Books, Favorites, Important Stuff, Random

Podcast Rec

believed

Y’all know I occasional do favorite things and recommendations – usually for books and movies.  Today, I’m doing something new. I’m recommending a podcast. I love podcasts. They are great for long commutes and when slugging away on the treadmill or trails.  I wish I could take credit and say I discovered this one on my own.  It was actually rec’ed to me by a dear friend. The podcast is called Believed. You can find it at  michiganradio.org/believed and on the NPR One app, Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, and wherever podcasts are available.

I feel I should give you a warning. This is not a feel-good podcast. It’s about the Olympic Gymnastics Doctor Larry Nassar and the sexual assault cases brought against him nearly a year ago.  I know many of you will shake your head ‘no’ at this discovery and say “no way” but please hear me out. I know many of us are weary about the whole sexual assault ‘Me Too’ movement.  I don’t think this podcast is riding the movements’ coattails. as this case exploded before that movement. For me, the take away for this podcast is to remember sexual assault/harassment can happen anywhere and to anyone and in situations where trust is just a given.

This podcast was a real wake up for me. Even with the “Me Too” movement, we as women tend to forget or bury things even though we’ve all endured something. It might have been something as benign as a creepy teacher that liked to leer at girls with large chests (Yep, that was my school.). Or, it could be something more serious like a hansy boss or a date that ended in rape. We need podcasts like this one to remind us these predatory people will stop at nothing to get what they want.  There are many clowns out there, like Larry Nassar, that have been pulling crap for years and never get caught. They have perfected the cover-up.  They are super slick and hard to catch.  As a parent to a young girl, it was a reminder that even the most trusted adults can be wolves sheep’s clothing. Just because someone holds a position of trust does not mean they are trustworthy.  I urge any parent to listen to this, especially parents of young girls who have close relationships with other adults.

 

 

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Random

The Gift of Walmart

If you look hard enough and keep an open mind, you’ll find the Universe/God/Whatever you call it will periodically give you a gift. That gift can be something motivational or an actual tangible gift.  Today’s gift from the Universe was my shopping trip to Walmart.  I know, I know, it seems so unlikely. I mean come on Walmart? Yes, Walmart. The things I witnessed there today was the spark of inspiration I needed for this week’s blog.

As I entered the store my ears were accosted by Blake Shelton singing Christmas carols as well as a big ole sign reading 42 days until Christmas. We haven’t even eaten the bird yet folks! Can we just cool our tits? I get it; you need to have the place decorated for Black Friday.  Okay, fine, but at least hold off on Blake Shelton singing I’ll be Home fimg_1984.jpgor Christmas until you open for Black Friday.  So, I get by that sign without having a panic attack and I see the seasonal section.  It’s pretty much just toys and front and center is the monstrosity I have pictured here. What is up Hasbro and Goliath games that you have to make games about dog shit, exploding pigs and boogers in noses?!  When my kids asked for the Doggy Doo game a couple of years ago I genuinely gave them two Walmart bags and a pair of rubber gloves. Our dog makes plenty of turds they can go pick up.  And, if they sing Spoon Full of Sugar like Mary Poppins it will be a game.  Ironically, this particular game was already marked down to 12.98 from 19.99.  Walmart already knows they will be shipping the majority of this crap back to Hasbro or putting it on the clearance aisle once Christmas is over.

After that ridicululousness, I began to get the items I came for.  I need work out leggings but cannot find any that don’t have weird lace/mesh panels.  No one wants to see 40 year old cellulite in Zumba people. Just like Target, Walmart failed me on this front.   But,  I was ecstatic to find Bluebell Ice Cream brought back the Christmas Cookie flavor.  I didn’t get any last year because Bluebell’s production team didn’t bring their A game and failed to produce enough so stores were sold out in like two weeks.
img_1987Then I find this little gem in the soup aisle. A lady caught me taking this picture and walked right up to me to inspect the situation. I looked her right in the eye and said, “Cream of Bacon sounds weird but I swear it’s also the most fabulous thing I’ve seen all day.” She proceeded to legit laugh out loud, told me I made her day and grabbed a can. Well, I guess I did my good deed for the day.

 

Next, I’m getting a pie crust because really who makes their own when I find these festive treats. img_1988Now, I’m about to get controversial. I hate Buddy the Elf with every fiber of my being.  I seriously want to throat punch him. He’s annoying. But, I know loads of people just think he’s the most adorable thing on the planet. And, I totally turn into Buddy the Elf my own self when anyone mentions Disney parks so I guess I need to cut Buddy some slack. I was like okay gotta take picture of these suckers cause everyone I know, except me, will want these cookies.

Finally, I get to the checkout. I expect to find one or two lanes open but no there’s like 8. Again, another gift from the Universe or maybe just a Thanksgiving miracle. And, then it happens, the obligatory person in pajama pants and house slippers schleps up behind me in line.  I swear my trip felt complete.

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Musing, Random

Always Listening

I’m writing this post while standing in line waiting to vote because inspiration struck.  I am absolutely astounded at the number of people at the polls for early voting.  You’d think this was another presidential election.  It’s insane.  There must be at least 75 people in this line and it’s not even lunchtime.  The next bit of inspiration comes from the people waiting in line with me.  If there’s one thing I love to do in a crowd like this it’s people watch and eavesdrop.

I adore eavesdropping.  I’m pretty sure this passion started in my formative years being raised in a household full of adults and no other children. I was forever being told to “hush, the adults are talking” and “children are seen and not heard”. The only other thing to do when you can’t get a word in edgewise is to listen or watch the paint peel. The former is a lot more fun than the later. It’s interesting to hear what others have to say especially when they think no one is listening. I ALWAYS listen and there is plenty to be heard.

The biggest offenders are millennial aged women and old people. The next runners up are mothers of young children and middle aged men.  Those last two groups love to have conversations on the phone while standing in line or walking around the store.  I have actually heard one middle aged dude make some hanky panky plans for later while in the shampoo aisle at Target.  Nothing every shocks me but I’m always a little amazed at the types of conversations people will have in public.  I can’t quite understand their reasoning.  Do they think that just because they aren’t near someone they know that it’s safe to talk about all manner of personal issues like the neighbor’s cancer, your child’s bout with lice or your ailing parents’ incontinence issues?

I keep thinking to myself one day just for kicks I will call someone out for the very loud, personal conversation they are having in public. But, doesn’t that make me just as guilty for listening?  Ultimately I just keep my mouth shut.  I have to hand it to some of these people, they sure do provide a lot of inspiration for this blog and serve as a catalyst for thinking.  Maybe these dirty laundry airing folk are a gift from the universe.  The universe’s way of saying, “I know your life is shit but at least it’s not that bad. Listen to what those people are saying about that poor sap.”  I think I’ll just count my blessings.

P.S. –  If anyone is interested, today’s offenders were a couple of old ladies.  They were talking about all their friend’s ailments in great detail.  Dementia, hemorrhoids and heart disease.  You can’t make this stuff up people.

P.P.S. – If the government needs more people to listen in to conversations, I’m your girl. Just call me Alexa or Siri.  I’ll even respond to Hey Google.

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Motherhood/Parenting, Random, Uncategorized

Homecoming

75a7cf508587495cafa7cf790d089863As of last weekend, all the high schools in my area have finished with homecoming festivities; and I am very thankful.  No, it’s not because all the nice restaurants were a madhouse and you couldn’t find a decent cocktail dress within a 100-mile radius. It’s because I can finally go to any grocery store with a floral department or Hobby Lobby and not see the photos like the one attached to this post.

Today’s topic is going to get me de-friended by my Texas bestie but really y’all this is something I will never get used to no matter how long I live in this state.  Now I get that the traditional thing is to give a girl a corsage or flower of some sort before going to a formal dance/homecoming/prom but these Texas mums have moved beyond a flower.  I’m attaching a link here to something I found the other day. It’s a blog post about 50 Gigantic Homecoming Mums everyone has to see.  These things are truly ridiculous.  They are like a car wreck you just can’t take your eyes off of.  High schoolers turn these mums into a competition of sorts – who’s mum is bigger, tackier, has more flair and do-dads, etc.  And let me tell you, these things aren’t cheap.  A small mum is easy $100 with the average mum costing $200-$300.  It’s insanity.

For years I have mentally told myself we have to move away from Texas before my kids get in high school. Now, with high school fast approaching, I’m starting to get worried because we have no prospects for a move. I wonder, will my son have to help foot the bill for this monstrosity? Will my daughter expect to get one of these fugly things and will subsequently want to hang it on her bedroom wall after Homecoming like her peers? I’ve already started campaigning for a move to Florida. It’s about the only Southeastern state we haven’t lived in.

Photo Disclaimer –  I don’t know those girls or the school they attend. I did a Google search for Texas Mums and this was the first one that popped up. Apparently, it came from Pinterest. Whatever, if you find this post and you know these girls and want me to take it down just message me and let me know.

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Random, Weird

Attack Bird

img_1654It’s been a while since I had one of those totally weird things happen to me but this one is just – wow. On the way to the high school where my son does sports camp, there is a stretch of road with about 6 mini farms of about 3-5 acres each. There are signs along the street that say peacock crossing. I’ve always seen the signs but rarely ever seen a peacock in the area. Apparently, I was not coming during the right time of day because for the last two days right around dusk these peacocks have been large and in charge. And, they must know about the signs because they will straight up walk out in the middle of the road in front of a moving vehicle. They have no shame.

Monday night a whole flock started across the road when I was about 50 yards from them. I had time to stop and slow down to allow them to pass but I swear the last one in the group gave me the side eye. I swear I was waiting for it to come bang on the hood like Dustin Hoffman in Midnight Cowboy and scream, “I’m walking here.”  I sent a text to a girlfriend or two asking if I should let my inner southern redneck shine and just run over it and bring it home for dinner. We even pondered if the meat would be white or dark and if it would taste gamey. I resisted the urge to mow it down. Last night, I came through at a similar time and I’ll be damned if those peacocks didn’t wait until the car in front of mine was right on them to start strutting out into the road. They were just hanging around, loitering, bold as brass waiting on cars to pass. And, they did not get in a hurry to cross.  Those damn birds sashayed across that street like they had all the time in the world and nowhere to be.  I wonder what they would have done if I had yelled, “Knees to chins y’all! We ain’t got all day.”

Personally,  I don’t know how I feel about these birds. On the one hand I just want to rev my engine and ram one but on the other hand, I don’t want to kill someone’s treasured pet or screw up the front end of my car. What a conundrum. But, I’d be willing to bet they taste just like chicken.

P.S. If anyone has any information on peacocks – how they taste, how they behave, anything I’m wildly curious and don’t feel like looking it up on “The Google”.

Photo credit:  My kid took the photo while hanging out the window with us driving slow. Damn thing was probably going to charge the car had I slowed down any more to get a clearer picture.

 

 

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Musing, Random

Grown Up Crush

erik estaraDo you remember your first celebrity crush? Mine was Erik Estrada. He played Paunch on the 1970s cop show, CHiPS.  I was four and completely obsessed.  One time I threw an epic fit in the middle of a store over a poster of him. He was wearing a gold lamé speedo, a 1,000 watt smile and nothing else. The incident went down like this. I was scream-begging at the top of my lungs for said poster of a half-dressed man old enough to be my father while simultaneously ratting my mother out to the masses about her Elvis poster on her closet door. She was screaming back at me about how inaproriate it would be for me to have said poster. She would later drag me out of the store and give me the beating of a lifetime for acting like a dumbass in public. To this day I still say that beating was worth it even though I didn’t get my poster. I made my point, stood my ground and fought the good fight.

Fast forward 10 years and my walls are lined with Teen Beat pages.  Can you guess who I had on my walls?  Let me think.  River Phoenix for sure. Kurt Cameron. Kieffer Sutherland even though he was old. Definitely Rob Lowe and Tom Cruise. Yeah, they were old too but they were hot.  My 13-year-old girlfriends and I were just SO sure at some juncture we would move to L.A. and meet one of these dreamboats and they would magically fall in love with us.  Ah, the delusions of youth.

Now, my girlfriends and I are well and truly middle-aged and to my knowledge, none of us ever met and fell in love with a teen heartthrob. Although, one girl did marry a guy that had a hit country song. Does that even count?  But, I admit I still have a few celebrity crushes.  No, I don’t have pictures on my wall.  I may or may not have a Pintrest board labeled eye candy –  you know for inspiration when times are hard.  The funniest thing about being a grown up with a celebrity crush is who I fancy and my kid’s reactions to it.  Just the other day we were watching Thor and I just blurted out, “Man, he’s pretty.”  I was talking about Chris Hemsworth and it totally offended my kid’s sensibilities.  “Don’t you love Daddy?”  “Is Daddy not good enough for you,” they blurted.   While I was highly amused by their level of loyalty to their Father, I was also struck by their abject horror at the idea of their mother having any sort of feelings for someone other than their Dad. You could just see the wheels turning in their heads. How can this be they seemed to be asking themselves.  And, while the muscle-bound yumminess of Chris Hemsworth is very nice, I also love the everyman like Tom Hanks.  Speaking of Tom, he is a true grown-up crush in every sense of the word. He’s not someone you want to ‘be with’ (insert eyebrow wag here). He is the kind of guy you want to have coffee with or walk on a beach holding hands with.  This is no illicit roll in the sheets. No, sir. This is normal everyday stuff. It’s funny what flips your switch in your middle age.

So, dear readers, how many of you have celebrity crushes? Who was your first crush?  Do your kids know? Are they horrified? I hope so. It’s kind of fun to shock the kids. I try to shock mine every chance I get. However, it will probably come back to bite me in the form of my kids ratting me out in public but it probably won’t be over a guy in a gold lamé speedo.

Photo Credit: Just some picture I lifted off the internet in a google search. No copyright infringement intended. I get no money off of this. I’m doing it for free. Blood/Turnip you know the drill.  I’m just sorry I couldn’t find a picture of him in a gold lamé speedo.

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Musing, Random

Closing Time

img_1217“I don’t wanna grow up. I’m a Toys R Us kid.”  I can still sing every word of the song even though I haven’t heard it in years.  I’d be willing to bet at least half of you can too and immediately started singing it in your head when you read that line.  According to news outlets, all Toys R Us stores close their doors today, Friday, June 29 2018.  If you go to the store’s website you’ll see the picture on your left.  When I was growing up, half of your Christmas or birthday presents came from Toys R Us. You always begged for a gift certificate or you just took the money you got in cards to the store and spent it  You would have sold a kidney for a real shopping spree.  The idea of being cut loose in that store for 10 minutes was the stuff of many daydreams. I know I had my fair share of items from Toys R Us.  My Cabbage Patch Kids came from Toys R Us and I still have them.  I still remember test driving my first grown-up bike down the aisles of  Toys R Us. My children’s baby furniture, stroller, and car seats came from their affiliate, Babies R Us.  While my kids have outgrown most toys, I still managed to go in a couple times a year.  It had become a tradition to walk the aisles and make a Christmas wish list now that lookbooks are pretty much a thing of the past. I’m not sure what we are going to do now. I guess we’ll walk the aisles of Walmart and Academy Sports.  I’m pretty sure those stores will survive the rest of my kid’s childhood but what about their kids?

I have said for years Amazon is nothing more than Sears was back at the turn of the last century.  It’s low cost, one-stop convenience shopping.  In 1918, one could order ready made clothes, toys, furnishings for your home and even the house itself from Sears.  It came complete with plans and materials shipped by railcar – assembly was up to you.  Today, Amazon is doing the same thing only instead of opening a catalog we open up an app. Low cost retailers like Walmart and Amazon have not only killed the mom and pop stores but also highly specialized stores like Toys R Us. And, we only have ourselves to blame.  We the consumer are so focused on low cost, more for our money and above all convenience that we have sold our souls to the lowest bidder.  We’ve all done it.  Show of hands, how many times have you been in a real store to find the item you are looking for is sold out or more expensive than you thought so you immediately look for it on Amazon or some other low cost retailer (cough Walmart)? I know I have.  And, stood there in the middle of the other store, using their free Wifi and ordered it from their competitor.  Yep, I’m guilty.  I’d wager a guess most of you are too.

While most in my age group are sad to see Toys R Us go, I doubt any of us will think much about it until Christmas comes around and we are scrambling for a toy. I’m curious to see what brick and mortar institution will be the next to fall. My money is on Sears and JC Penney.  They’re barely hanging on as it is.  Furthermore, I can’t help but wonder what’s next in the world of consumerism.  I have my doubts Amazon will be the retail superpower Sears was for 100 years.  In our fast-paced culture, I’ll give Amazon another 20 or 30 years tops before something bigger and better knocks it off the top of the heap. Forty or fifty years for a company started by some guy selling books out of his garage isn’t too shabby.

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