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You Can’t Get There From Here

I was driving from an adjoining town back into the city where I’ve lived my entire life. On my way to my daughter’s house I needed to stop for a few items to make dip for a party the next day. There’s a new, spacious Kroger grocery store near her house which was my destination. On a stretch of highway I’ve driven at least once a week since I was 16, I took the wrong exit. One exit too soon. No problem, I thought. Right across the street from the bottom of the exit ramp was an entrance ramp that would take me right back to where I left off. I got back on the interstate and found out that my intended exit was not an option from this location. What? I’ve heard the expression “you can’t get there from here,” but now it’s my reality

I knew that the next exit would take me to Arkansas, but I managed to avoid that. I finally wormed my way around to Union Avenue – the elusive exit – when my husband called me. I’m normally capable of multitasking (what woman isn’t) but I struggled to carry on a conversation with my husband while simultaneously looking for the new store. Of course, I passed right by it. UGH! What should have been a 20 minute drive has now become an hourlong trek. After my unplanned tour of Memphis, I finally arrived at the mall-sized Kroger. I don’t know how I missed it. The parking lot was so massive that my walk from car to store qualified as a workout. On the bright side, I knew that a store this size was sure to have the three simple ingredients I needed to make dip. Except that it didn’t. When I didn’t find my first item, I thought I could improvise. Then I went looking for item number 2. Sold out. There was no point in looking for the last thing I needed.

Perhaps it’s not that you can’t get there from here, but rather you don’t need to bother getting there.

So I took the hike back to my car and drove to a very small, very old Kroger that will surely be put out of business by the YUGE new grocery store nearby. I scored a spot close to the door in the small parking lot. I found all three of the things I needed and was on my way within minutes. After all the chaos, I did forget to pick up a fourth item that my daughter requested, but…

Yes, to answer your question, I did buy myself some chocolate. Order has been restored.

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Moving Day Approaches

I haven’t posted a blog in a few weeks. I’m sure that both of my readers have wondered where I’ve been! We’ve decided to move and every spare minute has been devoted to packing up the things worth keeping and getting rid of the rest. The more time I spend on “the rest” the more I wonder why I’ve had it all this time. As moving day approaches, I have to become less sentimental and more practical about what stays and what goes.

When we got married, fifteen years ago, I moved into my husband’s house and sold mine. With two fully furnished houses, you can imagine how much stuff we had. The bulk of my stuff was boxed up and put in a storage shed, never to be thought about again. Now I’m sifting through it all. Let me tell you the kinds of things I held onto all this time…

Skinny clothes

A whole box of clothes that didn’t fit me when I moved here but I hung on to them, waiting for the day that I’d magically lose weight. I have heard that weight loss is a real-life possibility. I’ve read about it and I’ve seen it on tv.

“No dieting or exercise and she lost 17 inches!” This is code for “she lost one inch but we measured her in 17 places and added them up.”

Weight loss may be a reality for some, but it doesn’t happen to me. So, the clothes have to go. If I had donated the skinny clothes when they first became too skinny, someone could have acquired some nice stylish clothes. But now I’ll have to donate them to a museum of 90s fashion.

Kids stuff

It wasn’t hard to get rid of the skinny clothes, but I can’t part with my daughters’ drawings from elementary school. Or the toys that kept them busy and playing together for hours. Or their favorite books that they couldn’t put down. Or the little pink dress they each wore home from the hospital. Or their little baby blankets. Or their jerseys from the various sports they played. I’ll pack these things and move them with me one more time – using the excuse that I’m saving them for my grandchildren. I know my non-existent granddaughter well enough to know that she would love to have a glow-in-the-dark American Girl sleeping bag.

If I don’t get grandchildren, then my daughters will have to decide what to do with all of their old things when I die. That’s what they get for not giving me grandchildren! 

Every Disney Movie Ever Made on VHS

Why did I store these treasures in the hottest place on Earth?! I don’t know if they’ll still play. I can’t put them in the VCR to find out if they work, because it could ruin it, And where would I find another VCR in 2017? I don’t want to part with them because they represent the countless hours my kids and I spent watching them. Maybe I could borrow your VCR to see if they still play.

Miscellaneous Crap

As I went through each box, determining the value of their load, I found things that never should have made their way in. Grocery receipts. Old calendars. And why do I still have one of these?

The Boyfriend Box

The saddest part of my purging adventure in the shed was finding The Boyfriend Box. This box contained everything that every boyfriend gave me during the eight years I was single. Three boyfriends, one box, no bigger than a half a loaf of bread. It’s sad that it all fit in such a tiny box. There were letters and cards, movie tickets, a watch case, a few good memories and a whole lotta lies. That box went directly to the garbage where it should have gone decades ago.

But don’t let that bring you down. I get to walk out of this storage shed and into the house with the best boyfriend-turned-husband a girl could ask for. We’re moving to our happy place and have many years of happiness ahead of us.

 

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Jenny: A Story About a Girl Dog

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you know all about my dogs. It has been less than two years since I wrote about losing Buddy, our black lab (Read here). Now, our chocolate lab Jenny, has left us and joined Buddy. She was our only girl dog and she was more girl than dog. Jenny was surrounded by boy dogs and her motto was “Boys Are Stupid!”

Buddy’s new friend

Buddy was a one-year-old puppy with only an old, worn out lab to play with when we decided that the puppy needed a puppy. That’s how Jenny came into our lives. She was named after Jenny in Forrest Gump but they had little in common. Our Jenny was not blond, nor did she get mixed up in drugs. But then again, they did have some things in common. She loved a boy (dog) she’d known her whole life and had his baby (two of them, actually). They were like peas and carrots. And she did love to dangle.

Jenny and Buddy

Peas and carrots

Jenny dangling

More dangling

While the stupid boys (her words, not mine) were rolling in stinky things, Jenny loved to smell flowers and scented lotions. There was one particular sunscreen that she loved so much, she’d lick it right off of you if she had the chance.

smelling flowers

She always sat with her feet crossed, like a lady. Even on her last day…

real girl dog

She was a lady

When Jenny was much too young, she and Buddy “eloped” in the back yard. This lone encounter resulted in two baby boy dogs. One looked like Jenny, the other like Buddy. Jenny took one look at them and said, “Great, more stupid boys.” She did grow to love them. So much so, that she was very mad at me when I gave them away.

JJ and BJ

Jenny’s babies

Jenny had dog beds all over the house. Her favorite was a dark brown bed that we kept in the kitchen. She blended in with it so well that we often couldn’t find her anywhere only to find that she was camouflaged in her big brown bed. I never caught her doing it, but she moved that bed around and rearranged the pillows all by herself. I don’t know how.

Her second favorite spot was in the “dog room.” Yes, my dogs are so spoiled that they have their own room. There’s a kennel in there and she slept on the inside while the boy dogs were relegated to the top. It’s sort of a doggie duplex. After she was gone, I pulled her bedding out of the kennel to wash everything. Besides the two lambskin mats, there was a matching robe. A robe! My dog had a robe in her cage! Where did she get a robe? Did she go shopping? I’ve never seen it before. It’s not mine. I have NO clue.

dog robe

Jenny’s robe

Jenny didn’t like loud noises like thunder or the smoke alarm. Despite the fact that she was a dog, she hated barking. While the boy dogs barked at any and everything, Jenny wanted as far away from that noise as she could get. If she wanted in or out, she would shake her head so that her collar jingled. If we didn’t hear her, she would eventually resort to a bark. If we heard a bark, we knew that she’d already been trying to get our attention for a while and we’d better move quickly. She trained us very well.

Jenny was my husband’s favorite dog. Unfortunately, he was out of town when we lost her. He had to say goodbye to her on Facetime. I really hoped that she could make it until he got back, but she just couldn’t hold out any longer.

Eddie, the Jack Russell, and our last remaining dog, loved Jenny like she was his mother. He took care of cleaning her face every day. Eddie and I spent her last night next to her on the floor. He knew what was coming. She died on a Sunday morning. That night, when Eddie wanted to go outside, he shook his head and made his collar jingle. He had never done that before. For the next few days, every time he ate, he laid two pieces of food on the floor. I suppose these are Eddie’s tributes to his mama. I know that he misses her.

 

I like to think that Jenny has found Buddy and they’re on a lake somewhere, together.

 

 

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Have You Heard Of This? You Will Now!

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve just heard of something for the first time, then suddenly you see it everywhere. You’re not the only one who’s had this experience. It happens often enough that it even has a name. It’s called “Baader Meinhof phenomenon.”

Imagine that you’re sitting at a stoplight and notice the car in front of you is an Isuzu Ascender. You’re thinking to yourself that you’ve never heard of this vehicle. You’re wondering if Isuzu is even still around. Then you remember all those Joe Isuzu commercials from the 90s and wonder whatever happened to that guy. Next thing you know, someone is honking at you because you’re sitting a green light daydreaming about decades old car ads.

Later, you meet a friend for lunch. He’s sorry he’s late, but was tied up at the mechanic’s shop getting his Isuzu Ascender repaired. The next day, your sister calls and wants you to look at a used car she’s thinking about buying. It’s an Isuzu Ascender. What?!  This is what they call Baader Meinhof phenomenon.

If you have never heard of Baader Meinhof before, you will now. It happened to me shortly after the first time I heard this peculiar term. I heard it on a sitcom, of all places, then a few days later heard it again from a friend. The fact that this phenomenon exists is interesting enough, but when the name of the phenomenon becomes the phenomenon… that’s just weird!

My husband and I were discussing buying a new bed and he mentioned the purple mattress. I’d never heard of it so I Googled it. Now the dang thing is everywhere! The purple mattress ad pops up every time I read an article on my phone. It shows up on the games I play, in my Facebook newsfeed. Although, I’m not actually sure if this is Baader Meinhof or the government selling my search information. Who knows?

However, I may have found a glitch in the system. Here’s yet another car story…

My daughter and I were walking out of a movie theatre when when a car caught my eye. It looked like a station wagon and an SUV had a baby. My daughter tells me that these are called “crossovers.” I looked at the name on the back of the car and stored it in my swiss cheese brain. Later, when I wanted to look it up and do some research, I couldn’t remember the make of the car. Why wasn’t Baader Meinhof kicking in and showing it to me on tv commercials and in my neighbors’ driveway? Was it because I couldn’t remember the name? Apparently, this phenomenon doesn’t phenom unless you have a good memory.

I did remember, however, that the car was a Subaru. So… guess what I started seeing everywhere? You guessed it. Subarus everywhere I went. Just not that Subaru. Finally, a few weeks after that first sighting, I spotted a little baby SUV/Station wagon on the road. I bobbed and weaved through traffic to catch up with it. Crosstrek… yeah, that’s it.  Now that I know the name, I expect Baader Meinhof to take effect and I’ll start seeing them everywhere. But will you see them everywhere too because you read this? We’ll see.

One more completely weird thing before I go… While searching for a photo about Baader Meinhof phenomenon, I found the picture below. What are the odds of this?

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Lost Remote


We recently lost our tv remote. When I say “we,” I mean me. I was the only human in the house when it went missing, but I feel better pretending it was a group effort. I knew the lost remote couldn’t have gone far, because I had barely moved all day. I had just used it. I was binge watching a show on Netflix. If you’re familiar with Netflix, you know that it automatically shows episode after episode without you having to do a thing. But every now and then Netflix gets all insecure and wants to make sure you’re still paying attention. It asks “Are you still watching?”  It reminds me of my kids when they were little… “Mommy, look at me. Look what I can do!”

I had just reassured Netflix that I was in fact still watching when I got up to let the dogs out. When I returned, I wanted to rewind a few seconds to see if I’d missed anything, but couldn’t find the remote anywhere.  I’d been sitting in my husband’s recliner the whole time. Usually, he’s in his chair and I’m on the couch. But he wasn’t home and his chair is closer to the heater, so that’s where I was camped out for the day.

I knew it wouldn’t be long before Netflix would need my validation. I had to find the remote before it asked me, “Do you still love me? Am I still pretty?”

lost remote

Last known location

I looked under the chair and in the chair. I shoved my arm between the seat and the arm of the chair. Back when I was a kid, this was my primary source of income. If the ice cream man was coming down our street, I headed straight to the couch and dived for lost change. This time, there was no money. There was also no remote. I found lint and dog hair. Then I had to do the other side with the same hairy results. (Remind me to get the vacuum cleaner out as soon as we’re finished here). I looked all over the house, even though I knew it never left the chair. I looked in the kitchen and bathroom just in case I carried the lost remote with me and left it there. When my husband got home he looked in all the same places. He even looked in my car. As if!

For the next few days, we used the television the old fashioned way. Living like the Amish, we changed the channel and volume manually.  Then one night, the tv was acting really weird. It would randomly pause for no reason, change channels by itself, just basically had a mind of its own. Then I noticed that every time the tv did something strange, my husband was leaning back, readjusting his chair, or fidgeting. I knew the lost remote had to be in his chair somewhere. So we lifted the chair and shook it. Suddenly the remote fell out of the chair on to the floor.

They say something isn’t really lost until Mama can’t find it, but this Mama couldn’t find it. So I thought it was really lost. There’s got to be a lesson in there somewhere… Never Give Up. Don’t Quit. If you believe it, you can achieve it. I don’t know, but we’re back to living in the 21st century and all is right with the world.

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National Grammar Day: A Day to Talk Pretty

National Grammar Day

March 4th is National Grammar Day… the perfect day to write a blogpost about my love of proper English and spelling. When I’m writing this blog, I think about the readers in the UK who follow me. I wonder if they know that I’m actually spelling things correctly in American English. It’s their language, but we hijacked it and changed a few things. I want them to know that I honor the English language, even if I don’t honour it.

When I think about all the strange rules of English and how they came to be, I picture men in white wigs sitting a large wooden table thinking up cockamamie ideas to confuse and distract us (much like the politicians of today).

I am thankful to have grown up speaking English because I could never have learned it as a second language. It’s difficult at best with all of it’s rules, exceptions to rules, and silent letters. How do you teach someone how to pronounce ‘ough’? There’s tough, though, through and thought. Four different pronunciations for the same group of letters. The exceptions to the “I before E except after C” rule are many… seize, vein, weird, their, heir, feisty, foreign, leisure, either, neither, heinous, heist, height. I could go on, but you get the point. Speaking of height… “heighth” is not a word. I’ve heard “heighth and width” more times than I’d like.

I’m convinced that good spellers are not allowed to make memes:

Paid, not payed

Laid, not layed

There’s no way, in one post, to write about all the ways that our language is being butchered on a daily basis. However, lately I have noticed an increase in a couple of misuses. One) I keep seeing “could of” and “would of,” instead of “could have” and “would have.” Maybe because “could of” sounds similar to the contraction “could’ve” but it’s still wrong. Two) suddenly people are confusing “a part” and “apart.” These are actually opposites. “I’d really like to be apart of that club” means you want to be separated from it. I think what you want is to be a part of it. This meme explains it in a much better way…

My not so “smart” phone thinks it should add an apostrophe to pluralize a last name. NO! They’re the Smiths, not the Smith’s. Unless the Smiths own something which would be the Smith’s thing. I want to send a Christmas card to the The Smiths, not to their possessions!

One of my biggest pet peeves is that the dictionary eventually gives up and adds non-words due to rampant misuse. I predict that it won’t be long before the contraction “you’re” completely dies and it replaced by “your” simply because so many people don’t use the correct word.

There was a time when you could convince someone that a word is not a word because it was not in the dictionary… “Ain’t ain’t a word because it ain’t in the dictionary.” Those days are gone. Not only can you find ain’t in the dictionary but also irregardless and orientate. Irregardless is a non-word that has been so overused that is now considered to be interchangeable with the correct word “regardless” according to the Oxford Dictionary.

To summarize: On National Grammar Day, I’d like to orient you to proper spelling regardless of the multiple misspelled posts that you’re going to see on social media. I want you to set yourself apart from those who could’ve learned proper grammar if only they had paid attention.

 

 

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The Perfect Husband (My Personal “This Is Us”)

It’s that time of year again… our anniversary. I’ve written about all the frogs I had to kiss on the road to finding my husband (The long and winding road). I’ve also told you the story of how we met (Our story). Like many of you, I’ve become a fan of the show “This Is Us” and I’ve come to realize that Rebecca isn’t the only one with a perfect husband. I’m living my own personal This Is Us story.

If you watch this show, then you have heard Mandy Moore’s character, Rebecca, refer to her husband Jack, as perfect. (Jack is perfectly played by the wonderful Milo Ventimiglia.) Rebecca doesn’t say this flippantly in that way that we throw words around without meaning them or even thinking about them. No, she backs it up with examples.

My Jack is called Joe. And he is also perfect.

I came into this marriage with two teenage girls and a dog. In both cases, you would never know that these had once been mine, not his. The dog fell immediately in love with Joe and I became some woman he used to know. The girls are his stepdaughters, but he would never tell you that. By word and deed, they are as much his daughters as they are mine. He would do anything for them and for me. He has done far more for us than we have for him. I could never list all of the rescues, repairs, and lessons he has provided for my daughters. I could never tally up all the hours he has spent unselfishly doing things for us. And I could never repay him.

Those Three Little Words

Joe knows how important it is to say those three little words… “You’re not fat.”  Years ago, I was watching a show about a woman who weighed several hundred pounds. I asked him if he would leave me if I got that big. He said, “Are you kidding? I’d marry you all over again!” Now that’s true love.

Babies and dogs love him. Joe almost always knows the right thing to say. He will do anything to avoid a fight… so we rarely fight. I certainly can’t complain about that. I’ve never heard anyone say anything bad about him. He’s a great gift giver. He serves his country in the Air Force and serves his city as a firefighter. That’s TWO superhero uniforms he wears.

Jack Pearson (from This is Us) believes that you find your soulmate, you get married, you stay together until you die. Period. Joe is much the same way. There’s no giving up. For years we had a clipping posted on our bulletin board that said “Period. Plain and Simple.” because that’s Joe’s philosophy. Things are simple. No need to complicate them.

We (the teenagers, the dog and I) moved into the house where Joe had once lived alone and we immediately filled it up! We considered moving into something bigger, but we put it off so long that eventually the kids grew up and left and we no longer needed more space. Now I’ve been living here for 15 years and that’s the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. This man has brought a stability into my life that never existed before. Say what you will about change being good… I have loved having a steady, predictable life for a change (no pun intended).

Maybe “perfect” is too strong a word. Of course he has a fault or two. For instance… I can’t get an honest opinion from him when I want to know if I look ok before I leave the house. No matter what I look like, he’ll tell me I look beautiful. Any imperfection he may have is far outweighed by the good. Even if he’s not perfect, he’s perfect for me.

Happy anniversary, Joe!

 

 

 

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TV Theme Songs

I am fortunate to have grown up during a time when TV shows had theme songs. The shows from before my time had great, catchy tunes but no lyrics – i.e., I Love Lucy, The Andy Griffith Show, Bewitched and I Dream of Jeannie. TV shows today don’t have songs. They have a identifying sounds like the Donk-Donk of Law and Order. But in the seventies and eighties, TV theme songs held just as many life lessons as the shows themselves, even those “very special episodes.”

From Mary Tyler Moore we learned that we could turn the world on with a smile. We could take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. Many say it was her character’s single-woman-with-a-career that made the show so iconic, but I say that song influenced us just as much. By then end of the opening credits, we knew that we were gonna make it after all.

We learned that it takes Different Strokes to move the world. From Growing Pains, we know that as long as we’ve got each other, we can take anything that comes our way. Who’s the Boss offered us a brand new life around the bend. Golden Girls taught us to say thank you for being a friend. You hung out at Cheers because everybody knew your name. And their troubles were all the same. Full House showed us everywhere you look, there’s a hand to hold on to. The Jeffersons made us want a piece of the pie, so that we could move on up to the east side. The Love Boat showed us that love could be exciting and new. Let it flow and it flows back to you. We were lucky to have Good Times. Long before I had a crush on a young republican named Alex P. Keaton, Family Ties told me that there ain’t nothing we can’t love each other through. Sha-la-la-la.

Laverne and Shirley could have been a big influence with their “making our dreams come true” message, but we were all busy trying to figure out what they said before that. Arm in arm, playing hopscotch and chanting jibberish that we couldn’t understand. We had no search engines back then to get answers regarding our misheard lyrics…

Is it Po-TAY-to, Po-TAH-to, Positive Pepper Incorporated? 

No, it’s The Easel, The Otter, Hops in Pressure Incorporated. 

You’re both wrong. It’s The Measels, The Nozzle, Call the Wrecker Incorporated

As it turns out, they were saying “shlemiel, schlemazel, hasenpfeffer incorporated.” I had heard of hasenpfeffer in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. But since none of the kids in my neighborhood were fluent in Yiddish, shlemiel and schlemazel went right over our heads. According to my research, the first one is someone who is a born loser and the other is someone who can’t catch a break. Those are people who would definitely want their dreams to come true, for me and you.

Even in the 90s, there were still some great tv theme songs. My favorite was FRIENDS. Even now, if I hear it… No one told you life was gonna be this way … I have to do the CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP CLAP. You do it too, don’t you?

My hats off to all those great tv theme songs….

 

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Food, Glorious Food!

Everybody has a stumbling block and mine is weight loss. I’m torn between wanting to lose weight and my love of food. I must admit, my love of food usually wins. Despite what Weight Watchers wants us to believe, a lot of things taste better than skinny feels.

Several years ago, on the day after Thanksgiving, I posted on social media that I was eating leftover pie for breakfast. A not so friendly “friend” commented, “Do you not care about yourself?” As a matter of fact, I like myself SO much that I think I deserve pie for breakfast! Where does this idea come from that if you eat, you must hate yourself?

For as long as I can remember, food has been a reward. My family didn’t eat out much when I was growing up, but on special occasions, we went out for pizza. If my softball team won a game, we’d all go get ice cream afterward. Food is not a punishment or sign of self-loathing. Did your mother ever say to you, “You sit there and eat that cake until your attitude improves”? Did your dad say, “That’s it! You’re grounded. You’ll be eating extra helpings for the rest of the week!”?

Down here in the South, we show love with food. My great-grandmother always encouraged her guests to have an extra slice of pie and would be hurt if they turned her down. To say no would be rejecting her love. Maybe that’s why I don’t deprive myself of the foods I love.

I’ve written about my happy fat life before (read here ) and not much has changed. I’m still sabotaging my own weight loss. I’d rather eat chocolate than chicken. I prefer potatoes and pasta over parsnips and purple cabbage. Bread is better than broccoli. Carrot cake beats carrots. I could go on like this all day.

So when you see me carrying a few (ok, more than just a few) extra pounds, don’t jump to any negative conclusions. I’ve just been showing myself a lotta love for a lotta years.

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I Don’t Want To Be Pretty!

In my family, anything you say can and will live on forever. When my oldest daughter was little, she had unruly hair that could only be tamed with a barrette. But, she didn’t want the barrette. So it became a two person job. One of us would distract her like a rodeo clown while the other wrestled the hair accessory into position. The distraction would continue until she’d forgotten that her hair was being forced to comply, then we could get on with our day. One time, I don’t remember who, but someone told her how pretty she looked with the barrette in her hair. She ripped it out, threw it on the ground and yelled, “I DON’T WANT TO BE PRETTY!”

Fortunately or unfortunately for her, she’s still pretty. No barrette required. That was nearly 30 years ago, but we still quote it to this day. We say it as a joke on days that we don’t feel like doing hair and make up. But I also say it as a true statement. I don’t care about being pretty, maybe because it’s never really been an option, but I’d rather be seen as smart and/or funny. Ok, leave out the “or.” I’d rather be smart and funny.

I’ve always been average looking. A handful of people might have found me pretty at some point in my life, but there’s an equal and opposite handful of people who find me repulsive. Overall, I don’t think I register with most people at either end of the pretty/ugly scale. I’m just sitting in the middle keeping the scale balanced.

I discovered in high school that boys were intimidated by pretty girls, afraid to talk to them. I had a slew of boy friends, not to be confused with boyfriends. Because of my non-intimidating appearance, boys talked to me and I gained an insight into the male species that pretty girls will never have. This may be why Halle Berry has had three short-lived marriages and I’m approaching my 15th anniversary.

We expect the beautiful to stay that way forever.  We’re always disappointed when our favorite attractive celebrities start to fade. Carrie Fisher had to tell her fans to stop debating about whether she had aged well or not, whether she was still hot. The pretty have that burden. But for us average looking girls, aging doesn’t taking anything away from us. When I run into old friends, they can say with all honesty “you’re just as pretty as you were back in high school.”

Of course a person can be beautiful and smart, or attractive and funny, or even all three. But how surprised are we when that actually happens? When you find out that some pretty celebrity graduated from Harvard, do you roll your eyes and assume that she was coddled by starstruck professors? I don’t know about you but if I read an interview of a gorgeous actor and he uses a few big words, I’m all “oooh, I didn’t know he was smart too!”

Don’t worry if you’re not pretty or handsome or beautiful or good-looking. Beauty fades but smart lasts a lifetime, or at least until senility sets in. And funny is forever.

 

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I Resolve To Be Resolute In My Resolutions

There’s something about a new year that makes us take a long look at ourselves, decide we’re not good enough and resolve to change. A new year doesn’t always mean January 1st. It could be a Birthday, anniversary, fiscal year or Rosh Hoshanah. Whatever it is, it makes us want to start something new or renew something old.

We’re several days into the new year, and I still haven’t started on my resolutions. If you’re like me, you only make these decisions to change when the calendar changes. Whether it’s a new year, new week or new day… no one decides to change in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. The reverse is also true. After I’ve made a change, and then fall off the wagon, I have to wait for a new day, or week, or month to get back on again. For example, if I’m on a healthy eating kick then eat a candy bar, I’ll say “well I’ve blown it today. May as well eat junk for the rest of the day and start over tomorrow.” We seem to think that whatever wagon we’re on won’t roll through town again until next week, like an Old West stagecoach. Why doesn’t it run every 20 minutes like a bus?

We call the desire to change a “resolution.” The follow through is usually called “failure.” Making resolutions is the easy part. Sticking to them… not so much. If you went to the gym this first week of the year, it was packed with folks who have resolved to get healthy. By Valentine’s you’ll have the place to yourself.

Maybe we should make a resolution to stick to our resolutions. In that spirit, I resolve to be resolute in sticking to my New Year’s resolutions. But first, I have to decide what they are. I have the usual cliche resolutions… eat better and lose weight. By eat better, I mean better for me, not better tasting. If I eat better tasting, I won’t attain the resolution to lose weight!

More importantly, I want to reconnect with the organized person I used to be.

Once upon a time, my books were grouped by height and my CDs were stored alphabetically. My bills and important paperwork were filed in a drawer in labelled folders which were, of course, alphabetical. I am so organized that my mother makes fun of me for having an orderly junk drawer. I have never “cleaned out a closet” in my life. I don’t even know what that entails.

Then I married a disorganized man. He has many wonderful qualities, but being organized is not one of them. He buys tools, can’t remember where he put them and buys more. My closet is organized by short sleeves, then long sleeves, then pants, etc. But  when he puts away the laundry (which I appreciate) it goes in the closet in no particular order.

I didn’t realize that there were levels of organization but it turns out my organizational skills are far outweighed by his lack of them. He has won the order vs. disorder battle but I’m preparing for a rematch. I’m not trying to change him. I just need to step up my game.

I don’t recall when I lost touch with her, but I know that organized girl still lives inside me. I picture her trapped under a pile of paperwork, and lost tools, the way they find hoarders trapped in their homes. I’m going to pull her out from under all of that stuff (and put it where it belongs) then together we can conquer all the things that need to be done. I see a label maker in our future!

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2016: Get Thee Behind Me!

At year’s end, bloggers feel compelled to write a recap. But who in their right mind would want to remember 2016? As Americans, nay as human beings, we collectively experienced a pretty rotten year full of protests, anger, division, terrorism, and loss. This is a humor blog, dedicated to finding the funny side of any given situation, but 2016 made it difficult to find the funny. 2016 owes us an apology!

This year, we suffered an inordinate number of celebrity deaths. We began the year by losing David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Glen Frey within a few days of each other. Soon after we lost Prince. We lost some of our favorite tv parents: Florence Henderson and Alan Thicke. John Glenn was the last man with The Right Stuff. At the end of the year, we lost Carrie Fisher then her mother, Debbie Reynolds, the very next day. I can’t list them all, or what they meant to me, but on a personal note, Debbie Reynolds affected me the most.

While not technically a death, in 2016 saw the end of Brangelina, a couple that probably no one was rooting for in the first place. We often find ourselves taking sides in divorce, but this is the first time I can recall the masses siding with a third party. Most who gave a crap about this ending, gave it to Jennifer Aniston, the scorned ex-wife of the “Bra” part of Brangelina. Apparently, he lost the “d” in the divorce.

There were more boycotts and protests this year than I can recall. The Oscar boycott. National anthem protests. Political protests. Brexit. Remember last year when our biggest debate was whether the dress was blue and black or white and gold? Unfortunately, 2016 in America was dominated by the worst election year ever. We were expected to choose between the two most unpopular candidates in American history. What are the odds that the two worst candidates would both be running for president at the same time?

This year also brought several new words and phrases into our collective vocabulary that I would love to retire: Sheeple, Get Woke, a certain P word that we heard way too much on tv, and my personal favorite… private email server.

While 2016 had a terrible year, by comparison, many of us were able to look at our personal lives and realize that we had a pretty good year. If 2016 were a person, he or she would probably be more disliked than the aforementioned presidential candidates (although that’s hard to imagine). Most people just want it to go away and leave us alone, but 2016 did have a few shining moments. The Olympics brought us much pride, (if you forget about Ryan Lochte). The market is up. Unemployment is down. The Cubs won the World Series after a 108 year wait.

When a year is this awful, it gives us hope that the next one can only get better. Agreeing on that point may be the first step in coming together again. Before you know it, we’ll find that we have more in common than 2016 allowed us to see. Let’s hope that all the bad that came with this year will leave with it. Lift your glasses high and say goodbye to 2016.

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What I’ve Learned About Life From the Hallmark Channel

It’s that time of year again. Whether I’m wrapping presents or addressing cards, I’m doing it in front of the tv watching the endless loop of Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel. I’m telling you this without the slightest hint of embarrassment. Yes, I know they’re cheesy. They’re like the tv movie equivalent of the ugly Christmas sweater. No matter how hokey they are, you drag them out every year and wear them in public without shame. Even better, you love getting new ones. The same is true for Hallmark Christmas movies.

Before Hallmark had it’s own channel, they made tearjerker commercials about their cards. They were like mini-movies and best ones were at Christmastime. We’d fight back tears as the lonely old guy who thinks he has no friends gets a Hallmark card from the kid next door. The hardened professor who’s about to retire gets a card from a former student and our hearts collectively melt as we see the influence the professor had on the world. The senders of these cards “cared enough to send the very best,” we were told. Now these mini-movies are full length and full of lessons. Here’s a few things that I’ve learned…

Monikers matter

The holidays can be busy and stressful. With all of the shopping and preparation, there’s little time left to look for love. I’ve learned from Hallmark that your chances of finding love at Christmastime are exponentially greater if your name is holiday related. Names like Holly, Noel, and Eve seem to fare well this time of year. Most often, love will be found with someone she can’t stand, especially if his name is Nick or Chris.

Holiday happiness

In Hallmark movies, families don’t discuss politics around the dinner table. There’s no Facebook or fake news. No election year craziness. Sure they have money problems, loneliness, and bitterness about the past, but these are problems that can be easily solved if they’d just open their hearts and minds to believe in the magic of Christmas.

They’ve lost the Christmas spirit, but something or someone will come along and remind them of what they’ve lost. Isn’t that why we love these movies? They give us hope that the spirit of Christmas can live on all year.

Santa is real

Another thing I’ve learned is that I believe in Santa Claus. We all lose that somewhere along the way, but it all comes rushing back when I sit down and watch these sappy movies. Hallmark movies teach us that Santa is still watching over us well into adulthood. It’s much harder for us to see it, and a kid will have to convince us, but eventually we believe again.

Hearts heal

The characters in these movies have often experienced painful losses. It may have been divorce, loss of a spouse or a parent who abandoned them. They’ve hardened their hearts to avoid feeling that pain, but that’s not how their storied end. From Hallmark, I’ve learned that no matter what life throws at you, the heart heals and can love again.

A few more things

Other Hallmark lessons… It will snow on Christmas. It’s never too cold to go out for a walk. No matter how cold it is, your nose won’t run, you won’t shiver, and you’ll look fantastic. You can have a nice home with beautiful Christmas decorations on the tiny salary you earn at a bakery, or diner, or the front desk at a small town lodge. Being forced into close quarters with someone you don’t like will almost always lead to love, as will broken down cars, cancelled flights and falling on someone at the ice skating rink.

So put on that ugly sweater and join me in front of the television for some hope and love and the spirit of Christmas. May it live all year long.

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My Sister’s Brother and Other Fictional Characters

The blog posts that have received the most feedback and comments have been the ones about losing my dog and my grandfather. In my first blog post, I mentioned that I once tried to be a writer, a novelist, but the agents who read my submissions didn’t like my writing style. It seems that my talents are better suited to biographies rather than fiction. However, my sister once created a fictional character so believable that she was given bereavement time off work to mourn his passing. Let me explain…

My sister had used up all of her time off at work, but really wanted to be with the rest of the family for a weekend at the lake. So, she created a fake death in the family. Her make-believe deceased loved one had a name and a backstory, as any good fictional character would have. His name was Vance. He was only 36 when he dropped dead from a sudden, and unexpected, heart attack.

Luckily, in those days employers didn’t ask for obituaries or death certificates to prove that a relative had indeed died. This was a simpler time when employers treated employees like adults and trusted us to behave as such. Perhaps fake dead relatives are the reason we are no longer afforded this luxury!

Ironically, Vance’s death was only the beginning of his story. Months later, when my sister had long forgotten about the passing of her imaginary brother. she started dating her manager. He accompanied her to family events and fit right in with us. After being in our homes, listening to our stories and looking at the framed family photos on display, he noticed that something was missing. Eventually, he asked my sister why we never talk about our brother. She responded that we didn’t have a brother, there were just three sisters.

Then it hit her! She had to come clean and tell her boss that she’d invented the story just to get the weekend off. Perhaps this was the moment that he understood why she returned to work after the “funeral” with a sunburn!

My writer’s hat is off to my sister who is far better at creating fictional characters than I am. No one ever suspected that her story wasn’t true. Not even me! After that weekend at the lake, I sent my sister a sympathy card. It said, “Sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Love, Your Sister.

fakebrother

 

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Grandpa Knew How to Find the Funny

I recently lost my grandfather. That’s not funny, but he was. The ability to Find the Funny in life is a family trait that stemmed from Grandpa. He loved a good, clean joke. He loved puns. He loved to laugh and to make people laugh.

Every new generation of grandchildren gave him a new audience who’d never heard his corny jokes and puns. One of his favorites was to mention a henway. Your response was supposed to be “What’s a henway?” His answer: “Oh about three pounds.”

He saw a lot of bad in his lifetime… The Depression, losing his father at an early age, World War II, but he didn’t dwell on those things. He chose to look at life through his sense of humor. He was more than just funny. He was a sailor, a business owner, a husband, father, and grandfather (add great and great-great to this list) and a master woodworker. He could build anything and he could fix anything. My grandparents never had a repairman in their house.

He raised a son and daughter who are each funny in their own right, but if you get them together, you’d better be wearing your adult diapers. ‘Cause you’re gonna laugh until you pee.

His name was Paul and he owned a business called Anchor. Many people assumed his name was Paul Anchor. When I was in high school, I told a friend about the Paul Anchor thing, which unfortunately sounds a lot like Paul Anka (if you’re young or don’t remember, he was a singer back in my day). I got a lot of teasing about my grandfather singing the song, You’re Having My Baby.

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Grandpa sold and repaired televisions and other electronics. In his spare time, he loved to watch tv. In a time when most homes had one tv, maybe two, my grandfather had them all over the house including his garage and the bathroom.

I moved in with my grandparents when I was 14. Can you imagine a worse time to take in a stray child than at 14 years of age? They were there through all of the angry, hormonal years and never drove me out to the woods to release me back to the wild. With apologies to my husband and children, my grandparents were the best thing that ever happened to me.

Grandma and Grandpa

When I married my husband Joe, he and my grandfather spent a lot of time together. So much so that my kids starting calling their great-grandfather, “Joe’s friend Grandpa.” He told Joe to call him Paul but Joe kept calling him Grandpa. Eventually, Grandpa realized that Joe needed a grandfather more than he needed a friend. From then on, he referred to Joe as his grandson. That’s the kind of guy he was.

He lived to see his children retire and his oldest grandchild turn gray-haired, but he wasn’t your typical old man. After Katrina, when he was 80 years old, he drove down to the coast of Mississippi to offer hurricane relief. And I’m not talking about handing out blankets and bottled water. He went into flooded homes, ripped out carpet and sheetrock and carried them out on his own back.

Since his passing, people have shared their memories of my grandfather. While many were of him being a mentor, or an inspiration, most were about his sense of humor. He was still joking right up to the end. When the nurses came into his room to check his mental status they’d ask his name and date of birth, then they’d ask if he knew where he was. Every single time he’d say, “Yep, I’m right here!”

A few years ago I told Grandpa that I had a good pun for his funeral. He said “Don’t be in too big of a hurry to use it!” I told him what it was. He laughed and gave his approval. So, with his permission, here it is… No one would appreciate more than my grandfather that the pall bearers at his funeral were actually “Paul” bearers.

Grandpa & Mac

 

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Oops! I Misspoke

If you’re an American with a television, or a social media account, then you know that it has been hard to find the funny lately. This election year has been anything but funny. It has been scary, embarrassing, puzzling and nauseating, but not funny. Yet, I still find myself laughing hysterically in conversations with friends and family. One recent conversation was about the times that we didn’t say exactly what we meant. We “misspoke.”

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A common claim made by politicians who say bad things is that they “misspoke.” I don’t even know if that’s a real word, but it is used frequently enough in politics that it has become one. [Ok, I looked it up. It is a real word.] Misspeaking isn’t limited to politicians who speak off the cuff without teleprompters. Regular folks do it too. Here are some examples from my own family…

I called my husband at work one day and inadvertently interrupted him and his firehouse buddies who were watching a movie. He told me they were watching Ford Fairlane. I was surprised and asked if he was talking about that old Andrew Dice Clay movie. Then I heard the laughter in the background as the guys corrected my husband. They were watching Gran Torino, the Clint Eastwood movie. He had the wrong model, but at least they’re both Fords.

In another phone call about a movie my husband had just watched, he said it was called “Bitch Slap.” I had not heard of that movie because what he’d actually seen was Sucker Punch.

My daughter once referred to the country north of the United States as “Canadia.”

My mother was having lunch with her sister in a nice restaurant. She wanted a pot of coffee at the table so that she didn’t have to keep asking for refills. Since it was a nice place she wanted to use a fancier word than “pot” of coffee, so she decided to ask for a carafe. But she didn’t say carafe, she accidentally said “cadaver.” She asked for a cadaver of coffee. I’m just gonna let you picture that.

As a nurse, I could write pages on the “misspoken” things I read in medical charts. For the sake of space, I’ll limit it to the things I’ve seen just in the last few days.

  • “Patient widowed. Patient’s wife is here with him.”
  • “Patient married. Patient’s girlfriend is his primary caretaker.”
  • “Patient’s hearing appears normal.”

It wouldn’t be right for me to make fun of others without telling on myself. So here’s mine: I was out having breakfast with my family. I ordered waffles, but for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with the word “syrup.” I’ve known this word since before I could speak yet it completely escaped from my brain. So I said “waffle juice.”img_7607

I know you have your own examples of misspeaking. Share them with me so that we can all find the funny.

 

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Lessons in Lipstick

I’m not a beauty blogger, but if you read this blog regularly, you know that I love makeup. You probably also know that I watch General Hospital daily. One day recently, these two loves collided when I saw the perfect lipstick color on my favorite soap. If you’re familiar with the show, it was the day that Samantha and Jason were getting married (again, shortly after they divorced).

Soap weddings are always beautiful and there’s usually some unexpected drama. I couldn’t tell you anything about this particular soap wedding once Samantha (Kelly Monaco) made her entrance wearing that lipstick. From that point on, I was focused on finding out the brand and name of the color. The first step was getting a picture. Just look at this…

lipstick

The next step was heading to the makeup counter so that a professional could lead me to this perfection. I could save some money and take my chances on my own untrained eye at the discount make up counter, but I needed this lipstick shade, so nothing less than an expert would do. I knew from experience that as soon as I showed her this picture, she’d pull out the perfect match and I’d be on my way in minutes. As it turns out, “expert” may have been a stretch. My experience bordered more on “employed” in the cosmetic industry rather than any form of expertise.

After I showed her this picture, the first color she swiped across the back of my hand was a fluorescent flamingo pink that would have shown up to any destination five minutes before me. I told her that it was much too bright. “Bright?” was her surprised response. She clearly didn’t agree. It was going to get worse. After my hand was covered in pink after pink, I showed her the picture again. Maybe she’d forgotten what it looked like.

We progressed to purples that Prince himself would declare as too much. She walked away for a moment to help another customer which gave me a chance to clean off the back of my hand and reflect on what was happening. I could look at this from one of two perspectives: either I’m not expressing my needs properly or she’s a flaming idiot. I chose to believe that I was the problem.

When she returned, I showed her the picture again. I pointed out that to me it looks like a darker shade than she has shown me up to this point, more red than pink, and not so bright (kinda like her). Next thing I know, the back of my hand is striped in brown shades then, in a complete 180 degree turn, she pulls out a nude color. It disappeared on the back of my hand, because it was nude!

Once again, she had to walk away. I should have taken that opportunity to leave, but instead I leaned over the counter, pulled out a dark red, handed it to her and said “I’ll take this one.” In this comparison photo, I can see that it’s not quite the same color, thanks to my lack of ability to distinguish the difference in colors any further than the original box of 8 crayons I received in kindergarten. Yet still, I came a lot closer than the “expert” on the other side of the counter.

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Maybe my mother was right when she said “if you want something done right, do it yourself.”

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How To Be Self-Confident

Why should you listen to me about self-confidence? Because I have it, a lot of it. Friends comment on my self-confidence and ask if I can teach it to them. I don’t know if it can be taught, but I can give it the old college try.

 

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Self-confidence vs. Self-esteem

First let me clarify that this post is about self-confidence not self-esteem. Some people think that these are the same thing. They are not. Let me explain the difference. When you respect or admire someone you hold them in high esteem. Let’s say that you have great respect for Stephen Hawking. You admire his work and his resilience against a disease that was expected to kill him over 50 years ago. You can hold him in high esteem yet have NO confidence in his ability to win a dance-off against Channing Tatum. You may have held Mother Teresa in high esteem, but you wouldn’t have much confidence in her winning a hot dog eating contest. The reverse is also true. There may be an athlete in whom you have great confidence that he can lead his team to a win. Simultaneously you consider him to be a despicable human being and have no esteem for him. (I couldn’t decide which athlete to use in this scenario. So many fit the description!)

While this post is not about self-esteem, I will remind you that you are the most important person in your life, whether you believe that or not. You should hold yourself in the highest esteem and want only the best for yourself.

How to be confident

This is not an article about facing your fears. Fear is not lack of self-confidence. Of course, it’s important to improve on your shortcomings and overcome your fears, but for now, lets gain some confidence by focusing on things that don’t scare you. These are a few of my suggestions:

Know Yourself

You can’t have confidence in someone that  you don’t know. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Your mother told you that you can be anything you want to be. She said you can do anything if you just set your mind to it. This is bullshit! Everyone has limitations. Knowing what yours are is an important part of finding your strengths.

Public speaking is a common area where people lack self-confidence. Well meaning people often give the advice to picture your audience naked. This would NOT boost my self-confidence. This would send me running out of the room! I am extremely uncomfortable with nudity and could not stand before an entire audience of naked people and speak to them. This is what I mean by “know yourself.”

Be Yourself

Being yourself is an important part of building self-confidence.  Do what you do best. That dish you make that is the best ever… take it to a potluck at work. Make it for a friend who needs a break. Those drawings that you sketch in your spare time… post them on Instagram. Do you have a way with words? Send cards to people who need to hear them.  Wear what makes you feel your best. That color that everyone comments on when you wear it… wear it more often. Buy more things in that color. That thing that always makes you feel uncomfortable and unattractive… throw it out! Do what makes you feel your best. Like the way you feel after exercise? Make it a daily habit. Like the way you feel after sex? Make that a daily habit.

Think of the things that have made you feel confident. The day you graduated college. The day you bought your house. Landing your dream job. Delivering your baby without drugs. Delivering someone else’s baby in a grocery store parking lot. Singing at your sister’s wedding. That speech you gave in high school. The idea you pitched at work that became a new policy. These were your accomplishments, no one else’s.

Imitating someone else is the worst possible way to gain self-confidence. It comes across as fake and people will pick up on that. Let’s say that I wanted to try stand-up comedy. If I got on stage and imitated my favorite comedian, not only would I be plagiarizing, it would be disingenuous. How could I feel confident about myself when all I did was steal someone else’s work? I would walk away from this experience feeling even worse about myself. Instead, I could test my comedic chops by telling my own funny stories which come from a personal experience that only I could deliver. If I get positive feedback, it’s ME they’re complimenting.

Be Your Own Best Friend

Talk to yourself the way you would talk to your best friend. Would you tell her that she’s stupid? No! Would you tell him that he sucks? No! When you’re talking to your best friend, you encourage them, compliment them, and take their side. Do the same for yourself.

Fake It Until You Feel It

This is something I’ve learned from having men as friends. I realize this is a broad generalization, but men don’t usually show it outwardly when they are nervous or lack confidence. When they try something for the first time, they look like they’ve done it a hundred times. Let’s go back to public speaking. You can approach that podium with your head down and shoulders slouched or you can saunter up there with your head high and chest puffed out. No one has to know that you’re nervous inside.

At my church, a different person reads the scripture each week. There are some weird names of people and cities that can be intimidating to pronounce in front of a crowd. The preacher’s advice is to say it loud and proud like you know what you’re doing and keep going. I think that’s good advice for a lot more than just weird Bible names.

If none of these things word for you, I recommend going to a grocery store that has those motion detector lights in the freezer section. There’s nothing quite as empowering as literally lighting up the room just by walking through it!

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Working from Home vs. Going to Work

Have you ever wondered if you would enjoy working from home? This blogpost is not going to help you find a work at home job. You’re on your own for that. I’m just here to tell you the good and bad, the pros and cons, so that you can decide it working from home is right for you.

Work from home in one easy step

  1. Wake up. Walk to your home office.

Everything else, literally everything, is a personal choice when working from home. Whether to shower or not. Whether to stay in your pajamas (or your birthday suit). When to eat. When to go to the gym. When to speak to people.

PROS: There’s not enough room to list all the reasons that working from home is a plus. But here are just a few: No traffic, no road rage, the bathroom is closer, the bathroom is private, no way-too-perky-this-early-in-the-morning coworkers, no one will see your bad haircut or the zit that popped up overnight, the cafeteria has all your favorites, you can talk to yourself without anyone knowing, you control the office temperature, you’re the office DJ, and your dog will be happier.



CONS: You might miss having human interaction with coworkers. Some people say they get distracted working from home. They find themselves wanting to get household chores done. I have no such desires on or off the clock.

Let’s compare working from home to going to work

  1. Alarm goes off. There’s no point in hitting the snooze button. Your full bladder isn’t letting you go back to sleep.
  2. Stumble to bathroom. Try to think of an excuse not to go to the gym today. Tell yourself for the 3,650th day in a row that if you keep going, you’ll see some results soon.
  3. Obligatory workout.
  4. Come home, shower, wash hair, shave whatever you shave, brush teeth.
  5. Look at the clock. You have plenty of time.
  6. Let the dog out.
  7. Still sweating from gym, now blow dry your hair and sweat some more.
  8. Try to apply make up to still sweating face.
  9. Let the dog in.
  10. Feed the dog.
  11. Make breakfast for everyone but yourself.
  12. Stare at your closet.
  13. Look at the clock. OMG!
  14. Let the dog out again.
  15. Pack your lunch. If you have kids, pack their lunches too.
  16. Let the dog in.
  17. Stare at your closet again.
  18. Look at the clock. You should have left 10 minutes ago and you’re not dressed.
  19. Get dressed.
  20. Running out the door, realize you haven’t eaten breakfast. Grab something quick that can be eaten in the car. Most likely a high calorie carb that will negate your workout.
  21. After all that rushing around, you’ll finally get to slow down and relax while sitting still in traffic.
  22. Look at the clock again. OMG!

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This Workout Was Brought To You By Maidenform

My daughter is getting married in two weeks. Since I had the day to myself and was needed by no one anywhere, I went out to do some mother of the bride stuff. I’d already bought my MOTB dress a couple of months ago. One of my goals was to lose about 10 pounds before the wedding, as I thought the dress would look better with a little less of me in it. Ten pounds in two months didn’t seem too lofty a goal. However, I managed to gain 5 instead.

Since there will actually be a little more of me in my dress than planned, one of my errands today was to buy shapewear. In my mother’s day, they had girdles. In my great-grandmother’s day, there were corsets. No matter what you call it, shapewear is something women wear under their clothes to make us appear more like we used to without help. We should call it reversewear.

maidenform, ubdergarments
I don’t want to embrace them, I want to hide them!

First of all, the fabric that makes shapewear do what it does is an angry bitch. Lycra seems to have a serious grudge against me even though we barely know each other. She was determined to fight me the whole way. If I was going to get this tighter-than-skin suit on, I was going to have to kill it first.

I started with what I consider to be my size. Then, I read the label and moved up to what Maidenform considers to be my size. These are one piece body shapers, by the way, much like a one-piece swimsuit or a dance leotard. I had the choice to step in or pull it over my head. I chose the pullover option. Once the angry, constrictive fabric tricked me into putting my arms in and pulling it over my head, it refused to move any further. At this point, it’s all wadded around my neck with my arms straight up in the air. I need my hands to pull down this inflexible fabric, but they’re stuck in the air at the end of my arms!

Somehow, I was able to force my arms down and started pulling this torture device down my body, one millimeter at a time. Once it covered everything it was supposed to cover, I took a look in the mirror. I was red all over from stuffing myself like a sausage into a casing. I was exhausted from the workout and starting to sweat. But that’s not the worst of it. Despite being only 5’2″, I have an oddly long torso. The body shaper has a built-in bra but it is so short on my long body that the bra is at my waist. UGH! That’s not gonna hold anything up!

I apologize for not having pictures to go along with this, but… NO! There will be no visuals of this acrobatic contortion act or the waist lifting bra.

Unfortunately, I went up one more size. A size that I have never worn, Ever. Last year, I lost SEVENTY pounds. At my highest weight, I didn’t wear the size that I bought today. At my previous weight, I imagine that my size in shapewear would have resembled the marquis at a dirty book store.
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Shopping for shapewear is not for sissies. It’s also not for those with low self-esteem or anyone who hangs her self worth on a clothing tag. If you’re going to visit the mean streets of the lingerie department, arm yourself with double-barrelled self confidence and a side arm of badass. Like I said, Lycra is a bitch.

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Hey Man!

A few weeks ago, my friend Ruth and I were downtown having dinner with other friends. Afterwards, we were returning to her car in a nearby parking garage. When the elevator opened on our floor, there stood a guy that I know, but his name escaped me. I searched my entire brain for his name. This wasn’t just some guy I pass in the halls at work, I know him. Why can’t I think of his name?! This memory loss thing has been going on for a few years. I don’t know if it’s a temporary side effect of the hormonal changes of menopause or a much too early sign of old age. Either way, it’s annoying and terrifying.

Here I am face-to-face with someone I know very well whose name I can’t remember, but I want to say something. So, as I’m exiting the elevator, I pat him on the arm and say “Hey man, how ya doing?”  He looked down at me, and I mean way down, because this guy is tall, and he says “I’m good. How are you?”  When I heard his voice, it hit me. I don’t know him, I know his face. I know his face because I’ve seen it on my television hundreds of times. This is the comedian Billy Gardell. The Mike of Mike & Molly. OMG!  I just said “hey man, how ya doing?” to a celebrity!

By the time I realized who he was, I’d already passed him so I turned around and welcomed him to Memphis and asked what he was doing here. He said he was filming a show. I told him I was a fan and he thanked me for watching. Ruth, who was my ride home, never stopped walking, never turned around. She’s making a beeline for her car because she is either a) unimpressed, b) embarrassed, or c) in a hurry. More likely, all three. So I’m continually walking, albeit backwards, to keep up with her while welcoming this celebrity to my hometown.

It’s not that celebrities don’t come to Memphis. They do. As a matter of fact, the very next day Ozzy Osbourne was spotted in Memphis. Also, I work in a pediatric hospital. As you have probably seen on the Internet, celebrities visit pediatric hospitals quite often. Johnny Depp has visited a children’s hospital in full Captain Jack Sparrow attire. I recently read that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson visited kids at a hospital in Chattanooga. Hello Dwayne if you’re reading this, the nurses, I mean, sick kids in Memphis would love to see The Rock! 

But this wasn’t your average, run-of-the-mill, celebrity sighting. This guy was in a parking garage… alone. If Ruth hadn’t been in such a hurry, I would’ve stopped to give him directions. There’s no way he could know that when he arrived on the first floor he would need to make a quick right, another quick right, a quick left and then follow the hallway out of the building.  And maybe I would’ve asked him to take a selfie with me to post on my blog so people would believe me.

When I hopped into the passenger side of Ruth’s car, she said “I can’t believe you didn’t try to take a selfie with him.” Believe me I would have if I hadn’t been afraid that she was going to leave me there.

So that’s my embarrassing brush with celebrity story. And here’s as close as I’ll ever get to a selfie with Billy Gardell….

 

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I Am A Government Experiment

It has been hard to find funny lately. I have four friends who lost parents this week. Four! As if losing a parent isn’t hard enough, Doug Flutie lost both of his parents on the same day. Terrorist attacks around the world have us all on high alert. Americans are divided over whether we should allow refugees into our country. I haven’t weighed in, and I’m not going to. I’m just glad that I don’t have to make the decision.

I have no idea what our government will do about the things going on in the world right now. I do know that whatever they do, it will be wrong according to half of us. Sometimes they get it right. Other times it seems like they’re just experimenting on us. I have been an unwitting participant in a couple of government experiments myself.

In the fifth grade, I started riding a bus to a school far from my neighborhood. We passed a dozen other schools on the way to mine, but I thought nothing of that. My previous school was walking distance from home, and now I was riding 45 minutes on a school bus, but so was everyone else.

As an adult, I read that busing (I think it should be bussing) was a failed government experiment. Wait, what?  First of all, I had no idea that was an experiment. I thought I was just getting a ride to school! Secondly, failed? I disagree. I met kids that I never would have met otherwise. Kids who became adults that I’m still friends with today. We were in diverse classrooms… I’m talking multiple races across the socioeconomic board, learning together. We weren’t learning about stereotypes. We learned that people are people.

While I can’t prove that this next thing was a government experiment, I’m convinced that it was. It was probably someone’s college thesis topic to take an average student and put them in a classroom with geniuses, to show that the average student will eventually adapt. They put me in a classroom full of smart kids, and told me I was one of them. I knew I didn’t belong there. Even my parents thought they sent the letter home to the wrong family. They took us out of the classroom setting, and taught us how to think outside the box. This class for gifted students was called CLUE… Creative Learning in a Unique Environment. The other kids in this unique classroom were so smart. They knew about things I had never heard of. They were fluent in current events and history. Most of the time I had no clue (no pun intended) what we were talking about.

 

The government is lucky that this experiment didn’t backfire. I could have brought all these geniuses down to my level. But after five years of discussions, brain games, logic problems, and various film projects, they finally convinced me that I was smart. Just ask me, I’ll tell you how smart I am. My kids are smart too and I take full credit for that.

Whatever our government decides to do, I have hope that something good will come of it. Maybe some average kid will find out that she’s not so average after all.

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When Cruise Came To Town

I’m from Memphis. I’ve lived here my entire life. I was born here, my parents were born here. Memphis is known for a lot of things… It’s the birthplace of rock-n-roll, thanks to Elvis. We’re known for our barbecue, blues, Beale Street, FedEx, Elvis, and Justin Timberlake. Yes we have crime, but the good outweighs the bad. And did I mention, Elvis and Justin Timberlake?

We love our Memphis Grizzlies basketball, University of Memphis Tigers, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Peabody Ducks, the Mississippi River, our zoo, our local food (namely barbecue), our music, nightlife, Jerry’s Sno Cones and our pyramid that recently became a Bass Pro Shop.

 

There have been many tv shows and movies filmed in Memphis, but none as eventful as the time that The Firm was filmed here. In case you live under a rock, The Firm was a John Grisham novel set in Memphis. In the early 90s, it was made into a movie, also set in Memphis, and starred Tom Cruise.

 

Ok, I want you to put aside your personal feelings about Tom Cruise just for a moment. This was over 20 years ago, long before you didn’t like him. He was 30 years old then. Unlike now, when he’s actually 53 but still looks 30!

There were plenty of other celebrities in the movie, including Holly Hunter, Gene Hackman, Gary Busey and Wilford Brimley (the old guy with diahbetus). But our local media only had eyes for Tom. Every morning, local radio stations announced where he’d be filming. More importantly, they’d tell us where he’d been and what he’d done the night before. We knew where he ate, what he ate and who’s tab was “anonymously” paid by Tom Cruise. He was a gracious and generous visitor to our city. Eventually they wrapped up filming and moved on to film on location in the Cayman Islands.

Then, something curious happened. I don’t know if it was an additional scene or a reshoot, but Tom came back to film one last scene. If you’ve seen the movie, it’s the part where he jumps out of a window and lands on a cotton truck in the alley below.

 

As luck would have it, my aunt Liz worked in a dry cleaner on the corner of Monroe Avenue and that very alley. She had a front row seat to the whole thing. She decided to call her sister (my mother) to see if she wanted to come down and watch with her. Of course she wanted to!

Mama quickly showed up to the dry cleaner to watch, along with her sister, as Tom Cruise shot one last scene of The Firm. Eventually a news crew, as well as a small crowd of fans, showed up to do the same. Well, obviously not from the dry cleaner, but from the same general area. My mother stepped out onto the curb as Tom walked toward the news crew to grant them one last interview. He waved at the crowd and Mama said something like… “Tom, can we get an autograph?” He waved them on over and my mother led the group of fans toward the movie star.

Now, let’s review who I am. In my blog post called Let’s Make Up, I revealed my personal issues with make up and that I don’t leave home without it. I’m quite sure that if I thought there’d be a chance encounter with a celebrity, I’d put a little extra effort in to my makeup. My mother does not share my hang ups about cosmetics. That being said…

Throughout this entire interview, which aired repeatedly on the noon, 5:00, 10:00 and any other time news comes on; there’s my mother with not a stitch of makeup on, hasn’t seen her hairbrush, wearing a shirt that each one of her daughters had politely asked her to stop wearing… shoved all up in Tom Cruise’s personal space by the crowd behind her. He politely answered all of the reporter’s questions while practically cheek-to-cheek with my mother. And, of course, he was wearing make up.

Much to my dismay, I don’t have a picture of this to share with you. Technology wasn’t nearly as advanced as it is now and we thought our VHS tape of the event would last forever. I called the news station to see if they could help, but I wasn’t important enough to get that kind of service. So let me just leave you with this really cool shot of Tom Cruise and Hal Holbrook on the roof of our beloved Peabody Hotel.

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Fat and Happy

For the last several months, I’ve been losing weight after more than a decade of being fat. Let me just go ahead and say this… if you are offended by the word “fat,” stop reading this now! I don’t sugarcoat it. I was fat. I didn’t gain 100+ pounds of “fluffy” or “juicy.” I gained over a hundred pounds of fat. So far, I’ve lost 60 of those hundred pounds. The number on the scale starts with a one for the first time in 12 years.

There are many misconceptions about overweight people…we’re lazy, we don’t exercise, we eat garbage, we have low self-esteem or we’re depressed. WRONG! I have always had a healthy dose of self-confidence and self-esteem. They have never been attached to the numbers on a scale or measuring tape or clothing size. When I read articles about successful weight loss, they almost always mention gaining self-confidence or getting it back. Where did it go? Your weight doesn’t change who you are! Fat or thin, I’m still the same person. No one comes and takes away your college degree when you gain weight. And they don’t show up with trophies, confetti and self-esteem when you lose weight.

As far as eating goes, I grew up on sweet tea, fried food, frozen dinners, fast food and Coke (Coca-Cola, not drugs). I wasn’t a fat kid. No one was. Fat kids were rare. As an adult, I gave up the sweet in the tea, and learned a lot more about food and fat. By the time I started gaining, I was eating real food, whole food, and less processed food. But I got fat anyway. Once you reach a certain weight, you get this “what-the-hell-I-may-as-well-eat” attitude. At least I did. I could eat a 30 oz. bone-in ribeye by myself in one sitting. All-You-Can-Eat Buffets became my friends. I became an expert on which cupcake shop was the best.

 

I recently watched a video on YouTube made by a newly thin woman listing 10 things she would not miss about being fat. I wondered what my own list would be since none of her issues applied to me. I honestly don’t think I could come up with 10 bad things about being fat. There is one though… I won’t miss the clothes, or the lack of them. No one makes clothes for big women. Making a bigger version of what thin people wear, is not the same as making clothes for bigger bodies.

I could easily come up with 10 things that I WILL miss about being fat.  Number one, without question, is french fries! These little bits of heaven are my absolute weakness. I have often said that I would love to grow french fries in a garden and dab a little of their divine scent behind my ears.

The truth is, my life as a fat girl, has been fantastic! I met my husband during my weight gain. After years of not being able to find one, men were suddenly coming out of the woodwork when I gained weight. It’s not a myth, there are men who prefer bigger women (it’s not just Bill Clinton). If I’d met my husband a year earlier, he may not have asked for my phone number. Who knows?

There’s an old saying about being “Fat and Happy” and it’s a real thing. I have been very happy during my fat years. I was never bullied or ridiculed. Being fat never kept me from getting a job. My weight didn’t prevent me from traveling. As a matter fact, most of the traveling I’ve done in my lifetime has been while fat. I went to Hawaii three times (including the one where we got married), New York City once, and multiple trips to Florida. My change in size didn’t change me. I still had a sense of humor. I was still smart. I can’t run, but I couldn’t run when I was young and thin either. I’m just not a runner.

As I lose more weight, I find that I’m running (no pun intended) into a little bit of self-sabotage. It’s not purposeful, but somewhere deep in my psyche I must not want to go back to a “normal” weight. I wasn’t happy then. The bad days outnumbered the good exponentially. My normal, accepted-by-society size had nothing to do with my sucky life, just as my hundred pound gain isn’t the reason I’m happy now (although it may be a reason). However, my subconscious may be associating Fat and Happy as a set that shouldn’t be separated.

Assuming I break through my self-sabotage issues, what else will I miss about being fat? Eating what I want, as much as I want without having to think about it, count it, journal it, or enter it into an app. Eating fast food, because it’s convenient and cheap. Cupcakes, ice cream, chocolate. Oh, and having big boobs. Definitely the best part of being a big girl was the boobs!

Click here: If this link works, it will take you to a great article about being Fat and Happy

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Buddy: The Best Dog Ever

We said goodbye to our black lab, Buddy. He was the best dog ever. On paper, he was my daughter’s dog, but in his heart, and in ours, he belonged to us all. When my daughter got Buddy on her 15th birthday, graduation was just a few years away and we knew that he would probably stay home with us old folks when she left for college. Then, when he was a year old, we decided that the puppy needed a puppy to play with. That’s where Jenny, his lifelong companion, came in. After that, my daughter knew that she could never take Buddy away and separate those two.

Buddy and puppy Jenny
Buddy and Jenny

The thing about Buddy is that he was such a textbook lab that he couldn’t NOT fetch. If you threw something, anything, he had to retrieve it. We learned, the hard way, to make sure something floats BEFORE throwing it in the water. We threw something once that sank and he was determined to dive until he found it.

His only fault was that he was so passive. He let the other dogs walk all over him, sometimes literally. They took his toys, his bed and ate his food, and he let them. You may recall from a previous post (Guest Blogger: Eddie) that he ran away with Eddie, our jack russell terrier. I’m certain that Eddie coerced him.

If one of us got sick, Buddy would bring toys and stay at our side until we were all better. If one of the other dogs was outside wanting in, Buddy would go in search of a human to let them know to come open the door. His internal alarm clock was legendary. Our dogs are fed at 5am and 5pm. If there was no food in his bowl at 5:00 sharp, he always reminded us in his sweet, polite way. When my mother came to visit, Buddy couldn’t decide whom to protect through the night. He had to sleep in the hallway between the bedrooms to make sure that all of us were safe.

One day, when Jenny was much too young, she and Buddy “eloped” in the backyard. This resulted in two adorable boy puppies. One black, one brown, just like their parents. We loved those puppies and often wish we’d kept them. But they’re very happy in their forever homes and we get updates on them frequently. Giving them away, even to good, loving families, was difficult. We realized we’re not cut out for dog breeding so everybody got “fixed” after that.

 

Buddy’s 11th birthday was a few weeks ago. We bought him a retrieving toy (that floats, of course) and took him to the lake to try it out. This was before we knew that anything was wrong. After fetching the toy two or three times, he took it into the woods and hid it. I searched, found it and threw it again. Once again, he swam out to retrieve it, then hid it in the woods. I finally realized that he wanted me to stop throwing it, since he didn’t have the option to stop retrieving it.

 

That was the first sign that something was wrong and the decline was rapid after that. Once we realized and accepted what was inevitable, we took him to the lake one last time without the other dogs. I honestly don’t know if he liked being the only dog there or if he missed his friends, but there were several humans there. Buddy swam one last time, got a lot of attention and some people food.

 

I don’t think anyone will ever love us as much as Buddy did.

 

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Be Safe Out There

It seems that everywhere you go, there’s a sign saying “DON’T.” We have to be told not to eat the packing. Don’t put the plastic bag over your head. Take the frozen dinner out of the box before cooking. Don’t put the RV on cruise control and walk back to the bathroom. The worst part is that you know someone did these things (and sued) to prompt the warning.

We didn’t have safety when I was a kid. We also didn’t have food allergies, the Internet or medication for hyperactivity. Our mothers didn’t hover over us. And we didn’t have schedules. 

Our playgrounds were concrete. The swing set tilted when we went too high. The metal slide baked in the sun all day. We rode our bikes all day long and our mothers had no idea where we were.
The only time safety was ever mentioned involved looking both ways before crossing the street… which we did by ourselves.
 

We rode in the beds of pickup trucks. We climbed trees. We didn’t use sunscreen.

Once a week the school cafeteria served us peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on white bread… That sandwich was full of peanuts and gluten.
We lay in the grass for hours watching bees float from one clover to another (because we didn’t have lawn services). Or we looked for shapes in the clouds. Or we watched ants march to their hill.
We played kickball in the front yard. Or we rode our bikes around the block to that yard where every kid in the neighborhood gathered. The mom at that house had an endless supply of lemonade… made with sugar.
We may or may not have yelled through the screen door to notify our mothers where we were headed. They didn’t care. They were busy stripping and waxing floors, baking cakes from scratch and cooking supper all afternoon because we didn’t have convenience yet.
We did have bullies back then. They were scary and mean and made us feel bad. But they didn’t have 24 hour access to us via texting and social networks.
Every house had a set of encyclopedias because we didn’t have the Internet. The television was a massive piece of furniture with three channels on it.  We had to be in front of it (but not too close!) when our favorite shows were on. And we had to watch commercials.
We didn’t have seatbelts. Our moms drove station wagons and we rode in the very back which didn’t even have seats, let alone seatbelts.

We didn’t have plastic. Everything came packaged in glass. Our baby shampoo, in a glass bottle, sat on the edge of our porcelain bathtub and somehow we never broke it. We had to beat the bottom of a glass bottle to get ketchup, but we never broke it either.

Somehow we are still here to tell the tales of the world before there was a warning printed on everything.

Today is the 4th of July, which has many safety hazards. Be sure to read those warnings!

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Menopause: The Adventure

 

If you haven’t visited the amusement park known as Menopause, let me fill you in. I’ve had a season pass for years.

These are a few of the attractions:

The Scrambler. This ride scrambles your brain to the point you that you can’t remember anything. Or find anything. Even if you just had it in your hand seconds ago. You’ll have to keep to-do lists. Your friends and family will text instead of calling. Not because they don’t want to talk to you, but if you have it in writing, you’ll stop complaining that “no one ever tells me anything,” even though they’ve told you at least twice.

Hormones and Hot Flashes. This ride is basically a giant microwave that bakes you from the inside out and doubles your core temperature. You’ll radiate so much heat that no one will sit next to you. Not that you want them to, because right now, you can’t stand them.

The Insomnia Express. This train only runs at night. The dining car features an endless supply of both sweet and salty snacks to indulge in while you watch tv, read, sew, blog, anything but sleep!

Mood Swings. The name pretty much says it all but I think the chairs should be broomsticks.

There’s a bathroom every 100 yards. A ride called Wiry Gray Hair. And a pub called The Irritable Wench.

The scariest ride in the whole park is The Emotional Rollercoaster. You’ll laugh, cry and scream uncontrollably. You’ll be angry for no reason. Watch out for that sharp turn – you might fly off the handle. There’s a long, dark tunnel called Tears and Fears. While the other rides exit through a gift shop, the only way off the Emotional Rollercoaster is through medical intervention. If you refuse, you’re doomed to stay on the rollercoaster indefinitely.

Lastly… what was I saying? Damn, it’s hot in here. Where did I put my phone?

 

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In Facebook We Trust, But Not Each Other

I love Facebook. Some say I’m addicted or obsessed. I’ve been called “Ms. Facebook” and “Selfie Queen.” One of the first things I do when I wake up in the morning is check my newsfeed to see what my friends were up to while I was sleeping. Through Facebook, I have found old friends that I’ve looked for for years. I can keep up with friends and family who live thousands of miles away. I can tell 400 people at the same time that I walked through the grocery store with the hem of my dress caught on my purse. Hashtag embarrassing!

I think Facebook is the greatest thing since Al Gore invented the Internet, but it does have its drawbacks. For instance, it’s disappointing to find out that your friends can’t spell or form a grammatically correct sentence. It leaves you wondering who really wrote their college thesis. There are so many people selling things that your newsfeed looks more like a flea market than a social network. Some people complain about drama, liars, posers, wannabes, stalkers, etc. but there is one thing that seems to be universally hated… The Joint Facebook Account.

A quick Google search (Google… another modern marvel) will bring up a plethora of jokes, memes and legitimate articles about why this is bad for your relationship. The joint page is actually against Facebook rules which specifically state its for one person and you must use your real name. This is why your friends have to make up those stupid couple names like JackNJill Smith.

 

I’m happy to say that I don’t have any friends who share a Facebook account. Even my couple friends who can’t breathe without each other, even my married friends who are kept on a very short leash, even my friends who don’t trust their partners – they all have independent Facebook pages. Speaking of lack of trust, it seems to be the overwhelming belief that those with shared accounts have trust issues (I learned this from the Google search). They may be trying to present themselves as a strong, happy couple, but they’re doing the exact opposite.

But that’s not what frustrates me about it. While I don’t have any friends with a joint Facebook page, I still see them thanks to another disliked Facebook feature – the one where you can see posts from people you don’t know because a mutual friend liked or commented on it. Ugh! Anyway, what bugs me is that there are two names on the account but they post “I, me, my” instead of “we, us, our.” Whose opinion gets expressed? Whose birthday, job and college are listed on the page?  If they comment “nice cleavage,” how do I know which one its from?!

There are, of course, exceptions. The elderly get a pass on all things electronic. When you see an old person with a cell phone, you think “oh that’s so cute!”  Then 5 minutes later you’re in traffic complaining that everybody is distracted by their damn cellphones! Because of this, it’s perfectly acceptable for FredNMyrtle to share a Facebook page. And you’ll think it’s so cute when they sign their comments, “Love, Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Fred.”

My husband and I may be united as one but we don’t share one brain. We don’t have the exact same opinions, interests or friends. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to be represented on the World Wide Web as the exposed butt at the grocery store.

If you do have a shared account, you should be aware that your friends roll their eyes, assume that your relationship is in trouble, and they think your personal life looks something like this…

 

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Guest Blogger: Eddie (the dog)

First, let me explain why my name is Eddie, instead of something more fitting, like Napoleon or Narcissus. My pack consists of four humans and two other dogs. When I was brought into the pack, the male human was watching something called “reruns” about a Jack Russell Terrier named Eddie and his human pack (one of his humans was named Frasier). So, I was named after this tv dog.

The only thing I have in common with this other Eddie, besides the name, is our breed. As I understand it, he is an actor. He works! What self-respecting canine would work? Any creature worthy of being called a dog knows that he should train his humans to work and provide him with everything he needs!

As soon as I was adopted, I began working on establishing myself as the alpha. The humans have never understood that I am their master. Jenny, the chocolate lab, refused to be a beta dog, but she is like a mother to me and lets me cuddle with her when the humans put us outside. So, I gave her a pass. The only one who accepted my superiority was Buddy, the black lab.

 

The humans and I love the same thing about Buddy… his obedience. One day, about two years ago (seems like 14 years ago), I decided to run out the front door and see what the world had to offer. I commanded Buddy to follow me and, of course, he complied.

Around this time, the younger human girls had grown up and run out the front door on their own. The male (we call him Daddy) was off in some place called Germany. So leaving home seemed like a good idea.

Buddy and I ran down the street and around the corner as fast as we could, reveling in our new found freedom. Every dog we passed barked their support, wishing they could join us. We enjoyed exploring until we got tired. We had to sleep outside, which was not as great as we thought it would be. We had no bed and no one brought us dinner.

The next morning we were walking, looking for something to eat, when a stranger got out of his car and started chasing us. I was too fast for him, but he caught Buddy.  I barked and barked for the stranger to release him. Then I watched as the stranger drove away with my friend.

I knew that I was in trouble and could never go home again. So I kept walking farther from home. I tried to adjust to my new life. I smelled a lot of new smells and saw a lot of strange things. I even saw some really big dogs with trees growing out of their heads!

I thought about Buddy a lot. I wondered where that stranger took him. I wondered why I didn’t try harder to stop him.  Why didn’t I bite him? The stranger, not Buddy.

I was tired, hungry, dirty and covered in itchy little bugs. I missed my human mother and Jenny. I missed sleeping in a bed. I decided that I would turn around, go home and hope my pack would accept me. As I started the long walk back home, a nice lady and her son stopped and opened their car door. For the first time in my entire life, I voluntarily went to a stranger. The nice lady called the number on my ID tag and my mother came to retrieve me. Much to my surprise she was not mad. She was happy to see me.

An even bigger surprise awaited me at home. Buddy was there!  It turns out that the stranger took him to doggy jail and our mother bailed him out. I was very happy to see my pack again, but I was so tired. I slept more than I’ve slept since I was a pup.

Every now and then, the wild dog in me comes out. I dart out the door and take off running. Then suddenly I remember what a great life I have and I turn around and run home even faster.

 

 

 

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The Long and Winding Road

When I was 30 years old, I found myself unexpectedly divorced. Single. Alone. All I knew how to do was be half of a couple. Taking no time to mourn or adjust, I immediately began searching for another half. And so began the longest EIGHT years of my life!

 

My first relationship lasted about a year and a half. I thought we would marry. We didn’t, but we did stay friends. That is, until he got a new girlfriend who wouldn’t let him be friends with me. He married her.

The next one lasted about a year. That’s when I discovered that I wasn’t his only girlfriend. Worse, I wasn’t even his main girlfriend. I was The Other Woman! He married her.

There was one that seemed almost perfect. We had so much in common. We discovered that we’d repeatedly been in the same places at the same time. Our kids were the same ages. Things moved quickly in a short amount of time. Suddenly, he brought it to a screeching halt, claiming that he needed to get close to God before he could deal with a new relationship. Apparently the “god” that he wanted to get close to was the other woman he was dating. He married her.

A married friend once fixed me up with one of her single friends. We didn’t click. However, a few years later, when my friend was single again… He married her.

I can’t say they were non-commital.

 

In the midst of all of this, I received a lot of Truly.Horrible.Advice:

Play hard to get. Stop letting them know that you’re interested. Men like the chase.
At what point is it safe to let him know that I’m interested? At our wedding reception? After we have a couple of kids? I’m pretty sure that the moment I become interested is when he starts chasing something else.

 

Play the game. Don’t be so available.
So, after I turn down the date, and I’m sitting at home eating ice cream alone, at what point do I realize that I’m winning at this stupid game?

You’ll find someone when you stop looking.
Really? Don’t most people stop looking when they’ve commited to someone else? That seems like a really inconvenient time to find The One.

My response to all of the bad advice was that I won’t play games. If a guy thinks there’s something wrong with me because I like him, I’ll take his word for it. After all, he knows himself better than anyone. If he says, “It’s not you, it’s me,” I believe him. When he says, “You deserve better,” I agree!

I decided to hold out for a decent man with enough confidence and self-esteem to know that he was worthy of my affection. It turns out that such a man existed. Now all I hear is “Where did you find him?” and how lucky I am to have him. This had nothing to do with luck. This was work! I found him by looking hard and praying harder, never giving up, never settling and by not listening to bad advice.

Some say that I had to go through all of that to appreciate what I have. I’d like to think that I’m intelligent enough to appreciate a good man without being lied to, cheated on and propositioned by married men. But if this was the only road that would lead me here, then I’m glad I took it… because He.Married.Me

 

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Mirror, Mirror, Pants on Fire

My mirror and photos tell me different stories and one of them is lying. The mirror tells me that I’m not fat, my hair looks great and my make-up is perfect.  Pictures tell me that I’m wearing a spare tire around my waist, my hair is flat, and make-up… what make-up?

I was telling a friend and fellow fat girl (I have her permission to say that) about my carnival mirror that makes me look thin. She told me that she has the same mirror! I’ve read about underweight women who look in the mirror and see fat, but never the reverse. If my friend and I both have this Fun House Mirror, then surely there must be others.

Then it all starts to make sense. All the times you’ve seen a woman out in public, wearing something that she clearly shouldn’t, and you thought to yourself “Does she not have a mirror?” Every time you’ve seen “JUICY” plastered across an ample butt. Now you know, those people have Lying Mirrors. Juicy Girl probably did check her butt in the mirror, but she saw the words “this is totally appropriate.”

The mirror doesn’t stop with body image and fashion. Think about all those ugly guys you’ve seen with really hot women.You wondered how a guy who looks like that got a woman who looks like her. You wondered how he ever had the nerve to ask her out in the first place. I’ll tell you how… his mirror! It told him, “No dude, she’s not out of your league. Look at you. You are THE man. You go for it!” The mirror is a modern-day serpent.

Speaking of the serpent, the Bible never really tells us what the serpent was. People say it was a snake. But, at the end of the story, God curses the serpent to crawl on the ground and eat dust all the days of his life. If he was already a snake, that wouldn’t be much of a punishment. And let’s not forget that the serpent could talk. If Eve met a talking snake, Genesis 3:2 would have gone something like this… “And then the woman saith, ‘Um… Adam? Wouldst thou cometh quickly to the tree in the middle of the garden? I have something to show thee!'”

 

Then there are those whose mirrors tell them they look fat, ugly or unlovable. Perhaps these are the hot women who said yes to the aforementioned ugly guys.

We all have something that tell us the lies we want to hear… whether it’s a mirror, alcohol, our spouses or even ourselves.There’s no harm in that. Just make sure you know where to find the truth when you really need it. I hope that my truth isn’t in photos, ’cause DANG they can be mean! (See example below)

 

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My Calamity and Novacaine

If you spend any time in a place where people’s full names are announced over a PA system (such as a college graduation), you’ll find yourself occasionally asking “What were his parents thinking?” If you’re like me, you’ll say it aloud. Immediately after, you’ll hope his parents aren’t sitting right in front of you!

Your first act as a parent – after the conception, that is – is to give your child a name. This is not something to be taken lightly. Your child will carry this label for a lifetime. Even worse, he/she will carry it to middle school! However, it seems that some parents put very little thought into nomenclature. I have seen some bad baby names that should qualify as child abuse.

I’ve met Robin Hood, Holly Wood and Autumn Summers. I don’t know what their parents were thinking, but I do know that Robin legally changed his name as an adult. I can’t say that I blame him. It does make me wonder how much he endured before resorting to changing his name. And why do we make fun of a person’s name when clearly we should be making fun of his parents?

 

Let’s say that you loved your first car so much that you want to name your kid after that ’67 Chevy Nova. If your last name is Cain, you cannot name your child Nova! If your name is Dover, you cannot name your kids Ben and Eileen. I won’t even get into the list of life-ruining names that occur when one combines euphemistic first names like Harry and Peter with last names like Butts and Bush.

If I were allowed only one piece of advice to pass on to an expectant parent, it would be to take just a minute out of your life and say the kid’s name out loud. Listen carefully. Michael Amity and My Calamity sound the same. Don’t name your kid My Calamity.
Secondly, write down their initials. Make sure they don’t spell anything. Monogramming is very trendy right now, but not for the Amy Sue Smiths of the world.

All I’m saying is, love your kids enough to not saddle them with a lifetime of teasing, bullying and having to constantly explain “Yes, that’s my real name.” Not to mention having to deal with immature people who can’t help but laugh out loud every time they hear it.  Not that I know anyone like that.