Mystery solved.

Question: Why was I in bed, incapacitated, with a migraine for a day and a half this week, was fine yesterday, and then back down with a migraine again today?

Let’s study the evidence:

What I was drinking every morning this week:

What I drank yesterday morning, and what I quickly ran out to get this morning once I’d discovered the tragic accidental purchase of decaf coffee:

Mystery solved.

You could make the case that perhaps I’m a little too dependent on caffeine. However, there is a certain week every month when it is unwise to screw with a woman’s caffeine intake. 

I’ll think about that next week.

Household shenanigans.

It started yesterday with my weekly reminder to take the trash and recycling to the curb:

Why, yes, I am just a bit neurotic about trash removal.

I awoke this morning to The Husband’s humorous reply:

And then I found this:

Oh, the fun that can be had with a felt-tipped marker. 

Questions I’m asking myself today


They’re not earth-shattering, but here they are, in no particular order:

  1. How long will my fingernails continue to smell like spicy mustard, an entirely unjust punishment for being generous enough to make my husband’s lunch for tomorrow?
  2. How the hell do I stop getting notifications and updates literally every fifteen minutes about a friend’s Pampered Chef party? Is there some magic spell I can utter to impress upon the world’s mind that I would prefer to die in a ball of flames than attend one of these sponsored parties?
  3. As a “woman of a certain age,” how long can I continue to pull off the long-hair look? (In truth I answered that one for myself this morning: As long as I damn well feel like it. Screw you, societal standards.)
  4. Is it possible to make it all the way through election day without either throttling half of the population of the U.S. or falling into a deep, deep depression?
  5. How did minute bits of PVC pipe from the weekend kitchen plumbing project make their way upstairs to our freshly vacuumed bedroom rug? And will I put up with them all week or will I succumb to the dreaded mid-week vacuuming session?
  6. How many days in a row has it been John Ritter’s birthday? My FB feed has been announcing it daily for some time now. And isn’t he dead, anyway?

If you have answers to any or all of the above, please send them in on a self-addressed, stamped postcard to your nearest disgruntled, middle-aged mom.

Time to resurrect the “State of Ignorance” award. 

Haven’t brought out this not-particularly-coveted prize for over a year, but it’s definitely time.

Today’s State of Ignorance Award goes to…

My neighboring state of MISSOURI!


Missouri wins the prize as of Wednesday, when its barbaric state legislators overrode their governor’s veto of a bill they had carefully crafted with the help of the National Rifle Association and gun manufacturers.

And now…wait for it…it’s 100% legal for any yahoo to carry a gun in public WITH NO PERMIT AND WITH NO TRAINING!

Think about that for just a moment. No permit means any convicted felon can take a gun anywhere in the state. No permit means domestic abusers can murder their wives with even more ease. It means any deluded fool who pictures him/herself as a “good guy with a gun” can walk the streets armed with a killing weapon, simply by walking up to a seller and handing over money.

Just for the record, as a resident of the KC metro area I have the joy of living on the state line between Kansas and Missouri, and therefore get to reap the benefits of DOUBLE THE IDIOCY! Who hoo! Just last night I was on the Missouri side for choir rehearsal. We go back and forth on a daily basis around here.

Contributing to the decision on today’s award: I had the misfortune of accidentally seeing a few minutes of live television yesterday, and was treated to a campaign ad for a Missouri candidate who deftly assembled an automatic rifle throughout  the ad. Oh my goodness, my little heart was just palpitatin’ over his display of cojones!

This is the state we’ve been reduced to in our nation.

The state of ignorance.

And the battle against middle age continues…

A couple of things this week have made it quite clear that I’m a woman “of a certain age…”

  • I’ve effectively taken on a Paying Guest. I spent Monday evening working with our Middle daughter on signing in her up for her own health insurance through her school district, setting up a schedule for paying off her loans, and working out her budget and how much she’ll pay me and The Husband for “rent” each month. And I’m disproportionally excited to have that little extra bit of disposal income.
  • An impromptu date night last night for The Husband and me included my wearing the grubby yoga pants and t-shirt I’d just worked out in, a meal at Taco Via, and ice cream from QT. I’d like to say we were deliberately slumming…but actually that’s a pretty typical night out for us any more. Sadly, I’m good with that.

Taco Via, how do I love thee? My most favorite of fast food dives. The taco joint I walked to for lunch every day in high school. The home of the secret menu item called “The Thing.” The purveyor of chrushed ice and Caffeine Free Diet Coke. The place I can go in my sweaty workout clothes and still be the classiest person there. My old and trusted friend.

On the other hand, I’m putting up a fight.

  • Made the decision yesterday to go for “Teaching Leadership” certification. It’s nice to have a new career challenge at a time when it would be sooooo easy to just coast.
  • I’m working like crazy NOT to come off as a total dolt at choir rehearsals every Thursday evening. After 25 years out of classical choirs, sight reading long, complicated works by Brahms, Faure, Hayden, and pals is trying its best to whoop my ass. And it hit me that I’m not a fan of being the stupidest person in the room. So I’m spending a lot of my spare time pounding out the challenging Alto II lines on our piano and singing those lines along with YouTube recordings. I figure it’s got to be a decent way to combat mental decline…though the banging on the piano also seems to be a good way to contract tendonitis.

Who’ll win this battle? Only time will tell.

Wee, wee, wee part 2.

How to get rid of the wankers who returned for a second straight Saturday night of peeing under your bedroom window:

Catch them in mid-stream and shout from said bedroom window, “This has got to stop. I know they have actual toilets inside their house next door and it’s time you grow up and learn how to use them.”

Within five minutes they’d gotten in their cars and left. 


Taking a stand for safer, saner, communities.

I experienced a first yesterday.

While waiting to pick up a pizza order, I realized that the person standing in front of me was…”packing,” as they say.

Yes. This person, in a lovely, quiet suburb, felt the need to keep a gun at the back of his belt.

How to describe my feelings? Well, to begin with, I completely lost my appetite. I backed away as far as I could, looking around surreptitiously to see if anyone else had noticed the…thing. Considered waiting outside. Considered telling the owner of the shop that I felt unsafe and didn’t really want those pizzas I’d ordered.

I was physically shaken. My very own neighborhood was suddenly threatening.

Of course, I realize that here in the Wild West of Kansas, I’ve been deluding myself. “Concealed carry” has been legal for several years, so I’ve probably been in the presence of firearms plenty of times without realizing it.

It’s only in the last couple of years that “open carry” has been the law in our state. And for the last year, the gun carriers no longer even have to have any kind of safety training. In July of next year, state law will prohibit disallowing college students from keeping guns on campus. Can you say “exponential increase in suicide rates?”

May I just say here and now that I hate where I live? If my family, friends, and livelihood weren’t permanently entrenched in this place I’d be gone faster than the Roadrunner disappearing in a puff of animated smoke.

Since I’m stuck here, my horrifying experience yesterday has galvanized me. I’ve had the information for weeks, but as of yesterday I’m a member of the local chapter of Moms Demand Action. I’ll be at the next meeting, where they’ll be preparing to lobby our state legislature for repeal of that insane campus carry law. I’ll be finding out what I can do to petition local businesses to stop allowing guns on their premises.

In the meantime, (between 12:00 and 3:00 am this morning, as I lay awake trying to process), I’ve created a little quiz:

Wondering whether you should take a gun into my grocery store, pizza shop, gas station, park or any other public place?

Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Have I been duped into believing that a gun makes me “safer?”
  • Do I think some government entity or elected representative is going to “come for my guns?”
  • Do I dream of seeing myself in a slo-mo “Dirty Harry” scenario?
  • Do I imagine that the framers of the constitution would approve of citizens bearing weapons designed to kill 100 people at a time while carrying out their daily business?
  • Do I secretly believe that the size of my “pants pal” is proportional to my ability to carry a weapon whose sole purpose is killing?
  • Am I so civically ignorant that I believe a member of the executive branch has the power to abolish a constitutional amendment?
  • Do I imagine that my judgment and reaction time in an active shooter scenario is better than that of a trained police officer?**

If your answer to any of the above questions is “yes,” then the answer to whether you should carry a gun anywhere is unequivocally “NO!” (For that matter, if your answer to all those questions was “no,” then you still shouldn’t carry a gun. But if you fit into that category, you knew that without me telling you.)

Here’s the thing about carrying weapons in public:

1. If there is not a gun in the same room with me, there is a 0% chance I will be shot or see someone shot. As soon as the gun enters the room, the chance for violent death is infinitely more possible.

2. Don’t give me the crap about how tons of people have always carried knives in public and that doesn’t bother me. Very few (if any) people are ever killed in accidental knife incidents.

3. If a person’s judgment is so horrible that he fantasizes he will be able to “protect” himself or others with a weapon solely designed for killing, I do not care to be anywhere near that person.

**It’s not. In fact, trained police officers make the wrong decision in a shooting scenario ALL. THE. TIME. My son has assisted our local police department in their “active shooter scenario” training sessions for the last five years. He and/ or one of his friends has been “shot” by trained police officers making split-second mistakes every single year.

I’ve had enough. I’m not taking this crap any more.

Wee Wee Wee, all the way home.

A couple of thoughts for the weekend house guests of our next door neighbors, two gentlemen who enjoyed a far-reaching discussion outdoors, mere yards from my open bedroom window, until about 3:00 this morning:

  • There’s an invention you might want to look into. Known by many names, it’s generally called a toilet. I’m certain your hosts for the weekend have two in their home.  One of the toilet’s many postive attributes is that it does away with the necessity of relieving yourself in the narrow strip of grass and gravel between houses. 
  • I strongly suggest you consider having your prostates checked. Five times in an hour seems truly excessive.
  • I sincerely hope you’ll keep your Wee Willie Winkies safely tucked away tonight. 

Thank you. 

How to keep an introvert awake at night.

First, a thing you should know about introverts: We are sucked dry by crowds and interaction. For me, an hour in a crowd requires several hours of quite time, alone, to re-charge.

Next, what you should know about my day yesterday: It was the day of moving, storing, donating, and trashing stuff from one half of our building to prepare for a major renovation project. Fifty very kind and engaged members of the congregation came to help. As a staff person, I needed to direct a lot of the work, in order to make sure that many vital tasks got done. Then I had to go straight to my second choir rehearsal – which meant sitting in a room and working together with 60 other people UNTIL 9:00 PM!!!

Everything about the day was positive. Good people, tons of work done, the joy of making music (though picking up sight reading after 25 years out of choir is just about as exhausting as directing a moving day).

As I crawled into bed, barely managing to drag my limbs under the sheets, reality hit. Though I was totally drained, it was going to be a sleepless night. Sure enough, I was awake so much through out the night, it was as if I’d had a pot of coffee before bed. Overstimulation = no rest for the weary.

But there was a bright side, in something I’d witnessed during the hours of the big move.

A young man, a sophomore in high school who I’ve known since he was quite young, came to me for directions. I asked him to get a small-ish pile of junk out to the dumpster. He was agreeable, and I moved on to other tasks. Half an hour later I looked across the room and witnessed this kid carrying one small, tattered basket and moving at a snail’s pace across the room. He’d been taking one tiny item out at a time. Oh, well. At least he was gainfully employed. But then…I took a look at his hair, his clothes, his gait. And it hit me.

He looked exactly like Butthead. And he was about as motivated as my old MTV pal, too.

So…guess what I did during one of those hours I was wide awake last night? You got it, Cornholio. A late-night B&B viewing.

Nachos RULE! They RULE!

Oh, say can you see…how dangerous this is?

The trending story this week is about an American football player who chose not to stand during the national anthem at a pre-season football game. Sitting it out was his form of protest against a society that continually and systematically discriminates against black people.

If you haven’t heard all the back and forth, it’s not hard to find. I won’t re-hash it.

What this story has done for me (besides making me want to cheer for the black guy who exercised his constitutional rights) is to remind me how disturbing I have always found the playing and singing of the national anthem at large gatherings to be.

It’s not that I don’t like the flag. Or that I don’t like the song. Or that I’m not proud of the United States. Sure, we have plenty to be proud of. We’ve also done (and continue to do) a whole lot of seriously bad shit.

The deal is that I recognize the dangers of nationalism.

Nationalism: a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries; a desire by a large group of people (such as people who share the same culture, history, language, etc.) to form a separate and independent nation of their own.

Nationalism run amok created the worldwide travesties that dominated the first half of the 20th century. Refusal to live side by side with people who spoke another language or claimed another heritage. Denigrating those who worshipped differently. Scapegoating an entire ethnic group. Rounding up and killing anyone who doesn’t match a certain image of perfection.

Sounds painfully familiar in the midst of the current election cycle, doesn’t it?

Here’s how it’s couched today: Illegal aliens are taking all our jobs. We have to build a wall between the awesome and superior “us” and the dangerous, drug-peddling “them.” All Muslims are plotting to kill us. We need to vet them, monitor them, send them back. If you don’t blindly swear allegiance to the flag, to the song, and to my beliefs, you don’t belong here.

That’s where nationalism leads, friends. It’s ugly. And it’s dangerous.

When I’m at an event that begins with the crowd standing to sing “Oh, say can you see…” I’m left  chilled. I picture masses of people marching in lockstep to a frenzy of nationalistic fervor. I feel forced to participate in an activity that I don’t agree with. I stand, grudgingly, because I feel pressured. I don’t sing. Don’t put my hand over my heart. Those displays have nothing to do with the sports events, concerts, or theatrical productions I attend. And they have nothing to do with the fundamental principles of this nation.

I prefer to appreciate the successes and failures of the American experiment through studying history. I prefer to show respect for my nation by exercising my civic responsibilities.

I love our country for its devotion to individual liberties and its ability to embrace the wide array of human experience.

Not for its people’s insistence on nationalistic posturing.