Thursday, March 31, 2016

What do you Mean ‘Why?’

Last night in Glendale, Justin Bieber took to the stage. A few wonderful ladies I know were going to the show. I wouldn’t have remembered because, instead of seeing Biebs, I was at pool league watching Matt and the guys (sadly) lose last night.

But I was reminded of Justin’s stop in the Valley last night when I woke up to this picture in my newsfeed today**:



My first reaction?

“Yeya! Go Biebs!”

Then I started reading the comments and all I could do was sigh. Well, not all I could do. Because here I am, ranting away about Justin Bieber. You’re welcome.

WAIT! Before you click away because of the subject matter will it also help you to know I’m going to DJ my own blog and mashup all that Justin talk with stuff about hockey too?

Oh, no, that doesn’t help? Sorry, not sorry.

In a no-shock surprise, I’m a huge fan of pop music. I mean, I love to dance. Plus, sometimes it’s perfectly fine to loosen up with something light and fluffy – tons of sugar without one bit of nutritional value. After all, they don’t sell cotton candy at the fair for nothing.

Also, another shock-free admission, I pretty much love anyone who can make themselves into exactly what they want to be, no apologies, no holding back. A person with the talent, drive and determination to stick it out in their chosen field until they are doing what they love and supporting themselves while doing it.

That shit is rare, trust me. Most of the time we get one or the other. Either a paycheck from a job we don’t feel fulfilled doing, or a job we love minus the means.

Bieber is pop and proud. And, from all I’ve heard, living on what he makes as an artist.

I fully respect that. As a gal who has been on both sides of the job / money situation I’ll admit that doing what I love is the more important of the two. But nobody can live without at least some money. So, some money for all the hard work is always nice.

But Bieber and the brand he sells are worth probably somewhere into the billions. More? I can’t fathom that kind of paycheck. In any of my wildest ‘book writing for a living wage’ fantasies, I can’t for a second imagine that kind of cash flow.

Then to see a kid start down the path of that at only age 10, or thereabouts, makes me shake my head.

Say what you will but the kid is a fucking genius at marketing. Or, at least, the people around him are.

They’ve been selling this kid (who by the way is talented which certainly helps, you try singing on key while dancing high-impact aerobics-style moves on cue for two full hours almost every night of your life and let me know how long it takes before you pass out and die) for over ten years now.

And it doesn’t look like the kid will be slowing down anytime soon now that he’s got his young and dumb phase behind him.

So to see Bieber rocking a Max Domi Arizona Coyotes jersey at his show in their arena last night kind of made me proud to be a fan of both. But, then like I said, I foolishly went and read the comments. All these people asking why that happened, why Biebs was wearing a sweater of our team.

Okay, I’m just going to point out some facts.

  • Ice hockey, as birthed on March 3, 1875, was invented in Canada.
  • The Arizona Coyotes are a professional ice hockey team.
  • Justin Bieber, as birthed on March 1, 1994, was invented in Ontario, Canada.
  • I feel like I don’t even have to say it, but here it is, Justin Bieber is a hockey fan.


Oh, not only that, but the kid plays hockey. Again, not sure I have to say it but, he’s Canadian. Of course he plays hockey. The kid was probably on skates before he could crawl. Don’t believe me? The ECHL Condors actually offered him a contract to play for them just a couple years ago.

Yeah. Because it’s like that sometimes.

So, all the commenters complaining to the Arizona Coyotes organization that they made a mistake letting Bieber put on that jersey, or that Max Domi is going to get a good ribbing from the guys in the room before tonight’s game, are idiots.

Because here are a few more facts:

  • Our little hockey team out here in the desert isn’t exactly filling up the arena every night.
  • The Arizona Coyotes need all the publicity and fan support they can get.
  • An entire arena full of people (17K strong) just saw their musical idol sporting a ‘Yotes sweater.
  • I can assure you that most of those people didn’t know about hockey before seeing him rocking the howling ‘Yote last night.
  • Osmosis.


If Bieber wants to meet the team, rock a ‘Yotes sweater and encourage a whole crop of people to maybe buy Coyotes gear (advertising), go to a game (sales), or even write a blog post about how awesome it is to see a Canadian born pop star don a star player’s sweater during his concert last night (marketing), then I’m all for the mashup.

There’s no such thing as bad press, sometimes it takes some controversial growing pains in order to come out the other side more mature, wiser, and ready to get things back on track.

After all, if there’s one thing Justin and sports can teach us it’s this: Never say never.

**Image courtesy of the Arizona Coyotes Facebook page

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Call Me Shocked

You know how sometimes our celebrity crushes, if you will, come to us via osmosis? When we all fall in love with a celebrity, famous person, entertainer, and then discover someone in their life is just as awesome and talented? This happens to me all the time, usually with musicians but occasionally with other entertainers as well.

I’ll give you an example.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan launched their careers by starring in Step Up. Jenna had already been acting for 4 years when the movie came out. Channing, only for two. While his career went stratosphere, can’t grocery shop for himself, paparazzi chase down, hers continued without as much fan-fare.

She had plenty of credits to her name (more than her husband in fact) but the biggest credit probably came when she added the name Tatum to a hyphenated Dewan. Which kind of sucks but only kind of. All of a sudden there were tons of people who wanted to know her, to watch all of her past work, to hire her for future work, just because she and Channing got married.

That desire to know about the people in the lives of the celebrities we love is the reason I came to know Patty Duke.

I read every teeny bopper mag back in the 80s. All of them. Because all of them back then featured a boy who still remains at the top of my celebrity crush list all these years later, Sean Astin.

It was only a matter of time before I read enough about that cutie to find out he came from a very famous family. Hollywood royalty if you will. His dad starred on The Addams Family. His mom not only won an Oscar for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, but 17 years later she came back to that story playing Anne Sullivan.

Helen Keller was a woman we studied in school. Probably because her primary place of residence, and where Helen first encountered Anne, was in my home state of Massachusetts. And I grew up idolizing that woman’s story.

Deaf and blind. Not only learns to speak but goes on to become one of the most accomplished women in history. She spoke to huge crowds. She wrote numerous books. She was a leader and activist who helped change perception of deaf and blind people.

That woman, along with Joan of Arc and Florence Nightingale, were my childhood heroes.

So when I found out that my celebrity crush’s mom played a woman I idolized, I knew I had to see the movie. But there was no Netflix, Amazon, or internet back in those days. If it wasn’t available on video I had to wait to watch it on television if it made the rounds.

I rented it. No way I was waiting.

I watched it and I cried. For the first time since I got interested in learning real stories about real people, I discovered an actress who left it all on the screen. All of those connections – her birthing of my favorite actor, portrayal of one of my favorite women in history – made her a permanent fixture in my brain.

Osmosis.

Then I needed to watch, learn, read all about this amazing woman I’d discovered, Patty Duke.

Her book, Call Me Anna, was the first Autobiography I ever read. I found her journey to, through and out the other side of the Hollywood machine (somehow still intact as a person despite the bipolarity), to be so inspiring.

Back in those days I still had these delusions of grandeur that I’d become a world famous actress. So it was cool to read about a woman who not only did it but seemed to maintain some type of family values, teach them to her kids, and hold onto her soul in an industry that can, and will, suck it right out of you if you’re not careful.

She became a new hero to me. I bought her book and read it about 10 times. Tried to get my hands on everything she’d ever made so I could watch her performance of literally becoming a different person for the cameras. She told stories, some salacious and irreverent, others powerful and moving, but her resume is huge.

To learn of her passing yesterday hit me a lot harder than I would have expected considering I didn’t actually know this woman. Just her name, face, relations to the actors I liked, work she’d done starting back in 1954. She was about 12 years old, I wouldn’t even be born for another 19 years.

I couldn’t explain it, the reasoning for feeling so sad, but maybe the woman she embodied said it best:

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched - they must be felt with the heart.”- Helen Keller


To celebrate your life I will once again read your Autobiography. RIP Anna Marie "Patty Duke" Pearce.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Weather, I like it or Not

Yesterday, as I sat in the living room typing away, clouds rolled into the Valley. Actually, to say they rolled in might give the impression of a calm, fluffy, fluttery softness. When in reality, clouds blew in with the furious moving winds that came with a front.

Weather is one of those things that fascinates me in general. I love keeping an eye on the sky and paying attention to the patterns of fronts and wind. I’ve said it before that maybe I should have been a meteorologist. But I’m not. Instead, I’m just a gal who enjoys changes in my sky every here and there.

Moving to Phoenix might not seem like the best plan for a person who wants some type of variety in my weather. But don’t be so quick to judge.

Phoenix might be known for our summer heat but it also might surprise you to learn that our temperatures from highest to lowest can range up to 92 degrees. No, that’s not a typo. While some parts of the country enjoy 92 as a daytime high in the summer, we could jump as many degrees over the course of a year when conditions are right.

Want proof? Check this out. With just a few clicks you’ll see that in January 2013 the lowest recorded temperature was 23. In June of 2013 we apparently maxed out at 115.

Of course those readings were taken at the Deer Valley airport. Heading north out of the city where things can be “cooler” than down in the bowl. Because I remember that the recorded temperature, only days after we arrived in the Valley back in 2011, was around 119 at Sky Harbor airport.

When the temperatures fell into the low 20s for a couple nights around our neighborhood, a friend’s pipes froze and burst.

Luckily, we grew up in the northeast so we knew the slow trickling faucet trick and our pipes were okay.

But today we’re nowhere near the low or the high. In fact, today things are split pretty much right down the middle. The high for today is only supposed to be 68 and according to our weather peeps, the clouds are (allegedly) due to stick around all day.

I have no problem with that. Growing up in Boston, clouds were a regular occurrence. Not to say we were as overcast as, say, the northwest, but New England had a fair number of cloudy days. And most of the time those clouds came with rain.

By 2011, I had all I could handle of clouds. I wanted to see sky, sunshine.

Rain, rain go away.

You know that saying about wishing for things and being careful? Lesson learned. Why? Because we’re 89 days into 2016 and so far have recorded only about 1.5” of rain. According to the Maricopa weather tracking site we had measurable precipitation on 5 days this year. The last? January 31st.

Yes, 58 days ago.

So to say that I’ll be excited if the clouds hang above the house all day, falling droplets of water or not, would be an understatement. Though, some rain, someday, would be nice. I clearly moved from one extreme to another but finding a place in this country that fits all my conditions is pretty much a unicorn.

  • No snow.
  • Warmth and sunshine 75%ish of the time.
  • Clouds and rain the other 25%ish.
  • Beach and ocean within proximate driving distance.
  • No temps above 95 or below 60.
  • Affordable.


See? It’s that last criteria that really puts it over the edge. Because southern California generally fits the bill otherwise.

So I’m not in SoCal, I’m here in Phoenix where today will be 68 but by Monday we’re cruising back up to the low 90s again. In early April. And I know those temperatures will only get higher as each day wears on. Plus, clouds or rain aren’t likely to make another appearance for at least two months.

Winter rain season is over. Now we have to wait for monsoon season to hope for any measurable liquid.

When rain does arrive it will give me and all the other Valley peeps something to celebrate. Even if those rains come with unconscionable high temperatures.

But hey, I’ll take it because at least we don’t get snow.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Womanly Woes

Right off the bat, in case the title didn’t give it away, I need to warn all of you that this is going to be one of those posts. An honest and frank, Bridget Jones esque ranting about all things girlie. So stay and read or feel free to leave because shit is getting real.

Right now.

From the time I was in 8th grade until about 8 or 9 years ago I weighed 110 pounds. Don’t hate, that’s just who I was, and because I had a raging metabolism I could eat whatever I wanted without much consequence. Look, like I said, don’t hate.

Despite my (total lack of) effort to think myself into that body type and shape forever, close to a decade ago I started developing weight in the wrong places. I know, shocker right?

Thing is, I was never really a fan of sweets (even as a kid) so candy, cakes, soda? I’d go for it sometimes but generally it didn’t hold much appeal. Also, I’m a grazer by nature meaning I eat small bits of stuff throughout the day, not three huge meals. And since I don’t go for sweets I almost always skip dessert.

What I do like is French fries, chips, salty stuff. And exercising is so boring to me. Plus I work on average 10 hour days every day so I decided it would be easier to be lazy than to try to find time for working out.

When I say weight in the wrong places, I’m talking about all the places many women pad to make them look more full. I can’t do that, it just never felt comfortable. Anything push-up is always uncomfortable to me.

I used to wear a 34B bra size. Predictable. Easy. Right off the shelf. I loved my tiny chest. Nothing to sag, bounce, hurt my back. Men didn’t generally fall all over themselves gawking at the nothing that was there and that was fine with me. Plus, I could go without a bra and not end up on the worst dressed list.

I also used to be a size 4. Oh the good old days.

As a human I get the fact that certain parts will change as years go on. Spread, shift, etc. Even a small chest will start to sag eventually because, hello, gravity works on bricks and feathers in the exact same way.

But now I want to smack myself for letting it all grow before it started to sag.

The day I knew things changed was the day I went into my old place of employment to grab a new bra. When they measured me I discovered perhaps the most disturbing fact of all.

Not only had my boobs apparently decided to finally come in at about age 35, but their rate of growth was, um, off. My chesticals were two different sizes.

Sigh.

It isn’t a huge difference but that difference makes it impossible to wear an off-the-rack bra. Well, at least the styles I was comfortable wearing. And forget about anything with a wire or other form of support. Even from a specialty store like my old workplace.

Fabric is fabric and to fit the larger side means things are too loose on the smaller side. Or vice versa of course. Which meant I was going to have to make a choice:

Get off the sofa and try to move my body so the collected fat melts off and I can fit in something more standard, or, accept the fact that I’d be sporting the one long boob look in a wireless shelf bra for the rest of my life.

A friend of mine calls this effect boob log. She’s so right.

A shelf bra will keep them upwards (to a point) but there’s no separation. Just one continuous boob. Nope, that won’t look at all like I’ve given up. Sooo sexy I think they should sell a stick along with the bra so I can beat back all the dudes trying to get up in there. Please guys, I’m a married woman.

Yeah, that will happen.

For a long time, boob log was the lot I allowed myself in life. Always knowing I had two bumps under there but looking at a horizontal tree trunk every time I looked in the mirror. I had to adjust the kind, cut and style of clothing I wore to accommodate the shoulder strap width, too. A thickness akin to a bungee cord, and with just as much elastic.

The problem with that, and honestly the main reason I won’t go bungee jumping, is that elastic wears out eventually. Especially here in the dry desert. Not to mention the water here is so hard it may not actually be water but a liquefied calcium, magnesium, chlorine blend.

So, after washing for just a couple years now, my admission-of-middle-age bra is starting to act elderly.

Sagging has started. The fabric is stretched out and causing folds so large that even Botox couldn’t lift that shit.

The time has come to replace the one bra in my drawer that I’ve sunk to owning. But, as you can probably surmise from all that flabby, saggy, lopsided talk up there, that task is the very last thing I want to do. Ever.

The last time I tried to buy one all that happened was me trying on 10 different types of bras in an array of size choices and going home with nothing more than frustration.

I made the fatal mistake of trying on something other than the boob log bra. Shame on me for wanting to feel like a girl again. For wanting to wear a tank top that doesn’t show my six-foot-wide bra strap at the shoulder. For wanting to have something on my oddly assembled body be a standard size. Like the good old days.

But, as they say, the good old days are gone. Which means the power is in my hands to turn this thing around.

I have actually started working out, walking every day. Why? Simply because I hate shopping. I never realized when I had the off-the-rack boobs not to take that fact for granted. That someday shopping to protect those blobs was going to be the most annoying, time consuming, mentally evil activity I’d take part in.

So my goal is to remove the negativity from my life.

Working out doesn’t change the fact that I still need to go and buy a new bra right now, of course. But maybe, if I’m really lucky (and super dedicated), this will be my last log.

The day I fit back into a bra I actually like I’m using said log to start my fire pit. In my less political,1960’s bra-burning throwback, I’m inviting all the ladies who have gone through bra fit issues in their lives to join me.

In other words, every lady I know.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Not Politically Correct

After this post I assure you fine readers that I will get back to doing what I do best  - being ranty but only talking about things like whether the ship will be named Boaty McBoatface.

But today, after the way I spent the better part of my evening last night, I don’t feel I can sit here silent.

Please bear in mind this is all my OPINION so I honestly don’t care if you agree with me or not. Also, because that’s how I feel, I went back and forth on whether to allow comments or not. I’ve decided to leave them open.

However please note: I will not tolerate threats, hateful speak or other crap that attacks anyone. If comments like that are left here I’ll delete them without response or remorse. Disagreement, debate and conversation is what makes us grow as people so please say how you feel but don’t be a dick about it. Being a dick isn’t cool.

With all that taken care of, here’s my thoughts on yesterday’s Presidential Preference voting.

Three words come to mind:

Atrocity.
Joke.
Cry for help.

Okay, technically that last one is three words, not one, but truthfully I think it could be the most important point to consider. Let me tell you a little story about just what happened yesterday and you can decide for yourself.

I started the day as I usually do – writing a blog post. In that post I talked about being turned away at the 2012 Presidential election and how I would not let that happen this time around. Then I went about my day working on book 3 in my Shaw McLeary series and getting ready to go vote.

Matt gets home and says: “Not even closing the garage door.”

“Wait, you want to leave right now?”

“Yeah, lines are allegedly really long, like an hour wait.”

“Oh, well I’m hungry so can we at least stop and pick up some fries or something on the way?”

“Sure!”

Thankfully we did. As we passed the polling place for our address on the way to get a quick dinner, I saw a line of at least 100 people and announced how happy I was we were getting dinner first.

Then, food in hand, we got to the church parking lot.

Because I’m blessed by the gods of parking we happened to find a spot as soon as we pulled in. That wasn’t the case for everyone even when they filtered into the overflow parking three buildings away. We approached what looked like the end of the line but I shook my head thinking it couldn’t be true.

Here’s where I’ll post pictures and tell you it is like the Grand Canyon. Unless you’re there in person there is no way to explain just how massive the thing really is. But I’ll still try.




Now that you’ve seen a sampling of the number of people, here’s a quick map I drew so you can understand why it took us 2 hours and 40 minutes (short compared to some reports I’ve heard by the way).



That pinkish-red line? Yes, that was the line you just saw in those pictures.

Before I continue I’d like to point out the following things:

  • Top left corner of the map is southeast.
  • Conversations took place all around us between people of all parties.
  • I heard zero political conversations while in line.
  • Electioneering only took place 4 times from what I saw and only for republicans.
  • Loud laughter erupted from other parts of the line at random, more than once.
  • Kids were running around the open spaces having fun.
  • We turned the 4th corner to face west along the parking lot after an hour+.
  • The sunset was beautiful.
  • The wind causing my earaches was not.
  • We had just reached the door to vote when the line-end-lady (who capped the line at 7PM) turned the 4th corner out of the driveway to face west along the parking lot.


It’s no secret that Arizona is a GOP state. We’re about as red as they get. It’s also no secret that I was born and raised in a state so blue they need a new word for liberal.

My political views and opinions may have been influenced in part by where I was raised. Which goes for anyone, anywhere. However, most of my views on the world, politics and the like can be summed up like this:



Because, and I’m being totally honest here, I really don’t care because I don’t think it matters very much anyway.

Yes I’m a woman, which brings up all kinds of arguments from people who think that means I should somehow magically want to participate in a totally fixed political system.

Defunding healthcare for women is happening, Suffragettes died for my rights to vote, if nobody voiced their opinion then what would happen to the world, blah, blah, blah…

In my opinion, I actually don’t think anything would happen. So many people in this country are fighting to protect the Constitution as it was written almost 229 years ago because of one simple fact:

People in power fear nothing like they fear change.

Change empowers larger masses. Change means the jig is up. Change means things actually, well, change, and if that happens then all the powers that be have to admit they’ve been suppressing the voices of the masses for hundreds of years.

So they use their worst nightmare against us.

They use fear to keep all of us in line. Three hour lines if you had the balls to stick it out.

Because, let’s talk for a second about that line. How many people do you suppose drove up to their voting location, took one look at the line and said “oh hell no!” and turned right back around, discouraged from voting yesterday?

Then there’s the other issue that only my current residence state could have pulled off. Voters (from what I understand these people were in both parties but primarily democratic) were turned away and told they were registered as independent when they had actually chosen a party affiliation on the only 2 sides accepted***.

Don’t even get me started on the fact that independents couldn’t come out to voice their preference yesterday, that’s another issue that makes me mental and question our entire system. But with that said, if you picked a side (yes 9 months before the election) and did so in time but still got turned away anyway without being given a provisional ballot, you just got the political equivalent of being roofied and raped.

And as far as I’m concerned they did that shit on purpose.

Whether it sounds like a conspiracy theory or not, people in Arizona who didn’t do early voting (having your ballot mailed to you, filling it out and either mailing in advance or dropping the night of preference voting) were given the sharp end of the knife last night.

Obviously nobody was forced to leave no matter how long the lines were.

Unless of course they had to get to work, school, bed, home to feed their kids, dinner, or a million other reasons why people shouldn’t be forced to stay on their feet for up to 5 hours. From all I heard and saw on the news it was like that ALL DAY from 6AM until whenever the last person filtered through the tiny building for their ballot.

And for what? After Matt and I stood in line for close to 3 hours here’s what happened.

I was handed a ballot, walked to a little booth thing, picked up the provided pen, and connected a small arrow (empty in the middle) designating the candidate of my choice. The line I had to draw was about ¼” long. The ballot went into the box and I went home.

I have no opinion on who you want to vote for, nor will I try to convince you to vote for who I want to vote for. The problem with yesterday’s debacle has to do with the voting itself.

What I am trying to say is that the whole thing just reminds me how very out of control the people really are and just how broken the entire system really is.

Because, yes, even though the ratio of ‘waiting’ to ‘doing’ was too high I was happy to have the chance to do something. And yes, it looked like extreme voter turnout because of the lines.

Just remember, the lines wouldn’t have been there and maybe just as many (more?) people would have gone to do their thing if the Recorder didn’t allow only 30% of the normal number of polling places to be opened for business.

Inadvertently (I hope) discouraging people from doing what they have the right to do is why I think the political system is at a turning point.

Like I said, the proverbial cry for help.

I just hope that enough people stand up and talk about it, fight for things to move away from the bullshit we’re being slung right now, and maybe for once the powers that be will forget their fears and embrace the changes that could actually help this country come together.

Because 229 years ago the world was a radically different place. We’ve moved ahead, grown and should be celebrating our advancements as a nation, not trying to take it back to 1787. We’ve moved so far past that. Haven’t we?


***I hear Green party was also okay but didn’t meet anyone in/voting in the party so can’t confirm if they were allowed to pick or turned away.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Waiting Patiently

It’s Primary day here in Arizona. Well, actually, that isn’t entirely true. I mean it is true that voting happens today but the actual AZ primary isn’t until the end of August. Today is Preference day. But not for everybody.

Things in this fine state get even more complicated when it comes to voicing your choice depending how you registered. If you’re living here and registered democrat or republican then get on out there and make your vote count!

Registered independent? Go on ahead and stay home. There’s no room for your choice on the ballot.

Yup. That’s right. Here in Arizona the independent voters – AKA: people who haven’t yet made up their minds and want to keep all the options open since, you know, this thing doesn’t happen for another eight months – get the shaft.

Because in AZ it kind of only partially, sorta, kinda, a little bit, counts to say who you’d like to see get the nod. People who want the freedom of choice don’t get a say. Which, frankly, sorta, kinda, a little bit, stinks.

I feel for those people, in truth they’re the bulk of the entire voting system and they don’t even get a say. Well not yet anyway. But by the time those registered independents get to punch their card, tap on their screen, or whatever, it could be too late.

Their initial candidate of choice might just be out of the thing entirely. There’s a long way to go before the general election.

As someone who hasn’t always been granted an opportunity to voice their opinion, I can understand the frustration that registered independents are likely feeling today.

Four years ago, I tried to vote. My first presidential election as an Arizona resident! I was all kinds of excited when Matt and I were heading out to our voting location.

But I must have done something wrong. I thought I’d registered. After all, it’s free and really easy. All I have to do is check the little box when I renew my registration online and voila! Registered.

Apparently however, I was either an idiot or something was broken because when we showed up, waited in line and presented ID, I was told they didn’t have me on the list. No matter what I did, identification I tried to present, or way I tried to get in there to do my freaking civic duty I was turned away.

While Matt had the opportunity to check off all of his selections I sat in the car scrolling through Facebook or something. Getting jealous about all my friends who were able to get that little red, white, and blue sticker indicating they got out and did the thing we’re all supposed to do.

So this time I made sure to do things the right way. I think.

I have my voter registration card. I have my designated party affiliation and it allows me the opportunity to go and vote this month instead of waiting until August. Or whenever people who registered indie get their say. All of that is still very unclear to me.

Locations are open until this evening so Matt and I are going to wait and head on out together a little later today.

It feels good to put my pen to paper (or whatever) and make my pick. Only problem? I still don’t know who I’m voting for.

Seriously.

I don’t like to get super political over here most of the time. In fact, it’s my right as a voter to not tell anyone, even Matt, who I vote for. Which candidate is the one of choice for me.

However, since I have a vagina and a uterus you can probably surmise that I won’t be voting right. That presumption is 100% accurate. And while focusing on only one side, it still doesn’t help me narrow down from the eligible candidates left on the page.

I have strong feelings for and against both candidates who reside on the left. Some of those feelings are based on my gender and the unique challenges that come with it from pay to healthcare. Some on my feelings about legalization of cannabis. Some on education, taxes, small business, war, the food I eat and how it was grown.

Hilary and Bernie are both democrats, sure, but they couldn’t be more different if they tried. Which is the very reason I’m dreading making the choice later. If the ballot was in front of me right now, I honestly have no idea who I’d pick.

Between watching the news, reading the articles, listening to their own words in countless speeches and debates I am at a literal 50 / 50 split.

I guess I know what that means. For the next 11 hours I need to read more, listen more, watch more. Maybe even write out the pro and con list for each candidate.

But I’m a realist enough to know, in the end none of that shit will even matter. My choice will come to me in the moment. As it is with every American, my choice will be based on nothing more than my personal choice of who’s face and voice I want to experience for the next 4 years.

Or maybe not. Because making that choice and keeping it to myself is my American born right.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Laaaanguage Police

I don’t claim to be a perfect writer. Nowhere in my bio does it say “writes with perfect grammar so suck it.”

Because, if I did write like a scholar, that last sentence wouldn’t have ended in a pronoun tied to nothing. See? The “it” I wish for people to suck is undefined, therefore, once people accept my statement about my writing, they’ll probably run off willy-nilly sucking on who knows what.

Ah crap, I ended in another pronoun…

Despite all the rules of English grammar, I do take a considerable number of liberties in the style of writing, the voice, I use in this blog. Because words flow from my brain straight onto the page. I write what would come out of my mouth if I were having a casual conversation with a friend.

My goal over here is that you read and actually hear my voice in your head. No filter.

That means tons of dangling participles, ending sentences on prepositions, run-on sentences, liberally applied adverbs, and a host of other broken rules. Why? It’s not because I’m a rebel, it’s because of what I already said. Voice.

And when’s the last time you sat around chatting with somebody like this:

“I wish for those who read my perfectly parsed, grammatically correct blog posts, to suck on the object of their choice now that they understand the level of my greatness.”

Or something like that, like I said, I break so many grammar rules on a daily basis that sentence up there is probably a jacked up mess too. But hopefully you get my point.

Colloquialisms and a person’s overall lexicon are what let you know you’re reading an authentic piece written by the person you want to read.

Now, with my ‘general lack of caring for perfection in written words’ defined, there is one thing that happened last night. Something that almost put me over the edge with its blatant disregard for the forming of words.

Because, let me be very clear, ending in a preposition is something I don’t care about. (<-- See?) However, if you screw with the rhythm of words or their pronunciation I’m going to go insane.

Some examples of this include:

Opossum. The animal is not a ‘possum’. It didn’t come over on the boat from Ireland, lined up behind O’Flannery, and heard from the folks at Ellis Island ‘sorry but we’re dropping the O’. In fact, when you look up ‘possum’ in the dictionary the first definition is opossum. See for yourself.

Next, I must define the term first. There are two ways to say this: either, another whole, or a whole other. Nother is not a word. So much not a word that Word red squiggles it as misspelled. Hello?

Sharks. No, this isn’t a joke. Think of all the ways you could butcher the word ‘sharks’. I’ll wait. Anything? Well, if you’re a fan of the San Jose, California hockey team you’re on my language watch list.

Last night all I could think of was this scene from Love Actually:



Because every Sharks fan in the building (including the extremely vocal, cheering fans behind me who I swear were trying to pop the vein in my forehead) seems to think there’s an extra syllable in there.

“Let’s go Sha-arks!”

No. A thousand times no.

Sharks. Say it with me one more time. Sharks. One freaking syllable.

And hey, I get it. Sometimes it can be difficult to cheer for your favorite team when all the clap-clap-clap-clap-clap cheers are built on a second syllable.

As a Bruins fan, life is easy. Two syllables. Let’s go chants don’t take thought or creativity. Let’s go Bru-ins! Two syllables, split at the vowels as it should be.

As a Coyotes fan I can understand the issue though. Coy-o-tes. A three syllable word. Uh oh. Do we take Billy Mack’s advice and cram an extra syllable into our enthusiastic cheer? No. We got creative and used the nickname of our team to slide right into the clap-clap-clap-clap-clap.

Let’s go Coy-otes. (Phonetically: Kai – oats)

The spelling remains the same we just took the emphasis off the second syllable, bunched that syllable into the third and turned the whole thing into two syllables instead of three.

Yeah, I know. Even typing it out loud makes me kind of mad at myself for supporting the transition.

But I won’t apologize because we didn’t add syllables where they don’t belong.

Sha-arks is not a word. Nobody has ever said “I was swimming in the ocean and saw a sha-ark!” People have said “I was walking in the desert and got tracked by a coy-ote.”

Of course, maybe I was just bitter that said double syllable team had just beat the Bruins a couple days prior but I don’t think so. Because, after the Yotes took last night’s game, handily with only a couple minutes left in the third, I left the building happy for the win but happier I didn’t have to yell out “Sharks is one syllable!” to the entire arena anymore.

Language police, off duty.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Seeing the Person for the Politics

In doing all this research for real estate agent blog posts, I started noticing a trend. No matter where I focused my attention one of the top things people look for is a neighborhood full of nice people.

That’s it. Plain and simple. People don’t want to be surrounded by assholes. Shocker, I know, but it really got me thinking about what’s truly important about our neighborhoods.

Also, what makes someone “nice” as opposed to not nice?

That was a biggie for me to consider. Especially in these months leading up to a presidential election.

I mean, are you a dick because you share a differing political view and put a sign in front of your home for a candidate I don’t support? Because you want solar panels on your roof that I’ll have a view of from my back yard? Because you let your dog sit outside in the backyard and bark all day long at everything? (Okay to be clear, yes, that last one makes you an awful person, take better care of your animals for goodness sake.)

The world is made up of lots of different kinds of people and it feels sometimes like we’re more divided now than we ever were before. But why is that?

Is it because of niceness or of perceived niceness?

I have no idea what political party my neighbors are affiliated with because they don’t have signs out front. But let’s just say they were backing a candidate I loathed and displayed as much with signs and banners, that wouldn’t make me any less likely to wave and smile as I passed their house. Because that’s the literal depth of our relationship. And I like that, it’s nice.

If I started yammering in their face about why their candidate sucks so bad or why they should choose someone else, well, that would make me the dick. Frankly, I don’t know those people well enough to become an opinionated asshole trying to change their already made up mind.

I don’t hang out with my neighbors, never have and probably never will. I don’t know how they treat their spouses, children, pets (except that freaking dog, seriously), friends, family. I do know they always smile and wave. So I do the same.

Because of politics, could I change my mind about their niceness? In short, sort of, but not on purpose. If everyone in my ‘hood put signs in front of their house wouldn’t we know exactly who they are just because of some rectangular piece of cardboard displaying the name of another person?

I’ve been conditioned to believe certain things about each candidate and in turn apply all of those convenient labels to the people supporting said candidate, right? I mean, haven’t we all?

In this particular presidential election I think that’s the essential driving force behind every candidate. Yes, every candidate.

If you support Clinton you support a liar, hence you must be a liar.

If you support Kasich you clearly don’t support equal rights for women. Women hater.

Bernie? Idealistic socialist.

Cruz? Conservative Christian.

Trump? Racist, sexist, misogynist with no political experience or soul.

Because each of these messages is the thing the news media wants us to believe about each candidate. Nobody cares whether the facts are 100% true or not. All we care about is that we support X, Y, or Z and the other ones are all idiots. All wrong.

But that’s exactly the opposite of how we should look at this thing.

I know someone who supports Kasich, we had a conversation about it last weekend. This person is someone I consider to be one of the nicest people I know. Fun, loyal, supportive.

All I said in response was:

“There’s no way I could vote for that guy, I have a vagina.”

Because, in response to the politics, the things he does or doesn’t support as a matter of policy, I can firmly state that he would never be my candidate of choice.

Again, I have no clue if Kasich is a nice man or not. We don't jam on Friday nights. But I’m not about to judge someone I already know to be nice as not nice just because they support the guy and I don't.

That’s the kind of shit that got us into this name-calling firestorm to begin with.

The other night we were watching the NatGeo series Generation X and I was taken back to my youth. To a time before I even knew what politics were. Before I knew that the president could never be the sole decision maker for our country.

I have no clue how little nuggets get trapped in the brain, things we remember forever even if we rarely access the memory. Things like how to make pasta sauce, shortcuts in our hometowns after not driving those roads for decades.

Or maybe even the chorus of a super cheezy afterschool-special-esque stage show that I saw maybe once about 30 years ago (or more).

Before I knew what hit me I was singing the entire chorus to Matt, word-for-word, straight from memory. The show?

Up with People.

Did you ever see it? Did the troupe make the rounds to your school back in the late ‘80’s, early ‘90’s? They made it to Arlington and I loved it. The cast looked like extras who all jumped out of the cafeteria on Saved by the Bell with their brightly colored clothing and khaki pants.

Or maybe they were the backup dancers for The Jets.

Either way their message was all about being positive, being nice to each other. As a kid who was bullied for a lot of my youth it was super inspiring to hear adults singing their little hearts out about being kind, caring towards each other.

I felt like, maybe, once I got out of school I’d find where all those nice people were and we’d start our own little think tank of love and positivity.

Throw a fist into the air in stop-motion while smiling! Let’s dance! Woo!

All I’m saying is, sometimes, I like being idealistic. It allows me to go back to that time in my youth where I could assume everyone was nice unless they acted like a dick to me on a personal level.

But it had nothing to do with politics or party affiliation, what neighborhood you lived in or the color of your scrunchie. It had to do with being open hearted, accepting of differences, and understanding that while those differences may not be your personal choice, they were their choice and the right to choose is the very thing that should bring us together, not push us apart.

Maybe all of the candidates and their supporters need to be reminded of that moment in their youth when they believed that anything was possible.

This one’s for you guys.

“It don’t help nobody up when you put somebody down.”




• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Third Time’s the Charm?

I woke up this morning knowing I dreamt about multiple paths and the various paving stones used to create them. Don’t get all excited, dream decipherers. I’m pretty sure it was all a direct result of spending hours scouting through Lowe’s last night before coming home with trim to install this weekend.

Trying to get up the oomph to work today has been difficult.

I’m distracted with cost estimates for my kitchen cabinets, where they’ll come from, if we’re making the right choices. Distracted by the sheer number of things I do on a daily basis, like I said yesterday I never stop once I get going.

As I started writing today’s post it occurred to me that I was feeling less than inspired. Nothing I’d said felt like the right kind of ranting. I deleted everything multiple times. I mean, ranting is about all I do over here, but usually it has a pointed reason. It isn’t just 20+ paragraphs of rambling complaining. Ugh.

So instead of forcing it I opened up a few links to start looking at kitchen cabinets. And I had a great idea! Save every single link I visit during the renovation process, then write a book about it, that way I know who to thank in the acknowledgements section!

Within about, roughly, two minutes, I determined just how bad an idea that really is.

I’ve written about our adventures in home improvement before; in my blog series detailing the pitfalls of real estate in Springfield, MA in 2002. When we thought renovating an 1850’s farmhouse would be a stellar first project to tackle.

The posts came out years after the reno even happened and I tried to remember every detail but it all got a little fuzzy. Which I’m not exactly broken up about because that whole time in our lives is better left in the past. At least for now.

And thankfully the mind softens over time.

So did the series. Once the crazy contractors and materials ordering snafus were documented, all we were doing was installing stuff. I figured nobody would want to read about sanding, nailing, painting, etc. Snooze.

Unless…

Unlike the first time we did this construction thing, this time we’re older, wiser, more experienced. Maybe there could be a story in that mundane seeming stuff. The actual nitty gritty of the renovation project.

I realized this morning that I will very likely live-blog our renovation this time. Back in 2002 I would have done the same if I wasn’t also in school, working full time, oh yeah, and if I even knew what a blog was in those days.

For the next couple months I’ll be doing cost and quality comparisons, whipping up floor plans or sending out for them, and we will finish the projects from Phase I (like trim and getting the god-awful wall of mirrors taken down).

In other words, a bunch of mostly boring stuff with no pictures. Lame, I know.

But necessary. Especially the budgeting stuff.

Because if that whole Springfield debacle taught me anything it was that the very first thing to do in any renovation is establish a budget. Do it before you buy anything. When you don’t, you end up buying everything, sometimes twice, and you will hate life.

This is not a hypothetical. Materials will beat the crap out of you at every financial turn because in renovation the most important tool you own is a very well detailed plan.

This will be our third major renovation together. Springfield was first. And despite how much we spent on Phase I for this place, plus what we have available for Phase II, I think Springfield was overall more expensive.

Because we didn’t have a budget.

Back then we spent willy-nilly and mostly on credit cards with recoculous interest rates and outrageous available balances. We were financial idiots and it definitely took a long time to dig out of the hole we made back then.

A couple years ago, the last overhaul we completed in our current home was literally planned to the penny. I measured, and budgeted like I was born an accountant. It didn’t only help, it saved us from a huge debt we didn’t have to incur because we had the available funds to take care of things.

Surprises.

Most of what we’re doing this third time around would have been finished in the last reno. Unfortunately, we had no idea it might be smart to get a plumbing inspection before buying a house. Turned out to be pretty major and in need of immediate repair.

Something absolutely necessary, but an element we can’t even see, had to take priority.

It’s okay. We saved again. And this time I finally get to do the fun stuff. The building of things. Color and material selection. Kitchen, laundry room, closet doors. I get to design a cohesive space and I can’t wait…

…to get bids and review them.


Because it only becomes my internal vision if I plan it right.

• • • • • • • • • • •
In addition to this drivel I also write books, both fiction and non-fiction.
Learn more on my author page.