A Life Lesson: How To Look Scruffy In Three Simple Steps Then Get Over Your Sad Self

How ‘ya doing scruffy face?

Zen-Den said this to me as he was walking into the kitchen from the garage after getting home from work.  Because I had my back to him while standing at the stove cooking ye olde supper, he couldn’t see my face.

Domesticity, we got it.

Anyhoo, while you might think this is going to be a tale about another gushy nickname, he was being literal.  There was no Chickiedoodle cuteness involved in this salutation.

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You see, somehow, probably while out in the forest primeval behind the house doing the fall clean-up, I got a rash on my face.

And somehow, probably by using one of the aesthetician-approved fancy Vitamin C serums that are all the rage, I exacerbated the rash.

And somehow, probably by not backing down on my doctor-prescribed retinoid, I managed to destroy my face.  Well, not literally, but my face got all red and flaky and itchy and beyond not good– straight to ugly.

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So there I was cooking, not looking my best nor happy about it, still feeling a twinge of self-pity, when Mr. Hilaremoose wanders into the house.  And you know what?

His ridiculous way of saying “hello” to me, even before he saw my ratty face, cheered me up instantly.

Didn’t do a thing to reduce the inflammation, but made me realize how inconsequential it is to worry about that. which. just. happens.

Laugh it off, move along.

Make dinner.

My life.

Where I Was When I Wasn’t Here: San Antonio, TX

TO BEGIN

Colorful bat mosaic on wall at zoo.

“The world is a book. If you do not travel, you read only a page.”

The above quote, that I see every day when I’m at home, is on a framed piece of artwork that I have hanging on a wall in our home office.

I only mention this quote, attributed to St. Augustine, because I believe it to be true, a guiding principle.  Thus I said “hell to the yes” when I had the opportunity to spend a few days in pleasant and pretty San Antonio, TX.

You see, last week Zen-Den was in San Antonio for a conference.  Remembering how much fun we had there years ago, I joined him after the conference was over and we goofed off for a couple of days doing things in America’s 7th largest city that is celebrating its 300th birthday.

[Did not know either of those facts before visiting there. Feel that I’m a better person for having shared them here.]

THINGS WE DID

• The San Antonio River Walk which is a meandering multi-level path around an urban waterway surrounded by restaurants, shops, and hotels.

• The Briscoe Western Art Museum which was beautiful, and wherein I saw Roy Rogers’s saddle, a real Wells Fargo Wagon, and ate a complimentary cupcake.

• The Alamo Quarry Market which is an open-air shopping area filled with stores and restaurants, not necessarily unique to San Antonio but a nice place to wander around in the warm sunshine.

• The San Antonio Zoo which was lovely, with more animals from South America, Australia, and Africa than any other zoo I’ve been to.

• The Alamo City Comic Con which was our first adventure into the happy, trippy subculture that revolves around comic conventions.  Here are my observations: 1) people, often entire families, were costumed like comic book or TV or movie characters [we were not];  2) people were standing in line waiting to pay to have photos taken with and/or objects signed by celebrities [we did not];  & 3) people were buying memorabilia and posters and t-shirts from the displays set up by many vendors [we did not].

IN CONCLUSION

And with that I’ll end this post with a hat tip to St. Augustine and his travel advice, suggesting to you, my gentle readers, that San Antonio, TX, is a fun + friendly place to visit for those of you inclined to want to read more than one page of this book we call the world.

Laughing With A Friend About Her Peeping Mom Problem

HERE’S the dealio. Friend and her husband live in a house on a country road, with an acre front yard, situated on the top of a steep hill.

This is rural. Very rural.

Directly across the way on the other side of the road on top of another hill is Friend’s husband’s parents’ house.

From their front doors they can see each other’s houses in general, but not the specifics, such as what’s going on inside the house or who’s sitting on the front porch.

Because they’re isolated up on their hills, it is private.

• • •

Antique wire-rim spectacles

• • •

EXCEPT that Mother-in-Law recently retired from a full-time job and bought a pair of binoculars to watch the birds in the trees that surround her house on a hill in the middle of freaking nowhere.

However birdwatching has not been enough to keep MIL entertained.  She is bored. And clever.  

In fact, MIL has figured out that by sitting just so in her living room she can use her birding binoculars to look inside Friend’s house.

Or to see who’s sitting on Friend’s front porch.

To spy, in other words.

This new turn of events has put a strain on Friend and MIL’s relationship.  MIL sees nothing wrong with peeping in on her son & wife’s daily life, and despite being asked to, will not stop her peeping.

Friend is peeved.

• • •

Bowl of plastic eyeballs

• • •

BEING a pragmatic soul I asked Friend why she didn’t shut the blinds on the windows on the front of the house. She told me she didn’t want to do that because it was unfair for her to have to do something she didn’t want to do because of her MIL’s interference in her life.

Uh huh.

So I suggested that Friend needed to do something to get MIL’s blood pressure up and offend her enough so that she’ll stop being a peeping mom.

“Amuck, amuck, amuck…”

To wit, I suggested that Friend could join a coven, dress like the witches in Hocus Pocus, and have a witches meeting in her front yard, complete with dancing, spells, and a big cauldron of boiling something, like the witches of Macbeth.

“Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn and caldron bubble.”

And you know what, my gentle readers?  Friend told me that I was being silly, unsympathetic to her plight, and that I was: “NOT TAKING THIS SERIOUSLY.”

To which, between giggles, I managed to say: “You’re right, because this is not a problem. This is an opportunity to EITHER get over MIL’s interference & shut your dang blinds OR cause some mayhem.”

The choice is hers.

Question of the Day

With a peeping mom directly across the street from your house, would you buckle under and shut the blinds?

OR

Would you stir the pot and cause some trouble to make a “mind your own bidness” point to peeping mom?

I await your insightful answers in the comments below.

As College Begins, A Conversation About Time-honored Clichés & Proverbial Wisdom

Fawn sleeping in our Pachysandra. Posted here just because.

Here’s a fun conversation I had with a friend.

Friend’s youngest child, a girl, is going to college this fall.  Friend and husband didn’t go to college and their other children either didn’t go to college or lived at home while pursuing a degree.

Friend, who knows I went away to college and lived in the dorms [oh yes I did], was asking what advice would I give to her daughter.

Based on my experiences.

During the Dark Ages.

The question stumped me. I mean, it was soooo long ago, and while I admit that going away to college and living in the dorms helped define who I am today, my immediate answer was the somewhat less than articulate: I DUNNO.

Friend, of course, was taking none of that nonsense so together we got talking about time-honored clichés & proverbial wisdom.  You know, the things we say to each other, meant to be inspiration or balm for the soul, as we listen to each other’s woes and joys.

Eventually we realized that our advice could be put into five categories.  We might be phrasing things differently, but we were saying the same basic five ideas over and over again.  They are as follows.

BE WARY: take care don’t be a pawn in someone else’s game make no assumptions ask yourself, where is the lie?

BE YOURSELF: follow your dreams reach for the stars  well-behaved women rarely make history define yourself

DO YOUR BEST: never give up if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again the same fire that consumes the straw, refines the gold positive begets positive

PEOPLE SUCK: stupid is an iceberg no matter what, someone will take it too seriously never make as your priority someone who considers you optional “no” is a complete sentence

OH WELL, WHATEVER: don’t let the seeds stop you from enjoying the watermelon tomorrow is another day  build a bridge, get over it plans change, often

QUESTION OF THE DAY

What did we forget? What else should be here?

Do tell, in the comments below. 

The Rest Of The Story: Thank You For Asking, My Gentle Readers

Quick, is anybody looking?

About the water leak in the ceiling of our recently remodeled bathroom…

[Story here.]

The ceiling is fixed thanks to roofers, remodelers, and painters.  The problem was that last year when The Remodelers were in the attic installing the new bathroom fan they accidentally knocked against the existing vent which jostled it enough so that the connection on the roof became loose.

Then water from melting snow and rain dribbled in around the existing vent, dripped through the attic down onto the ceiling– and eventually made itself known in the bathroom.  Hence the problem.

But you know what kids, all’s well that ends well.

About MIL after FIL’s passing…

[Story here.]

MIL, who is in her early 80s & has her own serious health issues, never wanted to live in their house after he was gone, so she has moved into an Assisted Living facility wherein she is safe and cared for by a staff who know how to keep her healthy and we hope, happy.

This is a woman, who before this, has lived in only 3 different houses in her life, so change does not come easily to her.

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers [or tots and pears 😉] regarding her.

About the confusing Latin + Native American message…

[Story here.]

I figured it out, oh yes I did.  After a bit of online research plus a conversation in real life, I realized that [ready for this?] a Shakespeare play was going to happen in a rural county park.

The message was a sly reference to Shakespeare, using Latin, combined with the name of the county park, that happened to be the name of a Native American tribe. I don’t know how effective this message was at getting people to attend the play, but it was a good brain teaser for me.

And we’ll just leave that story right here.

About the eyelid cleaning that I had last Friday…

[Story here.]

The BlephEx™️ procedure was without drama, the way I like medical things to be.  The Doc put some anti-bacterial foam on this little gadget that looked like a Dremel drill wannabe and vibrated like an electric toothbrush on cocaine.

He slowly moved it around my lash line and eyelid area, cleaning my eyelids and eyelashes as he went.  No big deal, it tickled a little bit and took about 15 minutes.  Immediately afterward my eyes were tired, but I could see clearly to drive & read.

Overall my eyes feel less gritty & more relaxed than before, so there you go.

Nope. Then let’s smooch!

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Any more questions you’d like to ask me? This is your chance. If lines are busy, please keep trying. 

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One Grocery Shopping Trip, Three Unexpected Observations

When they ask you, my gentle readers, when did you first notice that Ally Bean was beginning to fray around the edges, please point them to this.

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OBSERVATION #1 {inside the grocery store}

Our store is having what I’ll call a re-shelving extravaganza in the middle of the store.  I don’t know why they’re re-setting the store, but many items that were somewhere on a shelf, are now somewhere else, often many aisles away.

I couldn’t find the crystalized ginger which was part of the healthy food department, so I asked an employee where it might be now.

Without a hint of irony the employee said: “It’s in aisle 7, under the sign that says Meat Snacks.”

And so there it was, by the beef jerky. 🤨

OBSERVATION #2 {in the grocery store parking lot}

Leaving the store walking to my car, I noticed a bumper sticker on a newish SUV with a license plate that said it was from this county.  The vehicle appeared to have kid stuff in the back seat.

I mention the possible kid angle because the bumper sticker was, to my way of thinking, a bit coarse for a family vehicle around here in this God-fearing politically conservative community.  I wasn’t clutching my pearls because of it, but I was surprised.

In large letters visible from far away the bumper sticker said: BERNIE F*ck This Sh!t.  [I’ve modified the message because this is still a PG-13 blog, but you get the gist of what it said.]

And so there it was, on a vehicle parked next to the cart corral for all to see. 🙁

Observation #3 {driving home from the grocery store}

Driving home, slowing down to make a righthand turn at the light, I noticed that on the large community calendar electronic sign in front of the fire station there were three words that seemed out-of-place.

While we live in an upscale subdivision, most of this township and county are less well-off and rural;  hence the conservative MAGA political nature of things around here.  Thus when I saw what I saw I was bemused, but slightly baffled.

Not because of anything rude, but because I cannot fathom why the community calendar electronic sign in front of the fire station said: “Et tu, Miami?”

And so there it was, a classic Latin phrase made famous by Shakespeare + a reference to the North American Indian Algonquian people. 🤔

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So, things making sense where you are? Or are things slightly off-kilter everywhere you look?

My Tribe Has A Motto. Do You Belong With Us?

“Everyone hates X.”

My friend said this to me.  I started to laugh out loud.

She was right, correct in her assessment of a mutual acquaintance, spot on to reality.

X is self-ish, judgmental, and politically extreme, with a mocking sense of humor.  Tedious, to a fault*.

Neither one of us has seen X in years, but my friend’s husband sees X once in a while.  It has to do with his work– and that he’s too nice.  Perhaps more of the latter, less of the former.

It’s through her husband that friend and I hear about what X is doing.  Not that we want to know, but her husband can’t help telling us.  It’s annoying because neither of us is a gossip, so we don’t care.

In fact I told my friend to tell her husband that he needed “to grow a pair of ovaries and woman up.”  Like we did, disengaging from a pointless relationship with X.

She burst out laughing, acknowledging that at this point in our lives, we’re wise woman who won’t put up with mean-spirited, negative people who bring nothing of value to the table.

Show up to the table with some insights &/or style &/or snark and you’re in, part of the tribe.  Welcome!  But try to dump any crap on us, and the offer of friendship is rescinded… until you get your act together and wise up… if you can.

My tribe, my vibe.

You in?

* While it might seem like I’m talking about The Donald here, I’m not.  Although if the unflattering description fits, then…