Thank you

Hubs and I recently received the best thank you note very possibly in the history of thank you notes. After reading it, I questioned aloud if responding to this thank you note with a thank you note could be a thing. Because this lovely sentiment was deserving of this.

The note was written by a woman named Elaine (name has been changed because I view her as a private, humble person who would not feel comfortable being gushed over). She, along with Hubs and I and 4 other members of our church, formed a small group which meets bi-monthly over a meal  as a support system for each other in our personal journeys as Christians and human beings. I love that it’s called the “Joy group”.

So earlier this month, Hubs and I hosted the first gathering of our “Joy group” at our townhome. It was the first time we’ve had this many people over since we moved to Colorado last August. Earlier in the day, whilst doing my best to get the house clean enough for company and preparing a few things for us all to nosh on, my neurotic brain worried that our townhome might be too small to accommodate everyone, or that I might do that thing I do where I get really nervous and talk too much.

While we were right on the edge of being too close for comfort, the amount of space for this gathering was workable. While at times I probably did a bit more blabbing than perhaps I should have, the evening ended up going very smoothly and I think that all had a good time.

Elaine’s thank you note was verbose, but in a really really good way. She started out by apologizing for “running way behind” on sending a thank you note. How sweet is that? We weren’t even expecting a thank you note-from her or anyone else for that matter.  We were appreciative that our new church friends were interested in spending time getting to know us, and really, that’s thanks enough in my book. She then commented that we had a “lovely house” and that she enjoyed chatting with everyone. Despite the fact that I was certain I bored everyone with too much detail (yes, I am on the verbose side too-shocker right?) about our two kids and our grandson and how much I adore them all to pieces, she commented in this note that it “sounds like you have raised a couple of unique and responsible daughters”. She then apologized for what she perceived as a “slight” for asking us if we were renting (to which I replied no, we bought this townhome-maybe my nerves made me come across slightly defensive?) . She explained that she asked this question based on her understanding that the housing market is “still pretty tight for buyers” (so this of course was a totally legit question). She then commented on how we have “created a beautiful house” and mentioned that we must be glad to have gotten rid of the red walls in our kitchen, which was a reference to when I complained about the ugly red walls that existed in our tiny kitchen when we first moved in, which we have since painted a muted tan/yellowish color. Way to be thoughtful, right?

So with a grateful heart I say to you, Elaine, thank you so very much. You are a good, kind, thoughtful woman whom I am glad to know.

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Polly’s party game

I think it’s high time I bring out the pinata and play a game with my blogging posse (clearly I have yet to get the letter “P” out of my system). What do you say peeps?

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It’s important to me that you understand that next to my sheer enjoyment of expressing myself through creative writing via this blog, I am finding the connections I’ve been making with my followers and other bloggers meaningful and inspiring. Plus, I’m positively pining to procure your perceptions.  Clearly, Playful/Pubescent Polly is at the reins of this pinata pony now. Okay, time to proceed.

6 questions. Nothing too preposterous.

First, here’s a pic of my petunias (it’s entirely possible that I have ADHD, but that’s another post entirely. Someday. If I remember to pen it.)

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Check out the sad little white one in the front. Guess petunias aren’t perfect either.

1)If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

P: To be a butterfly with great hearing. A purple one, because most of the time that is my favorite color. So everyone who sees me thinks I’m all pretty and innocent. But what they don’t know is that I have supersonic hearing. And when I fly on back home I can turn back into myself and write down everything I heard (to later be used as fodder for my blog posts), because unlike the version of myself sans wings, I also have hyperthymesia.

thanks Wikipedia

2) Dogs or cats?

P: For me, it’s dogs all the way! There is a reason people why the word “dog” is simply “God” spelled backwards. And just like God, dogs love all of us unconditionally. Cats are a whole other ball of twine from my perspective. They are a persnickety lot. Plus I’m allergic to them, or 88% of them anyway. On top of that, “Cat” spelled backwards is “tac” which is not even a word. Except for “Tic Tacs” which isn’t a real word either, just a minimally enjoyable mint.

3.) Would you rather see John Mellencamp or Bruce Springsteen in concert?

P: Well I’d totally be thrilled to see both of them, as their songs contributed to the soundtrack of my pubescent years. But since I have to choose, I pick “The Boss”. For practical reasons primarily. Springsteen is the oldest of the two, thus statistically (don’t judge me, I’m not a mathematician for Pete’s sake) more likely to croke prior to Johnny Cougar. Time is of the essence here.

4) Who would play you in the movie or t.v. version of your life?

P: Mary Louise Parker or Winona Ryder. Keep your pessimistic opinions to yourselves please. A girl can dream right?

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5) What’s your current platform?

P: I am on a path to my own personal new reality, transporting myself in a creative writing vehicle that doesn’t always follow the road signs.

6) Pick what you perceive as the perfect ingredient for the best dessert: Pineapples or Peanut Butter.

P: Totally depends on the day as I love them both. Pineapples are awesome because they look really cool and they are the official fruit of Hawaii, or so I presume. And I really want Hubs and I to go there someday. And they are healthy (I did mention I may have ADHD right?). Probably even a superfood. Peanut butter is awesome because of the texture, plus it is a good source of protein. So it’s a total toss up.

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See I told you it was a Hawaiian delicacy!

So here’s my plan: I’m going to rest on my laurels sipping a pina colada while beating my pretend pinata to death until it explodes with candy while you peruse this post and provide me with your perspectives. I’ll be as patient as I can be (which is not very).

Peace out Peeps!

P.S. Sorry I couldn’t resist. I had to persist.

Brought to you by the letter “P”

Disclaimer!!! I have not been diagnosed with multiple personality disorder (yet anyway). However, my alter ego, Pollyanna, has a variety of personas. Such as Pubescent Pollyanna, who is currently penning this post. Pubescent Polly has perhaps been unleashed as a result of my current life circumstances. Many of my days this summer have been reminiscent of a time, long long ago, when my pubescent self was home alone, listening to pop music on my boombox and writing pathetically putrid poems, songs, and plays. The grown up me, however, posits that life experiences, whether painful, parental, pleasing, peculiar or a partnership of two or more of them, have unveiled a plethora of personas in which I inhabit. And all of these personas I’m discovering are propelled by  Real Rhonda.

In addition to Pubescent Polly, there is:

Pokey Polly: She’s the one that takes 8 times longer to finish a meal than anyone else on the planet. Especially when eating pizza. Or Pie. Or Pineapples.

Peaceful Polly: She’s the one who just wants everyone to get along for Pete’s Sake! She strives to be mindful. She meditates daily. She protests peacefully for truth, justice, and human rights.

Passionate Pollyanna: She’s the one who is nuts about music. And food. Like peanut butter and pistachios. Peaches and pumpkin (though not together. She has no interest in being Pukey Polly). And she loves the color purple. And Hubs, her partner in life. And puppies.

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A pack of pretty, perky puppies!

 

Planner Pollyanna: This is the one who underneath it all, loves herself a party. Planning the party is a joy for her. She does her best to ponder who to invite, what they like to eat and drink, listen to and what games they might like to play.

Persnickety  Polly: She’s kind of a snarky bitch. She’s hard to please and may come off to some as a perfectionist. She doesn’t do a lot of blog posts.

Playful Pollyanna: She’s the one in control now. She is perpetually in cahoots with Pubescent Pollyanna. She likes to goof off a lot. She has more fun than any of the other personas.

Persistent Polly-She is particularly important. She perseveres people! She doesn’t give up no matter what. Even if people don’t like her pitiful blog.

Pondering Pollyanna: This persona is pensive. Perhaps a bit deep. She pens posts about personal observations about life and possibilities.

Pitiful Polly: Despite her white privilege, she finds things to whine about anyway. She is not allowed to pen any posts on Pollyanna’s Path.

Pissy Polly-She is the political one. She only posts when something in the political arena truly, positively, pisses her off. And she has potential solutions to whatever the problem is that has her so perturbed.

People Pleasing Polly: She is present in the vast majority of posts on this blog.  She prefers to hear positive commentary, but because she is able to partner with Peaceful Polly, she is very open to constructive criticism.

Then there are the personas of Pollyanna that no one will be reading because they suck, like Pretend Pollyanna, Preposterous Pollyanna, Petty Polly, Pretentious Pollyanna, Patronizing Pollyanna or Pessimistic Polly.

As Real Rhonda I hope in the future to present my precious followers with plenty of other personas, such as Progressive Polly, Promising Pollyanna, Proactive Polly, and Praiseful Pollyanna. Because Perfect Pollyanna doesn’t exist.

 

 

 

Lifting Up Those Girls

Okay, get your mind out of the gutter,  you heathens.

Because I believe that 2017 is indeed the Year of the Woman and that it is beneficial for the future of humankind to lift up all the smart, strong, funny, talented, kind, generous, and powerful women I know or have yet to meet and that it behooves the vagina owning creative writers of the world to follow suit, I’m going to give a loving shout out to a specific group of broads that all have one thing in common: they are all named Jennifer.

I think it’s pretty fair to say that I’ve never met a Jennifer I didn’t like. So there’s that.

Jennifer Lawrence: She is the actress I wish to adopt as my younger sister. She is, I believe, naturally funny. She is not self-obsessed though IMHO she is her generation’s finest female actor so she may just be acting as if she’s not self-obsessed. She’s that good. Either way, I suspect that 88% of the time she is the funniest person in the room. That’s why I like Jennifer so much.  And just today I saw on t.v. that she earned herself  a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for 2018! And then there’s this:

 

Jennifer Aniston: I think that she is the chick you’d want as your best friend. She would totally alert you when your shirt is buttoned incorrectly or when you have kale in your teeth. And she would serve you kale in her on the patio of her seaside mansion because she cares about your nutritional health. She would be such a good influence on me. And she has wicked comedic timing. Have you not seen the movie Bad Bosses? Her performance is hi-flipping-larious.

Jenny Lawson: I’m including her because she is truly yoo-ni-que. I am currently in the middle of reading her book “Furiously Happy” which I am enjoying tremendously. Through her authentic, hilarious writing style, Jenny embraces her weirdness in a way that inspires me.

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Jennifer Garner: To me, she is totally the All American Girl Next Door. I can’t imagine there’s been harsh words spoken about her. And if someone did speak harsh words about her, I’m sure there’d be an army of Jennifers that would gang up on them and beat some sense into them. It seems to me that she always picks movies to be in that have a heaping helping of heart in them, like Valentine’s Day and Juno. And let’s not forget what is certainly one of the best chick flicks ever: “13 Going on 30”. Plus she totally kicked ass (back before she was hugely famous movie star),  in the t.v. show Alias (of which I was a huge fan).

Jen Sincero: I have mentioned her in previous posts, and because I admire her so gosh darn much I’m not letting this blogging opportunity pass me by. Now I’ve read my share of female penned self-helpy type books (and will continue to do so for the rest of my livelong life no doubt), but Jen is the real deal people! Her “You are a Badass” book came into my life at just the right time. She writes as if she is sitting down right across from you, bursting with enthusiasm to impart what she has learned about her place in this world of ours and firmly but nicely commanding you to get out of your head, grab life by the cajones and be the best you that you can possibly be. She Sin-cerely (get it? ha!) wishes the best for all of her readers. And I think I can assume for humanity in general. That is how she rolls.

 

I love this commercial. The actress playing the teacher is so relatable. She is like your next door neighbor, who is single and bought her first house which she is fixing up with the help of her parents and younger brother who still  lives at home. And I’m sure she lives in Wisconsin, because that is where nice people like her live.  She is hard-working, earnest, kind, smart and an overall sweetheart. And I’m naming her Jennifer. And I truly hope she has the kid-free vacation of her dreams.

Then there are the Jennifer’s I know in real life. There’s the Jennifer who was my first boss after I became a certified social worker. She used the word “savory” when talking about food one time and I thought that was cool. She was super organized and had a very fair way of explaining opposing perspectives to me which did not put me on the defensive. She was supportive and encouraging and a great sounding board. Terrific qualities for a management position. There was Jenny I used to work with who was a hard working single mom barely making ends meet, who had such a big heart for providing care and attention to the developmentally disabled clients on my caseload in my first case management job. There is my super smart younger cousin Jennifer who is a single mom who works as an attorney in Minnesota. I’m sure that there are more Jennifer’s out there that I already know or have yet to know, but instead of racking my brain trying to recall each of them, I’ll leave you with this….

 

 

 

 

Facebook has my back

I am a big fat sucker for those inane personality tests on Facebook. I am surely not alone in this. Otherwise, those smarty pants techno wizards behind Facebook would not continue to come up with them. Loads of suckers are out there, just like me, simply dying to know what color their “aura” is (mine is pink. I am certain you needed to know that).

So I am nearing a point in my “gap year” (that one year when you have graduated from school-or in my case, my job as a social worker, and you have all these big great life altering ideas and you spend far too much time reading, blogging, gorging on MSNBC, drinking craft beer, watching Seinfeld reruns and taking important Facebook tests), where actual paid employment is quickly becoming something that I best achieve, if for no other reason than I simply must have more financial resources to start seriously knocking off some items off my travel bucket list.

So, that said, what if I turned all of that flipping valuable knowledge of myself gleaned through these perfectly scientifically based Facebook personality tests into the most EPIC cover letter or resume for the job I will obviously get?

It might look something like this:

Dear future employer (see how confident I am? I am telling THEM that they will be my employer. Turning those tables around. Go me!),

Hi, my name is Rhonda and I’m pretty awesome (bam! did it again). Facebook has assured me of this, and as you know, Facebook is the. Ultimate. Authority. On. Everything.

First off, let’s be clear that I shall not work for your organization/company/publication past the age of 61, because Facebook told me that is the age at which I will retire. That gives you 11 years of my personal awesomeness, thankyouverymuch. At the age of 61, my assets will be no less than 98 million U.S. dollars. Facebook is certain that I will amass $66,999 per month. I’m no mathematician (though I’m sure there’s an app for that), but I think it’s safe to assume that making $66,999 per month will equal to at least 98 million bucks by the time I’m ready to say “take this job and shove it” and drive my Bugatti

Here’s my future ride-the Bugatti. Thanks Facebook! You’re the best.

over to my country villa with my 7 dogs). Facebook really gets me. Thank the good Lord someone does. Sheesh.

I would be remiss to neglect mentioning what it is exactly that I can offer you as your next employee (see-did it again-I’m on a flipping role here). I have it on very good authority (Facebook, duh!) that my IQ is 198. So I’m basically a genius. And my EQ (emotional intelligence-not sure why Facebook uses a Q instead of an I here, but I can overlook this one small error) is 179. And not only that, I am 193% precise. Precise at what you ask? I may have to do another Facebook test for that, but it’s probably safe to assume I am precise at doing doctorly things like open heart surgery, circumcisions, and popping blackheads. Because the job that most suits me is being a Doctor, according to official sources at Facebook.

Heads up dear bosses-I require a minimum of 88 days of per year, not including weekends, holidays, birthdays (mine, family members, and all my Facebook friends or course), and sick days (even doctors get sick sometimes), to allow me the time required to write my autobiography entitled “How I learned to Dance in the Rain”. I have to credit the geniuses of Facebook for coming up with this title. Somehow they learned of my tremendous dancing skills and that I know a lot about rain because I married a meteorologist. Damn they’re good.

Elaine Benes, my dancing idol

In conclusion, I’d like to point out that if you make the poor choice of not hiring me right now, I am 99% Bitch. Actually, to be more specific, I am the Queen Bitch. That means, according to the psychics at Facebook, that I always get what I want because I go after it 100%. And obvs, no one messes with me as a result. You’ve been warned.

See you next Monday at the office!

You’re welcome,

Pollyanna

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dads I love with my whole heart

Where do I even begin? Saying my dad is the best is an understatement. This is the man who worked up to 3 jobs at a time to provide for myself, my mom, my 2 siblings and our dog.  This is the man who expresses his affection for those he loves freely and openly. This is the man who has a knack for coming up with nicknames for his loving family members to express his unabashed love for us all. I loved when he would refer to me as being “Yoon-a-que” (a clever play on the word “unique”). He is more likely though to call me “Rhoda Joda”, which he’s been doing for most of my life. My sister, Kelly, is referred to by him as “Kel Kel Poo Poo” and mom is “Mama Buns”. I think it is fair to say his original nicknames for each of us made us feel beloved by him. And he is so beloved by so many. He taught me through example the importance of honesty, integrity, patriotism, hard work, teamwork, and determination.  He had a keen interest in what I was learning in college and the work I did as a social worker. He taught me how to appreciate nature and all the critters (especially dogs) within it. We shared a love of ice cream at the Dairy Queen. Often he’d sneak me off to scarf down hot fudge sundaes in the summertime, followed by a peaceful drive in the country.  His existence raised my standards in who I would choose as my partner in life, and for that I am forever grateful. While I won’t be able to spend Father’s Day with him, I hope he truly knows how much I love, admire, and respect him.

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My dad groovin’ out with his mardi gras beads in Alabama circa 1990 something

 

My father in law, Jim,  is the best second dad I could have ever hoped for. He is patient, funny,  and one of the most generous people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He loves to talk politics/conspiracy theories. He is well known by all who love him for his great sayings like “You win some, you lose some”. Hubs tells me as a teenager, Jim’s one piece of advice to him was to “wear a raincoat if you’re going to play in the mud” (you get it right?). He is fun loving and a very involved Grandpa to our two kids. He has always had a habit of napping in his big comfy recliner, even amidst the chatter of those around him and the t.v. on. When the kids were in elementary school and they would spend weekends at Grandpa Jim and Grandma Alice’s house, he wouldn’t even flinch (though I highly suspect he was really awake) as the kids would adorn him with funny hats and lipstick. He has a deep love of animals and an uncanny ability to communicate with them. He has been known to take his cat Chester (whom was rescued as a wee kitten from the bushes in front of his house by our youngest) on a walk around the neighborhood with a leash. He is great at fixing cars, and along with my dad, got our old black Oldsmobile into good running condition the day Hubs and I were to leave on our honeymoon road trip to Mackinac Island 27 years ago.  A gift of labor we appreciated more than words could say. I am blessed that Hubs was raised by this guy. He was an excellent role model for how to be a good man. I won’t be seeing Jim on Father’s Day this year either, but I hope he’s able to spend time doing his favorite things like spending time outdoors and watching Nascar on the tube.

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Classic Jim from circa 1970 something

 

Hubs-the love of my life and the best dad my kiddos could have had. Patient, just like his dad, which is much appreciated since I am quite certain living with the kiddos and I all these years would have been challenging even for Job. Hubs at his core is fun-loving, affectionate, and a wonderful teacher of life lessons. He is the dad that spent hours upon hours helping our kids with their homework. He is the dad who taught them how to fish and how to ride a bike.  He is the dad who  modeled how a good spouse operates by always working in partnership with me to ensure the house was kept up, supporting me in my career/job choices, treating me respectfully, and not shying away from showing his affection for me each and every day. He is the dad who modeled for our kids how to be a good citizen and human through taking them to see Obama speak, chaperoning church youth mission trips, volunteering,  and writing thoughtful, heartfelt, and thought-provoking editorials in the local newspaper. He’s always encouraged the kids to further their education and delights in celebrating with them when they’ve achieved milestones in their lives. He is a great communicator and his listening skills are admirable, which I’m sure the kids would attest to. He loves having conversations with them about life and love. He learned much about how to be the wonderful dad he is from both our dads, which is a great blessing. I will be spending this Father’s Day with Hubs and plan to do everything in my power to make it a day he will appreciate and enjoy, because well, I love him and he deserves it.

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Hubs in his happy place…fishing on the Mississippi River

 

Donuts

Donuts are no doubt right up there with hot dogs as the worst thing one can consume. Yet they remain a delectable delight in spite of our best efforts to maintain a healthy diet. My favorites are puffy, sticky glazed ones. With a hot cup of Joe they are especially scrumptious. I also enjoy me a blueberry cake donut (which is totally fine because blueberries are one of those healthy superfoods right?) covered in a bit of sugary icing. And I find chocolate bismarcks with creamy vanilla pudding tucked inside a most decadent treat.

A trip to the county or state Fair is not truly complete without digging into one of those little white bags filled to capacity with those deep fried nuggets of goodness sprinkled generously with sugar and cinnamon, am I right?

As a kid growing up in northern Minnesota, back when the danger of carbs was not basic knowledge, and I operated under the assumption that I would forever be slender and fit (aka innocence is bliss), I frequently would pop into the bakery next door to my parent’s clothing store after school.  Often I would purchase a long John with maple flavored icing which I’d wash down with a cold Coke. Good times.

Nowadays, I adhere to a new rule regarding the donut. I refuse to pay for them. Think about it this way: why would I pay (Hub’s) hard earned money for something that will be akin to poison for my body? Plus, think about all the scenarios in which free donuts are ‘a plenty: Community time after church, volunteer gigs, the break room at the office (granted, this is currently not a scenario I am a part of at this time, but surely have been in the past).  There’s a level of giddy excitement when treats like donuts are free for the taking, kind of like what I would imagine one would feel upon learning they had won the lottery.

free-donuts

So there’s this donut shop located in a sort of run down strip mall near us. It’s housed next to a pot dispensary and a liquor store we sometimes frequent. And it appears to never be open for business. It’s called Holy Donuts and sports large pictures of donuts in the windows with what appears to be either orange construction paper or perhaps curtains beneath them. Not sure what that’s about. I surmised several possibilities about the owners of this donut shop, ranging from this being a cover for a super secret spy ring, to it being run by a lonely old man whose kids are all grown and living out of state and  doesn’t have enough help to run the shop so he is only able to make so many donuts, hence the reason it is apparently closed 88% of the time.

However, I did me a little research (aka googled Holy Donuts). Turns out they are a “mom and pop” shop, so that blows my theory of this being run by a lonely old man using the last bit of energy he has slaving away in the kitchen making donuts by himself. And they only serve fresh donuts, no day old crud going on in this joint. And the coffee they serve is fresh roasted locally. And to top it off, their website states that they are “humble and privileged to serve a lovely community of folks”.

There is an exception to every rule, right?