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

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Mornin’ all.

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

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

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

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

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

…*blink**blink*…

#LifeGoals?

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

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

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

Let’s talk about Other Things.

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

I did not hear him wrong.

I’m waiting. For the womb.

The Womb.

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

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

I…just…*???*

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

Yes. Lumpy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Monty Python fist bump*

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

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

It looks dumb. Stop it.

“Bethie. Are you…pocket shaming?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And she was juggling.

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

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

Maybe she misses the circus lights and cheering crowds.

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

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

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

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

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Mornin’ all.

You will not believe who I saw at work yesterday.

John Travolta.

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

That’s what scientologists do with thetans, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*crickets**crickets*

Pfft. That’s what I thought.

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

Any Les Mis fans out there?

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*a light shines on a lone baker, center stage* *soft music begins to play*

One day more.

Another pie, another past-er-y,

On this never ending road to feed my fam-i-ly.

These customers who spend their dimes

Will surely come another time

One day more…

Mornin’ all.

Today is my tenth day straight at work. Tomorrow, I get a day off. I’m feeling a tad bit punchy, if you couldn’t tell.

Though, to be honest, isn’t starting the day off with an epic musical routine always the goal?

A coworker got injured while one of our Janes-of-all-Trades started a two week vacation. We are already short handed as it is, so it’s very hard to absorb the blow of someone missing work from being hurt.

I’ll mix the cream up fresh today

How can I pipe if it has parted?

Tomorrow I’ll be worlds away,

And yet right now my shift’s not started…

You see, we knew someone was about to get hurt. We’ve gone way too long without injury.

There’s a curse on our bakery.

No, don’t laugh. It’s true! How else would you explain the fact that in the not quite year I’ve been there, we’ve had four major injuries I can think of, if you include pregnancy. Which, let’s face it, you should.

If I worked in a large bakery, that would be a pretty fair number. Humans tend to be clumsy and inept. I do not work in a large bakery, though. I work with 7 other people. That’s it. Four major health-related reasons for missing work is a LOT in that short time span.

One more day not at my home,

One more day not in my jammies.

What a nap I might have known,

But they say they need me there…

My working theory is that someone got pissed off about an order they placed. While we do a damn fine job, mistakes happen. Or, more often, people don’t understand what they’re actually asking for when they place the order and are then ultimately disappointed when they pick up donut holes that don’t match their croquembouche dreams.

Anyway, someone was unhappy enough with their order that they hopped on a plane to New Orleans, prowled around the old quarter until they found a tiny shop filled with dried chicken feet and alligator teeth, gave the secret password to get into the hidden back room to see an ancient priestess, and had her construct a voodoo doll for each of our employees.

Only thing that makes sense when you think about it.

One more day of icing cupcakes,

We will top them with rose buds,

We’ll be ready for those orders,

They will stuff themselves with food.

Boy am I looking forward to the day off. It’s not like I’m going to do anything fabulous with it. In fact, I am going to probably catch up on housework. Woot woot. The fun don’t stop on THIS party train.

It’s just having the time to DO the housework, ya know?

I’m not a full time employee. Hell, around here it seems like “full time” is just a bedtime story folks tell their kids to trick them into staying in school. A mythical carrot dangled in front of their naive noses, just to be pulled away by modern corporate America. Some weeks I only get about 25 hours. Not these past couple weeks. Those have been almost full time. Juuuust shy so that I don’t qualify for benefits.

So not quite full time. Doesn’t sound like a lot, does it?

But then there’s the other part of life that comes with having a passel of kids. It just feels like every day I fall further behind on my list.

I’m not complaining. I like the job, I like getting money. That passel sure eats a lot and last time I checked, grocery stores weren’t giving out chickens and spuds for free. I’m just saying that tomorrow will feel damn good.

Watch them oooh and ahhh,

Get them testing treats,

Never get to rest when sales are at their peak,

Here a little taste,

There a little try,

Get ’em with a sample and then watch them buy.

Teen Prime bought me an early birthday present. Mass Effect: Andromeda. I am DYING to play it, but I am a good mummy.

…actually, I’m not. At best, I’m so-so. But, I do have my moments, and one of them is waiting to play the game until Teen Prime can be here for the weekend to watch. He loves watching people play. It didn’t work out this week, so all I can do is cast longing glances at the gleaming new game disc and smell the potential trapped within the pristine plastic.

If he could have made it down, that’s what I’d be doing from punch out time today until clock in time Monday morning. A bit of sleep in between, and I’d come up for air once in awhile to make sure the passel had wrassled up some grub and weren’t bleeding. Instead, we clean. *sigh* Hey, at least we get to clean at home, right?

Gaming. That would have been an awesome way to spend …

Tomorrow I won’t be at the baker-ay. Tomorrow I’ll clean house all day…

Tomorrow we’ll discover

What our laundry piles have in store.

One more tart,

One more caaaaaake,

ONE

DAY

MORE

Thus concludes a…Musing? Is it, though? Is it REALLY? Or is it more like insane rambling?…for Saturday, March 25, 2017. I get it, Weird Al. Props.

Who the hell invited Stella!?

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Mornin’ all.

So here’s the thing. Two weeks ago, it was 65. Sunny. T-shirts were dusted off and donned by the citizens of the area eager to let the door hit Winter in its ass on the way out.

Of course, spaghetti strap tank tops that stop way too short and hot pants that would have been better off left on the store shelf also came into play. Can’t have a warm day without a few folks stuffing themselves into knit wear that’s probably silently weeping the whole time.

“Bethie! Are you fat shaming?”

No. I am refusal-to-wear-the-proper-sized-clothing shaming. They make clothes in different sizes for a reason. If wearing your clothes tests the physical limits of thread, you should wear a bigger size. If your feet turn purple because your hot pants are cutting off your circulation, you should wear a bigger size. If you need “someone to pull it up while I suck it in” to get any part of it zipped, you should probably go ahead and wear a bigger size.

Trust me. You’ll feel better. You’ll look better. Stop obsessing over the number and just wear what actually fits.

Anyway, we were all enjoying the laid back intro to spring, when Mother Nature said, “Psych.”

Winter storm Stella. They have named my enemy. Supposed to be a real nasty piece of work, too. They’re talking potential FEET of snow. In mid March. Not unprecedented by any means, but not a common occurrence. March snow tends to be a few inches of heavy, wet stuff that melts away in a day or two. This one? This one’s gonna take a bit longer.

It has put me in a funk. I am vexed. *slurps coffee* And the coffee’s not doing all that much to help, if I’m going to be honest. I woke up with heart burn and didn’t want to make it worse, so I watered down the usual varnish. Just doesn’t have the normal kick in the ass my body has come to expect.

Maybe I’ll grab a fresh cup, full strength, and just do a Pepto chaser.

“Ew.”

Snowstorm. Heartburn. And my cat shredded a whole roll of tp in the night. I gotta get this shit turned around. I still have to work, and you can’t make a nice cake when you’re pissy. Hm. What can we do to make this day better?

*whisper from off stage*

Hang on a sec. One of my go-go dancers is trying to get my attention.

*whispers**muttering**sound of a guitar tuning echoes through the quiet living room*

I’m back, and I have a plan. *achem* Oh, yeah, sorry. WE have a plan. *waves finger* Cue the go-go dancers and fire up the catchy theme music, because we’re going to have ourselves a….

* * HEADLINE ROUNDUP !!! * * *

Let’s thank the dancers for their most excellent idea! And while we’re at it, give a hand to the band. They totally nailed that intro.

Yes, it’s a Roundup. We haven’t done one in awhile, so for any newbs out there, here’s the deal: News is stupid. Often the headlines reflect the idiocy. I scour the internet news sites looking for tidbits that jump out at me. Sometimes they’re poorly worded, sometimes they’re confusing, and sometimes they just put an image in my head that I must share. The headlines are always 100% real. I just supply the heartburn-fueled snarkiness after.

Up to speed? Good! Then let’s get right to it.

-Conway on Surveillance: We Have ‘Microwaves That Turn Into Cameras’

Oh no. Oh honey, no.

– Is Preet Bharara Trying To Tell Us Something?

I don’t know. Is Preet Bharara talking? Because if he is, then the answer is probably yes. #TheMoreYouKNow

– N. Korea Warns of ‘Merciless’ Strikes As U.S. Carrier Joins S. Korea Drills

Aw, whatsamatta Kim Jong? Did Donald Trump stealing the “Most Insane Ruler” championship belt hurt your feelings?

*sidenote: Can we please, PLEASE actually make that belt happen? I’m thinking huge, like a WWE belt, only not as classy.

“Not as…classy??”

You heard me. Make it happen.

– Florida Agency Puts Out A Want Ad For Python Killers

Is “python killer” slang? Is that…is that the female version of “pussy slayer?”

“BETHIE!”

In my defense, it’s Florida. It’s a fair question.

– Conway Isn’t the Only One Afraid of Microwaves That Spy

Of course not. There is an organized society of people who not only believe the earth is flat, but PUBLICALY believe the earth is flat. They’re so convinced that we live on a dinner plate that they SAY SO OUT LOUD. Of COURSE there are people who think we’re being spied on while we nuke our leftovers. Just make them all some tin foil hats and go about your lives.

– Conway Isn’t the Only One Afraid of Microwaves That Spy

Look, I’m not saying it’s not possible. I’m saying it’s inept. We don’t need to use microwaves to spy. We’ve got far better, more reliable, more controllable ways of spying on every aspect of our citizens lives. If the government wants to spy on you, they can. And they can do so much more efficiently than using microwaves. Someone’s reading old spy novels again. I think we need to enroll the White House in a book of the month club and get some modern day CIA action on their radar. Er, an audio book of the month club. At least then the conspiracy theories would be current.

– Harvey Still Has Bodyguards With Him After Flub

Oh for FUCK’S SAKE Steve Harvey! Get over yourself. No one’s trying to kill you. It just didn’t matter all that much. Shit.

– Rubio Warns Snoop Dogg on Trump Video

…well there’s a headline I don’t think anyone expected.

– Rare Find Revisited: A Barn Full of ‘Birds’ 10 Years Later

I would like to think they are actual birds, because the thought of a documentarian being so desperate for a story that he goes back to a barn to film some damn pigeons 10 years later is dark humor I can get behind. The look on his face when he realizes they all died about 5 years ago would be film legend.

– Celeb Couples Who’ve Split in 2017

Awful early in the year to be pulling this one out. You’re wasting the best click bait. What the hell are you going to write about in November? You might actually have to report…news! *gasp*

– Ramirez’s Contract in Japan Has Some Hilarious Perks

…okay, I’ll bite. *reads* He gets a hotel room. He can opt out of practices in certain circumstances. He gets a car and driver. He has a meal budget. …and that’s it. Honestly, I can barely type through the laughter wracking my body.

– GM Has A Huge Supply of Unsold Cars

That’s called “inventory,” dear.

– Was Jane Austen Poisoned? New Evidence About the Writer’s Weakened Eyes Raises Questions

Holy shit, just the breakthrough Scotland Yard has been waiting for! Maybe they can finally arrest the guy. #JusticeForJane

– Europe Is Facing 4 Existential Tests. Can It Hold Together?

Oh, I know this one! Okay, Europe, when you get to the huge knot, just cut it. Saves so much time. #TopTip

– UK Cruise Ship Damages Pristine Indonesian Coral Reef

But the vacation pics Buffy and Skip got were totes worth it.

– WH Analysis Projects Bigger Health Care Coverage Gap than CBO

So what they’re talking about here is the Republican backed ACA health care replacement proposition. You know, the one that Trump ordered the Republicans to present? Yeah, now Trump is desperately trying to distance himself from the disgraceful piece of potential legislation. Think about that. It’s so bad that DONALD FUCKING TRUMP won’t even put his name on it. No jokes on this one. Please, PLEASE encourage your representatives to shoot this puppy down.

– Florida Girl Writes Letter To Burglar Who Targeted Her House

What a great way to get back at the burglar. I’m sure that she’ll read it and feel just awful about what she’s done. Then she’ll call you and tearfully apologize and you can meet up for coffee to allow her to cleanse herself by confessing and you can go about your life knowing that because of your letter, she will never burgle another house again, you noble crusader, you.

*heavy sigh*

– Facebook Bans Use of Its Data For Surveillance Tools

So, you know, don’t microwave popcorn when you’ve got the FB app open.

– Snaphash Is An Augmented Reality Weed Doctor For Your iPhone

I have absolutely no idea what the hell I just read.

– On Galapagos, Revealing the Blue-Footed Booby’s True Colors

Red. They dip their feet in blue paint just to screw with the scientists. Shh.

– How To Reset Your Body Clock For Daylight Saving Time

Don’t do it! Go rogue. #DamnTheMan

– The Controversial Campaign for Canada’s National Bird

Canada’s got a different set of criteria for what constitutes a controversy, don’t they?

– Boaty McBoatface Embarks on Its Maiden Voyage This Week

Remember the campaign to name the exploration submarine last year? Boaty McBoatface won the internet contest to name the serious, highly tuned scientific sub, but the society decided to choose a different, more respectable name. However, the pressure from the internet got too great and they have officially renamed the technological wonder Boaty McBoatface. Well done, internet. This makes me proud.

– Trump Has a New Rocket and Spaceship. Where Will He Go?

Where? Irrelevant. The only question is “WHEN?” #SendTrumpToMars.Personally.StuffHimIntoASpaceshipAndLaunchThatSucker

– The 50 Hottest Video Games You Shouldn’t Miss in 2017

They lead the article with the remastered Crash Bandicoot. The thumbnail is…Crash Bandicoot. The opening graphic is a still from…CRASH BANDICOOT. Are. You. KIDDING me?! Mass Effect: Andromeda? The Last Of Us 2? Red Dead 2? Breath of the FREAKIN’ WILD??? But no. NO. Crash. Bandicoot. Fistbump to all those who feel my outrage. #CRASH.BANDICOOT.REALLY!???

– John Cena Reveals Surprising Video Game Choice

Spoiler: it’s not Crash Fucking Bandicoot!

– Our Black Hole Has Been “Eating Snacks” For the Last 6 Million Years

Aaaand that’s it. I’m out. When you start talking about what you put in your black hole, it’s time to get off the internet.

Had to ruin it for everyone, didn’t you, IBT?

Thus concludes a quick Roundup for Pi Day, 2017. If there wasn’t a storm, the amount of puns at the bakery would get old. I guess that’s one thing to thank Stella for.

A legitimate argument for bringing back typewriters…

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Episode 8/6/17…in which we check in on our heroine, who was bravely battling electronic gremlins and digital devilkins when last we met…

Mornin’ all.

‘Member that temp fix I did to allow me to babble for a bit? Yeah. Like duct tape on a crack in a dam, it didn’t hold. However, we have a brand new hard drive.

“Oooh, I thought it looked bright and fresh in here.”

Yes, but the newness came with a price. Doesn’t it always? Microsoft removed a very handy tool that used to be built into their software which would allow us to move programs from one hard drive to the other. The forums said to use this outside software. Microsoft’s web page pointed us to the same thing, saying they had “partnered with” this other company. We even called tech support and got a woman who just suggested we copy and paste…

*techie top tip: You cannot do this with a program. Individual files? Sure. But a program? No. Otherwise pirating software would be as simple as a right click. Programs embed parts of their coding tree all through OTHER programs, just to make sure that if you DO try to right click and paste, you won’t get what you need to actually use the program. And a techie at Microsoft’s call center should at least know that.*

…which sent the man of the house into an incredulous fit of scoffing befuddlement. After being briefly educated by said partner, she put him on hold to go ask for another opinion, came back, and said that the company recommends the same software we saw everywhere.

We got the software.

We should not have gotten the software.

It hiccuped in the middle of transferring the data, and almost everything on that hard drive was lost.

Again.

*sigh*

Okay. It’s not as bad as it might sound. Since the build we did after last year’s Electrical Apocalypse, I was never comfortable with the replacement hard drive, or the Windows 10 To Go OS we used. We were broke and had to take the cheapest option. Because of this, I never stored too much on it. I did not trust it, and as a result, I didn’t lose much. A couple of photos, some writing that I do not want to talk about because it was almost finished and it may just send me into a rage because I’m really trying hard to oooohhhhhmmmm the hell out of this situation and you bringing it up and asking for details is making it REALLY FUCKING HARD TO…

“Whoa Bethie! Easy, now. I won’t talk about it anymore! *grabs coffee* Here. Take it.”

*chugs rotgut* *the sizzle of the stomach lining brings the beast back into the present* *deep, albeit slightly inhibited by the burning pain, breath*

Thanks. Sorry.

“Namaste.”

Indeed.

Long and short, we’ve got a spiffy new hard drive full of wonders and possibilities, clearly I was not going down the right path with that book, and Microsoft can suck my dick.

“Why don’t you use a different OS?”

*snort* You know, people always say that. But when you get right down to it, why? They make the easiest to use, plug and play operating system. While not without flaws, it is the industry standard. I almost never have to tweak a program to get it to run without hassle on Windows. I can dig around and shut off annoying features without fear of tanking the whole thing…

It’s like shopping at Wal-mart. Everyone pretends to hate it. And on a visceral level, maybe we all really do. But when you’re on vacation and you realize you forgot to pack socks and underwear and your kid just fell into the Peabody river when you DAMN WELL TOLD THEM NOT TO HOP ON THE ROCKS, and now it’s 5:30 pm, starting to rain, and your hubby is griping about the goddamn traffic while the wet, hungry kid yammers that he’s cold, something inside you warms at the sight of a Wal-mart sign. Don’t even pretend like you don’t understand what I’m saying right now.

When push comes to shove, I’m glad I use Windows.

That said, Microsoft, your software partnership is ass, your tech support is a joke, and your fucking “To Go” build is worse than Windows ME.

*fistbump to anyone who understands just how horrible that is*

Yesterday was a big day. Teen Beta turned 18! I now have two adult children. *sniff* I made it clear to the other two that this trend is really getting old, and I forbade them from growing anymore. Of course, I had to look up at Teen 2.0’s laughing face to tell him this as he’s over 6 feet tall now. And the youngest pup laughed and said, “Can’t stop, won’t stop.”

I get the feeling that they did not take my dire warning as dire.

He’s 18. Man. I don’t talk about it all that much, because it’s not exactly my story to tell, but he’s the one that had cancer when he was 10. In fact, it was on his 10th birthday that I noticed an odd lump on his neck. It was the weekend, and he had just played his saxophone in a concert. The lump was right about where the strap would have rested, and we figured it was swollen because of that. Honestly, it wasn’t much of a lump. Certainly didn’t seem like anything to worry about.

He went to his Mum’s house for his birthday, and she called the next day saying that overnight it seemed that the lump grew. She brought him back, and we got him to his doctor, who sent us up to the hospital immediately. At that point, they thought he had “cat scratch fever”, and we tormented him with the Nugent song. When the antibiotics did nothing, though, and the lump grew instead of shrank, we brought him back a couple days later.

I will never forget that visit.

The man and Teen Beta (then only 10 year old Beta) were in the doctor’s office, and I was in the waiting room with the youngest pup, only a couple years old at the time. The pup was coloring, and I was chatting with the cashier of a local dent ‘n bent I was casually friendly with over the years. She was there because her husband had an ear infection, and we chatted while we waited for our folks to get out of their appointments.

The doctor came out. Not my husband, not the cat scratched kiddo. The doctor. That is NEVER good. He called me over.

“I’ll watch him,” the cashier said, pointing to the little one.

I followed the doctor into the hallway. He had a look on his face that made me want to run away. “I didn’t want to tell your husband in front of *child’s name*, but I’ve seen this a couple times before and in every case, it’s been cancer. I am going to tell them that the appointment I schedule is a routine exam, but it’s actually a biopsy. I’ll have my nurse bring you the information. I don’t want the boy worrying yet.” He put a hand on my shoulder and said, “I’m so sorry.”

I think that every person gets blindsided at least once in their life, truly blindsided with a situation that takes them utterly by surprise slapping down upon their shoulders a heavy burden that they never saw coming. We never saw it coming. It wasn’t on our radar. Cancer is slow. Cancer takes time. It was just an infection…it HAD to be! It popped up so very fast, they MUST be wrong!

I went back to the waiting area shaking. I’m generally a private person.

“*scoff*”

No, not here. Here is my outlet. But in person, I tend to keep everything surface-level with people. It is not a good trait. I’m aware.

That day, I could not keep things to myself. It was too much, and I started to cry on the shoulder of the cashier I barely knew.

There are moments in life you remember for their sheer impact. Getting told the kiddo had cancer was one, and yet, sitting in the waiting room being comforted in such a personal way by someone I barely knew was another…for an entirely different reason. I will never, ever forget that connection I made with her that day.

…in a twist, a few months later one of Teen Beta’s chemos gave him a reaction and he had to be brought to the emergency room. The cashier was there in the waiting room. Her husband had just suffered a heart attack, and it was my turn to comfort her. Anyone who says life is boring is just plain wrong.

Hodgkin’s lymphoma, stage 4C, by the way. That’s what the kiddo had. In his chest, around his lungs, in his leg. In the few days it took for them to do a biopsy and get us into an oncology appointment at the major hospital in the area, the nodes grew from the size of peas to the size of large grapes. It was fast, aggressive, and everywhere. It was so aggressive, in fact, that as soon as he was declared cancer-free, it came right back and he had a stem cell transplant, where the doctors seemed to try their damnedest to do the poor boy in. All of that began right after his 10th birthday.

And yesterday, he turned 18.

You know what? I think I found my calming mantra.

Thus concludes a Musing for Wednesday, March 8, 2017. I have the day off! …but not, because holy shit has the housework piled up. Methinks its a day to put “Hoarders” on in the background. You know, keep me motivated…

2016 Unnoticed Enemy…

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Mornin’ all.

I’ve got to talk about something that’s been really eating at me lately. I know I promised in the last Muse that we’d get silly again, but sometimes life requires deep, meaningful discussion to suss out the lessons we can glean from a troubling issue.

Or a controversial one.

I’m not going to lie; I may lose friends here.

It began with a set of lyrics I heard. You all know how important music is to me. Music is a siren to my emotions and sometimes the words grab hold and twine in my head and heart. So it really shouldn’t be a surprise that a set of lyrics kick-started a deeply emotional journey.

What lyrics were those which moved me to obsession for days?

These four walls have a got a story to tell
The door is off the hinges, there’s no wish in the well
Outside the sky is coal black and the streets are on fire
The picture windows cracked and there’s no where to run
I know, I know
This house is not for sale.

“Uh, Bethie? Is that…is that a real estate song? What the HELL kind of music are you into these days?”

Yes, it is, and the answer is rock ‘n roll.

“That is not a rock song.”

Agreed. But sadly, it is. It’s from the recent Bon Jovi song “This House Is Not For Sale.”

Now, here’s the controversy:

Bon Jovi should have hung up his guitar ten years ago.

“Bethie!”

READ THAT SHIT AGAIN. It’s PAIN-FUL. It doesn’t even rhyme. YouTube it if you must and you’ll see what I’m talking about. It’s set to the world’s most basic public domain rock beat. He sings in it that burnt-out-jaded-bartender voice that’s WAY too high on sincerity and way too low on self-realization.

“But it’s BON JOVI.”

No. I disagree. I think the person we once knew as Jon Bon Jovi is gone and he’s been replaced with an intergalactic pod person. A husk. A shell of himself filled with the soul of an interloper who’s desperately trying to work its way into the upper echelon of society by possessing a once-loved superstar. The Bon Jovi I know, the one I grew up with, would never stoop to such drivel.

Here are more lyrics:

Drove a spike into the ground and I staked my claim
Standing on the dirt where they’ll dig my grave
Now what built these walls is in my veins
No time for looking back, the wolf is at the door
This heart, this soul
This house is not for sale.

You know the infinite monkey theorem? The one that states if you put a enough monkeys in a room with typewriters, they’ll eventually produce an entire copy of a Shakespeare play?

If you put enough monkeys in a room with typewriters and leave them in there long enough, they may end up with a Shakespeare manuscript, but I guarantee they will never, ever produce this song, because even monkeys that can’t read know it’s a steaming pile of shit that should never have existed.

I set each stone and I hammered each nail
This house is not for sale
Where memories live and the dream don’t fail
This house is not for sale
Coming home
I’m coming home.

That’s the chorus. Over and over. Whiskey-voiced, takes-himself-WAY-too-seriously-for-someone-pumping-out-musical-diarrhea Jon Bon Jovi beating this dead horse over and over and over…

Do you remember when Madonna came out with the album “Hard Candy?” No, of course you don’t, because it was 2008 and Madonna had become so thirsty and desperate that the handful of people who pretended to like anything off that album only did so out of pity. No one wanted to see her wrinkly pancake ass flapping out of her Spanx on the stage. It reached a point where it just got sad. “Hard Candy” was the start of the sad.

“This House is Not For Sale” is Bon Jovi’s “Hard Candy.”

It’s okay for rock stars to age. It’s actually often more than we can hope for. It’s good to see a wrinkled former rocker, because that means that they somehow navigated through the “sex and drugs” part of the lifestyle that claims so many. We WANT them to age. I WANT Bon Jovi to get older.

You hear that, Mr. Jovi? I WANT YOU TO GET AS OLD AS THE HILLS.

But Jon. Can I call you Jon? Heart to heart time here, Jon. You just released a single about goddamn real estate. Maybe it’s time to just rest on the previous successes you’ve had. I don’t want to see you go full on Madonna. Nobody does.

“Bethie, it’s metaphorical. He’s not ACTUALLY talking about real estate.”

He was going for metaphorical. He was going for, “I built this house and you can’t tear it down.” But that’s not what he says, is it? He’s been in the rock game so long, he KNOWS that’s an old trope, a staple that’s been way overused. So in order to attempt to put a new spin on a tired sentiment, he tried to cram as many metaphors together as possible.

What he gets in the end is not a metaphor. It’s just a jumbled pile of shit that winds up meaning nothing.

Look at it from a critical standpoint.

“You haven’t been doing that?”

No. I’ve been looking at it from a place of disappointment. There’s a difference.

Take all the emotion of a long forgotten teen who had Mr. Jovi’s “Tiger Beat” photo on her wall out of it, and just look at the words from a basic writing standpoint.

He starts out talking about the four walls and stories they could tell, but never actually tells those stories. Instead, he jumps right into the muthafuckin’ apocalypse happening outside, then says his house isn’t for sale. The story…progresses? We’ll humor him and call it progress. The story progresses by going back to points about the construction of the house he’s currently in according to the massive context cue of the overuse of “this house”, only to throw us for a loop when he promises to “come home.”

Which house were you singing about, Jon? If you’re singing about “this” house, but you have to “come home” to it, then you’re not really singing about “this” house, are you? You’re singing about THAT house.

“It’s METAPHORICAL. He’s talking about himself.”

He drove nails into himself? He has four walls and a broken-hinged door? Okay, weird, but let’s roll with it. How do you explain this next steaming pile?

This house was built on trust
That’s what it is and always was
No wrecking ball could knock it down
This house was built on higher ground

GODDAMNIT JON. That doesn’t even make sense!!! What the hell does higher ground have to do with trust? You’re not talking about living through a tsunami or hurricane. You’ve mentioned nothing about erosion or the foundation being weak. A wrecking ball most certainly CAN take down a house on top of a hill.

Have you ever stopped to think about what words mean!?!

*sigh*

If a new music group released this song on YouTube hoping for it to be their big break, they’d get 82 views, most of those from Grandma trying to be supportive…and even SHE would give it a thumbs down under the blanket of anonymity that is the internet. People would laugh at them because this is a terrible song. The ONLY reason this is playing across the radio waves is because it’s Bon Jovi.

Jon. Remember when you were “Livin’ on a Prayer?” When you made us all imagine we were in an old westerny shoot out with “Dead or Alive?” What happened, Jon? This…this is shit, man. This is worse than shit. It’s lazy. You didn’t just get old. You got LAZY. Lazy lyrics, lazy music, lazy tempo. You made a plug and play pop song, Jon.

Get it together, man. I’m saying this because I care. Get it together, and fast. Otherwise you’re going to find yourself in Spanx jiggling next to Madonna and wondering where it all went so wrong.

Thus concludes a Muse for Friday, January 6, 2017. I’m off to keep changing the station on my way into work in the desperate attempt to avoid hearing this piece of trash.

First meeting of the 2016 Survivors Support Group…

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Mornin’ all, and a Happy New Year!

2016 was…hm. How shall we put it?

There’s an old curse that comes to mind. “May you live in interesting times.”

Yep. I think that sums up a year that saw the Grim Reaper swing at beloved figures from gorillas to intergalactic princesses, grown ass people legit frenzied over clowns, England pulling a ‘Merica, then ‘Merica out ‘Merica-ing England because we gotta keep our cred, bro… Beheadings shown on YouTube, alarming push for reversal of human rights laws, angry rednecks squaring off with shockingly angry hippies and neither side being self-aware enough to realize how stupid they’re all being… People having to protest in order to keep their drinking water oil-free in some parts, the government STILL not getting the lead out in other… Flat out making shit up being the new “spin” in journalism, “belief” being now touted as having more gravitas than proven fact and hard evidence by a scary number of those in charge… And that’s just the tip of the melting ice berg!

On a personal level, things were not as dramatic as beheadings and gorilla assassinations, but it was definitely a stand out year. It started with the great Electrical Apocalypse and snowballed. One of the pups had a very scary struggle with mental illness, another a gut-wrenching battle with a bully. Finances didn’t just go in the toilet, they’ve been flushed so hard that they’re probably tangled in one of those garbage floats somewhere out to sea, and let’s not even discuss the sketchiness that is my mode of daily transportation right now…

This past year was certainly “interesting.”

Thing is, “interesting” isn’t all bad, is it? Otherwise the curse would have been, “May you live in shitty times,” or whatever ye olde word for “shitty” would be. “May your days be excremental.” “May you dwell in times overrun by defecation.” “May the gods loosen their bowels upon your year.”

Some would argue that the gods did, indeed, let ‘er rip on the world in 2016.

The other day, we got a snowstorm. It was supposed to be dire, and it did turn out that way for parts of New Hampshire. Here, the fronts took a shift and the storm only dropped about five inches. It was a heavy snow that fell, the kind that’s shown on greeting cards, sticking to every branch and wire and fence post.

This particular breed of snow falls when the temperature hovers juuuust below freezing. It’s just cold enough for the flakes to fall as flakes instead of drops, but warm enough to make them moist and sticky. The bulk of the storm hit overnight. The man had to get to work early, so he and I donned our winter gear and went out to shovel at about five in the morning. Being the native with 20 more years experience in this type of situation, I tackled the berm while he started cleaning off the cars.

Shoveling the half-melting, salt-laden, three foot thick berm left by the road plows at five in the friggin’ morning with a strong wind blowing icy flakes in my face is not in itself very fun. I know. Shocking. It could have been just an awful experience.

But halfway through, I stopped to lean on my shovel and roll my back to loosen the kink, when I looked up.

If you’ve never been in a snow at night, I don’t know if I can adequately describe the experience. Not during the storm, but right after, when the last flake settles into its new blanket that covers everything with a bright, bluish quilt. There is no such thing as a dark night in winter if snow is on the ground. It reflects any tiny bit of light, creating a surreal and almost solemn landscape. Everything is quiet. Everything is still. Everything feels like it’s resting, waiting.

And then the clouds move and you are suddenly standing on a sleeping world, looking up into the clearest sky at the brightest stars. And you feel at once alone, and yet so much a part of it. You feel like an insignificant speck, but one who has, for some reason, been offered a glimpse of the universe, a tiny taste of the bigger picture. You feel like for once, you were at the right place at the right time. You were there.

The snow was heavy. My hands were numb. My back was most assuredly displeased, a disgruntlement I’m still dealing with today. It was such a shitty experience in almost every way. And yet, I am completely and utterly glad I was out there. I do not regret it in any way.

That was 2016. We were there. And while the shit snowed down around us, we had beautiful moments where we looked up, where we stopped and said, “I am here.”

Will 2017 be any better?

Welp, my dryer shit the bed. It’s not the Electrical Apocalypse. It’s more like a tribute to the Electrical Apocalypse. I think it’s an improvement, though. At least it’s only one appliance, not all of them.

Maybe that’s how we have to go into 2017. Things are not instantly going to be better. Change comes in small, measured steps, with heartache and strife along the way. The ball dropping wasn’t a magic wand that erased the past year, and it wasn’t a crystal ball promising good things for the one to come. Life doesn’t work like that. The universe doesn’t give a rat’s ass about our calendar.

But we made it through 2016, didn’t we? We were there.

And now, we are HERE.

I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions. I know me. I wouldn’t stick to them even if I did. In fact, I tend to do the opposite. “I’m supposed to lose weight? Screw this shit. No one’s going to tell ME what to do, not even myself! Gimme all the ‘tato chips and order me a scooter. It’s about to get real.”

However, I do think we all should have one this year:

Take the time to look up.

If all we’re going to do is focus on the pile of shit we’ve gotta shovel, we’re going to miss so much. And I think that was 2016’s biggest problem. We allowed ourselves as a race to focus on the bad, while forgetting to recognize all the good that existed outside the small, petty side of humanity. If we keep doing that, nothing is going to change.

Look up. Make those moments where you take the time to appreciate that no matter what else is going on, you’re here. In spite of what is going on in the world, in spite of a universe that has done its level best to make things as difficult as possible for you to exist, you ARE.

I’m not saying that you should ignore the problems of the world. We can’t. We may only be a speck zinging through the universe that’s honestly insignificant in the grand scheme, but it’s our speck. We need to live here. Of course we need to do our best to make the experience as good as possible.

But life itself is amazing. It’s so very precious and rare, and if we don’t take the time during a storm to look up and feel the awe of the great picture, I guarantee we’re going to have an equally terrible 2017.

Look up. I promise it’s a resolution you’ll want to keep.

Thus concludes a quick Musing for New Year’s Day, 2017. I know it was sappy instead of silly. I’ll get back to silly next week.