Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thursday Thoughts - I throw my hands up in the air sometimes saying ayo gotta let go

1. MFD battled a serious illness over the past eight days. It's called Game of Thrones and there is no cure. He watched all seven available seasons in just over one week and I’m pretty sure 99% of our conversations now contain references to the show so I am mostly in the dark about what we’re actually talking about at any given time since I only caught snippets here or there. Marital communication level: poor.
2. Evidence that getting up an hour early would really benefit my life: Wednesday morning I did two loads of laundry, folded two other loads, emptied the dishwasher, fed and played with the puppy, and washed my hair before work. It's a miracle. One I could repeat regularly if not for the siren song of sleep and frantic rush to get out of the house 20 minutes after waking up.

3. I've been ignoring Christmas decorations. Maybe tomorrow night?

4. I’ve taught Bruce to sit for a treat and fetch. If I can teach him to stop jumping like a wild jackal you may call me Cesar Milan. Pugs are notoriously hard to train.

5. After much dithering and testing of phones and pep talks from android users (thanks Kathy), I upgraded my phone to the iPhone 8 Plus. In the end I didn't like navigating around the android phones. The camera is awesome which is what I'm really interested in anyway.
6. A standby favorite: Essie merino cool to replace my Friday nail polish job that was chipped by Sunday night. Grrr. I got my Sephora order from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I'm happy to report I love the Urban Decay Vice TMI lip color.
7. Further evidence the president is mentally unfit to serve: makes a crack about Pocahontas while  honoring Navajo code talkers who served our country in WWII, retweets anti-Muslim videos from very crazy far right people. Attempting to list his daily insanity here is not going to change anyone's mind and it's wearing me the fuck out before I even get to talk about the important shit like saving net neutrality or shredding this bullshit tax scam. Literally all he had to do at the Navajo ceremony was smile and thank them and take a fucking photo. He can't leave it at that. And all he had to do on Twitter was not retweet a fascist group from Britain - of course, the group then thanked him and said God bless you trump, God Bless America. I read that a lot, people who clearly hate others based on their skin color or religion or ancestry saying God Bless, which is weird given that it doesn't seem like there are many godly notions in those viewpoints. I'm done. Every time I think of people saying I love how he says what he thinks and is not a politician I feel like screaming. I clearly do not love someone with no decency, diplomacy, or awareness of time/place/tone in the motherfucking White House. Oh, and on net it, while you still can without someone else deciding what information you are allowed to access. I'd link it for you but blogger is being an asshole and who even knows if we'll be allowed to google freely after December 14 anyway. Guns aren't power. Knowledge and access to information are power. Do what you can to demand net neutrality:
And how what started as a tax cut could change American life:

8. There is always a silver lining. All of this insanity has forced conversations about systemic racism and misogyny. It's uncomfortable but so awesome to see that people are stretching even though it's painful.We must continue to challenge the notions that are embedded so deep within all of us that we don't even know are there until we react to a situation in a way that we can't believe is actually ourselves sounding like an old ass woman hating racist. We will learn the most in the moments we misstep, and in the moments we're most honest with ourselves. There's not one of us who is free from having said or done bad things. We can't change the past or discard all the previous versions of ourselves, but we can realize we don't have to be those people anymore, that we can be different and better going forward. We can give each other grace as long as we all work towards a cultural shift in norms and behaviors. The common denominator is that every one of us has the capacity to change if we make the choice to do so.
9. Reminder: Every day can be a great day.

10. E-card of the week: Still and probably forever perplexed by the bathroom selfie with toilets in the vicinity. Why? 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Things I Do to Make Life Easier - 2017 update

Often when I make reference to making things easier what I really mean is requiring less of my time. Here are some things I do to buy myself some time/make life easier. If you like this concept, you'll want to check out these old things from 2014: 10 Things I Do to Make Daily Life Easier and 10 Things I Do to Make Life Easier in the Kitchen. Kathy's recent post reminded me that it's been quite a while since I shared a version of this that is applicable to my life, so here are some recommendations:

1. HousePaws Mobile Vet - I'm not sure if trips to the vet are more traumatic for me or the dogs, so unless an office visit is required, I say fuck it and have the mobile vet come to the house.

2. - Chewy delivers dog stuff and they do it quickly. I still need to get Mae's food at a store because they don't carry it, but it's worth it for the dry food for Gus and Bruce. Their customer service is awesome as well.

3. Fresh grocery delivery - Amazon Fresh shot an arrow through my heart by cutting off delivery service to my area as of Thursday, but not to worry. I've got my old reliables that I used before Amazon Fresh came on the scene - Instacart and Peapod - and a new one to try on a friend's recommendation - Fresh Direct. MFD will run to Aldi some weeks, sometimes I get fruit and veggies at Lou's Farm Market, and I will sometimes pick groceries up at Target when I need to enter the physical store for other reasons but otherwise my groceries are delivered. But to answer the inevitable questions: the quality of meat is the same as it would be in the store you're ordering from, they can pick produce just fine to put in your order, and if anything is wrong or not as you'd like it you call and get your money back. It's no use wasting two hours going, shopping, packing, unloading, unpacking because you don't trust someone to pick your apples. Take the chance.

4. Make that everything delivery - If I can order it, I order it. I have said one million times and believe with all of my heart that time is money. I will spend money to use the time I do have doing what I want to do instead of what I have to do. Being out of the house close to 12 hours a day, I'm looking to buy all the time I can. I still get Amazon Prime Pantry but I'm hoping to transition over to Target Restock for pantry items. I also use Thrive Market for my pantry needs that are more organic in nature and Penzey's for spices. I get toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning supplies, clothes, gifts, everything delivered.

5. Google Photos - I don't back up photos to iCloud, I back directly up to Google Photos. I can share easily from there and I never have to worry about losing any of my pictures or dicking around in the cloud.

6. Wunderlist - I prefer my notebook lists, but on the fly or just to jot down ideas, Wunderlist is my go to. I can email lists to MFD also.

7. Goodreads - My want to read life was so cumbersome before Goodreads came on the scene.

8. Five Calls - When the political machine is spitting shit out faster than you can track, you just open up the Five Calls app (or visit the website) and it walks you through what is pertinent for the day based on what is important to you and who to contact about it. Democracy requires participation. Not participating is how we got here.

9. - Feedly stores the blogs I read so I can just go down the list and see what's up without any bullshit of other readers out there (looking at you bloglovin'). I will miss Google reader until I die though.

10. Gratitude List - When I'm in a real snit or feeling woe is me (not often, honestly, because I fucking hate woe is me shit even/especially when it pertains to myself), I do a quick and dirty things I'm grateful for list. On bad days one might be clean socks or breathing, but are they not things to be grateful for regardless?

What do you do to make life easier?

Monday, November 27, 2017

TWTW - the one with Thanksgiving

Sunrise, two turkeys + double of the meal made, snacks, one meal dropped off to a local family, beach walk, dinner, The Godfather. It was quiet and perfect in my favorite place. 

Black Friday 
Sunrise beach walk, discovered I will be buying this library book thanks to Bruce, nails (Sally Hansen Cherry Fast), Dad & Carol arrived, lost MFD to Game of Thrones, spent the afternoon downtown small business shopping on Asbury Avenue and watching Santa atop City Hall during A Small Town Christmas, leftovers for dinner, Stephen/Aubrey/Lola arrived

A family beach walk where Lola took the reins with Mae, ice cream and small biz shopping on the boards before Lola Jean did some rides, an afternoon lie down, dinner at The Ugly Mug in Cape May, and a wander around Congress Hall's Winter Wonderland so Lola could go on the train. I’m lacking in photos this week because my phone camera sucks, any minor darkness and they’re blurry AF. 

A morning beach walk with the dogs, cleaning upstairs and lounging with the family until about noon, a quick run to Drip N Scoop for coffee, and reading downstairs when they left. I was on the road with the dogs by 3:20, hitting Philly just in time to join the Eagles game traffic.

It was a great weekend in the place I love the most with some of the people I love the most, and the last time we’ll be together before a third Stephen joins the world. 

No food prep aside from leftovers and no blogs done for the week. I'll roll the dice and see how this goes.

How was your Thanksgiving?

Friday, November 24, 2017

Opt Outside + deals before Black Friday

Hello mon frers. I hope you had a good Thanksgiving. I will be rolling my overstuffed self all over this beach town today as I Opt Outside on Black Friday and get some of the butter and gravy moving through the system.

I've never been a Black Friday shopper. I hate crowds and I prefer to have 80% of my Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving, but I do like to take advantage of deals online on things for me and MFD (I buy both of our Christmas gifts) or the house. You can get great deals on the internets too. And on Wednesday, which means there's no need for Thursday or Friday shopping in my life. Here are some things I picked up this year, and as always no affiliate links:

Sephora had 50% off certain items Wednesday
Urban Decay Vice Lipstick $8.50, regularly $17 (in F-Bomb and TMI)
Living Proof Dry Shampoo Duo $22, regularly $34 (thanks Emily for the heads up)

Target had a Black Friday sneak peak for redcard holders Wednesday so I got the shore house some gifts. You have to add/change little things every year to keep it fresh.
Crock Pot 4.5 qt $10, regularly $19.99
Threshold fuzzy blankets in full/queen in scarlet mystery and green $18, regularly $39.99
Bodum French Press $10, regularly $19.99

Old Navy was running 50% off on Wednesday
Black dress for $18.49, originally $36.99
Go-warm open front hoodie for $18.49, originally $36.99 - my obsession this year. I have the heather gray and love it and I got the other two colors (navy and black)
Pixie Long Pants in olive through this for $17.49, originally $34.99 and rarely on sale. I live in these for work.

TOMs is offering 25% off certain styles with the code THANKFUL, so I ordered a pair of black velvet and black wool but will only be keeping one. 

I'm waiting to pull the trigger on a cart full of books on Amazon to take advantage of their $10 off $25 deal they usually run around now. 

I like the premise of the Opt Outside movement. Today's activities will include a sunrise, beach trash pickup, many dog walks, and watching Santa ascend from atop a building (pics below from 2015). ho ho ho, mofos.

What are your plans for today? Will you be outside, inside shopping, or both? Have you come upon any awesome deals? Anyone see a stainless steel roasting pan at a great price? Anyone? Bueller?

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Thoughts

On this day of Thanksgiving
in this month where we list what we are thankful for
I'd like to implore you to practice gratitude daily if you don't already.
Every day of the year, even - no, especially - on days that suck, days where nothing is going your way, days you think you will not survive. Find a plain rock on a turd beach and be thankful for it.

I can tell who doesn't practice daily gratitude. They say why me all the time not in a joking manner and think the world is against them. The world not against is just not interested in throwing anything else good someone’s way because they don't appreciate what they already have. When we spend more time looking at what is right in our lives, we simply have less time to spend on what's wrong.

Pain in this life is a given. Suffering is optional, and the length and depth of your suffering is often completely up to you and your reactions (systemic repression not included). Find something to be grateful for because practicing daily gratitude will turn things around for you faster than anything else and will make those inevitable nothing is going my way days easier to bear.

Does daily gratitude keep bad things from happening? Hell no, you guys. This is life. It’s not perfect or without wrinkles. There will be hard and terrible things. There is absolutely no shield for that. There will be days so dark we can’t see our way out of them. On those days we have to dig so deep for something to be grateful for that it can feel like turning yourself inside out. Personally I need to be inside out every once in a while to grasp the depth of my power to keep my life on my terms, if only in my mind. 

There is no limit on gratitude, so you can extend it as often as you are able, even on those horrible life feels like it’s ending days. Let gratitude over something small and seemingly insignificant be the rope you use to pull yourself out of the abyss. When we lose people who are of life sustaining importance, there’s a reason one of our first reactions is to thank the people who stood beside us in our pain. Gratitude connects us to each other and to the universe. 
Nothing has had a greater impact on my life than practicing gratitude daily. Nothing.

Thanks for reading here, friends. Happy Thanksgiving.

And happy happy birthday to my longtime great friend Gwen.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Eve Thoughts

1. I am filled with euphoria every year on Thanksgiving Eve. My company rocks so I get an early dismissal if I'm working (which I am this year) and I'm super pumped about the days off ahead. I'm in a good mood the entirety of Thanksgiving week. Everything feels full and I always make sure I do something(s) for someone else and spend some quiet time by myself, reflecting. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose and all. I am privileged and fortunate and I don't allow myself to forget for a second that others are not and that it is my responsibility as a human being to do what I can for those people.

2. Gift guides are not my favorite but I love Shelby's every year on Big Hungry Shelby without fail. It is one of my holiday must reads. Shower me in Trader Joe's Everything.

3. I mailed out a lot of books to new homes yesterday. Well, MFD mailed them out for me. Hallelujah. He has been the MVP of errands last week and this week. My mom is getting pies I ordered from Jen and making stuffing and pumpkin bread and dropping everything off to me too which is all an enormous help. Team work makes the dream work. There are a lot of moving parts to get this show on the road.

4. I picked up new books from the library yesterday. It was the first time I've been to the Philly library in a while as I've been relying heavily on the abundant OCNJ library. All the work in front of the old Family Court Building and library itself is done. The walk is much nicer than it's been over the last year. Looking good, Philly.
5. Also apparent from my lunch walk yesterday: Philly has the fever, big time.
6. Stack 'em up.

7. Okay last stack reference, I swear. Don't forget that Amazon will be running its $10 off $25 books sale this weekend like they do every post-Thanksgiving weekend. Treat yo'self or get some gifts loaded in your cart so you're ready.

8. Things I'm not thankful for: this fucking tax scam. It is an absolute disaster for all of us. Please contact your Senators about this shit sundae. Call, write, mail a postcard, send a fax via text through ResistBot (text RESIST to 504-09), hire a skywriter...whatever. Let it be known loudly and clearly that this tax bill will hurt the middle class and the poor. We'll all be in debtor's prison together. It's Robin Hood in reverse in which they steal from the poor and middle class people to pay the rich and the corporations and, of course, themselves. It is vile. There is no other explanation for 1) student loan interest not being deductible while private school tuition is 2) supplies teachers buy out of pocket not being deductible while maintenance on a private jet and I can't keep going because it makes me fucking ill. Read this Forbes article on it entitled GOP Tax Bill Is The End Of All Economic Sanity in Washington. This tax bill is horrifying and will hurt all of us, especially our kids still in the education system. Kids of democrats and republicans and independents and non-voters. Do something. Democracy requires participation.
9. Reminder:

10. E-card of the week: it takes skills to make a mostly beige meal appear appetizing. May the odds be ever in your favor.

I will have a post up tomorrow. If you are not checking in, have a very happy Thanksgiving! 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Things that might surprise you about me

Or not. If you've read here for any solid amount of time you know a lot more stupid shit about me than I know about you. It’s not easy to surprise people when you’ve been blogging for six years. I stole this idea from my friend Sara at Journey of Doing and decided to try it on for size anyway.

1. I don't like high thread count sheets. 400 is fine. 

2. The only reason I changed my last name when I got married is because I was sick of spelling my maiden name every time I said it. It is now legally my middle name but if I didn't have to spell it all the time, I wouldn't have changed it.

3. I’ve voted for local Republican candidates in the past. I can barely believe that myself because I haven't seen a moderate Republican candidate in years.

4. I am very no bullshit in written and oral communications, but my thoughts on things out in the ether are decidedly more in line with my pisces sun sign. I consider myself a child of the moon and water. My animal totem is the dolphin. I don't believe we are ever out of touch with people who have physically died. I also don't believe in coincidences. Given that I love tie dye, maybe these hippie notions do not surprise you, but they are a stark contrast to the part of me the world sees daily.

5. I think ice breakers are the stupidest waste of time ever.

6. I have become a person who doesn't like board games. Perhaps I've always been this person but just convinced myself otherwise.

7. I hitched a few rides home from the bar in college. That was before cell phones, Criminal Minds, and murder mysteries. Thank God I didn't cross the path of any serial killers. Sorry mom.

8. I wore glasses and/or contacts from 1990 to 2009. Many people forget I ever wore glasses and I am one of those people until I think about it. Lasik is the best thing I've ever done.

9. I have a pact with Lori to take care of my chin hair if I'm ever in a coma. I had that in place before I had my living will in place.

10. I totally misread Catcher in the Rye in tenth grade. I can still remember my english teacher looking at me like I was a complete idiot. And reading it again and thinking she was right.

What might surprise me about you?

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