Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Wide open spaces

When I first started this blog (nine years ago last week), I would just throw some shit at the wall every day. It was mostly lists, almost a week full of Thursday thoughts. I wasn't flexing any writing muscles. I didn't care what it looked like. Life in the time of Corona calls for a return to those ways. I'll sit down in my spaces online however I please, just like I sit down in my spaces in person. 

In Corona Land, my brain reaches capacity much more quickly on any given day than it did before March, and I wonder if some of that is me taking up space with maybe I'll write a whole post about that or maybe I'll put that in Thursday Thoughts. So fuck it, I'm not going to hold it anymore, I'll share it whenever and however.  

Speaking of fuck it, yesterday someone commented on a facebook status of mine clucking over my language. I had used  the word fuck multiple times. Hello, do you know me? She was unfriended immediately, because I am a 43 year old woman and I don't accept tone policing from anyone, regardless of relationship. Anyone and everyone can fuck off out of here with that. I will use words where and when I choose, because as Tabitha Brown says, that's my business. And if you are an adult, whatever you want to do is your business as long as it's not hurting anyone else.

In the time of corona, so many people out there are wondering how to show up in their spaces online. The answer is however the fuck you want. However you feel like it. That might be different every day. And that's okay, because that's your business

Anyway. Those other things floating around. 

I am so sick of food. Thinking about it, even eating it. Definitely cooking it. I feel like the joy I used to have in cooking is gone. I don't know why. I am living on veggies and dip. And Snickers ice cream bars. They have made a massive comeback in my life this year.

Tech writing has me looking up ehs management software, darton sleeve installation, Canadian doors, and knowing all manner of things I'd normally not know. I actually contributed to a conversation about generators with Laura last week from a previous tech writing escapade. I think we were both surprised.

Friends of ours had to put their under four year old big lovable galoot of a dog down last night due to aggressive cancer and I am just devastated for them. 

I don't give a fuck about your politics but to see so many men and women insinuate Kamala Harris slept her way to her position is fucking vile. Check your misogyny - check that internalized misogyny too, ladies. Also your president is a serial cheater and brags about just kissing women and grabbing them by the pussy. So fucking stop.

I need to get back into my acupuncturist. Soon. It's been over five months and I'm hurting. I think she's open again. I should also get an ergonomic desk chair. 

I'll add it to the list. And maybe to make some brain room I'll post that here on Friday in a sloppily put together fashion.

Tl, dr: show up in your spaces however the fuck you want and have a good day!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Show Us Your Books: August 2020

I sat down to write this and could recall only three books. Thank God for Goodreads for tracking. Although I haven't always been entering stuff on there either. It also occurs to me that the favorite books so far this year post I meant to write in June and never did is probably no longer worth writing. What a year. 

Anyway this is what I read since the last linkup. I think. Who knows. Basically the two that were engrossing were very, and the rest I had to look up.

Happy happy birthday to my stepmom Carol today - I hope the weather is glorious and no one attempts to infringe on your beach space. Love you!

Engrossing Reads

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand - I am not an Elin groupie but man I loved this book. I read it in 24 hours and the end had my throat working like crazy. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Pretty Things by Janelle Brown - I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I didn't know much about it, it was one I bought early on in quarantine to reach the ships with $35 orders threshold for some food items I couldn't find in any stores from Target online. I really liked it. I was sucked in, the pace was great, and the story was good. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Passed the Time Just Fine

What You Wish For by Katherine Center - Standard Katherine Center fare, which is a pretty solid, quick read that tugs at the heart. Sometimes when authors have a formula, I fight against starting their books or sinking into them even though I know I'll end up liking them. I don't know. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Cut to the Bone (Agent Sayer Altair #3) by Ellison Cooper - Another solid Sayer Altair novel. I will continue on with these series - Sayer and her assembled family and coworkers are great characters and the pace is always hustling. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Playing Nice by J.P. DelaneyThis book was stressful so it took me quite a few days to read it - it made me anxious, which I don't like that much combined with Corona Summer. Intense and psychological. Free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Not Worth It
Unspeakable Things by Jess Lourey - Eh, this is a no for me dawg (do you hear Randy from American Idol?). I don't love kid narrators, and that definitely contributed here. The other thing is there's so much fucked up shit in this book that is just glossed over and that annoyed me. I don't know where I got this but it was on my kindle

The Promise by Teresa Driscoll - This was good until it wasn't. Round and round and like fake madness and bullshit. No. Kindle ebook

Did Not Finish

What have you been reading? 

Linkup Guidelines:
This link up is the second Tuesday of every month. The next linkup is Tuesday, September 8, 2020. That's the day after Labor Day Weekend, let's look alive out there people.
1. Visit and comment with both of your hosts, Jana & me, and check in with as many in our reading circle as you can - give some love to the later linker uppers! 
2. Link back to us in your blog post - if you want the button you can get it from that link

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Click here to enter

Monday, August 10, 2020

TWTW - the one that was here there and everywhere

Friday was a technologically fucked day and Adobe and MFD bore the brunt of my rage, but at least there were tacos from Cinco de Mayo. I also cleaned my apartment and hit the beach around 8. I heard from MFD that the shitstorm that blew through with Isaias Tuesday and left us with a tree-filled yard was confirmed as a tornado by the National Weather Service. My dad and carol arrived and we hung out talking for a while before sleep around 11.
Saturday Turnover was absolute fucking bullshit like it has been most Saturdays, but I did see Kelly and Jeff and kids while helping out with MFD’s real estate biz and they brought me my favorite donut from Drip N’ Scoop. Dad and Carol were rockstar helpers. I dropped 40 bags of laundry off to be done and headed for Philly, thinking along the way of things I forgot to do. The damage at the Philly house was worse than I expected from pictures. MFD was of course out working when PECO’s tree crew arrived. They cleared the yard quickly so they had room to decipher the tree puzzle in the wires. MFD made amazing steaks and sides and we sat eating at the dining room table like Margo and Todd while Griswold electric problems raged outside. Just fucking done by the end of the day. 
Sunday Mae was not into laundry and neither was I. I left most of it and threw clothes in a bag and checked the state of things once more before throwing all the dogs in the car and taking refuge at Lori’s lake basement. The dogs were so happy to be away from the mess and so was I. MFD sent me a pic of the tree cleared from the wires and that was good. Lori and I spent most of the afternoon outside with the dogs. It was relaxing and restorative. 

Working from here the next few days. Thanks to Dad & Carol for holding it down at the shore, MFD for dealing with the Philly damage situation, and Lori for the refuge and food! 

Show Us Your Books is tomorrow! See you here tomorrow for that! 

Friday, August 7, 2020

Sort Out Your Finances Once And For All With These Simple Steps


Are you constantly struggling with your finances? If you are, know that you’re not alone. There are plenty of people every single day who find it difficult to keep their finances in check, but it doesn’t have to be this way. There are plenty of things that you can do to ensure that you stay in the clear or help you get there, depending on what your situation is like right now. In this article, we’re going to be looking at some of the ways that you can do this, so keep reading if you want to find out more.

Stop Spending More Than You Have

One thing you must stop doing immediately is spending more than you have. If you’ve been doing this for a long time and racking up credit card bills, it’s likely become a habit now. But, it’s one that you need to break as soon as possible because you are just digging yourself a deeper hole. We know that’s not what you want, so we highly recommend that you sit down and create a budget for yourself. Work out how much money you get in, how much money gets paid out, and then how much you’re going to have left over. Make sure that you write down all the dates bills are due so that they can be paid on time, and then don’t spend more than what you worked out you had left.

This is one of the best effective ways to get your finances under control. It’s likely your biggest problem right now, and once you kick this habit and learn to live within your means, everything is going to get much easier.

Work Out How To Get Out Of Debt

If you’re in debt, then you need to start working on a plan as to how you’re going to get yourself out of this. We know it’s not a fun thing to think about, but it’s necessary so that you can get yourself back in the clear. There are a number of options available to you, and you can learn more at about one of your options. Make sure that you consider all of the options available to you before you settle on one, just in case there is something better suited to your specific needs. 

Debt is going to be one of your greatest financial challenges, so when you get a plan sorted and start getting yourself out of this hole, things should start looking up for you.

Expect The Unexpected

Finally, you should always expect the unexpected. There are so many things that could go wrong, and you’ll need to pay to sort out, so having some savings is a good idea. If you have savings, then you’re never going to be in a position where you have to try and stretch your budget further than it can go due to an unforeseen circumstance. Don’t put more pressure on yourself, figure out a way to squirrel some money away where possible.

We hope that you have found this article helpful, and now understand some of the simple steps that you can take to sort your finances out once and for all. Good luck, and we hope that you see the results you are looking for sooner rather than later.


this post was written for the Life According to Steph audience

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - All the roads that wind between the trees over the seas I'll go till I'm home

Appreciating that I live around the corner from one of the best gardens on the island and I get to walk past it multiple times a day. It is a riot of color and life and I love it.
Sharing my new shore house logo designed by TWSS Quote Shop (bloggers, you may know her as Mrs. AOK from her former blog That's What She Said) - that link is to her Etsy but her art is awesome, she does logo work as you can see and more. She did a whole package for me. This is the push to get me to use the URL for the shore house I've been sitting on for three years. I am super happy, thanks Dean! 

alone for the first time in over a year. MFD took the dogs home with him at 11 pm Monday night since tropical storm Isaias was coming and my Dad and Carol are coming down Friday. I'm alone without people all the time but so very rarely alone without dogs. But of course I have some photos from Monday before they left. Poor Gus still with the black nail polish on him from the beginning of July.
Speaking of Isaias...scenes from our house in Philly. The tree is snagged on wires that have to be cut out by ASPLUNDH. PECO was out yesterday just a little over 24 hours after, which is a great response time given the amount of devastation in the area. Our neighborhood got rocked. Of course now the wait is for ASPLUNDH to come out to actually remove the tree from the wires and our hands are tied on removal until then. My least favorite thing ever is when people bitch endlessly about power being out or shit not being done immediately when a major event happens. I know it sucks. But what do we expect them to do, double their workforce overnight or work without sleeping or eating? PECO is always out busting their ass immediately and around the clock in dangerous conditions to get power restored to everyone and to remove trees from power lines and deal with live wires, etc. Like do you think we want a fucking tree pressing up against our fucking house right now, unable to see any possible structural damage? No we fucking don't, but since we have power and the wires are just hanging, we are not the priority. Intersections are the priority. And yes, of course MFD was on the news talking about it because do you know him?
Marveling at what the shore looks like after Isaias, and any big storm that has rolled through when I've been here. Ho hum, some big clouds rolling out, nothing to see here, what happened what are you talking about
Having words with my shore neighbor for being rude to my guests this week for absolutely no reason. Very seriously what in the fuck is wrong with people? Some lady was an asshole to me in the grocery store yesterday for (gasp) emerging from an aisle. What the hell is wrong with people

Wondering what fresh hell is next.

Lacking the energy to talk about how much rage I have at people shitting on teachers right now in relation to back to school or not; as well as people acting like there is no pandemic and science is fake, people acting like there is no problem with a president who lies and talks out of his fucking butthole (did you see the interview?), people acting like there is no problem with the absolutely fucking gross wealth gap in this country but instead a huge problem with people getting an additional $600 a week in unemployment, people acting like systemic racism does not exist. I don't have it in me this week. 

Calling foul, Walgreens. It's the beginning of August.

Masking up. Did you think I was without pug masks? Yes, that is plural.
Tolerating racism is racism. I started my morning with a good old thinly veiled racism back and forth online. 

Thinking a lot about abolition and where I stand on that after reading some writings of Angela Davis and Assata Shakur. What does true justice look like for all people? What about punishment? What is restorative? What will actually make change for individuals and communities? Punishment and my ideas of what it is and who it's for have changed a lot since I was younger. It's probably the thing I have done the biggest 180 on. My thoughts on the death penalty in particular. 

Reading books from my kindle. I had about 15 or 20 sitting in my amazon account that I never transferred over from my last kindle that bit the dust? I did go to the library yesterday, like in in it for the first time in forever. There were not as many books, I think they are keeping the ones that are returned separated for a time. It was a little sad. Is everything a little sad these days? I will be requesting in the future and not browsing. I'm not a huge browser anyway so not a big deal. Show Us Your Books is Tuesday. 

Visiting with Laura on the porch as a work break yesterday. It's been so nice to be able to see both her and Kim a few times the weeks they are/were here with their fams. 

Listening to The Road by Old Man Canyon, lyrics from which are of course after the Thursday Thoughts hyphen

Reminding you and me


What's new?

Linking up with Kristen

Monday, August 3, 2020

TWTW - the first in Aug

Friday The plan was to bike to get OPC, watch the surf, breathe. I got rained out. There have been a lot of rainy Fridays this summer. I did take a longer afternoon walk. For some reason I love when flip flops are abandoned, either in a pair or solo, as if their wearer just walked right out of them. I also hit the beach after work, and tried to catch the sunset - the large cloud was allll fire pink as I was walking down there but Bruce was dicking around and I missed it. I also missed it because suddenly sunset is 8:11 and not 8:30 or later. 
Saturday When you have to dig through six bags of other people's trash, some of which should have been put out Thursday night, to make room in outdoor cans and liberate a full recycle can...then you have to crawl under beds on your top floor to liberate goldfish, gummy candy, and assorted food wrappers...IN's not a great start. I retreated to my apartment and painted my nails (OPI Verde Nice to Meet You, this color is amazing) and have comfort snacks. Laura rode by blaring her horn then came for a porch visit and we walked up to the boards where Chris picked her up and I took a walk down to the beach. So great to see her in person and sweat it out together. Man, summer. Dinner was tomato sandwiches, and I was couch bound to finish a book and start another but I fell asleep early and missed the friend Zoom. Old people probs
Sunday I was up at 6:30, then went back to sleep from 8-11 so I clearly needed it. It was a slow Sunday, starting on the porch reading. I puttered a little doing dishes and making salad. MFD and the old dogs arrived and we set out for Corson's Inlet late in the afternoon. We picked dinner up at Mike's on the way back. Well, that was the plan, but neither of us had a credit card, so we drove from 55th to 13th then back to 55th to pick up food. Oy. I walked up to the boardwalk to see Laura's fam, and when she went back to  her place I got salted caramel brownie from Ben & Jerry's. I walked down to the beach to see the Sturgeon Moon on the water. Hashtag moon child. I finished my second book of the weekend which is rare these days. 

Happy happy birthday to Evan yesterday!

I have a busy week ahead work-wise, and I'll actually be alone alone for most of it. MFD is taking all the dogs back to Philly with him tonight or tomorrow, and I'll follow Saturday. 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Five: Frank's Positive Outcomes to Covid-19

Hello Friday people! Today is an annual treat for me and you - every year, Frank writes a birthday guest blog for me (see 2019201820172016201520142013), and while so very many things are different this year, that is not one of them. We're still out here doing this. So much of the past five months has been taking a big pile of shit and molding it with our bare hands into something more visually appealing that smells much less. Frank is on that forward motion bright side train and I am here for it. 

So, yeah....42 was....holy shit! I am sure that a lot of people feel just like I do about this past year especially the 2020 portion of it. I can honestly say that I have not skipped one single emotion and they have all been to the extreme of their limits. I have ugly cried, rage laughed, rage broken stuff, rage cleaned, rage purchased, rage...well you get the point. Each year I feel very blessed that Steph asks me to make a guest post on my birthday. Most years are easy to think of a fun topic or something insightful about my life. This year my hope is to bring a list full of positivity and optimism after quite a few months lacking in both. There has been a lot of loss and hardship for me, my family, and my Framily (stolen from Steph). Far too much to comprehend. Yet here I am on my 43rd birthday feeling like I have the world by the balls in spite of losing my career, a visit from Mrs. Rona that knocked my wife on her ass and threw our home into chaos, and the loss of some dear people in my life. So here are the 5 things that are positive outcomes to Covid-19.

1. My marriage is stronger than ever. The two weeks between March 20-April 5 were like a bad dream. I lost my job, my wife Amanda’s hospital floor was converted to a Covid-19 floor, and she caught the virus. I have only been that scared once and that was when my daughter was born. We managed through the first 14 days by Face Timing each other over meals, keeping me and Eva as separated as we could in a small home so we didn’t get it, and all the while throwing my daughter an amazing 6th birthday parade two days after Amanda being diagnosed and explaining to Eva that her school was closing and Daddy was going to be the new teacher. We managed to laugh and keep each other positive and now months removed the shared battle scars leave me knowing I have a marriage that can legitimately take on ANYTHING! Together we kick major ass and will continue to do so.
last photo a snippet of one from Evan Leslie Images 

2. Time with Eva. In the beginning she was my only reason to stay positive. When Amanda got sick it was just me and her for 14 days. I was her only friend, her teacher, and essentially a single parent. Those 14 days together was the largest amount of uninterrupted time we had together since she was born. I used to work a ton of hours and would only see her an hour a day and weekends. It was a huge adjustment for both of us and my stress level was way unhealthy. We quickly became partners in it. She stepped up big time to help me through everything and we have had so much god damn fun. My hope when faced with the challenge was that she would look back at this time as crazy but mostly as a wonderful time spent with her pop. Thank you Mrs. Rona for giving me this time with Eva. It may never happen on this level ever again and I will honestly cherish it.

3. I have the best village. It's no secret that I am a family man. I don’t view family strictly as blood. People like Steph are more family to me than most of my blood relatives. They say it takes a village and when we needed one, they stepped up for us. Looking at pictures and videos of Eva’s Birthday still overwhelms me. The love that was thrown at us that day, only two days after Amanda’s positive test, turned a disaster into one of the happiest events in my life. If anyone wants to know what it's like to have a village like mine take a look at that Facebook post.

4. Summer off. Hasn’t happened since 1995 and I am enjoying every second of it. I'm very tan and very mentally well!

5. New Career. I am happy to announce that I will be pursuing my Master's degree in Education at Rutgers Camden starting in August. I was devastated with how my company handled my exit when this pandemic hit. I was an original employee and was responsible for building the company from the ground up over the last 10 years. My success was my downfall. What a tough pill to swallow. To be thrown away so easily simply over not wanting to pay my salary that I worked so hard to EARN! My main responsibility at this company was to teach. I loved that part of my job. I really loved homeschooling Eva. While all the other parents were stressing I was wishing I could take their kids and teach them with Eva. So, after a lot of thought, guidance, and my wife saying, “You need to fucking do this. I don’t care if I have to work extra!” (See number 1.) I am so happy to be making this 180. I truly feel like I was meant to do this and the support and help I have already received is overwhelming. The comeback will definitely be greater than the setback!

I know this was long, but I have to take the opportunity to thank Steph for all of her love and support. We have been framily for a long time and as always Steph and Mike were there for us in unmeasurable ways all while going through terrible loss and stress themselves. We love you and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you Frank for your guest blog every year. This year, fuck! I'm happy we weren't putting this out back in April when shit was much harder (although we are funny in our rage while also, like, raging) and am super pumped for what's ahead for you this year. Frank and Amanda and Eva are the first friends we saw in person aside from my sidewalk coffee with Michelle and it was such a relief - after all they'd been going through, to just see each other in person like you alright? Yeah. You alright? Yeah. Okay, let's sit on the beach and fucking breathe. Frank also neglected to mention that he raised over $1200 in three hours for Food4Staff during the height of the Covid crisis in NJ, feeding front line workers at hospitals. We are so fortunate to have friends like Frank for over 25 years and I feel even more fortunate to count Amanda as one of our people too. 

Happy weekend all!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thursday Thoughts - where do we go from here now that all other children are growin' up and how do we spend our lives if there's no one to lend us a hand

1. Heading back to the shore early today after being in Philly since Monday. It's disorienting to come back here. Like all of my stuff is here, but I haven't seen it or used it in a month, so why do I even still have most of it, and what is a commute? I was in my office Tuesday for a dentist appointment and to take one for the team to mail some shit out to people since I was already going to be in there. 
2. Teeth are important and all but let's be real the real reason I was home this week was to get my motherfucking hair done and I feel less like Tom Hanks Castaway style and more amazing. Thanks Kristi! Also my salon felt as thoroughly safe as my dentist office. I’m happy to be a patient and customer at places that are top notch - Dr Yurovsky in Center City and Sensational Scissors in Penndel. 
3. I also used an oven for the first time since June 22-ish (baked cilantro lime chicken and broiled salmon) and had sushi for the first time in the same. I will be having sushi again when I return next week because MFD did the ordering and the picking up and this was much different and less than what I had in mind. And I went to Marshalls, which is the only store aside from little shops that I missed being able to access in person. I buy most of the shore house shit there, and since I've been limping along with some stuff this year I decided to pop in Monday. I got three things I needed, but they didn't have three things they would typically always have. It was pretty bare and it made me sad. Maybe someday. 
4. Dog photos - rarely requested, usually included. 
5. I have MFD's car again. He's had mine for a while, and now this fuckery. Something about sirius is overriding the entire car system. Phone, My Car, navigation, media, nothing works. It says this or channels updating. No way was I driving it back to the shore like this. He is taking it in tomorrow. Doesn't everyone have dog hair, dust, and sand illuminating their cars?
6. I do love a delivery. Who’s with me? I got my latest Harriett's Bookshop order via mail (the Zora Neale Hurston side eye tee, I die) AND hand delivery of a print from a local black artist (check out Black Genius Spells on IG) who will actually be in residence at Harriett's for a month. It was awesome talking to Jas and I can't wait to see her stuff in person at the shop. What you see here is a little freebie from a new piece, the actual print is in the poster roll, you'll see that after I get the basement room together the week of 8/9. 
7. MFD is running for office again and I haven't said anything about it. Consider this the notice. He got on the ballot as a write-in candidate. I am personally removed from this run. I support him, if you would like to know how you can support him I will direct you to the appropriate places and people, I will write letters for him, I believe regular people running is important, and I believe in a better way for us here in the Northeast, but I also believe in self preservation and my availability and accessibility on the last go round came at great personal cost with much tongue biting that took me too long to reconcile. We all have work to do in movements that will achieve ways of life that are important to us and my role is not the smiling, mostly silent role of the candidate's wife. I don't fit in that box. The dirty, greedy, manipulative, threatening, backhanded bullshit and intimidation tactics I saw when he ran in 2018 and when friends have ran since - from the opposing party but also from the Philadelphia and state democratic party players - is not for me. If he gets support from the party this time, great, maybe they have seen that the old ways cannot hold. If he doesn't, we can talk more about how even in a post George Floyd world upholding white supremacy and padding individual wallets is valued over human rights. I don't owe anyone silence. Black Lives Matter. Period. 

8. Read this today from John Lewis, given to the NYT to publish on the day he is laid to rest, which is today. What a man. 

8A. Because I can't put this in with John Lewis. Today trump suggested delaying elections in November. trump supporters, your idiot has torn the fabric of this nation to shreds and set it on fire in less than four years with the help of a do-nothing Senate, your constant excusing away and defending, and your vocal or silent support of his every hateful, calculated move which allows him to continue to push the envelope to authoritarian rule. In the land of the free, home of the brave? Say it isn't so! It is, and it's on you. You can shove your flag up your ass, because under this administration it stands for fascism. The supporters of the candidate against free and open elections are anti-American. Are you a supporter? If you were a supporter but don't support this, what are you going to do about it?

9. Reminder 

10. E-cards 

Now you go. 

The words following the hyphen are the song I am listening to when I start the Thursday Thoughts post. This week is Where Do We Go From Here? by The Alan Parsons Project
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