All that said, I bet I could still rock the hell out of turquoise studded fashion boots…

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Mornin’ all.

The other day after I got home from work and shed the constraints of corporate clothing to don my comfy around-the-house duds, I swore loudly when I went to pull out a new trash bag from the EMPTY BOX. *sigh* So, I got myself into public-appropriate uncomfy attire and crammed my tired, achy feet back into shoes so I could drive down to the store to pick up stuff I forgot to get before I left the store I worked at allllll day.

I hate that shit.

Anyway, I went, got the stupid trash bags and a couple other things my stupid ass forgot to pick up at the stupid store I worked at allllll stupid day. I was standing in line when a kid I knew from school walked in.

Now, we weren’t pals or anything, but I’ve mentioned before that my town is small. I had a graduating class of less than 30. The entire population of school children from kindergarten through seniors in high school was only around 400. I didn’t have to be friends with everyone to know who everyone was.

In school, the kid was one of the…hm. I don’t want to say “cool kids”, because that wasn’t it. He wasn’t the classic popular sportsy type. He was more “small town cool.” Into cars. Liked edgy music. Had a switchblade comb. Wore old heavy metal band t-shirts with the arms cut off to school picture day. You know, a real hometown rebel.

I can’t really tell this story without giving you an idea of my age. I graduated high school in 1996. It wasn’t exactly a few years ago. I think I can safely call those times “back in the day” now.

The dude walked in. He was still wearing an old heavy metal band t-shirt with the arms cut off. He still had the slicked back hair he no doubt styled with his switchblade comb. He had an earring, a dangly cross, and a chain necklace that was actual chain. He looked like he could have stepped right out of his yearbook photo.

…for the briefest of moments before my mind and eyes reconciled what I remembered with what was actually real, and I looked at him as he is now, not as he was 20 years ago.

Yes, he had all the trappings of teen rebellion still…with a pot belly. And a whole lot less hair to slick back. Half of what was left was graying. There were bags under his eyes that spoke of unpaid bills and kids who didn’t get home before curfew and the damn hot water heater that broke again.

He smiled and gave a nod. He was always friendly enough even if we weren’t friends. He stood in the line behind me to buy the same cigarettes he used to smoke, and then climbed into the same car he fixed up for himself in high school, an 80s Camaro-type rig that has now seen better days.

I sat there at the lights on the way back home and watched him peel out as soon as it turned green, “Pour Some Sugar on Me” blaring from his stereo.

When I was in high school, there were a couple of guys in town who used to hang out at the now-defunct convenience store. Not the new fangled gas station that was brightly lit on the corner, but the one in the older, run down part of town. You know…about 100 feet away from the “good” part of town.

No, seriously. The section of main street we were not allowed to hang out in was honestly less than a block from the section we were allowed to hang around. Small town, remember? We have two traffic lights, folks. Two. That’s it. On one side of the street, you’ve got Town Hall, the library, and the police/fire station. On the other side of that very street, when I was a kid, you had the seedy part of town, where the people your folks did not want you to grow up and become liked to chill.

They were ON THE SAME STREET. Directly across from each other. One side good, one side bad. Left side for preppies and prudes, right side for scrubs and skanks.

I can’t stress enough how small my town is.

Anyway, there were a couple of guys well into their 30s who used to hang out in front of the wrong convenience store. They drove a late 70s Ford, a huge boat of a vehicle. They would stand up against their car in their 80s cut off sweatshirts and board shorts. You remember the cut off sweatshirts. They’d stand there and listen to their old music and flick their long, thinning, bleached hair back and nod at people who passed by like they still owned the world, never realizing that the world had moved on without them.

As I watched my former schoolmate peel out, I it hit me. I realized that he’s become one of Those Guys. One who never realized that they got older. Or that there’s a time and place for Def Leppard, and that time has passed. That dangly cross earrings and a switchblade comb sticking out of the back pocket of stone washed jeans is probably not the look that’s going to get you that promotion you want. That no muscle shirt in the world can make a pot belly look cool.

I’m old enough to be in the same boat as our town’s new That Guy.

Am I “that guy”, too?

I’d like to say no, but at the very moment he was blaring Def Leppard, I was playing The Little Mermaid soundtrack in my car. Soooo….

When the hell did this happen? When exactly was the torch passed? Why didn’t I get the memo?!

*sigh*

Of course, I suppose instead of being That Guy, folks my age could be saying “fam” and “bae” unironically. I know people who do that, too; embrace the new as if they’re young enough to actually get it and be part of the fresh and young generation. I suppose a man bun in thinning hair looks just as dumb as a pot belly in a muscle shirt.

Poll time: Which is sadder? Someone who can’t move on from the past, or someone who pretends to be from a younger generation?

Thus concludes a quick and slightly depressing Musing for Saturday, July 8, 2017. I’m going to try very hard not to blare “Under the Sea” on my way to work. What are people my age supposed to listen to? Sports radio? Country? NPR?

It’s about to get patriotic up in here…

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Mornin’ all.

I’m going to warn you in advance…today’s Musing will contain above average levels of both patriotism and sap.

“Hm. How much sap?”

Think Hallmark card written in cursive.

“Damn.”

That’s why I thought it was only fair to warn you. I’ll take no offense if you would prefer not to read about how great the United States of America is.

But, I think now more than ever is the time to really reflect on the fateful decision a bunch of fed up, over worked, over taxed farmers made to band together to kick the Redcoats the hell outta here and take control of what was then- and still is today- our responsibility.

OUR RESPONSIBILITY. Ours. No one else’s.

Have you read the Declaration of Independence? I think everyone is fairly familiar with the first paragraph and first sentence of the second. They’re pretty powerful.

WHEN, in the Course of human Events, it becomes necessary for one People to dissolve the Political Bands which have connected them with another, and to assume, among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s GOD entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the Causes which impel them to the Separation.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed, by their CREATOR, with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.–

Even if you didn’t know the full bit, you’ve seen most of the preamble and start of the second paragraph on various Facebook memes. And why not? That’s some good and powerful writing, and boy did they know how to work up a crowd, eh?

But, do you really know what comes next? Because in all honesty, what comes next is SO much better. It’s a bit frilly, though, and muddled in old timey-ness. Maybe that’s why people overlook it.

That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its Foundation on such Principles, and organizing its Powers in such Form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate, that Governments long established, should not be changed for light and transient Causes; and accordingly all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security. Such has been the patient Sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the Necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The History of the present King of Great-Britain is a History of repeated Injuries and Usurpations, all having in direct Object the Establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid World.

I’d like to think they sent good king George a pot of aloe to ease those sick burns.

My favorite segment, pared down a bit to cut out the somewhat unnecessary frippery, is the line, “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations…evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism…”

They just called their king an absolute despot. Consider the era. No one- NO ONE- called the king of Great Britain names in a public forum. It just didn’t happen. It wasn’t done. Not without the serious risk of head loss.

“…it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government…”

Coups happen. They’ve been done throughout human history. When Ugh got too big for his loin cloth, Egh rounded up the other cavemen and kicked his ass outta the top spot. So a rebellion was nothing new. But goddamn did they do it with flair.

And you also have to remember that at this point in time, we relied on Great Britain for a whole lot. They were our economy. Our military. Our lawmakers. Our back up plan in case the still largely untested New World didn’t pan out in the long run.

“Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies… To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.”

The main goal of the Declaration of Independence was to establish the United States of America as its own nation in every respect, especially in terms of global trade. We would need to be able to make our own deals, and until we were firmly established as our own nation, that wouldn’t happen.

Congress was smart enough to realize that if they only sent a copy of the Declaration to the king, nothing would change. The king would laugh, raise the stamp tax to teach the plebs a lesson, and continue to wallow in excess on the backs of his subjects. The demands would basically be swept under the rug.

To solidify resolve and prove just how serious we were, our congress sent copies of this document EVERYWHERE. Which makes this next part so damn good when you think about it. They proceeded to air the king’s dirty laundry. And they didn’t hold back.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

Wikileaks, 1776.

No, really. That’s what it was. An open tattling to all the other countries. Blowing the whistle. Revealing the wolf under the sheep’s clothing.

And it worked, but not really because of the “injustices” on the list. It wasn’t as if the leaders of other nations would look at the perceived offenses and find them all that unreasonable. The rulers would have looked at the list and said, “Yeah, seems about right. He’s a king and you are peasants. Duh.”

It wasn’t the king’s offenses that got other nations excited. It was simply the fact that peasants would dare publicly rebuke their king in such a bold and uninhibited manner. It said we were serious. There was no going back. Our congress chose this path and we were fully committed. That idea was what got other nations so excited.

The idea of a new trade partner that wasn’t England was appealing to them. Most of the world didn’t like Great Britain at that point. GB had spent the better part of a few hundred years plundering and conquering and warring. Most trade deals with Great Britain were the equivalent of a kid giving his lunch money every week to the class bully so the dude wouldn’t beat the snot out of them. Other nations wanted the things Great Britain could get, and they grudgingly got in bed with the enemy to make it happen.

Then along came the colonies.

Imagine being a foreign leader at the time who heard about a document just absolutely shredding the asshole you have to work with but totally hate. Nothing could have rallied the other nations of the world against Great Britain like the Declaration of Independence. Talk about a smear campaign!

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

Here’s a clever bit. Congress laid out the king’s offenses, then turned it around and said, “Hey, we tried to work with you, fam, but you just have zero chill.”

“A prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.”

I’m guessing that when the rulers of other nations read the document to their rapt courts, this is the point where people put their fists to their mouths and said, “Oooohhhh I do believe the king hath been served.”

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

Is it a perfect document? No. I don’t think such a thing exists. Times change. Attitudes become refined. Knowledge gives humanity a different outlook and the ethos of a society morphs with that new information. All you have to do is look at the last item on the list of grievances to understand this. “Indian Savages?” *cringe*

But you know what? It’s a pretty damn good way to start a nation.

And now, more than ever, I think we ALL need to read it. Understand it. Reflect on the meaning. I’m not calling for war. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere if we grab our pitchforks and storm the White House. Or Senate. Or the House of Representatives. Or whoever it is that you particularly hate or blame for the current state of our nation. I don’t think we need muskets to fix our problems.

I think we need to remember where we came from, though. I think we need to spend a bit of today not ignoring the problems, but embracing the idea that WE CAN FIX THIS.

We’ve done it before. We can certainly do it again.

And it’s worth doing! It’s worth the work. I’m sitting here telling you that I’m all for a political coup…

*I can’t stress this enough, I’m for a POLITICAL coup, not physical. I’m not advocating militias. I don’t think we need them, at least not yet.*

…and nothing bad is going to happen to me. I’ll say it right here. I don’t like the dude in the White House. I don’t like looking at his orange face. I don’t like watching his flap of hair waft in the breeze. I cringe at the words that tumble from his drooling maw.

And there’s nothing he can do to me for saying that.

I’m not going to be decapitated. I won’t be incarcerated until I release a statement saying good things about Honorable Leader. My family won’t be evicted from our home. I won’t be fired.

I don’t like him. And you know what? I’ve got a looooong list of “do not likes” from BOTH political parties. I’m overall pretty moderate, which means right now, I’m an equal opportunity shunner. I am disappointed in everyone in charge.

And, I’m very disappointed in us for putting them there. And keeping them there. And paying the fees to make sure they don’t beat the snot out of us instead of putting them in their place.

I love this country. I honestly would not live anywhere else. I just want us to think about what the Founding Fathers did, and maybe embrace our roots going forward. They weren’t perfect. I’m not even trying to claim they were. Hell, on a personal level, I probably wouldn’t have liked a single one of them. They certainly wouldn’t have liked ME!

But you don’t need to be perfect to have a good idea. You don’t need to be perfect to fight for something larger than yourself. You don’t need to be perfect to put yourself on the line to change things for the better.

And you don’t need to live in a perfect nation to love it.

Thus concludes my Patriotic Musing for Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Everyone have a SAFE and happy holiday. The Founding Fathers would be very disappointed in you if you drink and drive. Don’t make Ben Franklin sad.

 

 

One thing I’ll say about summer, it’s never boring…

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Mornin’ all.

Summer is in full swing. Teen Beta and Teen 2.0 graduated. It was a nice ceremony, even though it was hot and cramped in the surprisingly small school gym due to rain at the usual outdoor site. They had Senator Jeanne Shaheen speak, a pretty big get for this neck of the woods. The teens crossed the stage, shifted their tassels from right to left, and are now men.

…sort of. I mean, I can’t really call Teen 2.0 a “man” yet. He’s only 16. He is just an academically decorated tall child.

The Youngest Pup argued vehemently on behalf of Teen 2.0’s man status. At one point, I said, “So what’s the angle here? What do you think you’re going to gain by getting me to say that Teen 2.0 is an adult?” He said, “Mother. Don’t change the subject.” Every mum knows that if you’re discussing something with a child and they tell you not to change the subject, you hit some nail on the head. I still haven’t figured out exactly what nail that would be. In his mind, there is a beneficial reason for me to call his older bro an adult.

And now I’ve got to finish college stuff. It’s happening. Even if one of them is not, in fact, and adult, they’re both acting like they are. Life is happening as if they are. Time has marched unfairly faster for one and scooped him up to drag into the next chapter before I wanted him to be done with childhood. My stomach has been a churning vortex for days.

At least I still have the Pup, though he’s going into middle school already. Muh baby, in MIDDLE SCHOOL!!! *sniff* I asked him if he could just go ahead and be a little kid for awhile longer, please, and he said, “Don’t worry, Ma. I might be growing up, but I’ll still live here forever.” He paused, then said, “Well, until I move to Japan and raise Kobe beef.”

…*blink**blink*…

#LifeGoals?

Gah. I can’t talk about them growing up. I thought I could. I thought, “Okay, Bethie, you’ve been avoiding this for a couple weeks now and it’s time for some cathartic writing.” I was wrong. This is just making the vortex in my stomach whirl faster.

“You sure it’s not the coffee doing it?”

Admittedly, the coffee/paint thinner isn’t doing me any favors, either. I made this pot since Teen 2.0 is sick with a summer cold and Teen Beta has no interest in coffee or coffee making. I’m trying to teach the Youngest Pup, but so far, every pot of his has grounds in it. I just didn’t want to be chewing my coffee today.

Let’s talk about Other Things.

I had a most peculiar customer interaction at work yesterday. A man came over to scope out the bread cases at the bakery, and I asked if he needed some help. He said, “Not yet, I’m waiting for the womb.” Thinking I heard him wrong, I just gave a, “Oh, okay, well just let me know if you need something.” He said, “The one that grows the babies picks the bread.”

I did not hear him wrong.

I’m waiting. For the womb.

The Womb.

You gotta wonder if the other half of that relationship tells people, “Not yet, I’m waiting for the dick.” Odds are pretty good she does.

The woman in question never came over. She was shopping for other things so he called her on his cell. He turned and looked across center store while talking. I think he was looking at her. He ended up getting a four cheese loaf (highly recommended for either wombs or dicks). He was pleasant enough in every other respect. Smiled. Thanked me. Joked a bit while I was getting the bread. He just calls his other half “the womb.”

I…just…*???*

There were several odd customers yesterday, actually. Odd customers seem to descend in waves. One lady was dressed in old sweat pants, a mini skirt, and a bra. She had purple lipstick tattooed on her face. I didn’t say “lips,” because the tattoo had clearly gone awry and blown out over the years. It was a good half inch wider than her actual lips. And lumpy.

Yes. Lumpy.

She had frazzled hair and her eye makeup rivaled Cleopatra’s.

OH MY GOD! I just now realized who she reminded me of!

Okay, so did you ever see that 90s Johnny Depp movie, “Crybaby?” It was an odd flick, but enjoyable. Well, in the movie, there was a character named Hatchet Face. Take Hatchet Face, dye her hair that odd reddish color one can only get from too much of the wrong kind of peroxide, and give her a vacant, stoned expression. THAT was this customer.

And yes, she actually wore sweat pants under a mini skirt. Not leggings. Actual sweatpants. I’d say she was modest but for the choice of top. Only a bra. Honestly? I think she was just stoned out of her gourd and looking for snacks.

It’s summer, so we’re seeing a lot of questionable outfit choices, as one will when it’s hot.

Look, I don’t care a bit if people want to wear mini skirts or barely-there shorts. I just don’t personally understand the super tiny super tight clothing trend. How can lycra sausage casing possibly be comfortable? Don’t get me wrong. If I had a decent body, I’d give it a go and find out for myself what the attraction is. But, I do not have a body that should ever wear lycra, so I’m honestly curious about the draw.

I watched a woman walk/wiggle yesterday through the whole bakery. Every woman knows the walk/wiggle. It’s a way you walk when you know two things: You have a wedgie, and you’re not in a position to pick it. It’s a step, shimmy, slide kind of movement. And she did it through the whole bakery and beyond.

I just don’t understand these clothes. They’re clearly not comfortable. Any sex appeal you were going for is lost with your wedgie releasing spasmatic lurching. Why wear clothes that are guaranteed to make you an honorary member of the Ministry of Silly Walks?

*Monty Python fist bump*

Then there are the cutoff shorts that are so short their pockets hang out from the bottom…well, it’s not really a “hem”. The frayed cutoff line. You’ve seen these. They are all the rage at the moment. People want to cut their pants shorter and shorter, so what they end up with is essentially a pair of denim panties with pockets that flap in the breeze over their thighs.

Ladies, real talk. It’s not sexy. No guy has ever said, “Holy shit! She’s got pockets? Well sign ME up!”

It looks dumb. Stop it.

“Bethie. Are you…pocket shaming?”

No, of course not. The pockets did nothing but exist. I’m shaming the idiots who think flapping them in the breeze is somehow attractive.

“You’re being very sexist here. I don’t see you going off about men’s summer fashions.”

What’s there to say? Stop wearing socks with flip flops. If you wear shorts, it’s best not to emulate a 1970s basketball team. Knee high socks are great for winter, not great for summer beach wear. And for the love of anything you deem holy, put a damn shirt on under the overalls. No one wants to see your sweaty pit hair.

All of this has been said. Men have been making the same summer fashion mistakes for generations.

I tell you what, though. I promise that if I see a man actually wearing one of those new male rompers, I’ll go all in on that shit, okay?

Male rompers are not okay and they need to stop. #Stop.It.

Got sidetracked there. I was talking about the batch of odd folks yesterday. Ya know, I said it was an odd customer day, but it extended outside of work. Was there a full moon?

I think the most unusual person I saw yesterday had to be the lady at the town beach. I took the Youngest Pup for a promised dip in the lake after work. He swam, I sat under a tree. It was pleasant and he had fun. As we were leaving, we were climbing up the concrete steps when we noticed a woman juggling.

I’ve described out town beach before, but since I don’t expect you to scrape through the annals of this blog, I’ll recap. The lake sits at the bottom of a hill. The town decided to wall off the hill with concrete. It’s like a prison yard, with tall concrete walls surrounding the small, sandy beach. At the very top next to the parking lot and overlooking the lake is a small playground that’s fenced in with chain link fence to keep eager kiddies from plummeting to the first concrete landing below if they get too feisty on the swingset. I support the chain link fence. It does its job.

The woman in question was standing in the playground area right next to the fence. She was clearly performing, as she had put herself on display where the greatest number of people could see her. She was probably in her late forties, early fifties. She wore a sparkly bathing suit and flip flops.

And she was juggling.

Not balls. She had the juggling pins. Hers were two tone, metallic reddish pink and chrome. They really caught the sunlight and were fairly dazzling. Combine that with the sparkly bathing suit and she made quite a side show number.

She looked at us and smiled as we passed. I didn’t see a collection hat, but the smile was the kind that asked for donations. Perhaps it was just practiced, something she did so often in her juggling career that she couldn’t help but ask for payment with her eyes. Perhaps she really did want to try and make a few extra bucks. Who knows? If she really was busking, I can think of 746 better places to do so right off the top of my head. She was in a playground at a lake in a town with a population of maybe 4,200 people on a Thursday afternoon. Literally anywhere else would have been a more lucrative option.

Maybe she misses the circus lights and cheering crowds.

Or maybe she always wanted to taste the circus life, but never got there.

All I know is that yesterday was filled with wonderful oddballs. Here’s hoping we get more today.

Thus concludes a Musing for Friday, June 23, 2017. I have so much cake to make this weekend. So. Much. It’s not even a holiday, either. People, take a break from weekend bashes, okay? You’re killin’ me, here.

If you had Travolta money, would you really waste it on ham salad?

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Mornin’ all.

You will not believe who I saw at work yesterday.

John Travolta.

But it wasn’t the current Travolta people hate because of the freaky scientology and probable rapey-ness. It wasn’t really young Travolta folks hated because of his annoying laugh and unjustified swagger, either. It was like mid-career Travolta, the one everyone was starting to forget about right before he thought, “I think I’ll go cash in my thetans and buy myself a new face.”

That’s what scientologists do with thetans, right?

Anyway, he was walking through the store and stopped to look at the muffin table, so I got a good, long look at him. I swear it was pre-Xenufied Travolta.

You know what this means, right? It means those scientology buggers figured out how to build a god damn time machine.

Think about it. They’ve clearly been up to something for a long time. They’re super secretive. They’ve got so much money they blow it on things like completely new faces and the same scientology books over and over and over. They’ve got that Sea Org thing. Actual Org or merely a branch of the Illuminati? Hm??

Yep. Those little bastards got themselves a time machine. It’s the only thing that makes sense when you follow the bread crumbs.

Do you even know how galling it is that they got one before me???

Interesting choice on Travolta’s part to pick a spot in the middle of his fame polynomial. At first I thought it was weird. If you had a time machine, wouldn’t you want to go back to when you were at your peak in terms of looks, popularity, and ability to score mad amounts of ass? He didn’t, though. He chose the slightly plump version of himself, the one that floundered for awhile after “Face Off” failed to match “Pulp Fiction” status.

(Side thought: If John Travolta had passed on the script for “Face Off,” would it have ever occurred to him to get a new face in real life?)

I think he picked a spot in his career where he could go out for a walk without being hounded or heckled. He never really went into obscurity, but for a good chunk of time, people generally stopped caring. Maybe when he cut the million dollar check to Miscavige for the right to hop in the time machine, he thought, “I just want to be able to go to the store without either panties or rotting fruit being thrown at me.”

It was a bold, yet oddly reasonable choice for someone so thoroughly MEST up.

“Bethie, I think you might want to stop with the scientology puns. Those people don’t like jokes at their expense.”

Good point. I wouldn’t want them running a smear campaign on me. Folks might find out that I’m a fat, aging hoarder. I don’t know if I could live through a dox like that.

Pot Belly Travolta didn’t get any muffins, by the way. Looked at them, put them back, then went and bought ham salad. Ham. Salad. What a freak.

If you had a time machine, to when would you go?

Let’s put some restrictions on the question because it’s way too broad as it stands. You can only go to your own personal timeline. No hopping ahead 500 years to see how WWIII impacted the long term survival of humankind. In fact, lets make it a backwards only machine. Backwards in time to any point in your own life. And when you get there, you’re not like Marty McFly who has to duck and hide from himself. You Quantum Leap that shit and completely take over your own body.

When? What point do you want to live over? Redo? Stop and hold and savor?

I can’t answer that, personally. I’m trying, but every time I think of one, I think, “Oh no, wait! It’s…” They’re moments, too, not a general period in life of contentment or easy cruisin’. I would relive particular moments. Fleeting moments. Moments it would be impossible to recreate after the fact, or by going into them with the knowledge that I am going to relive an old favorite. I think if I actually tried, I’d screw it up.

My head is filled with happy vignettes, ones that have already been written. What if by going back and trying to relive them, I ruined the experience forever? What if I got there and was so excited that I turned it awkward and weird? The most happy memories I have are of moments that were natural and organic, not forced or carried out with an omniscience that would doubtlessly negate the exuberance of the very spontaneity that made the moment so special in the first place.

I’d never forgive myself for rewriting and ruining a treasured memory, especially since I most definitely would have the knowledge of both timelines and happenings. It would be a loss I couldn’t live with.

“What about going back and changing something you regret?”

I don’t think I’d do that, either. I don’t want to use my hop in the time machine to change anything. For good or bad, my decisions in life not only taught me valuable lessons, but they got me here, to this moment. And while my feet hurt like a summbitch this morning, I generally like being “here”. Things *could* change for the better. Or, they could change for the worse. That’s a gamble I don’t want to take. I’ve got way too much value right here and now to risk any of it by trying to go back in time to erase the fact that I’m human.

“You’re getting awful deep about a make believe time machine.”

Make believe, huh? So mid-career Travolta wasn’t in my store yesterday? Where’s your proof?

*crickets**crickets*

Pfft. That’s what I thought.

Thus concludes a very brief Musing for Sunday, June 4, 2017. I have a laundry list of things to do today, including laundry. Mowing. Room cleaning. Kicking my kids’ asses at Halo pvp. And now I’ve got to try and cover my tracks with the scientologists so they don’t start showing up at work threatening to expose me. Should be a busy day…

It is never a good sign when your fingers sweat from typing…

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Mornin’ all.

Sorry it’s been awhile. It’s been a whirlwind few weeks here filled with…well, life. Stuff. Cleaning, which I mostly got around to, btw. Visitors. Car repairs. Work. Kitties.

Yes, that’s plural on the cats.

No, we did not get another.

We decided to let a buddy bring a guest kitty with him to stay the week. We’ve been sort of thinking of getting our little fur devil a companion, or, if not a companion, maybe her own minion. The teens are growing and spreading their wings more and more away from the house, and we aren’t the only ones to notice. I don’t want my fluffy little buddy to be lonely.

Before we got another four legged tornado, we thought it would be a good idea to introduce her to a guest and see how things go. She’s been flying solo most of her life. We got her as a stray teenage cat, and she’s been the sole recipient of the pettin’ and snugglin’ and furball lovin’ since. We figured having our pal bring his cat along when he visited was a good way to test the waters.

“*snicker*”

Stop it. You stop laughing at me right now! Okay, in hindsight, that does seem a little naive. But cut me some slack. This is my first cat. Well, almost my first. When we were kids, we had a cat for a hot minute before Tommy decided to pack his shit and live a hobo’s life. I have only two memories of him. That’s it. That’s how little he was actually in my life. For all intents and purposes, Zelda is my first cat.

How was I supposed to know that the internet videos of two kitties peacefully basking in the morning sun in a fluffy heap together are staged lies by the Illuminati designed to con people into getting a second cat, thus ensuring that they never get a full night’s sleep as part of a devious plot to turn the populace into mind-numbed zombies ripe for advantage-taking when they’re too bone-weary to notice the androids taking control of the government and funneling taxes to a secret project that will cripple the global economy and enslave us to the New World Order??

Follow the bread crumbs, sheeple.

ANYWAY, I went into the endeavor with rose colored glasses that quickly cracked. In short, it was not smooth sailing and sunshine cuddling, and now I’m dubious about getting a second kitty.

It wasn’t horrid. No one got hurt. Mine hissed and growled, but never even took a swipe or nip at the other. It seemed to almost be just a show. By the end of the week, they were sitting near each other…unless a human walked into the room. It might have been a game to them at that point. We caught them several times just being chill near each other, until they noticed that they were being watched. My new theory is that watching two cats peacefully co-exist is their “go” button. It’s the Wile E. Coyote syndrome. As soon as a situation is observed, things must go awry.

I dunno. My guy has owned cats all his life, and he thinks things went fairly well. A second fluff might not be totally off the table. Maybe a little kitten? Maybe she’d adopt it. She is very motherly to our youngest pup. And Zelda is a very little cat, while the cat who visited was not. Friendly and playful and cute as hell, but not at all little. Perhaps that was a factor in play?

I think I have to do something. In a month, two more teens will graduate high school. Then we’ve got one more brief summer and they’ll be gone, too.

Sidenote: Have any of you finished that time machine I asked you to make? Anyone?? Because I’m about a month away from REALLY needing it. It doesn’t have to jump me back very far. A year or so should do. Just make sure that I can set it to repeat the jump multiple times so my boyos won’t all leave me. Blip me an email when it’s ready and we’ll work out shipping. K, thnx.

Four days ago, it was 40 degrees here. Wet and drizzly all day, with a heavy snow in the hills and slightly north. I couldn’t believe it when I saw snow on the small hill I pass on the way into The Big City to run errands on Sunday. It was bad enough that we had a seasoned vet of NH roads call out of work at the bakery because she kept going off the road. We were a bit dubious until we saw the pictures. It was a real snowstorm.

Yesterday, it topped out at 89 degrees here. Today is supposed to be well into the 90s and humid as hell.

Mother Nature. Real talk now. Girl, what the fuck?

It’s got that heavy, languid feeling to the air this morning, too, so I know the local weather man wasn’t just blowing smoke up our asses again. It’s odd having this type of weather this early. Usually these morbidly oppressive days hit when the heat of summer has wrought its peril on everything green and vibrant. This year, it’s come when the leaves have freshly burst open, when the blossoms are still fragrantly stretching for the early season skies. Instead of trapping in the smell of hot tar and baked dirt and overheating cars, the blanket of humidity is allowing the scents of lilacs and apple blossoms and wet earth and sweet greens to linger heavily in the morning fog. It’s not at all unpleasant.

…yet.

I mean, come on. Today’s supposed to be in the 90s? Are you kidding me!? I wasn’t planning to sweat my balls off for at least another month. UGH. But, at least it smells nice.

Say, you know what this morning needs?

“More coffee?”

Well, yes. That’s always a given. But aside from copious amounts of caffeine, I think we’re missing something to put a little pep in our sweaty ass step. I think we should cue up the band and call the go go dancers, because we’re going to have ourselves a….

“WAIT!”

…what?

“Don’t make the poor dancers perform in this heat.”

Dude, they’re pros. They can handle it. They’ve been training in Florida in the off season.

“But…”

Trust me. They’ve got this. Ladies, to the stage please? Okay, let’s try this again. And a one, and a two…

It’s time for our…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

See? They handled it beautifully. Thank you, dancers. Now everyone go sit in the air conditioned green room and drink plenty of water.

It may be hot as hell, but that doesn’t mean we can’t find things to laugh at, right? For any newbs in the audience, we do a Roundup when I see enough headlines that make me chuckle, rage click, or roll my eyes. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re just plain idiotic. Mostly, though, I choose ones that bring out a gut reaction my narcissism urges me to share. As always, the headlines are 100% real from actual online news sites. I just make up the snide comments after. Everyone on the same page? Then let’s get to it.

– He Said Making A Man Get Maternity Insurance Was Crazy. Her Response Went Viral

No One Needs To Know Names. We’re Just Making Shit Up Anyway

– Cromartie’s Wife Pregnant With His 14th Child

He’s an NFL player, not a religious nutbag with a hit TLC show or anything. He’s not building an army for his god, he’s just horny, so it’s okay to scorn him. Let’s do it together on the count of three. One. Two… Boo. Boo. Hiss. #DoubleStandardsCanBeFun

– Osama bin Laden’s Son Calls For Revenge, Attacks On US

Boy, did NOT see this one coming. The bin Laden’s seem like such a peaceable family.

– School District Pulls Suicide Book ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’

…thus missing the ENTIRE FUCKING POINT of the book. A problem can’t get better unless we address it, folks. Just sayin’.

– Health Insurers Bilked Medicare, A Whistle-Blower Says

Was a whistle-blower really necessary in this scenario?

– Leading Neo-Nazi Website Courts new Readers…In Spanish

Phew, what a relief it must be to…

“BETHIE STOP! I think you need an internet guideline refresher before you say something that’ll haunt you forever.”

But it’s just a joke.

“This is the internet. There is no such thing as a joke anymore.”

No, that doesn’t sound right. I’m sure I’ve read funny…

“Just look in the book.”

*sigh* Fine. Hang on a second, everyone. *scrambles through the public blogging handbook* *nods sagely before slamming book shut* Sorry, folks. We seem to be having some technical difficulties with this punchline. Unfortunately we must cancel this bit. Please move on to the next entry and pretend this never happened.

– ‘Shoot Me,’ Armed Man Told Cop. He Didn’t, And was Fired, Suit Says

Now THAT is how you write clickbait! Take notes, Huff Po.

– Trump’s Travel Bans Spook Some Students, Fan Fears of Broader Chill

…huh? Are you stroking out over there, Reuters? Should we call someone?

– ACLU Calls For End of Neck Holds After Vegas Man’s Death

Neck holds? They’re legal!? *madly googles* OH. It’s just a choke hold with a nicer name. Damn. I was seriously hoping that Vulcan death grips were actually legal somewhere. Just another boring story of police tactics. Bleh. Move on.

– Man Carrying Mother’s Severed Head Stabs Store Worker

I feel like the real story here isn’t so much the stabbing. Perhaps a better way to write the headline would have been, “Store Worker Lucky He was Only Stabbed and Not FUCKING BEHEADED Like Assailant’s Poor Mother”. Gives a bit more punch. You can have that tip for free, USA Today.

– NASA Solves Flash Light Mystery

Turns out they put the batteries in the wrong direction. $4.8 million well spent!

– Doc Suspended For Doing Liposuction In Barn

With a glob glob here and a slurp slurp there…here a nip….there a tuck….everywhere a liposuck…Old McDonald had a farm, eeigh eeigh ohhhh…

– Hackers Linked to Ransomware Threaten ‘Wine of the Month’ Style Attack

We’ll do it. We’ll send you a 2013 Cloudy Bay sauvignon blanc and there’s nothing you can do to stop us. We are united. We are strong. #EndingThisJokeBeforeIPissOffAnnonymous

– ‘White Identity Politics’ is Keeping Trump’s Downfall At Bay, Academic Says

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. It’s extraordinarily difficult to impeach a president. We can’t just say “oops, we goofed, our bad” and kick him out. There are certain lines he must cross, and we need rock solid evidence that he has done so. After that, there’s an arduous process of hearings and senatorial votes and recounts and rebuttals… It is totally unreasonable to expect that he would have been impeached already. There are myriad reasons why Trump is still in office, and the very least of them has anything to do with ethnicity, you race baiting ass!

– 7 Creepy McDonald’s Figures You Forgot Existed

I buried those memories for a reason. Leave me in my happy place and stop trying to trigger me.

– ‘People Got To Eat’- Heroic Pizza Guy Delivers to Stalled Train

Heroic. HEROIC. He delivered pizza. That’s literally the very thing he’s paid to do. How in the holy hell is that HEROIC!? GAH

– ‘Cat Man of Aleppo’ Forced To Start Again- From Scratch

This was in the “Good News- News To Brighten Your Day” section. I’m beginning to think the media might be a bit jaded…

– Alex Jones Says He Mischaracterized Chobani Yogurt Factory

In hindsight, he probably shouldn’t have called it “the place where they make that nasty white shit.” His bad.

– Adults Brawl At High School Graduation Ceremony

The ceremony was being held in a church, too. Keepin’ it classy, Tennessee.

– Nearly 400 Birds Fly Into Texas Skyscraper and Die

Boy, the Taliban sure is…

“BETHIE.”

Oh. Right. Handbook. Uh, poor birdies, am I right? Golly gee that’s too bad.

– Emergency Landing for JetBlue Flight That Hit Bird

Way to go JetBlue! That’s one more terrorist out of commission!

…what? Don’t look at me like that. I can take scorn. I can take disgust. But when you turn the disappointed eyes my way, it cuts, man. It cuts deep.

– Any Half-Decent Hacker Could Break Into Mar-a-Lago

OMG. Did…did the press just taunt hackers into trying to break into the stupidly named vacation spot of the pres??

– New Baylor Lawsuit Alleges Rape Video, Dog Fighting

WHAT? Dog fighting?? I mean, yeah, there was the rape, blah blah…but dog fighting!? Now it’s gotten serious. That, sir, is beyond the pale! Someone must stop these universities from abusing dogs!

“Uh…what about the raping?”

Didn’t you get the memo that folks don’t care so much about that part? Let’s fight the battles we can win. #OfCOURSEI’mBeingSarcastic.Shit.

– Dutch King’s Secret Flights As Co-pilot

I think someone has an unhealthy obsession with Disney’s Aladdin…

– Talks On Airplane Laptop Ban End With No Ban, More Talks

Anyone who’s ever sat in on a planning session at work could tell you how this was going to turn out. Bet they were only there for the free bagels anyway.

– Putin Says He Can Prove Trump Did Not Share Secrets

“Look at this email Don gave me. It says nothing about secrets.” “Uh, Vlad? That’s dated this morning.” “Da.” “And it’s from your other email account.” “Da.” “…but…” *Putin slowly lifts syringe into view* “Proof, da?” *special agent gulps* “Oh. Uh, right. Heh. Heh. Boy, look at that. Good enough for me, boys. Rock solid.”

– Report: Trump Aides Had At Least 18 Exchanges With Russians

You’d think that…

*Vlad slowly raises syringe into view*

…Look at this fake news. Isn’t it fake.

*Vlad wiggles syringe*

Fake fake fakeity fake. Sure is fake.

*Vlad nods, starts to walk away*

Just kidding it’s totally real and there’s nothing they can do to shut me up!

*Vlad stops, slowly turns* “Vat?”

Nothing. Oh, hey, look. A headline about Austria!

*Vlad stares for a minute before shrugging and walking away*

Oy vey. That was close.

– Austrian Parliament Passes Burqa Ban

I’m not going to pretend to understand the complexities of the recent influx of refugees to Europe and what it is doing to their society. I will say, though, that the way to incorporate a different people into your society isn’t by banning the things that are important to them which in no way harm other people. If the burqa is banned, the nun’s coif should be as well. Or the mandatory dresses the women of certain Christian sects must wear. Or a priest’s collar. I feel that they’re going down a slippery slope here, I really do. No jokes. Just food for thought.

– Lucky Charms Giving Away Marshmallow-Only Boxes

After years of claiming to be any sort of healthy breakfast, I’m actually okay with them saying “FUCK IT let’s not even pretend anymore.” It’s refreshing.

– Perfect Strangers Swap Kindness…and A Kidney

The DIY channel is really reaching with their new fixer upper line up.

– Youngest-ever Texas Christian Grad Says He Has No Regrets

Well why would you think he did?? “I’m super smart and setting records and got a free ride doing it. Boy, if I could go back in time, I’d fail a few tests here or there, make life more of a struggle for myself.” Is that what you were expecting, Fox News? What a stupid waste of bytes.

– Republicans Worry Trump Scandals May Doom Legislative Agenda

That is some deep poli-sci shit right there.

– Federal Investigators Head to Deadly Jet Crash Site

“Field trip!” “Damnit, Jeffrey! Calm down! You are a federal investigator on a very serious and important case.” “Ooh! Can we stop at McDonald’s?” “No, Geena, we cannot stop at McDonald’s. We will go straight to the crash site and…” “I want a Frosty!” “CARL!” “That’s Wendy’s, you idiot.” “WILL YOU ALL SIT DOWN AND ACT LIKE PROFESSIONALS?” *crickets**crickets* “Um, Mr. Special Agent in charge? I think I’m gonna be car sick…”

I guess a field trip will always be a field trip, no matter how old you are.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Thursday, May 18, 2017. Good luck to everyone battling the early season heat wave. I didn’t dare put away my heater for the summer, but I’ve also installed the a/c. Ah, life in NH…

Need to diet? Pop into your friendly neighborhood bakery today!

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Mornin’ all.

I opened my email this morning and found an ad from Aldi with the subject line, “Save for Celiac Awareness Month.”

Celiac. Awareness. Month.

Now, I’m not saying celiac disease shouldn’t be researched, and certainly the folks who suffer should have hope for a cure. But that’s not what this is about, is it? Aldi is not, in any way, being altruistic. Aldi isn’t donating for a cure. They aren’t trying to legitimately raise awareness. They are a grocery store with an abundance of gluten free products they need to unload. This isn’t about helping folks with legit gluten issues. It’s about selling gluten free products to the 99% of the population who does not have celiac disease.

I hate this kind of bullshit. Corporate “let’s pretend we care so you’ll keep forking over the cash” mentality.

There’s a new law on the books with which we need to comply at the bakery. In an effort to pretend we care, we now need to display the calorie count for all single serve items. Instead of posting an ugly, tacky menu, our company has chosen to print new display tags to put next to each item.

Now, I’m not saying it’s bad to inform your customers. I just don’t think my customers want to know.

Real talk. No one’s buying things from the bakery because they’re on a health kick. No one sees a cupcake and thinks it’s an acceptable stand in for a stick of celery in their diet plan. People know the shit I sell is unhealthy. They know. And when they are looking for a treat, they do not care.

I’m not opposed to having the information available if people ask. I just don’t see why the government has made it our job to prominently shame people who want a confectionery pick me up.

The one plus is the new fun game I can play now. “Guess How Bad It Really Is.” I don’t have a game show theme song for it yet, but it really has provided me a bit of fun to ask fellow employees, “Wanna guess how many calories this puppy has?”

We sell a type of fancy chocolate cupcake that has raspberry filling and chocolate everything else. It’s very pretty, a real eye catcher, and even though I’ve never had one, raspberries and chocolate?? How could it NOT be utterly delicious?

980.

980 calories for ONE cupcake.

In fairness, it would be difficult to get a whole cupcake down in one sitting. They’re not your average cupcake. They’re huge. Still, I’ve had sad days where I could, in theory, polish the whole thing off if I were so inclined.

We can also play the game in reverse. I tell the calorie count and give three options and folks need to try and guess which one fits. Let’s do one, shall we?

480 calories, and your choices are: single serve cheesecake with raspberries, small rosette cupcake with buttercream, or large stuffed cannoli.

Come on. Timer’s almost up.

If you said, “Cannoli,” no way, sucker! That puppy’s about two hundred calories more! It’s the raspberry cheesecake.

Isn’t this fun?

Guess what’s the worst thing we sell? I’ll give you the total: 1920. One THOUSAND, nine hundred twenty calories for ONE single serve item. That’s an entire day’s worth of calories in one treat.

So what do you think it could possibly be?

Keep in mind, we are a full service bakery. We sell everything from rolls to chocolate dipped strawberries. *tick**tock**tick**tock*

Time’s up! The worst item we sell is…

…you know what? I’m not going to tell you. A guessing game is only fun if you actually guess.

Aside from the new labels of shame, we also offer pamphlets about healthy eating. This one really gets me. I understand offering the nutrition facts about the food we sell. I think they are being very heavy handed and Big Brother-y in the way they’re going about it, but I get it. I do. I think the information about the food we put in our bodies should be available if we care to read it.

The pamphlets, though…Come on. I’m seriously expected to hand someone a cake with one hand and a pamphlet on what they SHOULD be eating with the other? Are you kidding me with this pandering bullshit? Who are you trying to fool? I do not give a rat’s ass about the diets of my customers. Not a whit. If they want to eat a 1920 calorie *redacted for purposes of a game show*, why should I be the one to stop them?

News flash: I’m not their mother. And I shouldn’t be expected to act like one. I make cakes. I make them for people to buy. I’m certainly not going to turn around and say, “Oh, you fell for my trap, you fool! Let me take a minute to educate you on how much of a stupid fucking lard ass you really are…”

I have a couple customers who will ask, “What’s the healthiest thing you sell here?” I always point to the produce section right behind them and say, “We’ve got some great apples and celery on sale this week.” When people ask for the “diabetic friendly” or “healthier” type of icing instead of buttercream (it’s a non-dairy whipped topping), I always point out that NO icing is diabetic friendly and that it is in no way healthier than buttercream.

So I do care if they’re coming at me with misinformation. But, in the end, if they get the unhealthy shit, *shrug*. It’s not my body. I honestly don’t care if they get five *1920 calorie items* and down them in a sad afternoon binge watching The Office for the fiftieth time. I don’t give a rat’s ass. Eat what you want. You’re an adult!

Look, I get that people should be able to be aware of the bad shit they’re putting in their bodies. I guess I just have a problem with a company who SELLS THOSE VERY ITEMS pretending to care. The ONLY reason we’re posting the facts is because the state says we have to. We’re a fucking bakery. The foundation of everything we make is a combination of fat, sugar, and carbs. Of COURSE our shit is unhealthy, and it’s pretty damn hypocritical to be the ones making the unhealthy shit only to turn around and shame the customers who buy it.

…is what I would say if I didn’t care about losing my job. So, uh, you know, great job, Corporate Higher Ups who might be reading this. I love working for a company that cares so much about its customers.

“Nice save, Bethie.”

I thought so.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Wednesday, May 3, 2017. Holy FUCK it’s MAY. Aw hell. Remember all that cleaning I had to do? I STILL HAVE TO DO IT. Off I go…I’ve got a mop bucket calling my name…

*growl**grumble**curmudgeonish snarl*

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Mornin’ all.

Winter is over and the bears have come out. And not “internet” bears…

*If you don’t already know what the internet calls a “bear”, then you don’t live a life where the info would be very pertinent. I’m just sayin’, Google at your own risk if you must, but don’t get offended if you don’t like what you see.*

…I’m talking teeth gnashing, ornery summbitches that’ll mess your shit up for a pile of trash. They’re out and they’re fierce.

At least one of them is. I’m in a terrible mood. Not even this coffee is helping.

To be fair, it’s shit coffee because I had to make it. Teen 2.0 forgot to set a pot up for us. It’s okay. Since he is the coffee connoisseur in the house, he’ll be suffering for his forgetfulness. Instant karma.

The cat woke me up early by licking my nose, then screaming in my face. I didn’t actually mind because I was having terrible dreams. I got downstairs to find a pile of rubber-band-induced vomit.

Bad dreams. Shit sleep. Horrible coffee. And cat vomit. Helluva great way to start the day.

“Bethie, where did the ‘glass is half full’ attitude we constantly get annoyed by go?”

Sorry. I warned you I was feeling snarly. I’ve got a lot of clutter at the moment, both physical and mental.

See, I’ve been trying to clear out the dining room, AKA:Oscar’s Trash Can. I’ve got guests coming all through May, and I must must MUST get that room in order. Or, in as much order as I can get it. I’m going to do my best, but I’m still a hoarder. There will be a lot of shit left in there even when I’m done.

“Just grab a box of trash bags and go to town.”

If it were that easy, don’t you think I already would have done it? HM? I’d LOVE to be able to let go of shiny things and greasy things and squiggly bits and knobby doodads and twisty thingamabobs… I look at other peoples’ houses and honestly wonder how in the hell they live with nothing in their rooms. It’s legitimately a mystery to me.

I actually have let go of a lot, you know. I have one room that’s crammed full, not an entire house anymore. The Big Clean a couple years back has stuck for every other room.

And I will throw out a fair amount from the dining room, too.

It’s just going to take me awhile. I can’t just grab shit randomly and shove it into a trash bag. I can’t do it. I will sit there side eyeing the stack of bags and get so anxious that I have to- HAVE TO- know what’s inside. It’s a compulsion, not a desire. Not a want. Not a “quirk”.

And, to be clear, it’s not “garbage”. None of it is rotting or discarded wrappings or a collection of every rind from every piece of watermelon I’ve ever eaten. There aren’t stacks of junk crushing mummified animal bodies flat or piles of rat shit heaped up on anything. It’s mostly metal bits I’ve stripped from cars and electronics, all sorted according to the CCFS.

“CCFS?”

You aren’t familiar with the Coffee Can Filing System? It’s similar to the tried and true Dewey Decimal, except for in almost every single way. The CCFS goes like this:

Greasy things go in large plastic Maxwell House containers. Once they get de-greased, they are broken up into large utilitarian bits, like brackets and push rods and structural pieces, and small shiny bits. The utilitarian pieces go into large cardboard cans, like from cheap ass coffee we drink on our broke weeks, and the regular shiny bits get placed in small metal cans, like from Hills Bros., or Chase and Sanborn, because they are special.

Springs have their own cans, because springs are awesome and deserve their own cans.

Nuts and washers go into old film cans, the metal ones 35mm film used to come in before they started putting it in little plastic cylinders. I know they’re not technically coffee cans, but come on. They’re just nuts and washers. Duh.

…unless they are brass. Those are special and, as such, also get their own can.

Bolts or screws go into a huge Folger’s can, because why wouldn’t they?! Unless they are automotive interior bolts, which go into a separate can, or tiny electronic screws, which go into several small Altoids tins.

Now, electronic bits are harder, because they are small, fragile, and somewhat toxic. I have a bead sorter for the most delicate parts, which also holds transistors and resistors. Those go in there because they are small and round. Like beads.

Then we get to my super special cans. They’re not actually coffee cans. They are aluminum food cans, the kind that have the lining on the inside for acidic foods like tomatoes. Those are where the prime bits go, and I have made a special little stand for those out of an old film projector case.

“What would be a ‘prime bit’ Bethie?”

I’m glad you asked!

A prime bit would be something either very shiny, like a computer hard drive internal disc, or something that’s uniquely shaped, like the impeller from inside a diesel injection pump that looks just like the inside of the Hadron super collider if you hold it out away from you and squint. Basically, if I’ve never seen it before, or it’s super shiny, it goes in a special can in the special drawer in the special stand where I can easily access it.

So that is the CCFS in a nutshell. Of course there are tons of variations of the system, depending on the finds, the season, my ever changing whims… It’s kind of a subjective filing system.

But it’s mine. Every hoarder has one.

We have this customer at work that the night crew calls The Magazine Lady. She comes in and sits in a mart kart in front of the magazine rack for hours early in the morning. She does buy some things, and when she does, those things need to be placed in bags. She’ll pull her money from her purse, which is also in little bags, and then sort her change and her receipt into bags when she’s done. Everything she buys goes in its own bag, even if it’s a bagged product, then they get put together in a larger bag inside ANOTHER bag.

I know what her house looks like, folks. I know what her car looks like. I know what life looks like for her day to day. She follows the PBFS, and she is bound to it by much stronger ties than those I deal with. I feel bad for her.

Mostly.

She’s not just a hoarder, she’s also a real asshole, so my sympathy only goes so far. You can be a kind hoarder. And let’s face it, if you’ve got such a strong difficulty for people to look past to begin with, you SHOULD strive to at least be kind. I’m grouchy today, but I’m not an asshole. Usually.

Hell, could you imagine? A fat, broke, inept, compulsive hoarder…I really can’t afford to be an asshole on top of it. I have to have at least one redeeming quality. If you can’t achieve any other standard in life, kindness is the one quality you should always prioritize.

It’s not easy to work through the stuff in the dining room. It brings up other things for me, memories and emotional baggage I wish would just get out of my psyche forever. I wish you could tip your head to the side and whack the top and let the mental clutter fall out of your ear like in the cartoons. Wouldn’t that be great?

Ah, but then you’d risk throwing the baby out with the bath water, eh?

I just have to keep at it I suppose. I completely cleared a walkway on my first day. I broke down a holding box of parts I grabbed and hadn’t yet processed on the second. I’ll get there. I know I will. My guests will still think it’s a horrible mess, because let’s face it, the CCFS isn’t for everyone. But I’ll know how far I’ve come.

I just have to keep plugging away.

Thus concludes a bit of a Musing for Friday, April 28, 2017. It’s already the 28th? Where did April go??? Shit. Now I have to register my car before work today or risk getting a ticket Monday morning on my way in. We’ve got some really sneaky cops that have gotten very good at hiding along the route to work. It’s kind of impressive, really. This one hides his rig so well you absolutely cannot see it at all until it’s too late. I have to tip my hat…and hurry to get my car registered before the shark gets me…