I’ve been hit by the pumpkin train…

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Mornin’ all.

Today is a day off. I had the opportunity to waste away in my bed until a gluttonous time of morning.

Unfortunately, Fuzzy McButtface didn’t get the “do not disturb” memo and jumped on my head at 4:53. Now, we have a tiny cat. Not viral-internet-meme small, but definitely petite. She never grew bigger than a teenage cat, and probably weighs around the 4 lb mark. Yet somehow, when waking me up is involved, she gains a good 20 lbs. I think she harnesses the power of her ancestors. Maybe she uses the Force?

I’m not going to lie…that would be pretty sweet if we had a cat that could use the Force. If only she’d turn away from the dark side…

I suppose it doesn’t matter how she does it. When she wants our attention, she becomes a Super Mario Thwomp. She’s a dick. And now I am awake on my supposed-to-be-lazy day.

It’s my first day off with my man in weeks. I’ve been off, and he’s been off, but we haven’t been off together. We were supposed to on this past Wednesday, but our boss decided to be a royal…

“BETHIE NO!!!”

…huh?

“This is the internet. DO NOT TALK SHIT ABOUT YOUR BOSS ON THE INTERNET!!!”

OH, riiiiight. Almost forgot there. Thanks for looking out for me!

Guess we’ll just make this internet friendly. Our boss decided to be a super silly billy and told my guy on Tuesday that he had to work Wednesday. I heard the news and said, “FUDGESICLES. She’s just telling you this NOW?? She a real kooky rapscallion!”

Speaking of work, we’re getting some new product recipes in for the season, and I just have to say to the world at large:

Stop putting pumpkin in everything.

Now, hold up a sec, because I am actually very pro-pumpkin. It’s a nutritious food that gets wasted in obscene quantities for the sake of decor while there are millions and millions of starving people. I’m glad folks are embracing it as a food.

However…

STOP PUTTING PUMPKIN IN EVERYTHING.

Lettuce is a well liked food. You don’t see lettuce shortcakes. There are no asparagus donuts. I don’t have to make tuna-spiced taffy apples.

People, you can like a thing without putting that thing into literally all of the other things. True story.

I’m not going to lie, some of the new stuff is good. The pumpkin donuts are actually the shit. The muffins…eh. They smell better than they taste, which is odd because you’d think a muffin would be a perfect pumpkin vessel. They just taste slightly cinnamony. Pumpkin pies, of course. Cookies.

Some things are good. And then, there’s a pumpkin shortcake. This is where things go awry in the bakery.

Yellow cake is split, and then pumpkin cream is piped on the bottom layer. Pumpkin cream seems to be mashed pumpkin mixed with pudding. It’s…odd. That’s the only word I can use to describe it. Odd. On top of the oddity of pumpkin cream is, essentially, pumpkin flavored Cool Whip. It’s not actually Cool Whip. Looks like Cool Whip, walks like Cool Whip, quacks like Cool Whip…isn’t actually Cool Whip.

…but it is.

After the not-Cool-Whip Cool Whip, the second cake layer is placed, with one more fancy swirly daub of whipped cool on top to jazz up the whole shebang.

Now, I’m sure some of you reading this are thinking, “Yum-o, Bethie. Sounds baller. What’s the prob?”

First off, you’re not young and hip. Stop trying to use the teen lingo. You’re doing it wrong and it hurts.

Second, none of those ingredients really add moisture. The reason a strawberry shortcake works is because the strawberries are in a sauce. That sauce keeps the cake from turning into sawdust in your mouth. The Pumpkin Abomination has no sauce. It’s pasty pumpkin mixed with gummy pudding on top of airy whipped topping.

I don’t know. I’ll have to see if they sell.

Scratch that…I’ll have to see if there are any repeat customers. That’ll tell me if they are a hit or just an orange pile of shit.

You know what I miss? Apples. Remember when apples were the bomb?

“Bethie, if I can’t use teen lingo, you can’t either.”

Fair enough.

Remember when apples were THE flavor of autumn? I miss apples. Can we bring them back?

…oooh, wait a sec. Can we bring them back next year? It’s a miserable year for apple growing up in my neck of the woods. In fact, my three big apple trees grew between them…two apples. No, not two bushels. Just two. Two apples. Reminds me of that old poem…

Way up high in the apple tree,

Two little apples, smiling at me.

I shook the tree as hard as I could…

And then a squirrel ate the apples because squirrels are assholes.

As you can see, I’ve updated the poem to reflect my own experiences.

It was a horrible year for growing any of my backyard treats. My rhubarb did squat, I got one sad little cup full of blackberries. Only one of the raspberry bushes yielded fruit, and the berries that did grow were small and hard even when ripe. But the apple trees, those were the biggest disappointment. Not even the crab apples grew.

In an ordinary year, I can get piles of rhubarb, gallons of berries, and at least two or three bushels of apples. It’s sad. My freezer will have no fresh applesauce and my jars will gather dust instead of jam. That’s going to be some interesting┬ámorning toast.

Mother Nature, get your shit together.

I read a study the other day that’s depressing if it’s true. You all know how I feel about bullshit science. The majority of these “studies” are just scientific click bait in order to get more funding while containing no real scientific merit. However, I’d be lying if I pretended that some of them weren’t interesting.

The study in question set out to discover why old people are lame and simultaneously unaware of their own lameness. This particular study focused on the arts.

Remember when you were a kid who just heard THE. BEST. NEW. SONG. EVER, a mind blowing experience that left your soul both shattered and whole all at once, and you HAD to share it with your Mum, because something so utterly profound could not be kept to just one teenager? You played it for her, hovering excitedly on the edge of your seat, feeling- no, LIVING– every single word, your heart beating with the chords, until you finally made it through the life-altering experience and waited with bated breath for Mum’s response to the majesty you just shared.

And what did Mum say? What did Mum say about the work of a singer who somehow looked into your depths and encapsulated all the beauty and nastiness you tried to bury in your hidden psyche? What did Mum say after you bore your very soul to her through art your own mortal mind couldn’t create?

“Eh. It’s okay.”

It’s.

Okay.

Was there ever a more crushing moment in your young life? How could Mum not be totally blown away by the Most Powerful Experience Ever? Was she really that out of touch? I mean, sure, she wore those awful cinched-waist jeans and socks with sandals, but there HAD to be SOME modicum of coolness somewhere in her. Was she really just too old to appreciate a new song?

Science says, “Yep.”

A recent study has shown that as people age, their acceptance of new works of art (in all forms, but specifically music) tends to drop off. We kind of knew that already. The reason behind it is what has me in the dumps. Research is strongly indicating that as the brain ages, it gets full, for lack of a better term. It reaches a point where it decides it has gathered enough new concepts and just wants to mull over its vast collection instead of acquire more.

And the very first section that closes itself off to the public? You guessed it. The centers for art appreciation.

What’s worse is that participants in the study overwhelmingly didn’t seem to be conscious of this happening. It wasn’t something in their control, nor was it something they even realized was going on. “Oh, sure, I LOVE new music!” they resoundingly said. However, when asked what the latest “new” song they enjoyed was, they listed music that was released up to thirty years before.

In their minds, that WAS new.

“But Bethie, people seek out new music all the time. Why, just the other day I caught myself singing along to the pop song my daughter likes.”

Ah, there ya go. You’re not gathering newness. Your environment is thrusting it upon you. You didn’t go seek out that new song. You didn’t search for something different. Your daughter played it in the periphery and it seeped into your consciousness.

What’s going to happen when your daughter gets old enough to move out? What’s going to happen to ME when my boys are all trying to pay their own mortgages and I’m kicking around the house with another old fogey? Will either of us even think to turn the radio to a station that plays new music? Or will my mind just gravitate toward the familiar??

Mental complacency. Has there ever been a more terrifying concept?

I don’t want my brain to be too full to appreciate new art. New music. New writing. I don’t want to just live with what I already know.

My dad never did. He was always into new music, even after we grew up and moved out. Maybe there’s hope for me. Maybe just knowing it’s a terrifying possibility will keep me from falling into mental solitary confinement.

And hey, if not, I suppose if the study is right, I won’t really be aware it’s happening. I won’t have any conscious appreciation of my mental depreciation. I won’t even get that I’ve shuttered the blinds and rejected the beauty of newness.

Somehow, that’s not really all that comforting.

I am making a vow right here, right now. When my grand kid comes to me with that excited look in his eye, when he says, “Grammie, you HAVE to hear this song. It’ll change your life,” I will force my old, wrinkled brain to perk up and pay attention. If I have to, I’ll intentionally forget something else to make room. I don’t need to know how heavy I’d be on Mars. That knowledge has been kicking around in my brain for no legitimate reason for far too long. I’m never going to use that info. I’ll forget that to make room for the beauty of a piece of new music that’s powerful enough to speak to the very soul of my grandson.

I really hope that’s a promise I keep.

Thus concludes a rambling Musing for Sunday, September 18, 2016. I’m going to cram some new music in my brain while I do housework this morning. I’m currently hooked on Ruth B, but am starting to feel a tad twenty one pilots. If you don’t know either, YouTube them. Stat. Let’s prove these “science” muthas wrong. Ruth B: Lost Boy twenty one pilots: Heathens

Do it.

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No sane person wears a red sponge nose…

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Mornin’ all.

As you can see, I survived the attempted poisoning-by-coffee the other morning, though it took a rapid infusion of Zantac to pull through. I had a heart to heart with Teen Beta about the long term dangers of drinking his own alchemy experiments and suggested that instead, he saved his yearning for scientific discovery for the lab. I mean, the instructions on how NOT to make a pot of coffee that will level his mother are right on the can. No science necessary.

I just don’t want him to go down the same path I did. I didn’t really make coffee in my formative years. As a teen, I pretty much just drank it when my older sister took me out to breakfast in the morning, and only then because it seemed like the thing to do at the diner. My first husband wasn’t a coffee drinker, either, and we didn’t even own a coffee pot. I didn’t start really drinking coffee until I gave up soda like 10 years ago.

I’m just not a natural coffee drinker. I didn’t learn the dos and donts until too late in life to make them a habit. It’s understandable when I just dump grounds into the basket because, at heart, I’m still not really a true coffee drinker. But my kid? I’m trying my best to give him a better shot at adulthood.

When you strip away everything else, at the end of the day, I don’t give a shit what my coffee tastes like. It’s a hollow existence, really.

I want more for him. *sniff* Doesn’t every mother?

All the kids are finally back at school! Yay! See, the teens started last week, and the youngest pup started yesterday. We are in a small town that decided to outsource teen education while at the same time fortifying the elementary school realm by declaring itself its own SAU (School Administrative Unit, for anyone who’s unfamiliar with the term. Think of it like counties, only for schools). As such, the elementary school students of my fair hamlet are on a different attendance schedule from the high school students. It’s annoying as hell. Get your shit together, SAUs.

The Pup was extremely worried about starting fifth grade. Here, fifth grade is in a different building. It’s his first “big step”. They also have different teachers for different subjects, play on a different playground with fewer activity options, eat in a new cafeteria, and have lockers. WITH LOCKS.

It’s big league, folks.

He’s a worrier. I have no idea at all who he gets it from *she says and she chews her lip in agitation while she tries to decide if she’s gone so far with the sarcasm that no one will even GET that it’s sarcastic because one really never knows how one’s words can be interpreted through the screen without the added bonus of physical cues to clarify the social situation. Not that she’d be better at a face to face social interaction, because, let’s be honest: everyone knows some people are better on paper. They just are. But now she’s rambling, isn’t she? Shit. There’s no way to save this steaming pile, is there? Should she just to hide and hope the world forgets she opened her mouth at all? Aw hell.*

Not only does he worry, but he’s a super intense person. You ever meet someone and are just like, “Whoa. That dude is INTENSE about EVERYTHING?” Yeah, that’s my little Pup. He is all-in, no matter what he’s focused on. That’s great in a lot of ways. But, it’s also terrible when he turns that focus inside, on his fears and trepidation.

As it turns out, no need to worry! He is in class with his favorite buddy, and the bully who’s tormented him for years has been stranded. Yes, the little fucker is in the same class as my Pup, BUT all of his cronies are elsewhere. The school FINALLY split up the Terrible Triad. And it came to pass that there was great rejoicing through the land, for lo, the Cerberus had been defeated.

I’ve got two Sr. Teens this year. *sniff* I begged one of them to take a dive on his grades, stay back a year, and make graduation just a little easier on my tender emotions. They both said, “Nah.” Teen Prime turns 18 next week. *sniff**sniff* Teen Beta turns 16. *sniff**sniff**sniff* Teen 2.0 has a full on mustache now. *BAWLING SOBS*

Too fast. They are all growing up WAY too fast.

And I’m feeling it, folks. The sniffing and bawling for comedic effect isn’t all that far off from the reality. I’ll randomly look at one of these tall behemoths and wonder where my little snot faces went and then have a sappy “oh shit…my face is starting to leak again” moment.

It’s so weird, this position in life. I’m sure some of you reading this are already past it. But, I know a good amount of you haven’t gotten here yet. Watching your kids turn into adults is bizarre. You’re constantly pulled in two directions about every new change. I WANT them to grow up. I WANT them to be successful adults. I WANT them to start their own lives and have their own adventures and find their own special someone and start their own home so I can come and visit and spoil the grandkids. I do. I truly want that for all of them.

But I want them to still be my babies, too. My gaming buddies. My “in” with all the new and weird and exciting in the world. I want to be able to turn around when a bad pun occurs and see the disappointed look on their faces as they shake their heads at my lameness.

Like I said, I know that every single parent hits this point. I knew it was coming. I just didn’t think it would be so damn hard.

Muh. I’m bringing everyone down, aren’t I? Let’s see if we can lighten the mood. It’s payday, after all, and no one should be sad on pay day, right? What can we do to bring the fun back into this Muse? Hmm. Gee. I wonder.

*opening chord of catchy theme music*

Uh, hey go-go dancers? Can you help us out?

*epic can can routine begins on center stage*

Only one way to liven things up around here. It’s time for a…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP ! ! ! * * *

Everyone, give the band and the dancers a round of applause for that invigorating intro! Bravo! Brava! Uh…bon appetite?

So, it’s a Roundup. For any newbs here, a Headline Roundup happens when I read the internet newsy type sites and their headlines set me off. Sometimes the headlines are poorly worded. Sometimes they’re just weird. And sometimes the headline is fine, I’m just the oddball and need to share. We always keep our headlines 100% all natural as they appear in the wild. No preservatives, artificial flavors, or GMOs. I just supply the witty commentary.

*editor’s note: We at the Muse would like to point out that the “GMO free” label is for laughs only. Of COURSE there are GMOs. Every single thing we eat is a product of thousands of years of genetically engineering food, dopes. If you eat, you DO consume genetically modified food. Just like your ancestors. Nothing new. Nothing scary. I am getting SO sick of…

*author’s note: ACHEM. Can you put the soap box away? I’m trynna do a Roundup here!*

*editor’s note: Oh. Heh. Uh…sorry. Carry on. #GMOs4life…literally *

IF there are no more interruptions…*looks at the editor*…and we’re all clear how this works, then let’s begin.

– Trump Camp Sued By Kids’ Dance Troupe

Children. Even C H I L D R E N know the score! COME ON AMERICA.

– Karlie Kloss’ Trainer Chooses Sleep Over Workouts

If that’s what it takes, then I must be the absolute Queen super model. Well shit. Better jet off to Milan or something. I’mma just lie down for a minute first…

– 815 Pounds of Cocaine Found in Coca Cola Factory

Sometimes this hipster trend of reverting to the “original recipe” goes slightly awry.

– Miss Texas USA Completely Bombs First Pitch Attempt

OUTRAGE! We can’t have a “USA” pageant queen disgrace America’s pastime like that! If you can’t pitch a baseball while wearing platform heels, fake nails, a tiara, and your beauty sash because execs told you that you MUST look pretty for the camera, you don’t deserve the title. Let’s start a campaign to strip her of her sash right now. #norespectforAmerica

– Trout Involved in Car Crash

I’m impressed he could get a car started in the first place. You’d think he’d just flop around in the seat.

– Trout Involved in Car Crash

Don’t feel bad, buddy. Everyone crashes on Rainbow Road.

*a fishing AND gaming joke there! My kids would be so pissed off if they read that. SCORE.*

– Hailey Baldwin Reveals Her Celebrity Crush

I’m feeling a bit bitchy today. I think I’ll leave you all hanging.

– Why the IRS May Delay Your Tax Return Next Year

Oh, I dunno…maybe because financial news is boring and there’s almost nothing at all they could write to get people to actually click on an article unless it “might” impact their tax return so the editor is forced to throw out a random wild theory that “may” happen just to get people to click enough times to generate some actual ad revenue? Just a guess.

– Close Call: Navy Pilots Recount Avoiding Crash off Air Craft Carrier

“So, like, we could have crashed, but we just, you know, turned slightly to the left and, like…didn’t.”

– Photo Allegedly Shows Clown Trying to Lure Kids Into Woods in SC

And now we’ve taken a left onto Nope Street in the center of Nopeville, in the merry old land of Nope.

– Anthony Weiner, Who Always Has Something to Say, Goes Silent

About fucking time. He has GOT to be the biggest dope in politics.

– Trump Doubles-down on Border Wall, Insists Mexico Will Pay for It

…hm. Fair point. Okay, so Weiner is the world’s SECOND biggest dope.

– Free Speech or Criminal Threats?

Tough choice. I think I’ll go with free speech, please.

– At Lake Tahoe, Obama Links Conservation to Climate Change

You wily bastards, AP. He linked conservation efforts to a demonstrative SLOWING and EASING of climate change. If you don’t think you’re manipulated at every level of the news, you’re dreaming. Even the headlines slant the story.

– NFL Quarterback Colin Kaepernick Set To Sit Out National Anthem Again on ‘Military Night’ in San Diego

As is his right, folks. It’s the same right that allows you to blast him on social media for doing it. You can’t take away his RIGHTS because of your OPINION. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like what he did. That’s not how freedom works. Gawd I wish more people would remember that.

– Pennsylvania Professor Goes on Hunger Strike Over Tenure Denial

Holy shit. People still have hunger strikes?

– A Sketchy Business

I like how detailed and clear this headline is. Succinctly covers the 5 Ws of journalism. Well done.

– 3.7-billion Year Old Fossil Makes Life on Mars Less of a Long Shot

False. 3.7-billion year old fossils on Earth have zero impact on Mars. #it’strue.Lookitup.

– Couple Faked Everest Climb

Dig it…an Indian couple completely faked climbing up Everest by photoshopping themselves into summit pics. The Nepalese government was so upset at the couple that they BANNED them from climbing any of Nepal’s mountains for TEN YEARS! I can’t tell if it’s a massive overreaction for a photoshop lie, or if it’s a brilliant idea. Imagine if this set precedence for all walks of photoshopping. Phil from accounting showing a photo of him and his hot Canadian girlfriend and sticking with the story even though you can totally see the trademark for the frame company on her sweater, PHIL? Banned from the break room, ten years! Kardashians caught once again cutting and pasting? 10 year magazine cover ban. BOOM. So many positive possibilities. I give you props, Nepal. You’re really onto something.

– Are the Clown Sightings in South Carolina Real?

Better stay away from the entire state just in case.

– Pollsters Fight To Figure Out Trump Phenomenon

People like being angry. They really like having others be angry with them. And they go absolutely gaga when someone in power tells them their anger is a-ok. Mystery solved.

– Why Trump’s ‘Black Outreach’ Is Backfiring

Maybe because he hates black people? That might just have a little something to do with it.

– ‘Bad Apple Culprit’ Hit Pacific Northwest Homes

A dude is going around Portland tossing rotten apples onto people’s roofs. Best hide yo kids and hide yo wives. Those are some mean streets out there.

– Now You Can Buy Adorable Wigs for Your Pets

NO. You stop it. Stop it right now.

– UK Non-profit Hires its First Hedgehog Officer

*facepalms* Guys? Maybe not the best way to make folks take your non-profit seriously.

– Meet the Couple That Coordinates Their Outfits Every Day

*blurrppff* OMG. I just threw up a little.

– Meet the Couple That Coordinates Their Outfits Every Day

…actually, on second thought, I’m picturing my man out in public wearing a matching t-shirt to the one I’ve got on right now. Kittens in space riding a unicorn past a glittery, rainbow-colored moon. I MUST MAKE THIS HAPPEN.

– Canadian Man Dressed As Hockey Goalie Steals Beer

I feel like they didn’t even have to tell us he was Canadian. Kind of implied with the rest of the headline there.

– Former KKK Leader Praises Trump Speech on Immigration

Of.

Course.

He.

Did.

-Planet 9 Found Past Neptune?

Yeah. It’s called Pluto.

– 7 Of Hillary’s Biggest Flip-Flops

Number 3 on the list is my favorite…a pair she picked up on vacation at Arcadia that have seashells glued to the top. Size 10, because that’s all that was in stock and how could she POSSIBLY walk away from seashell flip-flops?

– How to Appear Rich Without Spending Much Money
1. Glitter.

2. Gold spray paint.

3. Lee Press-on Nails

You’re welcome.

– Leslie Jones’ Weight Loss Highlights Up and Down Year

Leslie Jones is a black actress who has recently been the target of the most vile, hateful, racist abuse online I think I’ve ever seen. But guess what, guys? She’s skinnier now! It’s all okay!! *twitch**twitch* Fuck you, Hollywood.

– Another Creepy Clown Incident Reported in Ohio

Oh shit. It’s spreading. #clownapocalypse

– Report: Half of Americans Uncomfortable Visiting Places with Reported Zika Cases

Wait. Didn’t you hear me? Stop muddying the waters with your red herrings. Zika is only rarely fatal. CAN THE SAME BE SAID OF CLOWNS? #wakeupsheeple

– Teen Reports He Was Chased Down By a Clown With a Knife

It has begun.

This is not a drill. Barricade yourselves in your fallout shelters and do not, I repeat, DO NOT let the balloon animals hypnotize you when the clowns come knocking.

Stay strong.

Thus concludes a Roundup for Friday, September 2, 2016. It’ll take me a couple weeks to get the underground network of rebels to band together. Right now folks are still worried about personal safety above all else. I get that. Society needs a bit of “me” time before they can see the importance of developing a strong, unified front against the clowns. It WILL happen, though, and we WILL need your help. Set your ham radios to channel 16 on frequency 156.80 and listen for instructions on joining the fight against the funambulist tyranny!