Archive | October, 2012

Winter Sucks

29 Oct

I know, I know….there are some of you out there that absolutely love winter.  Goody gumdrops for you.  I happen to hate winter.  Being born and raised in Minnesota you would think I would be excited about it, but no.  I dread it every year and the older I get the crabbier I get about it.

Most Minnesotans are smart.  They learn to love it by finding hobbies that coincide with the season:  snowmobiling, ice fishing, skiing, ice skating, etc.   I’ve tried all of those things and it didn’t work.  Snowmobiling:  Rode on back of one with a crazy person, convinced I was going to die.  Ice fishing:  Why on earth would I sit staring at a hole, freezing my ass off while getting drunk?  I can do that INDOORS!  Skiing:  Downhill, old lady, fear of death…not a good combination.  Cross-country:  No coordination whatsoever so ski tips cross constantly and I spend more time on my rear than I do on my feet.  Ice skating:  Lack of coordination and fear of face-planting and losing all my teeth.

Now, I wasn’t always this way.  When I was a kid, I loved winter.  My sister and I would play for hours outside regardless of the temperature or amount of snow falling.  We would build snow forts and get lost in the tunnels we created.  I took skating lessons and spent lots of time “perfecting” my technique at the local rink.

However, eventually I became an adult and had to commute to work.  The love affair with snow soon ended.  What was once fun was now dreaded.  I’ve had too many white-knuckle commutes in snow storms where I prayed the entire way I would not get hit by the idiot drivers who thought they were invincible.  I now drive like an old grandma while everyone zips past and tries to get around me.  Sometimes, they end up in the ditch…take that, hot stuff.

When retirement comes, I would like to be a snow bird.  I can spend spring, summer and fall here and then take off for warmer weather come winter.  I used to roll my eyes at my grandparents when they took off to Florida after the holidays.  Now that my parents are doing it, I’m thinking maybe they’re not so crazy after all.  I’m actually looking forward to being one of those old farts parked on the beach in my swimsuit scaring off all the tourists.  Life is good.

All Hallows Eve

24 Oct

Halloween is next week.  Personally, I couldn’t care less about it.  I’m going to sound like a Scrooge here, but I hate passing out candy.  The first couple little kids are cute, but after the 50th, I’ve had enough.  Besides, they’re interrupting my shows.  It’s hard to focus on “X-Factor” and Britney Spears if I’m constantly distracted by the doorbell ringing.

In prior years, I had purchased crappy candy I didn’t want to eat because I figured it would eliminate any temptation for me to over indulge.  It did work, but the kids would all be whining to their parents about the lousy loot.  I’m thinking, “Shut up you little brat, it’s free candy.”  However, when you wake up to smashed pumpkins in your driveway, you realize the good chocolate bars are bribes and it’s worth the extra cost and calories.

When I was a kid, my Dad would take my sister and me out for trick-or-treating.  Back then, everyone knew their neighbors, so it was like one big outdoor party.  Dad would walk around with a large cup which would get refilled with his beverage of choice along the route.  I swear we spent more time standing there waiting for him to stop talking than we did actually getting candy.

Nowadays, we know none of our neighbors and I’d never walk around with a drink in my hand for fear of getting arrested.  I would also never let my daughter walk by herself and I scour every piece of candy for razor blades or pins.  Yes, I’m paranoid, but you can’t take a chance.  People are crazy.

My husband is a huge Halloween and horror fan.  Last year, he purchased this really frightening mask, black robe, and a sickle.  He sat in the driveway next to a bonfire with a bucket of candy.  The older kids thought it was awesome.  The little ones, however, were scared to death.  Parents would have to drag them over to the bucket of goodies.  My husband would take his mask off and the kids still wanted nothing to do with him.  I thought it was disturbing.  He thought it was entertainment.  Go figure.

Painful Politics

22 Oct

It is election time and ’tis the season to be bombarded with political ads.  The plethora of negative ads is enough to drive anyone to stop watching TV.  I don’t care who’s voting for what candidate.  Each party is guilty of exaggerating the truth and mud-slinging.

Wouldn’t it be nice if the candidates instead could engage in happy ads?  Instead of bashing each other, they could tell happy stories about their childhood, fondly recalling the early years before they became corrupt and tainted.  They wouldn’t even mention the other candidates.  The goal would be not to tear apart their opponent but to share every wonderful aspect of their lives, right down to their dog’s name and how many wreaths they sold while in Boy Scouts.

Instead of debates, I suggest they go on “Jeopardy” and let Alex Trebek moderate.  We wouldn’t need three debates for the presidential race.  Just combine all of them into the “Jeopardy” format and let the candidates have at it.  Let’s see who knows the facts about the economy and foreign policy.  It would be far more entertaining and no room for lies.

It would also be fun to challenge them physically, since being President of the United States is very taxing on their bodies.  The stress alone would be enough to make you a wreck.  So, why not test them and see if they are up to the challenge?  Let them take part in a mini “Survivor”.  Can they build a shelter, gather and kill their own food, all without a dime from the federal government?

I say if we’re going to be tortured by these nasty ads, let’s at least try to make it entertaining and informative at the same time.  I would have much more respect for someone who could win “Survivor” and “Jeopardy” than someone who can funnel millions into negative ads.  Are you listening to me Washington?

It’s the Uniform, Officer

18 Oct

I admit it, I love a man in uniform.  Firemen, pilots, servicemen….all in uniform and all make me weak in the knees.  Even the most hideous-looking guy can be slightly attractive in a uniform.  My favorite though is policemen.  I think it’s the combination of their job, the clothes, and the power that makes them especially attractive…or maybe I’ve just watched too many episodes of “Cops”.

I have always had a fascination with policemen.  It started at an early age, watching “Chips”.  Good-looking men protecting citizens, fighting crime.  Sounds like a great combination to me!  As much as I was hooked on cops, I could never bring myself to seriously consider it for a career.  I am a big chicken who is also incredibly paranoid.  First day on the job, I would either kill someone or get myself killed by freaking out and thinking everyone was out to get me.

So instead, I decided to sign up for a citizen police academy.  It was a great experience.  You learn all about the police department, the different divisions, tour the station and even do a ride-along in a squad car.  I loved it so much, in fact, that I’m now on my fourth citizen academy.  Yes, I am a dork.

My first ride-along was an eye-opener.  I thought I would feel empowered being in a squad car but surprisingly felt the opposite, like I was a target.  I went on a Saturday night so I thought it would be all crazy and busy.  It was not.  We ran a plate on a van in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  Wow.  We toured a trailer park.  More excitement.  I couldn’t take it.

The officer then decided to pull a car over for not using their turn signal.  Lights and sirens were going but the car wouldn’t stop.  My heart started racing…oh, crap.  Now it’s becoming an episode of “Cops”.  It wasn’t a high-speed chase, but it was tense because the car would not pull over.  The officer called for backup and the car finally stopped once the driver saw several squad cars behind her.

The officers exited their vehicles with guns drawn.  All I could think was, “Oh my God.  I didn’t sign up for this.  Mommy!”  Turns out the two occupants of the car were not from the United States and didn’t speak hardly any English.  I guess in other countries you don’t stop when a police car is behind you with lights and sirens blaring?

I decided after that there was no way I could ever be a police officer.   Instead, I volunteer for the local police department, helping them with administrative tasks.  I still get to drool over men in uniform but am not risking my life to do it.   I’ll just have to remember to wipe my chin once in a while.

Ahhh…Childhood Memories

16 Oct

My younger sister recently turned 40 and all I could think of was “crap, I’m old”.  So, I started thinking about all the “interesting” things we did as children.  Being only a couple of years apart, we were close and co-conspirators on many occasions.  She was also a convenient target.

I recall one day telling her crayons were like candy.  The red one tasted like cherry, yellow tasted like lemon, etc.  Being the fact she was young, naive, and way too trusting of her older sister, she tried them.  Good thing they were non-toxic since she consumed quite a few.  The more I reacted, the more she ate.  Mom wondered why she was always full for meals…

We had a brilliant idea one night after our parents went to bed.  My sister and I were hungry so we thought about popping popcorn.  Since we didn’t want to wake Mom and Dad up by  banging around pots and pans, we thought why don’t we use the baseboard heater in our room?  We cranked the heat as high as it would go, poured some oil on the heater and put a few kernels on to test the temperature.

Our room soon became a sweat lodge and we grew frustrated wondering why none of the kernels were popping.  By that time, Mom and heard the ruckus in our room and came in to investigate.  The popcorn experiment was shut down and two sweat-soaked kids were disciplined.   I can’t believe we didn’t get creativity points for that one.

We also liked to play dress-up and recreate scenes from some of our favorite shows.  One of our favorites was “Emergency”.  It had a couple hot paramedics and was filled with all sorts of exciting drama…perfect for re-enactment.  Many a relative was tortured with multiple performances from not only “Emergency” but other shows as well.  We even had original material and costumes…Santa Claus and Rudolph never looked the same after we got a hold of them and twisted their tales.

Our family members were good sports enduring concerts (Dad and I always brought out “Take me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver) and makeup/dress-up sessions.  Grandpa and Dad were dressed in wigs, scarves, and buried in stuffed animals.  They never complained.  Then again, it was usually during happy hour so a bomb could go off and they’d probably shrug it off.

It was a great time.  Being a kid and not having a care in the world except for what cartoon was on TV or who you were going to play with that day.  My sister and I have had our ups and downs, but in the end we are sisters and that’s a special bond we’ll always have.  Well, that and crayons.

Look in the Mirror Buddy

10 Oct

Recently, a news anchor from La Crosse, Wisconsin, was slammed by a viewer for being overweight and being a poor role model for young girls.  Her name is Jennifer Livingston, and in my opinion, she is beautiful.  And intelligent.  And successful.  And a REAL role model for young girls everywhere.  Here’s why.

Clearly, the viewer who slammed her (who by the way is a man, doubly disgusting) has no idea what he’s talking about.  You are a man, what the hell do you know about females and role models for them?  I would rather have my daughter see a successful news anchor who’s overweight than an anorexic “actress” partying on MTV.

Does this guy have any clue what the average American woman looks like?  Let me tell you chump, they don’t look like the sticks you see on the cover of magazines and on TV.  They are real women like Jennifer and me.  Working women with careers who juggle many balls during the day to put food on the table and take care of their family.  Because of that, unfortunately, we sometimes put ourselves last.  It’s not that we don’t want to exercise or watch what we eat, but when you have kids, a husband, a job, and a household to manage, where’s the time?

Jennifer and myself are good role models for our girls.  We’re reality.  We’re not perfect and we don’t pretend to be.  We’re pursuing our passions and ignoring the naysayers.  Seeing what I go through will give my daughter a good foundation and understanding of what it takes to be successful as an adult.

So to Jennifer, thank you for being a good role model and sticking up for yourself (by the way, your brother Ron, OMG…all I’m sayin’).  To the bully viewer, until you are a woman and have to deal with everything on our plates, shut your pie hole.

Can Fingers Really Freeze to a Beer Can?

8 Oct

The answer is yes.  This is one of many moments which resulted from what I will call “intelligent thoughts while consuming alcohol”.  This topic came to mind as I was standing in 28 degree weather this past Sunday waiting to start a ten-mile race.  I had bundled up, but was worried if my frostbitten fingers would stay warm enough, even with two pairs of gloves on.

I survived the race but as I sat in the car on the drive home, my fingers started getting cold.  When frostbitten fingers get cold, it’s extremely painful until you can get them warmed up.  I was cursing myself when I thought back to the sheer stupidity that caused the frostbite in the first place.

Several years ago, I was dating a guy who had an outdoor hot tub.  It was great to go outside and sit under the stars, have a few drinks and relax.  Well, one night after several beverages, I thought it would be a brilliant idea to go outside in the hot tub when the temperature and windchill were well below zero.  It was even more intelligent when I sat in said tub holding an aluminum beer can in my hand.

Needless to say, aluminum, wet fingers, and below zero temperatures do not go well together.  I didn’t even notice it at the time but the next day my index finger and part of my thumb weren’t looking too good and hurt.  I went to the doctor and they told me it was a superficial frostbite.  Had I treated it sooner, my finger and thumb might have had no permanent damage.

However, based on previous mention of stupidity, I didn’t notice it until it was too late.  My finger and thumb are fine but when they get cold, they turn white and it hurts like hell.  Once they’re warmed up, they are fine and it’s like nothing happened.

So, yes folks, fingers can freeze to a beer can.  Let that be a lesson to all.  Don’t mix alcohol with freezing temperatures or if you do, stick to a wine glass.

A Good Horse is a Dead Horse?

4 Oct

Okay, okay…before I get all the animal lovers irate and get flour-bombed by PETA, let me clarify.  I don’t wish that all horses were dead.  I just prefer to ride ones that are.  Let me explain.

I had always loved horses ever since I was a little kid.  However, horses did not love me.  My first ride was in high school with my boyfriend and another couple.  It was a trail ride where the horses know the trail, know how fast to go, and don’t stray from their routine.  All the horses behaved according to plan except mine.  I had the rebellious one who decided it would be best to not only veer off the trail, but to nearly decapitate me with a large tree branch.

Although, somewhat unnerving, it didn’t faze me.  I was young and invincible and didn’t give it a second thought.  Fast forward twenty years.  I was at my aunt and uncle’s house in northern Minnesota and it was happy hour.  Their friend came over to chat and mentioned she had ridden horses all her life and wouldn’t it be a blast for all of us to go riding the next day.  After several cocktails, who was I to say no?

We arrived at the stable.  The trail leader asked how comfortable we were with horses.  I, of course, said, “I’m very comfortable so give me any horse.”  Big mistake.  She gives me the largest and most skittish one.  I should have seen the red flags when I noticed the trail rider was wearing a helmet and hearing-impaired and I was at the back of the line.

We started out in the woods and my horse, whom I’ll call “Fido’s Dinner”, started freaking out when the horse in front of him whacked him with his tail.  At this point, I should have jumped off and said game over, but why would I do something intelligent like that?

The ride went on and everything seemed to be going smoothly until we hit the end of the trail in the woods and arrived at an open field.  In the distance, was the barn and the fenced area where the other horses were hanging out.  “Fido’s Dinner” decided he’d had enough and wanted to get back to his buddies so he took off running toward them.

I was so panicked I didn’t know what to do.  I kept pulling on the reins and he wouldn’t stop.  Finally, I got him to slow down but then he started moving like he wanted to buck me off.  I decided at this point to do the most logical thing I could think of…to throw myself off.

I took advantage of his head being down and basically slid on his neck, hit the ground, and rolled away so he wouldn’t step on me.  The next thing I do is look up and here’s “Fido’s Dinner” standing there looking at me like I’m completely crazy.  At that moment, I agreed with his assessment.  I was crazy to get on that stupid animal and think I could handle it.

For a time after that incident, I couldn’t even see a horse on TV without getting anxious.   To this day, I still get extremely nervous around them.  My daughter wants to take riding lessons.  I told her the only horse I’ll be taking her to ride on is a dead one on a carousel.

I’ve Moved…Now Where is my Underwear?

2 Oct

We did it.  We survived moving the family.  It was challenging indeed.  I was amazed at how much came out of our house and into the moving van…it was like the crap had multiplied exponentially.  Three truckloads and a gazillion carloads later, we’re still not fully out of the old house.  I have fully worn out the pavement between the two homes.

The fun began once we arrived at the new house.  A caravan of furniture and boxes filled the place until you couldn’t walk or see around all the obstacles.  I nearly cried when I realized my wonderful husband neglected to label any of his boxes so I had no clue what was where.  His expert packing also was fully utilized, placing dirty socks in a box with tools and toothpaste.

Alas, I pressed on, determined to get all the necessities out and organized…bathroom and kitchen were essential.  Also, finding clean clothes is a bonus when needing to go to work.  My daughter enjoyed jumping in and out of boxes and playing hide and seek in the mess.  Oh, to be a kid again…

It’s hard to be excited about the move but I know when everything is organized and we’re settled in, I’ll really enjoy it.  Until then, look out…Mama Bear needs her underwear!