Humorous thoughts on adulthood – thank goodness for chocolate, drinks, friends, and duck tape!

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As most of you know, I’m an Iowa girl and a hometown girl and an Oakland girl.  I’ve never pleaded to be anything but.  We moved home for lots of reasons, but it all comes down to the fact that this is where we belong.


With that being said, I am here and advocating for my home.  One of my favorite things about Iowans is that they live the Tim McGraw Humble and Kind song to a tee.   The unfortunate part about that is that people forget the amazing, wonderful assets around them and start to take them for granted.


We currently live in a world of negativity.  I can be more negative than most, but I know it is my fatal flaw, and I do my best to correct it each and every day.  But there are far more people out there looking at the bad and focusing on it, and I hate that for everyone.  I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by a lot of people who believe in good, do good, fight for the good, and find the good.  I want to be one of those people, too.  So I am bringing you the good.  On a platter even.


This is the start of my Find the Good series.  If you like it, go ahead and sign up to follow my blog over there on the right hand side, and I’ll send you a weekly reminder of what’s good around here.  Or if you have suggestions, feel free to email me.  Got a lot of great ideas right now, but who doesn’t want more?


First up:

This picture is why I love a small town.  In the wake of an untimely and horrible death of a well-known man, people lined up to pay their respects.  The lines were out into the street.  Main Street was full of cars and trucks.  Over a thousand people came to pay their tributes.  That, my friends, is why you live here.  Nothing can replace the feeling of knowing you belong and are appreciated.  A well-attended funeral is a sign of a well-lived life…


So we are officially two weeks into living in our hometown again after 25 years in the ‘burbs. It’s kinda weird, but I’ve already realized a few of the reasons we are back on home turf, more than just raising our little girl in a small town and being close to the fam.


First off, I went to the locker in Hancock on Saturday, got me some dried beef and Colby cheese, drove back, went to Dollar General or “DG” as the locals call it lol, got my hooks to hold my hairdryer and was back home in a shorter amount of time than it would have taken me to even drive to Target, let alone shop and drive home! Oh, the efficiency! Yay!


Secondly, I’m outside Sunday trying to lasso my child back into the house when my former, I know better than to call her old, English teacher shows up at our door to welcome us home. Can I just mention how sweet that is? Now, I’m sure she has a few ulterior motives, but I’m game.


Third, a couple of nights ago, I had an actual conversation with my neighbors IN THEIR HOUSE! I have not hung out with neighbors just to shoot the sh** since I was in college. I feel like I should show up at their house with Domino’s pizza and Bahama Mama (if I could even find it) to celebrate!


Fourth, I went to pull out of my very soggy driveway yesterday morning and see a guy using a flashlight to look around on the ground in the cul de sac. No need to panic! As I suspected, he was simply gathering nightcrawlers! I love living in a place where people put a priority on fishing! Yes, ma’am.


Finally, I won some silent auction items at a Relay for Life event a couple of months ago in which I got babysitters for 3-hour blocks. I texted the first one this week to see if she might be available this weekend and she was! And she even sounded excited to babysit for us! Dude, if you have ever had a 2-year-old you know how damn happy that can make a person!


PS – we will be attending the Betterment Committee’s Murder Mystery Theater Saturday night if you’re interested, go here to buy tickets!


Seriously though, I will be honest and tell you that after it has rained every day for the entire time we have lived there and commuting, I was starting to have reservations… Starting to doubt my decision to load up and haul my hubby and baby out of the city. I may, or may not have, had a few meltdowns along the way, but I know in my heart, I was meant to be back home. Bon Jovi and I, we know these things. So here’s to my discovering even more great reasons to be home and here’s to all of you who continue to put up with me no matter where I live. Love you guys.




What great things have you realized once you moved? Or is there something you really love about small towns or the ‘burbs that you want to share? Are you mid-life-changes and got advice for me? Bring it on!


I’ll say it.  What happened in Connecticut scares the crap out of me, and it probably did you, too.  No, I’m not a parent, although I parent every day as a teacher and if you asked me to raise your child, I would.  Normally, I refrain from commenting about anything in teaching so I don’t get fired, but today, well, today I have something to say.

If we don’t want our kids to grow up worrying someone will kill them or be the one that kills others, please consider these things:

Please spend time with your kids.  I know you have to work tons to pay for them, but if you quit trying to buy them Jordans and make them do chores to earn a couple of bucks, they will learn the value of a dollar and be proud when they pay their own way through college.  Yes, I speak from experience and yes, I thought it sucked as a kid, but I can assure you I’ve killed no one, and I give my parents endless credit for making me who I am.

Secondly, please expect things of your children.  Expect them to learn their times tables, to do chores around the house, to open doors for the elderly, and say please and thank you.  If they don’t, don’t give them privileges like movies, skating, or their phones.  You can even take things away like their favorite TV show, their xbox, or their favorite hoodie if you have to.  Don’t give in because it’s easier for you, and don’t send them to their room if it holds a phone, a TV, an Xbox, a DVR, and a computer.  That’s not punishment.  That’s a reward and a chance to avoid communication with adults from whom they should be gaining knowledge and common sense.

Oh, and please don’t give in to your children because you want them to like you.  They are not supposed to be your friend.  They are your kid.  You are supposed to be their parent.  Sometimes, they won’t like you.  That means you’re doing your job correctly, but if you kiss them goodnight or say you love them every day, they’ll get the message that you love them but you are one who makes the rules, not them.  No kid should be deciding what the family eats, watches on TV, or spends the family money on unless it’s their freaking birthday and you allowed it.

Finally, you have the toughest job in the world.  You have to raise a decent human being in a world that is not so decent.  It is not a simple task, but if you do not want to be the one grieving or apologizing, it is your time to stand up and put kids first.  If you don’t know how to do that, ask me or ask someone whose children seem to have it together.  If you’re doing all these things already and are just sick to your stomach at the world your kids are seeing, then pass this on and hug your kids one more time tonight.

My prayers to all those who have to deal with situations such as this and for those that can help avoid more.


Holy 50 Shades of Orange!  What is the world coming to?  If my eyes do not deceive me, I do believe we’ve become a pumpkin nation overnight!  When did pumpkin become the new chocolate?  Here we were living in our little world of dark, milk, hot, caramel-centered, and unhealthy and now suddenly we’ve got pumpkin-itis.

When did all of you become pumpkin-obsessed?  I have to wonder if it’s a chicken-or-the-egg situation.  Did you all become pumpkin addicts because the stores put it out there or did the stores cater to your passions?  Honestly, I guess that really doesn’t matter.  What matters is that some of you are being swayed over to the dark side, or should I say the burnt orange side?

If I didn’t know any better I’d think Bubba Gump ditched shrimp and took up pumpkins!  Everywhere I turn there’s a recipe for pumpkin bars, pumpkin brownies, pumpkin frozen dessert, and pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.  (And don’t kid yourselves, we all know that’s why you eat the cake!)  And, for the record, you can have your cake and eat it, too, because I certainly don’t want any!  Plus, you can keep your healthy pumpkin seeds, too, unless you wanna dip ‘em in chocolate to make ‘em edible.

Here we were living our little lives with a traditional pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and those nasty orange and green hard candy pumpkins on Halloween, and now I’m seeing facebook posts of pumpkin spice latte mustaches and Sonic pumpkin pie shake cups in the garbage.  Not to mention how upset I am about pumpkin crème Hershey’s kisses.  Are you kidding me??? There are only 2 kinds of kisses:  chocolate and French.  Need I say more?

Perhaps I’m over-reacting (it’s not like me to do that though – lol), but it just seems like everyone’s become a pumpkin addict.  I’m betting Beyonce would have a hit with Pumpkin-licious.  Even the beer makers have gone pumpkinesque.  They’ve got pumpkin ales and pumpkin spiced rums.  My coworkers are lapping it up like cattle in 110 degree weather.

Here’s the thing:  I’m all for picking them, gutting them, cutting them, and decorating them, but must we eat them???

I understand that whole “tis the season” theory, but let us not forget the real reason for the Halloween season:  candy!  Of the chocolate variety!!  Well and I suppose dressing up like slutty nurses, too, but even they prefer chocolate, I’m sure.  I get that you want to spice up your life, but must it be with pumpkin spice?  For the love of all things chocolate, don’t let yourselves be converted or tricked-or-treated into falling for a decoy.    If you need to stick with the holiday, what’s so wrong with going with Devil’s food?  It’s the devil’s holiday, right?  Nothing like a devil’s food cake drenched in chocolate and vanilla cobwebs to scream “Halloween,” right?  Who’s with me?

Okay, I know the answer to that… Nobody.  I know when I’m the minority and outvoted.  It would appear this would be one of those times.  So go have your pumpkin chocolate chip muffins and pumpkin risotto, but when the clock strikes midnight on All Hallow’s Night, you better be turning back into chocolate-lovers with visions of Ghiradelli and Dove dancing in your heads!  Until then, I’ll be the loner in the corner getting fat on Snickers trying to keep Hershey’s and Mars in business.  (Listen, it’s a sacrifice, but I’m willing to take one for the team.  Of course, if you wanna join my team, there’s always room for a fellow choco-holic.  Just say the word.  And the word, of course, is fudge.)  And for the rest of you, well, you’re still pumpkintastic in my book!

Grab your red solo cup!  We’ve got a summer to celebrate!

Rumor has it that some people actually have to work, but that’s not going to ruin our summer mojo!  Oh no!  You need the jet-pack to get the party goin’?  Well, here it is.  The all-things-summer post to get you started.

1st up:  Drinking!

As a big girly drink fan, I know many of us are excited to find a new beverage that applies.  This summer’s go-to:  Bacardi Limon and Pepsi/Coke/Coke Zero.  Perfect for a mixed well that you can actually get at EVERY bar.

Although still a huge fan of strawberry daiquiri Dailys, I’ve got options for all you cheap wine partakers.  Leave the box o’ wine and glasses at home.  Just pack your Arbor Mist pouches and go!

And if you’re more of an absolute ease can drinker (or a guy who has to look manly with tall boys in his cooler), you have to check out the Budweiser Margarita in a can known as the Lime-A-Rita.  My friends lived on them in Vegas!

But don’t be afraid to use that freezer!  Freeze your pop, your kool-aid, your Crystal light, oh, or that new Nestle Pure Life Splash in grape, lemon, or orange tastes fab!  Pull it out, chop it into a slushie, and add your vodka or rum.  Ta-da!  Kids won’t even know you’re on drink #5.

But drinking alone does not make a summer.  (Okay, so some of you might argue that point, but…)

2nd on the summer patio:  the proper music.

You mix your drinks.  I mix your playlist.  What will make it feel like summer 2012 on your stereo?  Here goes:

Red Solo Cup (Really?  How could it not be on the list?) – Toby                    Starships (beach party!)

We Are Young (if only this were true…ha ha.) – Fun                                         Dance Again (Latin heat) – JLO

Pontoon (layin’ out on the stripper deck, motorboatin’)                                                Ain’t in No Hurry (Duh!)

Somethin’ ‘bout a Truck (hike that red sundress)                                                              Call Me Maybe (or not)

What Makes You Beautiful (you gotta have a boy band!)                                              How We Do (Party!) – Rita Ora

Drunk on You (and high on summertime – oh yeah!)

Whistle (What’s a party without Flo Rida?)

Springsteen (oh, those memories will get cha in trouble!)

3rd on the summer hit list:  Water!

A drink in the hand and background rhythm can only mean you need to cool off in the water.

Go to the pool.  Go to the lake. Go to a water park or a wave pool.  Find a lazy river.  Grab your skis.  Hit the tubing trail or the tanking route.  Heck, fill up the baby wading pools in the backyard if you have to, but get your splash on Brad Paisley style!

4th place but not last place:  the lounge chair!

After water comes rest…(and probably another drink)  Pull out that lawn chair to lay on with your summer scent of Coppertone 45 and relax with a good book.  Need some summer reading?

Tearjerker:  Sisters Everlasting.  You’ll bawl like when your 16-year-old boyfriend dumped your ass.  It’s the turning 30 update of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but the pants are off and the Kleenexes are out!

Steamy smut:  If you haven’t already been hot and bothered by the Fifty Shades of Gray, then what in the hell are you waiting for?  Holy cow!  Go buy the trilogy.  It’s like 3 books of spring break jailhouse romping.  Perfect for you male readers to get some ideas, too.

Funny real-life shit:  Jeneration X is your ticket to laughter.  You won’t even remember it’s hot out!

However, I do not want you Kentucky fried in the sun, so make sure you wear your redneck chiller bracelets.  Grab a couple of your kids’ Mr. Freezes from the freezer and duck tape the ends together on each one, then slip on your wrists to keep cool.  If the pressure point on the insides of your wrists are cool, you stay cooler.  Nothing some duck tape and 10 cent Mr. Freezes can’t handle.  How’s that for kickin’ it old-skool?

And while you’re lounging on your chair, the spouse can be whipping up food on the grill.  Thanks to Ore-Ida making it simple for the hubs with their new griller line, he can make waffle fries on the grill to have with your steak and shish kabobs!  Mmmm….

Finally, the deal sealer of the Top 5:  the elite event

Anybody can hang out on their back deck with drinks, suntan lotion, snacks, and the baby pool, but you gotta have an outing to remember.  Summer is all about that random, unexpectedly fun jaunt you got conned into on the hottest day of the year so far.

So grab your cooler, your bag chairs, and your cash and find a concert, a 4th of July parade (see Oakland, Iowa), Shakespeare on the Green, a local flea market/farmer’s market, county fair, or a melon festival.  (Yes, boys, I said that just for you.)  You’ll find a new winery, take pictures of a scantily clad Speedo wearer, or pet an alligator.  There’s guaranteed to be something for you to talk about come Monday morning.  And if not, I guess you still have your redneck chiller bracelets. Lol.

Happy Summer 2012!