Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

08/30/06: Happy Birthday, R. Crumb. We're celebrating this year much like we do every year, with a quiet evening at home, featuring one of Crumb's favorite meals, accompanied with opening cards and (hopefully) presents. And then next weekend we'll be joining the rest of the family for the joint Crumb/Mom birthday celebration, going out to one of Crumb's favorite restaurants and probably having cake. When I was a kid, it was always tough looking forward to Crumb's birthday at the end of August, since it also signaled the end of summer and back-to-school time. But as I get older, without a new school year looming, it's neat that Crumb's birthday is usually followed by a three-day weekend. So Happy Birthday!

08/19/06: Because we have a world class zoo just a couple blocks away, every year our vehicle stickers always have a different animal on them. I wish I had a way of saving them from year to year, because we've had some pretty neat ones while we lived here. But this year they chose one of our favorites: a cool aardvark, complete with ants. And my sticker number is 10666, so I get to drive like a demon!

08/09/06: All the unbearably hot weather the past couple weeks reminds me of the story I like to call "The Day Snapple Saved Our Lives"
     It was 1995, a week or so after the big heat wave hit Chicago that killed all those people, and we were on vacation in Washington, D.C. Our impeccable timing meant that we were there at the tail end of what we just went through in Chicago. We also found that we really shouldn't have rented a car for the week, since the majority of the sites are best seen by shuttle, subway, or on foot. Except for trips to Baltimore and Monticello, the car stayed parked behind the hotel.
     We had a black duffel bag that we carried with us for most of the week. In it were maps, brochures, camera supplies, panchos and whatever we thought we would need. (Funny story about the panchos: at one point we got off the subway train and were approaching the long escalator that would take us to street level, and there was a large crowd around the bottom. As we reached the crowd, we saw that everyone was waiting because it was raining like mad above. "No problem" we thought and pulled out the ponchos we had carried with us all week, and triumphantly rode the escalator to the surface. What we found on the walk back to the hotel was that it wasn't such a good idea to wear heavy plastic panchos in a mid-summer downpour. We were almost as wet underneath from sweat as we would have been from walking in the rain. Fortunately that was the only rain we saw that week.)
     We had a list of things we wanted to see, and were working our way through it pretty well. One sunny day we decided to go see Arlington National Cemetery. We packed up our duffel bag, took the shuttle bus as far as we could, and walked over the bridge and down the long road to the cemetery. Near the entrance, there was parked a truck with a Snapple logo on the side, and there were several people handing out free bottles of Snapple from the back of the truck. We each got a bottle and put them in the duffel. We then entered the cemetery.
     We wandered around for a while, looking at all the major sites, like the Challenger monument, the Kennedy gravesites, and the Tomb of the Unknowns. It was a very moving and humbling experience being there. We then saw a sign pointing to another landmark, and we headed in that direction. We walked. And walked. And walked. Somewhere along the way, we lost not only the signs we were following, but our sense of direction as well. And the sun was beating down on us. And it was hot.
     Now there's a scene I know I've seen in several movies where the camera closes in on the protagonist walking across the desert. It then shows the sun, as the camera wavers back and forth. Then there's a tight close up on the sweat-drenched main character, looking uncomfortable and disoriented. That's exactly how we felt. We didn't know where we were (well, we were still in the cemetery) and we didn't know how to get out and we were starting to get thirsty, crabby and a little scared. Then, one of us remembered the Snapple that we got before we entered. We popped the caps and drank a little, and warm lemonade never tasted so good! It gave us the little refresher that we needed to go on. We went a little further, found a main path, and wound up at the exit, right by the Iwo Jima monument.
     When I sit and think about it, I don't think we were in any danger of dying there in the cemetery, but I remember thinking at the time that Snapple saved our lives.

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