Singing in the Sun

In celebration of our nation’s 241st birthday, Hubs and I attended our first “big name” outdoor concert (since moving to Colorado last year) at Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater in Denver. We saw the band Train, with warm up acts Natasha Bedingfield and O.A.R. Now if you’re into seeing live concerts as I am, your first question is likely going to be “how was the show?” I’m going to answer that question first because the concert itself is not going to be the primary focus of this post.

The concert was GREAT! We weren’t terribly familiar with the warm up bands, knowing only a few of their songs from listening to them on Sirius XM over the past couple of years. But both were pleasant surprises. Natasha can really belt it out, and, as Hubs noted, she has quite a knack for “liturgical” dance. I commented that I’d like to hear her rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee” by Janis Joplin. Her songs are very pro-female, melodic, and catchy as hell (like that earworm known as “Pocketful of Sunshine”). O.A.R. impressed with some really inventive reggae, jazzy beats and strong vocals. And then came Train. Spectacular, people! They played all their best songs (IMO), in addition to pairing up with O.A.R.’s phenomenal horn section for a supercool version of Paul Simon’s Call Me Al. Later on, Pat and the boys performed a stellar rendition of David Bowie/Queen song  “Under Pressure”. Hubs and I agreed that this concert was one of the best we’ve ever seen.

As I alluded to earlier, I have more to say about this event-specifically about the people we encountered.

We got to the venue more than an hour before the gates opened, to improve our chances of getting the best spot on the lawn. We waited in line next to a chatty brother/sister duo. After shooting the breeze for a bit, the sparsely mustacheoed 19 year old brother asked Hubs if his name was Adam. When Hubs replied “no”, this kid said he “had to ask” because he thought Hubs voice sounded like Adam West, the original (and his favorite) Batman. His blond and dimpled 13 year old kid sister told us excitedly about how she recently attended ComicCon and got to meet Dustin from “Stranger Things”. She also shared that she was wearing a “kitty cat” headband because the ears on it were red, and she didn’t have anything else that was red to compliment her otherwise blue and white attire to commemorate the birthday of our nation. Together, the 4 of us talked about our favorite Train songs (hers was “Hey Soul Sister”, mine was “Save me, San Francisco”). What was especially notable about this duo was the sweetness of their interactions with each other. They had not known each other personally for much more than a year from what I understood. This is because as a tot, he had been adopted by another family  in another state and had only come to know his birth family after his birth mom sent him a friend request on Facebook a couple of years ago. He shared that his adoptive parents told him he was adopted from the get go (as a mom, kudos to them). He told us that he told his mom he wasn’t sure how he should respond. But respond he did, because he now lives with his birth dad (a lanky tatooed guy who worked security for this concert). He’s now going to school for welding at a nearby college.  These two kiddos playfully teased each other throughout our little conversation. What a couple of great kids, I thought to myself. Both sets of parents should be so proud.

Once the gates opened, we made a bee line to the grassy seating area. We made the decision to not lug our favorite oversized handmade quilt with us, knowing we had to park the car in the ramp, walk at least a mile to have a late lunch and a couple of adult beverages, then another few blocks in the sweltering 90 something degree heat to the amphitheater. Carrying a heavy quilt held no appeal for either of us.

In retrospect, this may not have been the best decision. We did get ourselves a plumb spot on the grass, directly in front of the fence overlooking the pricier reserved seats and stage. Unfortunately, the grass was quite wet and as I had no interest in standing for what ended up being the better part of 3 hours before Train came on stage, we plopped our arses down anyway. We spent the time people watching, which is a favorite pastime of mine. We saw millenials with their school aged spawn, seeking familiar faces on the lawn. We saw a younger couple with what was most likely a beloved aunt in a wheelchair, positioning her so she had the best possible view of the show. We saw middle aged couples dressed in their best summer attire holding plastic cups of beer while searching for their seats. We saw amped up little kids with goofy headbands festooned with sparkly red, white, and blue ribbons.   We saw numerous middle aged men wearing hawaiian shirts (like Hubs, who has insisted for years that he started the white American male hawaiian shirt trend back in the early 90’s). We saw asian-americans, hispanic americans, mentally disabled americans, LGBTQ americans, older americans, younger americans, african americans. Essentially, we were amidst a sea of American humanity. Which was fitting considering this was the 4th of July, right?

We interacted two more times with the brother/sister duo. The first was prior to the warm up acts. They walked past on the walkway below us and stopped over. They were hungry and complained to us that they couldn’t find anything to eat except hot dogs, and they wanted nachos. We didn’t know precisely where the food vendors were, as we had had ourselves a pretty generous lunch about 2 hours prior, but we suggested they head on down to the area close to the nearest entrance where it seemed it would be more likely they’d find what they were looking for. The boy offered his hand and introduced himself as Nick. He remarked, “maybe we’ll see you again someday” which I thought was terribly unlikely but so very sweet. We saw them much later, as Train was singing their last song prior to the encore. They were presumably leaving to meet up with their dad for the ride home. They waved and smiled enthusiastically at us. The revelation I had in that moment was we have entered a new stage of life where we are not necessarily the fun party-hearty concert going supercouple anymore. Instead we are the couple who random kids look to for guidance and support. We might as well have the word “parent” stamped onto our foreheads. And that’s ok. 

In all honesty, I was going to gripe about the worst of humanity that we encountered during this concert as well. I’ve decided however, to not go down that road, because Mr. Drunkjerkface who chose to squeeze himself in front of me during the encore and proceed to glance over at me and shake the living hell out of the bungey corded fence thing so that I no longer wanted to stand there and jam out deserves my attention on this post as much as Donald Trump does for his asinine tweets. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Now for some pure unadulterated humiliation (you may need to rotate your viewing device for this-sorry!)…..I present to you a clip of a woman who shall not be named but in her defense she is 50 and technologically inept at recording part of a Train concert that is why you don’t see Train here. But at least you can hear them.

 

Monday Money Musings

There is a multitude of tracks I could take this one on. This may or may not be a regular feature on this blog. But it is a topic on which I have much to say, truth be told. Thoughts in my head re: money right now…..

  1. ) How much do I want and for what? And why? Always remember that how you use money shows what you value, what your priorities are.
  2. ) Smart financial moves/timeline for me and the Hubs.
  3. ) Totally bi-polar thoughts about winning the lottery.
  4. ) Compare current national budget/priorities and what I would change if I had the POWER
  5. ) Money as a means to an end.
  6. ) Somewhere in the Bible it says that money is the root of all evil. And I will not be evil. Spiritual lessons/deep theological thinking of money and it’s place in my life.
  7. Follow the money (you’d be right if you suspected this was related to the current shit show going on in our nation’s capital).
  8. ) I want to have just enough money. Having too much money would just make life unnecessarily complicated.

Okay, I have decided to pick #8. It’s my favorite number for a boatload of reasons. The best version of myself, the one that is emotionally intelligent, humble, and peaceful at heart, fervently wants “just enough” when it comes to the almighty dollar.

But the question is what, for me, is “just enough”? Is it enough for all the monthly bills to be paid with a bit of spare change left over to buy the simple things in life, like a reasonably priced bottle of vino, or a cup of coffee and a cupcake to enjoy while chatting with my new Colorado girlfriends? Is it “just enough” to fund all of my fanciful vacation dreams (Hawaii, Germany, Canada, Cuba, Sonoma, I could go on and on and on)? Is it “just enough” to financially contribute to causes I believe in that need the cash now more than ever (i.e.,Planned Parenthood, the millions of Go Fund Me campaigns for folks who had the misfortune of being poor and sick in Trump’s America)?

These are all questions, for me, to struggle with.

I think it is highly important that I am honest and clear about my privilege when it comes to money.  First off, I am a white American. That is an advantage that I believe I may never fully comprehend.  How I was raised and the trials/tribulations (aka good and bad choices) of “adulting” have informed my relationship to these pieces of green paper. I grew up in a middle class household. Both of my parents worked. Hard. They had iron-clad work ethics. They were great at saving, so much so that they were able to fully fund 4 years of college for me, for which I will be forever indebted to them. I married a guy who is a very smart, hard-working scientist who over the course of about 25 years has worked his way to a very comfortable salary. Because of this, I was able to be a stay at home mom for the better part of the first 5 years of our children’s lives. As a family, we went on a few nice vacations. We have had the financial ability to purchase 5 homes and sell 3 (making a profit each time). My primary reason for obtaining paid employment for myself was because I wanted to. I enjoyed learning new things on the job, making new friends, and my confidence as a woman grew tremendously from bringing home a little extra bacon. I’ve been so, so lucky.

At this point in my life, however, I have the luxury of being unencumbered by paid employment. I get to make my own daily schedule. Essentially, I am time wealthy but not financially wealthy. It’s hard to say which one is better. Honestly, it depends on the day.

Yet, the thought of raking in my own dough again is totally beckoning me right now. I know that sounds gross and greedy. Two things I don’t wish to ever be called. Maybe I should just increase my volunteer hours at the food bank and/or find another volunteer gig. That would be so rewarding.  But then I may not be able to fulfill my vacation fantasies. This is a first world “problem” obviously. I come from a place of privilege in comparison to my peers in most other countries. And that I must not forget.

money-inspirational-quotes

 

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.

Image result for images of thank you

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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10-composite-winona-ryder

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.

Pineapple
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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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