Another year without a nuclear meltdown has got to be making them rethink the calendars…

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Mornin’ all.

We done went and had ourselves a bit of winter this week. It was sleeting so hard that when I got up the other day that it sounded like a pipe had broken. I had a momentary flashback to last years’ Pipes of Hell winter production before I got a grip and realized that it was a balmy 30 degrees, and the water was coming down from above, not up from below.

I took a look outside. A couple inches of snow, then ice pellets as far as the eye could see. What an awful mess! Fortunately for us, no one had anywhere they needed to go. Kids were home from school, man was home from work. There wasn’t a single reason any of us had to go out.

So of course we went out.

…what? Oh come on. It’s a New England tradition. The plows had already come through, so we weren’t clogging up the roads and getting in their way, and there was almost no traffic. As soon as you can, you get in your car and chug the mile to the local grocery store to make sure every other redneck congregated there still agrees with your assessment that winter is wicked fahkin’ shitty. It’s just what you do. I don’t make the rules, people.

Besides, we were low on milk. Not quite out, but low enough that the morning joe would be tan, not khaki. Couldn’t have that first world problem, now could I? I mean, I chipped a nail this week, too. There’s only so much one person can take.

We’re halfway through the kids’ holiday break. For the most part, it’s been pretty smooth. They needed to clean their rooms to make space for fresh inventory after Christmas. I remember when that meant they played with the rediscovered toys while I sat buried under the heaps of long forgotten treasures, desperately trying to throw out the crap that the kids only suddenly NEEDED because it was time for it to go.

Now, even the littlest pup is old enough to mostly guide himself in cleaning.

I’m not saying I don’t have a couple in the litter who show the same hoarding tendencies I possess. Sometimes I’ll catch the pup sneaking a broken toy under the bed. “What’s that?” I’ll say. “I can fix it,” he’ll protest. “Put it in the trash before you end up with an hour long TLC special,” I’ll tell him, carefully creasing my brow in practiced parental consternation.

Aside from cleaning, it’s been mellow and game-filled. They are my little flock of geeks and got some cool games for Christmas. And while they got out and played before the shit weather rolled in, I can’t say any of them seemed the least bit disappointed to discover that Mother Nature made sure their time was free for digital adventuring.

Pokemons explored caves. Isaacs were…bound? I’m sorry, I don’t really know how that game works. Brain puzzles were solved, and, if the excited tittering wafting from the teen lair was any indication, large battleships were thwarted.

Looks like they’ll have that same kind of morning again today, at least. It’s raining and the snow/ice is getting a fresh, glossy glaze. Hey, I suppose I can’t complain. I mean, it’s the first real sign of winter, and it’s almost 2016.

Can you believe it? Another year out. Pfft, just like that. Seems like I cracked open my free 2015 calendar the nuclear power plant sends to all the folks that live in the potential fallout zone just yesterday.

…true story. Got next year’s unusual bribe all ready to hang in the morning. If the plant ever blows, at least I’ll have the warm memories of all the free calendars they sent over the years to temper my anger at their incompetence and give me comfort. Well, the warm memories and the literal warmth of the radiation…

It’s that time of year again when we look back and reflect on the old shitstorm we’re leaving behind before our hungover asses wake up to the first misting sprays of the new one. Everyone’s recapping the year as only the internet can.

Most sites are linking their favorite lists by category. The news this year was, by and large, fairly bleak. I’m looking through these lists of murders and scandals and jihads and arrests and it’s depressing as hell. There was a link on MSN to the “20 Cutest Internet Cats of 2015.” I was thinking that would take the sting off the hell hole we’re in and clicked on it. True to their word, some of the kitties really did have squiffy wiffy faces. I was feeling more positive until I clicked on the last cat. The last cat on the list looked like Donald Trump.

Donald Trump is now ruining the palate-cleansing ability of internet kittehs. Screw you, Donald Trump. #generalmessageof2015

Then there are the usual lists of celebrity lives that ended in the course of the year. The entertainment sections have lists of actors and singers that shuffled off this mortal coil. The sports section listed “7 Sports Heroes You’ll Miss Next Year.” What a set up articles like that are. I didn’t even know these people existed until you told me, and then as soon as I find out about them, you tell me they died. I was in a world of blissful ignorance before. Any emptiness and loss I now feel for heroes I will never get to know is completely your fault, sports writers. Screw you, too.

Science and tech sections also have their loss articles, but no one reads them. I think that’s probably sadder than the fabricated depression from the sports writers. This keyboard I’m typing on could have been invented by someone who died this year, and I’ll never know. I mean, I *could* know, I guess. I just won’t.

Hey, at least I’m honest.

Aside from the news bits, many of the lists on the internet are sponsored. “Top 20 Hairstyles of 2015,” brought to you by Wen hair care. Just guessing here, but I think these styles are going to be held in place with Wen’s Dr. MacGuillicuddy Formula Super Shiny Impossible-to-Muss All Purpose Hair Shellac Elixir and Floor Polish. They’re also linking their least favorite lists. “Worst Hairstyles in 2015.” Looks like there are many folks out there who didn’t buy Wen. Tighten that shit up in 2016, folks. Just call Wen and ask for “magic hair beans.” They’ll know what you’re talking about.

Here’s a good one. “50 of the Best Cars of 2015.” How about, “80 Great Breakfasts to Start off the New Year.” This is one you cannot miss: “101 Life Hacks We Learned in 2015.”

It cracks me up when I see lists like this. 50 Best Cars…so, like…ALL the cars of 2015, then? I think they just try to one up each other. I think the folks at BuzzFeed brainstorm or interface or idea-share or whatever they call it to try and come up with a list that cannot be topped.

“Let’s see if we can think of a list that will dwarf all other lists,” some asshole in an ill-fitting plaid shirt says as he pushes thick-framed, lensless glasses up his nose.

Stanley gulps, though whether because of genuine panic or simply discomfort the starched bow tie pressing against his Adam’s apple creates is undetermined. “Dave,” he rasps. “You’re talking about…the Golden List.”

The group gasps as one, but Dave is undeterred. He holds up a perfectly manicured hand, mostly to flash the sweet 1986 Casio calculator watch he found at a yardsale that sometimes even works, and the group stills. “Yes.”

The one word gets the hipsters riled enough to forget their corporate catchphrases. “That’s fucking nuts!” someone shouts. “It’s a pipe dream, Dave!” says another.

“This is it,” Dave shouts above the din of the crowd. Everyone settles back down. “I said it in January and I meant it. This is OUR year. We’re not leaving this office until we finally do it. I want everyone to network and give each other input and no one is leaving until we come away with the Golden List.”

Stanley hitches up his high waisted acid washed jeans he’s totally wearing ironically, duh, and takes a deep breath. “You do know that’s the top, right? That’s the pinnacle. If we create the world’s most comprehensive list, it’s all downhill from there. We’ll never be able to beat it.”

Dave removes the annoying empty frames, stares long and hard at his expectant hispt-herd, and finally utters, “Then we go out in a blaze of glory, my friends. Who’s with me?”

50 cars. 80 breakfasts. 101 life hacks… I tried to do a Google search for “longest compilation lists,” “longest year end wrap up lists,” and “longest dumb lists of shit that happened in 2015,” but I simply confused the Google Overlords. They still think I want a list of armed conflicts near large rivers. Should make my autofill even more interesting next time.

Things happened this year. More things did not. We were great at realizing problems, but really shitty at fixing them. We’ve got to work on that in 2016. We’ve had some deaths, some more personal than others, and some births. Folks set records, smashed records, invented records, and some even recorded records, though they won’t just call them “records” anymore and that’s super annoying. There was a lot to 2015.

I look back on the news, the media, the trends and stories and pop culture ebbs and flows. What do I want to talk about in terms of the year we’re leaving behind? I have spent the year blogging. I got most of it out of my system when it happened. Something grabbed my attention, I hopped on and “Mornin’ all-ed”, and walked away feeling lighter and freer. I generally don’t need to recap, since it’s all archived and anyone is free to look back on their own if they want.

However, there is something nagging me that I need to get off my chest before I can move forward. Somehow I missed the news when it came out, and then it became awkward to talk about apropos of nothing. But that’s what year end round ups are for, right? It’s a time to have one last chance to air your grievances before you close the calendar, throw it away, and start fresh.

With that in mind, here’s Bethie’s Huge Annoyance of 2015. I’m not even going to try and compete for the Golden List award. It’s really simple. Just one thing.

This:

hoverboard

THIS IS NOT A HOVERBOARD!!! It doesn’t hover. It doesn’t even come CLOSE to hovering. It’s on GODDAMN WHEELS for crying out loud. It’s AT BEST a crooked skateboard. It’s not innovative. It’s not the “future”. It’s just a board with spinny wheels on it. WHEELS. No hovering capabilities whatsoever. The emperor is naked and it’s time someone stood up and said something.

STOP CALLING IT A FUCKING HOVERBOARD!!!!! GAAAHHH!!!!

*exhausted panting* *deep breath* *slicks back crazy wayward lock of hair* *clears throat*

There. NOW I’m ready for 2016.

Thus concludes the last Musing for 2015. I say this every year, and every year some dope ignores the good advice. If you want to usher in 2016 by getting utterly shit faced, cheers! Now, grab a couch. A floor. Be the huddled mass in the bathtub moaning all night. Whatever you do, DON’T DRIVE AFTER YOU DRINK!! Any is too many. I hope everyone gets to wake up tomorrow morning with a headache, cotton mouth, and a nagging suspicion that the lampshade and goat weren’t actually a dream…

Why all the anger, brah?

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Mornin’ all.

My cat is running around the house carrying with her a “plastic bag of invisibility.”

Look, cats are weird. We all know that. Mine seems to believe that all plastic bags have mystical powers. She honestly seems to think we can’t see her when she sticks her head under one. If she’s playing the chase game with the kids, she’ll use a bag the same way we used the couch during a rainy day of indoor tag when we were young. Bag is safety. Can’t be tagged “it” when she’s touching the bag.

Sometimes when there’s no one to play with and she’s feeling kitten-y, she’ll take her bag with her from room to room and try and start shit.

I haven’t had enough coffee for shit to be started, and I am the only one awake. Sorry, kitty.

I went shopping yesterday. At a dollar store. The day before Christmas Eve. What an odd experience. I have been to dollar stores often enough that I don’t really know why I would have expected otherwise. A lady had a problem with my hair.

“Huh?”

Yeah, that’s about the only acceptable reaction. She got mad when I didn’t respond how she wanted and went off to the cashier about my hair. *shrug* Dunno.

A dude was trying on socks.

Socks.

Right in the aisle of the dollar store, he took off his own shoe and sock and tried on the dollar socks. I don’t have any idea why someone would do this. First, they’re socks. Who tries on socks? And then there’s the price point. It’s a buck. For a three pack. Was he testing quality? Because if that was his goal, then no matter how well they fit, he was going to be sorely disappointed.

My cashier was a very nice and polite woman with tragically unfortunate make up.

I don’t wear make up. Every time I tried to use it, it stuck to my face, which was entirely unpleasant. I’m told that is the entire point of make up, so I guess we were never really destined to get along. Also, I hate that women are expected to dip themselves in lacquer every day while men get to actually use their own faces.

I’m just saying that I might not have the strongest grasp of beauty product application. However, my cashier used a foundation that was probably five shades too dark for her skin. It was a reverse Geisha look, and it was somehow far creepier. Her hair was on point, though. Wicked fancy style with curls in and updo that looked so out of place on a dollar store cashier that I kind of wanted to high five her for it.

The cashier in the register behind me told Crazy Hair Lady, “Happy Holidays.” That earned a death glare. The woman snatched her bags, threw them in the cart, and sniped, “It’s ‘Merry Christmas’!”

“Uh oh, Bethie. I know that tone of voice…”

That sentiment is also splashed across Ye Olde Booke of Faces today. I’ve got to be honest.

“No. No, you don’t.”

I have seen this over and over and over, and it really pisses me off when people…

“Bethie no! Not today of all days! Don’t try and stir the pot on Christmas Eve!”

…complain about the phrase, “Happy Holidays.”

“…shit. *sigh* I tried to warn you.”

You did, and I’m sure my detractors will take note and not hold you responsible. Now, sit back down. I’m just getting started.

“Happy Holidays.” Why does one little term get people so angry?

In this nation, we tend to have a really difficult time understanding that we are not the absolute. We’re really very bad at looking at our country as part of a bigger picture. I’m not knocking us. I’m actually pretty sure that the folks in every nation feel the same. Hell, we’re probably even hardwired to, when you get right down to it. On a purely scientific level, our ancestors would have had to believe that they were the most important in order to have the drive to keep their cave families alive.

I don’t fault us for it. But now that we have the internet with its instant access to the lives and living rooms of the rest of the world, we’ve got to start opening our eyes. We’re NOT the shit. No single group of people is. Everyone is different and that’s not only okay in societal terms, it’s necessary for the overall health of our species.

So for the good of humanity itself, let’s take a look at some Christmas facts.

The holiday we call “Christmas” here in the United States has, overall, very little to do with Christmas. The first Christmases were deeply religious. We’re not talking like a couple years for the holiday to catch on. We’re talking CENTURIES of strictly religious Christmases. There were no bells and whistles. No wreaths and happy carols. Unfortunately for the monks, no tasty cakes and cookies, and definitely, absolutely, positively no gifts.

From a theological standpoint, Christmas is supposed to be a “celebration”…of the soul. It’s supposed to be a time to reflect on God giving his child to the world for eternal spiritual salvation. In fact, the early centuries of Christmas observations were times for deep praying and fasting, not singing and feasting.

Over the years, the holiday slowly changed. As the Christian crusaders started to spread across the globe, they adapted and, in some cases, flat out adopted local customs into their own religion. Caroling, a tradition that dates back to the Romans who sang at every public event, not just religious ones, was started in the fourth century by monks. They sang dirges. In Latin. The point was to remind people of the somberness of the day.

How fun.

Actually, I bet locals felt about the same for those carolers as we do today. “Oh shit, Igor. It’s those monks singing in a language we don’t understand trying to make us feel guilty for eating our gruel.” “Blow out the candle, Olga, and maybe they’ll go away.”

Boughs of evergreens came into the scene when the Christians spread north. In all fairness, the early Christian crusaders probably realized hanging evergreen boughs in a closed up winter keep was a most excellent idea. They took the stank off the joint. I mean, back in those days, all food scraps were thrown on hay rushes on the floor to be either eaten or ignored by the dogs. And then left to rot. Until SPRING. I’m guessing the early Christian crusaders said, “I believe thy Lord has spoken unto me, and he hath conceded yon evil pagans mighteth be onto something,” as they pinched their noses in their own smelly homes.

The happiness and joy of the holiday didn’t come until people, most famously Saint Nicholas, began to give the child laborers a little extra pick-me-up in homage to the gift God gave to the world. He was actually a real person who stuffed things in stockings for local children to make their lives a little brighter. I mean, the kids still had to get back to scrubbing out chimneys and carrying coal and falling in wells and shit, but at least they got an orange first.

Oddly, ol’ St. Nicky there wasn’t the only one who decided to stuff gifts in footwear. I guess since they didn’t have cardboard or tupperware, options were limited. Still…foot fetish much? Anyway, Scandinavian children used to put offerings in their shoes and leave them outside for Odin’s horse, and Odin would be happy and leave them candy in trade.

Gift-giving itself wasn’t a Christmas tradition, either, until it was borrowed from other religions.

“Uh uh uh. Nope. Sorry, but I’ve got you there, Bethie. The Three Wise Men. BOOM.”

Hang on. Don’t drop that mic just yet.

The wise men gave the gifts TO Jesus, and Jesus only. Not to each other. Not to the animals laying around. They didn’t even bring Mary a little something for her effort of giving birth in a damn barn. Not even a sampler of chocolate or a “World’s Best Mom” balloon or anything. Bad form, Wise Men.

Exchanging gifts between human beings at Christmas is another borrowing from pagans, with strong historical evidence suggesting it’s directly from a tradition for the pagan celebration of Saturnalia. Again, the evergreen boughs totally made sense to the new religious pioneers trying to convert pagans to Christianity, and so did gift-giving when the crusaders thought about it.

Gift-giving between human beings on Earth was a far more demonstrative way of honoring the gift of the man they considered to be their savior. It was a physical way to show their understanding of the holiday, and one even those who had no fucking clue what they were talking about in Latin could understand. “I’m giving you a gift like God gave our people Jesus. I won’t take the gift away. It will always be yours no matter what. God and Jesus? Ditto.”

When you think about it, gift-giving on Christmas became a very effective way for crusaders to show the locals what the holiday was all about in a very succinct nutshell. It was pretty much the best way to explain everything they meant in terms everyone could understand. I mean, sure, they could have impregnated a virgin, but even in those times, that was considered tres declasse.

“BETHIE!!!”

…hm…*strokes beard*…*nods slowly*…Yeah, now I see it. A step too far there. Sorry.

“*haughty sniff* So you’re just against Christmas.”

No! Not at all.

I might not be a religious sort, but I was raised in a Christian household. The holiday season was always filled with magic and happiness, and I love Christmas for those memories and my personal family traditions. I love the lessons taught through giving. I love the idea of salvation, personal or spiritual or other. I love the trees and the lights and the songs and the hope. All of these things are messages that I have decided to borrow from Christians, because I think they DO pertain to my life, and I believe my life is better when I stop and take a few moments in an otherwise dark and dreary season to enjoy and appreciate those messages.

The difference is, when I borrow, I’m not going to forget where those traditions started. I’m just not going to pretend that all the traditional “Christmas” stuff we do wasn’t taken from other religions, and then completely ignore that those other religions exist.

There are over a dozen major religious holidays that followers of other religions celebrate around this time of year.

“Yeah, but those are small religions. There are tons of Christians in the world.”

2.2 billion, actually. 2.2 billion people truly celebrate Christmas, not just posers like me who did it for the modern meaning more than the actual religious observance. That seems like a lot of friggin’ people!

…until you realize that nearly 5 billion people do NOT celebrate Christmas. And though I’ll be the first to admit my relationship with math is almost as non-existent as my relationship with make up, I get that 2.2 is less than half of 5.

If you are one of those people who gets angry at “Happy Holidays,” you’ve got some serious thinking to do now. I’ve told you the facts. You’ve read them. They cannot be unseen or unknown. At this point, it’s up to you. You can now go one of two ways.

You can realize and accept that not only are you a minority, but your Christmas is actually based on a wonderful amalgamation from many different religions, get okay with that, and start wishing them a happy season anyway…

Or you can ignore all the facts, and keep getting angry and “correcting” people who say “Happy Holidays.” The choice is yours, but I have to be honest. If you go with the latter, you’re going to sound like a dick.

Don’t be a dick. It’s almost Christmas.

Thus concludes a long-winded Holiday Musing for Christmas Eve, 2015. To everyone who celebrates Christmas, I hope you have a wonderful holiday tomorrow! For those who celebrate other holidays, I hope you have a wonderful holiday as well! For those who don’t celebrate anything, I hope you realize you’re alive and reading this and that alone is worthy of celebration. And to everyone, Happy Holidays, whatever those may be!

Thanksgiving in an alternate universe is pretty rad…

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Mornin’ all.

I see I’ve got a few early risers today! Getting those birds in the oven, are we? Well, help yourself to the coffee. It’s not good. In fact, it’s fairly terrible. But it’s free and it gets the job done. You need a kick in the ass, and this will most definitely flip your turbo switch. Chew a stick of chalk after you swallow. I find it helps with the burn.

“I think I’ll pass, Bethie.”

Really? Don’t you have a Thanksgiving meal to prepare? Hm? One that’s going to be eaten by your in-laws, your self-righteous cousin, and the older sibling you’ll never quite live up to?

“… … … GIMME ALL THE COFFEES!!!”

That’s the spirit! Just make the stuffing soft. You really aren’t going to want to bite down after that java strips all your tooth enamel. Trust me.

So it’s Thanksgiving! I’ve waxed eloquent on the T-days of my childhood in previous blogs. If you don’t know that my grandfather was an accomplice in piscecide, you really should go into my backlogs and check it out. Don’t worry, the statute of limitations had long run out before I told the tale. I’m no stoolie.

If you go back and look, or if you’ve got a decent memory, you know that my childhood Thanksgivings were damn near the lyrics to the song “Over the River and Through the Woods”…er, only with a mini van instead of the sleigh. You know the song. Your second grade music teacher used to make you sing it over and over and over in the month leading up to Thanksgiving.

Over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house we go,

The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh through the white and drifting snow—Oh!

….Over the river and through the woods trot fast my dapple gray,

Spring over the ground like a hunting hound for this is Thanksgiving Day!

That’s the abbreviated club remix. Sorry about the extra bass. Skrillex needed somewhere to spin this holiday and I felt bad for the little guy, ya know? Go get some pie, Skrillex. And please try not to spin it this time, k?

Sorry, folks. He’s a little more of a handful than I imagined.

*smooshy smooshy bwaaaahhhh splatsplatsplat gwaaaaahhh boop splosh*

SKRILLEX! NO! Eat the pie. EAT it!

*hangs head* *shuffles away*

Yikes.

ANYWAY, that song is old fashioned, yet when you hear it (extra bass and all) you get an image, a feeling. It’s special. It’s excitement. It’s a crystal wine glass that you absolutely mustn’t touch, young lady! It’s a holiday, a real, true holiday. THAT was a Thanksgiving when I was a child.

Now?

Look, families have peaks and dips, ebbs and flows with generations. One generation is little enough to want to hide under the snacks table with their cousins and try to snitch extra treats, while the older generation wants to commiserate about having said snacknappers, and the grandpas and great-aunts happily munch cheese in the corner easy chairs.

But then something happens. Time moves on. Soon the little imps are no longer under the table. They are big enough and old enough to start wanting to branch out, to go other places, to start being adults themselves. Some of the adults move, either physically or temporally, and one day, you find that there’s too much uneaten cheese, and empty chairs at a once full table.

I’m not trying to be a downer. Life just happens. Right now the little kids are no longer little, the adults have shuffled off or simply away, and we’ll have to mark time until the elder teens become adults themselves and start providing a new batch of snack-stealing cuties.

A LONG TIME FROM NOW, TEENAGERS. AFTER YOU’RE DONE SCHOOL AND HAVE JOBS AND HOUSES AND MET YOUR PERSONAL GOALS FIRST!! I DON’T REGRET YOU FOR ONE SECOND, BUT I WANT BETTER FOR ALL OF YOU!!!

*achem* Sorry. Just had to make that clear in case any of them are reading this. Babies shouldn’t start happening for awhile yet.

So we’re not doing a bird today.

“*collective gasp from the internet*”

Oh shit. Now Skrillex is looking even more lost and sad. We’re having food, Skrillex. Just not turkey, okay? We’re doing our turkey on Sunday.

“But Bethie, that’s not Thanksgiving!”

…why not? The date is arbitrary anyway. And before you pick up your muskets and torches, it IS arbitrary. The Pilgrims did not dine in celebration with the Native Americans on November 26. Scholars believe the event that truly inspired the holiday happened perhaps as early in the year as July, and certainly not in 1620, as all the place cards we had to make in first grade led us to believe.

They also didn’t have much in the way of turkeys, certainly didn’t wear belt buckle hats, and definitely didn’t wear all black.

But just because we fudged the details doesn’t mean the spirit of the holiday isn’t legit. We should be thankful. We live in a country that might be far from perfect, but it’s certainly also far from the pits. We’ve got food available, clean water, mostly fresh air. There’s still a strong sense of community, even when those bonds are tested, and a genuine desire to find our way back to the top. We’ve got mountains and valleys, prairies and canyons, TWO oceans and so many rivers it’s impossible to see them all. Even if you feel that you’ve got nothing, if you live in this country, you’ve already got a whole lot.

When you look at it like that, does it matter if we sacrifice a turkey on Sunday instead of Thursday? No. No it does not.

Because we’re a blended family, I always let the Others schedule the teens and then do our bird later when the chickadees return to the roost. It makes it much easier than stomping my foot and having a temper tantrum that puts the kiddies in the middle. And it SUCKS to have to have one dinner here, then waste a perfectly good turkey coma by having to rush back to the other family’s house to try and cram in MORE turkey and stuffing. It makes the holiday stressful for a kid to be treated like an overfed yo-yo. Let them go eat other birds today, and then let them have their turkey comas in peace. It’s their right as Americans to eat one enormous meal and pass out on the couch to the sound of their grandfather arguing about the football game with their loud uncle.

Today, it’s just the youngest pup, the guy, and myself at home. Oh, yeah, and Skrillex. We’re going to have Thanksgiving pizza.

*Skrillex perks up*

Get that look off your face right now, young man! YOU CAN’T SPIN THAT EITHER! Geez. Every round thing and he’s just GOT to give it a whirl… *exasperated sigh* Where was I?

Pizza. While not traditionally a Thanksgiving meal, I’ve got to think that if it had been available to them back in the 1600’s, the Native Americans would have just called out for pizza when the Pilgrims were hungry and starving. Would you really want to cook for all those people while you were trying to ready your village for winter? Hm?

The Native American husband would have come home, slung a handful of rabbits on the table. His wife would have said, “Better get cleaned up. We’ve got that dinner with the Smyths.” The husband would have groaned and tried to wheedle out of it. “You said you wanted to be good neighbors,” she’d remind him in that universal tone all wives through history have used. “Fine!” he’d say. “I’ll get cleaned up.” She’d nod, never doubting that he’d get in line, and then remind him that they had to bring the food, too. He’d groan and roll his eyes, then say, “I’ve been out hunting all day, and you’ve been gathering corn and weaving. How about we swing by Little Caesars?” She’d pull a face. “We can’t bring that cheap shit to dinner!” He’d slowly grin. “Why not? They’re Pilgrims, dear. Have you SEEN what they call food? They’re not going to know the difference.” She’d hem and haw, but in the end, they’d have shown up at the first Thanksgiving with ten Hot n’ Ready pizzas.

And the Pilgrims would have rejoiced and given many thanks, for even a Hot n’ Ready piece of shit pizza would have been better than boiled acorn mash.

The day of the week doesn’t matter. The meal doesn’t matter. Today, I’m celebrating the Thanksgiving that could have been, and might possibly be in another universe. On Sunday when I have my teens back home, we’ll celebrate the Thanksgiving that never actually was, at least not on our world. And every single day I’ll be thankful for being where I am, for who I’m with, and for what I have.

*Skrillex drops a poignant beat*

Exactly, man. Exactly.

Thus concludes a quick T-day or P-day, if you’re of the mind, Musing for Thursday, November 26, 2015. Everyone, have a fantastic day today, no matter what you eat or who you eat it with! I’m off to start the pizza dough. Come on, Skrillex. You can finally put those mad spinning skills to work. I’ll mix the dough, and you knead it for me. “Like remixing?” …sure, buddy. Just like that. *rolly eyes*

I roamed and rambled, only without the pesky “roaming”…

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Mornin’ all.

Family Holiday turned out fantastic! Great weather…perfect, in fact. Low 80s, but dry with a light breeze and plenty of shady trees to sit under. Great people. We had a couple folks pop in and they joined the revelry. Great kids, who didn’t have one single argument (except when they played a few rounds of Smash Bros. together, but with five kids taking turns smashing bros, that’s just part of the deal). The food came out awesome *toot toot of my own horn* and the stupid little games we had went over well. The teens at least tolerated most of them. That’s all I can ask! Sunday was perfect.

Yesterday, however, was not. I always say that life is a pendulum. Sunday was definitely the peek of the arc. Yesterday…yesterday was one of “those” days. I suppose if I didn’t have “those” days, I wouldn’t appreciate the Sundays as much. But jeez, Fate. I’m not stupid and you didn’t need to brow beat me. I could have inferred that lesson and still had at least one thing go right yesterday.

It started with the naive belief that I could emerge victorious from a battle with a mutinous appliance. I wrestled with my washing machine. AGAIN. Third time trying to fix it in less than a year. This time, it fought back.

Naw dude, you don’t even understand. It literally fought back. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but when I was unfastening the last bolt to remove the gear case, the whole internal assembly…shifted? Gained sentience just to eff me over? Harnessed the wisdom of a thousand Whirpool senseis to know the precise moment to launch a stealthy counter offensive? Dunno. What I *do* know is that I dragged myself out of the ring and hit the bell with a bleeding finger, a throbbing hand, and bruises on both my leg and my ego.

She won, folks. Long and short, I tasted the acrid tang of defeat. She sits there, looming uselessly in the corner. The outer casing that was sloppily slapped back together is slightly askew, tilting to one side in a sneer that lends an air of smug defiance.

I hate that washing machine. It’s a bubbling pool of loathing in the back of my throat that will not go away. Oh, my kingdom for a wrecking ball!

In the foul mood this clearly brought about, I went to the store. I hit a pothole so massive that I’m not entirely positive it wasn’t a portal to a different dimension. My beastie let out a blood-curdling scrape. I didn’t look. I haven’t looked. I’m too scared that I’ll get down and see a cartoonishly jagged rip underneath. We’re going with the Wile E. Coyote theory on this one and hoping for the best. As long as we don’t look, all is well.

Had to go to the school to pick up the youngest. He got out late, and we sat there. And sat there. And sat there, in the sticky and humid rain that was so hard we could only crack our windows, waiting for some selfless person to let us in the exit line. Didn’t happen. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my two decades of driving, it’s that rain erases all kindness on the road. “You want to get out? Well SCREW YOU! Can’t you see that it’s RAINING? What kind of moron would expect me to stop my three mile per hour escape to let them get to the road first in the RAIN? Pfft. Newb.”

It took twelve minutes. Twelve minutes of sitting there in a hot and steamy car in the rain watching the smirking faces of all the people who wanted to badly to flip me off and laugh as they passed, but knew they had to keep it together because the kids were in the car.

Did I mention the kiddo had to pee?

AND IT WAS RAINING???

Have you ever had to sit immobile in a steamy car in the rain for twelve minutes with a kid who had to pee? I’d rather not do that one ever again, Fate, k thx.

When I finally got out of the parking lot, I almost got pegged by my asshole neighbor who thinks every time he pulls out of the drive he’s suddenly transported to Talladega. He had the audacity to flip ME off for daring to drive on a public highway when HE wanted to peel out. I know. I’m such a douche like that. Then dinner was late, I knocked over an open soda can in the fridge (seriously, who leaves an open can of soda in the fridge? Either drink that shit or dump it out. Bad teenagers, bad.)

I guess what I’m saying is that it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad…

“Achem, Bethie? As your legal advisor, I must interject and stop you before you finish that phrase. You do not have the licensing rights to use it, in whole or in part.”

Oopsie! Almost forgot. Thanks. Let’s just hope Judith Viorst isn’t reading this.

*Author’s note: DUDE I totally mean the exact opposite of that. How flippin’ amazing would it be if Judith Viorst actually IS reading this? If you’re looking, Hey Jude! Don’t take it bad…*

“BETHIE NO!! DO NOT even THINK of continuing THAT one!!!”

*Jeez, chill, man. I said it as an aside between asterisks. Everyone knows an aside can’t be considered in a lawsuit as long as you put it between asterisks.*

“*blink**blink*…you have no idea how the law works, do you?”

*Of course not. I wouldn’t dream of stepping on your toes. Hey, can we just get back to the Muse now?*

Okay, okay, I’ll admit that as bad days go, it wasn’t exactly horrible. It wasn’t even in my top hundred list of bad days. But jeepers, one thing after the other just grates on my nerves, ya know?

Today has dawned with clear skies. I’ll take that as a good omen. It’s also the last day of school for the little one, who is already up and raring to go on the couch, finding it impossible to contain his excitement. I don’t mind an excited kid, but he’s not sticking to Morning Rule #1: No talking to Mum before the first cup of coffee is down the hatch. I’m giving him a pass, because I know just how much he’s itchy for this school year to end. I’ve got my headphones on so I can’t hear him, but he’s bopping around just in the edge of my vision and do you have any idea how utterly annoying that is and…hang on a sec. I’ll be right back.

…back. I handed him his tablet and he is now watching hilarious YouTube videos.

“Digital bribery?”

Stop raising that eyebrow at me because it’s not going to work. I’ve been at this parenting thing far too long to look at bribery as a bad thing. First kid? Nope. Nuh uh. No way. By the book with strict limits and gentle pleading and reminders that he needed to behave for the sake of personal pride he’d feel at adhering to the rules of the house and…

Second kid? FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND FAIR AND JUST IN THIS WORLD, TAKE THIS MAGIC BOX OF ELECTRIC AWESOMENESS AND GO IN YOUR ROOM AND LET IT ENTRANCE YOU SO MUMMY CAN GET FIVE MINUTES OF PEACE!!

You bet your sweet bippy I use digital bribery.

There were a couple news items I wanted to bring up today, but I’ve already rambled quite a bit, so I’ll be brief.

“Is that even possible?”

I’m going to ignore that remark since your legal guidance has been extremely beneficial this morning. But I’m putting you on notice.

Anyway, the first story is that Donald Trump is running for president.

Let me know when you’re done laughing. Or groaning. Or ranting. Or simply fed up with political stories already and the damn election is still so far away. This is not the first time Donald has claimed he was running for president. Anyone want to take bets on whether he actually sticks with it this time?

Even if he doesn’t, our options are getting broader and broader, huh?

Imma give you a list of our current official candidates:

On the Dem side, we’ve got: Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O’Malley, and Lincoln Chafee.

On the Rep side, we’ve got: Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, Rick Perry, and now Donald Trump.

As well as those, there are several people who are openly still “feeling out” the public before they decide. I don’t like this. I know it’s part of politics, but if you need to spend months publicly “feeling out” people before you decide if you’ll be president, I don’t want you in the oval office. Period. If you can’t make up your own mind on what you want, then I have no time for your ego stroking shenanigans. Someone who gets the job should want the JOB, not just a prom court crown for being popular.

I’m on the fence with who to like among the candidates, though there are plenty to hate. That’s good. I mean, if we didn’t have at least a few controversial scum puppies in the fray, the elections would be a very boring process indeed. Imagine turning on the tv and only seeing GOOD ads! How utterly droll.

“Bethie, did I detect a hint of sarcasm?”

NO-OHHH. None at all.

Too soon to back anyone, but at the moment, I’m kind of liking the cow tipper. MAPLE SYRUP FOR LYFE, HAG.

The second bit of news, which honestly really does relate to the first in a way we, as a nation, really need to consider, is that the border patrol on our south western quarter is now classifying undocumented babies as “illegal workers” in an effort to get them deported faster.

Look, I’m all the way up here in NH. Our neighbor country in my neck of the woods is Canada. Would you believe that we don’t really have a problem with Canadians sneaking over the border? In fact, up here, sneaking is often done the OTHER direction.

Because of this, my life in terms of living with and understanding the day to day effects of illegal immigration from southern nations is very, very sheltered. I get that. I do. And I’m not even going to pretend otherwise. Why should I? My truth is that I live in part of the country that does not deal with ANY aspects of it. So believe me, I know my opinion should most definitely be taken with a grain of salt.

…or should it?

We once painted my Grammie’s kitchen for her while she was away. She loved green, so my dad got a nice, bright green. The sample didn’t look garish or anything and we happily painted the night away. We let it dry and came back the next morning, pleased with how well we did. It wasn’t until someone else came in and saw it and said, “MY GAWD that’s HIDEOUS!” that we were able to step back and see beyond the hours of work we put in to the color itself. It was, indeed, hideous.

But while we were in the thick of it, we couldn’t see that. We were too focused on dealing with the paint and the rollers and covering furniture and masking off the woodwork…we were too focused on the details to see the overall picture.

Electrified gecko, by the way. That’s what I’d now call that color. Hid-e-ous.

Maybe me living in the US outside the divided “war” zone of immigration problems gives me not a sheltered view, but an overall look at the bigger picture that people who are in the thick of things can’t see for themselves?

The story about the babies being migrant workers goes like this. Classically, the forces that handle illegal immigration cases (from cops and agents, to lawyers and judges) don’t really consider babies to be threats.

Oh, how naive, right? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: All babies are just a hair’s breadth away from shanking you with a binkie.

They’ve conned the nation, though, and since folks buy into the “helpless” persona, babies aren’t viewed as a threat, and classically, deportation cases involving babies have been pushed to the side in our system that is overwhelmed and bogged down. The system puts a low priority on deporting babies, and instead focuses attention on captured adults. (And of those captured adults, they really only have the time and resources to really pursue folks who have committed crimes outside of simply being here illegally, or those whom the government has deemed a threat.)

The US border patrol sees the problem differently. Since many people come to the US illegally to have their babies on US soil, thus making the infants US citizens, they believe that cracking down on deporting babies will send a message to anyone considering crossing the border illegally. To make the cases a higher priority and to get more attention, the border patrol has…upped (?) their game (I’m not sure you’d call it that, but they really did go from zero to a billion) by listing the babies as illegal migrants who have done other illegal things, such as receive fraudulent welfare/social service benefits and illegally obtained identification paperwork to seek work. This is a big no-no right now, because the only thing the US hates more than non-working undocumented workers is tax-paying working ones.

In a nutshell, in the minds of the border patrol, labeling babies as illegals looking to steal resources and jobs puts a big red flag on the cases and they’ll be fast tracked and dealt with so swiftly that any expecting parents in southern nations wouldn’t even consider hopping the border before Jr. is born.

There are a couple problems with their theory, though.

First, anyone who is desperate enough to get out of their current situation for a shot at a better life for Jr. will not- I repeat- WILL NOT follow the case law for deportation of babies. They just won’t. They do not care. These are people who are poor or scared or so strung out living the life they have that they are willing to risk death itself for a shot at something that might be better. The decision to come to the US illegally to have a baby is NOT about what they can get from the US, but what they can give their child. Period.

And secondly…THEY ARE BABIES, ASSHOLES. No one, not a single cop, agent, lawyer or judge is going to look at the “rap” sheet of an 11 day old baby (true case, folks. 11 days old. DAYS.) and consider the individual to be dangerous. No one.

We need reasonable approaches to immigration reform, and arresting babies just isn’t it. All this does is make the US look like even bigger douchebags on the international front. Serious problems need serious solutions. I think they just took a company poll, put the suggestions on the Wheel of Fortune, and gave it a spin. That is honestly the only way I can think this idea became policy.

Hold on a sec…this just in. We have a breaking news story. Donald Trump has made a statement on his ideas for immigration reform:

“When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best. They are not sending you. They are sending people that have lots of problems, and they are bringing those problems to us. They are bringing drugs and they are bringing crime, and they’re rapists.”

*crickets**crickets*

Donald Trump, ladies and gentlemen. Your latest 2016 presidential candidate.

“…you got any more of those Maple Syrup stickers kicking around, Bethie?”

Thus concludes a very long winded Muse for Wednesday, last day of school 2015. Honestly, if you stuck around this long, I’m duly impressed! That’s an extra hour of YouTube for you, my friend! Now be a good kid and don’t shank anyone with your binkie while Mummy goes and works on the car…