Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Speaking of hot taco meat...

It's a good thing we do not have an HR department in our office. As we did morning prep for today's pot luck, my boss and I stood in the office kitchen discussing the merits of the new Old El Paso hot and spicy taco seasoning. Sometimes the heavens shine down and a blessed moment of rightness is presented to the world. As it happens, our single solitary Hispanic employee chose that moment to make his appearance.

My boss smiled and said, "Speaking of hot taco meat..."

Small offices are the ideal training grounds for those furthering their career path in creating hostile work environments. They are the perfect place to try out pervy lines that in another job would get you fired. Things like,

"There were two Asian meatballs left and I immediately thought of you." (said to me)

Or, "Just slam it in there Marcus." Followed by, "It's not the first time I've heard that today."

It also leads to things like photos...
Face hidden to protect the innocent.
Fortunately, no one in this office is easily offended and we tend to be a fairly well-adjusted (to our environment) group of people. When I asked "HTM" about the comment he laughed and said, "It's not an insult. It's just my spicy Latin blood."

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'll take "Things that are inexplicable for $500, Alex"

There are things in this world that cannot be explained. I'm not talking about Pyramids or the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. There's enough media coverage of those things to keep us reading for days. No, the things I refer to are the daily inexplicables. Things like...

Bob Ross. I don't paint. I would love to be able to put brush to canvas and make beautiful things or even cheesy things that look somewhat like the thing I was attempting to capture in oil. Like a river.. or a mountain... or a happy tree.

As a young mom, there were many timesI found myself up in the middle of the night. Our home had cable TV. It's not like I was without choices. TVLand, Comedy Central, Lifetime TV for Whiners... I had options. Many a night though, I would find myself flipping channels and landing on PBS. I've been known to watch Front Line, Nova, and even the MacNeil Lehrer News Report. They're educational and you walk away with something learned.

I simply cannot explain why, if I happen across Bob Ross painting happy trees and mountain lakes I stop. It was like some sort of programmed setting in my brain that shut down my ability to click the channel up/down button. No, I wasn't stoned.

There are some possibilities, but nothing that can be stated concretely. Maybe it's that Bob was so accepting. "You might want to add a happy little tree here. You might not. It's your picture and you can do what you want." Maybe it was the tone of his voice. It came across as effeminate, though it certainly wasn't high pitched. It was simply soothing.

Or like... How funny I am first thing in the morning. One of my friends has a picture posted of him with his mother in a classic business partner, back to back pose. There were several comments on the picture because it was taken during a time when he had quite a bit more hair. The picture struck me more because of the fact that if I just look at him in the picture... he's got total "cop-face". You know, that alone is one of those inexplicable things. Some people just look like cops.

Anyway... I said I didn't know if I should get him a big old cop donut or ask him about my life insurance policy. When he questioned me about that statement, I said maybe you look like an officer with the undercover insurance fraud division of the police force? Still fits the donut thing and wraps in the insurance sales. But still... it's more than that. When I woke up this morning, I couldn't help but to picture he and his mother (who is an incredibly sweet and charitable woman who I am hoping can understand where I am coming from here and if she can't will accept my most humble of apologies) in the Charlie's Angels finger gun pose. SO I sent this at 6:30 AM:

That picture needs you and your mom to do the Charlie's Angels finger guns. I would have loved to know you then because if I were at that photoshoot I would have been all director like... Show me sexy realtor! Pout! More pout! Ok finger guns! 

I've not heard from him since. I can only assume he's trying hard to explain how in the hell I became so funny.

Whatcha got? Give it to me! What are your inexplicables?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Live Messenger - Pigeon holing people one category at a time

Over the course of a lifetime, we meet people from all walks of life (if we're lucky). Variety is the spice of life I'm told, and I suppose this holds true with the people we interact with as well. Whether we admit it or not, most of us categorize people and in doing so, we dictate how and when we interact with them.

One of the things I like best about Live Messenger is the fact that you can take your contacts and categorize them. You can even give those categories names that are appropriate to what you truly believe about that person. For instance, I have a category called Tinfoil Hats. I also have categories called Host-A-Bitch and Goo People.

What you see here is my work version of IM. It's not as cool as the version available for Windows 7, but it does the trick. 

Over the years, as Messenger has grown and changed, so has my list. When they began to allow categories I went a little crazy. I had about 20 possible areas to drop people into. Since then I've narrowed it down a lot. Because of all the advances in IM technology... I can hide when I want, from who I want,  block entire categories of people (without add-on programs), remain invisible to everyone, or simply one person in a category. This is helpful when CERTAIN people piss me off and I don't want to see their stupid font, but I've not yet reached the point where I want to block and delete them. 

I used to host and co-manage a help and support community on MSN that grew to quite a large following.  I maintained a list of hosts to notify about issues.  "No, I don't want to add you to IM."  is a really difficult thing for me to say and so my list grew longer and longer. 

Tinfoil Hats grew from the latter... my inability to say 'NO'. These people seem nice enough in the beginning. They lure you into conversation and have a few interesting things to say. You begin to think there is potential for additional conversation there. You add them to IM and pretty soon you're getting emails about all of the strange things that happen to them, government conspiracy theories, and you realize this person will soon be abducted by aliens. To avoid discussion related to their latest anal probe, you have to move them to the Tinfoil Hats category. This category allows you to realize their insanity while maintaining invisibility. It also allows you to keep track of the crazy. 

Never underestimate knowing what crazy people are doing and when. It could one day save your life. For example, let's say aliens are real right? The news begins to talk about strange sightings in the skies all over the world (think Independence Day). You are worried because you never thought it could happen on earth and you've not prepared. You know who has prepared? Tinfoil Hats. These are now your go to people. Believe me... they WILL be on IM when the shit goes down. Aside from being a bit off their rockers... they are technologically savvy and will have found a way to sign in from the most remote locations without notifying the invading life forms of their presence. Just sayin... keep them around.


What are your categories (IM or otherwise)? 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I'm Regressing and You Cannot Stop Me

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like summer is going to be over way too soon. As parents deliver their students back to the college dorms, get little Joey, Brock, Sofia, and Tamara (sorry, I don't know what people name their kids these days) off to school, and say a little prayer of thanks for the reduction in daycare expenses or merely a little bit of blessed quiet, I find myself wondering what I'll be doing in a couple of months when Parent/Teacher conferences roll around.

The last P/T C's of the year for 2010/11 found me sitting at the table, greeting teachers for the last time in my kid's school careers. Nothing looks less stable than a work weary mom smiling at people with her eyes all watered up. But that too has passed and he is attending high school in another state with the other half of the family. He's doing very well and adapting like a champ and we're adapting here too. It's quiet. There is far less need to go to the grocery store. I don't have to ask crazy questions like, "Are those socks clean?" Sometimes I text him those random comments in the middle of his school day. Just so he doesn't forget how much of a nag I am.

I still have the oldest at home to torture. It's just not the same though. She has gotten to the point where very little phases her. I too have gotten to the point where very little she says or does phases me. As a matter of fact, tonight she emailed me FROM.HER.ROOM. to tell me that she would like to start paying me rent as of the first. I didn't need to be told what that meant. It means that she was accepted to college, enrolled in classes, and though she didn't get financial aid (still trying to figure that part out) I offered to pay for the semester.... but she's decided to not go this semester.

Her reasoning was that she wants to wait until we get moved and start fresh there without having to pay the outrageous tuition and fees here. I think it's bullshit. I think it's the wrong decision. I think she should take the money I'm offering her and become the super star whatever she finally decides to be. But for the first time in a long time... I let her make a choice and I didn't nag. I didn't scream. I didn't cry. I didn't brow beat her. I simply said, "I cannot make you go. I don't agree, but it's your decision. The rent is due on the first."

So now I'm regressing and you cannot stop me. I am considering becoming a stay at home mom again. You're probably thinking... strange time to become one of those isn't it? No. It is exactly the right time. I stayed home with the kids most of their early years before they started school. I've been back to work for awhile now and to be honest, I have missed a lot on my old soaps. Is Marlena still possessed by the devil? Has Stefano returned from the dead again? What about Bo and Hope? What's going on with that hot stud and Miss Fancy Face?

PLUS I look way cuter in soccer mom outfits than I did when my kids were little. I could totally rock a minivan lifestyle right about now. Every once in awhile I am out of work early enough to see how the other half lives. There are tons of mom's at the coffee shops and the mall during the day! I think this is totally unacceptable... unless I can be a part of it that is.

I am now taking applications for someone to keep me in the lifestyle to which I would like to become accustomed. Tomorrow is Monday, so if we can get this squared away before 6:30 AM (CDT) 8/29/11, that would be AWESOME. I would like to make a fresh start of the week by spoiling myself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Where I Ramble Then Get To the Point

Every once in awhile I turn on the news or catch an article on a news affiliate's site about an act of charity. A movement of some sorts you might say. Maybe it's the latest attempt at getting people to 'pay it forward' or there's been a devastating act of nature somewhere and people are displaced and in need of our help. This post is not meant in any way to detract from these calls to action. Helping when your help is needed is never a bad thing. As our country is in the sights of yet another natural disaster, I'm sure we'll be called to action again, and it is my hope that anyone with the ability to do so will lend a hand where possible. But that isn't what this is about either.

This morning I woke up later than usual for a Saturday. It was nearly 9 AM and I stretched lazily in my bed wondering how much work it would take to get presentable for a bank run and grocery shopping. I trudged to the bathroom, ran through the daily hygiene rituals, fixed my face, fixed my hair, picked out my cutest shoes, trendiest jeans, sporty top, and kick ass shades and headed for the door. You never know who you might run into at the store, right? It could be Mr. Right... or even more important... someone you've not seen in years. I'd rather look like hell when I meet Mr. Right than if I run into someone from 5 years ago that looks like they haven't aged a day. 

Being a natural slug, I am required to start nearly every day with an energy drink or at the very least a piping hot cup of strong coffee. When I pull out of the driveway in the mornings, my car instinctively moves in the direction of the nearest gas station where my drug of choice can be purchased without scorn. Convenience stores are the crack houses of the caffeine addict's world. If there were a way to just invite my friends over to the local and sit around the Monster cooler with an IV stuck in my vein connected to a giant Monster lo-carb  and just chill, I'd have at least one party there. 

Today was no different. I dropped by the Get N' Go to get some "go" and stood a bit impatiently in line to pay. At the counter stood a boy no more than 9 or 10. It's hard to be sure because he stood fairly tall, but his limbs were so incredibly thin. One hand clutched a handful of change. The other hand held a pint of milk. He handed both to the cashier and came up a few cents short of the total. The cashier smiled and said, "Don't worry... I've got it." and paid the rest out of a small jar behind the counter. The boy simply stood there, looking a bit dazed. It wasn't as if he didn't understand what had just happened, it was more than that. 

The cashier looked a bit concerned and asked if he was alright. He turned a bit to walk away and then stopped and looked dazed. He turned back to her and said, "I wanted this milk so I pedaled up here really fast on my bike and I'm just tired now." The lady smiled and motioned to the seating area for the little take out restaurant attached to the store, "Why don't you go sit down and rest a minute?" she said. And he walked shakily over to a booth and sat down. He did not open the milk. 

Now I don't mean to paint all children of the US with the same brush, but given what I know of my own children and their friends over the years I know that the boy was not there to get milk because of all the things he could crave at (now) 10 AM he craved a pint of 2%. With the price of milk these days he could have gotten a soda or a candy bar or maybe a juice and a snack. He was getting milk because he NEEDED milk or someone at home NEEDED milk. Judging by his size and his lack of energy he needed more than milk. 

I watched him sitting at the table while he stared blankly at the milk. He didn't look up to meet anyone's eyes. He didn't look around at everything around him. He just stared at the little waxy carton of liquid in front of him. As I approached the counter to pay for my drinks, I looked at the display of foods at the front. 'Fresh Fruit $.79 Your Choice' read one. I looked at the checker and then to the boy and back. 

"Please add two pieces of fruit to my bill and when he gets ready to go, tell him to pick out a couple of pieces." I said. She smiled sadly and replied, "Breaks my heart." "Mine too." I replied and walked out of the store with tears about to spill down my cheeks. I remember being poor. When someone did something nice for me it was almost as humiliating as it was welcome. We are programmed to feel we are inadequate when we are unable to meet our own needs. I wasn't going to put the kid through that. Better to be gone when he picked out his fruit.  

I do my best to put sadness behind me as quickly as I can when these things happen in public. I try to smile at everyone that meets my eyes on any given day. That's exactly what I did... or tried to do. I spent the rest of my outing deciding on which noodle cups to buy, whether to buy a half gallon of skim or a full, did I need cereal, Chobani or Fage, are there enough chicken breasts at home or should I get more, brown and wild or white rice... really mundane and unimportant things. 

Pushing the cart to the car I thought about what to write today. I think we've sufficiently covered my excess of vacation and my aversion to onion for the week. Sex just isn't on my mind so we can skip that. I've read 4 great books this week, but who wants a book review? Then it hit me... Holy shit! How about I write about something that matters? 

I've volunteered at The Banquet (a local soup kitchen), participated in food drives, wrote checks for good causes, and been an active chair for company United Way campaigns. None of those felt as fulfilling as buying two pieces of fruit for a boy at a gas station. 

It is never a child's fault that there isn't food on the table. It's never a child's fault that Mom and Dad can't afford school supplies. When the child is wearing pants that are too short and shoes with a hole in them, the child isn't the one to blame. We all know this. 

My goal is always to make people smile. I try to write something warm or fun into most pieces. If nothing else I hope someone can relate and maybe feel less alone, weird, goofy, or whatever. Today, I hope that I can inspire anyone who reads this to reach out. Outside of the charities you already support, aside from the community actions you participate in.... help a child. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

This weekend I will become a woman...

I remember sitting at the dinner table as a child, eyes watering on the verge of tears. There didn't seem to be a way around the horror to come. Onion. It seemed to be in everything.

Baked beans? Yep.
Liver? Yes.
On the roast? Of course.
Baby potatoes and creamed peas? Pretty sure.
Chili? Actually every single soup created? Damn straight.

"Just pick them out!" seemed to be the most commonly used sentence in the kitchen. I would like to believe that onions are the reason I was so fat. I had to eat cakes and cookies to get the nutrients I needed to feed my brain development because of my aversion to everything else. (Kidding Mom- You should all know that my mother is an incredible cook and sometimes I go home for the weekend just so she will feed me) It's important to note that onion will taint an entire meal. Once you cook with an onion, the flavor creeps over the side of pots and pans and gets into every single item on your plate.

So there I would sit, fork in hand, and pick and pick and pick until there was a small mountain of minced/chopped/slivered/sliced onion on the side of my plate. From time to time my keen eye would miss a minuscule hidden bit and I would bite into it. There was rarely a meal when I didn't gag at the table. It's surprising really that my family didn't involuntarily vomit simply from watching me trying to eat. Sometimes I would wear my "about to bawl" face through the entire meal.

Onion torture was inevitable. We come from an area of small rural communities. There weren't fast food restaurants anywhere nearby. On the rare occasion, my parents would go to "The City" (Omaha) and because they loved us and knew that our rural upbringing caused us to be deprived of cool things like Happy Meals, they would come home from a day trip to the land of tall buildings with 2 big bags full of McDonald's hamburgers and cheeseburgers. If we had other kids to taunt on the farm we would totally have been singing the Eddie Murphy 'we got McDonaldsssssssssssssssss" song.

For those of you unfamiliar with McDonald's burgers... unless you specifically request things to be served without onions... those dehydrated bastards plastered to the bun. There are not enough paper towels or napkins in the entire world to wipe the onion out of a burger. When you're feeding 6 kids, you do NOT stop mid-order at the drive thru and say... "Oh and can we get a couple of them without onions and mark the wrappers?" You simply put in the order as quickly as you can and go back to enjoying that blessed day you spent away from crying, fighting, dirty, needy kids. I don't blame them.... anymore. :)

Between my aversion to onion, one sister not eating green beans, and another who refused to touch tomatoes... it's a wonder my mother didn't just let us starve. But she's sweet that way, ya know?

I went to the store today after work and walked right up to the onions in the produce section and bought my very first ever onion. It's called a Red Onion... maybe you've heard of them?
It's an onion. Don't worry it won't bite...much. Right? 
So this weekend I am going to become a woman. Well, I already was, but a woman who eats onion. I will dice up about half of the scary bitch until it looks almost like onion grits and put it in some guacamole. I might die. Or gag. Or gag and then die. Even the kids are scared for me. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Some People's Kids

I had a list of things to rant and rave about today. I've narrowed it down to parenting and kids. Why? Because every parent started out as someone's kid, so there. Here we go. 

Aiming Low has me singing... ♫♪ Momma's don't let your babies grow up to be assholesssss♫♪

They didn't think their marriage would captivate the world? Give me a break and pass me the damn barf bag. There is so much more to say about this, though I'm pretty sure the world has covered it already. 

2. Newsflash- We will see the return of Lindsay Lohan to rehab before we see her return to acting. 
Does anyone else feel like maybe Linds should be sent to an island somewhere completely removed from anyone she knows... especially her parents? Holy... holes? If you can afford to eat in a luxury LA restaurant you can afford a sweatshirt without a tear in the shoulder. In recent news, Lohan stated she "... wants to be known for her talent rather than her troubled personal life." Excuse me... that vomiting thing has me busy again. 

3. Linds reminds me of someone else I've been seeing on TV...Ashley on RHoNJ. I swear to God above if either of my kids spoke to me the way this little tart speaks to her parents they would be wearing my shoe as an ass adornment for the next 10 years. I won't bother going into the "when I was that age" rant, I will simply say that tough love, in this situation, is all that's left. I wanna hug Jaclyn and Chris. 

I will go ahead and stop now because my other rants are trying to crowd out my thoughts and I like to remain focused on being pissy about one thing at a time. 

Until next time campers, I want you to know that I think you're all pretty. Even you burlier, hairier, manlier folks. ;) 

Mustache Ride Revisited - A Brief Announcement

Youngest sister: 

Today, August 25th is the 5th Anniversary of the famous Mustache Ride, but it will be closed until further notice.  


That isn't her email anymore. She doesn't work there. Too funny though!

To the IT staff at Western and Southern... We apologize for the offensive emails that we've been sending to that now unused email address. 

I would like to extend an early "Happy Anniversary" to my little sister and her wonderful husband! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Well, I guess I'm pregnant. (no, I'm not... not really)

When I get all emotional and hormonal I try to remain positive about the whole thing. Yeah, being a woman can suck sometimes. Uh huh, I'm going to break out in a day or two. Tomorrow I will probably get a migraine. Next week people will avoid saying anything to me that might seem "attacking" because my peeps know me as well as I do. But on a big old positive note... at least I'm not pregnant. 

Right before I turned 19 I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. It was pretty much the same way most women find out these days. I was late. I denied it to myself for a few weeks. I continued to be late. I bawled like a baby. I bought a pregnancy test. 

I was living in Omaha at the time with my kids dad living the "city life". We had what we thought was a kick ass apartment in a complex that had an indoor pool, gym, and sauna. So what if our furniture was circa 1975? We were both making good (enough) money. We owned a gaming system, people. There is just no way to explain how cool we were. WE.WERE.AWESOME. 

Where was I? Oh, right... I got knocked up. You know those bullshit lies you are told to never believe?  "We don't need to use a condom. I smoke a lot of marijuana so I have a low sperm count. You can't get pregnant." Apparently there wasn't any amount of awesomeness that made up for my naivete. 

So I drove home with the test in a bag, went straight to the bathroom and closed the door. I read the pamphlet and counted back the days. First morning urine? WHAT THE HELL?! You cannot come home with a pregnancy test and then not take it until morning. That's a ridiculous thing to suggest to anyone waiting on that result. I was about month late by this time so there was little chance waiting until morning to pee on the stick would somehow be more or less conclusive. Just to be on the safe side I grabbed a Dixie cup to collect a good sample and I dipped the stick in until I felt I'd properly done the job. I wasn't taking any chances when it came to aiming for the stick. That's right.. I saved all my chance taking for unprotected sex. 

I remember walking back to the living room holding the stick of doom. The scene sticks in my head for a couple of reasons. 
1. I was about to find out whether or not I had a parasite growing in my uterus. 
2. My guy was flipping through a Fingerhut catalog. This is only odd because it was a rare occasion that he wasn't enmeshed in a battle of wills with Final Fantasy for Sega. <I still say Sega the way they used say it on the commercials... SEGA!> 

I took a deep breath and took my finger off the little window on the stick. Two lines. SON OF A BITCH! 

"Well, I guess I'm pregnant." I said. 

He nodded and replied, "So, what do you want? A black one or a white one?" 

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? A white one of course. Jesus, Mark!" (Now before you go thinking that was a racist comment... you should know my ex is also white and I thought he was accusing me of having an affair.)

"I meant for the indoor grill. Do you want the white one or the black one?" He said. 

I am sure there were plenty of signs, upon further reflection, that Mark and I were not on the same page mentally. Maybe the fact that he continued to date while we were living together? Maybe that he was 7 years older than me? Maybe that while I was telling him that we were going to be parents he was more concerned with the color of a piece of crap kitchen counter appliance from a low rate catalog? 

So my question for the day is... What's for lunch? All this hormonal thank God I'm not pregnant talk has got me hungry.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Part 2 - Where I go native in the city parks

Welcome to Part 2 of my vacation adventure! I had planned to write this last night, but as much as I love to regale you all with my wit and.. blah blah blah.. I was simply wiped out. I managed to get my workout and grocery shopping done and then I was flat out, well... flat out. At any rate I'll pick up where I left off.

Friday- We made our way to Santa Cruz from Sacramento. The day was overcast and cool, which was a welcome change from the past couple of days of dripping sweat and ending the days feeling grimy. This was the one day I didn't remember to bring a camera and the only picture I got from my cell phone truly captured the grey of the day. I've not been all the way down the west coast, but from what I've seen Santa Cruz has the best boardwalk. I'm open to arguments here so let me know if there's some place I should check out!

Friday night we decided to test the limits of my rental car... sorry Enterprise... and make the drive up to The Mountain House. If you're not familiar with the place or you've just not had a chance to get there, I recommend it with a 5 out of 5 stars. Unpretentious, amazing food and wine, and the drive up is breathtaking. Right around $50/person with wine (skipped dessert). I had the most amazing skirt steak with orange demi-glaze and mixed veggies with Swiss chard. It sort of makes me want to cry it was so good! Here's a video some might know :)
I tried to sit next to this guy when we got in the restaurant... his woman didn't seem to keen on it. Nice ass though. 
Saturday- I think I played Save Me San Francisco like 5 times on the way. Breakfast had to wait until we got into China Town. Dim sum is the ultimate guilty pleasure of Asian Cuisine. Lotus leaf rice, bau, pot stickers, chicken feet, shrimp dumpling, and sticky sweet rice cake... after all that we needed to walk it off. WE headed to Golden Gate Park and to The California Academy of Sciences. It's worth the coin (which wasn't all that bad anyway). I'll just throw some pics up here to show my love of the museum complex... Saw the planetarium show but you can't take pics in there.... it's free though so if you live near SF... get your ass down there!
This dude is spooky

Here fishy fishy fishy

Just because they are awesome- from the aquarium section

Looking across to the fine arts museum

View from the rooftop garden

As the afternoon closed in we headed to the Haight-Ashbury district. This is urban hiking at it's finest. Free parking in the residential neighborhoods makes it so tempting to stay awhile... and we did. One might want to remember the incline you parked on before drinking too many of the Pomegranate Ciders at Magnolia. I was not as wise. The cider was worth is and so was the turkey pesto avocado club. DELISH! We wandered down the street and wandered back up. At some point, we decided to stroll through the park... which is an experience all it's own. Ever peed in a wooded park? I have. Ever accidentally pee on your shoe? Er.. yeah me either.

We wrapped up the evening by taking in beverages at Churchill then dinner across the street at Chow. I highly recommend both! Try the Thai noodles at Chow... loved loved loved that!

Sunday- Sunday sucked. There's no other way to say it. I hated leaving. I also hate flight delays. I had both. Either way, I made it home alive if a bit late. If I wasn't sure before, I have definitely set my cap at NoCal. It's got all the nature I want and access to all the city I need. Below are some pictures I missed from yesterday...

Swimming area on the Yuba near Nevada City

Downieville, CA

Almost to the waterfall... it's not far now. Uh huh... 

Yes, the whole river is this gorgeous.

The less than anticipated water fall.. 
We spotted this guy sitting on a rock right in front of the water fall. He couldn't have been more than 8 inches from the spray and he didn't move the entire time. He wasn't giving up his spot for anything! Wise... 

Outside Downieville, CA
I plan to be back to my regular blogging late today or tomorrow. Until then... I wish you all a beautiful day!

Monday, August 22, 2011

What I Did On My Summer Vacation Part 1

Around 2 AM today I stumbled into my house... tired, bleary-eyed, and my hair smelling like recirculated airplane air. Its a good thing I showered and prettied up yesterday morning because by the time I laid eyes on my bed, there wasn't a snow ball's chance in Hell that I would make it through a shower before collapsing. So collapse I did and I slept right through to about 8:40... only 2.5 hours later than my alarm should have allowed. Needless to say, I am not the most popular girl in the office today.

Without further ado, let me share with you what I did on my summer vacation. :)

Tuesday- Picture me flying through the air. That's pretty much what I did. I reached the airport in  Sacramento a full 3 hours before the rest of my party arrived. I was shocked to learn that no matter how much the airport bartender flirts with you, no matter how much he stares at your boobs or legs, no matter how badly he looks like he hasn't had a date in years... that you still have to pay for your drinks. WTF is up with that? It's sad and shocking and just plain strange. $20 and 2 bloody Mary's later my party arrived. Away we went in search of the clothes we forgot to pack, sun screen, new sunglasses (mine cracked in my suitcase which was obviously too full to begin with), and our hotel rooms. Too tired to really get our party on and with an early start for Wednesday we headed down to Old Sac, hit Joe's Crab Shack (Seriously... try the Strawberry Comfort), and then right back to the hotel to catch some z's.

Wednesday- We pulled into the parking area at Hoyt's Crossing at about 9 AM. It would have been earlier, but the Tom Tom died and we needed to stop and get a new GPS. Have you all seen the Gizmo kiosks in your stores? FREAKIN AWESOME! Got a new Magellan (refurb) for $59. Anyway... Hoyt's Crossing. It was promising to be a warm day and it delivered. The hike is easy and as expected, the further you go the more scarce the other hikers become. Last year I hiked the opposite side of the river and water access was certainly easier this time! The sunning rocks are amazing and soothing and the water is the most amazing emerald color. (Pics to follow)

So let's talk about nudity for a second shall we? THERE WERE NAKED MEN EVERYWHERE. I was a little more prudent with my skin showing. Fear of actually sunburning a nip or something lower made the decision to stick with the bikini a bit easier. Even still... I spent 3 days cursing my sunscreen for not being as good as I thought it was. I have some tan lines that will likely be there for a couple months.

We left the river around 4 PM and made the drive up to Downieville.The hope here was that we'd be able to do a bit more hiking and maybe some tubing (too low for real rafting in Aug). When we arrived tired, hungry, and dirty... we checked into our rooms and then realized that the closest actual restaurant was 12 winding miles up the road in Sierra City. We were informed that you can get pizza or chicken from a local gas station but the grocery store is closed and in escrow so we couldn't buy anything else. We made the drive. The Buckhorn is a small restaurant with a mountain stream flowing through the outside dining area. The chops were good, the soup was amazing, and the bloody Mary was spicy. All in all it was worth it.

Thursday- Free breakfast... this is the nice thing about the smaller B&B type places. We stopped at the front office to turn in our keys and were greeted by the owner as well as about 10 other guests all sitting down to breakfast. We met some great mountain bikers about to start their day. They were going north while we were heading back south. We stuffed ourselves, exchanged some emails, and headed out the door. Destination- Somewhere near Washington, CA. 

When they owner of the hotel that morning stated that between North San Juan, Downieville, and Washington we would definitely experience "the other California", she sure wasn't kidding. No offense intended to anyone in those parts... but I felt like a city slicker.. wearing shoes and all. Okay it wasn't that bad... but I did see a guy in cut offs and a holey tank top buying a magnum of Korbel and a little bottle of OJ at 9:30 AM AT A GAS STATION. I asked if he was going to make mimosas and he just looked at me like I'd grown a 3rd eye.

Have you ever put faith in someone and realized far too late that you might have been over estimating them? That's how the hike went. We trekked about 5 miles into the mountains... at times so far from the river that we couldn't hear the water anymore. The sweat poured off us, the burrs clung to our socks and shoes, and the flies buzzed in our ears and eyes. Why so far you ask? Well because one of our peeps had been there before and it wasn't "that far" it was "just a little farther". By the time we reached our destination... there was a bit of swearing, a lot of eye rolling, and then general laughter as we got the hell over it and took some great pics of the world's wisest frog. (Pics to follow). 

Aside from that I did learn something else on the hike. You know the scene from Lord of the Rings where Frodo gets wrapped up in the spider webs? As it turns out, I experience that exact panic just by walking through a web on a trail. Three times it happened and three times I stopped and damn near slapped myself silly while completely freaking out and yelling, "GET IT OFF ME GET IT OFF ME". I relinquished my lead for the remainder of the outbound leg, but was allowed to resume the position on the way back (when all the webs had been cleared).

I don't think we ate anywhere special that night. I do recall meeting in the lobby of the hotel when we got back to Sacramento that evening and deciding we should just get some wine and kick it in our rooms. Somewhere between the lobby and the store we became complete losers and decided to get Arizona iced teas instead. I was in bed and almost dead by 9 PM.

I'll be back later with pictures and the rest of the trip.. which involves drinking, sand, peeing on my shoe, urban hiking, and praise for a couple kick ass establishments. Peace!

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Don't Call Him Daddy

When my mother remarried in 1981, I got 2 new sisters and a Step Dad. Better than just getting new peeps to play with, the older of the two girls shared my birthday and the younger was only four days older than me! I couldn't have been more excited if they had been delivered to the church on the day of the wedding in a big box with air holes and bows around their necks. This was cooler than getting a new puppy!

The blended family thing isn't easy by any means. We moved to the house my Step Dad lived in and his daughters lived with their mother. For many years, especially during those years when you can't stand your own siblings (Sorry Christy... love you!) Dena and Beckie were the highlight of my weekends. I would wait for the every other weekend visits, and it was like having a 2 day sleep over with friends. 

We're over thirty years into this now and while I have always referred to the girls as my sisters, I rarely refer to their father as "Dad". I am the only one who doesn't. It's not that I don't love him like my Dad. For most of my life he was the only Dad I had. My biological father struggled with alcoholism which made him an absentee for the majority of the years I really needed a guy around. My Step Dad provided for us, gave us shelter, food, clothing, invited us into his family, and when we needed it... a good swift kick in the ass. Trust me, there were times I really needed it. 

So what keeps me from making the leap like my biological brother and sister have? Respect. I'm not talking about respect for him. I hope that he knows how much I love him and how much he's meant to me all these years. My respect is to my sisters. 

Since I didn't have the same sort of experience with my own Dad as they did, I always thought how lucky my sisters were. When they went home on Sundays, I wondered if they ever felt jealous that we got to spend all week every week with their dad, in their house, with their old toys, and they didn't. Even at a young age, I remember thinking that if I were them I would be mad about the whole thing. If I had called him "Dad" it would have been like taking away that last little thing that belonged to just them. I sure didn't want anyone else calling my mother Mom. She was the only Mom I had! I didn't want to do that to them. I didn't want to hurt my friends, and that's what they were. 

Many years later as I went through a divorce myself, my ex husband began to date our daughter's best friend's mother. Within a year of our separating, her best friend moved into our old house, into her old room, with her toys, and her Daddy. Unfortunately, things became progressively worse for my daughter as her best friend took great joy in taunting her with things like, "He's MY Dad now. NOT yours." I watched her withdraw into herself and her grades began to fall. She was having trouble in school and the two girls were separated and put into separate class rooms. It broke my heart to see her heart breaking and I couldn't help but to think of my sisters, and be glad I never called him Dad. 

So to Denny, husband to my mother, the guy who taught us the importance of hard work and all we ever wanted to know about little Johnny, Olie, Lena, and other fictional joke characters, and what it means to really step up to the plate... I love you and hope you know that in my heart, whether I call you by the name or not, you're always my Dad. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A post where I am all preachy and from the future

I'm not really here. Currently, I am out gallivanting in California. If you should need immediate assistance, might I recommend calling a doctor? I don't really heal people or anything so anything super urgent would probably be best directed to a professional. Know what I mean?  So without further delay... 

Many of you probably know the story of the Eight Cow Wife. It's difficult these days to find a story that's ever been related in an email that hasn't crossed everyone's inbox at least once. For me it came in the form of a phone call from my sister describing the odd gift of 8 cow figurines from her husband. Below is a very brief section of the story. You can find a more in depth reading here.

And then I saw her. I watched her enter the room to place flowers on the table. She stood still a moment to smile at the young man beside me. Then she went swiftly out again. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right. I turned back to Johnny Lingo and found him looking at me. 

"You admire her?" he murmured. 

"She...she’s glorious. But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata," I said.

"There’s only one Sarita. Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata." 

"She doesn’t. I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo."

"You think eight cows were too many?" A smile slid over his lips. 

"No. But how can she be so different?"

"Do you ever think," he asked, "what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two? This could not happen to my Sarita."

"Then you did this just to make your wife happy?"

"I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands." 

"Then you wanted -"

"I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman."

"But —" I was close to understanding.

"But," he finished softly, "I wanted an eight-cow wife."

This story has never failed to make me smile. I hope in some way, if you've never had a chance to read it before or you're reading it again, that it reminds you of how simply showing someone how important they are to you can bring out the very best in them. 

Monday, August 15, 2011

Blog Most Likely To: What you could be reading

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing, stop it right now before you go blind! Okay, now click on the link here.. or the tab up there... and make yourself some new blog friends. 

Remember...You're good enough. You're smart enough. And doggone it, people like you. 

Leaving on a jet plane

Tonight I'll be packing for vacation. I am packing tonight because I am leaving tomorrow and I am a procrastinator with a strange need to rewash every single item I am taking prior to putting it in my suitcase. Since I'm not going to be doing much in the way of fancy schmancy activities. Packing is going to be super light this time around.
- Shorts
- Shirts
- Hiking shoes
- Sandals
- Bras, underwear, socks
- The black dress I can't seem to find a damn place to wear to, because if I get bored and need to find some action... RAWR!
- Some killer heels... I'm thinking these will work

I have no idea why, but I'm taking my hair straightener. Perhaps it will come in handy if I can't get a fire lit and I need to crisp some toast or some bacon? I'm probably going to get the laundry done and get super pissed off that I can't find ANYTHING that I want to take. If you happen to see me looking all frazzled and digging through the racks at the local Ross store... Just nod, pat me on the head, and tell me it's going to be okay. After that it's best to let me get back to trying to find what I failed to pack.

I'll be back on the 22nd and in the meantime I've scheduled a few posts for publishing later in the week. If I don't come back, assume that:
A) I was eaten by a bear
B) The waterfall jumping was not a good idea
C) I was swept off my feet by a sexy man at the airport and flew to Vegas for a quicky wedding.

Everyone play nice while I'm away. Don't eat paste. Someone please water my outside potted plants.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Video Blog - How not to be a bitch to yourself

1. I don't know why the audio and video don't seem to align. Let's pretend I'm all Bruce Lee in the video and all American voice-over in the audio shall we? 

2. I don't know why I am holding my neck like that. Get over it. 

3. I'm wearing makeup it's true. I had to be some place this morning and I was too lazy to get it washed off so I could be all real in the clip. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Kids, I think we should see other families

Mom: Why don't we call this next road trip what it is. A nice long break.
Kids: So this break... is a break-up.
Mom: Come on kids. You know this isn't easy for me. 
<Jerry Maguire> 

That's how it went in my head. 

Tonight I am throwing a little end of summer bash for the boy child. He's heading back to his father's house tomorrow and I thought a little party for him and his friends would be a great way to wrap up his visit. Plus it would buy me some cool points. I have had the kids on my own for almost 12 years now so I've never really had the chance to be Weekend Mom or Fun Mom. 

My requests this morning were pretty simple. "Please get all of your crap out of the living room. Pack the remaining items you want to take back to your dad's house so we can put them in the car for tomorrow. Text me a grocery list of food items you want for the party." I said. The response, "Some of this stuff isn't mine. I am not picking up Alex's stuff just because she's at work. Do I need to pack stuff? Can't we just put it in the car?" 

I sat at my desk and thought about how to explain to the kid that tomorrow when he leaves... I'm going to be left with random funky smelling sweat socks, pizza crusts, empty soda cans, spills no one will mention until it eats the varnish off the floor, etc. and he will be long gone, leaving his sister and I to pick up the pieces. No mention of the destruction that I am sure will happen to his room between now and 9:30 AM tomorrow. 

A quick text to my daughter yielded much the same reaction. "I've picked up MY stuff." 

That's when it hit me. We're not really working toward fixing our family relationship. We talk about it all the time, but we don't seem to care if it ever gets fixed. It's like we're all three waiting for the next best thing. I made up my mind, picked up my cell and dialed the house phone to tell my kids, "I think we need to see other families. Just a break. Not a break up." 

Apparently only one of my kids thinks I'm funny and even she said... "Yeah it's funny, but that's a long way to go for a joke Mom." 

WHATEVER... Now taking applications for a foster family. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

AARP Saved My Relationship - A post for the future me

I am the type of Internet surfer that anti-virus software is made for. I'm an indiscriminate clicker of sites that link off of sites that link off of other sites that contain a video with comments with links in them that discusses relationships and then directs you to... <Drum roll please> AARP.

Perhaps I need to be more specific in my searches. Nevertheless, I was intrigued when I realized I was on the AARP website after clicking on a link about keeping the spark alive in my relationship. It was also very fitting considering AARP is for people 55 and over, which is in my future AND I currently don't have anything to "spark" so maybe that's in my future as well! And so here I was at work... looking into my future... assuming a future relationship... predicting problems with our spark... and fixing that crap before it happens. 

I stepped out of my DeLorean and began reading... 

Apparently some guy named Jay Hurt wrote a book about relationships. Someone at AARP said... "I'm out of ideas for my weekly article. I just read this book. I'll just write about that. So what if it doesn't really fit the title. I'll make it work." Shortly thereafter, this link was born: Five Simple Ways To Keep The Spark Alive In Your Relationship. I'm not going to lie, when I think AARP I think lowered sexual activity. That makes me think of Cialis/Viagra. Then I started thinking Sex Tips for the Cialis Set. Not so much. 

It's not Jay's fault. They asked him for a few highlights from his list. Jay didn't know I would be reading the article. He probably didn't expect that I was looking for ways to keep the spark alive and not basic tenets of relationships. If he did I am sure he would have either said, "That's really not what I write about." or maybe even, "Hey great idea, let me think about it and come up with some real juicy tips for ya!" Instead we get things like: 

Communicate clearly and effectively with your mate. 
I don't suppose he means something like, "Listen up jerk face. I've told you 1000 times that the dirty clothes hamper is where your socks belong. If I find one more soiled and nasty rotten cheese smelling sweat sock next to the bed or in the corner of the bathroom, I'm going to wrap it around your neck and strangle you in your sleep." 

Don't do anything you wouldn't advise a friend to do. 
Well clearly Jay doesn't know that I'm a bit more wild and open to new ideas than my friends are. If he did he would have said something like, "Whatever you do, don't tell your friends you wrapped yourselves in cling film and danced in the back yard chanting and smearing each other with Vaseline."

Decide if you can live with the flaws of your mate. 
Hmmm again, this one doesn't really fall into the "keeping the spark alive" category now does it? This is something really more suited to Jay's original intent and certainly not something the article's author thought through. It might be easier though to keep the spark alive if you don't want to kill your mate. Unless of course you're both into some heavy duty S&M, in which case... whatever floats your boat, trips your trigger, raises your flag. 

Continue to date throughout the relationship
Okay, raise your hand if you think this one is alrighttttttttttttttt! Yeah, I think it would be easier to want to have sex once in awhile with someone if you're usually having sex with someone else. As a matter of fact I think Craigslist has a whole section devoted to just this very thing. 
"Darling, I have a date with that hot guy in Systems tonight. We're going to probably have a nice dinner, go to a club, and then back to his place for some naked time. Do you want me to bring anything home... aside from an STI I mean?" 
"Just the video tape, babe."

Obviously I didn't learn a lot today aside from 1) AARP's journalist needs to learn to write the title after writing the article. The current method of picking a topic and then writing about something else isn't working. 2) I might have the wrong ideas about what keeping the spark alive after 55 is all about.  3) I sometimes share too much on my blog. 

Love ya! Have a great day! That's a great color on you! Did you do something different with your hair? It looks amazing! 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Because I obviously have no sense of humor

Him: Come on! That was funny! 

Me: Anyway, what are you doing today?

Him: Fine I guess. You have no sense of humor. Figures. 

Me: I have a sense of humor I just don't find that funny.

Him: You don't find anything funny. 

Me: It's like when I told you to stop with the jizz jokes. Waitresses only laugh so you will tip them.

Him: Other people find them funny. 

Me: Okay truck drivers, 15 year old boys, and young girls who laugh because they are uncomfortable. There's your audience.

Him: You don't understand my humor. 

Me: No shit.

Him: So you can say shit, but I can't say jizz? 

Before you read any further, let me make something clear. If you are a female and you like to hear the word jizz... Kudos to you. I don't care. More power to ya. But this is my blog. Mine mine mine mine. 

A few of my readers can attest to this conversation. While on break that day, I asked a few of the girls what they thought of the word "jizz". The reaction was priceless. Four of the 5 ladies instantly made a face that clearly said, "Why in the hell would you use that word? Ewww! What are you? 15?" The youngest of the group, then 22, blushed a little then giggled and said, "haha Jizz". I said, "My point exactly." I don't mind reading it. I don't mind typing it. Hearing it just makes me put on my "WTF did you say that for?" face. 

Of course my guy friend didn't believe me when I told him that strippers pretend to like you for money or that waitresses laugh at stupid jokes for tips so why would he believe that most women don't think jokes about body fluids are funny. In his mind he's the Daniel Tosh of the 80's. 

I would like to clarify something...most women I know don't mind having conversations about bedroom topics if it's with people they are comfortable with or the entire situation lends itself to the topic(like at a Passion Party for instance). They would probably tell you that they just don't see humor in what is supposed to be a "joke" that ends with something like, 'So I splooged in her eye'. 

HAHAHAHA... What? Yeah, I obviously don't get it. Ya know why? Because I don't have a penis. Because I've never splooged/jizzed/etc on anyone's face, tits, or hair. Perhaps this is where "knowing your audience" would come in handy.  Like when you make a joke to your parish priest about the Irish priest and a bottle of whiskey, but you don't make a joke about sleeping with your neighbors wife. It's kind of like that. Okay for confession and private discussion... but you should leave it out of the day to day dinner table jokes. 

Maybe I don't have a sense of humor? Maybe it's just another one of those things about people who have penises that I don't understand? Thoughts? 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The more you know... Cheater Cheater Pumpkin Eater

Apparently there are ways to tell if your man is cheating on you. In my experience it was pretty cut and dried. 

  •         If you find your man on a date with another woman... he's cheating on you.

  •        If your man goes out for a night on the town while you're out of town and he hires two babysitters, one for your kids and one for another woman's kids... he's cheating on you. 

  •        If a woman says she slept naked with your husband, but goes out of her way to assure you that they didn't have sex... (WTF?! Are you SERIOUS?) Yeah, he's cheating on you.

According to an article I found last night on MSN, there are other more subtle hints I was missing. Here were my favorites:

Clue No. 1 Look for changes in your partner's grooming habits… He may also suddenly start doing his own laundry or begin showering more frequently than normal.

That should have tipped me off right there. I just thought my constant nagging was finally paying off! WRONG

Clue No. 3 Keep your eyes open for random hair bands or bobby pins lying around. It's all too easy for another woman to accidentally leave hair accessories after a shower. Know what's yours and what's not.

I knew what was mine. Apparently he didn’t. The funniest part was when his girlfriend basically confessed their affair when she was drunk and then complimented me on my sweater and asked to borrow it sometime. My response? “Hell you’re already borrowing my husband!”

Clue No. 4 He may… start to lose interest in taking vacations with you, and stop talking about long-term relationship plans.

We discussed this in the office. Even in a long term relationship you just want to vacation alone. Partners can get pretty annoying and I think Chicago said it best… “Everybody needs a little time away, I heard her say… from each other. Even lovers need a holiday …”

Clue No. 8 Be aware if he suddenly ups his dose of Viagra or starts taking it without a clear reason.

Also be aware if he’s got a prescription for Viagra and you’re not getting laid.

Clue No. 9… Evidence of his philandering online isn't hard to find. Go on to popular dating sites (,, etc.) and do a search of his name to see if it pops up

Yeah, this is all good and fine until he goes to the Internet and finds your search in the history and wants to know what the hell you’re doing on Friend Finder or

Clue No. 10 Note changes in his car, like if the radio is set to stations neither of you normally listen to.

This one cracked me up until I confirmed it with a guy I know. Apparently no, he didn’t all the sudden start liking country music. Well hell. That one got past me. I mean people change right? He all the sudden started liking skanks. Country music wasn’t far behind. I feel so stupid! 

I am in no way saying that women don't cheat. I'm actually going to look for an article to support this and give some tips for men to tell if their woman is steppin' out or some guy is "creepin round the back stairs" (a lil Gordon Lightfoot for ya kids...) Stay tuned! 

Monday, August 8, 2011

We Don't Use The "F Word" In Public!

When my kids and I moved into our first apartment after their father and I separated we were church mouse poor. Even though we qualified for state assistance, 30% of your income going to rent makes things extremely tight. After a couple of months of barely scraping by and seeing the cupboards getting more and more bare, I broke down and went to the local DHS office and applied for Food Stamps. Filling out the forms was simple enough, proving my finances even more so... we had none. As they sent me out the door, they gave me what they called "emergency assistance" which consisted of about $200 of paper food stamps. Humbled and grateful, I walked the kids back to the car and we drove to the grocery store to do some much needed shopping. 

One of the biggest mistakes we often make as parents is failing to realize our kids understand far more about what's going on than we give them credit for. As we walked around the store filling the cart, I made a mental note of how much the running total was. I was so busy counting boxes of cereal and cans of soup that I paid little attention to the shoppers around me. As we wrapped up our shopping and headed toward the checkout, my daughter, then six, chirped loudly beside me, "Mom? Are we going to have enough food stamps to pay for all of this?" 

HORRIFIED! I looked around and, though in reality no one was probably paying attention to us, I felt like everyone in the store had to have heard her. I stopped the cart and knelt next to her and said, "We do NOT use the F word in public. EVER!" I could feel the heat in my cheeks and my eyes filling with tears and it only got worse when I saw her eyes well up too. She understood what food stamps were for. She understood why we needed them. What she didn't understand was why I was so ashamed. 

To address the situation, I tried to explain that food stamps were like money and it's not polite to talk about money in public. Putting the burden of shame on her was completely unthinkable. I felt that we'd settled things and would no longer hear "the F word" from her mouth. 

Some time later I realized that a caring relative or friend had submitted our name to a local care center. When Christmas rolled around, we woke to several boxes outside our door filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, a turkey, necessities, and a variety of small gifts for the kids. School was not yet released for Christmas break yet, and the next day my daughter took her new Walk Man and flip top candy dispenser to school. 

When she returned home that afternoon, she excitedly told me that one of her friends brought a new Walk Man and candy to school too... she was quick to set my mind at ease by saying, "It's okay Mom I didn't talk about the F word but they got boxes too because they are poor like us!" Her smile was from ear to ear and I couldn't help but love her just a little bit more because she was capable of doing something I couldn't. She was looking past the situation and simply enjoying her blessings. 

Things today feel so far removed from that place in our lives. While we haven't seen those financial stresses in many years, we still have our ups and downs. Most people, at one time or another, have something going on in their lives that they aren't proud of. We all have our burdens. Most people have some sort of "F Word". I hope everyone has someone to remind them that no matter what today looks like, what tomorrow might bring, and how bad it seems, you're not alone. Enjoy your blessings. 
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