Category Archives: Fun

Alphabet Soup Challenge: Z Is For Zumba

On the off-chance that you’ve never heard of this fitness craze, let me break it down for you.

Zumba is a group dance workout that utilizes world music. It’s high energy and fun. It gets your heart pumping and tends to cause profuse sweating.

I participated in Zumba classes for a few months back in Wisconsin about 8 years ago (mentioned in this post). I absolutely loved it. That’s not to say that I was “good” at it. I’ve been told that I’m a great dancer-but not on the Zumba floor. Because Zumba requires one to mimic the moves of the instructor. At a very rapid pace. My arms and legs don’t work together very gracefully unless I’m doing my own thing. Free-styling, if you will.

During the few weeks between my last job and my current job, I made a pact with myself that I was going to use that time for some self-improvement. I decided that I would start with improving my physical self by getting in some regular exercise.

So I found some videos of Zumba classes on YouTube, pushed my coffee table back a bit, and got my groove on.

Things did not go as I hoped they would.

There didn’t seem to be as many full class videos on You Tube as I thought there’d be. So I was going from dance to dance, different instructors each time, with ads between. Plus Radar was around, getting in my way. In fact, one time while I was “zumba-ing” I jumped on his paw because I didn’t see him there and he yelped in response.

After three attempts at my in home Zumba experiment, I came to the realization that it was just not gonna work.

But I have hope for my future with Zumba. One of my WIPs (Wildly Improbably Goals, a coined termed by writer Martha Beck) is to become a Zumba instructor. With the caveat that the classes I lead are only for those 50 and up. Who are beginners.

I would include simple choreography. Not too much jumping and not too fast-paced. I would have the best soundtrack, but it would not be dominated by world music. Maybe some, here and there. Mostly we would be zumba-ing to a variety of classic rock with a little adult alternative in the mix. The songs we all grew up with and the cool songs of the moment. The ones that have a good beat, making them easy to dance to.

Free-styling will be part of each number we do.

This WIP of mine is obviously not going to happen anytime soon, thanks to Covid-19 restrictions on group gatherings. But that’s just fine by me. I’ve got my plate just full enough at the moment, with running the new food pantry and this blog.

Lucky for me, I’m able to get in plenty of exercise in my work day at this point in time.

***Header image courtesy of https://www.pinterest.com/pin/194006696430951042/

Alphabet Soup Challenge: L is For Laughter

Back when we were living in Wisconsin, I attended a church sponsored women’s retreat. I recall being outside among the pine trees and cool spring air with a couple of other women. We were chatting away and for whatever reason the subject of humor came up. One of the women, a beautiful brunette with big brown eyes, stated “I’m not really a laugher”.

What a surprising thing to hear someone say, right? This was a person who was essentially admitting she didn’t possess a sense of humor. I never could get my head around that.

Around the same time, I participated in a couple of “Laughter Yoga” classes at our church with several other women (not the brunette). The theory behind “Laughter Yoga” is that laughing, even if it’s completely fake, is beneficial both physically and mentally. So we would do some stretches then we’d be invited to randomly call out something happening in our lives and then heartily laugh about it as a collective. I remember thinking that if anyone walked into that room they would think we had all lost our minds. Here we are, stating out loud things like “my daughter is in love with a loser” or “my dog is sick” then laughing our heads off.

I wonder if this is still a thing?

Anyway, my point is that laughter is important. Especially in these abnormal times. It releases endorphins and relaxes your body. It is essential to one’s well-being. It’s what gets us through, don’t you think?

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Since I’m not aware of any “Laughter Yoga” groups in these parts, I rely on other methods to evoke laughter in my day to day life.

Here’s a sample of the things that are making me laugh right now:

I recently finished the final season of Schitt’s Creek, and I’ve got to say that Catherine O-Hara’s “Moira” is on the top of my list of best comedic characters ever on t.v. Here’s a little clip so you can see why I say that.

The other day, I read the funniest blog post I’ve read in a very, very long time. It was so witty and original! The blogger, Christine, has a knack for comedic writing, which you will see if you peruse her blog posts (which I highly encourage). Check it out if you want a good snicker: https://imsickandsoareyou.com/2020/09/26/i-read-an-amish-romance-novel-so-you-dont-have-to/

This dorky woman cracks me up every time I see this commercial:

I shared with you all recently that I started a new job. What I don’t believe I shared though was that our organization also runs a thrift store on-site. All of the money made goes directly back to programming for low income families and individuals. Pretty cool, right?

Recently, I came across this interesting piece of nostalgia at our thrift store that I found hysterical. It reminded me of the big productions produced for company employees, as featured in my favorite documentary “Bathtubs Over Broadway” which I wrote about here. If only I had a basement with a bar….

So, Pals, what is making you snicker/chuckle/snort-laugh these days? Please share in the comments!!

***Header quote/image courtesy of Yakov Smirnoff

Alphabet Soup Challenge: F is for Fascination

When I started to ponder what word beginning with “F” I wanted to write about, I started with “Fashion”.

I was going to write a fun post about how, because of this damn pandemic , I miss having places to go where it isn’t out of place to wear a cute summer dress (like the one below purchased from Kid #2’s online store). I was going to share how my parents owned a women’s clothing store in the 80’s and early 90’s which clinched my love of fashion.

Citrus skater dress, print designed by my youngest

But my favorite 80’s song kept coming up in my “songbrain”.

This song got me thinking about Lisa, the foreign exchange student from the UK who lived with us for the ’83/’84 school year. So I decided to pivot on my word choice for this post.

That school year was the only one that came anywhere near being fascinating for me. Lisa’s placement in our home shook up our family dynamic. I was suddenly not the only child in our home. I now had someone my age to talk to, laugh with, and engage in shenanigans with.

Lisa and I posing in the living room back in ’83

Lisa was always up for having fun; that is what made her extended stay with us such a bright spot in my life. Sometimes she’d sneak off and create a weird display on my bed with random items found in my room for me to find later. She was so excited when she made us “Shephard’s Pie” for the first time. It was a favorite of the Brits, she said.

Then there was that time when she surprised me with a stiff cocktail using my parent’s liquor when they were out of town. Despite having a British teenager who was of legal drinking age back home, they foolishly kept all of their liquor under the kitchen sink. It’s amazing how trusting Bonnie and Babe were.

Do you ever look back on your youth and think that about your parents?

Speaking of liquor, I’ve always been fascinated at the idea of having a pint or two at a traditional English pub. Hearing all those lovely accents and soaking up the atmosphere.

It seems to me such a laid back, lovely place to visit. Touring castles and checking out vibrant markets in little villages would be my jam. As a life long Beatles fan, I would be especially fascinated by touring Abbey Road or any other Beatles themed venue.

The most fascinatingly ridiculous thing is that I am 53, have both my “sister” Lisa and her husband, along with a lovely niece (and her two daughters and charming Puerto Rican husband) who all live in England and yet I’ve never been.

Do any of you have places you’ve always been fascinated with but have yet to travel to? Please share in the comments!

Header image courtesy of https://www.vexels.com/vectors/preview/187516/flower-letter-f-typography-design

Alphabet Soup Challenge: P is for Pets

Karl the cockeyed cat and Radar-ling

They touched noses. Two nights in a row. And I have yet to witness it. Hubs said it is a lightening fast interaction that intimates a handshake.

They have of late been engaging in rowdy chasing shenanigans. It’s not clear who is leading this activity nor does it matter. It’s not for us mere mortals to understand.

They are simultaneously interested in each other and the humans they live with. But there’s an underlying fact: they are in competition with each other.

They both know they are very cute. They both have pretty eyes. That is their secret weapon. They are aware that we believe they are both very cute with pretty eyes. And they use that to their advantage, because at the end of most days, they get a special moment to enjoy treats together on the kitchen floor.

Hubs perspective: he has trained Radar very well. Specifically to “leave it” when eyeing a smaller creature, such as a squirrel or a bunny. Radar’s response is a comprehensive lick of the chops.

They like to eat together. Radar waits patiently next to his bowl of food each morning for Karl to come downstairs. He won’t start eating until his friend is present.

In the evenings, they eat together and when one of them is finished, always leaving a little bit in the bowl, the other saunters over to finish. Neither gets pissy with the other-no possessiveness to speak of. It is beyond cute.

Some of us in this house are of the opinion that there will come a time, sooner rather than later, when these two will be cuddling up and grooming each other. I’m cautiously optimistic about that.

While Hubs were on our Great American Road Trip (3,300 miles over 2 weeks), kiddo said Karl missed us. He didn’t eat for the first 24 hours after we left and when we came home he expressed his disgust with our temporary abandonment by sneaking into the shower and peeing all over the shower curtain. Cats are so weird.

Radar spent the better part of the 72 hours of our time at my sister and her husband’s place in far northern Minnesota bonding with his new best friend, Sis’s dog Dingo (a rescue pup just like Radar).

Here they are (bear in mind this is the first time I’ve uploaded video onto YouTube and embedded it in a blog post. I’m learning!)

Real Neat

I’m going to veer off-topic here. Not like I’ve ever committed to one topic anyway on this blog of mine.

But I did warn you when I began my “Alphabet Soup Challenge” that I may choose to write a post that is aside from that endeavor.

The humorous blogger Mona, over at Wayward Sparkles nominated me for the “Real Neat” blog award.

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Thank you, Mona!

Isn’t that nice of her? She’s a very cool chick who has a lot to say, about well..a lot. She does so in a quirky, heartfelt sorta way. And she’s super into music, like me. So of course we’ve become blogging pals.

As a nominee, I have been directed to answer the following questions:

  1. Which five places would you like to visit and why?
  2. What food will you not eat and why?
  3. What super power would you like to have and why? (Anything goes!)
  4. What was your childhood dream job/career?
  5. What current actor do you think would make a great Elvis Presley in a movie about his life? Rhonda would like to know this, I think!
  6. What one thing would you like to see happen in 2021?
  7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received and would like to pass on to others?

My responses:

5 Places: All 50 states in our camper with Hubs. We would take a whole year and work odd jobs here and there to keep gas in the truck and our bellies adequately filled. Of course I’d be blogging all about it and who knows…maybe it’d result in a book!

Then of course, there’s Napa Valley, California because wine. And beautiful scenery. NYC to visit all the touristy sites and of course be in the audience at SNL. Europe (England, Germany, Ireland, Spain, the Netherlands and other places I’m sure). Cleveland, Ohio to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Food I won’t touch with a 10 foot pole: Sweet potatoes. I think it’s weird to have potatoes that taste sweet. Yuck!! Potatoes are best with salt, pepper, and cheese and all that other salty and fatty stuff.

Superpower: To fly. At will. Whenever I need a break from the hum drum of life. To learn about the world through my own eyes and feel free at the same time.

Childhood dream/career: I remember making countless lists of careers I wanted to pursue (I seem to recall it being pretty eclectic: stewardess, lawyer, psychiatrist) but the one I think that was most consistent was being an actress/writer. Think Rachel Bloom from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”. I think had I been 12 when that show came out, I’d have been the president of her fan club and very possibly her stalker.

Who plays Elvis? Let me back up here for a sec. This needs context. I posted about the fabulous musical talent Yola recently. While researching her online, I learned that she is to play Sister Rosetta Tharpe in a new bio-pic about Elvis Presley. I did a bit of pondering with other bloggers in my comments section as to who might play Elvis. Didn’t realize till now that the role has been cast. I do think he looks the part, don’t you all?

What one thing would I like to see happen in 2021? Sorry, Mona, in these turbulent times I simply can’t limit it to just one. First one is a cure and vaccine for Covid-19. Second is much prosperity and equality for humans, specifically those who have been so underprivileged for far too long. Health care for all, more financial equity, a much improved and accessible educational system.

Best advice: Life is Fragile, Be Gentle. It wasn’t exactly advice that another person verbally expressed to me. It was this sign that my Dad had hanging on the wall inside his favorite place, our garage. I think one of the best things we can do to be the best versions of ourselves is to heed this advice. Be kind to others, but also to yourselves. Because life is too fragile and precious to do otherwise.

Now this is the part of the post where I nominate other bloggers that I think are quite neat; well actually spectacular. And they are….

Crystal at Crystalbyers.com

Nicole at An Entertaining Mess

Christi at Feeding on Folly

Alice at Lutheran Liar Looks at Life

Now for my 7 questions, which I sincerely hope get answered:

  1. You have an opportunity to have a sit down with another writer. Who would it be and why?
  2. Who is the most talented Black artist (musician, writer, painter, potter, any type of artist) that you think deserves to be more widely known or appreciated?
  3. Who is the funniest person you have ever personally known?
  4. What or who is your spirit animal?
  5. What is the biggest mistake you think you’ve made as a blogger?
  6. What one aspect of your life during the pandemic is “for keeps” post Covid-19?
  7. If you were granted the ability to be highly proficient at playing a musical instrument, what would it be and why?

My Alphabet Soup Challenge

I was late to the party. Not an uncommon occurrence for me, when I reflect back on my life.

Or I could say I missed the boat. The boat that scores of other bloggers hopped on last month. The “A-Z” challenge. For whatever reason, this annual blogging challenge didn’t come to my attention until last month, when I began reading Crystal’s “A-Z” challenge blog posts. And while enjoying these posts, I found myself thinking that I should do this. It’s just so up my alley.

But April is outta here and now we are in May and I’d feel like a dork if I started it now. And today’s is Mother’s Day and I probably should be publishing a post about that.

But….

I’m going to embrace my dorkiness and do it anyway. With a twist though. My way. In other words, not starting with the letter “A” and ending with the letter “Z”. I am committed to covering each and every letter in the alphabet however. Just not in order.

Being that I’m starting this writing challenge this month as opposed to last month, I’m already not “in order”. So I’m going to just roll with that.

That’s why I’m calling it the “Alphabet Soup” challenge. I will keep the list of the letters with the corresponding words in a special draft folder and cross them off each time I publish a post (lest I accidentally choose one letter twice). Until I’ve done them all. It might take a while but I’ll do it regularly. I’ll aim for once a week, but there might be a week here and there where some other topic has taken up too much space in my brain or in my heart compelling me to write about that instead.

I hope you’ll stick with me folks. It’s going to be an experiment. And if there ever was a time to be experimental with the writing I put out there in the universe, this, my friends, is it.

Celebrating Friendship In Florida

I’ve got vacation on the brain. It is all I can think about and therefore all I can write about today.

Hubs and I are flying to Tampa next week (Coronavirus be damned), where we will meet up with one of our long time couple friends (Hubs’ first college roommate and his wife, Lynda) and drive a rental car to a 2 bedroom condo in Siesta Key. Where we will stay for 5 days.

Thanks to being a teenager in the 80’s, this song is on a loop in my brain now

There, we will be celebrating Hubs’ 50th and our upcoming 30th wedding anniversary.

Beyond having our flights and VRBO booked, no other plans have been made. Which is what makes me so excited about this trip (the element of surprise, you know). All four of us have agreed on our priorities while there: lounging on the beach, sipping ice cold adult beverages, and fishing in the ocean. That’s it. No further expectations.

The fishing part is all Hubs’ idea. Not that the rest of us goons hate fishing. It’s just that Hubs adores it. He and I went on a charter boat fishing when we traveled to Islamorada in the Florida Keys to celebrate our 25th anniversary. We both enjoyed it tremendously.

Lynda’s husband is wary of the “devil sun”, as he calls it. He will be slathered from head to toe in sunscreen, wearing a Minnesota Twins baseball cap and reading a newspaper. That is how he rolls, and we all know it.

Lynda and I will enjoy ourselves some chit-chat between our spates of attempting to catch “the big one”. Snort-laughing all the while. That is how we roll.

Of course, I’d be lying to you if I didn’t admit there are scenarios in my head of what we might do between the fishing, soaking up the sun on that white sand beach, and downing frozen fruity cocktails. Like kayaking, eating fresh seafood, and souvenir shopping (in tribute to my mom, Bonnie, who never failed to bring us all back tchotchkes when she came back from vacations).

And with the time I’ve left before this vacation, I’m going to be working on a playlist. Cool thing is, my office mate gave me a water bottle with a blue tooth speaker implanted in the cap. So I can take my bottle of cold *whatever* with me wherever we go, unscrew the lid and sync it up to my cell phone and together we can all jam out.

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Like this!

First song I will add to this playlist is going to be this David Byrne song that I discovered by accident. I was in awe of his performance with his talented troupe on SNL the other weekend, and it occurred to me that beyond the major “Talking Heads” hits, I wasn’t very familiar with his music. So I used google to grant my wish of listening to his music and this came up. As I was listening to it, I thought to myself that this is a perfect song to sit and listen to while on a beach in Florida with our friends. Then I looked at the name of the song.

I think it’s a good omen.

18 Things That Need To Be in My She Shed

Imagine the tune “If I were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof while you read the following:

If I had a she shed

Doodle doodle doodle

Diddy doodle doodle blam!

All day long I’d write and putz and sing

If I had a sheee shed!

I would of be writing and playing hard

Doodle doodle diddy blam!

If I were a righteous bitch

Doodle doodle doddle diddly blam!

Now that I got that out of my system, here’s what I envision will be in my future “she shed”:

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  • A small fridge/freezer combo in which to store bottles of Pinot Grigio and Merlot, ice, and pints of gelato.
  • A window with a view of lilac bushes.
  • A good sound system and internet access.
  • A large desk for my chromebook adorned with pictures of family and friends and uplifting artwork. Like the image above.
  • A comfy gray or tan love seat with large matching pillows.
  • A large vision board hanging on the wall above the aforementioned (leather) love seat.
  • A sturdy bookshelf that I get from a thrift store and up-cycle.
  • Hearty plants in colorful pots of varying shapes and sizes.
  • A special little table to keep essential oils, diffusers, and candles. This place is going to smell goooood.
  • A comfy yet indestructible dog bed for Radar.
  • A microwave. To heat up my peppermint tea or to make nachos.
  • A Keurig coffee maker with an array of caffeinated options.
  • A pair of bean bag chairs. So when I invite a friend or two over, we have comfy places to sit down and shoot the shit.
  • A dart board. Pictures of OWM to affix to it for when I feel the need to rage against the patriarchal machine.
  • A special basket to house all my fuzzy socks.
  • A ceiling fan for when the hot flashes emerge.
  • A sink, so I can properly clean up when I knock over a glass of wine or the essential oil diffuser.
  • A velour blanket to drape around myself on chilly mornings.
The original version, by the Monkees, is featured on my Soundtrack for 2020. Plan to learn this on my ukulele ASAP.

Swearwords: the spice of the English language

The following post is brought to you by the mantronym KISS. Which, today, stands for Keep It Sweary, Sister!

Swearing. Colorful language. Cussing. Foul language. Profanity.

I love it all. Truly. But my thoughts and feelings about it are a bit nuanced.

  • Fuck is clearly the “worst” one. But one I really dig when it’s used in the right way. For humorous purposes. When it’s shouted in anger and with malign intent, not so much.
  • Shit! Love this one for sure. I feel like this is one swear word that is harmless. And it’s just so fun to say!
See what I mean?
  • Goddamn. I was totally going to write it as “GD” because I personally think it’s the harshest of all the swear words. It’s almost always said in anger or extreme frustration. I always want to kick myself when it comes out of my mouth. I’m (obviously) not a big believer in swearing being a mortal sin, but I feel like God would surely disapprove of this one.
  • Bitch. To me, this is a fun one. It wasn’t always. It was something I whispered (and truthfully sometimes still do) to myself when another female is pissing me off. Note to self: Cut that shit out! I think as a gender, we women have begun to embrace this one. Like “way to be a Boss Bitch!” or Lizzo’s line in “Truth Hurts”: ” I just took a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that bitch.”
  • Sonofabitch! Makes me think of my dad, which makes me snicker. Besides his other favorite swear word, “Horseshit” (his response sometimes when asked how he was feeling or when his restaurant meal wasn’t to his liking). He also used it when he was railing against some dude that pissed him off, like when Trump spoke on tv.
  • Motherfucker. I know, technically I commented on this one already (see “Fuck” above). However, “motherfucker” is really in a realm all by itself, right? Not that I haven’t uttered this word in conversations before, when speaking of some despicable male who committed deplorable deeds. I just think it’s a spice to be sprinkled very lightly to have maximum impact. I love, love, love Eddie Murphy, for example, but after about the 22nd “motherfucker” in the “My Name is Dolemite” movie on Netflix, I had to turn it off. The word, unlike “Shit”, loses it’s power when said too liberally.
  • Asshole. Such a funny word!! And isn’t it funny that while it’s literally a body part, it’s also a swear word? I have no misgivings about hearing others use this word or using it in personal conversation (well, maybe not in a professional setting I suppose).
  • Dick. Also quite hilarious as it’s also a name. And a body part. But my favorite use of this one is:
This can be seen in the home of one of my friends, who lives with her husband and two teenage sons. One of the reasons why I love that woman!

Hopefully I haven’t alienated any of my patient followers with this post, but to make up for it I will end with this spectacular image…

Kevin Bacon as “Dick” in “I Love Dick”

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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