Archives for posts with tag: blog

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Every morning when I take my 3 mile walk, I see no less than 5 people walking their dogs. There is the old lady with the shih zu, the couple with the hound dogs, and the man with the 3 crazy white shnauzers. He knows his dogs are crazy, so he crosses the street when we pass.

This morning I learned how thankful I am that he takes his role as a dog owner seriously – especially when you know your pets are high strung.

As I was rounding a corner this morning a woman with two very large dogs was attempting to walk them. I say “attempting” because both of these animals were somewhat maniacal, and she was getting yanked to and fro like a rag doll. I was a little concerned, but she was on the other side of the street, so I figured I’d be safe.

But once the golden retreiver noticed me, and saw that I was turning onto “his” street, he jumped towards me. Not only was his leash freakishly long, but the woman had absolutely no control as she was getting yanked in the opposite direction by the other very large dog on a very long leash.

The golden retreiver jumped up on me, and I put both hands up and simultaneously pushed away with a “hey puppy!” – trying to seem friendly rather than threatened. I immediately felt a sting on the side of my boob as I quickly walked away. I figured he must have gouged me with a claw – but you know what? I think that little turd actually bit me.

When I got a little further down the road I checked out my boobie – sure enough I could see the beginnings of a bruise. But once I got home and in the shower, I noticed a smaller red mark higher up, which to me indicates a bite rather than a claw.

I’m thankful that I had one of my heavy-duty bras on this morning – I think had I not, he may have broken the skin. I also noticed his leash was the kind included a strap that went over his muzzle…that might have saved me a little too. If his mouth was unrestrained I might be talking stitches…and lawsuits. Cause my insurance sucks.

I’m telling you, if I see this woman with her lunatic dogs again, I am stopping dead in my tracks with my arms up until she is safely past. Because unlike the man with the 3 crazy schnauzers, she seems totally unaware that not only are her dogs nuts, but that they need to be walked one at a time and on a very short leash.

Or maybe if I see her, I’ll just turn around and walk someplace safer.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Take a Chance on Me.” – What’s the biggest chance you ever took? Did it work out? Do tell!

This one is sort of a “no duh” for me.

My freshman year at the University of Delaware was less than stellar. As I entered into my sophomore year I realized I wasn’t very happy there. I had few friends and felt as if I really didn’t fit into this semi-Southern, über Preppy atmosphere. Remember, I’m a loud-mouth from New Jersey.

I was seriously looking into transfering when I saw a flyer in the student center for the study abroad program. You could travel to Costa Rica, London, or Vienna. That sounded wonderful to me, so I attended the interest meeting. After gathering all the financial/travel information, I called my parents and ran the idea past them.

Dad was willing to let me go, but only if I went to Vienna because it was a hop, skip & jump to his homeland of Czechoslovakia. If I got accepted into the program it was decided that I would spend 3 weeks after the semester at my cousin Stello’s house in what is now Slovakia. I was so excited at the prospect of travelling to Europe and attending school! Seeing art and culture outside of the Eastern US was a dream come true!

But I was also scared. And I got more and more scared as the spring semester drew near. There were times when I seriously doubted whether or not I should go. I was going to be totally alone for months…no trips home, no familiar faces, and let’s not forget the language barrier. I was required to take at least one German course before leaving.

There was also a problem with credits. It turns out that the courses I would be studying while in Vienna would largely not apply to my degree. So it would almost be like a waste of the entire semester, except for the fact that I would be having a life-changing cultural experience.

Lots of the other students attending the program were equally miffed about the credits not being applicable and complaints were lodged. The University was going to decide if an acception could be made, and that’s when I made the deal with myself.

If the University allowed the credits to be used, I would go. If not, I’d back out.

Eight weeks later, with a month of German under my belt, I flew out of JFK airport on my way to Vienna. It was the scariest thing I’d ever done, but to this day, the most rewarding.

Not only because of all the sights I saw, and the people I met, but because I really learned that I could stand on my own. I could manage my own money, I could make my own travel plans, and I could get along in a city where I didn’t really know the language all that well.

I came back to school a junior, and a much different person. I had travelled. I was worldly. And the folks around me? They had spent their spring in Newark, Delaware. I’d been in Vienna, and Rome and Basel.

Oh, yeah, and Czechoslovakia. I really learned how to stand on my own there.

And here’s my parting advice…if your school offers this opportunity, TAKE IT.

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Thoughts & Prayers

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “No, Thank You.” which asked…If you could permanently ban a word from general usage, which one would it be? Why?

Let me start this off by saying I am NOT against prayer…or thoughts for that matter.

I am just against the banal (def: so lacking in originality as to be obvious and boring) use of the phrases shown above.

These phrases have become a Facebook phenomenon. If someone is sick or has lost a pet their Facebook post becomes a never ending feed of varying forms of the phrase “thoughts & prayers”…kinda like this:

Prayers!
My thoughts and prayers are with you!
Thoughts and prayers…
Thoughts and prayers :(
Thoughts and prayers.
Prayers!
So Sorry :( Prayers!
My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Which is great…it’s fabulous in sentiment. When something lousy happens to a friend, you are thinking about them…and you might even send up a silent plea to whomever you call God. And that’s great.

But come on… it’s not really original, is it? I mean, isn’t this your friend? Couldn’t you come up with something a little more personal than echoing the 19 posts that came before yours?

Uff – maybe I just sound like a bitch – but to me simply writing “thoughts and prayers” is a total cop out. It takes zero thought.

For instance, when someone has a birthday on Facebook, I almost NEVER write “Happy Birthday!” I always strive to make it personal and funny. Sometimes it takes me most of the day to find the right birthday greeting for that particular person. Any slob can write “Happy Birthday.” That’s just as easy as saying “Bless You” after a sneeze.

But I know the people I send birthday greetings to really appreciate my special touch…they comment on them, and tell me that they always look forward to seeing what I’ll come up with this year.

So, if God forbid something catastrophic happens to a friend, take the time to craft a nice personal message. Don’t just type in “thoughts and prayers” and then scroll on down your page and take a BuzzFeed quiz. Even if it’s bible scripture, or part of a poem, it’s going to be more heartfelt than another warmed over serving of “thoughts & prayers!”

Take the time, and make them know you are really thinking of them.


Oh, and if this doesn’t fly then my vote is for the Bachelor to go through an entire season where nobody uses the phrase “looking for love” or “I’m here to find love.”

and it that doesn’t fly, then everyone needs to stop using the phrase “At the end of the day.”

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This morning on the news, I saw something that really disgusted me to my core. Do you see the above photo? These signs were hung outside the Sigma Nu house at Old Dominion University right here in beautiful Virginia to “welcome” the incoming Freshman girls.

It raises a few questions for me, first of which is how the hell is this fucked up behavior still tolerated? Was there not ONE frat brother who was like, “Doood, this is NOT a good idea?”

Apparently not, because while we live in a world where political correctness runs rampant, having respect for women is seemingly off the table; it’s behavior excused as boys being boys! It’s just college fun n’ games! Whoo-hoo! Par-tay!

Let me tell you something. When I was a Freshman at University of Delaware, my roomates invited me to go with them to a party at the ATO house. Some guys they went to high school with were members. I was excited to be going…my first week at school and here I was going to a frat party!

I talked with one boy for an hour or two, and when he asked if I wanted to see his room, I said sure. Once inside the dark room, instead of the light being flipped on, the door slammed behind me and I felt several pairs of hands reaching out for me. Seems this little frat boy had a plan of attack with this other ATO brothers – namely get a girl to your room and let the gang bang begin!

Luckily I was able to claw my way out the door, but not before I was given a very hard shove to my back which sent me stumbling down a small set of stairs on the opposite side of the hallway. My shoulder strap on my dress was torn, and I had the start of a bruise on my knee.

I found my roomates and told them what happened and that I was going home. I also told them that I was going to complain to whichever dean I needed to in order to get these guys in trouble. They begged me not to, as their association with me, if I caused trouble, would mess up their great connection to one of the biggest frat houses on campus.

I was a freshman and wanted to make friends, so I stupidly allowed myself to be placated. After some kind words from the ATO house mother and apologies from the president of the chapter, I made my way back to my dorm feeling stupid and ashamed.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because it is the same scenario as was in the now famously debunked Rolling Stone article. You know what? You will never be able to convince me that that story didn’t have any truth to it. I bet you there are tons of UVA alumni who could attest to some serious sexual assault at the hand of those darling little frat boys.

And what about that case going on in New Hampshire? More priveledged little jackholes who are smart enough to get into a prestigious school, but somehow don’t know the meaining of the word “no.” It boggles the mind the license boys and men feel they can take with the opposite sex. Senior Salute…sounds like a fine fucking American tradition!

To this day I despise the Greek system. So when Bill Maher made this speech in a recent episode of Real Time, I was practically giving him a standing ovation in my living room. In today’s society there is no room for this type of bullshit. Period.

And let me say this, if your son attends Old Dominion, and is a member of Sigma Nu? You need to take a very long look in the mirror and try to figure out where you dropped the ball in raising your son.

Now scroll back up and take another look at that photo. See the guy standing at the front door? If there is such a thing as Karma, he is a very pissed of father.


Epilogue – 9/1/2015

Just found this picture from the University of Delaware move in weekend. I am so ashamed that my alma mater has not changed since 1982 – they still let in priviledged shit heads.

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Facebook-Head

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Green-Eyed Monster.”

So, you know how on Facebook you can unfollow a person, but remain friends?

Yeah, I use that feature a lot. First, I use it to avoid people who constantly post nothing but inane meme’s about “Bein’ American” or “Obama is the devil! Share if you Agree!”

Oh, and it’s also really good for those people who post 12 old photos of themselves everyday, even though it’s not #TBT. It’s like, ugh – how many photos of you do I have to see back when you had a smoking body, even though you still have a smoking body?

But the folks I’ve been unfollowing lately? They are the well-travelled Facebook Friends.

These are folks who usually don’t post on Facebook unless they are in France, or Italy, or some other great vacation destination. When they are not clogging up my wall with scenes of Venice and Bordeaux, they are showing off their thoroughbreads, or their pedigree dogs, or their 4th car.

And it drives me nuts.

Am I a jealous douchebag for unfollowing them? Maybe yes, maybe no. All I know is as I sit at my desk, having spent my one week’s vacation already, and knowing I have like 46 more weeks of sitting at my desk before I get to go somewhere that will ultimately not be terribly exciting, I feel no remorse for unfollowing them.

So there.

Risk

Since the beginning of the month, I decided I would try to walk at least 3 miles each day. I came up with this plan when I realized that in order for me to hit a total of 1,000 miles walked by end of the year, I’d have to really commit to going out every day, AND walk a sizeable distance.

I know it’s a long shot, because it gives me little wiggle room for sickness or just plain being too busy. And let’s face it…walking can be boring. But I have found the solution to making walking up and down the same streets every single day less monotonous.

RISK!

Not Risk the game. No, I’m talking about the podcast. I discovered it at the beginning of the summer while searching for a new story-telling podcast. I got hooked on this wonderous form of entertainment when librivox ran out of interesting (and dated) audiobooks for me to listen to. After years of Eleanor H. Porter, Lucy Maude Montgomery, Horatio Alger Jr and various books by the Brontë sisters, I needed some fresh material.

I had discovered a few really good podcasts, which I wrote about here, but eventually I had run through all the episodes. My favorite of the bunch was the Porchlight Storytelling series, which was comprised of fairly average folks standing up in front of an audience to tell a true-life story, not lasting longer than 10 minutes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 1.16.44 PMAfter exhausting every episode, I had to find a new place to hang my podcast hat. After a quick Google search and the following BuzzFeed recommendation, I quickly plugged in my iPod and subscribed to several of the suggested podcasts. I don’t know why I started with Risk! Maybe because it was adverstised as “Bold Stories from Bold People.” Perhaps it’s because I am decidedly “unbold.” (see yesterday’s post)

Anyhoo – after the first episode, I was hooked. Now I am officially binge listening. I loaded my little iPod with as many episodes as it could possibly hold.

Many of the stories can be quite kinky – there’s a lot of very frank stories about sex and body parts. But it’s not all cock, balls, tits and ass. There are stories about personal growth, and abuse; stories about shitting your pants, having a child, or making a friend.

I never know if I’m going to bust out laughing or shed a tear – both of which can seem odd when you are just walking around the neighborhood. All I know is that for the hour it takes me to walk the 3 miles every morning, I’m am usually so engaged in the stories these wonderful people are sharing with me, that before I know it, I’m back home. And thanks to this podcast, it all seemed so effortless.

Eventaully I will run out of RISK! episodes and be stuck waiting for a new episode like every other shmoe out there. Sigh. Thank goodness there’s still at least 10 more seemingly good podcasts to go.

I’ve got a lot of miles to cover.

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Break the Silence.”


The other day my daughter and I were doing some food shopping, and as we turned to go down the bread aisle, we came across a family of four. Mom and dad were selecting pull ups while their older son (I’d say around 5) was mashing their younger son’s (I’d say 2 1/2) head into the bread shelves.

Now when I say mashing, this kid has his brother, who had a pacifier in his mouth, by the back of the neck and was forcing his head into the shelf while his body pressed fully against his back. This little fucker meant business. The little brother, head facing towards us, was grimmacing in pain and crying.

My reaction? I looked at the older brother and said, “awwwww” in sort of a “how could you do that to your little brother?” fashion. Then the mom looked at me, and told her son to “quit it.” As I grabbed my bread, I quietly said to my daughter, “I feel so sorry for that little boy – he doesn’t stand a chance with a bully like that for a brother.”

The scenario I just laid out is about as involved as I get when there’s trouble around. I rarely push my nose into other people’s business to add in my two cents mainly because I don’t like it when other people do it to me. Had I said something to the mother, she’d more than likely would have told me to piss off and I would have spent the rest of the day feeling like shit. Or, I would have said something snotty back.

I won’t start it….but I certainly can finish it.

For instance, once a lady got all in my grill as I was getting in my car for not returning my “buggy” to the cart corale. I had instead, leaned it up against a post next to my car. (And sorry, but in my eyes only a dipshit calls it a “buggy”). I looked at her and said, “You know what? I have cramps and am currently bleeding through my pants. Tough shit.”

While I had no trouble talking back to her, I find it near to impossible to initate something like this. It is not my place to school people on how to live their life. I hate people who do that – but I gotta say, I admire them as well.

One time at work, many years back, I had to speak up about the lack of work that was being done by the people in my department. I was doing the lion’s share of the work, and I knew I had to confront them. But my trouble lies in being the accuser…I just can’t seem to do it. I could barely get the words out – it was as if my throat had closed up, and I began to cry.

Yet if the tables had been turned and someone pointed the finger at me? I would have had no problem opening up a can of whoop ass. I guess because when you defend yourself, you are justified. But if you point the finger? You are a bitch.

Here’s an example; I could sit on my front porch and watch a guy let his dog crap on my lawn and I would not yell at him to pick it up. That’s how I roll. Afterwards I’d think of all sorts of scenarios where I tell the guy off and come out the big hero, but in real life I’d never actually confront him.

On the other side of the coin, if I have something good/helpful to tell you, no problemo. You drop your wallet? I’ll hand it back to you. Left your gas cap open? I’ll honk and point it out. Have one item in the check out line? Of course you can go in front of me.

But if you have something in your teeth or your tag is hanging out, my lips will usually stay zipped because although helpful, that could cause you embarassment and that’s where it all falls apart for me. I’m so odd.

Last fall a UVA student, Hannah Graham, was murdered in our town. You may have heard of her. There were several witnesses that saw her drunk and saw her being taken away by the man that eventually (I should say allegedly, but I won’t) killed her. All these people saw her, and nobody questioned who this man was, or asked if she needed help. And off she stumbled to her death, with her killer’s arm around her.

But who am I to assign blame…had I been there, she’d still be dead. I wouldn’t have said anything either.

Yep, I am as spineless as they come. Maybe that’s why I never went very far in life.

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Last week I brought my daughter back to college. It was just the two of us, and we moved all of her belongings into her new dorm room. I thought about her move-in the year before, and realized how totally different her life is now.

One year back, she was “dating” a boy from Canada. The day we moved her in was the last day of his week-long stay with us; his last stay with us. I remember him awkwardly (and crookedly) pounding nails into the wall for her to hang some artwork. It left me wondering how many times this lad had swung a hammer in his life.

One year back I lectured her to get more involved on campus. She spent the majority of her freshman year on her bed skyping the dude in Canada, which I thought was a waste. She had made few friends during that year, so I urged her to seek out a club. I remember how proud I was when she called to tell me she was attending open houses for groups she had seen advertised on campus. That’s what the first week of school is all about.

And one year back the boy from Canada wasn’t happy that she was joining clubs and meeting new people. I told her that wasn’t a very good sign. She would frequently tell me about arguments between them, interspersed with her enthusiam for her newfound friends in her newfound fraternity.

And now it’s a year later. As I was pounding nails into her wall, I thought about the transformation my girl has gone through in the last 365 days.

She’s a member of Phi Sigma Pi, a national honors fraternity. She has friends that she goes out with. She participates in school activities, and is excelling in her studies. She also holds down a job. She spent the summer going on outings with her best friend from high school. And she broke up with the guy from Canada.

Her biggest milestone was getting her driver’s license. Yes, I know it’s a bit late for a college junior to just be getting her license, but to be honest, she really didn’t need it.

A year later, and it’s almost like she’s a different person. But she’s really not…she’s just the gal I always knew she could be once she got off her computer and joined the real world.

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We all have them. Days where you are left wondering who you pissed off in the Universe, because that seems to be the only explanation of how many things could go wrong in the course of the day.

For me, that was yesterday.

DISCLAIMER – this post is 90% about the evils of my female plumbing. Turn back if you must…You’ve been warned.

It started at 3:00 am, when I woke up with the beginnings of really bad cramps. I should have gotten up and taken some Advil, but instead I tried to just go back to sleep. By 4:00 am, I was angry for not listening to my inner voice for by now my uterus was somewhere in the F-3 category, classified as severe damage, roofs and walls torn down, trains overturned, cars thrown around.

I got up and took four Advil. 45 minutes later I took a Meloxicam. By 6 am I took 2 more Advil. I was still in pain, but decided to try to go out for my morning walk. Whoever said exercise was good for cramps didn’t have a uterus like mine.

evil uterusI’m convinced there is an evil villain in my uterus – one that says “Sweep the Leg” when I am at my most vulnerable…like when I went camping in college and my period decided to come two weeks early. Try spending a weekend with toilet paper jammed in your crotch. Yes, my uterus was snickering and twirling her moustache that day.

My walk? I didn’t even make it two miles. I headed back home where a hot shower did its best to untie the knots in my back and quiet the ache in my abdomen.

It was also my daughter’s first day of school. Dropping her off was a sobering reminder that I have ten months of brooding, moody mornings in my future.

Work wasn’t much better. I had a meeting with a sales rep who tried to sell our firm an automated system which would pretty much wipe out my job entirely. No thanks, bub. It also feels like the Wicked Witch of the West has unleashed her flying monkeys in my uterus. Time to take more Advil.

I then spent my lunch hour taking my oldest daughter to her eye doctor appointment. Once there I was told that she has no eye coverage. This is after I called Coventry last week and was told that she is covered until the age of 20 – which she turning in a week. Which was why I jumped through scheduling hoops to get her the eye appointment before her birthday.

So I call Coventry and bitch the lady out. Here I’ve wasted my lunch hour, and the time of all those nice people at the eye doctors because some tool gave me the wrong information when I called to confirm their coverage the week before. Oh and this is all while my uterus is screaming “NO WIRE HANGERS…EVER!”

Can I take more Advil? I sheepishly apologize to the eye doctor staff for having wasted their time and call my husband who freaks out and decides that he’s going to call Coventry and cause some heads to roll.

Back at the office I field calls from clients and my husband who has a gal from Coventry on the phone who wants to know if I remember the day and time that I was told the wrong information from the one of the many incompetents at Coventry. I also chat via iMessage with my younger daughter whose complaining that she has no friends in any class at school and is miserable.

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By the time 6 pm rolls around I not only feel brain dead, but feel as if my uterus has dropped out of my body and is trailing 2 feet behind me. I groan as I realize that I have to stop at the store to buy more tampons…I’ve already been through at least six today, along with 3 pads. Ain’t it fun being me?

While trying to put my groceries in the car, my shirt gets caught on the rusty hanger I use for my car antenna. As I look at the sky and think, “really?” it’s all I can do to not rip that antenna out and fatally stab someone with it.

I finally get home, where all I want to do is change and eat dinner. After using the bathroom (and donning the hazmat suit for the subsequent clean up) I pour a drink and go to carry my sandwich into the bedroom. I’ve got “Bachelor in Paradise” all ready to go. I finally get to relax.

Suddenly, the paper plate holding my sandwich begins to buckle. I can’t easily explain how the next few seconds unfolded, but in an attempt to save my sandwich from tumbling to the ground, I jerked my hands, causing half of my drink to fly out of the cup, leaving a fan of wet droplets on the carpet, and a puddle in the plate under my sandwich.

I lost it. I’m bloody, I’m tired, and I’m hungry but right when I was looking forward to just relaxing, life had to bend me over and stick it to me once more.

I got a rag, dropped down to clean up the spilled drink and began to cry. At that point the one thing I was thankful for was the fact that nobody walked in and saw me…in my underwear, on my hands and knees, sobbing while I scrubbed at the carpet.

My sandwich was wet, but I ate it anyway.

Today is going much better. My uterus has calmed considerably…Voldemort has gone into hiding until next month. I thought a lot about my gynocologist yesterday…about how as she peered into my vag during my last visit and said, “you’re menopausal.”

Ha! That’s a good one.

My uterus? It can’t be stopped. Don’t you know that?

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Today my 13 year old started high school. Sorta.

She’s actually in the 8th grade, but they attend our county’s high school. This is a good thing for many reasons.

  1. The high school is TONS closer to our house than the middle school – the drive took just about 10 minutes this morning.
  2. The 8th graders have their own wing, so they don’t interact all that much with the upperclassmen. Except for at lunch. I wonder how that will work out…
  3. They start an hour later than the middle school. This means that not only does my daughter get to sleep later, but I still get to take my morning walks. If I’m out the door by 6 in the morning, I am back in time to wake her up at 7.

Having experienced my first day with this new schedule, I was amazed at how wonderful my morning was despite the fact that I was up at 4 a.m. with killer cramps that 6 Advil and 1 Meloxicam could not conquer. I just felt like I had so much time!

The one thing that wasn’t different? My daughter’s crappy attitude. On the ride to school she was sullen, with her head against the window, not talking. When I asked her what was wrong, she said she didn’t feel well. This is the same commute I made a hundred times during the 7th grade.

My girl does not like school.

I try to tell her it’s her job…school is her 9-5 until she graduates and gets to join the real world…which isn’t nearly as fun as she thinks it is. I would kill to be done by 3:45 with nothing more to do than some homework. Try working a full day and then having to cook and do dishes. School looks like a pretty sweet deal.

But even if she’s miserable, I’m not. I LOVE this new schedule! I love High School!

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