I’ll take a mentally challenged duck over that old confused rooster any day of the week…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

Yesterday when I got home from work, the weather was perfect. It was about 70 degrees, sunny but not aggressively so as the high, fluffy clouds casually meandered across the sky. Birds were chirping, the kids at the daycare next door were laughing as they played outside, the very confused duck who’s been living in what is essentially a puddle in the back yard was yammering in response to the distant sound of a chainsaw.

As the afternoon rolled along and people started arriving home from work, the distinct sound of lawnmowers echoed through the valley.

Those who don’t live in a climate that gets a deep winter might not understand the psychological yuckiness (official term) of being surrounded by dead things for months on end. Everything is brown or gray. The naked trees, the half melted snow banks, the hills…even the evergreens lose their luster and take on a dark, brownish existence.

We had a long and particularly assholish winter this year. The past few weeks were spent searching the crusty piles of dead leaves for tips of green poking through. It wasn’t really until last week that spring began to arrive with gusto. While the trees are still pretty stark, with only a few species popping their buds enough to provide shade, the lawns are really beginning to change the cold, unwelcoming earthen blanket from drab to fab.

We survived the winter, and now we’re rewarded with a green lawn.

Better hurry up and cut that shit down!

We humans are very silly. I LONGED to look out my window and see verdant signs of life, and now that I have the view I craved, I’m thinking about what I need to do for spring time mower maintenance before I can hack it to smithereens.

If there is a Mother Nature, she’s probably very confused. “Hold on a sec. You people asked for grass. You begged me to end the long winter. BEGGED!! And now that I gave you everything you wanted, you’re cutting it down?”

Well, yes. I mean, look at it. It’s…long. And just…so…grassy. Besides, it’s full of dandelions.

“You don’t like the flowers? I grew them just for you. I think they add a little pop of color.”

Dandelions aren’t flowers. They’re weeds. Ew.

“And what the HELL are those big scissors for?”

You can’t expect me to leave the bushes as you grew them. Honestly, what would the neighbors think?

“I worked all winter long to come up with the perfect décor. You think this is easy? You think all I do is wave a magic wand and *poof* it’s spring? It takes time, planning, dedication…are you even listening?”

Hm? What? Sorry, didn’t hear you. I was looking up the cost of spark plugs for mowers. Think I could get away with just cleaning the old ones?

“You know what? You people deserve a long, cold winter!”

…soooo…is that a no on the cleaning?

Hey! Where are you going? Mother Nature? *door slam*

Sheesh. Some people are so touchy.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Tuesday, May 8, 2018. I am off to not mow my lawn. I have other priorities today. I’ve got company coming in a week and a half and nowhere for them to sit. I’m going to get a shovel and a box of trash bags and start in on the dining room. Yep. I’m tackling the hoard. If you don’t hear from me, that means I lost. Tell my family I love them.

Advertisements

I’m back, and boy do I have a great idea…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

Why don’t people tailgate at craft fairs?

“Uh, Bethie? You okay over there?”

I was driving home from dropping Teen Prime off at work, and an ad came on the radio for tickets to minor league ball games. They were advertising a partnership with stores that sell the tickets, and mentioned that folks should stop in and get tailgating supplies while they were at it. They said something about also not forgetting poster board and body paint to show their spirit.

In New England, we have a series of yearly craft fairs that fill the calendar. There’s a circuit of them, on a fairly standard schedule. During spring and summer, they take place at different outdoor venues, often as part of farmers or flea markets. In the colder months, they’re most often held in the basements of whichever local church draws the short straw.

Except for the Catholics. They don’t do “craft fairs”. Craft fairs are banal events attended by uncouth swine. *sniff* Catholics hold Christmas bazaars.

The people who attend these crafting events are the same people year in and year out. Once in awhile, they’ll drag along new blood, and of course they raise their children in the die hard craft culture. The point is, the craft world has a very dedicated core group of fans who seasonally plan their weekends around attending these fairs. They are just as ravenous as sports fans.

Why doesn’t society allow us to pregame a craft show with the same fervor and dedication as sports fans?

“Bethie, I highly doubt the people who go to these craft shows would be the tailgating type.”

Are you smoking crack? We’re talking about a group of people that gets giddy at the mere mention of naturally dyed wool. Their panties don’t just get wet at the thought of hand pressed card stock, they get BEDAZZLED. Do you think that level of fandom happens without wine? Granny would pregame the shit out of a craft fair if it was accepted by society.

Think about it.

We have grown ass men and women who cover their bodies in paint and glitter while holding up a hand painted neon sign to support their sports team. Paint and glitter? They stole that shit from us! Aren’t those supplies the very BACKBONE of the crafting world? And who do you think makes the snacks for the sporting tailgaters? I bet behind every family’s tailgate tradition was a mum who loved the hell out of her family, her team, and her secret Lil’ Smokies sauce recipe. It’s a no brainer, folks. It’s like this shit was made for the crafting world.

Why isn’t this already a thing??

I don’t often take a stance on an important issue. But, I am going to right here, right now. I am officially throwing my support and the support of this entire blog behind this movement. Let’s take back the glitter and paint. Let’s reclaim our secret kielbasa sauce recipe. Let’s pop open those bottles of Merlot while eagerly betting on who’s going to have a Pinterest worthy table and who’s going to end up on a bad craft sub-Reddit. Let’s cut the bullshit machismo and let the crafters party.

Who’s with me?

Thus concludes a new format Musing that I’m going to try out for Tuesday, May 1, 2018. I’m going to try shorter formats. Life has shifted, and my mornings have become busy. I’m going to see if just a quick blog allows me to pipe up with these million dollar ideas more often.

I think I’m morally obligated to fill the plastic eggs with actual raw eggs…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

Did I tell you about the cheese under the cake case?

The other day at work, my boss was stocking the tables with muffins and crème cakes and all sorts of unhealthy deliciousness, when something under my cake case caught her eye. It was a Longhorn gift card, one that had been taken off the large round display of gift cards for sale in the bakery.

My boss picked it up, then recoiled. It seems that the card was placed under the case to hide…cheese. Two slices, with bites taken around the edges. Looked like provolone. Cheese slice middles, sitting there, under a gift card under a cake case.

The deli is our store neighbor. The rounder of gift cards sits slightly toward the deli, right on our departmental border.

This is a thing that actually happened. Someone got a sample of cheese from the deli, wandered over and grabbed a gift card, then placed the cheese on the floor and covered it up with the gift card. And then they simply walked away.

Why.

WHY!?

Why would anyone do this? HOW could they even think it up in the first place? We have trash cans. We have napkins. Shit, even if they didn’t realize that and were just looking to ditch the unwanted cheese, why go the extra step of hiding it under a gift card?

I have never in my life taken a sample of something and hated it so much that I needed to hide all evidence of it ever having been a part of my life. Who does that? WHO IS THIS PERSON?? Who could even have this thought process in the first place? What else have they done in life?!??!

We’ve got some maniacs in this world, people. Stay vigilant.

So today is both Easter and April Fool’s Day!

Now, I could very easily make a joke here. Too easily, actually. I mean, it writes itself, when you think about it. Instead, I think I’ll make jokes about other things. Cue the music, because we need a…

*** EASTER/FOOL’S ROUNDUPSTRAVAGANZA!!!! ***

I have been gathering headlines for a month now, hoarding them as only a truly mentally unstable individual can. Some of them are dated, most of them are actually old news by now, but I’ve got to clean out the mental shelves and make room for more. It’s spring, after all, even if the weather’s not that keen on cooperating.

Those in the know are familiar with the schtick, but for any newbs, here’s how it works: I find headlines that speak to me. Maybe they say, “Hm, here’s something interesting.” Perhaps they call, “…wtf?” Sometimes they just say, “Durrrhurrrrrr.” I scour, I search, I listen for these tag lines to call my attention, then present the choice ones to you…with jokes. Or commentary. Or, in some cases, a good ol’ soap box observation. As always, the headlines are completely real. I just make up the bs after.

Got it? Good. Let’s do this.

– Fourth Nor’easter in a Month Takes Aim At New England

Because apparently Nature lost her calendar.

– What Is A Shamrock Shake? What to Know About McDonald’s Iconic Dessert

People say real journalism is dead, but then a hard and gritty look at real life such as this piece comes along and renews our faith in the profession.

– Woman Restrained After Trying to Open Cabin Door During Flight

While that is definitely a fair response to such an action, I give it less than a month before we see a follow up headline announcing her lawsuit against the airline.

Oooh! New game idea, folks! Let’s make a lawsuit office pool. Here are the rules: Everyone pitches in $2. We’re going to bet on two different aspects: when the lawsuit is announced, and what exactly the woman is claiming. I’m going to say that her lawyers will announce a suit on April 3rd, and they’ll be requesting damages for excessive force. *ching-clang of quarters and nickles hitting the pot* Who’s next?

– Woman Falls From Plane Door

Different woman, different plane. I think my new game has already gone viral, but I’m not sure people are actually understanding the rules…

– Your Location Data is Being Sold- Often Without Your Knowledge

Wow holy shit! This is totally the fast breaking news story of 2002!

– Kim Jong Un Calls For a ‘New History’

…ummm…I don’t think that’s how it works…

– Fights Erupt, 12 Arrested Ahead of White Nationalist’s Speech

Huh. These are generally very calm events lacking emotions or heated convictions. In fact, it’s widely known that folks who attend these rallies do so in order to get away from the hustle and chaos of everyday life. I’ve often heard them compared to accounting symposiums. Weird that they’d do such a drastic 180.

– 36 Exotic Animals Disappear From Florida Wildlife Sanctuary After Fake ‘Help Yourself’ Ad

Don’t send me hate mail or anything, PETA, but I would watch the hell out of this movie.

– Washington Becomes First State to Pass Law Protecting Net Neutrality

Let us pause for a moment to give Washington a standing ovation. Join me now. *WILD CLAPPING* *WHISTLES* *HOOTS* *HOLLERS* *flings bra up on stage* Bravo, Washington. Now, everyone else…ditto that shit STAT.

– California Hospital on Quake Fault Set to Close

I once set an entire tray of cupcakes down on the counter at work and promptly knocked it to the floor with my elbow. Bad days on the job happen. However, I never built a hospital on an earthquake fault line. I don’t know, but that might just be a world record for incompetence. Someone check with Guinness.

– University Sends Acceptance Emails to Wrong Students

I hope you didn’t hang up on Guinness just yet…

– Teen’s Tears of Joy Go Viral After He’s Accepted to Dream School

Ohhh boy…ummmm…this is awkward…

– University Sends Acceptance Emails to Wrong Students

I’ve given this some thought, and I believe you really dodged a bullet here, kiddo. Yes, you will now spend the rest of your life trying to live down the viral fame of what was ultimately failure. BUT, if the university can’t even figure out how to email, do you really want to pay them $30K/year? Silver lining, bud. #IGYB

– Alligator in Florida Caught ‘Window Shopping’ at Store Called Junque In The Trunk

WOW. FYI, he wasn’t shopping, he was mourning the handbag that used to be his best friend. Maybe try to understand alligator culture a little before you try and make jokes. #GatorFeelings

– Army Admits Mishandling War Dogs, Will Comply With Call for Reform

Exactly how does one “properly” handle an innocent animal that’s forced against its will to participate in a life threatening war it had absolutely nothing to do with starting?? No jokes here, folks. This legitimately pisses me off. One species should not be able to rope another one into their personal war. At all, ever, no matter how they treat the animal in the not-getting-them-killed down times between missions. We have the ability to think and reason and agree on morality. We should be better than this.

– Panama Hotel Ditches Trump Branding

I would totally sit through the three hour presentation on the wonders of time-sharing at this hotel if it meant we could learn the secret of how to ditch Trump.

– White House Clarifies Trump-N.Korea ‘call’, says He Meant South Korea

*adds extra notebook to the suitcase while talking to Panama hotel rep about time-share presentation openings*

– Amid Leader’s Power Grab, China Bans These Three Phrases From the Internet

I couldn’t leave you hanging on this one. The phrases are “personality cult”, “my emperor,” and “Winnie the Pooh.” Winnie. The. Pooh. You don’t even need any details to enjoy it, do you?

– Analysis: Trump may have ‘done something…with Russians’, Says Former Aide

*spews coffee all over the place* *chair legs slam to the floor* *grips hair with unabashed shock* WHAAAA????

– The Clowns Are In Charge

No truer words have ever been spoken.

– Daycare Workers Gave Melatonin To Children At Naptime, Cops Say

At one point in life, I had four kids ranging in age from newborn to five. I never drugged them, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t empathize just a wee bit with this story.

– Attorney: Relatives Still Have ‘Great Love’ For Student Charged With Killing Parents

No they do not. They might be trying to hold on to the love, or trying to convince themselves that their love for the kid is actually infinite. But, it’s not, and that’s okay. The little shit straight up murdered people. It’s okay not to love him.

– Cops Train to Spot Drug Trafficking. Why Not Train to Spot Child Trafficking?

Because in this country, drugs and guns are more important than children. #FACT

– Grandma Brings Doritos Bag Full of Drugs to Prison, Cops Say

Oh, Granny. Your big mistake was bringing top shelf treats the corrections officers wanted to “confiscate” for their afternoon snack. If you had just put the drugs in a box of saltines, you wouldn’t have been caught.

– Microsoft is Optimizing Skype for Low-end Android Phones

“The peasants are demanding services, master.” “*scoff* I allowed them access to solitaire. What more could they possibly want?” “Perhaps if we were to deign to let them use a fifteen year old free app they’d be appeased?” “UGH. *rolly eyes* Fine. *wave hand* Throw them a bone.”

– The Moon Formed Inside a Hot Cosmic Doughnut, Scientists Say

Hot Cosmic Doughnut is an amazing name for an indie band. I’d buy that t-shirt.

– Any Life on Proxima B May Have Been Wiped Out Last Year

You have no idea how legitimately disappointed I am. The search continues.

– The Moon is Getting 4G Cell Service and Live Video Feed

Greaaat. Give the Nazi base on the far side of the moon even MORE of an edge on us. #TheTruthIsOutThere

– Everything Americans Know About Science in Seven Graphs

That it’s possible to accurately represent everything Americans know about science in only seven graphs speaks volumes of sadness and pain.

– Tangled ‘Particle’ Helps Scientists Model Rare Ball Lightning

If ever there was a time to create a super weapon out of a scientific discovery, this is it. Ball lightning guns may be our only shot at defeating the robot uprising. Fix the problem you created, scientists.

– NASA Wants to Send Humans to Mars in the 2030s- Here’s the Timeline

Why wait? I’ve got a pretty good list of people we can send right now.

“But Bethie, it’s still not safe enough. Their odds of surviving are slim to none.”

*quirked eyebrow*

“OHHHhhhh. I see.”

Get on it, NASA.

-Years-long Storm on Neptune Winds Down

“Years-long” storms? Maybe I shouldn’t bitch about snow in March.

– Vaping Delivers Cancer Causing Chemicals

Inhaling chemicals delivers chemicals to your body? I never would have guessed.

– Republican Candidate for Maine House Calls Parkland Survivor Emma Gonzalez A ‘Skinhead Lesbian’ In Series of Vile Tweets

Maine, heart to heart time: You are the only other New England state I tolerate. You know what you gotta do here. Throw this asshole’s shit out in the dooryard, tell him to move on up the way, and don’t let yourself slip down to Connecticut status in the rankings. I’m countin’ on ya, Maine.

– California Teacher Accidentally Fires Gun in Class, Students Injured

…yep. *sigh* Yep.

– Tiger Uses Snowblower in Goffstown

No details. Mystery is the spice of life.

– Theoretical Physicist Stephen Hawking Has Died at 76

I didn’t agree with some of his theories, and he was often a bit of a twat, but his contributions to our understanding of the universe have opened doors to paths we didn’t even know existed. Respect.

– O.J. Simpson Described ‘Blood and Stuff’ in Hypothetical Murder Scenario

How can anyone still doubt his guilt when he gives such detailed descriptions that only someone who was actually there would be able to share?? “Blood and stuff”? Could YOU come up with such minutiae? I don’t think so. Wake up, sheeple.

– President Envisions Space Force Someday in Military

Gotta fight dem moon Nazis. #THETRUTHISOUTTHERE

Elon Musk Poaching ‘The Onion’ Staffers For Secret Project

Brilliant, slightly insane scientist amassing an army of professional satirists? If this is how the world ends, I’m oddly okay with it.

– Cops Lose Snowball Fight

It’s the end of March, and there is still enough snow for a snowball fight. In fairness to the cops, I think EVERYONE loses this one.

– In Gun Control Marches, Students Led, But Adults Provided Key Resources

WHAT? I thought the kids rented the buses and drove themselves to the marches after busting open their piggy banks and pooling their change to pay for the permits! You mean the WHOLE THING WAS A SHAM??

– Self-taught Rocket Scientist Blasts Off Into California Sky

He built a rocket in his garage and blasted off into the air in an effort to prove the earth is flat. My dad once went to an industry convention to look at a new line of equipment for his machining company. At the convention, he actually met and interacted with a group of rocket scientists. He was always a space buff, and when I asked how it went with them, he said, “It was a big let down. I thought they’d be smarter. I think the only thing they do know is how to make a rocket.”

Dad’s hypothesis confirmed.

*ducks rotten tomato thrown by rocket scientist*

Fine. #NotAllRocketScientists …better?

– Is Your County Elections Clerk Ready for Russian Hackers?

This is NH. Odds are very good that at least half of our elections clerks still have to have their grandkids program their tv remotes. I’m going out on a limb and saying they’re probably not up on the latest internet security measures. On the plus, I doubt anyone’s trying to hack Window 98, so we should be fine.

– Crazed Girls Flood Parkland Shooter Nicholas Cruz With Money, Suggestive Pictures

Aha! I found it! The elusive “starting point” we’ve been searching for in the gun control debate. Let’s start banning people who send love letters to mass murders from ever owning a firearm. See how easy it is when you break it down to basics?

– Malala Yousafzai Returns To Pakistan for the First Time Since Shooting

This is the young woman who was shot in the head for going against sharia custom and promoting education for woman and girls. And then KEPT FIGHTING FOR IT. Just a little perspective for those who feel “persecuted” just because someone disagrees with them. An argument isn’t persecution. Getting shot in the fucking head for your belief is. There’s a difference, folks, and it matters.

– The Military Can’t Build Trump’s Wall. Here’s Why He Keeps Saying They Will.

Whaaa?? Why would he think they would? They aren’t contractors. Doesn’t Trump know what the military is supposed to do?

…oh. My. God. I don’t think he does. Holy shit. Guys, we’re in a lot deeper than I thought.

– Analysis: Trump’s Cabinet Ranked By How Likely They Are To Get Fired

I want to get pissed, but really, this is probably the best way to assess Trump’s cabinet.

– Trump Says Work On Border Wall Starts Monday. It Doesn’t.

I’m ready to disconnect from society and be the local legend recluse who comes down from the hills once a month to pick up my mail and buy an abnormally large quantity of sunflower seeds and orange soda. Who’s with me?

– Destructive Beetle Found in Albany Pine Bush Preserve

Dammit Ringo not again. #GetBackInYourCage

– Cabbies Lay Down Caskets In Protest of City’s Taxi Rules

…I am so confused right now…

– Trafficker Used Drug Money to Buy Cake Decorated With Gold

THAT. MONSTER.

– Clinton: No One Told A Man Who Lost To Shut Up

The hell they didn’t. ANYONE who bitches and moans about a loss this far out gets criticized, and it has absolutely nothing to do with genitalia. SHUT. UP.

…full disclosure, I was bummed Hillary didn’t win…not because I wanted her in office, but because I am vehemently opposed to Trump. She didn’t lose because she’s a woman. She lost because she’s tone deaf to what the country wants, has a history of contradictions between what she says on the podium and what she allows and ignores in her everyday life, and failed to address the electoral college during her campaign. Did Trump have help from Russia? Oh yeah, I’m positive he did. But that’s not what Hillary’s saying, is it? She’s not calling out any bad acts…she’s saying she lost because she is a woman. If she was a better candidate, I think she would have won, no matter how much help Russia threw Trump. So, once again, Hillary, shut up. You’re making women look bad. #TrueStory

– Martha Stewart Shares Va-va-voomy Pic

Ew what? No. NO. NOOOO!

– Passengers Freak Out Due To An Ant Infestation On Their Plane

I’m sick of these muthafuckin’ ants on this muthafuckin’ plane!

…what did you expect? The sequel is never as good as the original.

– Understaffed Office That Vets Trump Employees Plagued By Inexperience

I don’t have enough sarcasm to tackle this one adequately.

– Priest Accused of Embezzling $5M From Church For Lavish Estate

The pope literally sits on a gold-covered toilet. I’m sorry, but I’m having a hard feeling bad for the church here.

– Texas Bomb Squad Makes Egg Hunt For Visually Impaired Kids

“BETHIE NO! DO NOT SAY IT!”

…*presses lips together tightly*

…*repeats calming mantra until urge to blurt out bad joke passes*

Thanks for having my back.

“Anytime.”

You know it would have been hilarious, though, right?

– Art Dealer Accused of Drug-fueled Acts With Lobsters At Parties

Periodically through this day of festivities and/or trickery, I want you to stop and just think about this one question:

How did he get a lobster to do a line of coke in the first place?

I think we all deserve to know.

Thus concludes a Headlinestravaganza for Easter/Fool’s 2018. I’m off to chart out the logistics of crustacean drug habits to try and make sense of this crazy mixed up world. May your hams and lambs be juicy, and your donuts be filled with actual Bavarian cream and not mayonnaise. Everyone have a safe and happy day!

An open Valentine’s Day message to my sisters…that I am inflicting on everyone else.

Standard

Mornin’ all.

My friends, I have gone down a rabbit hole.

When I was a kid, we had Valentine’s Day tea parties. We’d come home from school to pink hearts made of tissue carnations on the wall, pink “tea”, cookies, Valentine’s bags with cards and chocolates, “Spooky” by The Zombies playing on the record player.

…actually, do this: Go to YouTube, search for the song, and let it play in the background while we chat. I promise it’ll add to this experience. Because it is an experience we are about to have together, folks. Make no mistake.

But, we’ll get there in a sec.

So as you can imagine, wonderful Valentine tea party memories make me nostalgic. It’s worse because I had all boys and have never been able to recreate those times with the next generation.

Fun fact: little boys have very little patience for tea parties, by and large. I’m sure some little boys would enjoy them, but not one out of the four of mine was ever interested. If you’ve got a little boy that’ll tolerate you acting like a lady ONE FRICKEN DAY OF THE YEAR as if that’s SOOOO much to ask after how many times I’ve pretended to be impressed with the winner of a burp-off, hug him and count yourself lucky!

I get to really missing my fellow tea party attendees and the hostess. Since the nearest sister lives 800ish miles away now, I turned to Google images to find just the right picture to send so I’m not tripping down memory lane by myself.

“Oh, Bethie.”

Yep. And now we have the rabbit hole.

I did a search for “Valentine for sister”. I shit you not, this was the first image that popped up:

vintage-creepy-valentines-day-cards-cow-behind

Let’s try and look past the fact that this girl is sodomizing a cow. I know it’s hard, but we can be mature here and realize this image was from a different time with different sensibilities.

Right?

Bestiality aside, what in the holy hell does this have to do with “Valentine for sister?” Have I so thoroughly confused Google with my endless random questions and unusual searches that the AI actually believes this is a reasonable offering when I’m searching for a Valentine salutation for my sister?

I have. I have asked too much of the algorithm. I’ve pushed it beyond its limits. I’ve done it, guys. I’ve broken Google.

It’s the only explanation for the suggestion above. And lest ye think it’s a one-off bomb of an offering, here are sixteen more suggested Valentine’s cards.

For my sisters.

valentine2

“Got the mock up for the new cards you gave me, Phil. Swell. Bees knees and all. But I just wonder what a little kid taking a dook has to do with Valentine’s?”

“Didn’t you see the heart I put in there, Dan?”

*squints* “There it is! Missed it the first go around.” *turns to print room* “Ink it, fellas! Let’s make some gal swoon!”

valentine3

I’m trying to decide where to go with this one. I mean, obviously in the gutter, but which way? Regional jokes seem petty, incest quips are too easy. I think we should just move on. That seems like the best plan.

valentine4

I just could not stop laughing. I’m still laughing. Imagine actually getting this Valentine. Someone legitimately gave this to another human being in the hopes that panties would drop and steamy fun times would commence as a direct result. I don’t even know the guy and I feel bad!

valentine5

…okay, Google nailed it with this one. I would legit send this to one of my sisters. Bethie 4 – Google 1.

valentine6

Subtle. Realllll subtle.

Also…can we just take a sec to address the fact that all the innuendos are on cards depicting CHILDREN? I mean, I know it was another time and place, but don’t tell me that wasn’t a straight up sex joke on a card of children, made for children to give to other children. Guys. Wtf.

valentine7

Is it possible to nope the fuck out of Valentine’s all together?

valentine8

*laughing so hard coffee splashes on the monitor* *wheeze* *spasm* Oh my god. I can’t catch my breath. *tears streaming* What on earth would possess anyone to draw this abomination? And put it on a card? A VALENTINE card?? I 100% guarantee you the person who received this card never dated the poor sap who sent it.

valentine9

At first I thought this was a kitty gifting the recipient of the card a fishy. But check out that “come hither” stare of unrestrained desire on the fish’s face. So is the fish supposed to represent the object of the kitty’s affection?

“Bethie, I think you’re analyzing these cards a little too deeply.”

I’m just asking if the fish is a gift, or if there’s an old timey fetish happening here. I think the world deserves to know.

valentine10

I mean, he *did* say “please”. She kinda had it coming.

“BETHIE NO!”

JOKES people. Jokes. Sheesh.

valentine11

So the story here is that this dude’s going to keep screwing alllll the ladies except for the sad chick in the pic. I mean, he says he wants a girl “like” you. Not you. Yet, it looks so friendly at a glance. Old timey folks were low key savage.

valentine12

Did this shit work? I’m honestly asking. Who made this crap? Who thought this was the way to get someone’s interest?? I do like the fact that they put the rivet spinner on his eye, though. Got what you deserved, you controlling little shit. Heh.

valentine13

Nothing says “I’m sweet on ya” like cat rape! Go get ‘er, scamp!

…I apologize. That last bit should have been an inside thought, not outside words. I’ll do better.

valentine14

Look at that boy’s expression. I am so uncomfortable right now.

valentine16

There’s not even an attempt at pretense anymore. The guy is literally breaking into the woman’s house and saying he’s going to MAKE her his. But it says “sweet” in a heart, soooo…

valentine17

Last, but certainly not least, we are taken on a safari love hunt by a kid wearing a life preserver as an Easter bonnet, with bullets for eyes and a glory hole mouth, walking past a tattooed rock while a cat-bear hybrid roots him on.

What could possibly say “Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Sisters” better than that?

Thus concludes a quick Valentine’s musing for Wednesday, February 14, 2018. I’d apologize for doing this to you on a day filled with love, but you know me too well to buy it. At least we went through it together. And isn’t THAT the real meaning of Valentine’s Day?

I was stuck in a Bob Newhart Episode and I wasn’t even mad…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

I was washing dishes the other day, putting off the biggest hassle on my “To Do” list for as long as I could.

I think I mentioned that we’re in a polar vortex of hell at the moment. Er, let me clarify: we *were* in a vortex. At this exact moment, we get a hiatus from the insanity for two days so that a Nor’easter can roll in and make everything worse. Don’t worry, that’s not going to last long. It’s supposed to be -25 again on Saturday.

Huzzah.

The plan for the day I was trying very hard to avoid was to try to spelunk into our Scary Beyond Reason basement to investigate a frozen pipe.

Hang on. Let me set the stage. I’ve spoken of the Basement That Must Not Be Named before. Calling it a “basement” at all is very generous. That word implies that there’s some sort of order, rhyme and reason to it.

Or, at the very least, walls.

We have under our house a pit. What was once a real foundation a hundred and fiftyish years ago has sunken, crumbled, separated from the walls of the shack we call home. At the deepest point, you can alllllmost stand up if you wedge your feet into the canyon carved through the center by a hundred years of spring runoffs coursing over the dirt…floor? Is it even a floor? Can you really call a mud slick a floor?

You see? You see what we have to deal with down there? Every time I consider our basement, I’m thrust into a pique of existential pondering.

The stairs leading into Golum’s Lair used to be stairs. Do you know what happens to wood when it sits in bog water for years? Because whoever decided to make this particular staircase out of cheap ass pine clearly did not. Each trip down now is a fun game of “Will The Top Bolts Be Enough To Hold Me If The Cinder Block Slipped?”

One day I won’t win that game and will have to play a sudden death match of, “Is An Extension Cord A Viable Substitute For Climbing Rope?” I’ll let you know the answer when the time comes.

A rotting staircase leading into the pits of despair. Those are the hassles ones faces if they can even get INTO the basement. All that only becomes a consideration once I navigate through the obstacles in my way just to get to the door. A large stack of car parts, an M&M display, boxes of paint, some pictures I’m going to graffiti…

What I’m saying is that it’s a process to get to the basement door, a death-defying feat to successfully descend the stairs, and an outright trial of fortitude to traverse the wilds of the deep to locate a frozen pipe in -20 degree weather.

But, I needed to. A frozen pipe can quickly become a burst pipe if not handled in a timely fashion. It was stupid that we let it freeze in the first place, because we damn well know better. We dripped all the other faucets in the house…we just forgot to do the same for the tub. Nothing else froze, and in -20 degree weather, that’s saying something. Still, our fault, our problem.

So I was washing up the dishes, mentally plotting how I’d go about getting into the basement to assess the frozen pipe situation when I heard some muttering. I shut the water off and called to my man, because I thought it was him. He hadn’t said anything, and I shrugged and went back to the suds. Once again, I heard talking. I listened for a second, recognized the voice, then got excited.

We’re talking kid on Christmas morning who heard a puppy’s yipping through the box that was wiggling around under the tree levels of excitement. I was, as we say around here, wicked fuckin’ excited.

“Hon, I think Jim might be in the basement!”

Jim is our unhandyman. He’s a rock bottom priced Jack of Few Trades that the landlords of our duplex have used for every repair in this place over the last decade and a half. I like the guy, he’s quite a character. But he doesn’t exactly deliver top notch work.

He doesn’t claim to, either, though. That’s a huge point in his favor. He knows he’s fast and cheap, and does work that you’d expect for the price. He makes no bones about the fact. I have to respect that.

Hon went out to see if Jim’s truck was at the neighbor’s. There was, indeed, a truck there, and we were talking about how we’d get into the basement to talk to Jim about the bad pipe when there was a bang on the floor under our feet.

“Hey guys!” came the voice. “It’s me, Jim! You know…the plumbah!”

I opened the door to the cupboard under the kitchen sink and called back through the hole around the drain pipe. “Well hi, Jim! I thought that was you down there! How’s it going?”

“Oh, fine,” he called back. “I’m wicked busy right now with all this weathah. Hey, yer neighbor’s hot pipe froze and I forgot which one a’these boilers is hers. Can you run yer hot watah so I can feel the friggin’ pipes and figure this shit out?”

Hon leans down toward the cupboard, joining the conference call in progress. “Not a problem,” he shouted, in case the connection wasn’t so good. “Hey, Jim, while you’re down there, we’ve got a frozen pipe, too.”

“Shit. Which one?” yelled Jim.

“Bathtub.”

“Hot or cold?”

“Both.”

“Christ. Okay, here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna stick this propane heatah goin’. It’s got propane for four days. Give it three days and if yer watah’s not flowin’ by then, I’ll come back with my friggin’ Salamander and make this cellah a thousand fuckin’ degrees and thaw everythin’ out forevah. Sound good?”

“Sounds great! I’ll turn that water on for you now.”

“Thanks guys!”

I turned the watah on for him. In just a couple minutes, we heard, “Jesus that’s fuckin’ hot!” I shouted down into the redneck cellphone, “You find it, Jim?”

“Yeah, got it. Thanks! Stay wahm!”

“You, too!” We shut the door to the kitchen sink, thus ending our discount Skype session with Jim.

If you’ve ever wondered what the best part of winter in New England is, that’s it right there; shouting through the drain hole with unfettered glee because your neighbor froze their pipes worse than you froze yours, giving the landlords no choice but to call in the discount handyman who will muck around a -20 degree frozen shit pit so you don’t have to.

THAT is the joy of winter in New England.

You know you’re jealous.

Thus concludes a quick little Musing for Snowday, January Shitstorm, 20screwthiswinter. I got home from work yesterday and was able to take a hot shower. The propane heater worked! Jim didn’t have to make my cellah a thousand fuckin’ degrees. Too bad. Would have heated up these old wood floors…

Can’t tell if it’s the cold or the paint fumes that’s got me feeling sappy…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

Guess what? The world DIDN’T end in 2017!

…um…at least…I don’t *think* it did. I’m holding my face over a hot cup of coffee (the only hot thing in the entire northeast right now) in an effort to keep the blood flowing to my brain so I can type through the -11 degree morning.

“Achem, Bethie. It’s already warmed up to -10.”

Oh. My b. Lemme just run and find my tank top and hot pants.

Anyway, as I was saying, I can actually feel the pitifully small amount of heat radiating on my shivering chin. I can sort of feel my fingertips creak over the icy keyboard that I can see sitting on the desk in front of me. I can hear dueling tv shows the kids fell asleep watching (probably before midnight, though none of them will ever admit it). And I can smell an odd aroma I think is coming from the bathroom wall that we’ve got a space heater aimed towards in an effort to thaw out pipes.

Side question: Can you get lead poisoning from inhaling melting paint fumes? Asking for a friend.

My point is, I think I am observing these sensory inputs. Maybe I am not. Maybe we didn’t actually make it through 2017 and this is some bizarre afterlife.

“Um, I think you should probably move that heater away from the lead paint wall.”

It might be asbestos. I’m not entirely confident I know what asbestos is…

“You’re experiencing some kind of reality, right?”

Right.

“And I’m here, too, right?”

Welllll….technically…

“Let’s just say we made it through and move on before the coffee ices up and we freeze our faces to the rims like jackasses, okay?”

…fair enough. I think we can say with confidence that we may have actually made it through 2017! And if we didn’t, we have no idea. So, happy 2018!

Everyone’s doing this “What I learned in 2017” thing on Ye Olde Booke of Faces. I actually kind of like that. I’m one of those super annoying people who thinks there is something of value to glean from every situation, no matter how shitty. In fact, usually the shittier the experience, the more valuable the lesson.

I learned many things in 2017. I learned that my boys are far more capable than the Mummy in me wants them to be sometimes. I don’t really mean that, of course. I want them to be very capable, independent men. But I still want my little boys. If you have kids, you understand. Teen Prime has taken on a very demanding position at work and is thriving, Teen Beta is in college and broke as shit (as any decent college student do), and Teen 2.0 is gainfully employed and killing it. The Littlest Pup is having himself a great school year, and is finding his voice in my often exuberantly loud pack. And though I still want to protect them all against the trials and tribulations of life, they got this shit. And it’s awesome to watch.

I also learned that 39 years is apparently enough years of carefreely eating shellfish. The Last Lobster was damn good, though. I put the sea bugs on a charcoal grill, right in their shells so they cooked in their own juices. Man oh man, if you want the best tasting lobster of your life, don’t boil it…grill it whole. If at all avoidable, I’d skip the Benedryl dessert, though. Bitter taste, groggy finish. Still, better than dying, soooo… 3.7 stars out of 5

I’m not really that bummed about avoiding Maine’s number one export. I only ate me some lobstah maybe once every 5 years or so as a treat. What does make me sad is that the shrimp toast I tried a couple weeks later yielded a very similar “lack of breathing” result.

Top tip kids: You want to breathe. It’s the preferred method for staying alive.

*sniff* I love shrimp. I guess they got sick of me killing their brethren and finally launched an effective counter attack. Touche, shrimpies. You have bested me in this contest of life, and I concede the match.

In fact, 2017 was the year of general body rebellion. Maybe it’s age. Maybe there’s a genetic component, which seems very likely when viewed with others in my family. Hell, maybe it’s just 39 years of not taking care of myself finally catching up. Whatever the cause, the smiting I took at the fins of The Shellfish of Justice was just the harbinger of things to come. What followed was a couple months of serious stomach pain, until I tried an elimination diet to see if I could figure out what was causing the issue.

“Um, Bethie? Maybe you should just go to a doctor.”

Ooooh, look at Ms. Fancypants over here with her “health insurance”. I don’t work enough hours to qualify for insurance through my employer, I don’t make enough to be able to afford the “Affordable Care” promised to me through legislation, and I make too much to qualify for state assistance. I tried to straddle it, but I’m afraid I am one of the millions of Americans that has fallen into the coverage gap.

If I thought it was something super serious, I’d go to the doctor even without insurance. In fact, my self diagnosis plan was:

– Google

– Trying the reasonable things found on Google in order to eliminate certain possibilities (no, that did not include drinking 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar every day, or eating a paleo diet that only kept the average cave woman alive for 35 years)

– Going to a doctor and working out the enormous debt later if steps 1 and 2 failed

They didn’t fail, though. I got a result, the pain stopped, so I really think it was diet related.

I’ve narrowed it down to wheat or dairy. I haven’t had either in many months now, and the stomach is much, much happier. It wasn’t the same reaction as the shellfish…it wasn’t like I was having an “oh shit I can’t breathe” moment after a cheese sandwich. But I was definitely in awful pain after nearly every meal. And since I cut those things out, I’m not.

“Do you miss that stuff?”

I enjoy not doubling over in pain when I eat far more than I miss pizza. It was one of those “I didn’t realize how truly awful I felt until I stopped doing it” kind of life changes. Here’s a surprise: I like not being in pain. I like it so much I don’t miss the things I’ve cut out of my diet.

It’s like when I quit smoking. I quit because I got the flu and couldn’t breathe. It was the first time ever that I couldn’t pull in a solid breath, and it was terrifying. I stopped smoking right then and there and have not once thought “man, I could use a cig.” Not a single time. That’s not a brag…that’s trying to explain how scared I was, how awful that experience felt. The same as sticking tweezers in an outlet, or trying to quick iron your skirt without taking it off first. You get hurt bad enough, you learn.

I’m just not a fast learner about some things.

I guess we’re down to my personal life lesson of 2017. It’s a big, emotional can of worms and there’s no way to say it without sounding like a total douchebag, so I’m just going to spit it out and give myself over to the dark side. I think in 2017 I finally learned that it’s okay to take care of myself.

“UGH.”

I warned you first. I’m going to sound like one of those annoying “it’s time for ME” people, and trust me, I’m not happy about it, either.

“I was only kidding, Bethie. You SHOULD take care of yourself.”

I’ve always had a difficult time doing that. In fact, I kind of perfected the opposite. When I feel bad, what makes me feel better is treating myself horribly. Maybe not always intentionally. Or maybe sort of intentionally with the comfort of guilt after.

I think a lot of people would understand what I mean by that, and if you’re not one of them, then I envy you. I truly do.

I had this realization in the middle of the grocery store health and beauty aisle when I was shopping for lotion. It was the third item on my list, right after “wheat free bread for stuffing?”. Yes, with the question mark, because just writing down such a selfish indulgence was hard for me to do. I found the bread, talked myself into buying it because stuffing is the only reason to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, and moved on to lotions.

My skin is having a very horrible time right now. I think some of it is the weight loss (no cakes, no cupcakes, no cookies, no cheese covered sammies…can’t argue with the unintended results of cutting that shit out), some of it is age, a lot of it is working in a dry bakery… I’m chapped all over my hands and lower arms, and my legs from my knees down. It burns and catches on my sleeves and pants and starts bleeding. I need lotion.

I need it.

And it was so hard to buy. I was honestly in tears.

It just…it hit me, ya know? You ever have a moment when you stop and legitimately ask yourself what the hell you’re doing? I felt so bad for shopping for the foods that won’t hurt me, and buying lotion which – I’ll say it again- I absolutely, without question NEEDED, that I stood in the aisle and started to cry. It wasn’t the four bucks for the damn lotion. I had that in my pocket. It wasn’t about the cost, that was only my justification. It was because I still couldn’t shut that voice up in my head that was saying I was being difficult, needy, high maintenance, selfish…

I can’t do it anymore. I can’t bleed quietly while I convince myself I deserve it.

I don’t know where exactly all these feelings come from. I’ve got some obsessive tendencies I honestly believe are genetic. You all know I’m a hoarder. I’ve made no secret about that. Cleaning out my dad’s place after he died and finding the most bizarre stashes of random shit led me to thinking about things from my childhood…I think he probably fought that beast, too. I also have other harmful tendencies that I would also classify as obsessive compulsions. Perhaps it’s an extreme version of the genetic mutation which allows for altruism as a means of advancing the greater Us. I don’t know. That seems like a can of worms for a different day. As with hard solipsism, it’s a brain exercise that has little to do with reality when you get right down to it. At the end of the day, this is the reality I am experiencing. It’s the reality I at least have the illusion of controlling. How I got here matters far less than what I’m going to do about it.

I have to start taking care of myself. I have to figure out how to do it without feeling guilty.

I’m gluten free. I don’t eat dairy. I’m a douche who covers herself with cocoa butter lotion.

*author’s sidenote: Cocoa butter is UH-MAZE-ING. I got this “healing therapy lotion” for “severely chapped skin” that burned so bad I was fighting back tears for almost an hour. Only after the hour in agony did I read the back of the bottle and found that it had acid and two types of alcohol in it. Who the HELL puts ACID in a cream you’re going to rub on severely chapped skin?!?! Psychopaths, that’s who. Absolute maniacs. After scouring the lotion aisle once again and discovering all the big names are run by horrible, uncaring MONSTERS who get their jollies by tricking you into rubbing your already beaten body with what equates to the classic tequila shot, I found one that didn’t have acids and alcohols in it. Cocoa butter, kids. It’s just cocoa butter. No acid that will sear your already damaged flesh. No alcohol that will continue to dry your skin out further. It just creates a soothing barrier between your tender cracked shell and the cruel, icy world. Learn from me before it’s too late.*

Listen to me. I’m becoming a person I always secretly mocked.

Part of me hates that I’m at this point in life where I realize that I’ve belittled those who treat themselves well because deep down I was jealous that they seemed to deserve being treated right and I didn’t. Most of me hates the fact that it’s taken 39 years to come around to their way of thinking.

We don’t know what happens after we die. People aren’t exactly clamoring to come back and let us know for sure. The one thing we do know is that we’re here now. We definitely have THIS life. I’m hoping for at least another 20 years. I don’t want to spend the future the same way I’ve spent the past.

It’s not really a New Year’s resolution. It’s a New Year’s revelation, one that really shouldn’t be. This year, I’m going to try really hard to stay this new and slightly uncomfortable course. I’m hoping that it’ll get easier with time. And I’m hoping I have the fortitude to keep taking care of myself even if it doesn’t.

Thus concludes the first Musing for 2018. This one turned serious on me. I didn’t intend for it to. I wanted to joke about the cold and maybe do a Roundup. Guess sometimes you just have to go where the winds take you. I do feel a Roundup beckoning, though. Stay tuned. The next one will be fun. I promise.

Does the thought still count if the gift is a can of baked beans?

Standard

Mornin’ all.

It’s Christmas!

I love Christmas. Beautiful lights shining in defiance of the bleak winterscape outside. Glitter-crusted “Noel” banners turning walls into homages of tackiness in the best possible way. Candy snitched from the dessert buffet eaten in secret under the table with childhood cohorts while tipsy Gram makes a silly bet with even tipsier Grampa beneath the mistletoe. Bemused confusion around the tree when the designated Santa can’t seem to read Mrs. Claus’s handwriting while attempting to pass out gifts. Crumpled paper bombs aimed just right to bounce off an uncle’s bald spot. Shiny bow broaches to match curled ribbon wigs. The thrill and relief of seeing Dad light up with genuine happiness when he holds up what turned out to be the right gift choice. The gentle pat on the head a tired Mum with a filled heart gives her young daughter as she walks past on the way to help the aunts put back to rights the chaos of a successful holiday party. The feeling of love and joy and comfort and content when the day is done.

I *LOVE* Christmas.

This year, our celebration is going to be small. And delayed. Mother Nature decided that for Christmas this year, she would decorate with ice and snow. We just had an ice storm that turned our trees into those blown glass figurines that were so popular in the 80s. ‘Member those? Every upscale (or wannabe upscale) gift shop simply HAD to have a display of little blown glass trees, baskets, kitties with balls of yarn, and dolphins.

So. Many. Dolphins.

Anyway, she waved her magic wand and turned the world into kitschy blown glass. It was extremely beautiful, and utterly terrifying. There was nothing warm or welcoming about the trip into work yesterday. Apparently, my town forgot about the existence of road salt.

I made it to work, and it warmed up nicely during the day. It got warm enough to not only clear the roads, but dry them as well…which must have royally pissed off Mother Nature, because right now, we’re getting 5-8 inches of snow. The teens are all with their other families. The plan was for them to spend the Eve with the others, then come home for a prime rib dinner.

Yep, you heard me right. We are a roast-beef-for-Christmas family. No, I do not want to hear your debate on why smoked pig ass is the “proper” Christmas meal. And don’t even THINK of coming at me with the turkey bullshit. That was last month. Change the calendar page and get with the program.

…er…sorry. Let me pull back the curtain and give you an insider peek into another world: In the grocery biz, the discussion of Christmas meal meat is a topic best left unspoken. You’ll lose friends. You’ll be a pariah in the break room. There is literally no winning. If you like turkey, someone else will stand there at your counter and argue the historical importance of goose. If you like ham, someone will tout the merits of lamb. If you choose rib roast, you totally failed to understand the majesty of a crowned pork roast. Seriously, you can’t win.

Since I’m not at work, I don’t risk offending people on my team. I can say it here as loud as I want. I’m a proud roast-beefer. And this year, our store had prime rib on sale for $4.99/lb. That’s honestly half price. How could I pass that up?

Forget sugar plums. I had visions of rib roast. I planned on stuffing it full of slivered garlic and coating the outside with a thrilling blend of herbs and spices the night before, letting the succulent treat absorb and adopt an explosion of flavor into the velvetty, buttery, juicy meat. *heavy sigh*

And now, I must wait. Until when, we don’t know. If Mother Nature would kindly remove the iced stick from her ass, it might be tomorrow.

We’re here with the Littlest Pup. We’ll let him open his gifts from us today. I honestly don’t think I could stand it if he had to wait. I think I might just be more excited to give it to him than he is to get it. He’ll get his stocking. No, he doesn’t still believe in Santa. But *I* still believe in being “Santa”.

In our house, Santa just brings candy and silly dollar store items. My ex’s family liked to make all the big presents under the tree be from Santa, a tradition I could never get behind. Was Santa the one out there busting his hump to scrape up enough money to buy my kid the one thing he really, really wanted? No? Then why should he get the credit?

“Bethie, when the kids are older, it’ll dawn on them that it was you getting them the presents the entire time.”

And when they’re little, do you want your kids to think Mummy and Daddy only care enough to get them socks and underwear and superficial crap they didn’t even want? Bah. Get out of here with that bullshit. Santa’s cool and all, but right from the get, I wanted my kids to know that Mummy and Daddy understood them, knew them, listened when they said what they liked or hated. It’s more than just a present. It’s telling a child right from the very beginning that Mum gets him. Mum pays attention. It establishes an unspoken trust. Instead of “Santa’s watching”, I wanted my kids to know, “Mum’s listening.”

“I really think you’re reading too much into this.”

Maybe. Maybe not. There was just a very interesting article about the psychology of gift giving and the holidays that…

…you know what? It’s Christmas. I’m not going down the heavy route. I’m just going to say that I never, ever wanted an imaginary figure who was only “involved” in my kids’ lives for one day a year to be more trusted than I am. And I don’t care if that sounds selfish.

ANYWAY, I went a bit overboard with the stockings this year. I had too many dollars in my pocket when I walked into the store. Light up footballs, razors for the hairy teens, foam ball pop guns, retro board games… The very best thing I found was a set of dice.

Remember Yahtzee? Of course you do. It’s only the greatest dice game ever invented. I have no idea how many hours of my life have been spent rolling for that damn large straight, or how many times my older sister yelled, “YAH-TZEEEEEE” in our youth.

She had an absolutely rage-inducing knack for rolling Yahtzees.

“Wow, Bethie! I can’t believe they had Yahtzee at the dollar store!”

They didn’t. They had something a million times better: “Yacht.”

I shit you not, it’s a can of five dice with “Yacht” written on it. Just…Yacht. There was no way in hell I was walking out of there without one for each of my boys.

I am probably more amused by “Yacht” than I should be. It’s just so ridiculous. Bad knock-offs and weird “wtf?” gifts crack me up so much.

My man was feeling cheeky. He’s been threatening the boys with Barbies and My Little Ponies for years, every time they say “I dunno” when we ask what they want. This year, he went for it. One of the teens is getting not “My Little Pony”, but the dollar store version, “My Fairy Pony”.

I don’t know what it is that amuses me so much about these things. I think it’s the anticipated reactions. I honestly giggle at the thought of the face the recipient will make.

Take this offering from my store, for example. I was looking over the holiday gift basket display yesterday morning, and I was seeing what we had left to decide if I needed to spend my last $20 of holiday money. The baskets were neat, for the most part. There was a baking themed basket, full of baking supplies and a fun array of extracts and measuring spoons. There was a baby basket, with diapers, wipes, travel baby shampoos and such. The dried fruit basket was tempting, because it has some unusual snack mixes and nuts and fun-to-nibble items.

And then I saw it.

Folks, I am not kidding. If I could have thought of someone to give this next basket to, I would have bought it. No joke.

It was called “The Hearty Basket”. It contained an assortment of items that I have to believe someone chose by just randomly walking up and down the aisles and making a game of grabbing the first thing they saw.

The basket contained a box of scalloped potatoes, a box of instant oatmeal, a tub of panko bread crumbs, a large can of baked beans, and a jar of gravy.

Let’s just think about this for a minute. You’re at an office party. It’s a Secret Santa event. You’ve gotten your gift, a coffee mug with a print of Grumpy Cat saying “I hate Mondays” filled with what appears to be two year old Hershey’s Kisses that have clearly been knocked around the bottom of someone’s purse, and you’re waiting for the last schmuck to open their gift so you can get to the boozy portion of the party. A large, brightly wrapped gift basket is brought out and handed over to Marge, and people are oohing and ahhing while she excitedly tears into the cellophane.

“Tell us what’s in there!” come the eager pleas.

“I’m getting to it, hang on,” says Marge, tugging at a particularly troublesome bit of Scotch tape. “Okay, let’s see!” she all but squeals. “Ooh! We’ve got…baked…beans…?”

Maybe I’m low key a bitch, but just the idea of the utter confusion and bewilderment on Marge’s face… it cracks me up to the point where all day long I’d randomly chuckle.

Baked beans. Panko crumbs. Oatmeal. Scalloped potatoes. Canned gravy. I HAVE to believe that whoever put together this basket was picturing Marge as well. There is NO WAY anyone with any kind of sense at all thought these things would make a great gift. And yet, by doing so, they have created for me such a wonderfully amusing mental scene.

I have a kindred spirit somewhere in the store, folks. I must find this person and befriend them.

I hear the creature a’stirring upstairs. Last night I told him he couldn’t come down until 7 am. I was spent after a long week at work and didn’t feel like filling the fancy socks last night. He knew. He’s my kid, after all. He said, “Santa’s just going to get an early start?” I said, “You bet.” It’s 6:36 currently, and I’ve heard him go into the bathroom about half a dozen times. Ten bucks says he’s sitting on his bed right now, boring holes into the illuminated tire clock on his wall.

It’s snowing heavily, now. I highly doubt the elder kids will be able to make it home. The roast can wait another day, and we won’t have to shovel for a few more hours yet. You know what that means.

There’s plenty of time to kick his ass at Yacht.

Thus concludes a Christmas Musing for Christmas 2017. Everyone have a great day, no matter what Mother Nature has in store.