Friday, September 30, 2016

Snowbird Season Official Opening

October 1st marks the official start of Snowbird Season and as such we have decided to put together a handy user guide for those of you new to this phenomenon. Please note that while October 1 is the beginning of the migration, the migration actually occurs during the months of October to January, with the final and last snowbirds  arriving by the start of January. Conversely, the return migration of snowbirds to areas north begins usually in April and the last stragglers are gone by Memorial Day.

October may start slowly, as it can still be somewhat warm, and so spottings can be rare. Do not get discouraged though as the bulk of birds are usually in place by November 1, making late October the best time to see snowbirds fresh from their natural habitat.

Snowbirds in general tend to be older, not starting their annual migrations until after their fledglings have left the nest, and are also usually covered in grey feathers, although there can be small variations.

When they first arrive snowbirds are fairly easy to distinguish from the native population. They are generally seen on surface streets and freeways and are easy to pick out as they are going at least 15 MPH slower than the posted speed limit. By February they have sped up somewhat and can be a bit harder to identify. If you find yourself having a hard time picking them out, here are some helpful things to be on the lookout for;

1) A dead giveaway is the "plumage" on the backs of the vehicles. Anything that says Michigan, Minnesota, or Iowa is a good determining factor. Also, anything related in any way to Canada (usually but not limited to British Columbia and Alberta) is a clear sign that you have spotted the International Snowbird. 

2) If you find this to be too difficult just try checking any small SUV manufactured by Lexus or Acura, as that is generally where they "nest."

3) Snowbirds tend to be fascinated with "nature" and can be identified by the slowing down to a crawl every time a saguaro cactus is passed.

Here are a few photos we have complied to help you--

Outside of roadways there are several locations where snowbirds can be regularly located and, if desired, photographed. The first and foremost location is a golf course or golf club. A large portion of the population of this location will be snowbirds, although they are harder to distinguish here since they tend to blend with the natives.

Next is the RV parks. These are made up solely of snowbirds, but they tend to be the less vibrant types. Lastly is the grocery store. You can find all types here, and again the Lexus or Acura in parking lot is a giveaway.

Finally, if you are still having trouble finding a snowbird in the wild after all this, or you are obsessed with finding the rarer International Snowbird, you can take a weekend getaway or long day trip for the devoted bird watcher. From Phoenix if you head weston I10 for 2 hours, you will be in Quartzsite, AZ, the winter nesting grounds of the Canadian RV Snowbird. This is a guaranteed way to get your fill of snowbirds before they head back north for the summer months.

Please remember that Snowbirds are a protected species here in Arizona, therefore and hunting or harassing of them is illegal. We hope this has been helpful!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Have An Addiction

Years ago, before kids, I smoked cigarettes. I smoked a lot of cigarettes. I smoked from the time I was 17 until I was 28. 11 years, if you are slow at the math. For the bulk of that time I smoked at least a pack a day. Drinking and nightclubs? Closer to 2 packs.

So I know a little something about addiction.

The planning of your route so that you can hit the quickie mart on the same side of the street as the way you are traveling to minimize your inconvenience. 

The going to the same places so often that the people there know you and what you want. 

The way you leave early so you have enough time to smoke or pick up cigarettes before you get where you are going.

The trouble deciding, when you are running late, if you risk being late to stop or sit outside and smoke?

The wondering when you are driving in an unfamiliar area if you should stop now, even though you don't need to, in case there is no where to smoke when you get where you are going.

And the confusion when you think of quitting. The questions of...well, what will I do if I don't have this? 

So, you will need to believe me when I tell you I have an addiction.

I am addicted to Starbucks.

I have photos of me and my Starbucks at Big Ben. Because I looked up the one 1 closest to my Air BnB when we went to London.

I have photos of me and my Starbucks at Disneyland (yes! they added Starbucks and I, for one, was beside myself with JOY!)

I know where they all are on the route to California we always drive and where they all are in Malibu.

There are several I go to around home where they know me. I have all the routes and ones with drive-thrus mapped in my area. I always leave home early so we can swing by. I drink one nearly every single day. Some days I go twice.

And for my birthday in August, my dealers gave me $225.00 in gift cards.

I may need an intervention soon!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hi Bob! For the First Presidential Debate

For those of you who are sad and pathetic didn't live through the 80's, you might not know what "Hi Bob" is. You could Google it, or check with Urban Dictionary, or just listen to me. I am going to change your life and it will be great I tell you. I know all the best games...but I digress. Hi Bob is a drinking game played to the old Bob Newhart show. When ever anyone said ....wait for it...."Hi Bob", you had to drink. Easy right? Even for an idiot like Trump a drunk!

So, for the first Presidential debate of this illustrious election season, I propose a drinking game! Just like in Hi Bob, you have to drink when certain things are said. We are going to switch it up a little and add different types of booze you are required to drink, and I do not suggest you drive after playing!


You will need approximately this much alcohol

Let's play "OH SHIT!"  (as in Oh Shit One Of These People Is Going To Be President!)

You must drink your alcoholic beverage of choice every time anyone says "As your President..." (this is guaranteed to get you plastered all on its own and by 1 hour in, you will be thanking me!)

You must toast with champagne whenever anyone mentions "tax returns." (it may be premature but we are toasting the demise of DT that will follow people finding that he doesn't have nearly as much money as he says he does.)

You must take a shot of Jaegermeister whenever anyone mentions "private email server" or Benghazi. (because BARF!)

You must chug a can of warm Budweiser at the first mention of 9/11. (because using a national tragedy for political gain should turn your stomach.)

You must drink a shot of Mezcal tequila every time Trump mentions "the Wall" and if he says "Mexico will pay for it" the last person to finish their shot also has to eat the worm at the bottom of the bottle.

Seriously, there is a worm. I have seen it.

You must drink a shot of vodka each time someone mentions "Putin" "Russia" or "hackers."

You must drink the alcoholic beverage of choice of the person to your right every time Trump talks over the moderator and won't stop when he is supposed to.

You must drink the alcoholic beverage of choice of the person to your left every time Trump calls someone a name.

If Trump wins you must drink all the alcoholic beverages in the house in hopes of getting alcohol poisoning and dropping into a coma so you don't have to live through end of the world.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Autocorrect Insanity

You autocorrect has gone crazy. It was always a little off, if you know what I mean. But I updated to whatever the new Mac OS is, Snow Elephant Everest or something, and it has gone into crazy overdrive.

Now, whenever I type something incorrectly (because my fingernails are too long and I am a lazy typist, not because I cant spell!) instead of underlining it and offering me something new, it just changes it to whatever it wants, no matter how bizarre and unused the word might be.

I'm not even sure some of this stuff is in English. 

Now all the people of the interwebs think I am a moron who cannot spell and cannot type. Or that I am some sort of weirdo who writes things like "I wish they taught duvet ed in school." Which should be drivers ed, FFS! Because if you need to be taught to use a duvet in school you have worse problems than I do. 

Whats even worse is that I am too lazy to text either, so I always use voice text and that thing is certifiably insane.

I'm pretty sure everyone who has crossed my path lately things I am some sort of blithering idiot! But I;m not! I swear!!  

It's just these evil electronics.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Teaching Teens To Drive

I'm on driver number 3 here and there are a few things that I have learned through these harrowing, near death experiences that seem to be universal. If you have never had the distinct pleasure of teaching a teenager how to drive, I will share them with you!

* They DO NOT understand the difference between where they are sitting and the middle of the car. I'm guessing this has something to do with bikes and scooters. Where ever they were was where the "vehicle" was. But in a car, they are on the left side. It's a subtle distinction, but when they try to treat themselves as the "center" and thus center the car in the lane, the passenger side (on which you are now seated!) is shoved off the side of the road. This also becomes a problem when trying to go around a parked car. They don't want to get themselves too far over to the left, so we are constantly almost side-swiping everyone!

* They either go really fast or really slow. They start slow but then when you tell them to speed up, they go too fast. It's like they don't understand 35 or 40 mph at all.

*  They stop for everything or they stop for nothing. Everything is better, even if it pisses off the people behind you (and it will.)

* Turning corners is harder than it looks. Or seems when you are doing it. It is, apparently, really freaking hard. 

* Trying to determine when to pull out if there is a car anywhere to be seen in either direction is an art form. You may worry that you will get t-boned before they master it, but no fear. You will just back up traffic all the way to Mexico waiting for the road to clear.

* Four way stops are bad. They never want to take their turn. You could grow old and gray waiting.

*  Looking over your shoulder to change lanes is HORRIFYING because they fear taking their eyes off what's in front of them. It's also horrifying for you as the passenger. If you are going to die, it will probably be here.

* They are afraid of all the other people on the road. Every single one of them. It makes for an interesting experience if you live in a big city and are trying to find a time to get them practice without terrifying them at the same time. Sunday mornings, early, are the best.

* Merging on the freeway is a fate worse than death. For everyone involved. This is where the student driver signs come in handy. Otherwise God knows what will become of you.

Thing 2 had her first lesson today. It is going to be a long 6 months.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

You Can't Go Home Again

Yesterday we were out all day, heading north to visit our hometown and my husbands family. As we drove through it reminded me of a conversation with my neighbor several years back. He was going home for his 20 year high school reunion and was explaining to me that there were 1200 people in his hometown when he was growing up. I asked him how many lived there now and he just looked at me and said "About 1200."

When I moved to my hometown as a kid there were something like 25 thousand people there. When I left there were around 40-45 thousand. Now? There are something like 100 thousand. So when I say I cant go home again, what I mean is my hometown is hard to find anymore. Some of the old things are still there, but for the most part businesses have changed hands, once busy areas of town are now dead as growth has occurred at the other end, things have been torn down and new things take their place. The roads have been widened and re-routed to accommodate traffic. It resembles my hometown in many ways, but it is also I town I don't necessarily know my way around anymore either.

My family left there years after I did, but The Hubs parent and brothers both still live there, so we get there often enough. But maybe it is the lack of anything tying me to that town that makes it seem like "somewhere else" instead of "home." Or maybe it is because every time I went there, for countless years, I would always see someone I knew every where I went. Now? I can go for days on end and run into no one I recognize.

Funny thing is that I don't really feel like the city I have been living in for the last 25 years is Home either. It is just where I happen to live. 

It's a strange feeling....being rootless. The Hubs and I talk about making our way to the Pacific Northwest some day. Maybe not feeling rooted will make that possible. Or maybe, once I leave here I will realize it really was home all along.

Friday, September 16, 2016


Once, when I was in a college class with a dear friend, a teacher that I hated (who obviously felt the same way about me) gave me an F+. It has been a running joke for the last 29 years.

So thing 2 came home from school and she was stomping around. I made the mistake of asking why.

You want to know what I am mad about today????

Not really but since I don't see a way out of this at this point I say Yes.

My math teacher!

Thing 2 is not a math person. It's a given, we just hope to get through it. So I ask "what happened?"

Today is the last day before progress reports come out!!!!!!!!!!

All the exclamation points are to emphasize to you how mad she is.  

And she won't round up my grade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She is really mad. Nothing good can come from this, but I ask anyway...."Round up to what?"

I HAVE A 59.48% AND IF SHE JUST GAVE ME THAT EXTRA .02% I WOULD HAVE A "D" INSTEAD OF AN "F" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Because a rounded up "D" is so much better? Jesus, Mary, and Joseph give me strength.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

I'm Writing This In My Pajamas

I am in my pajamas. Since it is almost 6 at night you might not think that is too odd, maybe just a little early, but whatever, right? What if I told you that I am STILL in my pajamas. Changes things, yes? The same pair I wore to bed last night. I haven't bothered to change out of them today.


Because the minute I do there will be no excuse not to leave the house. People will swarm around me like hyenas at a watering hole. "Let's go to the mall", "I want some Chik-Fil-A." blah blah blah. 

This is a selfie I took today because my jammies are totally 
this cute looking and also I have super cute slippers. And wear a scarf. 
And drink hot cocoa with lots of fun marshmallows in it. Even though 
it's 100 degrees outside.

You know what I want? A day where I don't have to leave the house.

Is that so much to ask? You would be surprised. There are things I like to leave the house for, say coffee with friends, and things I have to leave for like taking the someone to the dentist and going to store. And somehow these things seem to spread themselves out like jelly on toast, so that one of them occurs every single day.

Yesterday? Well, it was Wednesday, so that was grocery store day. And coffee with friends. Tuesday? Target, library and breakfast with Mom. Tomorrow? Dog to the vet, post office, Staples. Saturday? North to visit family. Sunday? Thing 2 wants to practice driving since she got her permit. 

See what I mean? A day where I don't have to leave the house is an unusual but much coveted thing. So, in order to help facilitate this I don't get dressed. It slows down any crazy ideas I have about running an errand really quickly. 

Also, I work from home, so I can sit here, in my jammies, and bill out thousands of dollars in invoices, write checks and send emails and seem super professional even though I am totally not.

Now, if I could just get a day where I could stay home all day and read a book instead of all this work, a weekday with no on else around, that would be the holy grail!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

9 and 1/2 Months

So, this happened today....

Thing 2 and I were walking past a dry cleaners and she notices the sign in the window...

T2- Look, wedding dress cleaning, half off!
Me- If I haven't had it cleaned in 24 years I am probably good
T2- Yeah, your dress just sits in the closet, you never take it out and look at it or anything
Me- I know what it looks like
T2- You should make a goal!

oh no......I know where this is going

T2- By the end of 2016---
Me- (interrupting) Which is very soon!
T2- Or by May 2017

yes, we are going to go there

T2- you should have the goal to fit in your wedding dress!


24 years is a long time. And I am the heaviest I have ever been, out side of pregnancy, but I'm closing in on that too.

She isn't wrong. I am overweight. By a significant number. I have managed to avoid any health related complications from it so far, but my luck won't hold out forever. Of course, I don't think it is a reasonable or practical goal to get back into that damn dress either.

But maybe up over my thighs? That should be do-able.

And so it more time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Who Are The People In Your Neighborhood...

Have you guys heard of this app called Next Door? It's an app that has a running stream of what is going on in your neighborhood. I first heard of it maybe a year ago. You have to jump through a few hoops to get it simply so they can verify you actually live where you say you do, but after that, you are in.

You can find or post about lost pets, or sell things if you need to, and basically keep up with the "news" of the area.

Turns out there are way more paranoid, crazy and nasty people around than I thought.

I know all about internet trolls, but I figured with the vast number of people all over the world using the internet, trolls were inevitable, but they didn't represent large numbers of people. Just the same small, pathetic ones over and over again. 

I am currently rethinking that philosophy.

This is the logo. If you see it, RUN AWAY!

People who live right around the corner somewhere, that I shop with at the grocery store and that I dine with at the local coffee shop, are trolls! And super asshole ones to boot! I could have happily lived my life without knowing any of this.  And the ones that aren't super-sized assholes? Wow, what a paranoid lot. I guess the assholes have gotten them all on edge or something because they are convinced that every car driving down every street is a robber or crack head looking to invade their home. I'm not saying it can't happen, but seriously? Every day someone is sure they just foiled a cat burglar or warded off a home invasion by "checking" the suspicious almost offender. And then a zillion others chime in saying they have seen a similar car/robber lurking around looking creepy and they just knew he was up to no good! And then we are all supposed to call the police every single time to get them patrolling our area more and keeping us safe. Seriously, to read this shit you would think we lived in south central LA or something.

I really liked the idea of keeping up on new restaurants opening or old ones closing but that always, always, always brings out the endless complainers. "They closed because the food was terrible/service was bad...blah blah blah" Or even better they start complaining about the ones not even open yet. "I hope they have better food than the last place" or "They better redecorate or no one will go there." Enough already.

Then there are the animal people. We live near the mountain preserve and yet everyone is always freaking out when they spot a coyote or owls or something. Can't we all just realize they live here and assume they are around all the time? Do we need to have postings every 15 minutes about it? Besides, coyotes don't just stand there so by the time you have posted, they have moved on.

One of the last reasons I have it is for the missing dogs. In case mine ever go missing and so I can keep an eye out for other peoples missing dogs. But I have discovered something very strange. I think the "animal people" of the neighborhood are stealing dogs. I know, sounds crazy, but its the same post every day...."I found this lost/stray dog and I was wondering if anyone could take it in and foster it? He's super sweet and I would but I already have 72 foster dogs!"  How the hell is it that only the dog rescue people ever find all these dogs? I would happily rescue some lost dog and get it back to it's owner, but I have seen probably 2 in the 16 years I have lived here. Where are they finding these "lost" dogs every day? Are they driving around looking for them and wouldn't that then make them the "creepy car people" that the paranoid people think are coming to rob them? 

WTF people? I liked it better when I had no idea how weird they all were. Now I'm thinking I need to dump the app and move somewhere else so I can happily pretend that my neighbors aren't a bunch of lunatics.

Monday, September 12, 2016

You Might Be Deplorable If....

Recently Hillary Clinton made a statement about some Trump followers being "deplorable." For those of you who only watch Fox News, the actual statement was-

 "You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump's supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic -- you name it. And unfortunately there are people like that. And he has lifted them up. He has given voice to their websites that used to only have 11,000 people -- now 11 million. He tweets and retweets their offensive hateful mean-spirited rhetoric. Now, some of those folks -- they are irredeemable, but thankfully they are not America."

It appears that people are horrified by this remark. But really, if you think about it, Trump polls at 44%. There were roughly 130 million voters in the 2012 election. When you break it down, thats only 57 million Trump supporters and if only half of them are "deplorable" then we are only talking 28 million people. Hardly the vast majority of Americans.

Shit the math. It is only 8.5% of Americans she is referring to. I think it is pretty easy to take a long, hard look around you at any given moment and determine that 8.5% of people are deplorable. In my home of six, 8.5% is half a person. There is never a moment when at least one whole person is not deplorable around here! I'm guessing the actual number  of deplorables is much higher, but let's just go with it. However, it appears that other people are stunned to learn this and are unsure if this includes them or not, so I have channeled my best Jeff Foxworthy imitation and I am going to try to clarify for you......

You might be deplorable if you wear your extra white bedsheets as hoods on date night.

You might be deplorable if you think Vladimir Putin is an awesome leader and all around great guy.

You might be deplorable if you logged onto to offer Malia Obama a birthday greeting that in any way mentioned Africa.

You might be deplorable if you believe that denying someone a wedding cake because you think they are "yucky" is a Biblical right guaranteed by the Constitution. 

You might be deplorable if you think transgendered people want to use the women's bathroom to rape your daughters but don't care when white college athletes actually rape your daughters.

You might be deplorable if you don't care that unarmed black men and teens are being shot in the streets by cops, but you are pissed that Colin Kapernick does.

You might be deplorable if you spray yourself orange but want to build a wall to keep out people who are brown.

You might be deplorable if you claim to love the Constitution but want to shred the First Amendment.

You might be deplorable if you have ever said anything to or about Jewish people that involved screaming about ovens.

You might be deplorable if you think all 3 million Muslims in American should be "registered" because they scare you.

You might be deplorable if you think that not being able to use words like nigger, beaner, faggot and kike is just political correctness run amok, but using the word deplorable is off limits.

You might be deplorable if you think people are good, but white people are better.

You might be deplorable if you refer to women as bimbos and a "nice piece of ass" but think breast feeding is disgusting.

You might be deplorable if when someone factually disagrees with you, your response is to call them a laundry list of derogatory names and suggest they be shot, bombed or hanged.

You might be deplorable if you claim to support the troops of the United States and then berate prisoners of war and Gold Star families.

You might be deplorable if you mock disabled people or think it is funny when other people do.

You might be deplorable if the words sieg heil have ever crossed your lips.

You might be deplorable if you actually believe the biggest threat to your third marriage is gay people. 

You might be deplorable if you love and support your LGBT friends and family but vote for anti-gay politicians who want to destroy them.

Really, I could go on all day here. So check yourself, I think the basket is getting pretty full.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

30 Days Is A Long Time

I am having a hard time keeping up with the 30 days of blog posts all of a sudden. Well, I suppose it's not all of a sudden, it's the logical progression. I knew the challenge was coming ahead of time, so I had several ideas that were bouncing around in my head. I also had a couple posts that were works in progress to fill in the gaps, so it was easy to keep up in the beginning. Then, as I worked through those, I came to the part where I need to have new ideas, they need to fit in with the time frame of other events and I need to try to get back out in front. 

All things that I suck at because I am a procrastinator. 

So, here we are, but I am determined not to give up! So, do I just spend the next 19 days filling ym blog up with some stream of consciousness crap? Sweet Jesus I hope not. I need a nice chunk of time to get some pieces going that I can them form into whole pieces as we go along.

So instead I spent the weekend planning a trip to Cabo San Lucas for me and the Hubs.

See how this works with me. It's not that I have some adult ADD going on at all. Or that I don;t realize what I have to do, because I am perfectly well aware. Im just a lazy procrastinator, which is a deadly combination.

So here is my promise to more "running thoughts" or "journaling" crap. I hate journaling anyway. I will get my act together and take this challenge a little more seriously. 

And then on October 1st, I will have a big bottle glass of wine to congratulate myself! And you can have one to congratulate me too!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Age vs. Genetics

So, here's a little story going back 5 years. 

Bonus Daughter was in her first year after high school, 18 or 19, and she went through a "phase" of locking her keys in her car. All the time. It was happening on such a regular basis that The Hubs decided he was going to remedy this situation, or at least our involvement in this situation, by purchasing her one of those metal magnetic boxes that you can stash an extra key in and hide under your car. 

We felt very clever with our low tech solution. Until shortly thereafter she called for us to run her our extra key. Again. The Hubs reminded her that there was on in the box and she said she knew that, but the problem was she had locked her keys in the day before, used the metal box and now both sets were locked in her car because she hadn't gotten around to putting it back.

You remember these right? Everyone had one.

At that point we were amazed to find that someone could lock TWO sets of keys in their car just days apart. Stunned is a better word. We thought it was really just unheard of.

Fast forward 5 years. Thing 1 was 18 this past Wednesday, 19 this past Friday. First year out of high school.

Wednesday it was his first day of math class and the calls me to tell me he is going to be late because he has locked his keys in his car at the gas station and should he still go to class? Uhhh....YEAH, dude, you should.

Then Friday morning at 8 a.m. he calls to ask if I can bring him the extra key because he has locked his keys in his car again, a mere 2 days later. I take him the key and when I hand it over to him I tell him to take it and get a copy made. And then this happens......

Him--I don't need a copy, this is the extra one.

Me-- I know, but you need another extra.

Him--I already have one.

Me--I know, but you need another so you can put one in a metal magnetic box and have it with you

Him--I already have one.

Me--What do you mean? Where is it?

Him--It's locked in the car.

Me--You have TWO keys locked in the car?



Friday, September 9, 2016

A Historical Event

Today is September 9th and so naturally I have started thinking about September 11th again. Thing 2 came home from school telling me about how they were learning about it in her classes today and I cannot get past the fact that something that is, for me, so visceral, so real, and seemingly so recent is, to them, a historical event. 

Thing 1 was 4 years old by a mere 3 days and Thing 2 was 6 months old. They have zero recollection of it, as they shouldn't given those ages. But me? I can cry just typing these words. It was so horrible, so destructive. And it changed everything.

I feel sad that they will never live in the America I knew Before.

An America where you could run through the airport at the last minute and make your flight. No x-rays, no scans. Where you could meet friends having a layover for drinks, or just go and watch planes land and take off. Now the airport, the symbol of modern transportation at it's finest, is just a major pain in the ass. There is no joy in air travel anymore. 

An America where there isn't a scroll running across the bottom of your screen constantly, trying to divide your attention between what you are watching and whatever they feel like tacking on to the bottom. It was used for important things before. The Kardashians are not important.

An America that wasn't filled with hate and fear. 

There are loads of other places that experienced terrorist attacks before we did, but until it happened to us, on a massive scale, we were happily living in our little bubble of denial. 

And afterwards it seems that our biggest, most permanent take-away was "Be afraid. Be very afraid."

Politicians don't invoke 9/11 because they feel like making the world a better place. They do it to make everyone afraid. We haven't had an attack of anything approaching that magnitude since, but a very important lesson was learned by the powers that be in America. 

Fear motivates.  In ways only previously dreamed about.

So we have been told to remain in a constant state of fear for the last 15 years. Fear of "others." Fear of "different." Fear of "them" even if we aren't sure who "they" are. Fear of mushroom clouds and dirty bombs and a world filled with 1.5 billion Muslims. 

Turns out that at the 1 year anniversary of 9/11 I had somewhere to be, so I flew. Then in 2003 The Hubs and I left the kids and went to London. Our visit coincided with the anti-war marches that millions took part in around the world. As we flew in Heathrow, the British troops arrived because there had been a threat to shoot an incoming plane, and then mid-trip, Colin Powell appeared in American TV to tell all Americans to purchase plastic and duct tape, "just in case" they need to make a safe room. We went back this past fall, just days after the Paris attacks. 

I don't want my kids to live always feeling like they need to be afraid. Therefore, I will not be afraid and I will not model fear for them. And if I die in a terrorist attack, that will certainly suck, but it will also suck to live my life afraid and tucked away inside my house waiting for some horror that never comes.

I will not use 9/11 as a tool to scare people, to demand some sort of political alliance out of anyone, or for, GOD FORBID, the inevitable "white sale" and BBQ excuse it will be reduced to in another 15 years.

I will honor those who did not get the chance to live a full and happy life that day by living a full and happy life, free from fear.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

19 and 76

Today is Thing 1's 19th birthday. It is my Mom's 76th birthday ( didn't hear that from me.) We had gifts, cake and a family birthday dinner, like usual. What we didn't have is some planned party full of friends and bounce houses. No themes. No silly invites. No party bags. No balloons. 

While I can emphatically state all of that was a logistical pain in the ass, I do miss a large gathering of people here to celebrate my people. Adult birthdays have a decidedly anti-climactic feel to them.

Celebrating in 2005. DO NOT TELL MY MOTHER THERE
IS A PICTURE OF HER ON THE INTERNET. (ps--also, I don't miss 
Chuck E. Cheese's)

I think that as I am seeing the definitive end to so many years long traditions I am feeling nostalgic for days gone by. 

So, while I have no wish to make 25 party bags full of whatever cheap garbage I could gather from Oriental Trading, I still miss the gathering. The joyfulness of people wishing blessings on my children, the excitement of their little friends at the idea of a party. The love of cake. The anticipatory thrill they had of the impending festivities.

Those were good days indeed.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Random, Regular Wednesday

As you are probably aware by now, I signed up in a group that encourages us to do a blog post a day for a month. For the month of September to be precise. Which is fine at the beginning. I have things in process, some ideas for posts that I could work through and all that. Then comes some random Wednesday. A day when I am really busy with both my jobs, when I already feel behind at work because we were off on Monday. And all of a sudden it is 7:10 p.m., I'm tired and I'm looking down the barrel at being a failure 7 days in, which I really don't want to do!

But I really don't have anything clever or witty, or sad or heavy or anything on my mind. So, in place of anything entertaining, here are random thoughts about my very average Wednesday. At the least it will make you feel better about your days when you realize my are just as sucky.

I woke up at 6 a.m. The alarm isn't set until 6:30 a.m., so why the hell did that happen? It's God's way of letting my know that shit's going to suck this day.

It's old people day at the grocery store. I am busy today so we go early. Know who else wakes up at 6 a.m. and goes to the grocery store early? ALL THE OLD PEOPLE. The place was packed. And for some reason, I am the "old people ambassador" today. I guess they think I'm old enough to know things and young enough to be helpful. Here is what I learned on their behalf--I now know where the Musselman's Applesauce is, but unfortunately my store doesn't carry them in single serve sizes. I know where the DiGiorno (sp?) Three Meat pizzas are also. And I know that my store sells pimentos in tiny little glass jars on the canned vegetable aisle. My mother suggested I get a job there wandering the stores on Wednesday's helping out the elderly.

Thing 1 had his first day of math class at college today. Class was at 12 p.m. He got up at 11:30 a.m. and had to stop for gas, where he proceeded to lock his keys in his car. He wanted to know if I thought he should still go to class anyway. Um....YES.

Thing 2 had a make-up math test from when she was sick Friday that she decided to blow off. Now she has a 0, which makes her grade so far an F. Fun times.

I had an evening meeting which I had to set up and the lights in the room didn't work, so we hurried and got done just before dark. I was in charge of taking the minutes and I couldn't get the printer to print them, so I saved them in some weird folder on the Presidents computer, in all likelihood  to never be found again.

I had to deal with some really rich, really stupid people today and I do not understand that at all. I understand really rich. I understand really stupid. But how do really stupid people become really rich? It seems ridiculously unfair.

I made Thing 1's favorite crock pot dinner today and he bailed for pizza and video games at a friends. Everyone else was less than thrilled with the selection.

I had to take the dogs to the groomers (who raised their prices) and while that usually means a nice quiet day without their incessant barking, they were finished right away and home by noon.

I still have a ton of work to do for the week and it is essentially Thursday already.

Thing 1 and my Mom's birthdays are tomorrow and I am unprepared. Totally. I have gifts, but that's it. Not even cards, no cake or anything. I don't know what they want for birthday dinner. I suck.

I had Starbucks twice today which is two times too much money and two times too many calories.

On the up side---It rained.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

I Drank The Kool-Aid

You guys.....I did it. I drank the Kool-Aid. I really never thought it would happen to me, but it did. Before I really knew what was happening, I downloaded Pokemon Go.

Oh! The horror!

Here's my excuse how it happened. The girls have had this thing since day 1. They are forever collecting these silly Pokemon. Ok, whatever. For some reason, Thing 1 decided not to participate. Odd really, since he is the video game king, but again, whatever.

I have a dear friend who also has it. Why???? I asked. Because, she said, my teenagers play it and it is something we can talk about and do together. Still, I say WHATEVER.

Then, Monday, the spawn decide they will go to lunch and spend the afternoon with The Hubs and I. Why? I suppose because there was mention of getting new shoes. And in the midst of the lunch Thing 1 decides he is going to download this game and become a Pokemon Go person. 


So I hold fast to my WHATEVER, but I feel it weakening.

Then, they say to me....."Come on Mom, download it and we can go Pokemon hunting together!"

And all of a sudden I remember.

Come On Mom--

Push me on the swing
Take me to the park
Let's go swimming
Read me a story
Let's play a game
Hold my hand
Come with me
Let's make cookies

We walked 3 miles, hatched eggs, went to poke stops, took over a gym and caught all manner of Pokemon from lunch until after dark.
I drank the Kool-Aid.  And it was delicious.

Monday, September 5, 2016

What It's Like In The Inner Ring Of Hell

I live in the inner ring of hell. Or Phoenix, they are really the same thing. How do I know? Well, I haven't been to hell (yet) to verify, but it is September and Starbucks, Dunkin' and the stores are all spewing pumpkin spice crap everywhere like a drunk frat boy and it's 106 degrees outside. And it shows no signs of slowing down. So why do I live here? Why do any of the  4.5 million people around me live here? There are reasons. They may not be good ones, but there are reasons. There are the regular reason, job, school, family, etc., and then there are people who actually like it here in the summer. Yes, there really are. 

There are also some super fun facts that go with living in one of the hottest places on Earth that those of you in Minnesota may not be aware of.

1. Summer lasts for 5 and 1/2 months. For the other 5 and 1/2 we have "winter" which is really 2 short seasons that anywhere else pass for Spring and Fall.

2. In summer we have no such thing as cold tap water. The ground is so hot that the water is already luke warm when you turn on the faucet. This cuts down on face washing and shower times considerably.

3. I have seen people driving their cars wearing oven mitts and I consider than to not only be sane but wildly smart! You can get third degree burns from your door handles, your steering wheel and ESPECIALLY from the metal buckle on your seat belt.

See? It's so real someone made a meme out of it!

4. There are several automotive phenomenon that go along with the weather including Car-B-Q's, where cars catch fire, blown tires which littler the sides of the highways all summer and dead batteries. No battery makes it through it's warranty period, no matter how good. I have replaced my battery 3 times in 4 years and it's always free.

5. I don' know where all the working people go, but magically in the dead of summer the freeways are always clear. 

6. Yes, those dust storms (haboobs) are real and they look just like they do on TV. They are fairly slow moving though so you can always see them coming a long way away. No, it doesn't leave a layer of sand on everything. Just some dust.

7. It can be raining 1 mile from your house and never rain at your house.  They rain can come pouring down for 15 minutes and stop. We get a lot of our rain in the summer but it's completely random and sometimes only comes from one cloud that roams around a small area. Additionally we have summer things called "microbursts" which are like teen, tiny hurricanes that hit one small area very briefly, but rip out power lines and tear up 30 year old trees by the roots when they do.

8. Major real estate decisions are made based on which way your house faces.

So, is it worth it? Could 4.5 million people be wrong? Depends. Ask me in July and you will get a totally different answer than if you ask me in January.