Three things — 7.6.17

Things I’m loving this week

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The Skimm. I was a news junkie, but…lately, it’s all just too much. I. Just. Cannot. Deal. Enter Skimm — the daily newsletter that gives me all the world news I really need to know boiled down concisely (and humorously) in a quick morning read that allows me to avoid actually opening any news site. It’s like Newspaper Cliff Notes for those who have, like me, deleted nearly all news sites from their social media feeds because…I can’t take all the constant bad news and photos of that fat, orange man.

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SkinnyTaste.com. Hmmmm…got a skinny theme going on here today, eh? Whatever…something may as well be skinny since it sure as hell ain’t me anymore (sigh).  ANYWHOO….SkinnyTaste has the best recipes because they are not only good, but EASY. Last week, I made this Chicken Pesto Bake and it was delish, as has been nearly every recipe of hers that I have tried. I’m just waiting for my zucchini to come in to try these Zucchini Tots and Taco Stuffed Zucchini.  (Can’t figure out why I’m getting fat…)

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Xtera Wetsuit. I waffled long and hard about spending big money on a wetsuit for the Bay Swim, but then a friend alerted me to a sale and I got this bad boy for less than $110. Two things I love: Like Under Armour, it holds all the soft parts together and makes you feel all sleek; 2. It’s so buoyant that it’s like wearing a life jacket. You don’t even have to kick. I decided to do the Presque Isle Triathlon in August so I could get more use out of it.

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Rock Out, Erie! People all over Erie are painting rocks and leaving them for others to find. It’s a much needed happy distraction and unexpected surprise in a world sorely in need of it. I stumbled upon my first one at Shade’s Beach on Saturday night, then learned what it was all about in Pat Bywater’s Sunday column.  After sharing the Facebook page with Kelly, she trucked right down to the gorge and came up with a bucket of rocks that she & Lauren are painting.

Things I’m not loving this week

Pandora. What is your major malfunction, Pandora? (Totally just dated myself there.) This site seems to crash on nearly every platform I use it on. Maybe that’s by design because they’d really prefer I pay for it, but…nope…I have Amazon Prime with comes with unlimited Amazon Music and all the channels I care to listen to.

This situation in North Korea. It’s a powder keg. And we’ve got a mentally unstable idiot just itching to throw a match at it to prove he’s “tough.” (Though, it’s easy to do that with other people’s sons and daughters…)

This bloated beached whale. He is everything that is wrong with this country and our government. Entitled, unapologetic, spoiled, bloated, lazy, and blatantly not representing the people he was elected to serve.

 

 

Worth Reading — 7.5.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Linda Slade: Girls and their Frienemies  (Definitely worth a read)

New Republic: It’s Time for a Bluexit (Long, but really well written. Sadly, I reside in one of the red states, but I’m not opposed to sliding a few miles up to New York).

Erie Times-News: Erie native Matt Mead, family navigating path to NASCAR dream (I worked with this young man’s father, Matt, and his grandfather, the venerable and awesome Ed Mead, when I worked at the Erie Times-News. I also knew (and adored) his mom, Lettie, so I’m thrilled to see all is well with their family (and, as a mother, I share in Lettie’s worry for her baby!) Ed would’ve absolutely loved this, I’m sure.

Active.com: The Funniest Tweets About Working Out.

 

How to drive me nuts

I was a teen in the 1980s and grew up feasting on daytime drama, i.e. soap operas like General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, and Another World, which were in their heyday back then.

Some were on in the late afternoon when I got home from school. I think General Hospital (remember Patch & Kayla…sigh!) was on at 3 p.m., but others I taped.

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(Aside for those under 25: Hi, kids! “Taping” is something we used to do before the days of DVR and it involved a VCR—you may have seen one of these in your grandparents’ house—blank tapes, and prayers that the power would not go out and then mess up the programs you scheduled to record).

ANYWHOO….I learned a lot about life, love, marriage, and infidelity from watching these shows. A popular plot when a husband got sick of his current wife/lover was to drive her insane by, say, moving items around the house, canceling appointments, or otherwise messing with her mind.

So…dear husband, I know what you’re up to when you do this kind of crap:

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Do you see the problem here? There are two things actually driving me insane in this photo…and it ain’t my pretty kitty or even the single shoe the dog dropped when he got tired of carrying it around (which, let’s be honest, he could not do if the kids would put them in the shoe closet, but…I digress. Again.)

People, the screen is half open….as are the blinds on the right side.

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, MAN…..either open it all the way or close it all the way.  Leaving it halfway open is like waving a red flag at my OCD side.

I’m on to you, dear husband. What are you sleeping with your cousins third wife in a bid to capture the fortunes that rightfully belonged to your mother before her stepfather wrote her out of her wealthy mother’s will?

I’m watching you….

 

 

Worth Reading — 6.28.17

A random collection of articles, blog posts, books, and other things I think are worth sharing.

Erie Times-News: Donkey and Miniature Horse are BFFs. (Your feel-good story of the week.)

Fast Company: The Untold Story Of Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell’s Visionary 1980s Tech Incubator   (Whewww…that’s a long headline….)

Alternet.org: The Dark Rigidity of Fundamentalist Rural America

“Without built-in protective functions like critical analysis, self-reflection, openness to counter-evidence, and willingness to re-evaluate any and all beliefs, bad information in a closed-off system ends up doing massive damage in a short period of time. What has happened to too many fundamentalist belief systems is damaging information has been allowed in from people who have been granted “expert status.” If someone is allowed into a closed-off system and their information is deemed acceptable, anything they say will be readily accepted and become gospel.”

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. If you’ve never read this classic…or you haven’t read it since High School, give it another go. It’s reminiscent of much of what is going on today and speaks to this truth:

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Just Write 150 ~ Baby mamma

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When I was 12 years old and in the 7th grade, I had a regular babysitting gig for a family down the street. They had three kids under 6, one was a baby. I remember babysitting a lot. Three three times a week, or more. Probably because I came cheap. I think I got paid $2 an hour.

I didn’t care all that much about the money anyway.  The hours I spent at the Bowser’s house was unsupervised time away from home and all my siblings. Time my mother didn’t hassle me because I was babysitting. Time I could spend in an air-conditioned house watching cable TV while eating junk food my mother wouldn’t buy and talking for hours on end to my friends and/or boyfriends, via phone or in person if they could come over.

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Me, circa 1985 (Wow…do I look like Kelly here or what?)

I remember ignoring the kids a lot. The middle boy—he was probably 3 or 4—was a pain. He was always wrecking stuff, refusing to do what I told him, whining, and being a pain in my ass when I just wanted to smoke Newports on the back porch and maintain a social life.

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The truth is that I was too immature to be any kind of a decent caregiver at that age, but…I kept them alive, fed and changed, which is all the parents really asked of me.

My daughters are years older than I was then and I cannot, for the life of me, imagine them taking care of any child, let alone a baby.  Let alone a baby, a challenging preschooler and a kindergartner.

They’ve never changed a diaper. They’ve never held a baby. They’ve never tried to hold onto a squirming 2-year-old hellbent on dropping skull-first to the ground. They’ve never dealt with a 3-year-old’s temper tantrum after giving them milk in a blue cup and not the yellow cup they wanted. They’ve never been back-talked by a 4-year-old.

They’ve missed out on so much, and like any good mother worth her weight in ulcers and worries, I’m now convinced that I’ve failed them. They’re going to be one of those women who have never changed a baby until they give birth to one.

But the fact of the matter is that times have changed. People don’t hire 12-year-olds to babysit anymore (do they?) and there just weren’t any babies in our family when they were younger for them to cut their teeth on.

Also, I’ve deliberately tried to preserve their childhood and not rush growing up. I’ve done nothing to encourage the packing up of Barbies, the cleaning out of childhood book shelves, the wearing of makeup, or the acquisition of boyfriends. I’ve not prevented any of this stuff, but I haven’t pushed it either.

It’s going to happen anyway, I know.

This weekend, Lauren decided to clean out the playroom. She’s going through all the toys and making piles — to give away, to pack away, to sell on Ebay/Craig’s List.

I went up briefly to see her progress and, wow. I don’t know what possessed her (probably the riches she expects to reap through eBay), but she’s really cleaning house up there.  Leaving childhood behind. Piling up Lightbrights and Etch-a-sketches and Polly Pockets and Zhu Zhu Pets and pop-up play tents and dress-up clothes and dollhouses…

So I guess it’s time to move on. Time to swap giant stuffed Care Bears and Little Golden Books for teenager-y stuff like gaming chairs, stereos, and lava lamps. Time to turn the playroom into a hangout. It’s probably about four years past due anyway. And yet I’m still not ready.

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In her to-sell pile is a popup play tent we got plenty of use out of. It often annoyed Dan when they would put it up  because it took up half the living room and we would constantly trip on the tent legs, but I never cared.  It was a clear and visible, if inconvenient, sign that two happy little girls lived in my house.

They still do. Though the signs have changed. It’s all cereal bowls and YA novels and elastic hair bands now.

I’m not selling that tent. I’ll find a place to tuck it away in case I ever have granddaughters to play in it again. I imagine they’ll be over a lot. Their moms aren’t going to know how to take care of them, you know.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.

“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”