Rants

Crypt Keeper

img_0436-1Y’all remember last week how I said I shoulda known better about those self-help podcasts and books? Yeah, well I shoulda known better with the FaceApp.  If you don’t know what the FaceApp is it’s the thing everyone on your Facebook and Instagram feed is using to make themselves look old.  So, like everyone else on my Facebook feed, I had to try it out.

I shoulda known better. I’m not a joiner. I’m not a lemming.  I don’t jump off the cliff with the rest of the idiots. Yet there I was looking like the crypt keeper.  That damn app gave me jowls. I looked like a hound dog. And, the lines, seriously it looked like my face was the beginnings of the Grand Canyon or that I was a 3 pack a day smoker that never kicked the habit. How many years is this damn thing adding? 20? 30? 40?  Y’all it was SOO bad.  If I had been PMSing I would have seriously cried my eyes out.  As it is I can’t stop thinking about how bad I looked. I mean I feel like I’ve been taking pretty good care of my skin.  I wear sunscreen and moisturizer. I wear hats and sunglasses.  That filter made me want to start researching plastic surgeons and get a little preemptive strike work done.  I now know why 20 year olds are out there getting Botox and Restylane. The idea of looking that bad in a few years is awful.  I mean I fully expect to get old but I was hoping to be a cute old lady, not one that can only go out at night and then only wearing a ski mask.

Incidentally, I noticed the FaceApp also has a button that takes a few years off so I tried that one out too. And, to be honest, it didn’t do very much and what it did do doesn’t really look like I did 10 or 15 years ago. That fact right there gives me hope. I mean maybe it’s just a load of shit and I won’t really look like the crypt keeper in 25 years.  But, I will tell you one thing. The picture above was done with a Snapchat filter and this is the closest I will ever show anyone of what I looked like on that damn FaceApp. Furthermore, even though this Snapchat filter makes me look like Roz from Monster’s Inc., I still look better than I did with the old person filter on FaceApp.

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Rants

Can’t Help Me

hear no evilY’all, I should have known better. I could quite literally stop right there and end this post and this blog.  I should have known better needs to be etched on my tombstone because that pretty much just sums me up. But, I digress.  Y’all know I just love a good podcast or audiobook.  I typically lean towards true crime or politics for podcasts and just straight fiction for books.  I rarely do autobiographical, nonfiction or self-help.  In fact, I hate self-help.  To me, and this is just me personally, those books either tell me to do something I’m already doing or they make a suggestion that is nearly next to impossible, which is infuriating and makes me want to throw the book across the room.  But, I kept hearing about two different self-help goddesses that literally every woman I know is reading.  They are both bloggers and have their own podcasts.  I’ve read short articles by both women and they were pretty funny so when one of their books became available at my library I snapped it up thinking this time my foray into self-help would be different.  I should have known better.

Y’all, I couldn’t even make it past the introduction.  The author kept droning on and on about having a purpose and a path. And, to add insult to injury, one of my favorite podcasts, which happens to be run by an aging rock and roll star, basically said the exact same thing about two weeks prior to me attempting to read this book. And, that rock n roll star is usually never preachy.  Now, some of you are probably thinking, “Girl, that’s a sign. Get your head in the game.”  Nah, I’m not buying it.  Maybe, I should have a purpose and a plan but you know what – for one of the first times in my life I don’t really have a plan or a purpose. I am totally tripping through life just doing the best I can.  And, maybe that is my plan.

Just to make sure I hadn’t completely lost my marbles, I checked my bucket list. Yes, I have one.  It’s stored on the very computer where I’m typing this blog.  I was able to check off a few things like take my kids to D.C and go to Disneyland.  I took off a few things like go on a massive family reunion cruise and take a pole dancing class.  What the hell I was thinking with those two?  You know what, it’s still a solid list and I’m slowly ticking those items off.  So, maybe, that is my path and direction.  If that is truly the case then my path is travel, travel and more travel – which I gotta say is one of my absolute favorite things to do.  I don’t really care about a career anymore. I have a job and it’s good enough. Would I like a different one; a dream job perhaps? Sure, I would but if that never happens I’m not going to cry about it.  I do think wistfully about the fact that had I had more information when I was younger I probably would have had a different career and thus been on a different path but that path is not conducive to having a family.  So, yeah,  I don’t really have any long term goals except don’t die young and see the world and a Disney park every chance I get. It seems really basic but it’s what I really want so maybe that is my path.  And, I didn’t need a damn book or podcast to tell me that.  They simply can’t help me unless they are gonna send me some money.

P.S. One of my bucket list items is to be a published author/blogger.  I guess I made that one happen. I appreciate every subscriber and reader.

Photo Credit: Lifted off the internet. Hear no evil emoji. It’s everywhere.  I’m using it under fair use.  No copyright infringement intended. I’m broke and do this for free.

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Musing, Uncategorized

Summer Vacation

img_0394Tap, Tap, Tap.  Is there anybody still out there?  So yeah, I went on vacation and didn’t announce it.  Real life got really busy and before I knew it I was chunking random things into a suitcase at 11:30 at night when I had to leave at 6 the next morning.  My family and I did the great American road trip. We drove halfway across the country (nearly 1,400 miles each way) to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C. It was two days there and two days back, although, not as brutal as I feared it would be. We took in all the big sights – the Mall, the Monuments, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Capital Building, the National Archives, the White House and multiple Smithsonian Museums.  It had been almost 20 years since my husband and I have visited and my kids had never gone. And, since they are now 12 and 14, it was a good time age wise to plan this trip.

I find the people and the sights you see within certain regions simply fascinating.  We stopped in the mountains, hiked down the embankment in flip flops (not our smartest idea) and played in a mountain stream.  We saw a florescent yellow Lexus with giant tires being pulled by a U-haul in another state. We met country folks, mountain people, and city dwellers but never once did we meet anyone rude.  We did pass through some areas where we never once saw anything but white people and for some reason that worried me. (Whispers – If y’all didn’t know I’m white.) We live in a suburb of a very large city with no real minority.  Sure, there is a little self-segregation, but for the most part it’s very multicultural.  It was weird being in a place where there’s only one kind of people.  It can be unnerving and in some cases uncomfortable, especially when you aren’t used to it.  Speaking of which, enjoy this off the wall story about our hotel stay.

We originally booked a room in Alexandria, VA right across the street from a Metro station. What we didn’t know we got there was that the Metro station was closed for an overhaul until September and the two beds in the room were full size beds with a queen fold out bed.  It’s just downright creepy for a teen boy and preteen girl to sleep in the same bed and since my hubs and I don’t like to touch when we sleep this was not going to fly for a week.  So, my hubs and I started frantically searching for anything that had two beds and a fold out couch that didn’t involve a full sized bed. Fun fact, apparently that is standard in D.C. because it wasn’t until we looked in the surrounding areas did we find a set up that would work.  The hubs finds a new hotel and books it and the next day we go to check in.  We were a little stumped that there was no food or grocery nearby only a metro station, a church and a bunch of car dealerships and a gas station but still we said, “whatever it will be great”.  The lady at the front desk was so helpful in providing a list of nearby stores and restaurants so off we go to pick up dinner.  The nearest grocery, about 5 miles away is smack in the middle of the hood and four exceptionally white people in a generic small SUV with a Mickey Mouse sticker on the back window sticks out like a sore thumb.  The next morning we arrive at the continental breakfast in the lobby and again, no white people.  I whisper to my husband, “Remember when we were driving through that super rural part of the country and we couldn’t find any people of color?  Yeah, well apparently we found the opposite end of the spectrum.”  For the rest of the week if we were at the hotel or the surrounding grocery store, Target store or restaurant we got lots of stares.  Our daily walk to and from the Metro station garnered looks as well. We don’t look weird. We’re as average as they come but you would have thought we all had a multi-colored mohawk and a third eye.  About halfway through the week, I started wondering what they thought.  Did everyone think were crazy? Did they think we were lost? Did they resent us being there?  No one was ever mean or unkind. Despite the stares, everyone was pleasant but why the stares. The only thing I can think of is we were different from their norm. And, let’s face it, different can be strange, uncomfortable even. The funny thing is my kids never blinked about the whole situation.  They were oblivious to the stares and odd looks.  They didn’t notice the sketchy strip mall and the grocery on the edge of the hood.  Some of that could be their age but I think a lot of it is they are growing up in a world where we are striving for more equality and multicultural experience. As they get older I hope they have fond memories of our trip, even the daily trip by the collection of malt liquor bottles by the Metro station and the baffling case of Bible tracts at every stop for 300 miles.

Photo Credit:  Yours truly.  It’s the crazy lifted yellow Lexus I spoke about.  Who would paint a nice car that color?

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Motherhood/Parenting

Father’s Day

baby sitting on man s shoulder

Father’s Day was two days ago and I’ve come to the realization I have an unhealthy relationship with parental holidays. For years, Mother’s Day depressed me. I even wrote about it here. I’ve progressed to pretty much making peace with that holiday. Although, there was a setback this year that I may or may not discuss at a later date.  Father’s Day, though not as bad, is hard as well.  I have no problem celebrating my husband and his parentage.  That’s easy; he’s a good Dad.  However, my relationship with my Father and Step Father, that’s another story.  My biological Father and Mother divorced when I was very young.  He had little to no contact with me until I was nearly 30.  My Step Father, the man who helped raise me, wasn’t a bad Father.  He was a good provider and solid guy until my Mother passed away.  After that, it all went to hell in a handbasket. He ended up getting remarried to a wonderful woman whom my children call Granny and who I always thought was too good for him.

Now, having explained my situation, imagine how hard it is to find a card that’s appropriate.  Hallmark and American Greetings do not make cards that say things like “Thanks for raising me and finding a lady better than my own Mother” or “Thanks for knocking up Mom all those years ago. I’m glad I’m alive”.  No, the cards usually say nice things about how Dad is the person who loved you and guided you and led the family. There are usually phrases about sacrifice and strength.  And, if you go the funny route, there are comments about dealing with the kids during the teen years and potty training or how we’ll all stop asking for money when you die.  But, here’s my problem, I can’t identify with any of these things.  I never asked anyone for money – not even as a teen. I had a job when I was 13.  If I didn’t have money, I wasn’t going to get anything from my parental units.  I was already potty trained when my Step Dad showed up and my Mother forbade him from disciplining me – which sucked because he was fairer than she was.  I can’t send my biological Father these types of cards because he had no part in my upbringing.  I know I could easily suck it up and buy the card but its such a lie and so disingenuous.  How the hell can I say thanks for leading me when he led nothing?  And, yet, since I have established a relationship with him several years ago, I feel like I have to participate in the facade of appreciating him as a Father.

In the years since I reestablished contact, my biological Father has been somewhat present but I see a difference between his role with me and his role with the children he helped raise with his wife of nearly 40 years.  Part of that is geography, as those children live in the same city.  But, part of it is a connection.  He won’t admit it.  I doubt my half siblings will either. Yet, I see it. I don’t truly blame them.  How can you have a connection with someone instantly, regardless of DNA? They have a history I simply don’t and never will have.  Could more of a connection have been established in the past? Absolutely, but that is the past and nothing can be done about the past. One must deal with the now.  I wish I could come to him with my feelings and he would understand my perspective.  Yet, I know him enough to know he’s a simple, straight forward type of guy and it would probably hurt his feelings.  So, instead of mailing a heartfelt card and thoughtful gift, I bought a generic “Hope your Father’s Day was great” card along with a gift certificate and hoped for the best. I’ll probably continue to do this until he passes and it becomes a non-issue, much like my Step Dad.  It’s sad but it’s the path of least resistance and it saves me from an uncomfortable and possibly hurtful conversation.

I do know one thing.  If my husband and I get divorced or I die, he better be the good Dad he’s always been or he’s going to have to deal with a very mad ex-wife or even madder ghost.

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Politics

#’Merica

close up photo of people holding usa flaglets

So, two things on my radar this week that happen to do with our country, the good ole U.S.of A.  The first is a podcast recommendation. (Big surprise, am I right?).   It Could Happen Here is the name of my latest podcast obsession. Here’s a link to their webpage to learn a little more about it and you can find it wherever you get your podcasts. I get mine from Apple podcasts but it’s also on I heart.  Anyway, the basic premise is how the United States could easily have another civil war if we do not take drastic measures.  It’s fascinating and frightening.  This is not something you want to binge.  Listen to an episode and then listen to something funny or lighthearted. Otherwise, you’ll want to go home and slit your wrists.  It’s heavy stuff.  The narrator/author actually addresses this fact and says something to the effect of he didn’t put this information out there to make anyone depressed or hopeless but to make people aware of some hard facts and truths and if we are aware maybe we can change.  Seriously, no matter what your political leanings or even if you aren’t political, it’s worth listening to the preview or the first episode.

The next thing hitting my radar is a special six part special edition documentary on ABC called 1969.  Each of the six episodes addresses a major news making event that happened, are you ready for this, 50 years ago in 1969.  The first episode is about the Moon landing in July 1969. This is the episode that got me hooked. I love anything to do with space.  I was that kid that would set their alarm clock to 4:30 a.m. so I could watch shuttle launches. I’ve always been fascinated by space travel. The other five episodes are good as well and range in topic from Woodstock to the Vietnam War. Watch them all or cherry pick and just watch a few but they are definitely worth a look.

The weird thing is, after watching this six part series, I was truly astounded by how little things have changed. I’m sure the writers of 1969 spun the series that way.  I was born but not yesterday. I have no delusions that that’s not exactly what the writers had in mind. But, it is startling. Your initial gut reaction says, of course, a lot has changed – we’ve gone to the moon, there are real tangible equal rights laws on the books, the list goes on and on. All of that is true but then again there has been a rash of murders of black transgender women, many Southern states are trying to overturn Roe v. Wade and there’s some wackadoodle DA that says he won’t enforce domestic violence laws for gay couples because he does not personally recognize gay marriage. In 1969, we had an unpopular war that many believe we didn’t have any business fighting.  In 2019, we are still in the Middle East fighting God knows who but by God we’re fighting.  In 1969, various minority groups (Blacks, Women, Gays) were fighting for equality.  In 2019, most of those groups are still fighting to be heard in some form or fashion only now we can add Latinos to the list.  Immigration is a huge deal.  It was in 1969 too.  Only back then it was refugees from Vietnam, many of whom were treated poorly just because of their country of origin. In 1969, we had a space race and Woodstock kept losing its permits to put on an epic show.  In 2019, we have Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk taking over space innovation and Woodstock 50 just lost its permit and its future looks bleak.  In 1969, we had a President that had the nickname, Tricky Dick and eventually got impeached. In 2019, well, I’m not going to go there.

When you take all these similarities into account, it looks like we haven’t evolved at all.  And, that’s the kick in the ass.  Fifty years and what do we have to show for it?  What the hell happened? Did we get so jaded and disenfranchised back then that everyone just threw up their hands and we’ve been phoning it in for the past 50 years? I don’t mind telling anyone who will stand still long enough it makes me sad and worried when I see how things are shaking out. I worry for our country as a whole and for my kids future and their generation’s future. My only hope is if the shit hits the fan I’ll be young enough to march in the streets or I’ll be too old and die quick.

Photo credit: I love free photos on the internet. 

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Politics

Tiananmen

190603-tiananmen-square-1989-ac-810p_204a4448820b49bdc1efc222e49e28fd.focal-758x379When I imagine 30 years ago, I think 1970-something. I do not think 1989; yet, that is exactly 30 years ago.  Imagine my surprise when I come across a New York Times article (read it here) about the protest and Tankman.  After reading the headline it occurred to me I am the exact same age as my oldest is now when that happened.  My oldest has never sat down and watch the news or read a news article of his accord ever in his life.  I distinctly remember the local and the national news being on the tv every night.  Our family may not have been actively watching every minute with bated breath but it was on and something was being absorbed.

I will never forget watching that young man standing in front of those tanks.  It is permanently etched into my memory.  I remember all the questions: what will happen to this guy, what kind of government would mow down their own citizens, how bad does the government have to be that a person is willing to stand in front of a giant tank? It boggles the mind. Nothing is known about what happened to the guy.  There is a lot of speculation. I can’t imagine the Chinese government allowed him to live. Still, it’s kind to crazy to think that was 30 years ago. It seems like the blink of an eye.

I pulled my oldest aside and showed him the story.  I told him I remember being angry. I mean what teenager isn’t angry? But, I distinctly remember being very angry at that situation. What is the world coming to that you have to stand in front of a tank?  I get it now.  I’m older and I understand a few more things but at that time I couldn’t wrap my head around it all.  A couple years later (1991) we’d see the First Gulf War. And, again I felt scared and angry.  My kids have never known a time when we didn’t have a military presence somewhere in the middle east.  In some ways, we’ve been fighting a war since 2001. They have no idea about current events.  They know who the President is and that’s it. Maybe it’s time to bring back the nightly news.  Is it even still on?  The last time I watched the evening news Tom Brokaw was an anchor.  Wow, it really has been 30 years hasn’t it?

Photo Credit: I lifted this off the internet. It probably belongs to someone but I’m using it as fair use since this image is 30 years old and I’m not making any money off of it.  No copyright infringement intended. Don’t sue me, I’m broke. Just ask me to take it down if it belongs to you.

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Random

Sugar Rush

img_0027We are a Disney Family.  Well, most of us.  The kids and I bleed in Mickey Mouse shaped droplets.  My husband, on the other hand; let’s just say he’s not as on board with “The Mouse” as the rest of us.  He’s your casual fan.  He enjoys the movies.  He endures our ridiculous daily references, music and various tchotchkes around the house.  He’s dutifully gone to the parks with us and once he’s there he has a great time.  But, in general, he is not a theme park person.  He does not like standing in the hot sun in long ass lines with other sweaty bodies to ride a 2 minute ride all while walking 10 miles a day and spending a few thousand for the pleasure of it all. So, when I told him we were kicking off the summer by making the kitchen sink he just shrugged and rolled his eyes.  Truth be told, I think he’s just happy I wasn’t begging to go to a Disney Park again.

What is the Kitchen Sink you ask?  Honestly, it should be called something like the Fat American or pancreas killer but because this is a dish served at Disney World it’s given a nicey- nice name.  Basically, it’s the most colossal ice cream sundae you’ve ever seen.  One can find this monstrosity at the Beaches and Cream Ice Cream Shop located on the Boardwalk of the Walt Disney World Beach Club Resort. This sundae contains has every single topping at the shop heaped on a metric ton of ice cream.  Here’s a link to ingredients.  If you prefer to watch one being made, here’s a link for that.

A few days ago, we went off to the nicest Walmart in America in search of ingredients for this thing.  I’ve talked about our Walmart before. It’s super bougie; it has brick cart wranglers.  Anyway, we cheated a little bit. The recipe calls for an absurd amount of baked goods and candy we don’t eat so we cheated a bit but still, we had about $20 bucks worth of crap in the cart.  Y’all, it was like making Thanksgiving dinner the amount of prep work and clean up for this thing. And, the biggest surprise of all was we couldn’t finish it.  Like we barely ate half.  My husband ate four bites, proclaimed it too much and tapped out.  My oldest ate a few more bites then started leaning over the real kitchen sink yelling, “I feel like I’m gonna puke.” He had to go lay down for about 30 minutes. My youngest and I ate about 8 to 10 bites and threw in the towel.  We covered the whole business in plastic wrap and put it in the freezer.  Later that afternoon my youngest did throw up.  It was just too much sugar.  We did manage to thaw the leftovers out the next day and eat some of it. My youngest did not participate.  In fact, I think she’s sworn off ice cream for a year.  I honestly don’t know how anyone finishes this thing unless you have about 10 people with you.  If any of my readers have ever ordered one of these things I’ve got to know if you finished it and if so how many people were with you.

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