Category Archives: Humor

Quick post about my mom

Back when I was a freshman in college, when I was busy learning how to share a dorm room with strangers, how to properly do my own laundry, and who my real friends were, my parents decided to take a trip to Europe. England was their first destination, on account of having people to actually visit there (our AFS student, Lisa, and her family).

My mom (aka the local celebrity) has always had a spontaneous nature. She couldn’t help but imagine herself going to England and having tea with the Prime Minister. So she decided to write a letter to Margaret Thatcher to request a meeting.

I like that she did this. It falls into the category of “what’s the worst that could happen?” Ms. Thatcher says no, I’ve got dignitaries to meet and butlers to order around. At least mom could say she tried.

Within a month or so (I’m totally guessing here), she received a letter in the mail. Straight from 10 Downing Street. The Prime Minister was unfortunately unavailable to meet with Bonnie from northern Minnesota. Mom framed it and it continues to be hanging on the wall in the home I grew up in.

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At the time my mom did this, I thought it ridiculous. And really, it was.

However, the take-away here is important: you don’t know what is possible unless you try. And if things don’t pan out the way you wish them to, you might just have a good story to tell about it later.

Thanks for that, Mom.

 

 

AFA: AKA-Appreciation for Acronyms

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As a person who delights in the English language, I particularly enjoy a good acronym. With the exception of the times when I’ve begun a new job. Co-workers fling acronyms around like our President lies, and until I’m there for a decent chunk of time, I’ve no idea what they mean.

Just for fun, here’s my commentary on my acronyms:

NOAA: Someone I know and love very much works for NOAA (clue: he’s a scientist). He has been known to refer to this acronym as the “National Organization for the Advancement of Acronyms”. Because of course in his field, acronyms abound.

MIAT: This one was created by the great comedic writer, Sarah Silverman. It stands for “Make it a Treat”. I know from personal experience, however, that this one can be overused, especially when the “treats” are the edible kind. I truly need to utilize this one sparsely. Or perhaps I ought to create myself a list of what qualifies under the MIAT acronym that doesn’t involve food.

FEPP: Focused. Engaged. Patient. Positive. This one is my own creation and I pull it out whenever I feel like my brain is all over the place. Like now.

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AF: I learned what this one meant shortly after I began using Twitter. It seemed to punctuate so many tweets and I was simply clueless as to what it meant. So I asked other folks in Twitterland what it meant. I eventually got the correct answer: As Fuck. I believe some of my fellow tweeters enjoyed my naivete as the first response (from the Bloggess, no less) was Air Force.

FYI and ETA: these are ones I commonly use, especially via text. FYI is an attention grabber; it emphasizes the importance of the forthcoming information to the textee. ETA is straightforward and requires a specific response, which is especially appreciated if the texter is anxiously awaiting your arrival.

YOLO: While admittedly overused in our society, this remains a favorite of mine. It speaks the truth: that at least as far as we all know, you only live once. So make it an interesting ride by saying yes to adventure in the here and now.

KISS: A very versatile acronym/mantra I use very liberally. I wrote about it here.

FML: This is actually one I despise,  because it’s typically used in the context of someone complaining about a first world problem. It’s negative and hopeless. A total downer.  I am so turned off when people use this one on Facebook.

WIP: What does it mean? This one was used by another blogger in a comment she made on a recent post of mine. I asked her what it meant and I am honestly still awaiting a response. Perhaps she thought it a dumb question, unworthy of an answer. If that’s the case, so be it. I suspect it is one of those special acronyms specific to the blogging world. But I like to think it means “Work in Progress”. Seems appropriate, right?

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My new favorite acronym!

 

Writing Neurosis

True confession: I have been beating myself up for the past week because I didn’t publish a post per my usual schedule, on Wednesday.

Let me go through the reasons why excuses why this post did not materialize.

  1. I had 13 different blog post drafts that I had started in the past, say 3 months or so, and while I made some progress on a few of them since the last post I published, I wasn’t gung-ho about publishing any of them. AKA, I was feeling indecisive. Not an unfamiliar feeling for me.
  2. Life interrupted my trains of thought. Hearing news about my mom’s declining health and the subsequent worrying that has followed (magnified by feelings of guilt for not living closer to her).  Lending an ear to others in my life who are struggling through some major changes. Having a busier-than-usual social calendar.
  3. It was our youngest spawn’s 25th birthday and it didn’t feel right to focus on myself that day (that damn mother’s guilt).

I’m guessing that there are other bloggers who can relate, right?

One story I tell myself when I fail to publish on Wednesdays is that in the scheme of things, it doesn’t matter. I likely don’t have any followers that will be crying into their coffee or adult beverage of choice because they didn’t see a post from me that day. They aren’t going to send out a search party or anything because I’m temporarily MIA. I will check my site and see that I still have 92 followers after it’s been 2 weeks since my last post. My world and the blogoshpere will keep spinning.

What a cop-out, right?

Now, while this story I sometimes tell myself is more fact than fiction, where on earth does it get me? Nowhere, that’s where. It puts me in a place, at least in my mind, of self-pity. Poor, poor, pitiful me-right?

What needs to happen here is I need to get off my self-imposed pity train and make writing a bigger priority in my life. Maybe instead of checking off my “to do” lists on Tuesday mornings (which is my most perfect time of the whole entire week to actually put my thoughts and feelings into words on this blog of mine), leaving me mere minutes for any writing before I have to call an Uber and get my ass to work (aka self-sabotage), I ought to do my writing first. Like I am today. That’s a start.

Maybe instead of publishing posts about my wishful thinking (btw, we still haven’t adopted a dog), I should spend my time and energy on improving my writing and my blog; search for new ways to express and improve myself in the blogging realm.

I recently read a great post by a favorite blogger of mine. She shared some great advice about blogging, some of which I am already doing, a portion of that I could be doing even better, and one particularly special nugget that I know I must act on: joining a blogger’s group online. Not that I haven’t already done this; it’s just that I’m not entirely certain the one I joined months ago is my bag. She suggested two of them. So I put in a request on Facebook to join one of them. They accepted my request yesterday. Yay!

I’ve got a truth bomb: I really really really really really really want to see more comments on my blog. I get why readers often don’t comment on other blogger’s posts: it is simply easier to click the like button instead. I mean, our time is valuable, right? We’ve got other blog posts we want to read, our own blog posts to write, and lives to live. However, to me, comments are golden. They make me feel heard, understood, appreciated. Isn’t that the main reason we are all here, blogging into the ether? It’s about community, camaraderie, and improving as writers and as people.

How about we make a pact? I will commit to more frequently commenting on your blog posts if you will commit to more frequently comment on my blog posts. I know that’s pretty forward of me, but I feel we will all benefit.

Now that my neurotic diatribe about blogging/writing is over, I have one question for my fellow bloggers:

Do we have a deal?

ISO something new

Life is really, really good for me right now. I have few legitimate complaints. I’ve got a solid marriage. Together we earn a steady, livable income. We are both in good health. I have a part time job that I truly enjoy. A church family. Loving relationships with our spawn. A good routine.

I feel, however, that I am in danger of becoming complacent. Too comfortable. Boring, even. I am craving something new in my life.

I started something new about a year and a half ago-blogging. I continue to enjoy it but suspect I have yet to reach my full potential. I feel that I ought to be bolder, edgier; take more risks with my writing. This feeling was reinforced by my realization this summer after sharing a couple of blog posts on my Facebook page, that my fears of family, friends and other random people I have friended on Facebook over the years reacting in horror and disgust do not seem to actually give any f*cks about what I’m posting. Actually, the few responses I got were pretty encouraging.

So there’s that. It’s time for me to take some risks on this blog. To you, my sweet readers who I am so totally thankful for, the risks I undertake with my writing may seem timid. Maybe you won’t even see them as risks. But I will. Because while the topics I will write about are not exactly fleshed out at this point (I like to think of myself as quite the planner, but not so much with my writing, if I’m being real), I will be embracing a quote I heard recently which I find to be quite awesome: “Growth does not come from a place of comfort”. What that means is that before I hit “publish” on a post I’ve penned,  I need to feel at least a teensy bit uncomfortable.

Okay, onto my diatribe about my craving for something new in my life. I’ve got a few thoughts rattling around in my brain about that. At the top of these thoughts is adding a new member to our household: a furry one. Hubs recently told me, and I think this time he really truly means it, that now is the time to start the dog-shopping process. We absolutely adore canines. We haven’t had a dog in our house since our beloved bichon, Homer, passed away in 2013. It has been long enough. We are ready.

However, I do have other ideas about ushering in something new into my life. Maybe I ought to make a list of these ideas of things I want to do, things that are foreign to me now.

Here goes nothing:

Learn to speak Spanish. Those “Babbel” commercials have got my attention these days. Though it bugs me that this company chooses to spell their name incorrectly. It’s “Babble”, people!

Start writing a comedy show for Netflix about our alter egos, Rita and Max. They would be the interesting, somewhat wacky empty-nester couple who are always up to some type of shenanigans. Netflix does appear pretty open about producing new shows at this point in time right? Trying my hand at fiction would most certainly be a new endeavor for me.

Volunteer with the democratic party in Colorado, specifically to get people registered to vote. Then I can at least look back on this period of my life and know that I did my part to get our country’s people’s heads out of their asses and engaged in politics. 

The dog is going to be the first priority, however. First things first.

Stay tuned….

 

 

Food, how I love Thee

 

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What you see above is a picture of a supper I made a couple of weeks ago. Hang with me here, and I’ll share the oh-so-simple recipe at the end of this post.

For lack of a better term, I am a die-hard “foodie”. I understand that one should not “live to eat”, but rather “eat to live”. Intellectually, I know that is the healthiest way to think about food. In spite of this, however, I lean towards the latter and not the former.

A few years back, I made a decision to adopt healthier eating habits. My weight had grown to an unacceptable level in my view and I believed it was time to make some serious changes in my daily diet.

So after reading a few dieting books, I decided to go low carb. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I found myself mostly missing bread and baked goods, but not much else. I kept a daily food diary, which I think was the best tool I could have employed for this endeavor. I ended up losing 23 lbs over the course of about 5-6 months. I felt great about myself. I got myself down one pants size. People noticed.

However…I slowly but surely started to slip back into my old ways, enjoying bread on a semi-regular basis and increasing my consumption of chocolate. About a month ago, I told myself that while I’d managed to gain approximately half of the weight I’d lost, I was not continuing to gain even more weight. I was not gaining but “maintaining”.

Oh, the things I tell myself to justify poor nutritional choices.

I will at some point, in the not so distant future, purchase myself a brand spanking new notebook in which I will document my daily food intake. After of course I  recover those tried and true low carb recipes I collected back in the day when I was uber motivated to shed the weight.

Hubs and I recently returned from our epic summer road trip to visit family in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  I made the conscious decision to wholeheartedly embrace the “live to eat” method. The “YOLO” diet, if you will. Justified by the fact that I was on vacation. 

My vacay diet consisted of the following: cheeseburgers and french fries. Ice cream treats. Potato chips. Lots of those. Candy. Cinnamon rolls. Cookies. Pancakes. Banana cream pie.  I basically ate like the 10 year old version of myself in the lazy days of summer. And I have no regrets. Though to be honest, I am a good 6 lbs. heavier now as a result of this “no holds barred” foodie fest.  I am verging on the precipice of having to purchase pants in a larger size at this point.

I refuse to purchase larger pants. Even if they are purchased for a pittance at my favorite thrift store. Even if they are far more comfortable and don’t leave red indentations in my mid-section after taking them off. Not. Gonna. Do. It.

Luckily, the recipe for the supper I photographed for your hungry eyes is indeed both low carb and highly delicious. Here it is:

4 chicken breasts

Store-bought pesto (or homemade, if you happen to grow your own basil as I do)

Chopped garlic

Fresh mushrooms

Fresh tomato

Shredded mozzarella

Brown Rice ( I highly recommend Success Rice. Easy-peasy, trust me)

Using a mallet (and some pent up anger), pound chicken breasts between a couple of pieces of parchment paper. Sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper to your liking.

Heat up some olive oil in a large skillet, then add some chopped up garlic and fry that up a little. Then add the chicken breasts. If it doesn’t appear to be cooking quickly enough, throw in a bit of water and cover the pan for a bit.

In a separate pan, heat up some olive oil and add the mushrooms. Once those are cooked up nicely, add them to the skillet with the chicken in it. Once the chicken is almost done, slather some of that delicious pesto on top of the breasts. Heat that up a bit, then sprinkle as much mozzarella on as you like. Slice up a tomato and put it on top. Cover the pan and heat it up a little more.

I’m going to assume you knew to make the brown rice in between all these steps.

Then simply plop your rice onto plates, and place a chicken breast onto that and chow down.

Enjoy, folks!

Happiness is having something to look forward to

Thinking forward to an upcoming visit with our friends, couple #1, and their two young daughters recently prompted me to peruse the library at work. This library is chock full of donated books for the seniors we serve to take home and enjoy. There is no requirement that the books taken be returned, which I love. Included in this library is a shelf full of children’s books.

That is where I found this little gem, written by Minnesota native and creator of the iconic Peanuts cartoons Charles Schultz, in the year of my birth, 1967.

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The colors and graphics in this little book are quite gorgeous to my eye. But what most tripped my trigger was the words written in the pages. The sentiments. One especially.

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The message that “happiness is having something to look forward to” resonates with me. I believe that all of us, even on our worst days, if we pause to think about it, can imagine something on the horizon to personally look forward to. It doesn’t have to be anything major. In fact, the simpler the better. Because really, isn’t it the simple joys in life that make it enjoyable? Worth continuing?

Maybe it’s the fancy mocha-choca-latte you’re going to buy on your way to work today. Maybe it’s payday. Perhaps it’s the juicy burgers you’re going to grill tonight for supper. Or the book you can’t wait to read. Or the summer vacation you’ve got planned with your family or friends.

In the spirit of keeping things simple, let me share what I am currently looking forward to: visiting the Denver Zoo this weekend with our friends and their sweet, funny, smart little girls (one soon to be 6 and the other soon to be 3). Witnessing their reactions to the animals they see and interact with. Hearing their giggles. Capturing some sweet photos along the way.

How about you all? What are you looking forward to? Surely there’s something.

When I grow up

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I’ve gotten to know a lot of people since moving to Colorado with Hubs almost 2 years ago. I’m appreciative of this. I’m especially appreciative of the older women I have come to know, as they inspire me to strive for graceful, healthy aging. Like the women I volunteer with each week at the food bank. Or the women with whom we attend church.  And the women I work with along with the female senior citizens I serve in my job.

These women I’ve come to know don’t seem to let their age impede them in any significant way. They generally seem to take life in stride and their feathers are not easily ruffled. They have a strong sense of self  and understand they still have the ability to help and inspire others. Their ages do not define them, which I believe is how it should be. They embrace the lives they have and do not wallow in the physical or mental changes that aging has foisted upon them.

One 80 year old lady I know gives me the impression that who she is now is who she’s always been. She is open-minded, witty, and her fingers and toes are always immaculately manicured.  She once expressed a combination of confusion and frustration when a client referred to her as “cute”. She recognized this was an ageist statement and rightly took offense to it. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Another older woman I know is exceptionally loving and caring. She never had children, by choice, which makes her a rare bird in her generation. However, that doesn’t prevent her from looking out for people younger and less wise than she, as she has the ability to embrace and appreciate one and all. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Another female senior I know is a fun loving social butterfly.  She readily strikes up conversations with anyone and peppers them with “dear” or “dear-heart”. She is a snappy dresser and tells great stories about her life as a wife to a Vietnam vet and mother to her now grown children. She recently visited Disneyland with friends and their teenage granddaughter and shared stories about how she and the teen rode almost every single ride together in the park. What other almost 80 year old woman do you know who does that? I want to be like her when I grow up.

Another woman I’ve come to know here is savvy and smart. She takes no shit from anyone. You know where you stand with her. She is not a word-mincer, which is a quality I sort of envy. I want to be like her when I grow up.

Yet another lady I’ve gotten to know, at our church, is adventurous. She travels frequently with girlfriends she has had since she was in college in the 60’s. She is big-hearted and a great listener. She happily donates her time and money to causes she believes in, but she is never showy about it. One time at church, I asked for prayers for someone I love very much who was experiencing a lot of struggles in a personal relationship. This wonderful lady called me a couple of weeks later to check in and see if things had improved with my loved one. I also want to be like her when I grow up.

Then there are the two retired women, who I believe are sisters, who come into our food bank at work about every other week and donate several bags of just purchased food. They look over the shelves and ask me questions about the types of foods our seniors seem to especially enjoy, so they know what to buy at the grocery store the next time. They do this out of the sheer goodness of their hearts. I want to be like them too when I grow up.

I also have a food bank client with bright blue eyes that do not betray her age. This lovely lady once struck up a conversation with me about cooking, which is a common occurrence when running a food bank, and promised to one day bring me her recipe for pork green chili (a Colorado staple). Lo and behold, a couple of months later, she gifted me with her handwritten recipe for this tasty dish. I think I want to be like her when I grow up too.

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Not so sure about buying that lard, though!

The thing is, we are all aging. Day by day. There’s nothing besides death of course, that is going to stop this process. I think that we all have the ability to choose how we are going to age. Some older women are preoccupied by their health problems, or the health problems of others, and seem to be stuck in a never-ending loop of worrying what illness will strike next. This negatively impacts their relationships and their quality of life.

However, these dynamic, older, and wiser women of Colorado that I’ve been fortunate to come to know give me hope and inspiration for my future as a female senior citizen.