Musing

Beware of Old Ladies

28911a13b78de54a8c8c2bc3f32fb245I don’t plan to get old. I’m fighting it pretty much kicking and screaming. In all seriousness, longevity genes do not run in my family. My Mother was 45 when she died and her Father was 55 when he died. Although I know they had risk factors I don’t have, it’s still unnerving to look at how old they were and realize how old I am and think, ‘Damn, I may only have a few good years left.’ It is that thought that makes me fight getting old. It also helps that I’m a big kid in an adult human suit.

In contemplating old age, I have made a bucket list.  I also have a mental list of things I have to start doing should I make it to 80. For example, if I make it to 80, I’m going to take up smoking – bonus points if they’ve outlawed cigarettes by then.  I plan to be very ostentatious and obnoxious about it. I’m gonna get me one of those long cigarette holders like Morticia Addams.  I’m going to wave it around and gesture with it. I’ll leave my ashes everywhere and not clean up after myself.  I’ll even light up in places where you’re not allowed to smoke. What are they going to do to me for breaking the rules?  Kick me out?  Bodily throw an 80 year old lady out of a place of business?  It will be awesome.  I can’t wait.  I’ll probably take up skydiving as well. I’ve got big plans.  However, I know I can’t be the only person who feels like getting old might be a good time to thumb my nose at the universe.

So, when I get the following text from one of my besties I knew two things – my spirit animal exists and I am not the only person in the universe that has weird things happening to them.

Friend: I’m at JC Penney digging through the clearance racks when I notice I’m blocking a little old lady (like 80+) looking at the clothes. So, I say, “I’m sorry. Let me get out of your way.”

Old Lady: “Oh, it’s alright, sweetheart. I’m just over here shoplifting.”

My friend: Smile and a nervous laugh

Old Lady: “I’m telling ya they never suspect a sweet old lady and at my age, I gotta keep it interesting.”

My friend was stunned.  I was in awe.  How fantastic is that?  While I don’t want to become a felon, I admire that old lady’s spunk.  She probably really does feel like she only has a few years left in her so why not burn that candle.  I’m with her.  At that age, why not, put me in jail at least I get three meals a day I don’t have to cook and I get medical care.  Let my kids sort out my crap and claim the body when I die. It’s kinda brilliant. You wanta know what else is crazy?  This is not unheard of thinking.  Japanese prisons are bursting at the seams with old ladies.  Don’t believe?  Read it here from a real news source.  As I see it, I’m just planning ahead.

Photo credit:  This photo has been floating around the internet for years with about 1,000 memes attached to it.  I just did a google search old lady drinking at the gym.  This is what I found. No copyright infringement intended. If this is your photo, I will kindly give you props. Otherwise, I aspire to be the old lady at the gym day drinking.

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Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

Orientation

interior of abandoned building

I hated the majority of my Middle and High School experience. Were it not for a close group of girlfriends I met my 8th grade year, I’m not really sure I would have made it out of school. I wasn’t a bad student. I got decent grades and actually loved the learning aspect. I hated the busy work. I hated the halfassed curriculum and poorly thought out assignments. I hated the teachers who droned on like Ben Stein in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off about absolutely nothing of consequence. Even at the tender age of 13, I knew I had better things to do with my time than detail the parts and pieces of a worm and memorize the capital of some Western European State that would get renamed a few years later.

A few nights ago I found myself once again roaming the halls of a middle school, only this time it was for parent orientation. We were given our kids’ schedule and were expected to follow a modified bell schedule for our kid’s classes.  Of course maps weren’t available, so you had to rely on your powers of deduction to find the classrooms.  After going through the motions for two hours, I realized a few things.

First, the middle school experience hasn’t gotten any better.  The building still smells. When you’re short and there are 18,000 people in the halls taller than you it’s nearly impossible to find your classroom.  You will be late to class.  The teacher will give you the stink eye for being late even if your schedule says the wrong room.

Next, educators are still the same. The principal is clueless and only the office staff know what’s going on. Most of the teachers still treat you like you’ve done something wrong even when you haven’t because they expect you to be surly.  To the teacher’s defense, 13 year olds are typically very surly.  Then you have your different types of teacher. There are the ones that have been there forever and are so good you hope every child you know gets to have that teacher just once.  Then there is one that has been teaching forever and should not have become a teacher or at minimum retired 20 years ago. There is the teacher who thinks they are cool and aren’t and the one that is but doesn’t let it go to their head.  There’s also the hardass and the doormat. And, finally, the ones just punching the clock and praying it will all be over soon.

Finally, the kids, err I mean adults, are still basically the same. There are the perfects with their perfect make up, hair and outfits. They are so damn perky you want to slap them because let’s be real no one is that damn happy over mundane crap even if you are trying to have a positive attitude.  Back in the day, they would have called to each other across the hall about a sale at the Gap or maybe a party.  The other night I heard one simper, “Hey Karen, are y’all doing lacrosse again this year? I sure hope we see Chloe next week!”  You know perfect doesn’t give a rat’s ass about Chloe but there she is pretending to care.  There’s the smart kids, the greasers, the hipsters, the artists, the jocks and the suck ups.  You remember the suck ups?  They are the ones all up in the teacher’s face as soon as the bell rings. There were several of those at orientation night. Personally, I know I reverted back.  Much like I am today, I didn’t have time for all the fake bullshit.  I was a jaded adult in a child’s body.  With zero f$cks to give, I was uninterested and above it all. I gave the teachers the ‘Yeah, I’m here because I have to be, now thrill me’ look. In short, think Daria with thing for Disney.

I think the thing that struck me the most was despite how much things have changed since I was in school, it’s interesting to see how much they are still the same. While I’ll never understand the pressure to have a million subscribers on my social media account, I will know what it’s like when simpering Becky or no neck Evan blackballs my kids that never want to grow up or haven’t hit their growth spurt.  Hopefully just being able to remember all those personalities and things that never change will help my guide my kids.  If it doesn’t help at least I showed my face at orientation so the administration will know who I am when I have to raise hell on my kid’s behalf.

Photo credit: Free picture. I’m broke not copyright infringement intended.

 

 

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Musing, Rants

Why Is This News?

300px-Barnum's_animals_examplesWhen one looks back at the discoveries and advances we as a society has made in the past 100, 50 or even 20 years, it quite literally boggles the mind. And, then I see articles like the two I’m going to talk about today and I’m left wondering if all hope for the future is lost. Have we really devolved so quickly?

The first one comes from the Today Show (link here) but can be found at all manner of sources.  Apparently, the Nabisco corporation felt the need to change the picture on the front of animal crackers to reflect the animals roaming freely instead of behind bars. Why are we hearing about this and how is this news?  It’s not. It’s just cookies and it’s just a packing change. Let’s face it packaging changes every five seconds for most products – every couple of years at least. This is not important.  It’s not even real animals. And, yet this change comes apparently because PETA had to make a giant federal case about the issue and pretend to be offended about the poor drawn animals behind bars on the box of Nabisco’s Animal Crackers.  Are you freaking kidding me?  This dear reader is fake news because it’s not really news at all. We shouldn’t have to hear about this. We should all just roll up into the Walmart, reach for a box of Animal Crackers and say to ourselves, “Hum, they changed the package.” No need for a PSA. No need for a Today show article. No need for any hoopla whatsoever. It’s just freakin’ cookies, people.

The next I can’t believe I am seeing this comes from a feature story I saw on Texas news station. However, a quick google search trying to find the link for said story yielded similar stories in Chicago and other cities and are being carried on nationwide outlets like CNBC and The Guardian.  So what was this feature story about? Apparently, not only can you hire a tutor for math and sports for your child but also for video games, specifically Fortnite.  I find this more outrageous than the animal crackers thing. While there’s no doubt computers and augmented reality is rapidly becoming a day to day thing, I don’t for one second think getting my kid a tutor for video games is going to help with anything of substance. Coding classes, design and technical skills and the like will certainly help my children down the road.  But, the ability to kick, username gamer4life’s ass in a game is not doing anything but line the pockets of the tutor. But, God bless that tutor for putting their shingle out there and offering their services. I guess there really is an idiot born every day.

Okay all joking aside, its these sort of stories that really have me questioning what this world is coming to and why are we hearing about this stuff. A million years ago, I was a Communications major with an emphasis on Journalism. I took courses on how to write a story that engages the public, media ethics and the history of journalism. It was drilled into our heads that we were the voice of the people. We were not only reporting the news of the day but reporting the important and influential issues of the time.  We were discouraged against sensationalism and the trivial. We are the informers.  Oh, a feel-good piece is always welcome but keep it just that – feel good drivel.  How in the hell are Animal Crackers and Fortnite tutors important or influential?  Someone, please enlighten me. Maybe this is why I changed my major from a Journalism emphasis to a general Communications degree.  I always thought it was because the head of that department was a mean old asshole and I didn’t want to deal with him. Maybe the Universe knew if I had pursued true journalism this is where we’d end up – talking about video game tutors and packaging for a cookie.  And, that I would end up quitting my job to write a blog (for free) focusing on topics that interest me and hopefully my readers. Now I understand, it was all apart of a bigger plan. (Cue Circle of Life from Lion King)

Photo Credit – I just googled animal crackers and tried to find a picture without a logo. This was it. No copyright infringement – blood/turnip, you know the drill. I’m broke and I write this blog for free. If this is your photo let me know and I’ll give you credit.

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Motherhood/Parenting, Uncategorized

School Slacker

abc books chalk chalkboard

According to all things WordPress and Facebook, I have been an epic slacker blogger in the last two weeks.  Time got away from me.  It happens to the best of us, does it not?  Mainly, I was busy interviewing for a paying gig – I think I was ghosted. And, I was getting my kids ready for school to resume. Being the epic slacker that I am, I refused to go to every big box store within a 20 mile radius looking for one orange folder with brads and one green folder with pockets but no brads.  I chose to buy the pre-packaged kit offered by the PTA.  For the first time in my kids’ school career, I am regretting that decision.  While it did save me some time there was so much extra in that pack now residing in my junk closet that will never get used.  And, since my kids started back two days ago, I have had to go nightly to a store looking for something that my kids need tomorrow that wasn’t included in said pre-packaged kit.  What a rip off and time suck.

While we’re at it, let’s discuss the money drain. Holy smokes, I honestly don’t know how some parents do it.  I would be willing to bet more ramen noodles get sold in the months of August and September than any other months of the year. Let’s face it, with these fees we are all broke as a joke. So far in the last three days, it’s been $25 dollars per kid for a p.e. uniform, a $35 art fee, a $15 lab fee, a $75 choir fee, and $40 per kid technology fee.  This is a public school I’m talking about, not private. And, thank you baby Jesus, it is public because I know it would be double the price if it was private.  No wonder more people are homeschooling.

I’m not even going to talk about dress code and back to school clothes shopping. That will be a separate blog for a different day.  Let’s just say being a girl sometimes sucks and I wish we had uniforms. Consider that last sentence a preview.

On a positive note, in the last three days, I’ve thoroughly cleaned my house and I’ve mowed the lawn, edged and cleaned out the flower beds. This joint looks like a showplace or as close to a showplace as a really lived in, mismatched furnished 25 year old house can look. I guess I haven’t been a complete slacker. I shall resume a regular posting schedule soon.

P.S. For some reason when I publish blogs, Facebook is not including the thumbnail picture I include on most of my blogs.  I thought it might be because I sometimes use stock photos instead of my own. But, I have found this is the case no matter what photo I use. If anyone reading this is smarter than me and knows the solution I would love to hear it.

P.P.S – Today I used a free stock photo. Yes, I took the obligatory first day of school photo. No, my children weren’t holding signs. None of us were that into it. Apparently, we are far too slacker for that.

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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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Motherhood/Parenting, Musing

Last Days

backyard chain grass parkI’ve always been fascinated by time but as I have become well and truly middle aged, I’ve become acutely aware of how quickly the years seem to pass, how short some days seem  as opposed to how long others seem, how some moments feel like just yesterday when in fact they happened 10 or more years ago. As July draws to a close, I know we are in the last days of Summer. Yes, I am well aware the temps are in triple digits and many in my state of Texas haven’t seen a drop of rain in over a month. But, according to my school district and the email they just sent out, Summer will officially end in a couple of weeks.  I’m not ready –  not in the least.

No, I’m not worried about new outfits or school supplies. I’ve got that covered – sort of. I’ve bought two shirts and plan to buy the pre-packaged school supplies on orientation day.  I’m gonna be super slack ass this year. I’m not ready because I don’t want to send my kids back to school.  A few years ago it hit me that I really enjoyed summer time with my kids and I didn’t like it when it ended.  I think it all started when the kids became more self-sufficient – probably around age 7 or 8.  They could pour their own cereal without destroying the kitchen. They could do their own projects without me hovering over them or reading the directions. They could ride most of the rides at the amusement park. We were no longer working around naptimes and they knew to speak up and let me know if they were hungry, needed the restroom or were just bone tired without throwing themselves to the ground and staging an epic hissy fit. Essentially, summer time became fun again not just for them but for the whole family.

As this summer draws to a close I see changes on the horizon.  No, not the change of routine back to school. This change has to do with the kids.  They have been spending more time in their rooms alone, not out of punishment, out of wanting alone time.  My son asked for more music on his device. My daughter has been in her room reading. Beloved toys are all but forgotten – even timeless toys like legos only received a few days of play.  The days of “Y’all go play while I do X” is rapidly disappearing. The kids are growing up. I know this will probably be the last summer both of my kids want to hang out and do fun things with mom. Next summer I will have to come up with more creative ways to encourage both kids to engage in family time and not spend all their time on a screen, at a camp or with their friends.  I know this is yet another phase of life – all completely normal and expected.  Deep down, I know this. But, every time I get to one of these phases I find that I’m rarely ready to let go and move on to the next phase. In these last days of summer, I’m going to try to cram in a little extra fun. I’m going to try to have a few more days of childish whimsey, if not for the kids then for me. The days are so long but the years are so short.

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Uncategorized

Vacation is Over

20180719_200848The saddest day of the whole year is the day you have to return to your real world life after vacation. Technically, that day has already happened for me since there was a mountain of laundry to be done, a whole house full of groceries to buy and dog to pick up from the kennel the day after we returned home but whatever. Today is the first day the hubs is back at work, camps start back up for the kids and it’s a regularly scheduled ‘work’ day.  The day has been filled with to-do’s, errands, laundry and downloading pictures off my phone.  The kids have already started the “I’m bored” bullshit and I just haven’t any patience for it. We are currently enjoying a heatwave so there’s no way I can just make them go outside. It’s 108 in the shade.  But, I digress

So, I’m sitting here going through vacation pictures and I’m struck by something I noticed while it was happening but promptly forgot. Everyone and I do mean nearly everyone, was using a smartphone.  No, most aren’t talking or taking pictures. They are staring at the screen.  This normally wouldn’t cause me to take notice, however, it’s the place we are at that gives me pause.  Our family went to Disneyland for our vacation. The most famous theme park on the planet.  Dare I say one of the most famous places in the world. Like most everyone, I had my phone in my hand most of the time. I was usually taking pictures but I also used the Disneyland Park app to book Fast Passes and upload on-ride photos to my account.  I admit I love the convenience of the app but I hated that I had to be on my phone.  It felt like it was taking away from the experience of the park. I didn’t want to have to step aside out of the walkway to book my next pass.  Yes, not all people are that conscientious, but I try to be.  Do unto others and all that.   I didn’t like having to check to see which ride was down or which ride had a long wait.  I wanted to be in the moment and yet record things at the same time. I hated feeling like I had to rely on this device. I have no real footage of any of the parades or firework shows but I’m glad I was just in the moment taking it all in.  I didn’t want to miss one minute of this magical place I may only get to visit once.

Taking in all the splendor and amazing sights brings me back to the real issue I had with the phones.  With all there is to see, why is everyone staring at a screen.  Disneyland is one of the most spectacular, amazing places on the planet. What could possibly be so interesting on that phone screen that would necessitate missing the real spectacle?  I, honestly can’t think of anything. Yet, everywhere I turned parents and children alike all had their head in a screen. The worst offender was a smallish tablet laying on the ground while everyone was waiting for a parade.  I mean here we are crammed in here like sardines in a can and some parent felt the need to bring a tablet to entertain little Johnny.  And, let me tell you that tablet clearly wasn’t entertaining the kid because the kid would peck away at the tablet then pitch it on the ground. Oh yeah, and we were all expected to dodge around it.  What in the world?!  If little Johnny can’t wait for said parade why are y’all even there?!  And, we wonder why no one has any self control and can’t understand the concept of anything other than instant gratification. I can already hear it now. Oh, you’re Mommy shaming. You’re damn right I’m shaming. The world could use a little old school shame.  Get your shit together people.  The world is right in front of us. It’s a great big beautiful spectacle and you’re missing it by staring at a screen. But, hey, if you would rather stare at a screen why don’t you give me your vacation money.  I’ll put it to good use. I’ll go back to Disneyland and I guarantee I won’t be looking at a screen during a parade.

P. S. I did hear some instant karma for this phones everywhere issue. At the foot of the Splash Mountain hill I heard someone yell, “Oh No, my phone!!!”  I cracked up.  That’s what you get, dumbass. Put it away and enjoy the ride.

Photo Credit – I took today’s photo. Check out the two ladies on the left and the group of teens/young adults on the right – all of them staring at their phones.

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