A while ago Mason and I were in Beijing, partaking in its many delights. Though we enjoyed the antique markets, Forbidden City, and blind masseuses, nothing gave us quite the same joy as simply wandering into restaurants and reading the menus. Not because we are gastronauts, but rather because Chinese menus are freaking hilarious.snacksoctopus1


Mmmm… Cabbage Patch! Delicious, boiled or fried.




Only on the last day did it occur to us to write down some of the menu items that made us laugh. I shudder to think at all that we’ve forgotten.

For your consideration, I offer this incomplete list:

Man and Wife Lung Slices
Boiled Donkey
Spicy Dickhead
Fried Bamboo Worms
Pig Vagina
The Five Entrails
Roasts the Com Tea Egg Taste
Fragrant Spicy Frog with Sichuan Flavor
Fried Cabbage Patch
Comeback with Fruitful Results
Bonies Duck wed with Mustard Sauce
Peeled Local Flavor Bamboo Shoot with Hand
Tasty Boiled Duck Neck
Goose Intestine
Fried Rape
Duckblood, Eel Intestine and Sizzling Squit
Cattle Windpipe
Ugly Ball
Black Fungus
Lover Noodles
Exploding Chest Cavity
Gastronomy Bullfrog
Cattle Heart Vessel Kebab
Fried Strong Smelling Preserved Bean Curd Squid Foot
Smacked Cucumber
Sour Pig Nut
Tasty and Refreshing Wild Jews Ear

MMMM! Who’s Hungry? I could go on. Those are just some of my favorites. ‘Cuz nothing spells delicious like a nice plate of Fried Rape with Spicy Dickhead on the side.

With all those contenders, it is a wonder I can choose a favorite. Nestled among the tempting delicacies, one menu item jumped out at me and ticked my funny bone the most.

Uncle Charlie.

WTF is Uncle Charlie?? I have no idea. The name just put me over the edge. I began to think of Uncle Charlie as something mysterious and wonderful, a vehicle of undistilled joy. The unknowable essence of awesomeness. I love Uncle Charlie.

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Skip forward to last Friday, the day after my recent sweater sale. Mason and I had stayed up late packing up 68 colorful parcels to mail out. Our brains were fried. We were running on fumes. All we wanted was sleep.

Since Thanksgiving we have been burning the candle at both ends, trying to tackle all sorts of projects here. (Among other things Mason’s band Not Waving But Drowning, has been recording their third album – Stay tuned for that!). Basically, we were an inch away from collapse. As we limped closer to the finish line, I told Mason again and again that as soon as we got the packages mailed, we could just go home and sleep for three days, waking only to bingewatch Downton Abbey and consume grotesque amounts of popcorn. Our blessed, elusive rest was upon us.

post office nightmare!

Poor Khris, our Post-lady is such a trooper. Our packages fill up the entire lobby of our tiny post office.

So, there we were in the post office, overwhelming our poor post lady with our packages, counting the moments to sweet surrender. Then I got a phone call. I went outside to talk.

When I came back in I put on my sweetest, most pathetic eyes and said to Mason, “So, do you want to go to Pennsylvania right now?”

“No. Why???”

“Are you sure?” Blink blink blink, flutter eyelashes.


Mason was aware that one of my favorite ways to procrastinate was to look on Petfinder.com to find helplessly adorable dogs in need of rescuing. I vacillate between that and Realtor.com (when I am in the mood for expanding my soon-to-be vast real estate empire).

Since the previous week had been so exhausting, I had escaped to Petfinder.com maybe a little more than I cared to admit. And, well, maybe I had sent in an application to adopt this dog that was so cute that there was no way he would still be available. Ya know, just on a lark. Cuz, it wasn’t really gonna happen.

But the lady called. She liked me. She wanted me to take the dog.


I mean, Hooray!

I mean… Um… Mason? Do you want another dog?

Mason knows that I can be a bit of a bulldozer when I want something, so he just heaved a sigh and shook his head. And we were off to Pennsylvania.


Puppy Pile!!! Ours is the blur in the middle

“Don’t worry baby, if you don’t like him, we can just euthanize him” I joked. Poor, sweet Mason!

At any rate it took us each about 2 second upon seeing the dog to become completely smitten and abandon any apprehension. He is an 8 month old yorkie who was surrendered by a breeder. Three and a half pounds of unbridled adorableness.

We sat on the floor of the rescue place and got covered in puppies. I think a clause in Obamacare should state that at least once a year each citizen must go get covered in puppies. It would work miracles for our collective well-being. You’d think that at the very least Republicans and Democrats would be able to agree on that.


Happy Lucas, our rescue Chihuahua

We already live with a marvelous rescue Chihuahua named Lucas. He was a trembling mess when he came to live with us, but after many months of love and patience, Lucas is an utter delight. I don’t know what happened to him before we found him, but he has some serious trust issues. By contrast this new pup is just unblemished sweetness, full of trust and kisses.

Together Lucas and the new guy form a tag team of oppressive cuddling. You can’t sit down on the sofa for 5 seconds before Lucas will jump up and pin your legs down, and the little pup will go straight for the jugular with his snuggles.

Uncle Charlie

Behold the Noble Beast

My entire weekend was consumed by the cuddle puddle. I am powerless to resist. I lost two full days just drowning in cuteness. In the back of my head the relentless workaholic in me is like, “Must… Get… Up… and… Sew.” But then the voice of reason intervenes: “If it is God’s Will for you to snuggle these dogs, who are you, foolish mortal, to defy him?”

God is right. Again. Just gotta give in to the cuteness.


Someday I will get my luck dragon

It was hard to choose a name for the pup. I wanted to call him Falcor, because he is so tiny that I thought it would be funny to name him after the giant Luck Dragon. Mason, said no.

Then for a while we were calling him Arlo Guppy. I like the name, but it just didn’t quite stick.

Charles Wallace

Three and a half pounds of awesome

Due to his prolific incontinence, we started referring to him as Pampers McGimlet, which really fit, but is just a horrible name.

Our friend Orien was visiting, and after looking at Lucas he jokingly said we should just call the new guy Upgrade. We laughed, but then remembered that the last time we followed Orien’s lead on naming something, we ended up with a boat called Sex Offender Too. Orien apparently has some sort of savant when it comes to giving awesome names. I think his current boat is called Meth Lab.

Wrinkle_In_Time_CoverEventually we settled on the name Charles Wallace. Did you ever read a Wrinkle in Time? Charles Wallace was the brilliant little boy, the ingénue. I loved that book so much. It was one of the first books to open my mind about the boundaries of the universe and the flexibility of time. If you read it when you were little, then I bet you also feel warm and fuzzy about it too.

Charles Wallace. Our new dog is totally a Charles Wallace. It’s perfect.
Except… hold on. Wait! If his name is Charles, that means that we can legitimately call him… UNCLE CHARLIE! He is such an Uncle Charlie!
(I am gonna conveniently overlook the fact that the name came to us on a menu from a country that is known to eat dogs. It is the sentiment that counts!)

Everybody, Meet Uncle Charlie!


Uncle Charlie, meet yourself!

Now that we have rested and snuggled to the max, I will get back to my sewing. Uncle Charlie gazes lovingly at me from his little bed. In his honor, I think this next sweater collection will all be named for Madeline L’Engle stories. It was either that or Chinese menu items, and I am not sure how many people want to wear a sweater called Boiled Duck Blood Curd with Pigs or Beef Offal in Chili Soup Home Style.


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Mason tried to persuade me that this blog post did not need this image. Overruled.