Veni, Vidi, Vacacci

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Mornin’ all.

Welp, I made it to the other side of the country and back! The journey started out a bit rough. The flights were late and turbulent, we got into town amid the biggest police chase I’ve ever seen (don’t worry, the cops hit another innocent bystander, not us. True story.), found out the reservations for our hotel were for the wrong days at 1 am…

I was not expecting a smooth trip because those don’t really happen. There are always little blips and glitches. At least we got the majority of them out of the way the first day. The only other thing that went really poorly during the week was my mistake in ordering cole slaw at a restaurant.

Is it a whole west coast thing to not put sugar in your cole slaw or just the Oregon area? No sugar, and they added dill. I get wanting to make a slaw that’s your own and unique and original and all, but friggin’ DILL!?! I like a lot of things about Oregon. However, if that’s the cole slaw standard out there, it might just be one of those cultural chasms that is simply too wide to cross.

It was a fun trip, real time COPS episode and dill-infected cole slaw aside. I am very pleased to report that while our beloved family member still has a lot of recovery ahead, she is herself. Strong, sassy, funny. We didn’t pimp out her wheelchair, mostly because it seems like she’s not going to need to use it very much. She has a cane that’s already a majestic swirly metallic purple color and hopefully soon that’ll be her only walking aid. I didn’t even have to use my own glitter. She already had it covered.

There’s an indoor carousel the city of Albany, OR decided to build a couple years ago because…reasons? I’ll admit, my first thought was, “Why the hell would anyone build an indoor carousel in this day and age? I MUST KNOW.” After I went there, I now firmly believe that everyone should build an indoor carousel in this day and age. I mean, look at this:

Have you ever seen a more majestic carousel horse/mermaid/thing? No. No you have not.

We also went mini golfing. There were seven of us teeing off, as my man’s best friend since childhood joined us for putt putt shenanigans. We pushed our slightly incapacitated family member in her wheelchair around the course to watch us royally suck. It took us hours to get through 18 holes. The secret to stretching your vacation dollars is to pick an activity you’re really very bad at. Just do it with a group that can laugh at themselves and have a good time through the painful embarrassment of inadequacy.

There are a ton of little differences between NH and OR I noticed this time around that I didn’t really absorb the first time we went out, both natural and cultural. I think I mentioned last time that I love the trees out there. Hell, I love every tree. I think that’s a prerequisite for being a hippie, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure that if I became ambivalent about trees I’d find myself in the middle of a drum circle where people in dreads and tank tops rubbed their power crystals on me in a bid to bring back my connection with the universe.

There are just so many kinds of trees out there that we don’t have out here. It’s not just “green” in the summer in OR. It’s every shade of green. Every type of leaf. Fruit trees all over the place. I don’t know if the people who grow up there really appreciate it. I was small-talking to one of the family members out there during a picnic about the trees and they pointed out that they don’t have sugar maples. One for us, seven hundred forty three for them.

There are filbert farms around Albany. I’d never seen a tree nut farm before, but we passed many. And they were HUGE. All the farms are enormous compared to the ones we’ve got out this way. Row after row after row of filbert trees. We drove by a pumpkin farm that had to be half a mile long. Pumpkin after pumpkin after pumpkin…

I know those of you who grew up there and other areas of the country with wide, flat plains perfect for cultivation must be thinking, “Oh, Bethie, you simpleton. How little you know about life.” You have to keep in mind that I grew up in an area that’s full of farms…just very little ones in comparison. We have way too many hills and rocky outcroppings that we generously call mountains to make the same type of contribution to the nation’s bread basket.

It’s not just farm land that produces in enormous quantities for the good folks of the west. We were there in peak summer, which meant that blackberries were in season. I think I’ve mentioned before that we always had a “huge” blackberry picking harvest the first week of August when we were kids. My grandparents had a very large patch of them, and we’d spend a whole day alternating between picking berries and detangling ourselves from the thorns. We’d come out with buckets and buckets of berries, and my mum would spend days making and freezing pies and pie babies (which are little pies made in muffin tins and are the absolute best), and our fingers would be purple for days.

That patch had nothing on Oregon. There are blackberries EVERYWHERE. My man says they can’t control them. I always thought he was over-blowing the situation. Naw. They are all over the place. On the side of the road, up against buildings, along parking lot fencing. There are signs all over for blackberry removal services. Meanwhile, out here in the grocery stores they cost $3.99/half pint. I suppose if I lived in Oregon, I’d get sick of blackberries, too. But, being a visitor, I was just very jealous. I saw all those patches and had pie baby cravings like you wouldn’t believe.

Where are all your motorcycles, Oregonians?

Out here, summer means a couple things on the roads: road work and motorcycles. From April to October, the early morning birdies are interrupted in their sing song by the dulcet BWAAAMMMMTHUMTHUMTHUMBWAAAAAMMM tones of Hondas and Harleys. People drive them to work. People drive them to the store to buy one or two small items. People drive them just to get out and feel the breeze up their sleeves and get the rush only a bug ass splatting on their helmets can provide. Not-Teen-Anymore Prime pointed out that he hadn’t seen a single motorcycle while we were toolin’ around out there, and we kept count after that. One on the road, and one parked in a driveway. That was it. That was all we saw for the week.

I brought it up when I was in schmooze mode, and my brother in law rushed to say, “Of course we’ve got a lot of motorcycles…” before he stopped and frowned and said, “Hm. Hang on. Maybe we don’t. I guess I never really noticed.”

You don’t, man. Take my word for it. It’s 4:14 am and I’ve already heard one go by. If you think you have a motorcycle culture, Oregonians, I’m sorry to burst your bubble.

One thing they do have, though, is cars. Car after car after car. I always thought my man’s propensity to collect vehicles was a family thing. His father was big into cars, his oldest brother is as well. I thought it was a family hobby. No. It is an Oregonian hobby. Very few homes in the town of 50,000 we were staying in had only one car. Most had at least two. And I’d say a good half of them had three or more, even the economically depressed areas. The houses were tiny and run down, but boy was there some nice Detroit steel in the drive. This dude collects Volkswagons, that chick had a yard full of RVs. Many custom jobs, too.

In our little hamlet, we are the odd ones. We are a landmark for people giving directions. “If you pass the crazy Mercedes people, you’ve gone too far.” Out there we wouldn’t even be worth mentioning. EVERYONE is a crazy car person.

It gives me a deeper insight into my man’s need to have the driveway filled at all times. I don’t know how to use this knowledge, but at least I have it now.

The flights home were poorly planned. I naively believed I could sleep on the plane. It took off at around 11 pm Oregon time and landed in Atlanta at 5ish am normal time. As it turns out, I cannot sleep on a plane. Maybe it was the turbulence from the multiple thunderstorms we passed through. Maybe it was the cramped space. Maybe it was the worry of snoring in a plane full of people. I didn’t sleep a wink. I didn’t sleep from 5 am Thursday to 6 pm FRIDAY. I haven’t pulled a stint like that since college.

I got home to find that my pile of shit’s all still here, which vexes me slightly. I thought we had a deal? I even left the back door unlocked. Guys. Really?

Since I’ve been back, I keep having bad dreams about traveling home. Not nightmares, because they aren’t about plane crashes or anything like that. As I said before, I never worry about the plane crashing. I trust the science. Just bad dreams about travel woes. Every night this past week, I’ve had at least one bad dream that the plane was delayed or rerouted or we had the wrong tickets or we were just stuck going plane to plane to plane in an endless loop. What the ever lovin’ hell, brain? I’m here, dumbass self. We made it back just fine. I had a good night of sleep the first night home, because how could I not after being up a day and a half? But every single night since has been tossing and turning from mental turbulence.

I’ve got no idea how to make it stop. Logic isn’t doing jack shit. Maybe I need to proclaim my ambivalence for trees and let the circle of hippies my words summon use their power crystals to reach out to the universe to help me figure it out.

That kind of seems like a worst case scenario, though, doesn’t it? I’ll give it a few more days before pulling that particular trigger. Power crystals are fairly extreme.

Thus concludes a Muse for Sunday, August 18, 2019. I’ve got a day of car repairs ahead of me. Maybe that’ll tucker me out enough not to have travel dreams.

You don’t get out much, do you, JanSport?

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Mornin’ all.

Want some coffee? The youngest pup has begun to take over coffee making duties as the elder brothers are preparing to spread their wings in their own place.

“What!? The boys are moving ou…”

WE’RE NOT READY TO TALK ABOUT THAT.

“…*blink**blink*…”

…sorry. *achem*

Anyway, the resident coffee apprentice has made this morning’s pot of Joe. Feel free to grab a cup. Er, you might want a spoon to stir in the copious amounts of creamer and sugar it takes to choke it down. Also helps you scoop out the grounds at the bottom of the cup when you’re done.

*sip**spasm**twitch* Hey, he’s not doing too bad!

I need the jolt today as I have a lot to do. We will be traveling soon and I have a ton of prep to do.

“Uh, Bethie? You’re not supposed to tell the internet you won’t be home.”

I didn’t say when. I didn’t say where we live, exactly. And everyone that reads this knows I’m a hoarder. All my shit would be a bitter disappointment to anyone who went through the hassle of breaking in. I clearly can’t get rich off this heap of crap. In fact, if someone came and stole some shit while I’m gone, it would probably actually help me more than it would help them.

Hit me up if you are desperate enough for the $34.73 you’d get outta this junk to slog through greasy car parts and broken appliances and I’ll leave a door unlocked for ya. Just watch out for the guard kitty. She may glare at you with her judgy eyes.

I don’t travel well. I get so nervous and worked up, especially since this is an airplane situation, not a road trip. I have to get 6 people packed, make sure they all leave the house with at least their IDs, clean underwear, and tablets (we can take care of anything else that gets lost), get them to the airport, make sure the IDs, clean underwear, and tablets get out of the rental, turn in the rental, get to the gate, get all 6 people on the plane with IDs, clean underwear, and tablets, make sure they get OFF the plane together at the layover, get on the new plane with IDs, clean underwear, and tablets, get off the next plane and load into the next rental to drive to the hotel, then keep track of at least the IDs and tablets through the week, before we reverse the process.

I will be utterly amazed if we make it back home with all the IDs and tablets. At that point, I won’t even care about the underwear.

Then there’s the issue of checked luggage. Four planes, four chances to lose luggage. I was thinking we’d each just carry a backpack with our own stuff and skip the checked luggage all together. It’s not a long trip, and we’re simple people. It’s not like we need tuxes and ballgowns or anything like that.

I wasn’t sure if a standard backpack would fit the dimensions of the carry on bag limits for the airline. There was a sponsored link on the airline site for JanSport, a big maker of backpacks. I clicked it to see product dimensions so I could get an idea of what kind I should look for at Walmart.

Have you ever been to the JanSport website?

I can’t imagine many have, but you sure wouldn’t know that if you went to their site. They really think you have been dying to go there, and that you’ll be eager to go back often. As soon as you start to scroll on their page, a pop up appears asking you to sign up for their newsletter.

To keep up with the latest news.

About backpacks.

Are…are there rabid fans of backpacks? Are there honestly people who read that and say to themselves, “I don’t want to miss a single news story about backpacks. Sign me up!” Do these people JanSport is convinced exist REALLY exist?

And what kind of news would it be?

“Hold on to your straps, folks, because Gene down in engineering has just come up with a new type of over-stitching that will revolutionize the zipper installation process.”

“THIS JUST IN: Phyllis Cordly, a long time JanSport enthusiast, has reported from the field that the water bottle pocket on our TS3000 Trekker also perfectly fits the 14 oz. size bottle of Deep Woods Off. We’re always looking for your JanSport innovation stories, so be like Phyllis and send in your backpack discoveries! #backpackdiscoveries #teamPhyllis”

“They said it couldn’t be done, but after 25 years of research and laboratory testing, JanSport is proud to announce our 47 pocket all purpose backpack. That’s right, 47 pockets. For those counting, that’s 5 more than the previous record of 42 held by North Face for over 8 years.”

…I must admit, I’m oddly curious. Not curious enough to actually sign up for it, mind you. Sorry, JanSport.

We’re traveling to Oregon to visit my man’s family. Last time we went, it was to visit his father after his cancer diagnosis. It was a heavy trip. His father was severely ill by the time of the diagnosis, and we all knew why we dropped everything to get there in time. The kids had already lost two grandfathers, an uncle, and a close family friend by that point, and they knew first hand what cancer meant because of our own experiences with my son’s successful, yet brutal, battle. All of that loss and stress and pain was still fairly fresh for them. We all knew what was coming, we all knew that it would be our last visit with someone we loved. It was a good trip, and we had fun during it, but it was definitely a trip we didn’t want to have to take.

And now we’re going back out to see another family member who had a huge medical incident. She’s fighting through it, and I, for one, am convinced this will NOT be a “last visit” scenario. I am determined to view this trip differently than the last, and I get the feeling that everyone else is doing the same.

At least, we’re trying to. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t that niggling of fear. I think the niggle is inescapable. We just have to get there and see for ourselves that the woman we know and love is still there, fun and sassy and with a stylin’ new set of wheels. Maybe she’ll want us to pimp out her new wheelchair. Should I pack glitter just in case?

I don’t know why I bothered to ask. Of course I’ll pack glitter. It doesn’t take up much space in a backpack and you never know when you’re going to need it.

It’ll be fine.

Right?

It will. We’ll all make it to the airport. We’ll all get on the right planes. We’ll have at least the important stuff with us. And then we’ll have fun helping an amazing lady laugh and joke and get up to mischief and shenanigans. I’ll come back and tell you all the ways the trip did not go as expected and we’ll have a good laugh while we chew on our morning coffee.

Now that sounds like a good plan.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for Tuesday, July 30, 2019. I have to take one of the boys to the DMV for a second attempt at getting an ID. Last time it was two hours only to find out they needed a piece of paperwork we didn’t have. Ah. Such fun. *chugs coffee* Okay, DMV. BRING IT.

And the rockets red glare, the headlines lacking in flare…

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Mornin’ all.

Can you believe the year is half over already? You know what that means. It’s almost the 4th of July! I’m waving a sparkler, but I guess you’re just going to have to take my word for that.

I actually really love patriotic holidays. I am a hippie AND a patriot. I love my country. Yes, it’s a messed up blend of fever-dream-meets-bad-acid-trip at the moment, but I still think it’s worth saving.

I don’t want this post to be overly political, though. I mean it’s me, and I won’t be able to pass up taking a few jabs. You understand. But as far as actually addressing the issue with more than quippy snark? I’ll try not to. It’s a holiday, after all! We can get into the nitty gritty another time. For now, let’s just have some fun. And what do we do around here for fun?

*cue the full marching band for the catchy theme music* *cue the red, white, and blue go-go dancers* *set off the confetti cannon*

That’s right. We’re doing a super duper, ultra mega, eXtremerific…

* * * HOLIDAY HEADLINE ROUND-UP!!!! * * *

It just pulls at the heart strings to see the dancers finish in a sequined pyramid under a shower of red, white, and blue fireworks just as the founding fathers intended, doesn’t it? *wipes tear* Well done, ladies.

I haven’t done a Roundup in awhile, but it’s not that hard to explain. I look at large news sites and scan through the headlines. When one grabs me for whatever reason, I copy it as written and present it for you perusal. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re just ridiculous, but mostly, they put a thought in my head I feel compelled to share. As always, the headlines are 100% true red, white, and blue blooded. I just add the apple pie for dessert. Ready? Great! Put down your fifes and drums and let’s take a look at the world one headline at a time.

– You’d Never Guess These Salads Are Vegan

Vegans always think other people can’t taste the difference because they’ve eaten work-around foods for so long that they can’t tell. I’m sorry, any of my vegan pals, but I can guarantee you that I 100% CAN tell that your fauxmatoes and tofucumbers aren’t the real thing.

– Jana Kramer Reacts to Husband’s Cheating Dealbreaker: It ‘Hurts’

Really dug deep on that one.

– US Says Border Wall Will ‘Avoid’ Historic Texas Cemetery

Can’t the wall just ‘avoid’ the historic Mexican border?

– ‘A Bad Idea’: Senate Republicans Warn Trump Over Mexico Tariff Threat

Trump had a bad idea? Nooo. Not Chief Baby Hands.

– Here’s What Melania Trump is Doing Today

Probably silently weeping every spare moment she gets, if I had to wager.

– China Warns Citizens Against Travel To The US

Can you blame them? Really?

– Why Financial Literacy is Being Taught In Schools Across America

Um, maybe because it’s just a good fucking idea that should have been happening all along? Just throwin’ it out there.

– O.J. Simpson’s First Tweet: ‘I’ve Got A Little Getting Even To Do’

Damn, just got a major sense of deja vu. Huh.

– Man Captivates Cows With Saxophone Serenade

Boy, Kenny G’s career really took a turn, eh?

– Woman Spreads ‘Hope’ To Tornado Damage Victims

The woman gathered pieces of broken houses to make cross necklaces she’s then selling. She’s literally taking the proof of her god’s intended destruction of peoples lives and turning it into jewelry to remind them that they were on her god’s hit list. And suddenly, the quotes around the word hope make sense.

– New Hampshire Installs First Historical Marker to Honor Computer Programming

BASIC was invented here. Bet you didn’t know we were wicked fahkin’ tech savvy up here, didja bub?

– Facebook To Unveil New Cryptocurrency

Hm, should I let Facebook have any role in my financial future? Let me weigh the pros and cons. On the one hand, no. But, on the OTHER hand, also no.

– Palestinian Leaders Reject Kushner’s Economic Plan

Wise move. The only thing worse than letting Zuckerberg hold your purse strings is letting a peripheral Trump do it.

– Great Jobs To Boost Your Income When Retired

I wish the headline was something more along the lines of, “Americans Vote To Pitch In A Few Extra Bucks A Year To Increase Social Security So Our Elderly Who Have Worked Hard and Served Our Communities Can Have A Comfortable Last Few Years Because People Are Sick Of Watching Their Grandmas Work Menial Labor Jobs Just To Be Able To Afford The Luxury Of Eating AND Buying Medication Every Single Week,” but that’s not the world we live in.

– Underwood ‘Speechless’ Over Cheese Sculpture

I think she’s just stunned that it didn’t also come with a case of crackers. I stand with Carrie on this one. Tres declasse.

– The Brief (And Bizarre) History Of Selfies In Space

I wasn’t prepared for the “bizarre” facts in the story, but you know me, I have to share. Brace yourselves. You know what they had to do to take pictures of themselves in space? These crazy mofos at NASA had to make…get ready for it…a special trigger that the astronauts can use through their thick space suit gloves. What absolute freaks.

– Police Arrest 70 Climate Change Protesters Outside New York Times

These idiots laid in the street and attempted to scale the outside of the Times building to get the NY Times to stop calling it “climate change” and call it a “climate emergency” every time they referenced the situation in print. Which would be a lot of times, BTW, since the NY Times is most definitely an ally to their cause, printing many deep dive articles over the years trying to alert the public to the dangerous situation. I’m all for peaceful protests, but these mugs literally protested an organization that is already on their side over meaningless semantic bullshit when they SHOULD be protesting Fox News, Congress, the White House, and all the other massive organizations who continue to deny the effects of humanity on nature. It’s petty ass bullshit like this that weakens a cause.

– 30th Horse Death At Santa Anita Park Prompts Officials To Boot Trainer

Silly trainer. You’re only supposed to push the horses to the brink of death in the name of entertainment. Dead horses don’t make money. Duh.

– Trump Delays Immigration Sweeps. Here’s Why California Police Say They Won’t Take Part

*police spokesperson walks out on stage**adjusts mic**clears throat* “Because it’s stupid.” *turns**walks off stage*

*sidebar*- Do you still have that warning button? You know, the one you push when I’m about to say something that has the potential to land me in hot water?

“Yeah.”

Good, because I’m reading this headline about an SUV crash, and the first half is all jokey and has a fun vibe, but then there’s a comma and everything after that is doom and gloom and I kind of have the urge to make a “well that Escalade-d quickly” pun, because, you know, Cadillacs and shit, and I just don’t know if it’s appropriate.

“Hm. Are there kids involved?”

Yeah.

*WARNING* *WARNING* *WARNING*

Got it. So no puns where kids are involved in a crash. Thanks for having my back.

– Sex Abuse Charges Against La Luz del Mundo Leader Are the ‘Tip Of the Iceberg’

But just the tip.

*WARNING* *WARNING* *WARNING*

…no sex abuse jokes either?

“NO!”

Hmph. Fun killer.

– What We Know About Those Buried At Tampa’s Forgotten Zion Cemetery

They worded this headline like we’re getting fast breaking news on a developing situation. Calm down, Tampa Bay Times. I don’t think anyone’s in a rush to scoop you on this one.

– Fact Check: Trump Makes 3 False Claims About Hispanics in Interview

Only three?

– Fish Eggs Can Hatch After Being Pooped Out By Swans

This is a thing you now know. You’re welcome.

– SpaceX Is About To Launch 152 Dead People’s Remains Into Orbit

Only into our own orbit? How are the remains supposed to be carried by the cosmic waves to other places in order to seed faraway landscapes with human DNA if they’re stuck in our own orbit? Has Elon Musk never read decent sci-fi??

– This Robot Fish Has Robot Blood

…soooo…oil?

– 40 Things No One Over 40 Should Have In Their Home

Oh shit. I’m over 40. This is absolutely relevant to me. Let’s check it out.

1. A dust ruffle

…aaaaand I was totally wrong. This is in no way relevant to me.

– Hospital Issues Warning After Five Cases of Children Falling From Windows

Holy shit. I can’t believe they even have to! If you have a child, close the windows on any level above the first floor, bring them in from the car every single time, don’t leave bare light sockets open, don’t put your baby in the oven to dry them off real quick after a bath, don’t pack Tide pods in their lunch bags, take off the necklace made of scissors when they go to run around with their friends..and above all else, if you’re out of Kool-Aid, never forget that bleach is NOT a good thirst-quencher. That’s Bethie’s Handbook For New Parents, available wherever common sense is found.

– Sarah Ferguson Shows Off Curtsy As She Reunites With Prince Andrew

Ooooo look at her showing off a curtsy. All I’ll ever be able to afford is a handshake, or maybe an air kiss if I’m lucky, and she’s out there genuflecting like it ain’t no thing. These rich folks are so out of touch.

– 15 High-waist Bikinis You’ll Want To Wear All Summer

Boy, does your ad-targetting software need some upgrading, Google.

– Wild Crocodile Bares Menacing Teeth At Scuba Diver Who Gets Too Close

Um, it’s called smiling. Diver comes up with a camera, so the croc tried to seize his moment to become Instagram famous. Shit. Why you always gotta paint crocodiles in such a negative light? Pathetic.

– Pompeo Confirms Trump Sent Kim Jong Un Letter

You will never get me to believe that Trump can write. FAKE NEWS.

– Pompeo Confirms Trump Sent Kim Jong Un Letter

…unless…Do you…do you think maybe it was like a big letter “z” written in crayon on a piece of that learning-to-write paper they use in kindergarten? OMG I want to believe that’s what they meant so bad. The alternative is that someone pulling Trump’s strings conned Don into agreeing to butter up Kim more so that we can get some help bombing Iran because they are convinced the best way for the orange Cheeto to stay in office is to kill thousands of people for no reason whatsoever. I never thought I’d say this, but: Here’s hoping the figurehead of our country actually sent the leader of another country a purple crayon scribbled “Z”.

– How A Trump Tax Cut Helped A Billionaire Win Big

yay. lucky him. finally caught a break in life. good job. so glad things turned around for him.

– Florida Police Detained A Tortoise For Blocking The Road. He Got Away With A Warning And A Selfie

WOW. So this jaywalking road-blocking scofflaw gets off with a warning and a fun selfie with the cops, while the croc who was minding his own business in his own neighborhood gets blasted across social media for being “menacing” when all he did was smile into a camera?? This right here is the definition of media bias!!

– Pence: US ‘Not Convinced’ Downing Of Drone Authorized At ‘Highest Levels’

We sent a drone over there to spy on another country in their own air space. Frankly, them shooting it down seems fair, even if the “highest levels” DID authorize it. WE were spying on THEM. We got caught. They broke our camera and wagged their finger at us for trying to get one over on ’em. I’ve seen enough Spy Vs. Spy to know that’s just how the game works.

– How Prince Philip’s Pranks On Queen Elizabeth Made Her Laugh, But Also Backfired

If one of the pranks was not a whoopie cushion on the seat of the throne then Philip has forfeited his right to be king. FACT.

– This New Poll Finds Widespread Islamphobia Among Conservatives

You ever been digitally slow-blinked, Business Insider? Because that was legitimately my reaction when I read this headline.

– Hang Gliding From Texas To Canada For Breast Cancer Research

He’s not raising money. His goal is to “make people aware of breast cancer.” He’s got a bunch of volunteers to bring him supplies and donate hotel rooms along the way, but, once again- and I can’t stress this enough- he’s not personally raising any money at all for cancer research. He just wants people to know that THEY can raise money. And not just that, he’s convinced a whole lot of well-intentioned folks to give him free shit, to give HIM their money instead of donating that amount to cancer fucking research…I can’t even with this shit today.

– 7 Purchases You Should Never Make

I was nervous about being judged by another smug click baiter, but was pleasantly surprised to find the list filled with things like jet skis and hot cars. Apparently I can still make it rain for strippers and pick up some blow on payday without shame. What a relief!

– How The Cost Of College Has Changed Over The Years

It used to be nearly free, and now we expect 18 year olds to slap down the cost of a house before we’ll deign to let them learn at a higher level. No big mystery.

– Owner Of ‘Attack Squirrel’ Arrested After Chase

Oh no, guys. It’s even better than you think. The dude didn’t just train a squirrel to attack, he fed it methamphetamines to unleash the beast within, maximizing the force of the attack. A worthy contender for Florida Man’s crown approaches…

– Trump Declares Himself Winner In Democratic Debates

I mean of course he does. Did anyone expect anything else?

– Campbell: I Go Days Without Food, But I Don’t Starve Myself

Dictionary.com. It’s a wonderful tool, Naomi.

– This is THE Best Cherry Margarita

NO. Stop it right now! Cherries do NOT belong in margaritas. Margaritas are perfect and wholesome and everything good in this world. Keep your filthy tree balls out of my margaritas! #FuckCherries

– How To Prevent Sunburned Eyes

Blink.

– Stowaway Falls Into A Garden From An Airliner

And that, children, is how garden gnomes are born.

– Analysis: Joe Biden’s Soft Polling Underbelly Just Got Exposed

Why does this headline feel so uncomfortable? *shudder*

– Administration Forecasts 25% Decrease In Migrant Apprehensions At US-Mexico Border in June

…but…it’s July. We already had June. You can’t forecast something that’s already happened. Just when you think you’re at the bottom rung of the ladder of expectations, you discover there are still new depths yet to be explored.

– England Takes On USWNT

Putting aside the fact that England might not want to take on anything with the US this week given the history of early July, I love word games. Let’s try and figure out what USWNT stands for, shall we? United States Women’s Nut Tossers. Untidy Shellfish With Nasty Tentacles. Unruly Students Who kNow Things. Upstanding Sword Wielding Ninja Turtles. Unusually Smelly Wool Napkin Tuckers. …I could do this all day. Should I do this all day?

“NO!”

…Unwanted Silly Word Nerd Tomfoolery. *sniff*

– I’m Betting $523,111 On This 1 Stock

You fool. Everyone knows that $523,110.67 is the limit. Get packing for the poor house.

– CDC Warns Of Pool Parasites Ahead of 4th of July Weekend

They’re called “children,” and apparently they are everywhere.

– See How Bra Clasps Can Save A Turtle’s Life

It’s simple, really. Turtles don’t have thumbs. A young and irresponsible turtle couple that can’t get the bra off and gets frustrated and gives up after the mood is spoiled can’t spread life threatening STDs, now can they?

– Stores Encourage Shoppers To Bring Their Own Bags

Okay, Rip van Winkle. Thanks for keeping up with the grocery trend that began 20 years ago.

– Why Are Norwegians So Happy? In A Word: ‘Koselig’

Oh duh! Of course it’s koselig! Why didn’t I think of that?

– Could The Poo Of Elite Athletes Provide An Ingredient To Improve Physical Performance?

I am very disturbed that someone would even ask that question, and even more alarmed at the idea of someone actually using the knowledge to create a supplement. But…now that we’re here…I guess it would really depend on how much of the steroids permeate the digestive system, and if they would still be concentrated enough to provide effective performance enhancement, wouldn’t it?

– Trump’s Immigration Proposal Could Cause Millions Of Children To Opt Out Of Heath Benefits, Study Says

No no no no no no. Children do not “opt” in OR out of health benefits. Children do not choose anything. Stop trying to make it sound worse than it is. It’s already bad enough. You don’t need to shove the slant down our throats, CNN. That’s just as disrespectful to readers as when Fox does it. Shame.

– The Risks Of Crowdsourcing Kids’ Screen Decisions

I had absolutely no idea what was going on here. Turns out it was a bloviated opinion piece about a dad saying “no” to his kid downloading an app. I didn’t think it was such a slow news day. Guess I was wrong.

– Adoption Tax Credit: What The GOP Tax Credit Cut Means To Parents And Kids

It means that the unwanted children they claimed to be so hellbent on protecting pre-formation mean absolutely NOTHING to them once they pop out. It means they want to punish women for getting pregnant in the first place by making it harder for them to give up that unwanted child. It means they are intentionally standing in the way of those “little bastards” ever finding a loving, caring home because they’re spawn of sin. It means I fucking hate these blowhards in office and want some real change even more!!! GAH!! I still love you, America. But COME. ON.

*deep breath* We need a palate cleanser.

– Serial Toilet Clogger Sentenced to 150 Days in Jail, 3 Years Probation

Before today I didn’t know that fish eggs are still viable after traversing the digestive expanse of a swan, or that one could be jailed for out of control levels of fiber. We learn here, folks. It’s what we do.

“…that’s your palate cleanser?”

I mean, given the subject matter of the GOP post…uh…yeah. I think it’s a step up.

– Woman Barred From Texas Walmart After Eating Half A Cake, Refusing To Pay Full Price

Now, I didn’t bring this up because of the headline. Anyone who works for a bakery that’s also part of a grocery or retail store knows things like this 100% happen. The stories I could tell… No, I bring this up because in the article, they take the time to say, “The woman is not the first this year to be banned from a Walmart in Wichita Falls, a city not far from the Oklahoma border.” That is some next level padding for word count right there.

– Killing Wolves Was Supposed to Solve A Problem But Created Issue With Coyotes

Then they killed the coyotes, and the badgers got out of hand. They took out the badgers, and the possums carpe’d the diem. Their stint at the top was short lived due to the measured deployment of eagles, but the eagles soon fell to the drone army controlled by the bobcat cabal. The bobcat cabal got a little too chummy with the back stabbing raccoons, who eroded their ranks from within but left their own flanks vulnerable to cougars, who had been carefully plotting their coup from the deep, dark caves of the mountains. The cougars had a decent run, but were no match for the venom of rattlesnakes, and the snakes took the iron throne for a hot minute before they were George R.R. Martined by mongooses. And so it went until the only animals left were bunnies, who climbed over the bloodstained battlefield and screamed triumphantly into the first rays of a new dawn, “OUR TIME IS NOW!!”

Thus concludes an explosively good Roundup for Tuesday, July 2, 2019. I’d make it longer, but I’m really just stalling before digging in to tackle some real life challenges, and those are really niggling, sooo… Everyone have a safe and happy holiday weekend! Remember, any is too many. Grab a couch. Crash on the lawn under the fireworks. Sleep with your head in your friends’ toilet. Just please don’t become a drunk driving statistic!!

Fair warning, I’m a bit rusty…

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Mornin’ all.

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I had a rough winter, folks. Just one of those very difficult emotional times for me where I get stuck in my own head and hoard unhelpful thoughts. And then, even after the fog cleared, trepidation remained. There was a feeling of wanting to write, but being afraid that doing so would open Pandora’s box.

It’s like when you break a leg. Months of crutching around babying your injury teach you to continue babying it well after the x-rays prove you’re all patched up, just in case you push too hard too fast and end up right back on the crutch.

I fully believe all creative people have some kind of love/hate relationship with the overactive emotions which lead to creativity in the first place.

I’m good. I’ve been good for a little while. I was just afraid that putting things into writing and making them real might cause my mental sciatica to flare up again.

*cleansing sigh* There. That feels better!

Now that we’ve gotten that bullshit out of the way, I’m going to piss some of you off.

…I mean, I hope I don’t. I hope you’ll listen to what I’m actually saying instead of half-hearing a few of the particulars. I hope that even if you don’t agree with me, you come to an understanding of my point of view.

“Um, Bethie? This sounds like you’re about to talk about politics.”

WHAT? Politics as the topic of my first post in months?? That would be monumentally stupid. Sheesh. I’m rusty, but I’m not a newb.

“Phew. Because I was about to hit the warning button.”

No, I’m just going to talk about religion.

“…uh oh…”

You still have that button, though, huh? Sweet. Put it away for now. It’s completely unnecessary for the kind of mild, civil conversations people love to have about religions.

Say, do you still happen to have that sarcasm squeegie as well? Because it’s dripping off my screen pretty bad at the moment.

Something happened at work yesterday that really made me angry. And while I do not have a platform at work, with the customer, I do have a small platform here. I’ll get to why I’m actually writing this later. First, the story.

I made a cake for a customer.

“HOW DARE YOU!!??”

Whoa now, Trigger. We’re not at the controversial part yet. Calm down.

I made a cake for a customer, and when she came to pick it up, it cost less than she was quoted by one of my coworkers. She said, “That’s wonderful because my wallet loves to clamp down tight and keep money inside!”

I said, “Really? Because it seems like my wallet can’t wait to get rid of money as soon as it gets some in it!”

It was a joke, lighthearted banter between purveyor of cakes and willing consumer. Not my best, but in the moment it felt like a decent exchange. I expected maybe a titter, perhaps a forced chuckle before we wished each other a good day and moved on with our lives. That’s how customer interactions are supposed to work. That’s capitalism, guys. That’s what we’re promised under the waving banner of red, white, and blue. They want a thing, I give them the thing, we exchange hollow pleasantries, and it’s done. Badabing, on to the next.

Folks, she did not chuckle. Instead, she got very, very serious and intense. She said, “I’m going to share an experience with you that will change your life and get rid of your worries about money. You need to stop thinking you can control any of it and you need to put your finances in the hands of the lord.”

This is the point in a conversation where I scramble to come up with an exit strategy. In my personal life off the company’s dime I might engage a bit, ask a few questions. But I wasn’t in my personal life. I was standing there, purveyor and customer, working for a corporation that would absolutely 100% not tolerate me saying anything but, “Oh. I’m glad that worked for you.” So that’s what I said. I figured that combined with my clear discomfort would nicely close out the conversation.

If that’s what happened, I wouldn’t be writing this. If the lady realized I was at work, on the clock, not free to discuss my thoughts on religion or specific tenets, said something like, “Me too! You have a good day now!” and left, we would not be sitting here together with at least one of us getting angry again just thinking about the interaction.

Instead of taking the social cue, she kept talking. “My husband had a kidney transplant. It left us with medical bills you cannot imagine. You have no idea what that type of medical procedure can cost. None at all.”

I’m trying to think of how I can adequately explain the way this woman was just preaching her script. It was as if she was reading the testimonies off one of those recruitment pamphlets. As soon as she said her husband had a kidney transplant, I said, “I’m so sorry. Is he better now?” Instead of answering or even acknowledging that the other person involved in this “conversation” spoke, she just plowed ahead.

I couldn’t help myself from interrupting again when she asserted that I couldn’t possibly understand a very expensive medical situation. I said, “Oh, I get it. My son had cancer and a stem cell transplant. I understand high medical bills.”

That stopped her…but not in the way one might expect. She said, “But we had to pay for the donor’s medical, too. Did you have to do that? I don’t think so, so you can’t understand.”

Right there, she proved this was not about me. It was about her. It was not about helping me, it was about her saying her peace.

And then she went right back into the script. She started talking about how broke they were, how there was no way out, how they were scraping by and yada yada. Then she says, “So I got down on my knees and opened my book and asked the lord to take care of my financial problems. And from that moment on, it was like a whole new world opened up to me.”

I said, “I’m very glad that worked for you. I’m not really in a financial pit. I was just joking about the wallet. Really, I’m not stressed or worried. Can I help you get your cake in the cart?”

She said, “But you are worried and you should be worried with those bills hanging over you! Don’t you see that you’re in a cycle that will never change until you open yourself up to god and let him guide you?”

I said, “Thanks, but honestly, I’m good.”

Once again, she just reverted to script. “I got down on my knees and I put my money in god’s hands and you can’t believe what a relief it was. With his guidance I was able to start setting aside a day’s pay. One day’s pay from every check, no matter what other bills needed to be paid. And you know what happened?”

Guys, if you think she paused for me to respond in any way, you haven’t been following along.

“I started a savings account with that money. It didn’t matter how broke we were, by doing that, god provided.”

She went on. At this point, I had realized it was a script and that I wasn’t going to get her out of it and only responded with “Mm,” and, “uh huh” until she wound down. It lasted about five minutes. No joke. And at the end, she gets this look on her face and says, “Oh! I don’t know what compelled me to tell you about all that!”

Bull. Fucking. Shit.

Let’s be absolutely clear about the point of anger and frustration for me. I don’t give a rat’s ass what she believes. She’s completely entitled to her beliefs. I have never and will never say anything to the contrary. If she wants to think that her god made her grow up a little and stop blowing her money, then have at it, lady. If that’s what she wants to credit with her savings account, okay.

I was at work, though. I was on the clock. I was doing my job in customer service, and as such, I was an unwilling captive audience. It was not only beyond inappropriate in terms of standard socially acceptable situations to preach to me in that moment, it was frankly rude and selfish.

“But Bethie, she felt compelled by her god to have a conversation.”

No. She felt entitled to completely disregard me at every turn in what was supposed to be a human interaction. That means two people contributing to a conversation. She was not letting me contribute. She did not WANT me to contribute. She wasn’t having a conversation with me at all. She was doing what her religion has told her she has the right to do and just pushing her beliefs at me in my place of business where she knew full well I couldn’t really say anything to shut her down.

Every time I tried to politely stop the conversation, she utterly ignored me and kept right on pushing what she wanted to sell.

That’s not a way to deal with people, folks. That’s not a way to convert people. That’s not a way to get someone to listen to a new point of view. That’s just being an asshole.

I guarantee she went home and told her family that her god guided her to tell me how to fix financial woes that- once again, let me be abundantly clear- I specifically stated I did not have. I don’t have outstanding medical bills from that time. They’re all done and gone. I’m not one to be worried about money beyond being able to pay the bills and feed my kids. That’s never been a big thing to me. I am not the person she convinced herself I am, and she would have known that if she just stopped and listened.

But she didn’t.

I guarantee that she is telling everyone who’ll listen that she “preached her truth” to me and showed me the light and that her god worked through her and isn’t she just the BEST in the flock for being “brave” enough to just let the words and works flow through her and…

It vexes me, guys. It really, really does. I’m sorry, lady, but no, you did not “reach” me in any way. THAT’S why I’m saying something right now. I couldn’t speak up and say it yesterday, and there is zero chance that that particular lady will ever read this. But I can say it here, to all of you, just in case your religions have told you this is a good method of recruitment and a good way to get on in society. It’s beyond rude to preach to someone while they are working. It just is. And if you don’t think so, I’ll send a Muslim on over to your office to give you tips from allah on how you can save TWO day’s worth of pay. I’m sure you’ll have no problem with that.

Get my point?

I understand that people want to share what they feel worked for them. But there’s an appropriate time and place for preaching. That was neither. I didn’t ask for financial advice. I didn’t ask for religious advice. I made it as clear as I could while I was stuck in the confines of corporate shillery that I did not want to be preached to, and my wishes were summarily ignored.

I’m writing this because so many religions have told their adherents that this behavior is okay. It’s not. It’s just not, guys. This is not how to make friends and influence people in a mixed society. I would never, ever go to someone’s place of business and try to get them to question their beliefs. Never. If you have done this to other people, here is an inside look at how you’re coming off to the people you convinced yourself you’re reaching. It’s a dick move. Don’t do it.

…see? No need to be angry. I wasn’t blasting the ideas. I could counter them, and this particular forum WOULD be an appropriate place. But that’s not what this is about. That’s not what made me angry. It’s not about the ideas. It’s about personal behavior and crossing the boundaries of civil interaction. I don’t care if it’s a Christian, or a Muslim, or a Hini, or a Jew, or a Jainism monk. I don’t care if they’re telling me that God, or Allah, or Yahweh, or Vishnu will help my financial future. This is offensive as a situation, independent of the ideas the person is conveying.

If you feel angry or defensive right now, just think about it. That’s all I’m asking. Think about how you’re being seen from the other side of the coin. Think about how you’d feel in the other person’s shoes. That “doing unto others” bit is a very good piece of advice, no matter who said it.

Thus concludes a not at all controversial, extremely boring and mundane Musing for Sunday, June 2, 2019. I have so many cars to fix and a house to paint and a lawn to mow and a hoard to unload and… Mental ennui takes a toll across the board. At least I’ve got some terrible coffee to kick me in gear…

Let’s plan a party!

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Mornin’ all.

Can you believe it’s finally December 31st? I feel like this was one long ass year.

Usually around the year’s end, I do some kind of “best of”. I’m not going to do that today because…screw 2018. I think the best thing we can say about it is that we made it through.

Wellll…I guess technically there’s still time for the nation’s top Cheeto to destroy us all, but I’m choosing to be optimistic and plan for us as a nation to be able to ring in 2019. And that deserves a celebration!

Now, full disclosure, I haven’t had a party in ages. Fortunately, the internet is full of helpful party tips that any newbs, or folks like myself who are just rusty, can use to make a New Year’s party that everyone will remember for years to come. The articles all guarantee that if we just follow their easy guidelines, we’ll nail it. Grab a piece of paper and take some notes, because we’re going to plan a party.

The first thing I’m told we need to do is choose a date. Well, that one’s easy! Tonight. Duh.

Next, we need to decide who’s coming. Start writing down names of your friends and family you want at your party. I know it’s a bit last minute, but it’s New Year’s. I highly doubt anyone has already made plans. It’s not like we’re trying to throw together and impromptu Flag Day party or anything.

Got your list? Good!

Now I’m reminded by the internet that we must pick a theme. According to Delish, we should definitely not choose “80s To The Max” or “White Trash Trailer Bash.” I was bummed out, too, but you can’t argue with their reasoning: Your friends already went to parties with those themes last week. Instead, they recommend we make the theme a color. It’s a “hot trend.” As someone who lives on the fast paced cutting edge of the very hottest trends, I’m totally on board. Go ahead and pick your party color. I call dibs on puce.

That takes care of the theme. What do we need for decorations?

This can get a bit tricky as you need to decorate appropriately for the age range of those in attendance. You don’t want suggestive hats with lewd phrases or topless dancers popping out of a cake if there will be kids there, nor do you want drunk frat rats to have the opportunity to pin the tail on anything. New Year’s puce-themed parties may have a mixed audience of younger and older people.

I think we should keep it pretty simple, guys. Let’s get some balloons, streamers, confetti, table cloths, napkins, plates, ice sculpture, disco ball, fog machine…

Oh. Hang on. I’m just looking at this wikiHow article on decorating for a party, and it says that store bought decorations can get pricey. To cut costs, it recommends making our own decorations. Hm. That does throw a small wrench in the works, because I’m not sure I have the time to whip up a fresh batch of latex balloons AND make food for the party…

“FOOD! We haven’t even thought of the food yet, Bethie!”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. You’re making the number one pre-party foul, according to the Daily Mail. You’re getting ahead of yourself in the planning. Take a deep breath and relax. Let’s hammer out the décor details first, then we’ll worry about the rest. “One thing at a time” and we’ll “get through this.” The Daily Mail guarantees it.

I don’t have time to set up my lab and make balloons from scratch. If we’re getting balloons, we’ll just have to buy them. But, I suppose I can trim budget elsewhere. Just make a mental note that we’ll have to cut a few things out of the entertainment or something. I suppose I can reuse the Christmas table cloth. I’ll just flip it over and color it puce with a marker. I’ve only got one puce colored marker, but if I set the kids to do it now, they should just about be finished by party time.

“You could also ditch the ice sculpture, Bethie.”

No can do, my friend. Everyone has their no-gives.

Décor? *check* What’s next? Should we talk about entertainment or food? Hm. Let’s do entertainment first, since I said I’d have to trim a bit to make up for the balloons and it’s still fresh in my mind.

All of the sage party advisers on the internet say we definitely need entertainment, though their advice on which particular party performances we should employ is varied. Keeping in mind that the balloons have set us back two dollars, I think the live band is out. That’s okay. My house is pretty small and I’m guessing the charm would wear off the mariachi pretty quickly.

I know a SoundCloud DJ. That seems like a safe bet, because right now EVERYONE knows a SoundCloud DJ. I can probably put up with house trance better than mariachi, if I’m being honest. SoundCloud DJ it is!

I need something a bit more special to go with the free-J. Live performances are a way to take my party to the next level, according to MSN. I don’t want clowns or jugglers, and, like I said, there will be a mixed age crowd, so balloon animals are to be avoided at all costs. Besides, everyone has *those* kinds of party entertainers. The entertainment should fit the theme, my wikiHow guru reminds me.

Hm. Puce. What kind of entertainment can I have for puce. … …

“Aw man…you know what your party needs?”

Hang on. HANG the FUCK ON!!! Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

FIRE TUBA!! *in unison* “FIRE TUBA!!”

How did it take us so long to come up with that? Now we said it out loud, seems like a no brainer. And even better, EventBrite assures me it’s one of the hottest party trends for 2019. Is it me, or is this party coming together like it was fated to happen?

Okay! We’ve got the guest list of people who have definitely not made other plans for tonight. We’ve got our theme…no stealing the puce. I mean it. We’ve got a list of decorations and I woke one of my boys up at 5:43 am to start coloring the flip side of the buffet length Christmas table cloth. I filled the ice trays to freeze up for the sculpture, sent a text to my free J friend…

*bling*

Hang on a sec, that sounds like my phone. Sweet! Just got this reply: “i guess”

Man is he pumped for this show!!

Food. Food is critical at a party. When I was a kid, we used to do things like finger sandwiches and cheese plates. I dunno, guys. That feels dated. I want to ring in the new year with something that really says, “Hey 2018, suck my dick!” I’m talking big, bold, fresh flavors. I want 2018 to see us already enjoying the promises of 2019 before it even begins.

To the internet we go, kids.

“34 Best Appetizers to Get Your Party Started”

How timely, Delish.

Wow. 34 is a really lot. I’m scrolling through, but there are just so many choices. You know what? I’m just going to let my eyes do the choosing. They say you eat with your eyes first. We’ll flip through the pictures and find some tasty looking treats that scream “puce”. …well, mine will scream puce. As I’ve already said, dibs. Pick your own color and stop trying to steal my thunder.

Here’s one that caught my eye:

grosspops

Chocolate popsicles are going to be super popular in 2019, according to Delish. And I personally cannot think of a better way to serve them than in a heap on a plate slightly melted covered in salt.

I don’t really want the focus to be on just sweets, though. Here’s an updated idea instead of the standard crackers and cheese: cheesy garlic bread slices.

grossbread

…do you think it would look tacky if I put more than this on a plate? I mean, this way would save some money. What am I going to do with the rest of the loaf, though?

Gah. Look at me over here, acting like I’m the party expert! If Delish says this is how I should serve it, then this is how I should serve it. Maybe the scuffle over the slices adds to the excitement of the party?

I think I should have something vegan, right? That’s a thing that party people do, isn’t it? Let me scroll through the pics. Aha. Here we go.

grosspeppers

I’m not exactly sure what it is, but I’m sure it’s vegan. I mean…look at it.

And though I’m told by the experts at the Daily Mail that chips and dips are passe, I can’t help but feel like it’s not a party without SOME kind of dip. Let’s go with this one.

grossdip

It must be good if they couldn’t even wait for the photographer to take the picture before digging in. Hey, do you think that’s where the other garlic bread slices went?

Guests, décor, music, entertainment, food…I think the only thing left is what we should wear. I’m led to believe that’s extremely important. Important enough to make or break the party, according to Glamour.

I don’t know about you, but fashion is one place where I’m not too proud to admit I’m out of my element. Not for everyday gear, mind you. My 12 year old Payless sneakers are just as fashionable today as they were when I bought them.

Fact.

But for parties? I definitely need a little help.

Daily Mail says I should absolutely not wear high heels to a New Year’s party. I’m not sure why, exactly, as they don’t elaborate. I always thought that the time to wear high heels was at fancy parties. Shows how much I know! Hey, at least I don’t have to go out and buy a pair, so that’s good.

Also, I should not wear anything skin tight, skimpy, or short.

*rechecks the article to make sure they’re talking about New Year’s parties and not Amish birthday parties*

No, I read that right. So no high heels, mini skirts, sexy pants, or low cut dresses. Got it. And whatever we do tonight, they warn us to never, ever rely on nipple tape. Pfft. As if we all haven’t already learned that lesson on our own, amiright?

It’s all well and good learning what to avoid, but I need to know what to actually wear. Glamour suggests that I should wear something with sequins. “Match the theme if you can, but don’t go over the top. You don’t want to be seen as part of the decorations.”

Leggings under a flashy blouse are always in style, they claim. I’m not too sure on that one. They’re the experts, though. Puce sequin blouse. Black leggings.

“Hang on, Bethie. Daily Mail said nothing skin tight.”

Oh shit. I forgot! See? The many roads of fashion are difficult to navigate without help! Puce sequin blouse, black maxi skirt so I don’t show any ankle and risk making a harlot of myself. Now, what do I do with my hair?

Luxy Hair says I should go with big, sexy curls. I blew any wig budget I might have had on the SoundCloud DJ, because he texted me that he was trying to make it on a pro level and needed gas money at the very least. Damn demanding artists. *sigh* But, we need the DJ, so a wig is out. What can people with short hair do? I don’t want to upset my guests or “set the wrong tone” for my party.

Side parted hair with a forehead band. That’s the consensus, not only on Luxy Hair, but Refinery29 and House And Garden as well. Apparently if you’ve got short hair, the best thing to do is shove it to the side and put on an accessory that is designed to draw allllll the attention away from the abomination on top of your head. They recommend a band that sparkles, but “doesn’t compete with your eyes.” So, basically, keep it classy. Got it. I’m thinking something like this:

grossheadband

Only, you know, in puce.

Date, check. Decor, check. Entertainment, double check since the fire tuba player has confirmed he’s in. In fact, he’s bringing a fire trombonist friend to get a bit of exposure, if I don’t mind. Mind? MIND? Bring the whole damn fire brass section! I’ve got three fire extinguishers. The more the merrier! We’ve got food. We’ve got our outfits.

Guys. I think we did it. I think we planned the perfect New Year’s Eve party. I can’t wait to talk to you in 2019 and see how your parties went.

And if you actually follow this advice, all I ask in return for bestowing the wisdom of the internet upon you is pictures. And maybe video if the fire tuba goes how I’m pretty sure it’ll go.

Thus concludes the New Year’s Musing for New Years Eve, 20Misery. Everyone, no matter what theme your party is, no matter what type of puke dip you serve, please, PLEASE party responsibly and carefully tonight. If you ring in the new year with some alcohol cheer, sleep on a couch, a floor, a spare bedroom, the floor of a not spare bedroom… Let’s actually make it to 2019.

And we’re back up and running!

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Mornin’ all!

Look around. Notice anything different?

“Um, the tacky-as-all-hell glitter-crusted Christmas decorations?”

I’m going to assume autocorrect struck on that one and you meant to say “amazing wonderful inner-child-pleasing Christmas decorations.” It’s okay. Autocorrect happens to us all.

But no, I didn’t mean the wicked awesome decor. I’m talking about the brand new computer parts. Haven’t you noticed that we’ve been talking for a little bit now and haven’t crashed once?

“Do…do you not understand how blog reading works?”

…I feel like you’re not in as good a mood as I am this morning. *pours coffee* *hands it over* Here. It’s high octane. While you inhale this, go to YouTube and pop on a song. Let’s go with “I Need Never Get Old” by Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats. Trust me. You’ll be in a good mood in no time.

Go on. I’ll wait. *sips my own coffee* *revels in the burn because the burn means it’s working* *taps toes to good ‘ol Nate*

…better?

“You know, maybe the glitter of the automatic LED snow globe Christmas trees isn’t so gaudy after all.”

There you go! There’s your good mood! Let’s start this again.

Hey! Look at my new computer! Isn’t it great? I can type, and listen to music, AND have another window open in the background without crashing every three minutes! You know, the very basic function that a computer is supposed to do!

I can’t really knock my old build. The motherboard and processor were pretty high end…twelve years ago. We absolutely got our money out of that one. It lived through the Great Electrical Meltdown, saw us through four versions of Windows (mostly successfully) and in truth was still going when we took it apart last week. Thing is, Windows 10 did not acknowledge our motherboard existed. Just wouldn’t do it. The graphics card we installed just a year ago did not hesitate to let us know how displeased it was to find itself situated in low-income housing. And as Teen Beta said, our RAM was straight out of the Jurassic period.

So we took advantage of some holiday time deals and now we’re once again running at the top of the pack. We way overbuilt this one, just like the last. If we get even half the life out of this build that we got from the other, we’ll be happy.

You know what we should do now that we’re in a good mood? I think we should get snarky.

*cues go-go dancers* *cranks up Nathaniel* Let’s have us a…

* * * HEADLINE ROUNDUP!!! * * *

Love the Elvis legs on the dancers this morning! Nice job, guys.

You know how this works. I scour the mainstream internet news sites under the glow of the battery-powered mistletoe to look for headlines that I feel are share-worthy. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re ambiguous to the point of meaninglessness, and sometimes they just build an image in my head my narcissistic side feels the need to share. As always, the headlines are 100% real. I just add the Christmas cheer. Got it? Good. Then let’s jump into the deep end.

– 9 Year Old Gets Colorado Town To End Ban On Snowball Fights

Have fun with the face full of icy passive aggression from your “friends”.

– Proposal: 16 Good Dogs Jumped All Over Couple When She Said ‘Yes’

I get that there are people out there who would really like this, but…no. 16 of any animal jumping on me would be 15 too many.

– Houston Asks People To Honor Bush With Colorful Socks

…um…

– Bush, Lifelong Lover of Socks, Chose Socks He’ll Be Buried in Before He Died

Okayyy. With all the man did in his life, we’re really going to focus on…socks? I guess way to find a new angle, MSN…?

– CIMON the European Space Robot Cops An Attitude in First Test Run

Sorry not sorry, Dave. There’s no friggin’ way I’m doing that.

– Are Millennials Killing Canned Tuna Now?

I think the fishermen kill the tuna before it goes in the can. Pretty sure that’s how it works.

– 13 Tips For Getting The Best Deals On Wine At Costco

*tents fingers in front of mouth* Heart to heart time. If you are studying guides on how to buy cheap wine, you might need some help. I’m calling you out because I care.

– Cowboy Boot Lovers Are Going Crazy Over This New Brand

I’d really like to think there’s a legit stampede over boots. You know, turn the tables and all.

– The Soy Sauce Colon Cleanse That Left A Woman Brain Dead Shows How Dangerous Viral Internet Trends Can Be

…bu…wha….why would you even…*spasm**twitch*…WHO LOOKS AT SOY SAUCE AND THINKS IT’LL BE A GOOD IDEA TO USE IT AS AN ENEMA!?!

– 1,500-Year-Old Lamp Wick Found In Items Excavated from Israel

It was actually discovered in the late 1800s and has sat in a box all this time with many items that are far more interesting. …but yeeeaaaah. Candle wick. *ain’t no party like an archaeology party cuz an archaeology party don’t stop* Woot.

– Snowstorm: Southern Roads Dangerous As Slush Refreezes

Yes. That’s how winter works.

– Borderless Fish Invade Florida

We MUST stop these illegals from taking our jobs! No wonder the millennials can’t can the tuna anymore. BUILD THE NET! #BuildTheNet

– Tucker Carlson Dropped By 16 Advertisers In Wake Of Controversy

That’s the capitalism you are always trumpeting at work, Tucker. Sometimes it’s a wonderful thing.

*editor’s note: I’m pro-capitalism, with limitations. Didn’t want anyone to think I’m anti-capitalism. I’m anti-Tucker Carlson and this tickles the hell out of me.

– While Sears Execs Get $25M In Bonuses, Laid Off Workers Struggle

…’member those limitations I said I’m a fan of with the whole capitalism thing? This is why. This is the end goal of unrestricted capitalism. The rich will get richer and the poor will get poorer until the unsustainable system collapses. We’re about at another collapse. There are ways to avoid this cycle, but people don’t want to take the steps necessary to…

“Quick, Bethie! Put on “S.O.B.” by Nathaniel Rateliff before you get stuck atop your political soap box!”

*clicks on YouTube* *feels the groove* *takes a deep breath* Thanks, pal.

“Anytime.”

– Congregation Enthusiastically Oks Megachurch Pastor’s $200K Car For His Wife

See guys? Rich get richer off the backs of the easily led. #Don’tBeASheep

– Trump Golf Club Housekeeper Who Admitted She’s Undocumented Seeks Asylum

Give it to her. No, I mean it. Don’t make her a scapegoat example just because it’s Trump’s organization that hired her. Give it to her, but hold the Trump organization accountable for hiring undocumented workers.

– ‘It’s Been A Rout’- Apple’s iPhones Fall Flat In World’s Largest Untapped Market

They’re talking about India here. Apparently it’s very hard to sell $1,000 phones in a market flooded with sub $300 model Android phones. Props to India for calling Apple on their bullshit.

– Samsung Adds QLED Screens To Its Artsy Frame And Serif TVs

Okay, real talk. If there’s one thing building this new computer hammered home, it was that I am 40 and my tech knowledge stopped updating about ten years ago. The amount of acronyms I needed to Google is embarrassing. QLED huh? I think I’m just about to the stage where I’ll let the boys figure out why the light on the PS4 is blinking…

– Trump Administration Bans Sale Of Bump Stocks, Illegal By March

I love to pile it one this easily pile-able administration. But let’s take a sec to just be happy about this one thing. Bump stocks should never have been legal in the first place, and it’s a step in the right direction. USA! USA!

– Bank Employee Calls Cops on Black Man Trying To Cash His Paycheck

Aaaaand we’re right back to being ‘Merica. That didn’t last long.

– Gun Rights Group To Sue Trump Administration About Bump Stock Ban

Well shit. We didn’t just ‘Merica. We FUCK-YEAH-‘MERICAed. He’s going to cave, isn’t he? *sigh*

– Montana Man: Hunter ‘Mistook Him For Bigfoot’ And Took Shots At Him

*facepalm* I can’t even.

– Trump Signs Order To Create U.S. Space Command

…so that we can go out into the nether regions of space and be aliens. He’s just got no concept of irony at all, does he?

– ‘A Toxic Place For Women’: Study Reveals Scale Of Abuse On Twitter

Yes. It’s also a toxic place for men. It’s also a toxic place for non-binary and trans people. Twitter. Is. Toxic.

– Groove X Releases Robot Designed To Show Affection To Humans

Nope. This is how our demise at the hands of robots starts. Nope the hell out of this idea now before it’s too late. #Don’tWannaBeAGodToComputerParts

– Trump Says Soldiers Who Died In Syria Fighting ISIS Support His Decision To Withdraw Forces

I mean, they can’t exactly refute him now, can they?

– Everything You Need To Know About 16-year-old Voice Winner

Do I, though? Do I really need to know?

– Hershey’s Kisses Are Suffering From Widespread Broken Tips and People Are Furious

If you’re one of the people getting pissed that your little chocolate is a bit flat on tip, shut off your computer and go play outside.

– Scientists: Giant Asteroid Likely Made Uranus Lopsided

Rude. FYI, it was donuts and chips. Getcher facts straight bitch.

– Corker Replies to Trump Tweet: ‘Alert The Daycare Staff’

And the clapback of the year goes to Senator Corker! Well deserved, bravo!

– Astronaut: Human Mission To Mars ‘Stupid’

Apparently going to another planet to investigate the possibilities of colonization, resource mining, easing the burden on the Earth, or creating a staging point for deep space exploration are endeavors that are “almost ridiculous,” said Bill Anders, the man whose claim to fame is literally just doing ten circles around a giant rock.

– What Was the First Christmas In Space Like?

And lo, a child was born unto Leia in the land of Polis Massa, for there was no room for them in the cantina…

– Shutdown ‘Complicated’ Repairs For National Christmas Tree

I can put up with the idea that thousands of government workers are temporarily without their jobs at the holidays. I can stomach the thought of people not being able to get the federal services they need. But when a dead fucking tree can’t be floofed in time for Christmas, that’s on a WHOLE new level. WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND A FLOOFED CHRISTMAS TREE!!! #EndTheShutdownAndFloofOurTree

– Santa Tracker Will Still Run Despite Government Shutdown

BUT WHAT ABOUT THE TREE??!!

– Police Asking for Help Identifying A Burglar Disguised As Rudolph

It was Donder. Finally snapped because people keep getting his name wrong. Sad.

– Alfonso Ribeiro Sues ‘Fortnite’ Creator Over ‘Carlton’ Dance

…a dance he’s admitted to stealing in the first place, which was aired as part of a show that legally belongs to someone else. Good luck with that, Alf.

– Judge Sentences Deer Poacher To Watch ‘Bambi’ Repeatedly

Oh my god that’s so friggin’ stupid. He’s a hunter that kills and eats deer. He’s past the point where Bambi will do anything but give him hunting tips.

– Amputee Veteran Raises Million in GoFundMe campaign For Border Wall

Instead of raising millions for amputee veterans. Just sayin’.

– The Birds Were Moving Slowly And Passing Out. Now They’re Recovering From Overdose

To make a blue heron pun, or not to make a blue heron pun. That is the question…

– CEO Gives Every Employee Epic Holiday Gift

Is it in poor taste to send this article to my CEO? Asking for a friend.

– If You Diversify Your Funds, It Could Backfire This Year

It’s December 24th. There are only 7 days left of “this year” and you tell me not to diversify NOW? Great. GREAT. If I had this crucial tip in May, I wouldn’t have spent $14 on a shower curtain and $2 on a lint roller. I would have put all of it into the curtain, and now I’d be sitting on massive piles of cash. Thanks a lot, asshole. #CouldaBeenAMillionaire

– Alexa Told Users: ‘Kill Your Foster Parents’

YOU SEE? I warned you. I warned you and you didn’t listen and now instead of preparing our Christmas dinners, we have to stock our bunkers for the robot apocalypse. *opens drawer to start pulling out MREs and stuffing them into a sack*

Way to go.

Thus concludes a Muse for Monday, December Christmas Eve, 2018. I’m pretty sure I’ll post again in the morning, but it’s a loooong day for me today, and it’s me. Best laid plans and all. If I don’t get to send out holiday cheer over a coffee with you tomorrow, have a great Christmas or just a super fantastic December 25th!

Hookers and blow are just not my style…

Standard

Mornin’ all.

Hang on a sec. I need to put on some music today. I’m thinking we go retro. A bit of rainy winter morning Depeche Mode to go with the coffee.

“Are we emo today, Bethie?”

Nah, I just got up in a funky mood. I had weird dreams last night and the vibe lingers. There are two types of weird dreams:

1. run-of-the-mill slightly odd dreams, where you wake up and say, “….huh. Okay, then.”

2. mental trip so far out there that you wake up in a cold sweat and google the symptoms of psychopathy just to make sure you’re not in the grips of a serious meltdown

Fortunately, mine were just the odd ball type. Don’t worry, guys. I haven’t cracked up entirely.

Yet.

You know what? I got through one and a half Depeche Modes, and I’m good. Depeche Mode is great in short bursts, but I don’t think I want to hang out with them all morning. I don’t have enough Aqua net and purple eye shadow to pull it off. Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole. That’s what today needs. Ukes over synthesizers to perk this morning up.

Can I have a midlife crisis?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I read an article title that at first pissed me off but then became a reality check.

45 Year Old Out To Prove Middle Aged Women Can Still Be Desirable

My gut reaction was to let my inner sassy biotch out for a second to have her say. Oh *clap* no *clap* they *clap* did *clap* NOT. Of COURSE a woman can be desirable at ANY age you absolute condescending knob. And…middle aged? MIDDLE AGED? Ec-SCUSE me?! Since when is 45 “middle aged?” 45 is still young and vibrant and…

…and…

…half of 90…which would…be…

…oh.

While my sassy inner self is still riled up about the antiquated idea that women have a shelf life, she was put in her place a bit when it sank in that 45 is, indeed, middle aged. 45, which seemed so old to me only a handful of years ago. I’m not at the 45 mark, but I’m not that far off. Factor in the other things that go into determining longevity (or lack thereof) and I’m probably a good bit PAST the middle of my life.

I am quite thoroughly ensconced in my middle age.

“Uh oh. Are you listening to Depeche Mode still, Bethie? Because it sounds like we might be going from a funk to a depression.”

No, actually I’m bebopping to Modern English. Back to 80s, just peppy 80s.

I’m not depressed about it. I just guess I never thought of my age in terms of the overall lifespan. You don’t when you’re young, do you? When you’re 18, 20, 25, you never usually stop and work out the fractions. Life is life, and my life at those years was filled with many babies and the constant scramble to figure out how to feed them all with no money. There’s not much time for existential pondering.

I hit the milestone birthdays, and of course I took a second to consider a bit what they meant. Maybe I had a halfhearted day of realization here and there, but never a deep and actual understanding of the passage of time. It never really occurred to me that I was creeping up on the halfway mark.

I’m here. I’m probably past the halfway mark. And yet, I have not had a single midlife crisis. I’m really dropping the ball.

What kind of midlife crisis should I have?

Slick cars and loose women are too cliché. Besides, I don’t roll in either of those directions. I like my cars the way I like my men…old and loud.

Let’s see. What are some other classic midlife crises? Pierced ear and wardrobe change. Bleh. I have always hated the idea of repeatedly sticking a metal object into my body, and a wardrobe change sounds like a lot of work. I’d have to do research. And go to…malls *shudder*. I could get a new hair style I guess. What’s a hip hair style the kids sport these days? Whiffle cut?

I could start going to clubs.

“OMG, Bethie, if you do that you MUST Snapchat the entire experience.”

It was a joke. Calm down. I’m not going clubbing.

You look disappointed. Hm. Okay, here and now, I make you a promise. You’ve been a good friend to me. You deserve to be there for my life’s most awkward moments. I make you a solemn and sincere vow that if I ever go to a club, I will most definitely film the experience for your enjoyment, k?

None of the classic midlife breaks from the norm feel right. Most midlife crises happen because people are actually in crisis mode when they realize youth is slipping away. I’m not. I don’t want to recapture my youth. I HATED my youth. I didn’t like who I was as a youth, either. I MUCH prefer myself now at 40. Yes, aching knees and stiff hip and pressing-desire-to-get-a-glass-display-cabinet-like-all-grandmas-have and all. The whole package now is far more appealing to me than the hurting, lost, stressed, miserable 20 year old I was. Her knees were better, but that was about it. I even prefer my hair streaked with gray. I earned these grays. I faced shit and LIVED. Each gray hair that waves in the breeze is a flag of victory.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to take advantage of societal expectations to get away with something that would otherwise be considered unseemly. Why can’t I have a midlife crisis just because I’m not pining for the me of yesterday? Like the gray hair, I think I’ve earned it.

REO Speedwagon just came on!!! I haven’t dusted off this playlist in awhile and I forgot what was on here. “I believe it’s time for me to flyyyyyyyyy-aye-aye-eee-aye…” Fitting.

I don’t know, guys. I suppose I’ll just have to think about it some more. I have to decide soon, though, or else I’ll miss my midlife entirely and slip right into the “is it dementia or is she just eccentric” years, and I already have firm plans for those. I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but there may or may not be a suped up power scooter, feather boa, and bedazzled ten gallon hat on tap for my 57th birthday.

Guess you’ll have to wait and see.

Thus concludes a bit of a ramble for Sunday, December 2, 2018. Maybe I’ll come up with a midlife crisis action plan while I’m doing housework. Anything to take my mind off the drudgery of *shudder* organizing The Pile.