes us.



A lot. I mean, a lot a lot.  He’s kind of creeper in that he’s always staring at us.  This is wonderful.  Really.  Except for one thing; the dreaded separation anxiety.  These days this manifests itself as puddles in some of our favorite rugs.

After 2 incidents on our beloved brown shag that was gifted to us by my cousin Ryan (along with a brown robe and sunglasses- it really ties the room together), we had to give up on any cleaning efforts.  Nothing was sufficiently removing the smell.  Yes, I tried Nature’s Miracle.  Yes, I tried baking soda. Yup, Resolve as well.  I guess my little boobah just has potent fluids.

But never thee fear!  For I am an engineer. I surveyed the market (my brain) and discovered that what we need is a rug that easily comes apart into small sections that are easily washed.  Enter moment of brilliance. A zipper rug.  Yes, a rug made of 3 sections connected via zippers. It totals 4 ft x 6 ft.

And here is how it went.


  • Two 48 in zippers
  • 1 yard of a 54 in wide bolt of the lesser color, mine was white
  • 1.5 yards of a 54 in wide bolt of the greater color, mine was a velvety grey
  • 1 canvas drop cloth, or 1 old canvas Ikea curtain
  • Black thread
The supplies.

The supplies.

From your white and grey cloth, cut your pieces to the size that you need for the rug, leaving 0.5 in on all sides for seam allowance.  I split mine into 3 sections, each 48 in x 25 in.  You’ll want to cut matching pieces of the drop cloth for the bottom layer.  I found it easiest to place the cut rug pieces face down onto the drop cloth and cut these pieces to match.  This way they fit exactly. Pin the two pieces together, inside out (meaning the sides that will eventually show are together and you see the undersides).

Sew three of the sides of each grey piece, keeping one of the long sides open.  Keep the stitching 1/2 in from the edge.  Sew together the short sides of the white piece, leaving both long sides open.

Now, flip the pieces right side out and iron those edges down.  Also fold back the fabric along the un-sewn edges about 1/2 in and iron that down.

A little bit of the ol' press-er-oo

A little bit of the ol’ press-er-oo

Look at that crease!  Delic.

Look at that crease! Delic.

Here comes the potentially tricky part- aligning the zippers.  Pin in just one side of the zipper, between the drop cloth and top fabric.  Pin in the other side of the zipper to the next section.  Unzip the zipper and sew each side.  Repeat for all edges.

Nearly there.

Nearly there.

You can also finish with a top stitch all the way around all non-zipper edges to really add a clean look.  That’s it!  You’re done!

Dude's totally stoked.

Dude’s totally stoked.



The stuff on the white boards in my office.

Truth be told, I have the best office mate in all the land.  She is very nearly my doppelganger in most everything but appearances.

Perhaps the first bit of evidence for this is our shared penchant for writing silly things on our white boards.  One cannot be bothered to keep real work related stuff up there.  I mean, come on.

Exhibit A: a quick rendition of the launch of the (then named) Radiation Belt Storm Probe satellites. Who needs television when you have historical records like this?

Fairly accurate

Fairly accurate

Exhibit B: A beautiful rendition of a pink flamingo, reminding us of both the shrimp-loving avian and the classy plastic lawn ornaments.



Exhibit C: A diorama of my husband’s chai recipe.

My chia-o-rama!

My chia-o-rama!

Exhibit D: A list of phrases that we have taken complete credit for inventing.

Don't be stealing our ideas now.

Don’t be stealing our ideas now.

Exhibit E: A quick little algorithm resulting from a conversation about alpha personalities versus type A personalities.  This was my suggestion, you see, Type A equals alpha.  But Rosanna says this is not true.  My math is ALL WRONG.  She also thought this said “Alpha = ichthus fish.”



Exhibit F: Our future tattoo idea. Much like a friendship necklace, this tattoo will have 2 parts divided at the zig-zag. When these powers combine they form… CAPTAIN (gonna watch a) PLANET!!!

Oh yes that is a satellite!

Oh yes that is a satellite!

Exhibit G: This is my most favorite doodle on the white board at the moment. You see, it’s a plot of Touch Count versus Volume of a booty, as described in hip hop.  You’ll clearly see that, despite John Hart’s wishful thinking, one does in fact reach an as(s)ymptote wherein, no matter how much plastic surgery one gets the booty simply cannot maintain its size.  Our data suggests that this is inconsequential because at that point, the desire to touch is overwhelmingly infinite.

We can fit a model to anything

We can fit a model to anything

Maybe one day we’ll have more technical information on the boards but at this point, this seems like the most reasonable use of the space.

Corn dogs!

For as long as I can remember, I have loved every single particle that makes up a corn dog.  The warm and delicious center of pig left overs.  The crusty and crunchy wrapping of fried corn meal.  Even the convenient presentation of the meal on a stick!  I love all of it. In high school I ordered a corn dog every other day, when the cafeteria served them.  The brand used by the Anne Arundel County School System had a somewhat green colored dog in the middle but I DID NOT CARE!  They were delicious nonetheless.  I swallowed them, with complete disregard to my intestinal tract, in less than 4 bites. So intense was my love of the heart-attack-on-a-stick, that my Vice Principal actually called me Corn Dog and would give me special shout outs on the days the menu listed the tasty treat.  And even now, 13 years after graduating from high school one of my dear friends who now lives in NY clips coupons for State Fair brand corn dogs and mails them to me. Best. Mail. Ever. These days, I try to limit myself to 2 corn dogs per year; one at the state fair and one at the county fair.

This year’s MD state fair dog had a surprise filling- human heads!!

This year I’ve been spoiled and was treated to one additional dog as the second course to a multi-course affair at my very own home.  It was, to put it mildly, glorious.

Mouth filled with delicious fried yummies....

Mouth filled with delicious fried yummies….

“But Jackie, if you love them so much, why limit yourself to 2 (maybe 3) per year?”  Welp, the answer to that is simple, my friend.  I am much like a dog when it comes to corn dogs (and pizza for that matter) in that my body has no concept of when enough is enough.  If left to my own devices, I promise I would eat 6 or 12 or 18 corn dogs in one sitting and then, naturally, that batch size each and every day.

I do love a corn dog.

Here’s a recipe: http://www.marthastewart.com/319041/texas-corn-dogs

Verbifying nouns

Very little makes my heart smile and, likely,  an English teacher’s heart sink, than the act of making a noun into a verb.  It’s so simple and even more rewarding!  You just add an -ing, -ifying, -ed or an -ize to the end of your favorite nouns.

For example:





Speaking of acronymizing, I also really like to pronounce acronyms as if they were words.  DVD is duh-vuh-duh.  SUV is naturally suhv.  FYI is fyeeee. ATM ends up sounding like atom and GPS is ji-pus.  Everyone loves to say LOL so I’m not all that unique in this, really.

Speaking is more fun this way.

Funny enough, although I am 100% in favor of verifying nouns, I am 150% against acronymizing acronyms (a.k.a. a macronym).  For example, AIM for AOL Instant Messenger.  Companies are notorious for this.  I see it used all the time for equipment or project names and it makes my eye brows twitch.

Somewhat related is the phenomenon of the backronym which I did not even realize had a title until today.

The elderly

I’ve always said that I am good at following rules.  It then stands to reason that I often create rules just to be able to follow them.  One of these rules pertains to my photographic inventory when on travel.  I must take photographs of the elderly… and generally without them knowing.

I found this man in Rome.  Perhaps he was waiting for someone.
















These 3 were enjoying a view of town from the top of a hill in Thessaloniki, Greece while sharing quite a few laughs.  I watched them for quite a while before I found a way to sneak a shot of them.  Friendships like these make my heart smile.



Not far from where the 3 above were sitting, sat 3 men enjoying the view as well.  Maybe they were with the 3 women.  Or maybe they were tourists like us, but out on a boy’s trip!
















Look at their darling hair pins!  I would have taken them home if I could have thought of a way to get them through Customs.
















This woman was walking home (presumably).  What you cannot see in this photo is the sway in her skirt as her hips moved from side to side, steadied by the cane. It was magical.
















Italy is full of old men who simultaneously remind  me of my adorable grandfather and every character from every mob movie.  These two looked like they were in trouble and I loved them for it.  Although… enough gelato will make me love anyone for nearly any reason.



This man was visiting the cathedral in Assisi when we were.  I gathered from his accent that perhaps he was German.  His profile is fantastic!
















This little man was one of my favorite parts of my Italy trip in 2005.  He came right up to me at St Mary Major Church and started talking to me about love, luck, and the importance of recognizing one’s Blessings.  His accent was very thick and he spoke extremely quickly.  After he rushed through a goodbye, he walked away into a side chapel where I found him later and snapped this photo.  Isn’t it funny how a complete stranger can be the most vivid thing you remember about an experience?
















Speaking of the elderly, I have a post drafted about my Pop who passed away last month.  Hopefully I will get the courage to finish it soon. It’s been hard to write something without tearing up. One day…


Agreed; this is probably a very weird thing to declare great when it is 76F outside.  But, you, that’s how I roll.

Jay and I went to Iceland a month ago and there we encountered our very first glaciers!  They are magnificent, have you heard?

This one here is called an outlet glacier.  It looked to me like a river was rushing down a mountain and some sort of superhero (maybe like this one) froze the water at a most critical point in what was surely a truly epic action flic.


Later that very same day we ventured over to hike (yes you DID read that correctly) on a glacier.  We got to wear crampons and hold ice picks!  No real need for the ice picks except of course for bragging rights.

IMG_2510OK! OK! I can hear you asking for more reasons why I love glaciers.  Fine!

Well, look how pretty they are.  All that trapped air makes for quite a lovely color scheme.IMG_2407

Further more, hundreds of years of volcanic eruptions near this glacier piled on some beautiful black stripes.  Stripes are so in this season. Well played, Mr Glacier!


All that on top of how great the science is behind how they work.

On the flight home, we passed over Greenland and you could not BELIEVE (or maybe you would if you’re not like me and actually payed attention in geography classes) how many glaciers cover that island!


Guess what’s next on the Perry travel itinerary?

I like glaciers.

All photos by me.