Tag Archives: family

A Day In the Life

It was a typical day in Liz Carey’s life.

 She slept until 10. Watched an episode of Degrassi. Drove her Honda Civic  to her retail sales job at noon. Stopped by Target for a late lunch where she grabbed a Caesar salad, queso dip and chips and a hard boiled egg. (Look, we don’t judge these things in Quirkyville.)

Then, she wrapped her workday around 8 p.m. in time to zip down the Westport Flea Market to join her friends and family (lots of them) to watch her brother’s improv comedy troupe, the Stitchtactics perform a 10 p.m. show.

And when she was selected from the audience to have this entire day reenacted in front of the audience, she thought nothing of it.

She honked her little horn when the comedians got her day grossly wrong (No, she didn’t take a shower in bed. Just because she didn’t say the shower was in the bathroom means she literally showered in the bed.)

The team used wigs, props and live people to play innate objects (Liz’s brother, Joe played her Honda Civic.) And it was all very, very funny.

But we weren’t laughing at the skit, as much as we were laughing at what we knew.

Because despite the fact that Liz had been on the phone for the past day, texting and calling people to come see Joe’s show, that’s not why they were there.

They let her think that she invited them. We let her think that we all came to support Joe’s show.

Quite frankly, we were all a little stunned that she honestly believed her parents, her sibblings (both of the two not in the show), their spouses (one 8.5 months pregnant) , their neighborhood friends, her boyfriend’s parents, her boyfriend’s aunt, her best friend and her co-workers all came to show their support for her brother. (At the same time.)

But she did.

As the Day in the Life Skit wrapped up, Liz started to head off stage…

But Joe announced that there was more and he needed her to close her eyes so he could spin her around.

She has probably seen this act a handful of times and no one has ever gotten spun around at the end.

But she didn’t question that either.

Oh, that crazy Joe! He must be up to something new.

When she opened her eyes, she saw this…

And then she made this face (as she quickly slipped off a fashion ring she was wearing that night on that finger.)

She said, “yes!”


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Just not 24 anymore

Adorable Val and Joe photo stolen from Facebook. 🙂

My brother-in-law’s girlfriend turned 24 this weekend.

She is a-stinking-dorable. Not only is she so tiny, I could fit her in my handbag, she is as sweet as pie. Seriously, she’s got it all going for her.

And she’s just 24. The world is hers. And I feel lucky to know her.

On a beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon, Mr. Quirky, Gertie and I took a little stroll which ended at a local bar with a patio where Val and friends were celebrating her birthday.

We didn’t stay for long. Just enough to have a glass of wine and share in some birthday wishes.

But it got me thinking about being 24. The things you could do without getting tired. The food you could eat without getting fat. The outfits you could wear without looking foolish. The jobs you’ve yet to have. The friendships you’ve yet to have. The experiences yet to shape you.

It is just such an awesome time. There will never be another 24.

Then I thought about being 32. The things that make me tired. The things I can’t eat without getting fat. The outfits I should have given gave away to charity. The jobs I’ve had and friends who have come with those jobs. The experiences that have shaped me.

And I realized that this. This is an awesome time.

A time in my life where I know where I’ve come from. Have direction toward the future. The support of a great husband and family. The life experiences of living in various places and even divorce. Fantastic friends. Passion for cooking and creating and entertaining. This blog. Connections that I’ve made beyond my imagination.

There will be another 32.

Val, enjoy the journey! And be sure to rock 24 like it’s never been rocked before.


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Eli Invasion

Editor’s Note: This post was submitted by Gertie, who had a lot to say about what took place in Quirkyville last night. 

One minute I was playing fetch with my dad.

The next minute my whole life was ruined by an alien. They called it an Eli. I call it evil.

I have no idea what it was. But I don’t want one in my house. Ever again.

It started off innocently enough. The man who my mom calls her brother, came by with some big packages in his hands.

I like packages because sometimes it means the person is staying and there will be food for that person, or sometimes there is just food in the package. Either way. I might benefit.

So we all went inside. I tried to sneak my ball in, but the brother helped my dad get me back outside to drop it. They think it should stay outside. I think I should have it always.  But they are my people and they win.

The brother then left and the packages stayed. I decided to examine the packages. They smelled really funny.

Then something in one of the packages made a noise. I licked it to check it out.

That was when I came face to face with the alien.

At first I didn’t know it was an evil alien. It was kind of pleasant. It tasted nice too.

Then my mom picked it up. She began talking to it and calling it an Eli.

This is when things got really weird because she was talking to it in the same nice voice she talks to me. I thought at first she meant to be say those things to me. So I went over and rolled over for a belly rub.

Instead, she put the Eli on a big blanket in the middle of the floor. My floor.

 And she talked to it more.

I got out some of my toys, because I could see this thing was trouble and I didn’t want it to start taking my stuff.

My dad was no help either because then he picked up the Eli.

And that’s when it began to make the noises.

Oh the noises. I’ve never heard noises like that.

I didn’t like them one bit. So I pouted.

 And the noises grew louder. What is that thing, I wondered.

The noises were high pitched. The Eli was angry for sure. My parents clearly had no control over the thing.

Then my mom took the Eli and you know what she let it do? She let it get on the couch with her.

I’m NEVER allowed on the couch. Oh the indogannity of it.

After it stopped howling, she put it on the blanket again. And then she gave it a toy.

I would have really liked that toy. It looked just like one of my toys with squeakers in them. But the Eli had it and I wasn’t about to go near the Eli for fear of the noise again.

I couldn’t believe the Eli was allowed to take over my floor, get on the couch with my mom and even got to play with toys I couldn’t have.

It was time to eat my dinner before the Eli took over that too.

Then, my mom went into the kitchen and my dad wandered away.

Suddenly, the Eli was lying on its blanket with no human to gaurd it.

Look, I might not like the Eli, but it seemed small and a little helpless. So, I sat by it to watch it to make sure it was okay until my mom stepped back into the room. She seemed to like that I was doing that, but I do not want her getting the wrong idea. (Even though it was kind of cute when it wasn’t angry.)

After what seemed like the longest night of my life, a lady came and took the Eli away.

But there was no way I was going to let my mom and dad off easy for ruining my night.

 I decided it was best to ignore my mom until she went to bed.

I have a feeling she had a role in allowing that thing into our house, and I didn’t like it one bit.


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My empty bag of tricks

Just call me Mary Poppins.

That’s what I said as I left work yesterday to go spend a few hours watching the most adorable nephew ever.

Mary Poppins is awesome. She sings. She dances. She has a bag of tricks.

Queen of Quirky can sing and dance. And she has a giant purse. It seemed like a plausible comparison.

And oh we were having a Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious time. Hanging out in our boopoo or Bumbo or whatever it’s called.(which according to my brother rings in at a whopping $60…wow, that’s like a nice dinner out and TWO beers. )

And then in our chair with all the doodads to spin and bonk.

It’s fun to be five months.

It’s fun to be an aunt.

And don’t you know I was the funniest aunt ever?!

And then, something really bad happened.

The bottom lip.

Oh no. Not the lip, I said. Please, please, please…I don’t want to see the lip, Eli. Aunt Stephanie is fun!

Look, I can dance. Do do do do do.

I can make funny noises! Blllllllllllllllllllllllrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

Ok, ok, ok. Please stop crying. Tell you what, I’ll make you a yummy cake on your first birthday. No go? You can even smash your hand in it. Don’t you know how much fun it is to smash your first cake?  I know you haven’t tasted cake yet, and I’m not even sure I know how to bake a cake. But we can try. Come on, Eli. Let’s try together!

You know what else? We can go to the ZOO! Yup, we’re going to the zoo, zoo, zoo. How about you, you, you. Ok, ok, no zoo, no zoo.

Mary Poppins needed some new tricks.

Ok, how about I take you driving when you turn sixteen.  I won’t even flinch when you almost forget to stop at the stop sign. Alright. I see. You can’t see the value in that promise yet. 

Time to throw in the big one. It’s like the spoon full of sugar on steroids.

I will buy you your first beer when you turn 21. No?

Notice I did not promise him any cousins to play with in a few years…at that point, it seemed a bit extreme.


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A very Quirky Christmas

We shoveled ourselves out of the great Christmas Blizzard of ’09 and made it to TWO. Count them. TWO celebrations.

I was pretty proud of the Fiance for braving the snow.

After an hour of shoveling (in which he had to walk to a nearby Quick Trip to borrow a shovel because we didn’t have one) and then loading up the car, the fiance grabbed a very worried Gertie to put her in the car.

I was standing at the back door.

And all I heard was, “No Gertie! Not the casserole!!!”

Apparently Gertie jumped into the driver’s side seat where my breakfast potato casserole was sitting, instead of the backseat.

Oopsie. Just a little walk through. Over plastic wrap. Nothing that couldn’t be fluffed later….

Then we white knuckled it to Lenexa for our first celebration of the day.

Where there were dogs, dogs and more dogs.

(Three to be exact.)

But this sweetheart is Penny. She’s the fiance’s sister’s pug. And she was the star of the day…

She also had the most outfits of anyone.

Including her own Snuggie.

Be jealous.

I was.

And it wouldn’t  be Christmas at the Fiance’s family’s house without the family photo.

We took several takes, but I like this one because Gertie was a few seconds away from giving some Christmas love to the kitty cat. (She is not a huge fan of cats.)

Don’t you like my socks?

Also, note the fiance’s sister and her boyfriend (in the back) who had the most killer footie pajama’s on.

After this photo, the fiance took a nice nap on this very couch.

While his mom and I poured over his childhood pictures for a special wedding-related project.

Then we were off to round two.

More  white knuckle driving….but it was worth it because of this cute little guy.

And spaghetti.

But mostly him

And her.

(That’s my little sister, isn’t she cute? Also, if you have a teenager to buy for next year, apparently fuzzy socks are a big hit!)

One more.

I couldn’t resist.

Merry Christmas!


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Our McChristmas Fight 2009

It was epic.

The McChristmas (Tree) fight of 2009.

A battle of traditions. And a quirky couple who had to merge two very different traditions. Specifically ornament traditions.

You don’t mess with me when it comes to ornaments.

<—- just look at those beady red eyes. I’m holding last year’s ornament.

THE ornament given to me by my mother each year.

Thematically gifted for each year that passes.

See? That ornament has a picture of the Country Club Plaza on it. Which is where I moved after my divorce. (Because I had always wanted to live near there. And because I could. And why wouldn’t I?)

Isn’t my mom clever? (Truth be told: she had to regift that ornament from her own tree because she looked high and low for a Plaza ornament but couldn’t find one. But STILL. It’s the tradition that counts.)

Every year. I own an ornament symbolizing every year of my life since seventh grade.

The moose playing volleyball? Eighth grade. Only I didn’t play volleyball. I um, didn’t quite make the team. But I was the manager and that is a VERY important roll….

Backpack? No, not Kindergarten. It was my senior year in high school. (Because every high school senior caries a backpack with a bear and a pencil in it.)

Corvette with gifts? I think even my mom will admit that one was a stretch. But it was meant to symbolize 2000. The year I graduated from college and struck out on my own as a reporter in Rocky Mount, NC.

But let’s not be selfish here. It’s not like my mom won’t give one to the fiance each year. This is the tradition that keeps giving.

And so, I had visions of our first Christmas tree. Decked with white lights (the only acceptable lighting in my opinion) and the lot of my sentimental ornaments.

It would be so sweet. And as the years passed, we would add to it with the ornaments collected together.

My vision was brought to a screeching halt.

Someone else had an ornament tradition. 10 years ago, a young 20 year-old bachelor decided he would enlist his buddies to help him deck out his Christmas tree.  So he did what he did best: he threw a party.

And invited all of his friends to bring him an ornament for his tree.

Oh, they brought ornaments. Every year. (hmmm….notice anything familiar?)   Some more “appropriate” than others. Most very funny and light-hearted in nature. Many hand-made, including the beloved McRib ornament. Crafted so cleverly from several boxes of the elusive McRib.

It was time to set a date for the 10th annual ornament party and we had a big problem.

How could we put my sweet little moose playing volleyball on the same tree with McRib boxes? These two traditions just weren’t going to work. We needed a solution.

Him: Well, why don’t we pick from the best of my ornaments and then put yours on too?

Me: OR, we could have a special tree for the “adult” ornaments and then have a family ornament tree?

Oh, that didn’t go over well at all.

He heard: Your ornaments are crap and need to be separated.

And so the fight began. Somehow, I missed his first offer to compromise. (I’m a little silly about listening at times.)

All I could think of was how could we manage years and years of both traditions? And what about when we have kids? Some of his ornaments might not be child-friendly. And I wanted to be sure there was room (in our lives) on the tree for children.

He persisted.

I persisted.

He threw up his hands and said we’d cancel the party.

But that’s not what I wanted. I just wanted a compromise (remember, I didn’t quite catch that first offer.)

Tears were shed.

I told him not to cry.

I’m just kidding. It was me.

And finally, in a moment of clarity, I suggested that we take the best of his ornaments and all of mine (because there are many more of his than mine.) And he laughed because it’s exactly what he had suggested in the first place.

And I ate a little crow, but it’s ok.

Because we figured out how to merge two very different traditions. And, at the same time, offering a hard-core challenge to our friends (because mine are invited too.) May the best ornaments win a permanent place on our tree.

So bring on the McRibs this year. I’ll be happy to place the best of the best right next to my little moose.


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So many things could go wrong in the next 24 hours.

But so many things could also go right. 

Last night I made five gallons of chicken broth. Five gallons. Who does that?

And today I will make 10 pounds of mashed potatoes and put a turkey outside to brine and just pray, I mean PRAY no wild animal decides to have itself a little Thanksgiving treat.

Speaking of an animal having a Thanksgiving treat…

I’m reminded of a Thanksgiving years ago in Rocky Mount, NC. My friend and then sports editor at the Rocky Mount Telegram , Patrick invited his displaced reporter friends to celebrate together. We all came bearing food, and lots of it.

The friends who brought the turkey (God bless them) had a bit of turkey crisis on the way over, resulting in most of the turkey juices all over Steve’s pants (crotch).

After we were stuffed and settling into our turkey comas, Steve decided to take a nap before going into work to finish Friday’s paper. He was out fast.

What happened next would forever be burned in my memory.

Patrick’s miniature schnauzer sniffed his way over to Steve’s turkey crotch and, well, let’s just say he was going to town. Steve was still out cold.


I think it was the best Thanksgiving that dog ever had. Steve might think otherwise.

Good times. Good times.

So as my bird continues to thaw and I rush home at noon to get started on peeling and preparing a gazillion potatoes , I need to keep in mind what this feast tomorrow is really all about.

Thankfulness. And Family. And Friends — new and old.

Not to mention those quirky memories in the making, whether they be whipped cream explosions or turkey crotch violations.

So from QoQ, the fiance and our  turkeylurkey, have a wonderful and memorable Thanksgiving, and of course, keep it quirky.


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Oh baby!

IMG_1039Somebody decided to make a grand entrance yesterday.


We were pretty excited. So my mom (grandma) made the long trip from Philadelphia to Kansas City.


I think it was worth it…



Look at that sweet little face…


Only 6 hours old in this picture.


He’s just as perfect as can be… seven pounds, three ounces…


And we have no idea who on earth he got his head of red hair from?!

Or do we?

Welcome little nephew. I can’t wait to show you a quirky good time.  Now just get a little bigger fast so I can hold you with no fear!


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Do you know where your parents are?

Saturday I received a call from my very sweet Grandmother. As you know, my parents are moving to Philly and have been frantically trying to find a house and a school for my 16 year-old sister.

I’ve tried to connect with them a few times to get updates, but they have been pretty grumpy. So I really have no idea what their status is.

But my grandma seems to think it’s my job to know. I think she now believes I have failed as the oldest child.  I actually missed her call the first time and had to call her back:

Me (yelling because she can’t hear very well) HI GRANDMA IT’S STEPHANIE!!

Grandma: Oh hello.


Grandma: Yes. Have you heard from your parents?


Grandma: Oh, well do you know if they found a house?


Grandma: Well do you know if they found a school for your sister.


Grandma: Well, I just thought you might have heard something.


Grandma: Oh no. I wouldn’t want to bother him.

My grandma is still of the mindset that you can’t call a person when they are traveling. It cracks me up. She knows cell phones exist, but she just hasn’t grasped the culture of them yet.

But I really can’t blame her. She’s almost 90. She’s seen technology come a long way since her childhood.

She is however the only member of my family not yet on Facebook. Speaking of which, I had so much funsending out curupt files to all of my “friends” over the weekend thanks to some very kind hack who used my account for evil, evil doings.

And by so much fun and very kind I mean an awful time and big fat meany.

But I did not have an awful time on Friday night when I went with D to see an AC/DC cover band in Lee’s Summit. Nor did I have an awful time with DD Girl at the pool yesterday. My skin, however, feels very differently about the experience.

Oh Aloe. You are my BFF.

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Advice from my Mama

So mom and I got in a tiff this weekend.

I was sick.

And I swear to goodness that my parents were convinced that I had the Pig Flu. (Seriously, I should have sent them to Erin’s Pandemic Party in D.C.!)

To their credit, I was being a little overdramatic on Saturday when I called from the boyfriend’s couch. I’m not going to lie. I was kind of hoping my patheticness would get me out of having to bring a side dish. I was also hopped up on all sorts of cold remedies and stuffing my face with a large box of Whoppers (my magic pills.)

What I wasn’t expecting was a text telling me and my Pig Flu to stay away from the family gathering on Sunday. (Ok, she didn’t say “my Pig Flu.”) She added the moms would be ok with me not coming.

The moms?

The moms would be ok if I didn’t come?!!

That seemed a little one-sided to me. What if I wanted to come??

I was not a happy camper. And I made it very clear when I called the next day to wish her a happy Mother’s Day and ohbytheway, I’m going to the boyfriend’s parents’ home because they weren’t afraid of my itty bitty little cold. (Notice how this went from I’m sick and unable to move from the boyfriend’s couch to having an itty bitty cold?)

Yeah, that didn’t go over so well.

And besides, I may have pushed it a little too much on Sunday because I felt awful again on Sunday night.

We’ve worked it out. Mom says it wasn’t fair for her to text me not to come and that we should have had a conversation about it on Sunday when I could better gauge how I was feeling. I know I was being a brat by rubbing in my attendance at family functions elsewhere.

And we both agreed my dad is the true hypochondriac in this situation. (It’s always nice when Dad can be the scapegoat.)

Since my parents are moving to Philadelphia in the very near future (Dad is already commuting there during the weeks), I figure there shouldn’t be any pigsI mean elephants in the room.

So even though I do enjoy a movie theater-sized box of Whoppers, my mama always told me to tell the truth.  (I’m at the bottom. Thanks Jenny for the shout-out! You make me sound far more fashion forward than I ever was. 🙂 )

What I didn’t share with Jenny for her blog was the fact that my mom taught me to tell the truth and value the truth. It took me nearly six years of marriage to connect my mom’s teachings with my  own life, but in the end, the truth really did set me free. And that’s no Whopper! Thanks, Mom. I love you!


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