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Last week I published a post giving my review of the new Wegman’s grocery store that opened in town. I mentioned how they carried Rao’s pasta sauce, which I never buy because it’s way too expensive. After reading that, my friend John told me in no uncertain terms that I had to try it…that it really is that good.

So I tried it. While at the store, I saw the Rao’s jars on the shelf, saw the sale sign below it ($6.99!) I figured it was meant to be. I decided to pair it with cheese ravioli as opposed to pasta, because cheese ravioli has always been a favorite of mine.

Let me tell you, my friend is no liar. This sauce was GOOD. I mean wipe your plate with a hunk of bread good. I’ve never been a big fan of sweet sauces…brands like Prego and Ragu gross me out. But Rao’s had a flavor that was right up my alley.

In short, my humble bowl of ravioli did not taste like I made it at home. It tasted like something I would have gotten at a restaurant. It was really that good.

Sigh.

How am I ever going to be able to pass a jar of Rao’s by after this? How can I ever grab a jar of Classico again, knowing there is something so much better, and 3 times as expensive, on the shelf to the left?

I guess Rao’s will have to be my special occasion sauce. My “I just got paid” sauce. My Christmas bonus sauce. My “I won the Powerball” sauce.

I’m just so glad I still have 3/4 of a jar left at home.

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Yesterday was my birthday, and let me tell you…birthdays sure have changed in the past 52 years.

My earliest birthday recognition was getting a Sesame Street 45 rpm of Bert and Ernie singing “Rubber Duckie.” It came with a book too. Another memory is waking up on my birthday to find a Baby Tenderlove doll in my arms.

Ah, those were the days.

Birthdays were a sacred thing when you were younger because it was your day.

Yet as an adult, I’ve never been the type of person to “remind” people that my birthday is coming up. There were quite a few years at work that nobody even knew, and I just sort of waltzed through the day without one “Happy Birthday.”

Technology has kind of changed all that. Now, when you wake up on your birthday, your Facebook feed is filled with well-wishes, and in my case, photos of me that my sisters have posted…some of which I wish they hadn’t. My email is filled with free offers….everything from a free sub at Jersey Mike’s to a free eye shadow at Ulta. Even the teller at the bank wished me

Not too shabby.

My best gift for my birthday this year is my job. I am so incredibly thankful for the job I have now, especially after yesterday. We had a staff meeting, and managers were urged to give shout outs to employees who have done praise-worthy things. Being relatively new, I wasn’t expecting anything.

Yet lo and behold, I got not one but TWO shout outs! One for for a media kit I designed that turned out really well. But the one that really touched me was from the Art Director of our publications. I really respect him, he’s amazingly talented and he’s been here a long, long time.

He said that he’s very happy that I was the one who was hired for the job – that he was impressed at how seamless the transition was from the old designer to me. I blew him a kiss, but I really almost started to cry.

Because you know how when you’re at a new job, you never really know how you’re doing? Are they impressed with your work or just luke warm about your performance?

Now I know. They’re super happy and that’s the best birthday present I’ve had in a long while.

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My family and I spent the Thanksgiving holiday in a small hotel room in Hampton, Virginia. Hubby had a week-long stint driving the Zamboni for Disney on Ice, and rather than make him spend the holiday alone, we decided to spend it with him.

I’m not a big fan of staying in hotels. I’m an early riser and my family is not which can be troublesome in a small hotel room. I don’t like not having all my stuff, and I don’t like living out of a suitcase. Plus, I never get to watch what I want on the TV.

But our biggest struggle was where to eat on Thanksgiving. Most restaurants were closed. Their were places offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, but were also super expensive…like $40 per person.

Nuh-uh.

We were contemplating one restaurant with food that cost around $15 each, when we discovered that Golden Corral was open until 4 pm. $15 for all you can eat (which is half the point of Thanksgiving dinner) or $15 for one plate of food.

We opted for all you can eat. It’s not Thanksgiving unless you need to undo the top button of your pants, right? Besides, there was a certain white-trash allure to eating at a Golden Corral.

What an experience it was.  The place was absolutely mobbed. Line out the door, and a cashier who complained the whole time she was filling our water glasses and taking our money.

The food? It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either. Kind of like Thanksgiving at home when I cook.

Ha ha.

What struck me as odd were the throngs of families, who, rather than gather at someone’s house to eat, decided to pay $15 a person to sit and eat at a Golden Corral. I mean some of these tables had 15 people at them – that’s a chunk of change.

In any case, it was a pretty hum-drum holiday…one that I don’t want to repeat next year if possible. The one good thing about it was, I had my family around me. My two girls and my Zamboni driving husband.

That’s really all that mattered.

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A brand-spanking new Wegmans super market just opened up in Charlottesville.

This was big, big news. In a town filled with Krogers, Harris Teeters, Giant, and of course, Food Lion a new supermarket with a stellar reputation and a cult-like following was all anyone could talk about outside of the disastrous Presidential election.

My daughter and I went opening day. I am always up early, so when I realized the new Wegman’s was opening in half an hour, I roused my sleeping girl and we drove the 30 minutes to town to check it out. We got there at 8 am and the store was PACKED.

We spent an hour browsing, ogling, tasting and fighting the throngs of people trying to navigate their way through the unfamiliar store. I didn’t come away with a “WEGMANS FOREVER!” attitude… but the store was crowded, and my daughter was getting over a cold, so the shopping experience wasn’t stellar.

I gave the store a 2nd chance the next time I went. The wine I like was way cheaper than where I usually buy it (check!), but they didn’t carry the brand of maxi pads my daughter likes (uncheck!). The jury was still out.

I took my husband with me to the new Wegmans yesterday, and although the store was still packed, I reached a verdict. While searching for items like pasta sauce and juice, I realized that Wegmans does not carry a wide variety of products. When in the pasta sauce aisle they had 20 varieties of Wegmans sauces, but only 3 Classico brands. They also had a ton of Rao’s sauce, which I can’t afford, and a ton of Ragu and Prego, which just plain suck.

And that was pretty much it. 5 choices. WTF.

Same with the juice. I usually buy a juice blend by Welch’s or Tropicana to drink with breakfast. All they had was Wegmans, Newman’s Own, and one other brand that escapes  me now.

When I needed breakfast sausage my only brand choice was Wegmans. Tzatziki sauce? Wegmans only. Sorry folks, I need more.

Yeah, if I need fancy brie, good bread or ridiculously expensive whitefish spread, I’ll go to Wegmans. Other than that, I’ll stick to Food Lion and Giant where I get variety at good prices.

And if we ever get a Publix? THEN I’ll be excited.

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I woke up on election day feeling fantastic. I had a spring in my step, and was looking forward to heading out to the polls, no matter how long the line. I took my 14 year old daughter, in the hopes that she would be a part of this historic election. And, as I cast my ballot for Hillary Clinton, I had to hold back the tears.

Well we all know how that turned out.

My daughter and I could not stay up for the results. I knew things were going badly. I had nightmares all night long – ones of giant orange dinosaurs chasing me and my family who were frantically trying to hide anywhere we could.

When I woke up at 5 am, I turned on the TV to find out he had won. I turned it back off, got up, and in zombie-like fashion, played Candy Crush. I could not scan my Facebook feed. I could not go on Twitter. And most importantly, I refused to watch the news. Instead, I watched I Love Lucy and The Brady Bunch until it was time to head to work.

Ah work. The morning after the election, my office had a staff retreat. As everyone waited in line for coffee, we all started talking about how stunned we were with the election results, and how despondent we all were about the future of our country. We voiced our fears and our concerns, and it made me realize I was dead right about something I had said to my husband earlier that morning.

I told him I was more thankful than ever to have my job, because I knew that no matter what hellishness was going on in the world outside, I got to wrap myself from 9-5 with folks who are creative, open-minded, and accepting; thankfully I work with a bunch of liberals. I was so very grateful for that on such a dark morning.

I’m also thankful that this same job that I love offers me health coverage. As costs for the Healthcare.gov options sky rocket, and as Trump is promising to repeal Obamacare, I no longer have to worry about where my health coverage is coming from and how much it’s going to cost me. I can’t tell you what a load off my mind that is.

I’m thankful that Trump is a huge liar – because I can only hope that all the hateful policies and promises he made during his campaign were just to get elected. He was never that conservative in the past, and I hope some of his former rational thinking bleeds into his administration. Yeah, I’m sort of banking on him reneging on every promise he made during his campaign.

Somehow I doubt it though. Newt Gingrich wanting a new House Un-American Activities Committee doesn’t exactly give me much to hope for.

The last thing I am thankful for, is that my father was not alive to see this. While I’d love to have him here, I really think he would’ve given up the first time he heard the words “President-elect Trump.”

I can tell you one thing I will do in a Trump world. I refuse to sing or stand for the national anthem until I see that Trump is really working for all Americans. Because as of now, he does NOT stand for the country I love. He does not stand for anything I believe in, and I refuse to show him any sort of respect until he earns it. I also refuse to call him President. Sorry, no can do.

I will give him a chance, though. I will not hope he fails because, unlike Rush Limbaugh who did just that when Obama took office, because I know that would be plain stupid for our country. I know he’ll do well, because with a Republican majority, there is nobody to cock-block him like they did to Obama at every turn. I just don’t know if the stuff he passes will be stuff I agree with.

So we shall see.

I learned one thing from this election…if you believe in Karma, you’re an asshole.

I say this because if there was ever a time in the history of the world where Karma should have come into play, it would have been for him to lose, and lose “bigly.”

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A little over a year ago, my then 13 year old daughter had to go to the doctor for her yearly checkup. She was dreading it, because she knew she was chubby, and that the doctor would lecture her on losing weight, just like she did every year.

Old doc didn’t disappoint. My little girl left the office depressed and sulky with a wounded pride and a prescription for her acne.

Over the next few days she moped around the house, barely eating. When I’d fix her breakfast or dinner, she would bring her plate back up having eaten little. This went on for a few weeks, and I finally had to give her a talk about how if she wanted to lose weight, not eating wasn’t going to get her anywhere in the long run.

We shopped for sensible snacks, and cut out soda all together. She started walking on the treadmill we have in the garage for 30-45 minutes most days. I begged her to let me weigh her, but she refused. I think she was scared that the scale was going to reflect the same old fat number she’d had at the doctor’s office.

One morning I told her that she was going on the scale – that we had to see if what she was doing was working. If it wasn’t, we’d find another solution, but we had to know.

My girl had lost over 10 pounds in less than a month. And this was why I wanted her on that scale – that number motivated her to keep going.

All through the year she watched what she ate, but didn’t deprive herself of the occasional cupcake or egg roll, and kept up her exercise. I knew the weight was coming off because pants I’d bought her just a few months back didn’t fit her anymore, and the XL T-shirts I’d bought her for Christmas hung on her like nightgowns.

Fall rolled back around and it was time to head back to the doctor for another check up – but she was looking forward to this one. The nurse took her blood pressure, checked her vision and her height, and put her on the scale.

A few minutes later, she came back into the office to double check the number on the scale. She said the doctor had seen the difference in weight, and wanted her to double check that she hadn’t made a mistake.

My husband, daughter and I chuckled at this.

When the doctor came in, she was amazed at the change. My child, with hard work and determination, had lost almost 40 pounds over the course of the year. The doctor asked her how she did it, and congratulated her on good choices. She apologized for sending the nurse back in to double-check the scale, but explained that so few children actually lose the weight once they are told they need to, that she’d assumed it was an error.

Doc looked at her and said, “you really made my day.”

And doc made her day too. She was floating on air the rest of the afternoon, even though she had to endure a flu shot and her final HPV shot. She’s still watching her portion size and getting on that treadmill.

And I’m still buying her new clothes…size small.

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Back in 1996 I was heading to work after dropping my infant daughter off at my sisters when I noticed a cop behind me. I looked at my speedometer, and low and behold, I was going too fast. The lights switched on, and I was pulled over.

That was the last speeding ticket I got. In 1996. I’ve been pulled over a time or two for silly things…like for driving with a failed inspection sticker, or going 8 miles over the speed limit in my residential community. I was always let go with a warning, because I have a clean record and my offenses were petty.

Well, that streak came to an end on Friday night. Sigh.

My girls and I had attended Halloween Haunt at King’s Dominion, a theme park about an hour away from our home. The night had not been very fun for me, because I find as I grow older, getting startled and scared is losing it’s charm on me.

After walking through three haunted attractions, where ghouls pop out around every corner or scream in your ear, I was done. My lower back hurt really bad mostly because I had spent the last 45 minutes in a tense ball of nerves. I told the girls they were on their own…I was waiting outside the rest of the attractions.

When we were leaving, the road was crowded and I couldn’t manage to get over to get on the ramp for I-95. But I wasn’t worried because after years of going to good old KD, I knew the back roads. We were traveling down Rt. 1 rehashing the night and talking about our weekend, when a saw a car on the opposite side of the road turn on it’s headlights. I hit my brakes, saw my speed go down to around 45, and noticed that car, was indeed, a cop.

I looked in my rearview and saw him U-turn and thought, “shit.” Part of me hoped he would run my plate, see that I was had zero priors, and just let me go. But no, the lights went on and he pulled me over.

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how cute is that?

Unfortunately this dude wasn’t going to let me go with a warning. He was taking way too long after getting my license. Even though I had a crystal clear record, and was wearing a super cute hat with fox ears, I got a speeding ticket. My 20 year streak, shot to hell.

Yeah, I probably was going too fast. The road was empty and we were talking so I guess I just didn’t realize that the speedometer was creeping higher. It sucks, but it wasn’t the end of my sucky night.

After pulling away from the cop, using directionals and coming to full and complete stops (even in the parking lot) we pulled into a McDonalds because I was thirsty. Before I know it, there are flashing lights behind me again. WTF?

ANOTHER cop was pulling me over. He approaches my window and tells me my headlights aren’t on. I say, “Yes they are – I can see the light from them.” He says, “No, that’s your fog lights.”

Oh great. He then asks if I were just pulled over. I said yes, for speeding. He had recognized my plate from the call that went over the radio. He said he’s not going to give me another ticket, but that I was lucky he recognized my plates. Yeah, gee – let me run out and play the lottery. I feel sooooo lucky.

But my lights were on. I had him come over to my car and look at my light switch on my steering column. The lights were turned on, but not working. What I was seeing was the glow of my fog lights. Thankfully my high beams worked, and I had to drive the hour home with them on. How is a person sitting behind the wheel, who sees lights, supposed to know her lights are not working. If he HAD given me a ticket, I totally would have fought it.

Ugh. It ruined my weekend. I hate when I’m careless and it costs my family money. I hate it. But, when you think on the bright side, if you spread the cost of the ticket over the 20 years, it’s only about 10 bucks a year.

Nah, there’s no bright side. It just sucks.

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Today I came back from my lunchtime walk to see several instant message alerts from my daughter in high school.

It seems that during her World History class, a boy who sits near her pulled her chair out from under her when she went to sit down. She was hurt and humiliated in front of her whole class. And me? I was furious.

I don’t understand why stuff like this happens. How a human being can think that it is ever a good idea to make another person look foolish when they have done nothing to you. Even that douchebag Trump waits until you criticize him before he throws you under the pussy grabbing bus.

Do you know the last time I pulled a chair out from under somebody? I was around 7 years old, and I did it to my babysitter to get a laugh out of my older siblings. The next day my parents tore me a new one, saying how I could have hurt her badly. I still remember that today, and I’ve never even contemplated pulling that stunt since.

I was a child then, but this kid? He should know better.

She spent that period crying, and trying not to show it. She texted me that she wanted to turn around and smack him, that she was really tempted to do it. I told her to think of what Michelle Obama said…”when they go low, you go high.”

She answered, “LOL true” and took the high road.

That’s MY daughter. A girl who is always friendly to others, who calls out bullies and who tries to be a good role model and top student. And what did she get in return? Some fuckwad who has no manners that thought he would brighten his day by humiliating my child.

I called the school to report it. See, it happened in front of a substitute and I didn’t want this little dickhead to think he got one over on her. Plus, my husband ranted to the assistant principal when he picked her up from school. He’ll get written up for it, and I’m fine with that. I didn’t expect him to get expelled or anything.

I just hope the school lets his parents know. I hope this “write up” goes home. Because mom & dad need to know that their little angel has shit on his halo. And they need to teach him how to respect people that have done absolutely nothing to him.

And my kid? She knows we’ve got her back. Big time.

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The other night while I was making a batch of meatballs, I got a call from a CNN pollster wanting my opinions on the Presidential election.

Pretty cool, huh? Little ole Typical Tracy sharing her views and opinions in a national poll. So, if new poll numbers come out and Trump’s numbers have dropped, I can proudly say, “yeah, that’s me.”

Now you will have to bear with me. I’m not very adept at talking politics. It’s a subject that has always left me sort of stupefied… kind of like Chemistry or Star Trek. While I have opinions on this election, I find it hard to convincingly express my thoughts.

That having been said, I really despise Donald Trump. I don’t understand how anyone can be voting for him. I just don’t get it.

I know there are a lot of Trump followers who are voting for him only because they really hate Hillary Clinton. Fine. I may not get why they hate her, but at least their vote is more of a vote against Hillary than a vote for Trump.

But there are tons of people out there who are voting for Trump because they like him. And I just don’t get it.

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He’s a fucking liar. Yes, Hillary has lied. Can anyone out there say they haven’t lied at some point in their lives? But Trump lies constantly. He will say A. on Monday morning. By Monday night, A. has been proven to be a lie, and then by Tuesday morning he will deny ever saying A. or, better yet, will find a spin on how it’s Hillary’s fault.

This happens several times a week. It never stops.

He, or his minions, never answer questions. It’s become page one of the Trump playbook: Deny and Deflect. I don’t think he really answered a single question during the debate in any specific terms. His answers are vague, giving little factual information, and then he falls back on his favorite dodge – pivot the heat off of him and blame it all on Obama and Hillary.

His minions do the same thing on every talk show. When asked a question, they deny and bring up 30,000 emails. They do it almost every time. Or, they deny and point blame at the current administration.

I always feel a little dizzy after watching Trumpbots argue a point. You feel like you just stepped out of a shit storm…no a shit hurricane. Okay, an F5 shitnado is more like it.

My point is, we are month away from the election and I know NOTHING OF ANY OF TRUMP’S POLICIES OR PLANS FOR THE COUNTRY IF, IN FACT, HE TAKES OFFICE.

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But I do know how he feels about Rosie O’Donnell, Alicia Machado, and Elizabeth Warren.

I know he fat shames. God, he’d rake me over the coals.

I know he’s stiffed thousands of hard working small business who were unfortunate enough to go into business with. Hell, during the debate a Facebook friend of mine, someone from my hometown in New Jersey said her father was stiffed by Trump and he almost lost his business.

And Trump University? Don’t get me started.

Seriously, with all that is out there regarding his character, I just don’t get how anyone can actually like this guy let alone vote for him.

Now I guess I’ll wait for all the nasty grams.

 

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I’m going to have a different kind of Thanksgiving this year.

Hubby will be driving the Zamboni for Disney on Ice in Hampton VA that whole week, so we are spending our Thanksgiving at a hotel. That means, for the first time in my life, I will eat Thanksgiving dinner out.

I’m not sure what that will be like. Sure it’ll be nice to not have to cook all day. It’ll be nice to not have to do 2 or 3 loads of dishes either. What I’m not looking forward to is the traffic. Whether I decide to travel the night before Thanksgiving or the morning of, I think I’m in for some serious bumper to bumper action.

Then I wonder, should we try to find traditional fare that day, or should we just eat whatever…steak, burgers, Chinese? I guess it all depends on what’s open. I’d rather not get stuck at a Golden Corral or a Cracker Barrel, because to be blunt – the food pretty much sucks. But I also don’t want to pay $35 bucks per person either. So we shall see.

I mean, why should I care…it’s just a meal, right?

But Thanksgiving has always meant a lot to me – it’s family, and food, and wine, and laughter and a feeling of home. I don’t know if I’ll feel that at all this year, spending it at a hotel.

It should be an interesting weekend.

We are spending Thanksgiving evening viewing the annual Holiday Lights at the Beach. Seems they gussy up the Virginia Beach boardwalk with zillions of lights and displays, and you drive your car down the boardwalk and soak it all in.

Perhaps it will give me ideas for my Christmas decorations…a thing hubby and I argue over every year. He likes it simple…I’d rather go all out.

One bonus about this weekend? I already know what I’m making for Christmas dinner. Turkey with all the trimmings. For sure.