“It’s dangerous to go alone, take this!” ~ The Old Man (Legend of Zelda)

So, I need to take back something I told my sonshine a long while back because I have now done what I swore I never would. This is a biggie peeps, and I hope that by making this a public confession, I’ll save others from the same fate: I’m now playing an online game where I am spending REAL money to get CARTOON coins to try to move up yet ANOTHER level that consists of me knocking down obstacles to please a ANIMATED king who gives me a thumbs up all while participating in SKY RACES with people I’ve never seen and are probably 8 year olds playing while they’re pooping on the toilet and hiding from their parents while I frantically crush rocks/pots/dishes/tubes, etc. so I can beat these little beasts who want to deprive me of a TREASURE CHEST that has at least 2 TNT bombs in it. Whew. That felt good. 🤨

My son loves gaming and I’m the one that started him on this journey. When I was teaching adjunct and O was a little guy, I worked part-time for a company called “Computer Tots” (which is still going strong today) in which trained teachers took computers to daycare centers, etc. and worked with kids on basic skills. At the time, this was a HUGE deal since we weren’t even using e-mail in our world and Windows was still only something ma had hanging in every room of her house 🙄. Anyhoot, we supplied the computers since most places didn’t have them (does anyone hear the sound of dinosaurs right now?) so I’d lug it back and forth from classes to home. Computers in 1996 were quite cumbersome and the hook-up was a freaking nightmare. But the bonus was that O could use it at home anytime so I’d hook it up and let him at it. One of the games I had was ‘Darby the Dragon’ in which little tykes had to solve puzzle and put together clues to help Darby get his sister Sparkle a ‘magic potion’ to help her grow (I think that’s called ‘vitamins’ now 😳 ). The music was annoying as hell and the song will still resonate through my nightmares at times. Did O ever ‘win’ this and get the potion? Yes. Did it set him on a lifelong course of gaming? Yes.

Very complicated!

My journey of video games started in the 80’s. Who can forget Pong? The first game sissy and I ever had where you ‘competed’ against someone to bat a square ball around your TV screen with a rectangle you could only move up and down. Every hit of the ball against any part of the screen resulted in a digital ‘plunk’ sound that could put you in a hypnotic trance in a matter of minutes. Besides this exhilarating competition, the best part was to watch ma or dad hook the damn thing up…almost as fun at witnessing them hanging wallpaper together 😐. Anyhoot, T and I couldn’t believe that you could actually HIT A BALL on a SCREEN! Wow! That’s technology, folks.

Later we got an Atari for Christmas and now had more games to play. Space Invaders was very sophisticated…alien ships were shooting at you and you had to fire back and hide at the same time. In this game, your ship could be destroyed so the pressure was really on. Asteroids was nail biting excitement too: we had to save the world by destroying these monochrome nuggets before they hit you and then catapulted to earth destroying all of mankind. Let’s just suffice it to say that there’s a reason I don’t work for NASA…outside of the fact that majoring in astrophysics would have been about a million levels above what my brain is capable of processing.

More and more games began coming out and spending the afternoon at the video arcade at the mall…with your pockets full of quarters with an extra $5 to buy a slice of Garcia’s Gut-Buster pizza…was the ultimate. Frogger, Centipede, Donkey Kong, Dig-Dug, and Duck Hunt were personal favorites and at one time I worried I might be a bit of a psychopath (shutty 😬) since watching my frog getting run over by a bus didn’t affect me much. {Note to M: I’m so sorry I was Ms. Pac-Man champ at summer music camp in 1984 and that I flaunted it every chance I got. Yes, you were first chair flute out of hundreds of campers and performed solos flawlessly, but I moved that yellow circle around a maze and gobbled up monsters like nobody’s business. Just saying.}.

Mario Brothers changed everything. Not only was this a VERY sophisticated game in terms of graphics and play, but Nintendo consoles were available for purchase and you could start playing these arcade games in your own living room. Wow! Grampa and Gramma spoiled sissy, cousin and I and bought us one for their house. Little did they know we’d be there all of the time while interferring with gramma’s soap operas. She was a champ though and would call her friend Norma for updates.

While we were playing one day, my sister whacked bricks with Mario’s head enough times so that she popped through the ceiling and he was now above the ground! We were all shouting because we thought she had broken the game but as she started running through this new level, we were cheering her on as if she were dismantling a bomb…it was a thrill. And yes, it was one of the most proud moments I’ve ever had with T…despite her being a great mom, grammy, and LPN.

As my boy started playing his own games, I was so impressed. By the age of 4 he could pretty much do all I could (and honestly more…) on a computer and would win 95% of the games we played together. This just goes to show that a Master’s degree isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. When I bought him Zelda, his life changed. It was a story you played out with decisions affecting your progress. It was action/adventure game and O worked so hard to defeat the evil king Ganon…when he did it the first time, he swelled with pride. Zelda is still going strong today and O still plays all new incarnations of it.

And like a good ma, I still give him the newest gaming gadgets every chance I get. Last Christmas, it was VR goggles and we spent the afternoon watching each other put the goggles on and then try to get into VR rooms…juggle clubs…piece together things and if you didn’t know what you were seeing, you’d think we’d all gone mad as we watched each other grapple around the air while turning green from the motion sickness. Nothing says Christmas fun like throwing up after your turn. 😏

But I bitch about these. My mantra from the very beginning was this: “O, you only play AFTER you’ve done your homework or chores!” And now: “O, get off that freaking screen and talk to your mother.” Neither has worked well and I used to get a bit pissy about it…I know, that’s hard to believe.

Much to my chagrin though, the tables have turned. The first time I bought coins to further my ‘lives’, I told O it was only for that particular level (#22) and the $9.99 would be all I’d ever invest. I’m 55…a professor…somewhat frugal…and I know my limits. I have control.

No…I have found out that I really don’t. I’m on level #881 right now and yes, you can pause and work through your enviousness of this accomplishment. I’ll wait.

I never thought I’d be so ‘into’ (young adult vernacular) a game that I’d spend money to make sure I progressed. I also never thought I’d play it while on the toilet (like the little guys I am probably competing against 😳), at the dinner table while Edward waits for his plate to lick, during a zoom meeting (just once…I swear…cough cough) and while telling ma I can’t talk right then because I’m vacuuming. Am I proud of this? No. Will I continue to do this? Most likely.

See, it’s like I have too. Every 50 levels you get to play for coins and use your TNT and disco balls to earn more and more. You can earn cannons and arrows with every few games won and winning a Sky Race where you beat 15 levels before anyone else is exhilarating.

So, I finally get it. I get the excitement and time and energy spent on playing a game. A game. Because that’s all it is, right? But actually, I’m starting to feel differently about it. Living by myself can get downright lonely at times and King’s Cup is a great distraction. Having to figure out moves and puzzles and think ahead a few steps can fire up these old neurons. And building up the King’s rooms in his castle has given me some incredible decorating ideas…such as having a spa in the middle of my living room or building a fountain with dogs spitting out streams of water in my backyard.

And it’s also this: a way to escape from the world of pandemics, threats of war, poverty, violence, and the list goes on. So maybe I was wrong about gaming and it’s ‘uselessness’. It’s actually a way to disconnect from reality for a bit…something we probably all feel like doing from time to time. And of course I know how to play in moderation. I’m a mature, educated, experienced adult who….

WAIT! I have to cut this short…there’s a sale on coins and I can buy some extra sledgehammers! You just never know when they’ll come in handy.

Kristi xoxo

“…never pass up a bathroom…” from The Bucket List

So, we are talking about ageism in my Intro classes which has to be my favorite topic we cover. In fact, talking about age is my favorite activity ever…just below putting a hot fireplace poker in my eye. 😳

Anyhoot, here’s a question that came up today when we were talking about our life expectancy: “Would you want to know what day you were going to die?” Half of the class nodded while the other half shook their head vigorously. The ones that said yes talked about how they would get things done…travel…be with family, etc. The ones that said no stated that the anxiety of knowing this would put a damper on the rest of your life.

I’ve been thinking about this today and don’t know which I’d choose…both sides have valid arguments. One student said “If I knew when I was going to die, I’d write out a bucket list and work to cross everything off.”

Did you know the term ‘bucket list’ didn’t come about until the 2007 film with Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, and did you also know I’d give my left arm to hear Morgan Freeman read to me in person. Just sayin’.

I think I might be one of the few people I know that doesn’t have a bucket list and I actually have felt bad about that…like I have no goals or aspirations. Anyhoot, according to howtoadult.com, the most commonly found items on bucket lists from around the world are:

  • See the Northern Lights – OK, I’m going to admit this: I had no freaking idea where these were but now that I know they’re in Iceland, the chance of me moseying up there is slim. However, my son really wants to go to Iceland even though he hates the cold to the point if it’s under 60, he bitches about it. Go figure.
  • Run a Marathon – DONE! I’ve run 5 marathons in my life: 2 in Chicago, the St. Louis, the Green Bay, and Disney from which I have a gold Mickey Mouse medal! Yea!
  • Take an African Safari – my friend travels to Africa twice a year to spend time at the By Grace Orphanage in Kayole, Kenya. She created a non-profit, Stand up for Grace, and I’ve helped her with it since it’s inception 15 years ago. Unbeknownst to ma, I am planning to go next winter. It’s in a fairly dangerous place but I want to meet these kids so badly and work to make where they live better. Ma is totally against this…she’s convinced I won’t come back for whatever reason: getting run over by a rhino, getting held up (this has happened to my friend), saying or doing something unacceptable in the area and being jailed (yes, I have a big mouth and am impulsive…but yes, my friend would be there reeling me in), and the list goes on. So ma…if you’re reading this: I’ll be fine! OK?
  • Write a Story – I’ve written lots of kids books that I’ve mentioned before and really want to get them published badly…this is my goal. I’m also writing a book on being bipolar…it’s something I know a tad bit about and I hope to finish it during Christmas break. If, I’m not too busy shoving ma’s roasted pecans down my gullet the entire time. 😐
  • Walk Along the Great Wall of China – I’m gonna be honest here but I have absolutely no desire to go to China. The wall looks amazing and the history behind it is fascinating, but seeing it on Google earth has pretty much been enough for me.
  • Learn to Play an Instrument – I would love to learn to play the ukulele. I know I know…it sounds silly but I love the sound of it! I first wanted one when I saw the Andy Griffith show episode where the ‘Fun Girls’ have one and are playing it for Barney in the jail. What more can I say? (Ma…remember when you said you need Christmas ideas…well…here you go…😐).
  • Snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef – I know this would be fucking amazing and I love love love the water. However, the thought of a 22 hour plane ride makes me want to puke. Literally. Ma and pop would draw straws to see who had to sit by me on planes when the family went on vacation. The loser got to watch me puke in bags for the duration of the trip. Charmed I’m sure. 🤢
  • Skydiving – O has done this and he loved it! The video of him is so cute but it scared the shit out of me when he left to go do this with his dad. My favorite part of his video is when the guy filming asks if there’s anything he wants to say before jumping and he says: “I love you, Mom!” This is all while his dad was sitting by him and rolling his eyes. I love it. However, me jump out of a plane? I have as much a chance of that as dating Taron Egerton. So the answer is no way. Unless…Taron asks me to do it with him. Strapped to his chest. Hmmmm…
  • Own a Dog – DONE! I’ve had 7 dogs in my life: Scooter (my first mutt), Tessie (my white German Shepherd), Lizzie (another Shepherd), Squirty (my Toy Poodle I had for 3 years before B and I got divorced…he wouldn’t let me take him and I cried for weeks), Dottie (the one who will always stand out the most in my heart…I cry for her everyday and miss her so so much), Edward (my mutt who is the most loving dog ever), and Mally (who is doing so well)! I will never be without a dog; even when they’re at the groomers, I don’t know what to do with myself in the empty house!
  • See the Pyramids in Egypt – actually, Pop and my step-ma are going there with my sissy and her hubby in July. I can’t wait to see their pics and actually did a report on Egypt in the 6th grade which they can all use as a tour guide. I’m sure it’s very comprehensive.
  • Learn another Language – I took 2 years of French in high school and can say 4 things in the language: hi, yes, bye and where’s the toilet. Why would I need to learn anything else? 🙄
  • Ride a Venetian Gondola – I would LOVE to do this…I want to visit Italy so badly some day so this is definitely one I need to jot down on my list.
  • Drive across the Country – Another one I really really want to do! J and I always talked about buying an RV and spending a year traveling all across the country and I still have dreams of doing this. I guess I’ll have to with Taron now. Darn. 😏
  • View Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower – O has done this too (my son is very well traveled) and his pics are amazing. And, because of my fluency in French, I think I would do great in this country.
  • Hike the Pacific Crest Trail – hmmmm…I’ve actually always wanted to hike parts of the Appalachian trail but am up for this too. Just so I look like Reese Witherspoon did in the movie “Wild” while doing so. All I need is to take 10 years off my life, be a blonde, have a rockin’ bod, and look good while sweaty. Yep…that’ll happen.
  • Take an Alaskan Cruise – Yes! Ma took one years ago and loved it and the pics of what she saw are absolutely gorgeous. Plus, I hear there are a lot of single men in Alaska…who really want to move to Central Illinois 😉.
  • See your Favorite Band – I’ve actually seen my all time favorite singer: Elton John; it was in 1989 in Chicago and amazing and I’d love to see him again! BTW, it was the first time I smelled pot. But not the last. Don’t tell ma. Or pop. 🤨
  • Go Glamping – No, I’ve never heard of this but it’s glamour camping…right up my alley. In fact, I think I have a better idea: hotelamping. Staying in a luxury hotel that has a spa, pool and cabana boys at your beck and call. T…let’s do this!
  • Visit Stonehenge – O has also done this (crappy kid has done everything) but said this about Stonehenge: “It was a pile of rocks, ma. You aren’t missing much.” I’ll take his word for it.
  • Hike Mt. Kilimanjaro – OK, I had to look up where this is and saw it’s in Tanzania which I also had to look up until I realized it is in Africa. The hike is 55 miles over the course of a week and I’d actually like to do this…I love to hike!

Now, anything else I want to add to a proposed bucket list? Hmmm…white water rafting on the Colorado river, opening a plant shop, convincing my son it’s time to give me a grandbaby before I get too old to see the little fart, and singing on stage where everyone claps and cheers even though it sucked balls. I have huge aspirations…huh?

So, would I want to know when I was going to die? I don’t think so. I wouldn’t want that in my head but I do want to get some things checked off in my life. I mean face it, at the age of 54 that time frame is apparently shrinking…at least according to my young sweetie students who think 30 is old. Blech. 😳

Kristi xoxo

“What’s another word for Thesaurus?” ~ Steven Wright

So first, I want to say THANK YOU!! I now have 300 official followers and since I started this blawg in March, 2020 I’ve had almost 6,000 views and 3,700 visitors from 101 countries! That is amazing to me and you, my peeps, are so supportive and wonderful! Thank you for that! 😍

Anyhoot, after class today I was talking to the librarians and we started naming words that we hated to say…ones that make our skin crawl. We didn’t look at words that are offensive because we hate all of them and their meanings…instead, we looked at everyday words.

These coasters are available on Amazon! I want them!

What are mine? “Moist” is the first one and I must not be alone because one of the librarians said it as well. What is it about that word? Say it slowly: mmmmmoooooiiiiisssssttttt. Blech 🤢. I think it reminds me of when you spill something on yourself and you feel icky the rest of the day…or you are dripping sweat and feeling wet all over…or you touch something you THINK is dry, but it has a film of wetness over it. EWWWWW! When O was a little guy, I loved smelling his sweaty head after he played outside. And, I knew when he was growing up because the smell went from sweet to sour. That’s when I introduced him to the most wonderful product any home with a teenager can have: deodorant.

Another one? “Flap.” O knows I hate this word and uses it all the time: “Hey ma, I cut my finger and have a moist flap!” UGH! 🤢 I remember when his dad called me one day and told me: “Now don’t worry” (I wasn’t 😳), but I practically cut off my finger.” WHAT?? Go to the hospital! Get some care! But being the trooper he is, he wrapped it up and finished out his day. When he got home, I was ready with cotton balls, peroxide, and a bucket in case there was any blood that might make me puke (another word I hate saying!). I gently unwrapped his dozen layers of gauze and saw….get ready for it…..not much. It was a cut with a small flap and if he hadn’t told me about it, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it. I’ve had bigger cuticle mishaps. And BTW, thankfully it was me that had O, B wouldn’t have been able to do it. 🙄

And how about this one: gristle (I usually spell it ‘grizzle’). Anyhoot, this one bothers me because there’s nothing I hate more than biting into a piece of this when I’m eating meat. UGH. So, my first ‘real’ date was going to this guy’s prom at his school when I was a dorky, awkward teen. They served a dinner with roast beef and with my first bite, I had a piece of grizzle. I didn’t know what to do! Spit it out on my napkin in front of his friends (he was a senior 😳) or swallow it (hmmm…spit or swallow…why does this sound dirty to me? 🤭)? I ended up hiding it under my tongue and mumbling something about having to go to the bathroom and that’s where I got rid of the damn thing. Ever since then, I’m scared to bite into meat unless I’ve inspected it for anything my teeth can’t handle.

One more? Curdle. When I was eating/drinking dairy, I would be so paranoid about whether or not it was fresh. I don’t want to point any fingers at who made me this way…but it was ma. The fam was eating dinner one night and I had my glass of milk that I started drinking and it was spoiled! I told ma and she said it was fine. I said: “Ma…it’s disgusting!” and pop finally tried a sip and grimaced. So, not eating dairy anymore alleviates some of this paranoia and my almond milk is always fresh. BTW, nothing makes ma madder than when I smell anything she feeds me. So…I smell everything she feeds me. Go figure. 😁

This book is available at Wal-Mart! And I had to block out the c-word…we don’t want ma to faint.

There are also ‘dirty’ words that completely gross me out and one of them is the c___ word which is a lovely moniker for a woman’s genitalia. It’s such a harsh word…like a bullet when you say it. There’s no way this word can ever sound ‘nice’ and when I hear someone use it, I shiver. And what about bitch? This word depends on who’s saying it. Ma, sis and I will joke around and use it in a funny way, but when it’s said to a woman in a derogatory way, I shudder. A bitch is actually a female dog and the word is used to demean and degrade the woman. When I’ve been called it in the past, it stings. And the f-word (it’s fuck ma, but I know you don’t like me to say it)? OK, I obviously use this fucker more times than I should but sometimes nothing else works. When my step-daughter was a teen, she said ‘fuck!’ while we were riding around in the car and R said: “C…don’t say that!” which is a bit hypocritical since she no doubtedly learned it from him. Anyhoot, she replied with: “Fuckety fuckety fuck fuck fuck!” which is now my go to at least once every time I’m at ma’s. 😎

From Time

But as the Grand Poobah and I were talking about while I started writing this, some words that shouldn’t be said are important to be said for one reason: it shows us who the person really is. J’s brother was visiting us one day and we were sitting in the kitchen (the only room I allowed him to be in…and this was all happening while his pitbulls – and yes, I love all dogs – were tearing up my flower/fern garden) with the window over my sink open. My next door neighbor is a sweet black woman who has her grandson living with her and while she was in her backyard, brother used the n-word in a fairly loud tone of voice. I was horrified and J was too. I was so worried that my neighbor heard this and would think I had any connection to this guy. We got brother out and I told J he was never allowed in my house again. But here’s the thing: him using that word showed me the kind of person he is and the lack of value he has for people who aren’t like him (side note: this dumbass is a felon for something pretty bad…I don’t think he should be judging anyone). I’ve had people use other derogatory words in front of me and with only 1 word spoken, I can lost respect for that person and see them differently from then on out. Know what I mean?

I can’t even! From History Daily.

Finally, what are words I love to say? Gobsmacked is my fave as is using the word ‘trolley’ instead of grocery cart. I just love British words and calling my phone a ‘mobile’ instead of a cell phone just sounds classy to me. I also love how ‘row’ is used in place of argument and saying ‘knickers’ instead of underwear makes me laugh. Other ones are ‘knackered’, ‘quid’ (I substitute this for the word dollar) and dodgy when I describe something that just doesn’t seem right. I can’t wait to take a trip to England someday and use my anglo vocab.

Anyhoot, words are interesting in terms of how we react to them and what different meanings can be put upon them. I try to be careful in choosing my words…I’m not always successful. However, I promise you’ll never hear this sentence from my mouth: “The moist flap was full of grizzle.” Just sayin’.

Kristi xoxo

“…on Sundays I used to like to go hiking, but now…” ~ Heather / Blair Witch Project

Photo by Nicolette Attree on Pexels.com

So, I just want to publicly thank my son for already ruining next week for me: “Thanks, son.” 🙄

Courtesy of Pokemon Wiki – Fandom

A couple of months ago, my son got the brilliant idea of going camping which entails he and his girlfriend driving halfway across the country and camping in the back of his recently purchased pick-up truck. When he said this, I was dumb-founded since the only camping he has ever done was to stay in a hotel that didn’t have turn-down service. However, I wasn’t too worried that this venture into the wilderness would ever come to fruition. Afterall, he once told me he was going to be a professional Pokemon trainer and that sort of fell through 😐.

Then, I bought O a present off of his Amazon wish list for his birthday in August. Little did I know he never updates the damn thing, so of course he already had the fancy-schmancy keyboard I so lovingly purchased; he asked if he could exchange it and that’s when he bought “The Tent.” I put it in quotation marks because that’s how he emphasizes it when he talks about it and alongside the flowery words, his eyes get a look of pure glee in them. Apparently, this is something he’s wanted his entire life (of which he’s lived with me for 21 of those years and I never heard a damn thing about it 🤔) and it fits in the back of his pick-up truck bed. According to him, it will be ‘just like home.’

And I have to agree that a tent popped up in the back of a pick-up truck bed minus the toilet, refrigerator, TV, couch, stove, beds, DoorDash, air conditioner, electricity, and running water is truly going to be ‘just like home.’ You know, Hubby #3 always wanted to go camping and promised me the same thing: “It’ll be like you’ve never left the comfort of the house…except you’ll be sleeping on the ground and will have to use a spade to dig a latrine if you have to poop.” Charmed, I’m sure. And guess what? We never went camping. Ever.

Anyhoot, even after all of this I still didn’t believe he’d go until he called me yesterday to remind me that I’ll be watching my grand-dog all next week. So now the trip is real and I’m already worrying about the fucking (sorry, ma 🙄) thing.

Let me replay the conversation we had:

Kristi: Where exactly are you going, son?

O: We’re going to drive half-way across the country and back in the span of 6 days.

Kristi: That’s nice and specific. So, where will you sleep?

O: In the truck bed, ma…in the tent.

Kristi: WHERE will you sleep? Have you made reservations at campgrounds along the way where there’s at least some sort of a structure or facility you can use so when you pee, you don’t have to worry about getting a tick and/or poison ivy? Where there’s a water hook-up so you and K don’t wither away from dehydration? Where’s there’s electricity so you can have light in case there’s a flood and you both need to run to high ground? And for the love of all that is holy, haven’t you ever watched The Blair Witch Project??

O: I’ll make reservations when the trip is closer.

Kristi: You’re leaving in a couple of days, son. It’s close.

O: We’ll be OK…we’ll just sleep any old where out under the stars. That’s the point of camping, ma.

Kristi: Do you know how many serial killers are in our country at any given time?

O: No, Mother. I don’t. What’s your point?

Kristi: There are a million of them (slight exaggeration but try to understand my reasoning here 🤨) and they prey on kids like you in trucks along side the road in the particular states you’ll be driving through. Also, they like Toyotas.

O: Mother. I can take care of myself.

Kristi: No, son…you can’t.

O: WHAT???

Kristi: Let’s just say…for the hell of it…that a 300 pound bear comes up to your truck smelling what you and K somehow miraculously made for dinner with a kitchen no where in sight. What would you do?

O: We’ll be in the tent, Mother.

Kristi: Ketchup packets are harder to tear open than that tent.

O: OK, MOTHER. What’s the solution because we’re going.

Kristi: To get a dog sitter to watch all 3 pooches while I follow you in my Jeep to make sure nothing happens to my one and only child who I bore in my womb and raised. I’ll sleep on my back seat and live on KIND bars for the entirety of the trip. You won’t even know I’m there, but by golly, if a fucking bear starts attacking you, I’ll wave my arms and scream like an idiot to distract them while you and K scramble through the back window of your truck. And then, son, I will have saved your lives.

O: Sigh.

Now, do I have the right to worry? Yes. Yes, I do.

My son, to my vast knowledge of his every movement since the moment his little feet kicked the inside of my uterus, has never gone camping. Ever. And he’s taking along his girlfriend who gets a look of sheer horror on her face every time O mentions the trip.

So, I pulled K aside and talked to her:

Kristi: What do you think about this trip, K?

K: I’m dreading it. I’ve never gone camping. I’ve never wanted to go camping. And the thought of peeing in the woods makes me itchy and ill.

Kristi: I’m here for you, honey. WHEN you get fed up on this trip (which I’m assuming will be within the first 3 hours after they leave), call me. I’ll send you a pre-paid ticket to Vegas, will take some personal time off to hop on a plane myself to meet you at the airport, and we’ll have a few days at the Bellagio where we will tan by the pool and get massages from cabana boys while drinking ice-cold Mai Tais.

K: You’re the best.

Do I think she’ll call? Yes. Will I follow through with this? Yes. AND…am I worried to death over my only chance in the world to be a grandma traipsing across a country he didn’t know enough about to pass a geography quiz in the 7th grade? Yes.

Courtesy of delish.com

O keeps telling me it’s not my job to worry about him so much. But here’s what he doesn’t yet understand: it IS my job to worry about him. I don’t care if he’s 8, 18, or 28. I’m his mama and he will always be my baby. I’ll always have the instinct to take care of him…that doesn’t just magically disappear once your child grows up. One day, he’s going to understand that…just like I’m trying to understand the same thing regarding ma. 😉

Kristi xoxo

The Adventures of Me and Ma!

So, I know my sissy is going to be very jelly when she reads this because instead of being able to experience what I did this past weekend with ma, she was lolling on a gorgeous beach with her wonderful hubby and 2 beautiful grandkids. I feel so bad for her. 🙄

Anyhoot, ma and I have been going out to lunch on Fridays so she can have fish. Yes, she grew up Catholic. And no, she is not a practicing Catholic but for some reason, she likes fish on Fridays so go figure. We’ve been going to the same place for a while now (a GREAT old bar that has the best fish ever! 🐡🐟🐠) but decided to try something new this past week. As always, I told ma to choose the place and as always, she said it was up to me. There’s no use arguing (been there, done that) so I said: “Ma, give me 5 choices.” She did and I made my choice. However, she grimaced at each choice I made until I picked the one (0n my 4th try) she actually wanted anyway. My ma is a clever woman.

The actual bar we like to eat at…I LOVE bar ambiance!

So, we head off to Pop’s (another great bar…I love love love bar food…😐) and are faced with a crisis right off the bat. The only tables available are the tall ones with the high bar stools. I chose a 2 topper (restaurant speak for 2 seats…I waitressed through my last year of college 🤨) and helped ma clamber up the stool. It was horrifying at best and I just knew she was going to topple off this backless seat and I’d be blamed. Luckily, she spotted an 8 topper that had seats with backs. She scaled down where she was sitting like Edmund Hillary coming down Everest, and once again, I helped her get on top another god-forsaken chair. She got settled and I said: “Ma, despite the debacle of getting you seated with 40 truckers looking on in horror, the fish smells really good!” She agreed and when the waitress came by for the order, ma said: “I’ll take the shrimp basket.”

Heh? All week I heard about how excited she was to eat fish with me and she orders shrimp. I said: “Ma, didn’t you want fish?” And she said, quite snippily I might add: “Kristi, shrimp are fish.” Oookkkaaayyy! They aren’t exactly the Walleye she was craving, but I guess any old crustacean would do.

We gobble down the food which was delicious and since it was ma’s turn to treat, she had to get her purse off the back of the chair to pay the bill. This required her turning around on a chair she could barely balance on while telling me to leave her alone, she could do it herself. After saying a quick prayer promising God that I would never curse again if ma didn’t fall over, she wrangled it up and asked me what she should leave for a tip. I said: “Five bucks, ma.” She looked at me as if I’d said, “Ma, give the waitress a kidney and let’s blow the joint.” However, since the poor was called to our table numerous times (by ma…), I knew she earned every bit of that fiver. Just sayin. 😳

When I got her back to her house, she said: “Kristi, you need to come in…I have an emergency I need you to deal with.” Thinking she was experiencing a carbon monoxide leak but wanted to eat first, I cautiously followed her in. She grabbed her iPad and said: “I can’t get past level 47 on this game you had me download.” I said: “Ma. For fuck sakes…THAT’s your emergency?” Yes…it was. She had tried over a dozen times to get past that particular level and asked if I could help. Since I’m on level 317 myself, I did it with a few minutes to spare. It’s hard to describe the look on her face right then. It was part pride, part gratefulness, and part disdain.

This particular thrift shop has a huge amount of doll inventory…they are terrifying to say the least.

The next day, I wanted some stuff for my basement and we went to a GREAT thrift shop in town that has a bit of everything (please Lord…let there be thrift shops in heaven…😬). As ma was looking at the clothes, I was digging around in old books and furniture. All of a sudden I hear a loud “KRISTI?!!!” I said, just as loudly, “MA?!!!” She kept shouting (yes sissy…shouting…😐) until I tunneled through the hodge podge of crap and found her. I said: “Ma, what the hell??” She said: “Do you like this top?” No, I didn’t. Did I tell her that? No, I didn’t. After all of the energy she put in to getting my opinion, I didn’t have the heart to tell her it was ass ugly.

After this adventure, we went to an antique furniture shop that looks like a hoarder bought anything and everything he had ever set eyes on in the last 100 years and threw it all in the very old, wooden, partly dilapidated building. The aisles (I use the term loosely) are approximately 10 inches wide and since most asses are bigger than that, you have to wiggle through them like those bubble tea beads through a straw. Ma and I had just gotten down the first aisle and had to trek back because a couple was coming down it the opposite way carrying chairs. After they were through, we went back in. To make a long story short, there were 12 fucking chairs in the set these boobs bought and instead of telling us they would be making numerous trips (6), we kept traipsing down the same aisle again and again until they’d come tramping back and we’d have to backtrack. Why didn’t we go down another aisle? Because this place is like a maze…one way in, one way out. And believe me, you don’t want to get lost unless you have provisions for at least a week.

Anyhoot, I had previously found the perfect piece for my basement (an AWESOME marble topped chest!) but didn’t have the cash at the time to pay for it. When I had pulled out my card days back, the salesman looked at me as if I were another life form using a currency never before seen on earth. He said: “We don’t take those things.” OK. Got it.

I told the guy I’d be back that weekend and he said he’d write out the sales ticket for it and have it waiting for me. The price was $150 but I got him down to $120. The owner of the shop, born during Lincoln’s time, was there when ma and I arrived and when he saw I had gotten a ‘discount’ he asked how I had managed that. I looked him straight in the eye and said: “I flashed the guy my boobs.” He didn’t flinch…just nodded and started loading it up. Apparently I’m not appealing enough that he wanted a rerun of that particular show. And no, I didn’t really flash ’em the first time around anyway. At least that’s my story…and I’m sticking to it. 😲

See the furniture piled up in the windows?? NOTHING is secured!

As the old geezer (who I will be referring to as Red from here on out) was loading up my stuff (that man might be old but my goodness, he’s strong 😳), ma found some vintage quilts. She asked Red the price and when he quoted it, she balked and put them away. I pulled her aside (the best I could in a 10″ space) and whispered: “Ma, for piss sakes, you’re supposed to bargain!” Instead, she and Red started talking about our town (since they’ve both been around almost from it’s conception in 1829) and while I was leaning on a dusty, moldy something or other in a building that wasn’t air conditioned on a 100 degree day, I began to get a bit delirious. Not really wanting to be a part of their conversation but needing something to take my mind off the heat stroke I could feel coming, I made a couple of quips I found amusing. Red didn’t. He looked at me like I was nuts. Which…actually…as we all know…I pretty much am. 🙄

Finally, I rasped: “Ma, we need to get going…” and I took matters in my own hands: I got my chest, 2 vintage quilts and an AWESOME vintage lamp for $150 less than marked. After we shook sweaty palms on it, Red looked gobsmacked. I think the heat had made him delirious too (believe me…this guy is known to be a bit of a shyster and I guarantee you he made plenty of money on this sale).

So, we were all loaded up and I was getting ready to pull away from the curb when he comes trotting out. I rolled down my window and said: “Whatcha need?” And he said: “What all did you get?” I told him and he rolled his rheumy old eyes and said it had been our lucky day. Yes. I was lucky in that I didn’t think I’d have to visit the ER that evening after all. When he was walking away I shouted: “I thought you were coming back to ask me out!” He looked back at me and said: “No.” Well…that hurt. 🙄

Anyhoot, ma and I always have fun when we’re together and we got laughing so hard at times this past weekend we almost peed ourselves. However, just because I love my sissy so much, I’m going to let her schlep ma around next weekend. Not that I need a break or anything. Just because I want to make up for what she missed while on vacation. I’m all heart.

And ma, you are the best…I love you so much and if you can’t get past another level, holler at me. K?

Kristi xoxo

“My mama told me…you’d better shop around.” ~ Captain and Tennille

From the Dallas Morning News

So, when I go to the great heavenly crafting area in the sky, I’m hoping my last conscious act will be buying something at IKEA. Preferably, I’ll be buying yet another organizing system while shoving Swedish meatballs down my gullet. Awwww…what more could I want? Well…that my son and my 15 grandbabies are there with me…but…that may be too much to ask. 🙄

Anyhoot, I had never heard of IKEA (except in a King of Queens episode and I didn’t understand the reference) until Oliver moved to Texas and we went to one in Dallas. Before we left he said: “Ma. This is a really cool store and we will be there most of the day. Be sure to pee before we leave and have an appetite.” I said: “Oliver. We won’t be there most of the day because you are not a ‘browser’. I always have an appetite and the next time you tell me to pee as if I’m an elderly aunt, I’ll ‘forget’ all about your next birthday. Kapeesh?” So I peed, had an appetite and made sure my debit card was handy.

Everywhere you drive in Texas takes forever since it’s so freaking big (I LOVE Texas…I’d live there in a heartbeat! 🤠) but I knew we were getting close when the hairs on the back of my neck started to prickle and the smell of furniture was in the air. We found a parking spot so far away that we could barely see the store on the horizon, but after a nice trek over the macadam, we entered the doors.

My IKEA living room!

My first thought was “What the hell? This sucks balls. It’s a concrete warehouse.” I rolled my eyes at Oliver and he pointed to the escalator. We got off and I swear I heard some angels singing while I took in the sights: furniture, dishes, lights, full decorated rooms, linens, rugs…it was like every single store I had ever dreamed about was rolled into 1. I had found my utopia.

I started, manically I might add 🙄, running around and exclaiming over everything with glee. Oliver reigned me in (which is never an easy thing to do) and said: “Ma. You have to follow the arrows. We walk through the entire thing.” WHAT? OMG! Not only did this store have everything my little heart desired in life, but directions? That was super fine for my OCD tendencies. Could it get any better? 🤔

Yes, it could. We started in living rooms and I took pics of EVERY single one (to Oliver’s obvious embarrassment 😐) exclaiming in my LOUD professor-teaching voice: “I want my house to look just like this!” If I had my way, my dream home would consist of a humongous structure that had as many living rooms, kitchens, and offices as IKEA does. I’ve already started saving.

Plants at IKEA? Yes!

I was amazed by all the colors and design ideas and funky looks but said to Oliver: “But what can you buy?” Dumfounded he said: “Ma. You can buy everything. Just don’t go overboard like you usually do.” Apparently my eyes rolled back in my head and I started having heart palpitations…I was able to squeak out “GET A CART” before I had to lean against a wall and catch my breath. It was a moment of pure elation.

Now, for those of you who may not know, IKEA is a Swedish company and all of their products are priced low but are quite chic. For example, my sofa cost $1300 at a furniture store in town…I could have bought one at IKEA for a couple hundred. And, believe it or not, the quality is really good for the price. They specialize in affordable products that are decorative and sturdy. And yes, that’s all well and good. But I’m going for looks, peeps! And they got ’em.

Our First Trip!

So I began pushing my cart around the maze of rooms and started coming across the bins of items and tags you snap a pic of to pick up later. Within 5 minutes, the cart was full and Oliver was saying: “Ma. You flew here. What the hell?” And I said: “Oliver. I’m your mother. Hush it up. I’ll figure it out.” Which, by the way, I did. Sort of. Oliver had to ‘store’ some of my things for future trips when I only packed a few pairs of undies and 1 extra shirt so my suitcase was empty for more goodies to lug home.

After we shopped for about 4 hours, I was exhausted…both mentally and physically and Oliver told me I just had to eat IKEA’s famous meatballs. Sure! So, we chowed down on a couple plates of meatballs and I told myself I will never eat another type of meatball in all my life. And actually, that ended up being a lie. Not 2 days later I was gorging on Olive Garden’s spaghetti and meatballs, but that doesn’t really count. Different countries…different balls. 😉

Anyhoot, the other day, Oliver, his girlfriend (K) and I went to the IKEA in St. Louis to get some things for their new house. I sternly told myself: “Kristi, this trip is for Oliver and K. Not you. You don’t need to buy anything…you have enough ‘stuff’. Focus on your son and save your money.” So, I ended up only spending around $700. I was quite proud of my restraint. However, Oliver and K bought about the same amount of stuff too…and as stoked as were were about our finds, we started to worry as we pushed out a furniture cart, 2 regular carts, all while carrying 3 huge IKEA bags to the loading zone. We drove my Jeep Renegade and it’s not a huge SUV. In fact, it’s a bit small. But my son is a complete rock star…he was able to get everything packed in with ‘justenoughroom’ for the 3 of us. You couldn’t have added a pack of gum to the Jeep…it was that tight.

Oliver and K trying to figure out how to load the Jeep!

My big find was a cabinet I’ve been wanting that I saw people on Pinterest using for plants. I got it put together and ta-da…I loved it…but a bit too much. The next day, I ‘had’ to drive all the way back down to St. Louis (5 hours round-trip 😳) just to buy another one. That’s all I wanted and all I ‘basically’ got. Well…I did buy some artwork. And storage bins. And towels. And plants. And a couple cute garbage cans. But that was all. I ate my meatballs and headed home.

When ma visited Texas with me, we took her and she had the same reaction…she was gobsmacked. It was so much fun showing her around and seeing her get excited about $.99 potholders. Sissy, ma and I are going down for a girls day this summer, and I have a feeling we’ll buy out most of the store. I can’t wait.

Anyhoot, now you know why I want IKEA as a final resting place. It’s always fun…there’s so much to see…there’s so much to buy…there’s so much to eat…and for a manic gal like me, the space, colors, and ideas satisfy my need for stimulation. Win win. So…if you ever come to IL, look me up and I’ll take you down there. Not for me, mind you…but for you. I won’t buy a thing. Except maybe another cabinet. And a new rug. And maybe a few knick-knacks. I guess we’ll just have to see.

Kristi xoxo

“It was the possibility of darkness that made the day seem so right.” ~ Stephen King

So, I don’t know about you but February is a notoriously sucky month for me. Holidays are over…snow is coming down…there’s mud and slush everywhere…and you can go days to weeks without seeing the sun. Charmed, I’m sure. However, THIS February sucked balls even more…let me explain.

To start with, I had COVID during the first 2 weeks and was stuck at home in quarantine for 14 days feeling like Typhoid Mary. Bill and I did get along (he had it too and I don’t want to point the finger of blame at anyone for getting it but Bill gave it to me…probably… 😳) only because he has my basement fixed up like a little apartment and we didn’t have to really see each other unless we wanted too. After a few days, we didn’t want too. I know all of you women are nodding your heads right now…and believe you me, I got on my knees and thanked the good Lord above that I was insightful enough to buy a house with a finished freaking basement 15 years ago. Just sayin’.

We were lucky with our symptoms though: fatigue, loss of taste and smell, headaches, some congestion…and that was about it. As I’ve said before, I missed not having the senses but Bill, for some unknown reason, wasn’t as upset. When I asked him why he mumbled a couple of words that sounded like ‘kitchen’, ‘cooking’, and ‘God send.’ I’m really not sure what he meant.

Then, I had to put my sweet Little Dottie down. I’ve had to do this once before and I prepared myself since she was getting so old and I could see my baby failing. But when you actually do it, no amount of preparation can lessen the heartache and pain you feel. Not a minute goes by that I don’t think of my sweetie and I still look for her all of the time. Every night, for 15 years, she slept on my bed and I’m still putting her blankie out every night…I’m not ready to stop that yet.

Y’all might not agree with this but I once read that you might have a lot of dogs over the years, but 1 will always stand out as being ‘that dog’. The one that was just a bit more special to you. The one you connected with a bit more. For me, it was Little Dot. She was with me from the day I moved into my house with O and we were never apart. Her personality was something else: diva + sweetheart + ornery + sassy + adorable. It was quite a combination. I will miss her until the day I die and when I see her, I know she’ll bark her fool head off.

Then, I went in for a ‘procedure’ on Friday and to make a very long story short (but less dramatic 🙄), I need to have a full hysterectomy. Well, fuck me (sorry, ma 😬 ). This is major surgery and I’m scared! My awesome gyno is going to do it laparoscopically (it took me 4 tries to spell that correctly 😐) so the downtime won’t be too bad…just a couple of weeks. I’m going to schedule it, hopefully, on the first day of Spring Break so I can recover a few days before I go back to teaching.

The really fun part is going to be juggling 7 regular classes, a late-start class, healing, mourning, and taking care of my house. But as Hubby 3 used to say (shutty the mouthies 😳), I’m a ‘scrappy thing’ and I’m sure I’ll be OK. (Note to Bill, Ma, Pop, T, and O: I’ll still need a LOT of spoiling… 🤨).

So, ma went with me for my “procedure” (that sounds like such a weird word…old ladies say it with ‘quotation fingers’ because they don’t want to say the real reason because it’s usually gross, like hemmorroids or something; mine wasn’t that ‘gross’ but it’s still not table talk) and I got us lost. NOW HOLD ON A SEC…WE NEED TO WAIT UNTIL MA PICKS HER CHIN UP OFF THE FLOOR SINCE I DIDN’T BLAME HER LIKE I WANTED TOO.

Anyhoot, we had to go to Springfield to get ‘er done and I drove there so ma could drive back when I was groggy and possibly vomiting. Here’s how the conversation went and as you read it, be sure to make your voice very shrill (on ma’s parts), very sweet and patient (on my parts), with the volume increasing with every sentence:

Ma: “Kristi, do you know where we are going?”
Me: “Yes, ma…duh. In fact, you made us leave so early we’ll have plenty of time to kill. I know Springfield like the back of my hand.”

45 minutes later:

Me: “Ma, since we’re 40 minutes early, let’s pop into the General ($ General) and I’ll get a magazine to read.” We browsed for 20 minutes before I said, OK…let’s go!

I drove around various roads and kept taking wrong turns (there are too many one way streets there) and even though I had no idea where in hell I was, I DID not want to let ma know that. However, I finally found the building after driving by it countless times, and once I got going the correct way on the one way street, got the car parked, trotted into the building and…wait for it…didn’t see the surgery center listed by the elevators. I go up to a nice young gal and ask her where it is. She said: “It’s downtown…about 6 miles from here.”

Ma was still behind me…I rushed ahead ‘just in case’ something went awry, and when the gal asked me if I needed the address, I said “No! I know where it is!” before ma could hear this exchange. I didn’t know where it was.

When ma asked what was going on I actually said this (don’t judge…you don’t know ma when she’s pissed…right T?): “They moved the surgery center and now it’s downtown.” Ma: “Do you have the address?” Me: “Duh. Of course.” I didn’t.

So, off we go again with 5 minutes left to get back to the car and find this place that magically ‘moved’ overnight. I started down the street I thought was right and was fumbling with my google maps that was screwed up because it was trying to connect to ma’s fucking blue-tooth in her car. As I kept making more wrong turns, she kept getting more pissed off. I said a little prayer, found the place completely by accident, and didn’t have to read the magazine I had bought at the General.

BUT, here’s what’s weird: I had COVID, lost my baby girl, and have to have major surgery all within the span of a month, yet I’m in a manic phase. Bi-polar doesn’t give a hoot about what’s going on in your life. It’s going to do what it wants to do…period. How can you explain that you’re grieving or scared or achy or sad when you just can’t stop moving, doing, etc.? People with bipolar process emotions differently than others. I’m not saying I feel MORE than others, but I am saying what I feel is on a different ‘spectrum’ than others. It’s very very hard for me to process all of this: I’m ‘up’, yet I’m so so sad. I’m ‘up’, yet I’m so so scared. I’m ‘up’, yet I am worrying about how I’m going to do all I need to do while recovering. What a weird thing: it’s like my brain is experiencing this bit of mania (it’s not too bad, but Bill can’t believe all I do in a day) but my heart is experiencing so much else. And, since these 2 things aren’t matching, I feel confused. Kind of lost…even kind of guilty.

Anyways, I hope your February was better than mine and I already know March is going to suck balls. But, by April I’ll be ‘as good as new’ and hopefully have a great summer.

Take care of yourselves, peeps…stay healthy and safe. K?

Kristi xoxo

“Our house is a very, very, very fine house…” ~ Crosby, Stills & Nash

So, there is absolutely nothing that feels better than knowing you have truly helped someone on a deep level. Having said that, I am so proud of Bill for acting on the suggestions I had for making his place a bit…hmmmmm…well….better.

Walking in this weekend, I encountered a much more friendly entryway complete with wooden key. From what I can discern, this little gem is vintage…from the 1970’s…and says ‘Welcome to my Home’ more than anything else could. And, since it is such an ‘original’, nothing else needs to be added to compliment it. Nothing. 🙄

Then, the kitchen and what can I say? Did I step into Better Homes and Gardens? Will I see this as a spread in House Beautiful? He hung up the painting I gave him (cough…cough…no accolades please…this is about Bill 🤨) on a stunning ‘peach’ sponged wall which sets the ‘ocean theme’ of the painting off perfectly.

When you turn around and your eyes move past the kitchen table which now houses a salt AND a pepper shaker (very chic and I’m guessing from Big Lots) you see his dazzling bottle collection and I’m on hold for Antiques Roadshow as I type. The glass bottles are quite…ahem…nice, but the vintage plastic beauty there really sets the tone. I shed a tear of joy knowing that one day, this menagerie will reside in my own home. I simply can’t stand it wait.

Moving into the ‘dining room’, the most formal room of the house, really show’s his creativity. Who else but my beloved can take 3 bikes, toolboxes, empty jars of foot balm, coolers that haven’t been sponged out since the early 2000’s, muddy duffel bags, and running clothes all arranged on 2 industrial rugs that are more commonly found in the entry way of factories, and turn this ‘space’ into a storage unit that you don’t have to drive too? That, my sweet peeps, takes talent.

Upstairs has substantially improved as well…particularly in the ‘home gym’ for which my membership still hasn’t been approved as we are currently negotiating fees. Anyhoot, this health spa (it’s next to a bathroom and if he takes a long enough hot shower, you have a ‘steam room’ 😐) now boasts ‘storage facilities’ which are cleverly disguised as empty gym bags. Isn’t that clever?

Now, I’m not bragging but have to say this: my own decorating taste has always been impeccable ever since ma and pop let T and I pick out our own carpet, wallpaper, and ceiling lights when we moved into the house we grew up in (ma still lives there and has since turned me and T’s rooms into stunning retreats that we both would have given our eyeteeth for at one time 🤓). While T chose orange flower wallpaper with orange and green carpet (she was so cute), I chose a much more mature palette: gold and brown carpet, yellow huge flowered wallpaper, and a red/white/blue flag light cover. Edgy? Yes…it was. In fact, I think I have have been the first to use the ‘mix and match’ concept… you’re welcome Vern Yip.

My first apartment with Hubby 1 (shutty the mouthies 🙄) was breath taking, probably because it had 2 east facing windows that got no air and we could barely breathe in the summer. The carpet was, once again, orange and brown (however, this was 15 years later than when it was ‘tres chic’ and thus referred to as ‘vintage heirloom’) with dark brown cabinets and dark brown doors and a dark brown bathroom. I cried when we moved…I’m sure you can see why.

Never again.

Our green trailer was something to behold and I must say I got on my knees and thanked the Lord that orange was no longer part of the color scheme. Instead, it was avocado green of which I said to hubby: “I’ll never get tired of this…it will always look like spring!” The problem was it was always spring: every single appliance and bathroom fixture along with the linoleum floor and carpeting was green. And yes, it was avocado green and no one likes guacamole like this girl does, however, the green was more reminiscent of guacamole that has sat out for a day…or 2. Luckily, the walls and cabinets were dark brown so in that way, we came full circle. Charming.

Now O’s dad and I had different tastes in decorating. We first found this out when we moved into our house and got ready to paint O’s nursery since he was well on his way. I wanted primary colors with Sesame Street characters mod-podged all over his closet doors while B wanted to slap some ‘Dover White’ on the walls and call it a day. So, we started painting with the primary colors and after it was done and I rescinded the divorce papers I had filed (never paint when your hormones are raging and your hubby hates to paint and yes, I wore a mask for the fumes. We can’t blame any of O’s behavior as a teen on that 🙄) I looked at it and whispered into B’s ear: “I hate it.” I knew my soon to be born baby would be horrified to see a 5′ Elmo on his closet and the primary colors gave me a migraine. I decided to ‘change my theme’ and we (meaning me) went with soft pastels and Mickey & Minnie mouse. As we stood, once again, looking at our handiwork together after I promised my lawyer I wouldn’t call him again until the baby was grown, B whispered into my ear: “If you don’t like this, you can raise YOUR baby alone.” I loved it.

Fast forward 6 years and B and I built our dream home! I got to pick out everything for it and was like a kid in a toy store. I brought home dozens of color swatches (that became my favorite word and I threw it around like Coco Chanel 🤨) and finally told B we had to make a decision as the builders were ready to strike. He said: “Dover White.” I said: “No.” He said: “Dover White.” The builders and painters who were observing this all said “Dover White.” But even in the face of all of this pressure, I decided to be a rebel. I chose “Eggshell White.” Ha!

My ‘yellow phase’!

I’ve lived in my current house for almost 15 years now and have painted the kitchen so many times, O says it’s significantly smaller than when we moved in. I went through the tan phase…yellow and red phase…and now I’m into blues. I no longer hang my pictures with 10 penny nails and have learned to putty and patch so I don’t have to put up said pictures only where there are holes in the wall. I’ve learned to coordinate colors: blue, yellow, purple, and green rooms all next to one another. I’ve learned, after having pulled my carpeting up, to put ‘rag rugs’ over pee spots that ate through the varnish on the floors and now understand you can take any piece of furniture, plop a plant onto it and you’ll be bohemian chic.

Y’all know I’ll be retiring (yes, at the age of 40 🙄) in a couple of years and instead of opening a plant shop which I intended to do, perhaps I should go into decorating with my own line of furniture, paint, etc. Just picture it. My taste…in all of the rooms in America. Takes your breath away, doesn’t it?

Kristi xoxo

“I don’t want to grow up…” ~ The Ramones

So, I was perusing amazon the other day and came across a book called “How Not to Act Old” by Pamela Satran and it really interested me for a couple of reasons. First, what the fuck (sorry ma, I’m already cussing 😳)? Do we really need lessons on how not to ‘act old’ in this day and age? What is ‘acting old’ anyway and why must we shy away from it? Why is ‘acting young’ so much better? Second, why in the name of all that is holy do we fear aging so much in our society that we have to learn to ‘act younger’? Does that seem right to you? Grrrrrrrr.

Actually, this book is really funny and the author is excellent at satire. Plus, if I must be brutally honest with myself, I think I need a few of these ‘lessons’ myself. Let’s take a look see at the ones I apparently need to work on…I may need to leave a few out for the sake of brevity (look up that word, youngsters…it’s not used much anymore 🙄).

One of the tips is to not talk to strangers which is something us old folks do. My son is probably cheering right now because he absolutely hates it when I do this, but what can I say? I’m a talker and baby, this bird likes to chirp! No one is a stranger to me…literally. I’ll talk to anybody and everybody anytime and anywhere. And, while that makes my son very very nervous, ma will laugh after she realizes the person isn’t going to spit in my face.

The other day we were at Wally Farts and I was in the make-up aisle looking for the only lipstick that looks decent on me (Maybelline 24 hour matte…#50 🤨 ) and there was another gal yacking on her phone which kinda pisses me off. Is there anywhere we can go where we can get away from those damn things (I wanted to say ‘fucking’ instead of ‘damn’ but ma might get mad so I resisted 😬)? Anyhoot, she said the word ‘Aunt Linda’ and after she hung up I said: “Was that Linda?” And she tentatively said it was. I said: “Aunt Linda…from Decatur?” And she said YES! Do you actually know her? I said of course I did…I was trying to get some lipstick for her and this gal actually said: “She sent me to do that too!” Then ma and I started cracking up and the gal did too! I could hear her continuing to laugh through the body lotions aisle (note: I need to put that on my shopping list) and it made me happy. If my son had been there? He would have left the store and called an Uber for me. I guarantee it.

This is the exact watch I had…sigh…

Another suggestion is not to wear a watch. Heh?? I grew up wearing watches and since my phone isn’t connected to me via an umbilical cord like I know others have, I need to know the time. My first ‘fancy’ watch was a gold number from a store named “Venture” and it had the red numbers that lit up when you pushed a button. It was awesome and I loved it…very ‘tech’. I actually have a lot of watches I’ve collected over the years: Tweety bird, Hoops and YoYo, Mickey Mouse, various Timex’es and I wear them according to my mood. When O was a little guy, I had an Elmo watch and I’d say: “Elmo says it’s time for a nap!” Worked like a charm.

Another suggestion is to not talk about menopause. Yeah. Right. Look, when I was sweating like a dog every freaking day of the month for 2 years straight, wanted to kick anyone that got in my way, had mood swings far above and beyond anything bipolar can be responsible for, and saw my belly grow day by day because my metabolism was getting shot to hell…I’m going to bitch about it. To everyone. Hello??!! If I’m miserable, I want others to be too. It’s just a quirk of mine.

(NOTE: skip this part, ma). In another part of the book, the author says that although men continue to be randy throughout their lives (tell me about it 😐), women don’t want to really have ‘it’ anymore. OK. Here’s another area where I must be an anomoly because good Lord above, I still like ‘it’. Why is it assumed that older women don’t like to have sex? I hate to blame anyone for this situation but I tend to think that if our men (I’m leaving out women as a partner because I think we’re already OK at this) romanced us like they did when we were young…quit wearing sweatpants around the house all day while carrying a beer…stopped watching the boob tube for hours on end…stopped assuming that going out to dinner is just too much trouble…and not ogle young ladies that are barely old enough to vote then guess what folks? Women might really like it ‘again.’ Hello, men. Ever hear of foreplay? Sweeties, take it from me…that never gets too old for us. K?

This is one badass grammy! From: The Bored Panda

And tattoos? Not for the old? I disagree. What the hell? I’m getting older and fewer and fewer people are going to want to see my bod so why not get it covered in ink? I’ve actually got 6 tattoos and am getting a sun/moon on my right upper arm this fall. Ma doesn’t know about this and she is going to be calling me in 5-4-3-2-1…hold on, I’d better take this. 🙄

And, this brings me to something else ma has told sissy and I since were were 4. Long hair isn’t for older women. In other words, having 2 inch hair is the ONLY style acceptable for ‘cough cough’ women of a certain age. With no disrespect to ma, and I know I speak for sissy as well, bullshit! My longer hair can be used to cover up my face when my wrinkles are a bit more pronounced, look really great when nothing else does, and makes me feel like I’m at least a year younger than I really am. Win win win.

OMG. Me in the 80’s. Good Lord.

The author also talks about what you shouldn’t wear as an older woman and I agree with them…particularly the bright blue eye shadow which every single 80 year old I know wears (and yes, I live in a very old neighborhood where I’m the youngest resident by about 50 years so I know a lot of 80 year old women 👵). I don’t want to dress in ‘Jr.’ clothes…for fuck (sorry, ma 🙄) sakes, the day I show my midriff in public is the day you need to commit me, but I’m not going to wear these ‘new’ high waist ‘vintage’ jeans either. No way in hell. Look, maybe the ‘young folk’ think having the 80’s back is fun, but these are the jeans that us older people look at in our school pics and laugh at. No way are those boobie-touchers going on this bod. I will continue to wear my boring old Levi’s with the button fronts so when I eat too much dessert, I can unfasten a couple of ’em and shove more cake in. Seriously…what could be better than that?

Last one that made me think a bit? ‘Don’t fear the thong.’ Oh…I don’t know about y’all, but I fear them…a lot. Look, underwear is supposed to cover your underarea and keep you…well…contained. Free from drippies. Protected from chafing jeans. There is no way on God’s green earth I’m going to wear a 3″ swatch of fabric with dental floss holding it together in the back. I tried them. Once. And I spent hours with my hand picking the floss out of my butt crack which I’m sure looked very sexy. Regular panties it is.

So, getting older may not be cool, and yes, there are suggestions on how not to act too old, but here’s how I see it: I’ve gotten to 53 and I’ll be damned if I’m not going to take advantage of it. There are just some things us old folk can take advantage of and be OK…like staring at handsome firefighters while saying something naughty. “I can’t help it…I’m old.” That sort of thing. Pros to getting older? You can act about anyway you want and blame it on age. Cons? Well my sweet peeps…that’s a whole other post.

Kristi xoxo

“Sunday, Monday Happy Days…” ~ Happy Days Theme Song

Photo by gya den on Pexels.com

So, my ma sent sissy and I an e-mail that was literally entitled: “Pictures for Seniors”. Yes. You read that correctly. My ma apparently thinks my sis and I are in the ‘senior’ age category like she is. I think I speak for my sis when I say I was going to e-mail ma a snarky comeback to such an e-mail, but then I opened the damned thing and realized I knew a LOT of what these ‘old pics’ were. Thanks, ma. I now feel elderly. “T? Should we start looking at old age homes together?” 🙄

These 2 pics actually made me laugh out loud. When ma was a fresh divorcee and I was a freshman in high school, she decided she wanted to save some money and asked me to give her a perm. Let me rephrase this in case you don’t get the dramatics of it: Ma asked a freshman high schooler who had absolutely no experience at all with curlers, perming lotion, etc. to give her a perm with the expectation it would look at good as the gal at the beauty parlor used to give her for $50. Now I ask you…what could go wrong?

Well…first off, ma’s hair is not the thickest and after rolling 3 curlers, I was done. I literally got all of her hair into 3 rollers and figured the ‘stragglers’ and short hair underneath that couldn’t fit on a roller would just ‘blend in.’ Ma was skeptical since the beauty parlor used about 30 on her but I told her to trust me…I knew what I was doing. (I had no fucking clue what I was doing…sorry, ma! 🤨). Anyhoot, I drizzled on the very smelly and chemically goop on the curlers and we waited for the magic to happen. After a time, I figured we should wash it out. Now, here’s some life advice for you grasshoppers…please take heed: when you are asked to wash your ma’s hair in the sink with a shitty sprayer, don’t do it. Period. You will inadvertently spray water in her ears, up her nose, and in her eyes. She will get mad at you and say words you never ever thought your ma even knew.

I took out the curlers (didn’t take long) and VOILA! Ma had a perm in 1/20 of her hair with the 3 curls looking fried and crispy. She was not a happy camper…but neither was I! “That’s what you get for trying to save a buck, Ma!”

My grandma also liked curls and after grandpa would shampoo her hair in the sink (she certainly didn’t fuss like ma 🙄) she would sit on the ‘davenport’ (which was always covered with a flowery sofa cover so you never knew what it looked like at all) with a hand mirror between her legs and make her ‘pin curls’. It was quite something to see.

Does anyone play ‘jacks’ anymore? I’m thinking not since they are sharp, metal mini-weapons that you played on concrete to where you scraped your hand with every move. Ahhhhh…those were the days. Anyhoot, I was a jacks champion! I could get to my ‘sixies’ fast but I have to say this: T had the best jack ball of all and I was pea green with envy. Neon orange and pink and bigger than the standard ball…it was a sight to behold.

I know there are still roller rinks around but in the 70’s they were the bomb! The skates that stank of old feet whose laces were always torn so you had to tie little tiny knots you couldn’t untie later in the day. The disco ball rotating above the floor with The Village People singing YMCA in the background while you made the letters with your arms. The ‘moonlight’ skate where you…gasp!…held hands with a crush and skated around to Olivia Newton John. The snack bar where you could buy a plate of nachos with sticky orange cheese globbed on top. The bathroom where your friends would congregate so you could giggle about the guys you skated with. I’ll say this: best $5 you could spend. 😃

And I actually had a ‘Wooly Willy’ and Pic Up Stix. When I think about it though, Wooly Willy was kinda creepy and if I had one now, I’d probably be naughty with where I put the black stuff. But I loved Pic Up Stix…trying to get a stick out of the pile without moving any others. Only for the very talented…that’s for sure.

Now, do you know what these are? They go in the center of 45’s (records, peeps) and you played these singles again and again and again. There was nothing sis and I liked more than to grab our hairbrushes, close her bedroom door (her room was bigger…my closet was bigger…it worked out well), and sing The Partridge Family to our pretend fans who were listening with rapt admiration while we gyrated along on our pretend stage on T’s shag carpet. *T…should we go on America’s Got Talent together? Text me ASAP.

Ahhhhhh…the smell of old classrooms with chalk and crayons and pencil sharpeners and the class hamster no one wanted after the first week. I loved school! Every single classroom I was in from Kindergarten through at least middle school had the green alphabet hanging over the blackboard. Why in the name of all that is holy are some school districts not teaching cursive writing? This just burns me 😠 ! Writing in cursive is an art and doing so can actually boost creative juices…this is why so many authors write in long-hand like Joyce Carol Oates and J.K. Rowling. In fact, Voltaire once said: “Writing is the Painting of the Voice.” Isn’t that a yummy quote?

And ditto machines? Every worksheet was in purple and to be one of the teachers helpers and actually operate this beast was the best. I loved using the machine because not only did you miss class for a bit, your fingers got all purple and the ink smelled so good. Actually… Hmmmm… I think the ink actually made me quite high at times. No wonder I wanted to be a teacher. Go figure.

Whenever I see a flashbulb camera, I think of my grandpa at holidays. His wasn’t as cool as this one but he had a camera with a flashbulb that would literally blind you after it went off. Hells bells…no wonder everyone in my generation wears glasses. Anyhoot, you had to stand ramrod straight so the pic wouldn’t blur, look directly into the lens so gramps could line everything up correctly, and then BOOM! A blue light flashed throughout the room and for the next 10 minutes, you battled a migraine while seeing spots 🤪. Now son, I know you are a professional photographer and are so amazing at what you do. But until you use a flashbulb and everyone’s skin looks transparent and their eyes remind you of someone possessed, you haven’t experienced photography at it’s best. Just sayin’.

So…I just read this over and am kinda thinking ma did right by sending that e-mail even though her daughters are no where near being a ‘senior.’ It’s fun to look back on things that seem so archaic or silly now and it makes me wonder what my son’s future kids will someday say about what he grew up with. Laptops? iPhones? Pokemon? Blue Ray player? What the heck are those? Of course my grandkids will think I’m the hippest grammy ever…and I’ll be right there with them rolling my eyes at my son as he reminisces over his Charmander card one more time.

Kristi xoxo

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