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Charlottesville, VA, the town that I live right outside of and work in, has become somewhat of a racial hot bed in the past few months. You see, we have a few confederate statues in town, and like they did in New Orleans, Charlottesville is having them removed.

Not only are they removing the statues, but they have renamed both parks, which were named after confederate generals. However, the new names they picked really suck. I doubt they’ll stick.

In any case, we had one white supremacist rally last month led by white nationalist Richard Spencer. They showed up burning tiki torches – it was a pretty fucked up thing to happen in our little artsy fartsy fairly liberal college town. The photo below was taken one block from my office…from where I sit now writing this…and it’s a pretty daunting sight. However, because they were burning tiki torches, one spectator said, “the air was heavy with both hatred and citronella.”

http---o.aolcdn.com-hss-storage-midas-81e85007b128e965a97fb7cb321d4def-205265721-Screen+Shot+2017-05-14+at+10.21.14+AM.pngThe following night,  hundreds of Charlottesvillians took back the park in a peaceful candlelit protest. It made me super proud of our community. We don’t take kindly to this hate stuff.  Had I known the counter rally was going on, my girls and I would have been there with candles ablaze.

C_1HJnOXoAE3uMv.jpg-largeSo it turns out the KKK wants to jump on the bandwagon. They have a protest scheduled in the same park on July 8th. My paper, C-VILLE Weekly is running an article on it this week. You know, I sit a few desks in front of the reporter who did the research for the article. It was very interesting to listen to her interview actual KKK members via telephone. It sure beat what was on the radio.

To quote the article (which doesn’t come out until tomorrow or I’d post a link), the reason the KKK is coming to Charlottesville? “We think it’s a shame they’re erasing our Confederate history, our white history,” says Jones. “It’s a spit in our face to take down our monument.”

There are several counter protests scheduled at the same time, and I was bummed I couldn’t be a part of it. See, that very day we were to spend the day in New York City on our way back from Martha’s Vineyard. But it turns out one of the counter protests is happening at the outdoor pavilion my husband works at, so we decided NYC can wait…we want to be a part of what could be historic happenings in our hometown. We want to be among those who stand up and say, “This is not what Charlottesville stands for.”

It’s sure to get National coverage….how often does the KKK raise its ugly head and come out from under the rock to stand up for its twisted beliefs? But I will be careful – my whole family will. To further quote the article…

 “Some members will be wearing robes,” he says, noting that it’s illegal in most states to wear the face-covering hoods. Others will wear black military garb. And many will be packing heat, he says.

And sadly, this protest on July 8th won’t be the end of white supremacist assholes flooding our fair city. There is another rally scheduled for August. Richard Spencer and his Alt-Right cronies are slithering into town with what will likely be hundreds of people to further rally against the removal of these statues.

Uff da…the bars and stars will be all over the place. That alone will make me crazy. But seeing actual robes? Not sure how that is going to make me feel at all.

Stay tuned.

 

timing

The other day my girls and I stopped at a local kebab shop for dinner. The place was empty, and we got our food rather quickly. While we ate, people began to pour in, and throughout the rest of our meal, there was a long line to both order and receive food.

It was a case of good timing.

I began to ponder the idea of timing the other day when I came very close to missing my annual mammogram appointment. A co-worker had asked me a question which prompted me to look at my iCalendar, and that was when I realized that the next morning at 7:30 am I had my mammogram scheduled.

Had she not asked me that question, I most likely would have been out on my morning walk the next day at 7:30 rather than getting my boob flattened between two glass plates.  And had I missed it, God knows when I would’ve realized I missed it, and even further, how long it would’ve taken me to make a new appointment.

I’m no stranger to this oddity of timing…stuff like that has happened to me before.

I wouldn’t have the job I have now were it not for freaky timing. At the time I was transitioning from one job to another, working both simultaneously. I had no reason whatsoever to look on Craigslist – I already had more jobs than the average Joe. But something, I don’t know what, told me to look.

And there was my job. I had worked for the company before, and emailed the publisher asking if I could talk to her about the job. A week later I was hired, and my life improved 1,000%.

And I still think back to a month or so ago when my girls and I were almost crushed by a falling tree while driving home. Had a truck not stopped traffic for a moment in order to make a U-turn, we might have been under that tree.

What causes those quirky little instances? Is there meaning behind them? Some sort of Divine intervention or a nudge from a guardian angel? Or is it just the oddity of timing?

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It is no secret that I deeply despise the person most of you call President. That being said, when I heard about the March for Truth in Washington DC on Twitter a few months back, I decided I wanted to go.

My girls were all for it, more for the trip to DC than to stand up against our crooked disaster in chief. Hubby? He wasn’t thrilled. For the weeks leading up to the date of the protest, he tried to get me to attend ones closer to home…in Richmond or in Charlottesville, where we both work.

But there was something in me that felt the need to stand in the shadow of the White House and send a giant “Fuck You” to trump. It’s not as if we are that far from the Nation’s Capitol…just a few hours through the Virginia Countryside and then *gulp* up I-95. We can make the trip there and back in one day.

We decided to avoid the hassle of parking in the city, and opted to take the Metro train in from one of the commuter stations. This proved to be a big mistake. You see, both my husband and suffer from motion sickness, and this Metro train to DC was in by no means a smooth ride.

The train lurched and leaned and bobbed and weaved, it stopped and started and sped and slowed. It was a 45 minute ride from hell, where I had to sit with a cold water bottle pressed up against my neck or cheek or forehead, depending on how hard I was trying to keep my breakfast down.

When we finally arrived at the Smithsonian station I was so thankful, but fully aware of the fact that I still had to make that same trip back later in the day. But like Scarlett O’Hara says, “I won’t think about that today…I’ll think about that tomorrow” and we headed for the Washington Monument.

It was a beautiful day…blue skies, sunny, warm, but with enough of a breeze to make it bearable. The rally wasn’t to start for an hour or so, and we took that time to get closer to the white house, where I flipped trump the bird, followed by a trip to a food truck where my girls each ate a hot dog.

As the time for the rally to begin drew closer, more and people started to show up and gather in front of the stage, most with signs, flags and t-shirts. We had nothing. I didn’t want to have to carry a sign on the Metro train, possibly inviting trouble from a trumpling. All I had was “covfefe” printed on the back of my sing bag in black Sharpie. In the end I was sorry I didn’t have a sign.

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It was quite an experience…chanting, cheering, and booing with other Americans who are also disgraced by what is going on in our country…the lies, the evasion, the idiotic tweeting by the man child in charge, and all with the White House in clear view.

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After several speeches, the crowd moved to a spot on the grass right next to the Washington Monument, and formed our bodies to spell “Investigate trump.” My family and I make up the bottom part of the “R” in trump. Groups of photographers were raised up in a scissor lift to try and capture the image.

Unfortunately it wasn’t high enough…the letters are hard to make out. Oh well…the sentiment is there.

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After the rally we scarfed down a food truck lunch and poked around the Air & Space museum. But before long, hubby and my dogs were beginning to bark and we still had the long ride on the Metro to endure before we got to our car.

This Metro ride was far worse. There was a pack of very loud kids on the same car as us for most of the ride….the noise coupled with the sickening movements of the train were enough to swear me off the Metro forever.

I may head back up to DC for more rallies and marches in the future. Even though the event was on the small side, it felt good to feel like I was part of an attempt to speak out against all the crap being fed to us by this crooked administration. I was part of a group of like-minded folks who aren’t going to take trump’s bullshit lying down.

I just know that if I do head back…I’m driving all the way in. The Metro can go blow long and hard.

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For my youngest, this is her last week of school before the school breaks for summer. This morning, she turned to me and said, “Momma, it’s my LAST week of school. I just realized I have the whole summer ahead of me.”

And you know what, she’s right. What a delicious time of year that was when you were a kid…those last few days of school before the start of summer vacation. Where you did next to nothing in class other than watch movies and talk with friends. Recess would be 2 hours long.

The summer seemed almost endless. Long days spent at the pool, riding my bike up to the corner store to buy candy or ice cream, afternoons filled with bottles of diet Pepsi and bags of Doritos while watching Match Game.

And then, vacation would come. Like real vacation – packing up the family and heading to Martha’s Vineyard for 2-3 weeks of gloriously good times. We never went to the Jersey Shore growing up. My dad hated it. I don’t think I had ever been to the Jersey shore until I was in college. Who needed it when you could romp in the surf of South Beach.

Every aspect of our trips to the Vineyard were magical. We would always have an early ferry, so we would leave our house in the middle of the night. I remember as a child going to bed that night in giddy anticipation of being woken up at 1 or 2 am, piling into the back of our station wagon fixed up with pillows and blankets, and heading north towards Cape Cod.

Dad would usually stop at the Howard Johnsons at the Mystic Seaport exit, where we would get muffins and hot chocolate. And those next few hours in the car were blissful…the cool night air and the anticipation of the ferry ride that began the official start to vacation.

We are heading up there again this year to spread my father’s ashes. It’s really where he belongs. While this trip will be the highlight of our summer, I’m hoping there are many other trips that my daughters will cherish over the course of those short summer months.

Things like visits to Kings Dominion, hiking and swimming at Blue Hole, and a trip to DC to take part in the Truth March. Yeah, I think the summer of 2017 might turn out okay.

Oh wait…I still have to buy a bathing suit. Groan.

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I had to stay in town last night. My youngest had a doctor’s appointment, and my oldest was working the will call booth for the Def Leppard concert at the John Paul Jones Arena.

So, younger daughter and I poked about town and then went to a movie, trying to kill time before oldest daughter’s shift was over. She was hungry, so we stopped by Mickey D’s for a few dollar menu items for her and her dad, who had called and said he was hungry as well.

Upon heading home, we were traveling up a narrow, winding portion of Route 53 that passes both Historic Michie Tavern, and Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson. The land on either side of the road between both of these attractions has a steep slope, with many large, old that fight to keep their purchase in the Virginia clay year after year.

That night there was a strange thing in the sky…most likely a drone, with flashing red & green lights, and we were sort of fixated on it. As my girls were commenting on it, and I was grumbling about having to keep my eyes on the road, I heard a very loud crash, and exclaimed to my daughters “What the f#ck was that?”

Seconds later my headlights fixed upon the scene above. A very large tree completely blocking the highway.

We stopped, and sat dumfounded for a minute or two. Then a small commercial truck lumbered up behind me, his headlights fairly blinding me, and so close that I found it hard to try and turn around.

A man in a tuxedo walked up to the tree and began taking photos. He asked if we were okay, and I asked him if he got hit. His car was the last one to make it past the fallen tree from the other direction, and he said, “Yeah, we got hit.”

I did an Austin Powers 15 point turn…this road is very narrow, and even with my small Kia, I wasn’t taking any chances. Once turned around, I stopped behind the tuxedo clad man’s car and got out to look.

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The entire back of his car was squashed…the tree had caught the very rear of his car. Talk about lucky…this guy and his wife/girlfriend/date literally escaped death by split seconds.

And then I realized…my girls and I had been pretty lucky as well. You see, leading up to this incident, there were several things that slowed us up, perhaps keeping us from meeting our demise, or bad injury resulting in our car being under that fallen tree.

  1. Stopping at McDonalds. Our total was 7.06 and it took me a ridiculous amount of time to fish out the 6 cents from my wallet.
  2. Red Lights. We hit no less than 4 on the way to my husband’s work.
  3. Hubby himself. He was slow to meet us to grab his burger, and some time talking to the girls about their night while I was like, “come on, let’s go!”

But all that was nothing compared to the last delay. Because I am sure that had this not happened, I’d be blogging from a hospital bed, or not at all, ever.

As we were approaching Michie Tavern, there was a medium sized commercial truck trying to make a U-Turn. This caused the car in front of me to stop, and for me to have to hurriedly stop as well. The car in front of me slid past the truck, and after making sure it would be safe, I crept by too.

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The next thing I know, less than a quarter mile up the road, a mere 45 seconds later, there is a tree blocking my path… the car in front of me was the last car to make it past before it fell. That’s how close we were to getting crushed. I’m fairly certain if that truck hadn’t been trying to make a U-Turn, thus slowing us up for just a moment, my girls and I may have been in a much different situation today.

The cause? We had some torrential rain that morning, which most likely caused some serious erosion. I guess that old tree just couldn’t hang on anymore.

It’s sobering. I remember looking at the fallen tree, seeing cars stopped on the other side, and thinking like that tree separated two worlds. Quite frankly, I’m amazed that nobody was hurt. I mean, tuxedo dude has some serious car damage, but that’s peanuts compared to personal injury.

Yeah, I’m feeling pretty lucky, and pretty glad to be alive today.

 

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This week I decided to kick my nonexistent diet and work out regime into high gear. Vacation in July will be here before I know it, and I had trouble buttoning my favorite summer shorts this past weekend.

So I am doing an experiment this week. I am sticking to a 1400 calorie a day diet, and working out 3 times per day. Not per week….per day.

A few weeks back I hooked up our old VCR to an equally old TV in our garage and made a little gym area. I have a zillion VCR tapes filled with movies, MTV videos and TV shows, and I thought it would make a session on the treadmill easier to bear. We threw a few old carpets so we could do some of my old aerobic tapes as well.

So, my routine this week has been a half hour on the treadmill (1.25 miles) while watching a movie, a long 2+ mile walk during my lunch, and a short, 20 minute aerobic/weights workout after dinner.

Last night I decided to pop my old Jane Fonda’s Step Workout video into the VCR. I have the whole kit shown in the photo above. I bought it in the 90s, and subsequently have done it hundreds of times.  I have it pretty much memorized. But I got a rude awakening last night.

I could barely make it through the starter song…the easy one that you pretty much get warmed up to. I did my 20 minutes worth, but I couldn’t do all the moves…there were times I had to either march in place or do moves that were less “intense” than the already lame/easy moves in the video.

Holy crap. I used to do this video with one hand tied.

So what’s a 52 year old gal to do when she can’t keep up with a Jane Fonda tape? I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not switching to Sweatin’ to the Oldies. I’m determined to master that tape once again.

And I’m curious to see what kind of results I get by week’s end. I’ll keep you posted.

 

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The place where I get my hair cut will trim your bangs for free. It’s a bonus for me because I tend to take the shears to my own forehead and the result isn’t always great. I don’t walk away looking like Hannah Horvath after her manic trim on Girls, but they never lay quite right.

I wind up with a sweeping, feathery bang like the bully in the Karate Kid.

So when I noticed my bangs were getting a wee bit bushy I used great restraint in reaching for the scissors and waited until the salon was open so I could get a sensible and professional trim.

I told the stylist I wanted them trimmed to eyebrow level. I took my glasses off and let her do her thing. When she was done, I put my glasses back on, saw bangs that were at least a third of an inch ABOVE my eyebrows, gave them a shake and said “great!”

I look like a 4th grader. I felt like everyone was staring at me as I walked back to my office. I felt every co-workers eyes on me as I strolled to my desk. My kids made fun of me when I got home.

I know the shape of the bangs are great…they are just too short.

So time heals all wounds. On the plus side in two weeks or so I’ll have some seriously rockin’ bangs.

resist

It’s no secret that I hate Donald trump. I am patiently waiting for his impeachment, but I am guessing a major White House probe takes some time. So, in the meantime, here are a few things  I do to make me feel a wee bit better until trump is shown the back door to the White House, preferably in cuffs.

I refuse, flat out refuse to refer to him using the “P” word, other than to hashtag #NeverMyPresident. I’ll call him the Disaster in Chief, but never by the “P” word. He’s not worthy of it.

I have decided I will not use a capital letter in his name. He is not a proper person, so he is not entitled to a capital letter on his name. It’s silly, but I simply love doing it.

I refuse to fly the American flag. My husband was able to procure a few very large American flags from when he worked at a major entertainment venue. For years on national holidays we would drape one or more of these flags off our front deck.

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No comments about how it’s touching the ground. Hubby fixed it after he saw the photo.

But I refuse to do this while trump is still in office. I feel so unpatriotic about how things are going in Washington that I feel like flying this flag that I love would by hypocritical.

Ditto on singing the National Anthem. Thank goodness I never have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance because I don’t know if I could get through that one either.

Most days I pass a chalkboard wall near my office called the Freedom of Speech wall. And each time, if there is chalk and available space, I write #RESIST and “trump lies.”

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Many who see me writing it smile and nod once I’m done. So far I’ve never had anyone yell at me for it, but I see it erased or altered a lot. No biggie.

For a while some asshole was writing “THANKS ICE” on the wall. He’s entitled to his opinion, but not a day went by where it didn’t wind up saying “THANKS ICE CREAM” or “THANKS RICE” or “THANKS LICE” compliments of yours truly.

These are small, insignificant acts. My constant Twittering against trump, my Ides of trump postcards I mailed out, and the various other tactics I used to show my disrespect and displeasure towards the douchebag in the White House may be silly, but they make me feel so much better.

I may be petulantly persisting, but it’s a hell of a lot better than complacently complying.

#RESIST #PERSIST #NEVERMYPRESIDENT #IMPEACHtrump

 

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Later this month, the 4th anniversary of the loss of our cat Olive will be upon us. During the course of those four years, a tiny solar-powered $1.50 pathway lantern, bought at Walmart, has marked her grave.

Every single lantern I bought before or since than has petered out. They aren’t a quality product, and rarely last one season.

Except Olive’s light.

It’s the strangest thing. All other lights of a similar style weren’t worth diddly-squat. But Olive’s light? It shines bright every night. For four, long years.

I think that’s pretty cool.

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St. Patrick’s Day 2017.

It was a cold, clear morning, and I left for work early so I could stop at the Dollar Tree to pick up some Luck o’ the Irish beads and accessories. We were having a party at work that afternoon (yes, my office is super fun), and I wanted to look festive.

My community is gated, and the gate I leave from everyday is on a hill. It’s not super-steep, but if the weather is dicey they will leave those gates open so drivers don’t have to wait for the gate to rise and possibly lose traction.

So, on this cold, crisp morning, I drove through the gate and hit my brakes as I descended down the little hill, because there was a car stopped at the intersection waiting to turn right. No extraordinary circumstances…just another morning leaving Lake Monticello.

As I pushed down on the brake pedal, the car wasn’t coming to a complete stop, and then I felt them give a little, so I pushed down even harder on the brake and then there was a whirring sound, and the car just kept rolling. I tried and tried to steer clear of the car in front of me, but there just wasn’t enough room, and I smashed into his rear bumper.

Fuck.

We pulled over, and I apologized over and over, not sure why my brakes decided not to work. It took him a good 5 minutes of digging through a pile of papers in his glove box to find his insurance info, and amidst a flurry of apologies, we exchanged info and parted ways.

The damage to both cars were mainly cosmetic, but it sucked none the less. I cautiously made my way into town and made an appointment to have my brakes checked, pronto.

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And my Kia dealership? They found NOTHING wrong with them. I asked how this could be…they had failed to work causing me to have this accident. Then they walked me through the workings of the ABS braking system.

They assumed that the ground where I attempted to apply my brakes must have been slick somehow…even though is was cold and dry that morning. When I described the accident to them, the whirring sound I heard was the ABS kicking in, causing my brakes to switch from the kind of braking that results in my car to STOPPING to the kind of braking that keeps my car from skidding.

I don’t like this system. I don’t like it because it has proven to me that when I go to STOP, my brakes might have another, brighter idea. An idea that causes me to crash into the car in front of me. An idea that causes $1500 worth of damage to my car.

ABS? I call BS.