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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.

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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.

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It’s really funny how as I get older, certain cooking techniques just seem to come more naturally. I don’t know where I gleaned some of the information that I apply to my cooking; quite possibly from Food Network, mainly because it’s the channel I watch the most, by far.

Used to be I couldn’t make macaroni and cheese without a full-blown, step by step recipe. I recall using an Alton Brown recipe that required me to temper an egg into the cheese sauce. After all that trouble, the mac & cheese sucked.

Now I know how make a killer mac & cheese with one hand tied. Ditto with creamed spinach, and now, gravy.

I can remember the first time I had to make gravy. I had just moved to Arkansas to live with a home-town fellow who was stationed at Eaker Air Force Base. We were having a couple over for dinner, and I had no clue how to make gravy.

The wife, a good old southern gal, was kind enough to help me. The final product tasted fine, but was so thick, it didn’t really pour. You sort of had to plop dollops of it onto your plate.

As years passed I stuck to either the canned version,  or the stuff in the envelopes that you mix with water. In most cases it was just easier and a real time saver. I mean, it was just gravy after all.

I’m not sure what clicked in me a year or two ago. Perhaps it was from when my sister cooked Thanksgiving for us, and her gravy rocked. she had left a huge container of pan drippings in my freezer, and one evening I decided to use it to make gravy.

I think this is where all those years of watching “Chopped,” “Barefoot Contessa” and Triple D payed off. I sautéed some onions and celery, made a roux, whisked in the stock/drippings and seasoned to taste. A drop or two of Kitchen Bouquet and viola! I had a really good gravy.

For a while my daughter liked her roasted chicken served with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. But not any longer. She knows mom’s gravy is killer – one that makes a respectable pool in her mashed potatoes.

Thanks to Food Network, I guess I’m actually getting wiser as I get older…

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The other day my daughters and I were at a rally in support on International Women’s Day. The room was filled with gals (& guys) of all ages listing to other gals of all ages recite poems and make speeches. At one point an older woman with grey hair in two braids walked by us. Both of my girls turned to me and said, “that is soooo you in 20 years.”

And I had to agree with them. I’m in my 50s and I have pigtails in my hair today.

I don’t know why so many older women succumb to the short hair trend. It seems like when you reach a certain age, women are required to get a short, sensible hair style.  Perhaps women do it because their hair is getting thinner, or they just want to have a simple style that they don’t have to fuss over.

Not me. I need my hair long. Even now my hair reaches my chest, and I still feel like it’s too short. Sure my hair is thinner, but that’s no reason for me to lop it all off.

Yeah, I’m fairly certain I will be that old lady in braids. I may be an old fart, but at least I’ll stand out in a crowd.

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This morning at the office an email went out stating that the refrigerator would be cleaned out at 4 pm. So imagine my dismay, when I return from my walk at 2:45 and go to get my snack out of the fridge and find the fucking thing empty.

Wait, I had a tote bag with 3 pickle spears encased in double ziplock bags (to prevent leakage) in that fridge this morning. They were nice, plump spears and I was really looking forward to them. I look around a little and find my bag thrown on top of the fridge, sans double zip locked pickles.

The dickhead who cleaned out the fridge, PREMATURELY I might add, actually went INTO my bag to throw OUT my PICKLES. And I call BULLSHIT!

I understand that the fridge needed cleaning, but when you give a deadline of 4 pm, that deadline should be adhered to. It’s what separates us from the animals for Pete’s sake!

Rant Over, and craving pickles.

In response to the daily promt Hideout

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My friend John used to throw some decent parties when we were in high school. He always managed to get beer…little nips of Michelob, I think…and there was always an abundance of Donna’s Pizza. You would think that would be enough, but as teenagers, it never seemed to be.

His house was around the corner from a cemetery, and after one of these parties a bunch of us were hanging out at the end of a street that butted up against the cemetery. We were probably being loud and obnoxious to those residents trying to sleep on a warm Saturday night, perhaps with their windows open, because before we knew it, the cops came down the street.

Well, we all scattered like flies. The only place I could run was into the cemetery. It was dark, and I was unfamiliar with my surroundings, so when I saw a giant tombstone with large bushes on either side, I ducked behind it and laid flat on the ground.

I could see the patrolman’s flashlight arcing back and forth as he walked through the cemetery. I spent the next 15 minutes trying to calm my frantic breathing, praying that one of Leonia’s finest wouldn’t find my hiding spot, and make me the “example” of a teenage night gone awry.

It had also not escaped me the fact that I was laying flat on someone’s grave. In the dark. All alone. I’d seen “Night of the Living Dead” and “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” a few times too many, and I will admit, it creeped me the hell out.

I was also being eaten alive by mosquitos, and swatting at them was not an option, not as long as I could still see flashlights and cops’ headlights.

What seemed like an eternity ended with the cop car pulling away, having not located a single one of us. I stayed put for a few minutes and then slowly crept out from behind the tombstone, brushing dirt off my t-shirt and scratching at my sweaty, itchy legs.

I was afraid to go back to John’s house – I was afraid to go back out from the way I came in, sure that there was a dragnet of sorts set up to catch me. So I just walked home. On the way I ran into another kid who’d been chased away and we compared notes, happy to have escaped the clutches of the law.

The next day, via my orange teen phone, John and I laughed over the incident, proud that we had not only had a fun night, but had outsmarted the cops to boot. But I’ll tell you, we avoided that street in the future.

After a night spent laying on someone’s grave I was smart enough to not tempt fate.

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The newspaper I work for is putting out a Summer Camp Guide for local parents, and it made me think of how badly I wanted to go to camp as a child.

From grades 5-7, I was really good friends with a girl named Leslie.  Her parents were divorced, and her mom lived in this beautiful old house in the heart of town. It was fun to hang out with her because the park and the candy store were all within a stone’s throw to her house, whereas I lived at the far end of town close to nothing fun at all.

You could say she was privileged, even though it must have sucked to have parents that were divorced. Her mom was out a lot and they had a live-in nanny, who never seemed to be around any time I slept over. She would be “in the house” but usually was up in her room on the top floor, which was creepy to me.

Her dad lived in New York City, and every now and then we’d have a sleepover at his apartment, which was both a thrill and completely uncomfortable. I didn’t know the father all too well, hence my discomfort.

But every summer, for at least 3 weeks, Leslie would be shipped off to summer camp. I saw it as this magical place where nobody knew you, and any stigmas that might plague you in your hometown, simply vanished. You could be anyone. You were brand new.

She would come home with tales of juicy social interactions, clandestine meetings with crushes, and long nights gossiping with girlfriends. And I was pea green with envy. All I had done was hang out at the Leonia pool, trying to dodge insults while using the diving board…from my future husband.

The following year I begged my father to let me go with Leslie, even if it was for just a week. But there was no way…her camp was just too expensive. I understood, but it was still disappointing.

I especially get it now that I have kids. I would have loved to be able to send either of my girls to summer camp, even a day camp, to give them a fun summer experience while mom and dad were working. I looked into it a few years ago, but just about every camp was way out of our price range.

And it is glaringly evident if you attend one of the summer camp expos in the area. Impeccably dressed Moms and Dads usher their children with straight, white teeth from table to table and try to decide which soul-enriching camp their lucky little offspring will spend their summer at. Because money is no object.

But it’s okay. My kids have great memories of summers hiking up to Blue Hole to swim in a mountain pond, and jumping off the dock at Lake Monticello. Trips to King’s Dominion, Disney on Ice, and weeks spend in Florida visiting my dad.

Yeah, camp would’ve been great for them, and maybe even for me. But I don’t think any of us suffered greatly in the long run.

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Last Friday my boss gave me the day off because we had just finished a very grueling production schedule that required a lot of overtime. I could have slept in and loafed around the house, but it was going to be sunny with temperatures nearing 80°. We needed to get out and DO something.

So, I called my daughter in sick and my girls and I headed to Richmond for the day. We spent the morning walking around Maymont Park, then lunched on Greek food in Carytown. We decided to visit this one candy shop my girls have always wanted to check out.

Now, every time I go to a new candy store I am always on the hunt for one candy in particular…Delfa Rolls – now referred to as Broadway Licorice Rolls. As a rule, I don’t like “red” licorice, but growing up these tightly wound rolls of strawberry ribbon goodness were a favorite of mine.

I was reintroduced to them at the Virginia state fair about 8 years ago, and once I knew their new name, I’ve been on the hunt for them. World Market used to sell them for a while, but stopped a few years back. A local candy shop just a block from my office carried them for a while as well, but also stopped.

When I stepped into this chocolate shop in Richmond, I was immediately encouraged. It was a fairly large store (for a candy shop) and they had a very large variety of old-timey candies. Not wanting to waste any time poking around the aisles in search of the candy of my dreams, I asked at the counter.

While I was expecting the typical look of puzzlement when I asked “Do you carry Broadway Licorice Rolls?” I was instead rewarded with a look of recognition, and a “now where do we keep those?” The clerk lead me to a shelf with a box of those strawberry beauties. I kid you not when I tell you I danced in place, clapping my hands like a giddy school girl.

blog-2There were only 6 or 7 packs left in the box, and I grabbed them all. My youngest said, “you know those are $1.29 each, right?” To which I looked at her and said, “And your point is….?”

It was a happy day. I ate one on the drive home from Richmond, demonstrating to my girls the various methods I had invented to eat a Delfa Roll as a child.

Right now the balance of my candy cache is tucked safely away in my cabinet. I will reward myself with one package each week. And I feel happy knowing that there is a finally place where I can still find my candy.

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