christmas song ramblings

Ever stop to think about the words in the Twelve Days of Christmas song? Does anyone seriously want their true love to give them so many birds? Between the partridge, turtle doves, French hens, calling birds, laying geese, and swimming swans, you’d really just end up with a whole lotta crap to clean up.

I would know. I have a bird.

And I can’t help but think of a horrible musical with all those milking maids, dancing ladies, leaping lords, piping pipers, and drumming drummers. Cue mental image of men in tights wielding musical instruments and frolicking about with large-chested women. Nothankyou!

The only thing in the song my true love is even allowed to give me is gold rings. (As long as they're white gold.) But, in all honesty, who needs five? Certainly not me.

K. Your turn!

What Christmas song do you totally hate? (Tell us why!) Is there one you really love? Any guesses which is my favorite? (I'll tell you in a comment later tonight!)

[repost, with edits]

hi punkin

This has always been one of my favorite pumpkin displays, for sheer creativity alone:

too much to drink on halloween

But I've got a new favorite.

Matt, who works with me at Thrive, is in the States on furlough right now. And I could tell he's missing his African home when he showed me the pumpkin he carved:

thrive pumpkin 2

Way to represent, Mo!

I didn't carve a pumpkin this year. Unless this counts.

Did you carve one? Can I see???

love, noah

Last year I spent a month in Iowa City visiting my Kitty. (No, not my cat. My friend. Sorry for the confusion.) Well, it was supposed to be a month in Iowa, but we ended up having to evacuate because of a flood.


So we ended up in Missouri. And then Ohio. It's a long story.

Fast forward.

I'm living in Atlanta at the moment. (Talk about a long story!) And we're experiencing the worst flood the city's ever seen. Ummm... Hello!!!

flood in ATL

Are you trackin' me on the theme here???


I have no idea what it means, but---DANGIT! Someone just stole the Gritty mic...


i speak southern

I'm a New Yorker, born and raised. A total Yankee. And then I up and moved to rural Africa. I've certainly gotten used to small-town country living, but I still chuckle (with a disbelieving shake of my head) as I drive by fields of hay bales, herds of naked sheep, or rogue cows on my way to buy groceries. The irony of my life never ceases to surprise me.

And now, here I am, spending an extended period of time in America. And even more shocking than this indoor girl moving to Africa, is this Yankee taking up residence in the dirty south. No offense intended. Alas, I find myself living in Hotlanta.

And my brother Andrew finds it a bit comical.

Just yesterday, he was teasing me about living in the south. Joking about southern accents, he blurted out a phrase that's at the heart of a Ronzino family joke---"Djoo-waaanna-sukka?" And I couldn't help but laugh at the memory.

When I was in high school, we drove to Georgia to visit friends who live in the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains. Needless to say, everywhere we went, we stuck out like the loud Italian New Yorkers we are. ("Oh yeah, you blend.")

One day we stopped in some little country store in some little country town. The shop owner was a bubbly old woman in a floral dress, her long hair tied up in a bun. Andrew looked up at her with a polite smile when she approached him. He was only, I don't know, maybe 8 or 9 years old at the time.

"Djoo-waaanna-sukka?" she asked.

Andrew just stared at her, wide-eyed.

"Djoo-waaanna-sukka?" she asked again.

Andrew's forced smile got even bigger. He had no idea what she was saying.

The woman was probably getting a little flustered, but of course her southern hospitality wouldn't let her show her annoyance. Bless her heart. She patted Andrew's cheek and mumbled something about how cute he was. And then she asked again.


Andrew glanced over at mom and dad for assistance, but they looked just as confused as he did. Clearly, it was time for me to step in and help.

"Andrew, she's asking if you want a lollipop."

"Oohhhhh! Yes please," Andrew responded, with a "Why didn't she just say that?!" look on his face. The woman promptly handed him a sucker lollipop.

We had a good laugh about it on the phone yesterday. And then Andrew ended with, "I guess you'll do okay down there. You always knew how to understand Southern."

name that aussie

*EDITED @ 10 PM*

My new GPS has changed my life forever.


Now he she just needs a name. Yes, he's a he. Normally he'd have been a she, but I wasn't particularly fond of any of the she-voices. So he's a he. An Australian he in fact. I found a she voice I like! AND she's Aussie, too!

Some of you have already suggested names on my Facebook page (and even via text message!). Moses, Kumquat, Beaufort, Piper, and McGyver are all in the running.

I thought maybe we should cast the net a little wider here at the Grit.

So... Whatcha got for me? What should I call my Aussie he-man she-girl GPS?

(I feel bad for making y'all suggest boy names all day and then I go and change genders on you. My poor GPS has an identity crisis, what can I say!? So... we're now officially taking girl name ideas. And, well, I guess my G to the PS may just end up being whichever gender has the best name option!)

four-minute friday: demon treadmills

Go. I'm afraid of treadmills.

No, really. I am.

I've been hanging out with Gym for several months now. I've run on the track, used the cross trainer, lifted weights, even taken Zumba classes. But I haven't even touched one of the treadmills. I barely even glance in their general direction. They're scary.

Stop sneering. It's a completely rational fear.

Because I know what can happen on a treadmill.

I've laughed at seen enough videos to know that in a fight against a treadmill, I would surely lose. Every time.

Don't know what I'm talking about? Then you should watch these clips and laugh learn your lesson. They're all short videos, but if you're in a real hurry at least watch this one. These five seconds could spare you serious bodily harm down the road.


Treadmills are of the devil.

Just like moths.


spit it out

A conversation from my last babysitting experience, just a few weeks ago:


Little Sister: There's another word I can never say right.

Me: Oh yeah? Which one?

Little Sister: New International Virgin. You know, like the Bible?

Me: [laughing] Mmhmm...

Little Sister: [trying to sound it out] Virgin... Virgin... Virgin... See. I can't say that word.

Slightly Older Sister: That's what Mary was, right?

Me: Umm, yeah. So, whose turn is it on Wii Bowling?


What word(s) do you have a hard time saying?

my souvenir(s) from ohio

I've never been pulled over before. Until tonight. I've gotten tickets, but only because of those stupid ridiculous precious cameras posted along the highways in South Africa. And they've all been delivered by the unreliable postal service. I've never gotten a ticket in America. And never directly from a cop. Thankfully I can still say that. Even after tonight. Phew.

Thirty minutes before, I debated about whether or not I should hit the bathroom one more time. I'd been chugging water all night and had made frequent trips to the restroom. I kinda had to pee but figured I could easily handle the 20-minute drive home.

But as soon as I got into my freezing car, my bladder shrunk. Oh well, what's a girl to do? I just blared some tunes and hit the road. (Sidebar: In response to my recent post, a friend mailed me her iPod car adapter to borrow! Am I blessed or what?!)

Not five minutes away from my house, a cop car pulled out behind me. And when the red-and-blues started flashing in my rearview mirror, I groaned out loud. I was on this troublesome road that deceives you me with its four lanes. The speed limit is only 25; I was going closer to 35 40.

My heart was racing as I pulled to the side of the road. My only experiences with this sort of thing come from watching COPS. And we all know those encounters never end well.

I was in a borrowed car. With an out-of-state license. And I'm a resident of another country. The story was clearly way too complicated to explain to a policeman on the side of the road on a freezing night when my bladder was about to burst.

After way too long of an exchange, the cop decided just to give me a written warning. "After all," he said, "You need a souvenir from Ohio."

I smiled and squeezed my legs even tighter together. I wanted to tell him that my currently-developing urinary tract infection was more than enough of a souvenir. But I refrained.

All that to say: It's true what your mom used to tell you. You should always pee one last time.

i am the great wizard

I've received some great submissions for the Make Me Laugh video contest. (I'm smiling just typing that out, thinking about what some of you did!) And I've decided to extend the deadline to next Monday. Because a few of you let me know that circumstances interfered with getting your videos made on time. And really, because, well, I'd rather get in as many laughs as I can.

So if you wish you'd made a video but didn't, now's your chance. If the thought to make one never even crossed your mind, let it cross now: Send me some funny! Don't make me beg.

And if you're stubbornly stickin' to the idea that you're just not humorous, then at least send me a hello. I love seeing your faces and hearing your voices.

(Need a refresher on the rules of the contest? Go here.)

In other news... You can order just about anything these days.

but why?


Are you still working on your video for the Make Me Laugh contest? I hope you haven't forgotten about it. Oh? You have? I'll recap.

  • You send me as many self-made videos as you want.
  • Whoever makes me laugh the most, wins!
  • The prize is money at Starbucks and iTunes.
  • Deadline is tomorrow at midnight (Monday/EST).

Why make me laugh? 'Cause I love laughing. And It's good for my heart. And who can resist getting me to do this:

Of and of course 'cause you can win something.You know, if you need a selfish reason...

contest: make me laugh!


You know a cheerful heart is good medicine, right? Well, these days I keep finding myself scouring the internet for some comic relief. Laughing always feels good, but right now it feels like magic.

And it's your turn to provide me a dose of laughter medication.

Head over to the talk to me page and you'll see a new feature I recently added to the Grit. You can easily record and send me a video (or audio) message that comes straight to me. It isn't displayed online; I'm the only one who sees it.

So get your webcam rolling and create a funny video to send me. The person who makes me laugh the hardest will be declared the winner.

Contest rules:

  • You can submit as many entries as you'd like.
  • Record your video here. If you'd rather film/edit your video some other way and email it to me, that's fine, too.
  • Submissions must be received by midnight (EST) on Monday, January 12th 19th.
  • Winning video will be displayed on my blog.
  • Winner will receive some bucks to spend at two of my favorite places to drop cash: Starbucks and iTunes.

Got it? Let me know if you have any questions!

This is your time to shine. And my time to laugh.

Bring it on!



Winner announced!

bunkum: gatvol

Man, it's been ages since we've played a game here at the Grit. I think it's time to resume the weekly ritual. Here goes:

  • Post a definition for the made-up word above your comment, or use the word in a sentence.
  • Then leave a made-up word for the next person.
  • Have fun!

Starter word: gatvol (thanks, Anti!)