How I'm Rolling Right now: the DC version

Ok, let me start with the obvious. I’m going to be in Washington, DC soon.

I am serving in the role of Hubs’ “plus one”. He has to be there for work. I am tagging along and will have the luxury of unsupervised time in our nation’s capital.

I am one lucky broad.

As I write this, I’m in the midst of what is best described as the “Holiday Gauntlet”. Hubs and I are going to be tremendously busy with wrapping Christmas presents, decorating the house, and baking cookies to send to friends and family far and wide, until we get on that airplane. The point is to wrap it all up before we go.

Thus begins the annual Christmas cookie baking and packaging extravaganza!

This means the time I have to create an itinerary for myself while in DC is a bit limited.

There are certainly some “must do’s” swirling in my head.

Here are but a few:

Visit the Newseum

Get myself a Snickerdoodle McFlurry from McDonald’s

Have dinner at Mrs. K’s Toll House

Visit the museum of American History

Visit the National Portrait Gallery

Shopping

Seeing a classic holiday movie at the AFI theater near the hotel we are staying at (Choices are “Holiday Affair” and “Miracle on 34th Street” neither of which I’ve actually seen). I am very open to your opinions on this btw.

I recognize that the above list is pretty random and maybe even a little tame. There’s a reason for that, beyond having the better part of 3 days to myself while I’m there. I’m using my guiding macronym here: Keep It Simple Sister. Because I rather like the idea of going at my own pace when I’m on my own in DC. Ensuring I’ve enough time to write. And sleep. And catch up on my reading. And use the earbuds I’ve had forever and a day and never used so I can listen to podcasts I downloaded on my cell phone.

My intention here is to ensure I’ve not overplanned myself so much that I don’t take notice of my surroundings. It’s DC, after all. For all I know I could be riding the Metro and end up sitting next to Bernie Sanders. Or Nancy Pelosi. Or the notorious RBG. Note to self: ponder what you might say and/or questions you might ask if this type of opportunity presents itself. One never knows, right? Maybe I’ll be sitting innocently in a coffee shop and overhear a private conversation between 3 Republican senators about how much they want to impeach Trump but they don’t have the guts. I could find myself being a fly on the wall who pulls out her handy dandy chromebook and captures the experience for this blog. Or better yet, the woman who appeals to their better angels and convinces them to do the right thing. Ha!

Or perhaps I accidentally become swallowed up in a swarm of protesters protesting against the Bullshitter-in-Chief. Now that would be an interesting blog piece, right?

So clearly I must keep my wits about me just in case.

I found my old metro cards from previous times I’ve been in DC, so I’m ready to do some exploring!

Kiss: my Guiding mantronym

I’m such a weirdo. I like to think the other weirdos out here in the blogosphere have received that memo by now. I like to think I’m in good company.

But just in case, let me tell you about my guiding acronym mantronym (because it’s not just a mere acronym, it’s also my mantra). The one that has been stuck in my head probably since I started blogging. The one that suits me best. The one that speaks to me. The one that repeats itself in my head as I write like an earworm.  

That mantronym is KISS.

Traditionally, it stands for Keep It Simple Stupid. But for me, it stands for Keep It Simple Sister. Because no good can come from me calling myself stupid. I believed the lie that I was stupid for far too long and now I’m 52 and the fucks I gave in the past are (mostly) history.  I’ve evolved.

Keep it Simple Sister is a kind yet firm way to remind myself to not be verbose when I’m writing. Because while I am a bonafide spaz, I don’t think my readers need to be pounded in the head with it when they read my posts. You all have lives, right? Responsibilities. Schedules. Important shit to do. Me getting to the fucking point already in my blog posts is essentially my way of recognizing and respecting that.

But very possibly the best thing about my beloved acronym of KISS is how darn versatile it is.  While  “Keep It Simple Sister” will forever be the guiding principle as I write my blog posts (and live my life), there’s often alternate versions of this mantronym at play within them.

For instance, “Keep It Specific Sister”. This one came to me while I was using my wicked crafting skills  creative energy to put together my  vision board. I firmly believe that having a physical picture of what specific things or experiences you want in your life increases the chances of it becoming reality. For instance, instead of affixing a picture of, say, a wine bottle or grapes to my vision board,  I affixed a picture of Napa Valley because that is a place I very much wish to visit with Hubs, asap. Seeing it every day keeps it fresh in my mind, which is good because, I am 52.

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Then there’s “Keep It Sincere Sister”. Bottom line-I’m just going to be me. I will continue to write (and breathe) with my heart in the right place. Which happens to be on my sleeve.

I also enjoy the “Keep It Sassy Sister” version of KISS.  Because. THIS.

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A highly important version of my beloved KISS is “Keep It Surprising Sister”, because that is what I’m aiming for. I want to surprise you, dear readers, as well as myself. But in an interesting and smart way of course. In a brave and new way. A meaningful way.

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A more recent version of KISS that I seek to inject into each blog post is “Keep It Sincere, Seeker”. Because while what I write comes from my heart, I’m also very much a seeker. A student who’s learning and growing as a blogger and a human. I’m eager to continue that, with the knowledge that I don’t know what I don’t know. I read lots of other blogs for tips and tricks as well as for inspiration. It keeps me engaged in the whole process. And I know that by continuing this practice, I am likely to keep improving as a blogger.

Any of you other fellow weirdos have a mantronym? Or a mantra? Or a guiding acronym? Or does “KISS” resonate with you? Perhaps you have other suggestions for what “KISS” could stand for? I’d love to read any commentary you have about this 🙂

Thankfulness Equals Happiness

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Later tonight my spawn and spawn’s spawn will be here in my house. That is my focus. My priority. I am so full of joy that we will all be together for this holiday weekend. I am one flipping fortunate broad.

But first I shall blog.

I think it’s important to count our blessings, whatever they may be. This past Sunday at church, our friend who led the children’s message read a book aloud about thankfulness. It ended with the line “We are not thankful because we are happy. We are happy because we are thankful”. Simple and true. Here’s just a few examples of what I am thankful for in the here and now:

  • The comforts of my Colorado home

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  • My smart, beautiful, capable and kind adult kids

  • Hubs and our wonderful grandson

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  • This guy

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Radar loves his pineapple turned pac-man chew toy

  • My sense of humor. It gets me through a lot. This commercial is SO me.

 

 

  • Meaningful work. In my job, I get to procure nutritious and delicious food for aging adults. And give it to them. What a joy this is for me.

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A Thanksgiving card from an appreciative food bank client

  • Writing my blog. I think back to my much younger self knowing it would blow her mind if she knew then that once she turned 50, she’d be pouring out her feelings, thoughts, and dreams out into the universe via a home computer. And that people would actually choose to read it.
  • That these two were my parents. This will be our first holiday season with both of them gone. It is so bittersweet for me. I’m grateful they are no longer suffering and beyond grateful for all they taught me and the love they gave.

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Life is good! God is good all the time!

 

Please join with me in the spirit of Thanksgiving and share pics of what you are thankful for in the comments!

Happy-Thanksgiving-Quotes

 

 

 

Embracing Americana Music

Per Wikipedia and paraphrased by me:

Americana (also known as American roots music) is a genre of music that represents the spirit of the United States. It is a contemporary mashup of folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, and gospel. It features a distinctive roots-oriented sound that exists apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it draws. It is often performed acoustically but at times includes a full electric band.

Americana music is my current jam, people. I’m at the point in my life where my musical tastes are more eclectic. In high school, I was all about Classic Rock and Top 100 Pop Hits. I listened to Kasey Kasem’s show on the regular. In my mid-twenties, when I was a mom to two toddlers, I went through a “New Country” phase (think Shania Twain, Alan Jackson, Faith Hill). I was an avid viewer of CMT.

What has always stuck with me, however, was an appreciation for classic country and bluegrass artists, like Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers, Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton,  Allison Krauss, and Garth Brooks. I’ve enjoyed their music since forever. These artists and more have no doubt ushered in the Americana genre.

What I love about the Americana genre of music is the storytelling aspect, much like the iconic country songs of yesterday. I love the bluesy, swampy melodies. I love the harmonies often found in these songs. And I love that these songs are uniquely American.

So it seems fitting to me as a creative writer, card carrying AARP member, and music lover in the current “upside down” political and social culture that is our United States to highlight the talents of today’s Americana musical artists that I enjoy and appreciate.

Here’s a sampling of songs that fall under the Americana umbrella that I find especially special:

Side note: Hubs and I saw Logan play live at the last John Hiatt concert we attended (I’ve written about John Hiatt in previous posts, but this post is the most comprehensive one). Logan opened for Hiatt, and after he did his set, the audience was invited for a “meet and greet” with him. I took this opportunity to tell him I thought he was an amazing performer and that I looked forward to watching him win his Grammys. Yes, I am a dork. But I’m also right on this one. “Mark my words” as my Mom used to say. If you chose to skip clicking on the link I provided above, you won’t know what I’m talking about. Just sayin’.

True confession: as I was putting this post together, I got myself thoroughly lost in Americana. I wanted to add songs from Drive-by-Truckers, Todd Snider, Gillian Welch, Lucinda Williams…

But instead I’m going to have a little faith that you, my music loving readers (Americana or otherwise), will treat yourself by checking out some of these artists and songs. Tell me what you think of them. Maybe turn me on to some new artists yourselves.

Here’s something special from the King (to me) of Americana music for your listening enjoyment:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How I’m Rolling Write Now: The Uncategorized and Indecisive Version

I’m feeling experimental with my writing these days. Like I want to see what I can get away with; but not in a naughty way. Not in a way that’s going to get me arrested or shunned in the blogosphere.  I just want to put something out there into the universe that surprises some people but resonates with others. #Goals, right?

I’m also feeling some serious writing angst these days. At the same time, I’ve been writing a whole lot. Like every chance I get. While I know this is a good thing, it’s left me feeling anxious. Like a hot mess. Because there’s so much I want to say and I want to put it out there on this blog in just the right way.

The indecision within me about what to finish and publish is really messing with me right now.

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The only right thing for me to do, because I’m anal about consistency when it comes to my blog is to just Cut. It. Out. And publish something.

So off I go.

Proof of my anal retentiveness as it relates to this blog of mine: An excerpt from my “planning” draft folder (is this a thing for you too?) from 2018.

5/20:
Review both current WIPs. Decide quickly if either is worthy of being published on Wednesday morning. Morning, dear. If not, don’t sweat it. It’s the small stuff, as cliche as that sounds. But it’s almost completely true. Then just do your best to use this Chromebook during the vacay. Whenever the moment strikes. And maybe the moment won’t strike. It will by 5/28 though. So at most you’ve skipped one week of posting. Don’t get your undies in a bunch over this. Yes, that did remind me that I need new undies as a matter of fact.
Items to look for while on vacation:
Underwear
Also, Amanda’s birthday presents.

 

Now back to the current moment: In keeping with the thread of this loopy post from the indecisive, high strung hot mess that I am right now, I’m going to just copy and paste some of the random thoughts I’ve been expressing in various draft folders of this blog and call it a day. I’m going to re-type a few random thoughts I captured in various draft folders and call it a day (I can at least make the effort to make it look nice, right?).

Maybe that seems lazy to you. Maybe it seems crazy to me. Maybe it’s a combination of both. I dunno. But I’m going to do it nonetheless.

In no particular order whatsoever, I give you Rhonda’s random writing thoughts found within the vaults of my blog:

11/10:

Notions or Quotes that I’m fond of:

You get what you give.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Necessity is the mother of invention.

This too shall pass.

“The most effective way to do it, is to just do it” Amelia Earhart. That resonates for me writing wise. That’s what I’m doing right now actually, so there.

10/20:
I’m really curious about something. Well, many things really. But today I’m thinking about how I read or heard somewhere that it takes 7 days (or two weeks or six years?) to form a new habit. It’s actually 66 days. Ughh! Which, from today, is 12/25-Christmas Day!
The new habit I am going to start to form in earnest as of today is writing first thing in the morning. I like to say I do that now, but that’s not true. It’s writing before I check the forecast, read the UCC Daily Devotional, check Facebook. It’ll be an experiment. And just for fun, I think I’ll add in a new habit of writing every night too. Just for a little bit. 15 minutes even. The more I write, the more I have to publish. The more I publish, the more likely it is that I will get the attention I’m looking for.
Current moment commentary: I have stuck to this. That’s why there’s so much content within my draft folders now. And also why I’m so damn indecisive today about what to publish. 
One last snippet from my draft folders:
10/29:
Right now, I am so tired. Need to get ready for bed. Yet need to capture a few thoughts. Random though they may be. K.I.S.S. It’s mostly Keep. It. Specific. Sister. But it can vary. Mantras, phrases, acronyms, names are all very important to me as a writer. Who am I writing for? Who do I actually want to appreciate my writing? To benefit from it in some small but positive way? I want to make an impact. Push someone else forward so they can push another person forward and so on and so forth. Spread good vibes. Good juju. Good karma.
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Okay, now I suppose it’s time to conclude this post. Thanks for sticking with me, people (am I being a tad presumptuous? Probably.)
My aim for my next post is to focus on one topic, or one general idea. I promise!

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Me, after I hit publish on this post. Though before would have been a better choice. Hindsight, right?

 

November: Plans and Gratitudes

November is a special month for me.  It’s been that way for me for years now but I’m only now starting to appreciate it.

First off, it’s the month both my mom and sister were born. So I have people I love to celebrate and honor.

Then there’s the crisp fall air and pretty blue skies here in Colorado mixed in with the golden and rust hues of the trees. There’s gaining an extra hour thanks to Daylight Savings Time.

And the new clothes. Cozy sweaters and leggings. Fun boots to wear.

And Thanksgiving this year is right at the end of the month. The perfect holiday, in my opinion. No expectation of gifts or the shopping for them that stresses me out. I’ve always enjoyed my Thanksgivings, though none of them end up being the same.

There was the Thanksgiving when Hubs and I were new parents living in Lubbock, Texas. We did not have the funds to travel to Minnesota to be with our families, so we made the best of it by hosting a lasagna dinner (I had yet to make a Thanksgiving feast on my own at that time in my life) for new friends Hubs made in grad school.

There was last year, when we opted to stay put in Colorado and got invited to church friends home for a lovely Thanksgiving dinner that included the bonus of lively conversations.

This year, Hubs and I are flying our two adult spawn and one grandchild out to Colorado to spend an extended Thanksgiving holiday weekend with us. I will massively enjoy the planning aspect of it (as a medium recently told me, I’m a “chip off the old block” because my mom was a compulsive yet very talented planner Of. All. The. Events.).

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For my small and beloved family, I will be making homemade comfort food (in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. Yes, I said Friday-because I think Black Friday should suck it).  I will be choosing an array of family oriented “feel good” movies for us to enjoy. I will be determining games we can play together that interest all ages, from 5 to 52. I will be reserving tickets to a movie or live show that we can all enjoy together.

Note to self: I will keep it together if any of these plans go kaflooey on me. Appreciating that we are all together in one place for this specific and relatively short period of time will be my focus. Like Clark Griswold taught me.

 

 

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My mom’s Thanksgiving table circa 1983 ish. This is what I aspire to. 

 

This song will be shared. Because it’s the song that I imagine will play at the end of the movie of my life (yes, I have a rich fantasy life). Accompanied of course with images of my beautiful family, which will have expanded by that time in probably unexpected ways. The setting will be our dream home/cabin in the woods on a lake in Wisconsin with plenty of windows, a stone fireplace, and a couple of happy canines.

 

Happy November everyone!

All Hail Halloween!

As I’ve been simultaneously working some extra hours, gearing up for a move to a new office next week, planning what I hope is going to be an epic Halloween Potluck/Costume party for work, and putting together my crazy, creepy Halloween costume, one thing is clear.

I’ve got Halloween on the brain. I’m totally geeking out on it, actually.  So that is what I’m writing about today.

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Thanks to my Google playlist subscription, I am now able to find a number of Halloween themed playlists. Of course, “Thriller” by Michael Jackson is on virtually all of them. I had an opportunity about 6 years ago to participate in a “Thriller” flash mob with my Zumba instructor and several fellow students. I now regret not taking that opportunity. If it were to be presented to me in the here and now, I like to think I’d jump right in.

Then there’s the treats. I was cursed blessed with the sweetest of sweet tooths. My mom and dad, aka Bonnie and Babe, somehow infused this into my soul.

Of course, this year, just like all the years previous to it, 3 weeks before this holiday,  I went and purchased a large bag of my favorite candy to pass out to the little ones who come to my door on Halloween night. I did this with the full knowledge that in the last two years here in our Colorado townhome community, we have had a total of 3 trick or treaters. But I figure I ought to be prepared for an onslaught, you know, just in case.

The bag is now half full.

Speaking of treats, here’s a sweet/salty (ok, mostly sweet) Halloween snack mix recipe I’ve been making on an annual basis. In fact, I’m bringing it to work for our Halloween extravaganza. It is beyond simple, and for my fellow sweet toothers out there, it really hits the spot this time of year.

Mix together the following in a large bowl:

6 cups caramel corn

2 cups cashews (or peanuts, if you prefer)

1 1/2 cups candy corn

1/3 cup raisins

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Ta-da! My Halloween snack mix is ready to take to work tomorrow!

A favorite Halloween tradition of mine is watching “Average Andy” go through haunted houses on “Ellen”. It never fails to crack me up! The clip below is from last year because the one from this year isn’t on YouTube yet. In case you haven’t caught it yet, you’re welcome 🙂  Check out Andy’s indignation at 1:43–Hilarious!

As I mentioned here,  I don’t sew. And despite the fact that I have a fully evolved male partner in my life who actually can and does sew, I don’t expect him to sew me a new costume every year. Or any year. I prefer to go the DIY route. Get an idea in my head and figure out how I’m going to make it happen. Here’s my SNL inspired costume for this year. Boo!

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Yes, I have already worn this in public!

 

 

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Tales from an optimist transplanted from Wisconsin to Colorado. Finding silver linings, lifting others up, sharing positively good stuff

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