All posts by Rhonda

I'm a 51 year old lover of life, family, friends, and creative writing (amongst numerous other activities, people, animals, big ideas, and things). I am a native Minnesotan transplanted to the Denver metro area from Wisconsin due to a job transfer for my fabulous husband. We are empty nesters, with two terrific adult children living their own lives, one in Indianapolis and the other near Green Bay, WI. I am and always have been in my heart of hearts, a writer. I was a case manager/social worker for many years in Wisconsin and am now ready for my new chapter in life as a writer. I enjoy writing about day to day (mis)adventures I experience in my new Colorado environment, the people I love and those that inspire me, places I've traveled to, music that makes my world go 'round, politics and current affairs, and general observations and ideas about life and ideas on how it could be improved. My hope is that my blog will be interactive, collaborative, and inspiring.

What don’t you do?

A few weeks ago, I joined a new Facebook group. I’m not calling it out by name because many of the things said in this group are quite personal and I want to respect that. I’m even going to avoid giving the basic stats of who is in this group, as a matter of fact.
So in this group, there was a thread I found really interesting. It was prompted by this post. I enjoyed following the thread that ensued and started thinking about the specific things I myself don’t do. It was a challenge for me, as I’ve been so focused these days about what I “do” do (and writing blog posts about that). So I decided to mix things up a bit for today’s post.
Here’s what I came up with:
Things I don’t do (that I’m probably supposed to, according to societal norms of white Gen X ish middle aged females, with a few random “dont’s”mixed in for shits and giggles):
  • I don’t exercise on purpose.
  • I don’t get manicures.
  • I don’t clip coupons.
  • I don’t sew. That’s Hubs’ forte.
  • I don’t clean up dog puke. Again, Hubs’ forte.
  • I don’t have my work email linked to my cell phone.
  • I don’t have my very own car to drive. Hubs and I share one and I’m cool with that.
  • I don’t put a strict limit on my daily carb intake.
  • I don’t scrapbook.
  • I don’t wear Spanx.
  • I don’t drink decaf. Fully loaded, dark roasted coffee is my jam.
  • I don’t cook foods for my loved ones that I don’t like to eat.
  • I don’t poop in the presence of Hubs.
  • I don’t (and won’t) throw my family members or friends “under the bus” with my blog posts. They deserve my loyalty and respect.

Now, you may have noticed that there is little explaining on my above list. That’s because I think it’s a shame that we, as women in this world, due to largely manufactured societal pressures which are reinforced in a bajillion ways on the daily (the “perfect” photos of your Facebook friends, commercials on t.v., magazine articles, etc.), feel guilty for not doing the things we’re “supposed” to do. I think we need to cut that shit out. Who’s with me?

For the love of God, people, please add a few of your “dont’s” in the comments!

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How this WIP is Rolling Right Now

Right now, life is very good for me and mine. I love my life here with Hubs and Radar in Colorado. I love my job. I’m excited about the opportunities it presents to me.

I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I want to these past couple of weeks, however (though I did manage to finally re-vamp my About page).  I’ve been busy “doing” instead of writing; taking care of business rather than simply “being”. This is on account of me being left to my own devices with Hubs having to be out of town for work more often and my compulsion to stay on top of all the social planning that comes with the looming Thanksmissween holidays.

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Speaking of which, Halloween is coming up next. Just 15 more days. I’ve been consumed with figuring out costumes for the two of us and Radar. And planning a Halloween potluck costume contest extravaganza for work. I’ve got a freaking awesome costume figured out for myself, btw. If it turns out the way I envision, I will surely post a pic or two in an upcoming blog post. 

Radar is the best boy ever. We have totally bonded with him. He is so very smart. Two Sundays ago, this dog that started as a raving lunatic in beginner obedience training at PetSmart graduated from “Intermediate” obedience training, as a matter of fact. We plan to move on to “Advanced” obedience training in 2020. I’ve been tempted to write more posts about him, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the best path for me right now. So instead, I’ll share  recent pics of him to get it out of my system:

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20190922_162302 Top Pic, aka Before: Radar donning his brand new Minnesota Vikings bandana  Bottom Pic, aka After: Donning his partially chewed up Minnesota Vikings bandana

While Hubs was off doing his work stuff in another state, I did take a little “me” time and watched an amazing movie on Netflix: “Bathtubs Over Broadway”. I seriously could write a whole post about each and every detail I adored about this movie, but instead I’ll just give you a quick summary:

It’s a documentary by Steve Young, a former writer for “The Late Show with David Letterman”. He happens upon industrial show tune albums, created between the late 50’s and 80’s for big company’s sales conventions, which were used for bits on the show. He uncovers this totally unknown-to-the-general public genre of music and essentially becomes obsessed with it. He becomes a rabid collector of these albums, making friends with other collectors along the way. He meets and has lovely interviews with some of the composers, writers, producers, and performers of these industrial show tune albums.

Here’s a a prime example of these wonderfully odd show tunes.

Steve’s story inspired me on several levels. Here he is, pushing 50 and about to enter a new phase of his life, as this was at the end of the run of “The Late Show with David Letterman”. He pursues this very specific, odd genre of musical entertainment out of a sense of sheer wonder and curiosity, like a dog with a Kong toy. In the end, he proudly displays his “freak flag” with this pursuit and shares the all the wonderfulness of it with the world through this documentary.

 

I think I ought to add this song to my “Soul Song” playlist ASAP!

So tell me, friends, how are you rocking and rolling right now?

Impeachment and Beyond: A Political Pipe Dream

Disclaimer: My blog is not a political one. I am not aiming, nor do I believe I possess the energy/skill-set/desire for it to become one. However, I’m an avid political news consumer. And I’m simultaneously sickened by the current political state of affairs and hopeful that with our next election, there will be positive changes in this country. For every single one of us.

And I have a blog. A space where I can spout off my opinions and ideas, political or otherwise.

So, here I go.

Having a positive mind-set does not mean one doesn’t ever have negative thoughts or feelings. Negative opinions of others.

For instance: I have numerous negative thoughts and opinions about Donald Trump. Such as: He’s an awful human being. He lacks compassion. He is narcissistic. He is unintelligent. He is a racist and a misogynist. He is wholly untrustworthy. He’s in over his head, has been since he got elected POTUS, but he’s so delusional he’s unable to admit that; likely even to his own self.

We as a country need him to be impeached. Or he needs to resign. We need him out of the fucking Oval Office, stat. However it happens is however it happens. It just needs to happen. Like yesterday.

Impeaching “Don the Con” needs to be the focus right now, in this moment. Granted, we all know he and his minions (until they all scatter away from him like drowning rats of course) are going to do their damndest to provide “distractions” from the looming impeachment. We need to call out those distractions for what they are: a manipulative means of switching the American voters focus on anything other than the immediate threat: Donald Trump as our President. He is a tumorous cancer on our country.

Daniel Dale on Twitter: "Going on MSNBC with @NicolleDWallace to talk about Donald Trump, the president."

 

So once all has been revealed and Donald Trump is unequivocally out the door, I think the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders need to take themselves a respite, as a team, and come up with a comprehensive plan for our country’s future. I think if they do this, there’s no stopping them from taking the White House, the Senate, and the House.

Allow me to channel my inner political strategist.

So we’ve got 10-ish Dems currently running for the Democratic nomination who are far more capable of running this country than the Douche who’s currently in the White House. They are all, in my view, upstanding, hardworking, sincere, intelligent and trustworthy folks. They all have their own experiences, talents, and ideas to bring to America’s table.

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These Democratic Presidential candidates would be wise to  hit the pause button on their own races for a bit and have themselves a meeting of the minds. Maybe a weekend retreat somewhere in the mountains where they have the space and time to relax individually; catch up on their sleep, have a massage, go for a hike.

Bernie can do some guided meditation. Elizabeth can decompress in a sauna. Kamala and Amy can get a massage.

Then, if I had my way, they’d have a couple of professional, experienced mediators equipped with white boards and plenty of erasable markers to come up with a plan that answers the question: “What do Americans most need from us as elected officials to ensure a healthy, prosperous, and sustainable future for themselves, their loved ones, and our planet?”

I would posit that the most important outcome of this whole experience would be that they would create charts of who of each of them (including some who have officially dropped out of this race) would be in what cabinet position, depending upon who is POTUS and who is Vice POTUS. Then when the time is right, make the final chart, aka plan, public.

Thing is, when we vote for our next President, we need to understand that we are entrusting this person not only to lead our country and all that entails, but also to choose their cabinet members wisely. Put the right people in the right positions. As in, the complete opposite of what Chump has done.

This is what I envision:

POTUS: Elizabeth Warren (a no brainer at this point to me)

Vice POTUS: Pete Buttegeig or Julian Castro

Secretary of Energy: Jay Inslee

Attorney General: Kamala Harris or Amy Klobuchar

Secretary of State: Joe Biden

Secretary of Defense: Tulsi Gabbard

Secretary of Housing and Urban Development: Cory Booker

Secretary of Labor: Bernie Sanders

I fully realize this is a pipe dream, which some of you readers may completely disagree with. But it is my pipe dream. As an American who has become deeply concerned about where our nation is headed since the Liar-in-Chief took office and enlisted the help of his kids and other reprehensible characters to do his bidding, I fervently hope the Dems can truly get on the same page and figure out how to win this next election and get to work on making America sane, functional, and respectable again.

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My First Post about Names

Perhaps weirdly, I have a lot to say about names. See above title. I’m certain this will not be a one-off topic for me on this blog.

Think I’ll start with the obvious. My name: Rhonda. My mom told me she named me after a movie star named Rhonda Fleming. I don’t know much about her beyond that she had red hair. Hold on a sec…

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Rhonda Fleming-ain’t she a beaut? Geez, I hope all that straw didn’t end up in her nether regions!

Of course there’s that dumb Beach Boys song, you know the one, which about 60% of the people that meet me for the first time feel compelled to sing to me (like the guy checking us out at PetSmart yesterday).  One of our neighbors is also a Rhonda and she actually has this song as her ring tone on her cell phone. Having the name Rhonda, while I’m  pretty neutral about how I feel about it now at 52, kind of sucked growing up.

There were 4 other Rhonda’s between my class and the class ahead of me. In a school system that had a mere 500 (give or take) students in total. Similar to that dumbass show “The Bachelor”, there was a Rhonda D., a Rhonda T., two Rhonda S’s., and a Rhonda K (that would be me). I never figured what that was all about, all these moms sipping their Tabs and playing Bridge in the late 60’s being all un-original about naming their babies. The worst though was the nickname bestowed upon me by a tall, gangly, obnoxious kid named “Todd”. He greatly enjoyed calling me “Rhon-duh”, emphasis on the “Duh” as in “Duh-brain” (a clever off-shoot of “Rhon-duh”).

Here’s some more names I have important commentary on:

Joan. One Joan I know is my daughter’s soon to be ex MIL. I had an issue with her from the day I met her. In front of me and Hubs, she presented my daughter with a “special” necklace with the word “daughter” engraved on it. Made my blood boil. In retrospect, I think it was her way of softening my daughter to her, as that was the fateful night we nor only first met but also starting planning the wedding between our daughter and her son (there is a story to be told of that night for sure).

Then there’s another Joan, one of my mom’s old Bridge pals from back in the day. After my mom passed away in February, my sister and I split the sympathy cards up so that sending the thank you’s wouldn’t be on just one of us. We are fair with each other like that (side note: I freaking love my sister! She’s coming to visit us this week. Yay!).

So anyway, I found Joan’s card. No address. This frustrated me no end while I was trying to get this task completed (she wasn’t the only one who failed to furnish their address). So I decided to go ahead and find her address online. I thought that would be easy peasy.  Simple. Efficient. It wasn’t. I checked with two different websites that said they didn’t charge (yeah, right, sucker!) and of course was simply told that she was “found”. But no specific address was made available to me, just the city and state where she lived (like hello! I knew that already, people!).  I gave up and later ended up finding it another way (she owns a business-forgot about that!) online. Ever since, every single fucking time I open up my Chromebook, I get these pop ups with lines like “are you still searching for Joan”? One even, I swear to God, included a little picture of Momo (you know, that urban legend/internet hoax that really really dumb middle schoolers have apparently bought into). I guess they thought they could scare me into paying them to dig up Joan’s address for me after all this time I’d been searching?

 

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I present to you, Momo

In a previous post,  I mentioned how my mom used to love to sing to me all the time when I was little, despite not really being able to carry a tune. I have fuzzy memories of her when I was probably 4 or 5, when I would beg her to sing me “name” songs. They ran the gamut between “Julie do ya love me?”, to “I’ve been working on the railroad” (Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow, Dinah won’t you blow your horn was the chorus), to “Laurie (strange things happen)”.

Let me leave you with my personal favorite “name” song, with the extra special bonus of interpretive dance. Enjoy!

 

Pitches and Badass Bitches

I’ve been re-thinking my “About” page these days (yes, again).  I read somewhere on the blogosphere not long ago that readers check out the “About” pages on blogs more than one would think, and their impression of them may either turn them on or turn them off. I for one, do peruse the “About” pages after reading a post or two I like on another blogger’s site.  Suffice it to say, I think it’s time to give my “About” page a makeover.

At the very least, it needs some flair. 37 might be over the top when it comes to my blog though.

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I do not have a salesperson personality. I do not want to come across as a salesperson on this blog. Yuck. Just yuck. In fact, I freaking detest being approached by salespeople in a clothing store, or whatever store (or any other setting for that matter). It seriously turns me off. I want to make my own, informed, personal decision when I’m considering a purchase. I don’t tolerate it well when I’m being bombarded with information I didn’t ask for just so I can earn someone a sale. Or a follow.

That being said, I also accept and understand the role of the “pitch”. In my job, I’ve been put in the position of having to attend “speed networking” meetings. These meetings are typically held in assisted living facilities and all attendees are professionals who work for companies and non-profits that serve our aging population. A good chunk of the attendees are marketing folks. So I have learned how to “market” my organization in the span of 3 minutes at a time, because I’ve had to.

So that’s how I’m going to approach making over my “About” page. It’s a pitch, right? I’ve got a lot of overthinking pondering to do on this. Stay tuned.

That brings me to the “Badass Bitch” part of this post. Because truthfully, I’m striving to be one. With my blog of course-but I will not limit my pursuit of personal badassiness to just that.

But enough about me.

Let me tell you about the women I find to be particularly badass, and I strongly encourage you to share yours.

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First, there’s Lizzo: You’ve certainly heard of her at least, right? She’s the hip-hop, rap, music-maker of funky/catchy tunes who I am certain will be winning Grammys left and right before long. My favorite badass artist turned me on to her (that would be Spawn #2).

Interesting facts/what makes Lizzo seriously badass:

She was mentored by Prince. If you are a Prince fan, you will hear his influences in her songs.

She is a flutist. She actually planned on being a professional flutist in fact.  When she pulls that flute out, it’s unexpected and truly magical.

She’s an actress! Triple threat, right there. She will soon be seen in the movie “Hustlers” (she pulls out the flute in one of two short scenes she is in), and provided her voice talent to the movie “Ugly Dolls” (which I totally need to see ASAP).

I thoroughly enjoyed Lizzo’s “tiny desk” concert on NPR. I think you will too. She is charasmatic, funny, and just so stinkin’ talented. Check it out!

Another badass bitch you likely have never heard of is this lady, California Congresswoman Katie Porter.

Interesting facts/what makes Katie a badass:

She turned Orange County California from red to blue as the first Democrat to be elected in her district. 

She is a single mother of 3, after having gone through domestic violence in her marriage.

She has a wicked sense of humor (see below clip).

She grew up in Iowa which has given her an understanding and appreciation of farmers and other Americans who break their backs to earn a meager living.

Watch her go toe-to-toe here with Bill Maher. I am so paying attention to where she goes politically. I like to think she’ll reside in the White House some day.

 

 

The HighWomen. They are a new “supergroup” of badass country/Americana singer/songwriters comprised of Brandi Carlile, Maren Morris, Amanda Shires, and Natalie Hemby. Their song “Redesigning Women” has been a constant earworm for me as of late. To me, it’s the modern day woman’s version of  Dolly Parton’s  “9 to 5”. Like if they ever did a remake of that movie, this would need to be the theme song. I can really relate to the lyrics, as I imagine any American middle aged woman would.

I love, love, love, this video!!!

Greta Thunberg is the youngest badass that I’d like to feature. If you haven’t heard of her, she’s a teenager from Sweden who is determined to do all she can to turn the tide on climate change. She fell into depression when she learned about climate change in school a few years back. Once the depression lifted, she became hyper-focused (she is on the Autism spectrum and embraces it, as one should) on doing every single thing she can to ensure world leaders start acting now to combat climate change. She started by doing a school strike and now she’s traveling the world (by train and not air, as to not compound the problem) to protest and bear witness to this crisis for her generation.

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I think we need more Greta Thunberg’s in this world, don’t you?

What’s your theme song today?

Seems I haven’t written a music-themed post in quite a little while. As I’m knee-deep into another WIP for this blog right now, which is not going to be ready for public consumption for at least another week, it feels like a good time to talk about the music that is currently inspiring me.

I like the idea of having a “theme” song. Not just one, however. We humans are not one-dimensional after all. It’s how ever many speak to you. A song based on what’s going on in your life in the moment. A song that expresses how you are feeling about what’s going on in your life in the moment. A song that speaks to your spirit; your soul.

If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you probably understand that I’m a total geek when it comes to making Google playlists. I’ve got numerous playlists, all filled with songs under a specific theme. From my “CFO” (Chill the Fuck Out) playlist, to me and Hubs’ “Road Trip” playlist, to my “Soul Song” playlist (which I talk about here and highly recommend you do, if you find music inspiring at all-if you don’t, you might want to get that checked. Just saying!).

But this post is not about my Google playlists. It’s about songs that come into my mind in particular moments. The ones that sometimes define my days.

Like:

“Bitch” by Meredith Brooks: I’m feeling pretty fierce when this is my theme song. Confident, like I’m embracing all that I am as a woman in today’s world. With gusto.

“The Climb” by Miley Cyrus: I know this may seem like a cheesy choice, this song that was written and performed by a child 10 years ago. But bear with me here. It is a very well written song and the lyrics resonate with me as a blogger with big writing dreams. And yes, it is on my “Soul Song” playlist, thankyouverymuch.

“Anticipation” by Carly Simon: This song speaks to me in the moments when it dawns on me that I’ve allowed myself to perseverate on future plans. It brings me back to earth; the present, the now. It reminds me that right here and right now, living a great life with Hubs in Colorado, that “these are the good old days”.

“With a Little Luck” by Paul McCartney and Wings: This is the song I sing to myself when I’m stressed about our Spawn and what their futures might look like. When I feel like Hubs and I have done all we can to support and guide them but still feel anxious. It’s a little reminder to myself that Hubs and I have gone through myriad ups and downs, with our children, our careers, our personal selves and extended family through these last almost 30 years, and we’ve always figured things out, made it through. And with a little luck, we’ll keep on keepin’ on. It gives me a sweet little boost.

Do tell me, my music-loving, lyric-loving, self-loving readers: what are your theme songs?

 

 

 

 

 

The Recombobulation Zone

After traveling by air last week, I appreciate the sign posted at the Milwaukee airport (and per Hubs, many airports in the U.S. because he travels way more than me).

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Because I’m relating to it on a deep level right now. I’m knee deep in the “recombobulation zone”.

What put me there, you may wonder. This very meaningful weekend I just spent in Wisconsin with the people I love so much. Some I am related to by blood; some I am related to due to the wise choice I made almost 30 years ago to marry into this family.

People, if I’ve learned anything in this life, it is that when you marry a person, you marry their family, too. For better or worse. Through thick and thin. It’s not perfect, but it’s beautiful nonetheless.

But clearly, my emotions were discombobulated and I’m now unpacking them. Spending quiet time outside on a lake in Wisconsin got me thinking of my parents. The reality of both of their deaths really started to hit me. More and more, I find myself thinking of them and what they would think of what we are doing, saying, and about how life is going for the rest of us still in our human form on planet Earth.

For the rest of this post, I will be focusing on the positive take-a-ways from the Davis family Wisconsin cabin vacation, however. I may be on a strange and up and down path, but my name is Pollyanna after all (or not).

Allow me to bullet point it, in the interest of time and K.I.S.S. (Keep. It. Simple. Sister.).

  • Our grandson is growing by leaps and bounds. He is high-spirited, intelligent, and curious about the world around him. I wish I could see him more often. His biggest concern re: starting Kindergarten this week? That for lunch he will be served pork chops every. single. day. Who knows how this got lodged in his 5 year old brain, but the fact of the matter is, he hates pork chops.
  • Despite her pessimistic “realist” outlook, I cannot underestimate the wisdom of my wonderful mother in law. Mental note to self: talk to her on the phone on a more regular basis.
  • The sight of small children and deer mingling melts my heart.
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Christopher at Fawn-Doe-Rosa, a wildlife adventure park
  • Women over the age of 40 can be truly badass. Take my SIL, Mary. She’s 47, in great shape, both inside and out, has a huge heart for all living things, and she’s furthering her education while working full time.
  • Choices a person can make in life can produce unintended, uninvited, and unpleasant consequences. But it’s a spectacularly hopeful thing to witness someone at the beginning phase of turning a rotting lemon into sweet lemonade.
  • Spending time outside with the ones you love the most, with no high tech distractions, just the smell of a campfire, the feel of a breeze on your skin, talking about life is just oh-so-good for one’s soul.
  • Witnessing your grandchild being introduced to fishing by your fisherman-at-heart spouse is a true delight.

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