Home Depot and Cialis?

Need a break from all your stress?  Then this is for you, compliments of the inestimable Kristen Lamb, who somehow connected Home Depot, Cialis and The Matrix in a way that had me rolling on the floor as I read and still giggling several days later.  

Click over to Kristen’s blog to read the entire post if you’d like, and be sure to scroll to the bottom to see what I’m up to this week!

“…Anyway, if you grew up like I did, knocked half unconscious with boomerang compliments, then you might have turned to books, shows, magazines or mentors/gurus to learn to think in “healthy” ways.

Perhaps you even went on-line in search of some kind of “non-toxic” affirmation that you were not a total disappointment.

And OMG! *angels sing* There it is!

The Media LOVES US for WHO WE ARE

We found it! The site for women and it says we are enough. No, more than enough. Perfect the way we are. Heck-to-the-yeah! We knew it the whole time *does cabbage patch*.

But then that website or magazine that just told us we were more than enough as we already are….

Wait…what?

It has a gazillion articles of how we can improve and be even BETTER. And these articles, they are sandwiched between ads promising products and services to help us no longer suck.

Wait. You said I was perfect, but I need fixing? So I AM damaged. Oh, okay I see. See, I thought I was supposed to love myself as I am, imperfections and all….

But, my bad. You’re right. Truth hurts. I do have chubby thighs, wrinkles and so much laundry I’m fairly sure I lost one of my kids. Haven’t heard from the smallest one today. I will buy and do all of this and THEN…then I can love me for ME. Good. We have a plan. 

Cool. Good. I am so happy I found this site because before, I thought I was just supposed to be okay being me and I was wrong. But NOW I have help because your site has 10 Ways to Have an Immaculate House and Trim My Thighs at the same time using household cleaning tools to get fit with…

Swiffercize…

Directions:

Hold in your core as you stand in front of the refrigerator.

Now, bend and dust, and bend and thrust. Squat and swoosh, and firm your tush! Floor is clean and now you’re lean!

Dust those high places ladies and say goodbye to flabby arms!

Really this is genius. I can have a clean house like in Good Housekeeping a firm body like a movie star AND save money because I don’t have to pay a gym and all while improving my time-management skills.

#Genius

****Oh and there is that anti-depressant ad for when none of this crap actually works.

And after all of this, I finally realize Google is proof there is life after death and Nana is now in a better place. Nana has reached a higher level of being in The Matrix.

The mean old bat is now Google and she is STILL fixing me.

The Matrix is Powered by Imperfection

Self-acceptance is something many of us struggle with and the fight gets harder day by day as our culture bombards us with ideas and products and services founded on us being “less than” while promising some kind of “perfection.”

They’re selling magic creams to us older gals telling us this Oil of Delay will make us look like a model half our age who’s been Photoshopped when she really didn’t need to be Photoshopped because she isn’t old in the first place!

She’s a kid and has like maybe a zit…not even a wrinkle or if she does, it’s a wrinkle that’s small and more like a…a pre-wrinkle.

We are so used to being lied to, we don’t even question it because most of it if we took a few minutes to apply some critical thinking, The Matrix would all unravel.

Never Question The Matrix

Critical thinking is like holy water on The Matrix. Commercials, ads, programs, and hype sizzles and screams and loses power if we just stop…and think.

I’ll prove it.

Men are told that if they buy a blue pill it will dramatically enhance their sexual vitality so they can go sailing…alone. WTH?

Sailing by themselves and that doesn’t even make any damn sense.

Guys, seriously. Someone call Viagra. Like if you’re buying a pill for physical intimacy with what we are assuming is another human (as in more than one person involved in this activity) then the whole going sailing alone just…

I don’t get it. I mean are you a pirate? Does Viagra make you a Viking, and the dude in the commercial is sailing off alone because the plan is to raid an island of unsuspecting sunbathers?

Y’all do know that is illegal. Viagara, I’m assuming you consulted your legal department on this.

Okay. I will stop. Just please to make me feel better, put another living person of consenting age on the boat in the commercial and I promise I will stop over thinking this…..

No.

Seriously. Just one more. I can’t leave this one be.

Cialis

If your drug works so great, why aren’t the TWO people in the same bathtub? I confess. I am no spring chicken, but I’m not so old I can’t recall the 1990s and…

*brain heating up*

How does this pill work? Like does it make the male libido so powerful that it…teleports? And us gals are supposed to be Schroedinger’s “Cat” in that the footsie-time is both there in OUR tub but not…at the same time?

Because now all I want to do is to e-mail Neil deGrasse Tyson on this, because your drug is proof there is a multiverse where older people are scoring by apparently folding space.

And is this why we only ever see these folks in your commercials from the back…because their eyes have turned blue like the Fremen?

#HeWhoControlsTheSpiceControlsTheSexyTime #TheSpiceMustFlow …into these bathtubs because water sure isn’t.

Okay Cialis, I mean no disrespect. I get y’all mean well.

I admit, many of us older couples are cranky and tired (mainly of finding Barbie shoes and Legos in the bed) and you’re just trying to help.

We appreciate the effort, but the message just gets us all confused because unlike young people, older people THINK. We in fact think too much…which is a big part of the lack-of-nookie problem.

This pill is so us older people can be super hot and frisky like when we were twenty. The PILL will make us fixate on love and kissing…instead of fixating on how to kill out the crabgrass in the lawn or that the tile in the bathroom needs to be repaired.

In two separate bathtubs…on a hill.

Which—just being honest here—your metaphor only confuses us and lead our minds everywhere BUT a bedroom. In fact, it makes anyone married or over the age of 35 to forget about nookie altogether.

Instead, a lot of the guys start contemplating how the hell someone got two tubs on a hill…with working plumbing.

So the men are all:

My wife isn’t gonna want tubs in the backyard now, right? I can’t lay pipe like that. Hell, I’m not twenty-two. I’ll throw out my back with all that bending and digging. And the yard has crabgrass. Crabgrass spreads, man. You gotta stop it when you see it.

Simultaneously many of us women are all pissed off because we see the look on our husband’s face when he watches that dumb@$$ Cialis commercial.

We KNOW that look.

We saw it right before we banned him from watching home improvement shows after he tore out our pantry shelves then never put them back.

We know our husband is trying to figure out how to install bathtubs in the yard because he thinks that is what we want. No, we want our pantry put back together because we misplaced all our spice.

That, and he still has to get rid of all the crabgrass…’cause it spreads. Neighbors don’t want that spreading to them, too.

So the women watch the Cialis commercial and are all:

Oh no he isn’t. If he thinks I’m gonna go outside and maybe up a hill to clean all that? Nossiree. What about the one we have that’s old and needs fixing? He isn’t trained to lay pipe like that. He doesn’t need to! He already bought the caulk, the jumbo size for more than one job! And the CAULK is still in the drawer. Unused. Untouched. Probably turned from white to blue now and won’t look right.

Wasted caulk. 

No. Not today. NOT today.

Home Depot has to be behind all this, because we are now thinking of needing more caulk.

Defeats the whole purpose. Cialis? Seriously fire that twenty-something marketing person and hire an over forty romance author.

***You could also hire the over 40 erotica authors…but only HBO could air the commercials.

Where was I? Sorry, I got hung up on that. But all this proves my point about The Matrix. We are all plugged in and buying an illusion without question. We are just accepting that we are not enough and the X, Y or Z would remedy that.

It won’t. Happiness is what these folks all sell, but happiness is highly overrated. Want to know why? Because happiness relies on happenstance. Our surroundings, what we have or don’t have dictate how we feel.

This is why they sell LIES. Lies sell STUFF. It just sells a lot of CAULK.

Truth can, however, bring contentment, and maybe even JOY if we let it. Love and friendship and family and kids in all its messy imperfection can actually be enough if we let it be. We can actually be at peace with wrinkles because a line-free face is just weird…and expensive.

Then you just get more wrinkles because you have to pay the medical spa bills.

Embrace the lines of laughter and pain. You earned them. When we learn to be at peace with the messy house because it means we have a home. When we learn to love our cellulite-laden legs because it means we have LEGS. When we embrace the Legos that just shredded our feet for the brief window of childhood that will soon be gone….then, THEN the Matrix loses its hold.

Happy Friday! Enjoy! You and hubby go play pirate and slave girl, and maybe even let him wear the eyepatch this time 😀 .”

And with that, Bailey and I are off to Maryland for a home-grown writer’s retreat with Susan Reiss.  We’re going to brainstorm magnificent plots, create crazy characters, and WRITE!  Oh, and I’m teaching a kids’ creative writing workshop on Tilghman Island while I’m there.  Hope this week holds as much fun for you as it does for me!

Posted in Humor | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Home Depot and Cialis?

Doing Hard Things: What’s in Your Swamp?

Some thoughts on doing hard things, compliments of Randy Ingermanson, with interspersed comments from yours truly:

Everybody has projects in their life that they don’t want to tackle. Hard things.

Maybe there’s a part of your yard that’s overgrown with weeds, and it just gets worse and worse and worse every week. Yup, I can see it through the window right now.

Maybe your garage is overloaded with junk you don’t use, don’t want, and don’t even dare look at because it’s too depressing. Nope, that’s Blaik’s.  Except for my gardening cupboard.

Maybe there’s a relationship in your life that’s gone south and it seems unfixable. Relationships are largely good here.  But my office?  Even Randy I. has no idea how much of a Hard Thing my office has grown to be.  And my Relief Society table, because there’s no room in my office. 

I call things like these “the swamp.” The swamp is any part of your life that you don’t dare touch because it just seems overwhelming. Because it’s too hard.

There are two ways to handle the swamp.

  • You can ignore it forever.
  • You can go through it to the other side.

Those are the only two ways I’ve ever found for dealing with the swamp. Ignoring the swamp is easy. Going through it is hard. Yup.  I conquered one piece of my Office Swamp a few months ago, but alligators still lurk in the deepest depths.

But doing hard things builds character. (It’s much easier to say this when you are not about to enter the swamp. But it’s also true, so it bears saying.)

Here are a few other things that are also true:

  • The swamp doesn’t go away by itself.
  • In fact, the longer you ignore the swamp, the worse it gets. True dat!
  • The only way to go through the swamp is to go through the swamp. You can’t go around.
  • The first time you go into the swamp is the scariest.
  • The swamp is never quite as terrible as it seems.
  • There is no feeling as wonderful as coming out on the other side of the swamp.

This is a short column because there’s really not much to say about the swamp. You can either hide from it or you can go through it to freedom. You get to choose.

So besides the Office and Gardening Cupboard swamps, I also have the newly-formed Clear-Out-The-Entire-House-So-We-Can-Downsize swamp.  And that doesn’t even address the Marketing Swamp of indie publishing, or the swamps that are lurking in my mind that I’m not recognizing yet.

So I hereby acknowledge that decluttering the house, including my office, is a swamp that I must go through.  There is no way around. It cannot be ignored.  

I am currently prepping for a trip to Maryland at the end of the month, writing and brainstorming with an author friend plus teaching a children’s writing workshop.  I’ll return around Halloween, so on November 1st, along with the excitement that is NaNoWriMo, I pledge to enter the swamp.

What swamps do you have in your life? What swamps have you successfully conquered?


PS–the excerpt from Randy Ingermanson is from his free newsletter and comes with these two paragraphs of his:

This article is reprinted by permission of the author.
Award-winning novelist Randy Ingermanson, “the Snowflake Guy,” publishes the free monthly Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine, with more than 17,000 readers. If you want to learn the craft and marketing of fiction, AND make your writing more valuable to editors, AND have FUN doing it, visit www.AdvancedFictionWriting.com.
Posted in REAL LIFE | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Introducing Bailey!

Look who joined our family!

Bailey, the Wonder Pup!

This is Bailey, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who came from a puppy mill via CavalierRescueUSA.org and six weeks with a wonderful foster mom. He’s two or three years old, neutered, vaccinated, microchipped, and ecstatic to have a forever home. And he seems happy to be a spoiled honored prince, even if he doesn’t get to completely rule the castle.

We’ve discovered these things about him:

Bailey loves laps, even to the exclusion of food or potty trips.

He’s full of bouncy joy in the morning and after naps. And tolerant of 5-year-old KC. 🙂

He sleeps almost as much as a cat.

He loves to give kisses, but he’s learning not to. He’d probably welcome a burglar as quickly as he welcomes us. (with Bryan)

He’s quite the hiker–he can go 4 miles and still be trotting ahead of me!

And a few more:

  • He likes to chase balls, but doesn’t know the first thing about picking them up and bringing them back.
  • He barks when he’s excited, but not much the rest of the time.
  • He’ll glare at other dogs watchfully, then bark as they walk away.
  • He can be a twenty pound lump of molten iron, magnetized to the couch or bed and very difficult to roll off.
  • When I mix green beans in with his kibble, he eats the beans first!

I’ve learned to make my lap available anytime I sit down, and type with a soft head resting on one hand.  But how can I resist those eyes?

Do you have a pet? What’s your favorite thing about them?

 

 

Posted in Misc | 4 Comments

Climbing Mount St Helens…or Not

First view of Mount St Helens

We’ve known since last year that we wanted to climb to the summit of Mount St. Helens back in Washington.  My sister had suggested it for 2016 without realizing we needed permits for the high country, so we planned it for 2017 instead, coinciding with her college graduation at Oregon State. (Which was fabulous—you rock, E!)

The summit of Mount St. Helens isn’t supposed to require climbing gear, but it’s still tough.  There’s a rise of 4000 feet in elevation, with about two miles of forest, two miles of a boulder field, and a mile of ash field. And then back down.

Eagle Creek Park. This hill is pretty steep, but still too brief.

It’s a little hard to prepare for a climb like that in Central Indiana (the land of the flat), but we did the best we could.  Eagle Creek Park has trails that are mostly up and down small hills if you stay along the lakeside, and I’d been doing round trips of those trails, breaking in new hiking boots and practicing with trekking poles.

And then the weather began arguing with us.  The high Cascades got a chunk of snow again in early June and it wasn’t melting.  The forecast for our climbing day was 40s at the midpoint of the trail, 32-34 at the summit, and 30 mph winds all the way up!  The forecast eased a little as we got closer and we packed extra layers with both optimism and trepidation.

As it turned out, Monitor Ridge, the summer hiking route, was still closed due to snow. And the longer trail would have made it 12 miles round trip instead of 10. And when I had only hiked 6 miles so far? Um…how fast can you say Change of Plans? (Thank you, Pete, for being the voice of reason!)

Instead, we decided on an 8-1/2 mile hike from the Johnston Observatory to Harry’s Ridge and back again. The Observatory staff suggested we hike first and come back to enjoy the a/c when we were done. (Nice idea, but we should have explored the Observatory first. We got back barely half an hour before they closed, exhausted without enough time to really look at stuff.)

So with Mount St. Helens boldly in front of our faces, we started down the Eruption Trail, reading explanatory signs about what happened before veering off to the Boundary Trail.

Starting off on the trail with my niece and nephew. Check out my wild leggings!

The entire trail was at 4,000+ feet, and we forgot the sunscreen on what turned out to be a hot sunny day. Not good. To top it off, our campground had been chilly, even at noon, so we were wearing layers.  Our packs, of course, were filled with extra sweatshirts and such. I ended up peeling my jeans off and hiking most of it in my 3/4 length exercise leggings! Yes, I felt really dorky, especially as other hikers stared when they passed us.

The trail was supposed to have a 200 ft rise in elevation, but what they didn’t specify was that it went up and down those 200 (and 500) feet numerous times!

We were walking on volcanic rock and soil, mostly. Rather a moonscape, although there was more plant life than I expected. Flowers blooming where it didn’t feel like there should be any.  In that respect, it reminded me of the Burren in western Ireland.

  

At one point, the trail was supposed to turn sharply, but we found a sign telling us to use an alternate route.  So we followed the makeshift trail that mostly scrambled over the hill instead of curving nicely around it. The sign on the other side had added “please consider” and seemed more of a suggestion:

“Due to unsafe trail conditions, please consider using alternate route. USE CAUTION ON SNOW!”

 

We met three guys who had hiked that way and said there were several places they had to hug boulders to get around, but it sounded like we could try it on the way back. But when the time came … too worn out to cling to rocks.

Other moments:

My “Sound of Music” shot

Tim, poking into the first snow we saw on the way up.

 

Shattered tree trunk from the 1980 blast — there are many of these and downed logs.

 

I just liked taking pictures of them!

 

Spirit Lake, which I thought had disappeared in the blast. See the logs still there along the shore?

 

The view from the top of Johnston’s Ridge was magnificent.  In a 180 degree turn, we saw other close mountains and trails, Mount Adams behind Spirit Lake, Mount Hood poking her head up faintly in the background, and then Mount St Helens.St. Helens loomed over us all the time, sometimes in front, sometimes to the side or behind as the trail turned. The “new” lava dome is rising up in the center.  Although the snow you can see was probably slushy, I was glad we weren’t trying to hike in it.

Blaik, yours truly, and Tim

We had lunch at the top of Harry’s Ridge, traded picture-taking favors with another couple, and steeled ourselves for the downward trek. Tired already, another 4.3 miles to go back down, and we were very glad for the trekking poles. I think we were looking for the Johnston Observatory around every corner and over every hill for the last mile and a half!

One of the prettiest campgrounds I’ve ever stayed in–Seaquest State Park

 

I had started out very disappointed that we didn’t climb at least some of the summit trail, but I figured we could come back someday. By the time we were done, exhausted in our campground, Tim was still excited about coming back–alone! (Protective Mom here said to bring a buddy.)  As for Blaik and me? Maybe that was enough dry moonscape hiking for a while, and trying to reach the summit might be too much for our knee and back problems.

But somehow the challenge of the boulder field is still calling me.

Uh oh.

 

Posted in Misc | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Those ADD Moments

Is it a Senior Moment? Or just a tendency to ADD?  Here’s two minutes of my squirrely brain this morning:

Head to the kitchen for breakfast.

Chilly in the house, do I want a sweater?

Look on couch to see if it’s there from last night.

See sunshine outside, need to feed the birds.

On the way to kitchen for birdseed, pass stairs.

Oh yes, my sweater is down there from last night.

But if I’m going downstairs, I really ought to take the laundry and start a load.

Turn for bedroom for dirty clothes.

Stop myself, “No, Jennifer, it can wait.” Turn back towards kitchen.

Need Scriptures to read at breakfast—where’s my iPad?

In kitchen, oh yes, bird food.

Feed the birds, notice iPad on DR table on the way back in.

Cold feet, think about socks.

Back to bedroom for socks.

See sweater on floor from last night, put it on. Forget the socks.

Back to kitchen, pull up Scriptures on iPad.

No socks, feet are still chilly, but ok.

Why am I here? Oh yes, breakfast!

At least I posted on Facebook that I want to give my cement planters away without getting sucked in for an hour. Even if it did have its own squirrely episode.

Posted in Humor, Misc | Tagged , , | 2 Comments