Puss face

A couple of nights ago I met some friends for dinner at a cute Italian restaurant that we’ve been to often. We sat outside in perfect weather under lemon trees and twinkle lights.

The day at work was rough and busy and I was thrilled to be done and away from the computer.

When we were seated we commented that the place was packed. Lots of big tables and parties going on. Good for them. Back to life.

I was with some dear friends, one of whom, Gail, is a teacher in a hard district a few towns away. She’s a spit fire of energy and cracked us up all night with stories from her classes.

It turned out that the place was so busy it took us almost 3 hours to get through our dinner. Our waiter hurriedly came to say hi, gave us the specials and that was it for 15 min. Poof. Gone. When he came back we ordered a salad to share as an appetizer, and he quickly vanished again. We had to flag him down to get silverware. We had to remind him after our salads that he never took our entree order. He never once refilled our water. He dropped a bread basket but no butter or oil.

I was less than pleased. You know I like my bread.

The company was fantastic and we were having a wonderful time. But ofcourse I was also seething quietly about the service.

To be fair we weren’t the only table ignored. The tables around us had the same issues. And to also be fair, we watched the waiter hustle and try to cover all the tables he was serving.

But ofcourse I was still pissy. I wanted my fork. I wanted a napkin. I wanted my butter. Waaaaaa, cried the baby.

After we finally got our meal, which was delicious, and the restaurant began clearing out a bit, he finally came over to check on us. He also acknowledged how slow everything had been and thanked us for our patience.

I don’t know if I would have said something, but I know I would have been quiet and had a puss face on. It’s something I’m working on.

My puss face. Or as my husband says,” THE face”. You’ve probably only seen my smile face. My happy face. My laughing face. Which is the one I have on for the majority of the time. But those that love me have seen the other one.

Before any of that could happen, Gail looked him straight in the eye and said,” wow you are really busy tonight. You need help out here.” As she said it, I watched his shoulders drop and a soft smile drape his face. “Thank you for saying that” he said. He went on to explain that they are completely swamped and can’t find people to work. That was his 7th day of working both shifts.

Like a good teacher, Gail steered us (me) into the right behavior. I sat there thankful that her kindness and humanness made up for my puss face.

I took a deep breath and joined in on chatting with him. I was embarrassed that I couldn’t see what she saw. A person just doing the best they can. Someone hustling to cover a room too big for one person to cover.

I’m sharing this to keep me accountable. Sharing this to say it’s ok to be wrong and course correct. But I’m really sharing this so we can have a Gail appreciation moment today.

Let’s all be like Gail today.

Have a good day everyone and put your puss faces away.

The get-up

I think I’ve mentioned that I started walking last year. I did it to get some fresh air and to get the heck out of the house. 20/80.

You probably walk or run or bike too. Maybe even for the same 20/80 reasons as me. Although I never run. I can’t. My body doesn’t do that. If I were to be chased by an animal or alien or something, I would just surrender. It’s been a good life.

So see, we are totally alike. We’re just the same. Except when you go for a walk, you grab your headphones and maybe your phone – or you have an iwatch and you don’t even need your phone.

When I go for a walk…I have accoutrements. Some additional items.

Here’s what I grab before I go….

  • SPF 100 – yes it’s a thing. It’s real
  • Lip balm with SPF 30. I’m serious about sun damage
  • Visor – no, not baseball hat. A visor, with Velcro
  • Large sunglasses to block the sun and eye contact with other people
  • Tissues because it’s pollen season
  • Headphones – see I’m normal! Although I don’t listen to music. Ever. Like never. Only murder podcasts
  • Ankle weights. You heard me. Ankle weights. And not the cool, low-key kind. Nope. I like the Jane Fonda 80’s neon kind. Last week I added hand weights but I think I went too far. I got a lot of weird looks so I’m not gonna do that again…

BTW – if you think this is bad. I looked even more ridiculous in the winter.

Anyway the sun is out. Go take a walk. It’s easy. Just follow my 7 easy steps! Lol!

no big deal. Dogs bark at me me but I pay them no mind!
Just a low key gal exercising
Meet baby babushka

RIP Small Talk

So the last post was about unwanted conversations and maybe this is part 2? Or a prequel? It’s connected for sure.

I don’t know what’s going on but I’m finding myself much less willing to chit chat.

I’ve never loved small talk but lately I have no use for it.

Last week I joined a call early and found myself alone with someone I barely know at work. She started the usual weather convo and I just couldn’t do it.

I asked her how she survived Covid. Did she get sick? Did she know anyone that did? Does she live alone?

Let’s just say she was surprised by the direction of the conversation. I think her response was,” yeah it’s ok” before someone else joined and she was put out of her misery.

Maybe it’s because last year brought me all the feels. Sadness. Anger. Stillness. Joy. How am I expected to come out of a Global Pandemic and a social justice juggernaut unaffected?

I can’t talk to you about weather! We were just in a fox hole making banana bread to avoid the news. Don’t you have PTSD when you look at puzzles like I do? We’ve changed together haven’t we?

I want to know more about you. And faster.

Did you spend last year alone? Or where you trapped with your family?

Did you think it was a hoax? Or did you wash delivered groceries in the garage with gloves on?

Did you get a pet or a therapist or both? I need to know.

Are you like me, feeling optimistic and ready to party? Or are you still cautious and taking it slow?

I sound like a lot. Maybe I’m the unwanted conversation now.

I don’t want to sound cheesy and say that I’m appreciating things more and enjoying things more – but I kinda am.

I still don’t want to hear an Uber driver tell me his deepest darkest racist thoughts. But I do want to get to know my people more.

And by my people I mean the ones in my life. For whatever reason. Work. Friendship. Family. I’m done with small talk. That’s PC to me. Pre-Covid.

Some of you won’t notice a change at all – because we’ve always gone deep. But others I admit I can do better with.

I have always been a pretty forthcoming person. I’m a bad liar so I avoid it most of the time, which is a good thing. But I’m also bad about bringing up tough stuff. I have a habit of keeping things “light”. I want to change that up a bit. I mean there will still be time for vapid, silly rabbit holes about Bravo shows and I’ll never let go of Tik Tok – but it’s time for balance, I think.

I hereby pledge to not ask surface, generic questions. I promise to listen – really listen – not just think of a response as you’re talking. I promise to ask more things about you and talk less about me. And I promise not to take you for granted. Not for a minute. I’ve missed our time together and if we get it back – I’m using it better.

Don’t be scared. It sounds intense but it won’t be. It’ll just be Big Talk. Deep Talk. Fun Talk. Sad Talk. Real Housewives Talk. Anything but Small Talk.

Are you in?

Unwanted conversations – a series

Are you the victim of unwanted conversations? Do you often become the ear for folks who have no one else to talk to or who’ve driven all their friends and family away? Do you have strangers coming up to you, acting like they’ve known you for years? If you answered yes to any of these questions, come sit by me. I have a ton of stories for you. Let me share 2 of my recent favs:

Conversation 1:

Some quick background on this one.

We traveled for the first time in over a year. On a plane! To a beach! It was glorious. We had so much fun. We went to Cocoa Beach. I had many judgements about it prior to landing. Florida isn’t my fav (except Miami, West Palm, Boca… and maybe Naples). Orlando lands at the very tippy bottom of places I’d like to go. But some good friends invited us and I loved it. I was completely wrong. We stayed right on the water and had a magical time (no mouse ears to be found).

I expected a lot of mask rule breakers down there – I was wrong about that too. People were, for the most part, masked when asked.

In general my philosophy about masks and vaccines is consistent. You do you. I’ll do me.

Once the people I cared for most were fully vaccinated, I forgot about everyone else. Which sounds… not nice, but it’s meant to be more…carefree.

I really don’t care if you don’t believe in masks. I don’t care if you believe Bill Gates is chipping me (jokes on you, it was Steve Jobs and he chipped me on June 29, 2007 when he got me hooked to this little appendage in my hand).

I am the mama to two kiddos. Those are the only people I owe a lesson in humanity and science to. The rest of you are on your own.

So when I see an unmasked person in a store, I go about my business. I have mine on. I’m good. This is also my philosophy for most things now. I have no desire or inclination to preach or lecture to you about legit anything. Unless you’re my aforementioned kids, who I’ll preach to all day and they contractually have to listen.

Back to the conversation.

On our way to the airport from the perfect stay – clean beaches, sweet people – we called an Uber.

BTW – we’d taken multiple Ubers while down there and each of the drivers was a….shall we say….”characters”. But in all good ways.

This guy was immediately different. He hopped out of his car and announced that he didn’t believe in masks and he was fine with us not wearing one. We smiled and thanked him and got in the car. My husband and I are both fully vaccinated and so were relieved to take our masks off inside.

Then he started talking. And didn’t stop for 45 minutes. He didn’t even need us, so maybe it was less of a conversation and more of speech. His biggest issue seemed to be with gender identity. Why and how did that topic come up? Who knows! Morons know how to weave all their hatred together in genius ways.

He was stuck on transgender. What are we supposed to call them? He? She? They? He went on and on.

I asked him if he has a lot of transgender people taking his ride. He said no. He’s never met any. Hmmmm. Ok. Me either, I said. “So when do you run into this problem?” I asked. He ignored the question and went on.

Was it my job to educate him? I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I am still learning. I just googled what Cisgender means yesterday for gods sake. This is what I should have done. I should have told him what I do when I don’t know something about a subject – I shut the F up. That’s my go-to response. That needs to be more people’s go-to response.

By this time my husband had put on earphones and was taking a nap. Bastard.

I almost felt like this driver was waiting for me to get all this out. Or was this speech just on demand and he started it as soon as a new passenger came in? I didn’t know how to stop it. I thought being stone cold silent would send the message that I don’t want to talk to you. I just want you to take me to the airport. It didn’t work.

I finally took my phone out and started pretending to type. It worked.

Steve Jobs saved me again. Or was it Bill Gates?

Conversation 2

Yesterday we had someone at the house who needed measurements from our bedroom window down to the patio. I told him the master bedroom was the first one off the stairs to the left.

He smiled and said a friend of his just told him you can’t say “master bedroom” anymore because it refers to language used during slavery.

It does? I hadn’t heard that. None of the 1,000 podcasts I listen to everyday to make me smarter talked about that.

I looked it up. Turns out that Sears invented the term in the 20s. The word itself goes back even further. It has many many meanings and ways of usage. Let’s assume the worst?

So someone at Sears, I’m guessing a dude invented the word, was a massive jerk who wanted to embed a racist term while trying to sell sheets? Maybe? Maybe not.

Last July, a real estate company in Houston announced they would stop using “master bedroom” in their marketing materials. Many others followed suite and claimed wokeness.

Remember last July? Most of us just learned about institutional racism a month or two before thanks to a 15 year old. Now we’re equipped to start erasing words from the English language??

And I love that the “fix” is in marketing. Genius. Don’t worry about red lining or the landlords that won’t sell to people of color. Please fix the marketing lingo! That’ll do it.

I’m not saying it’s right or wrong. I’m not black. I don’t know if words like master ring differently to different ears. I just think maybe we should talk about it a little more. Before dismissing it.

Most importantly, does this mean I can’t sing Master of House from Le Miz? Stop the madness!

Also – why do I have to talk about this with my construction guy? I just wanted to tell you where to go to measure the stupid window for our stupid reno. Come on!

This happens all the time. People need to share I guess (says the girl who writes the blog where she thinks people need her to share lol).

I can’t be the only one this happens to? I need a resting bitch face. Although I wear a mask outside so maybe I need resting bitch eyes.

Can anyone relate?

I had a dream

No. Not that kind of dream. I wish I was having important, philosophical dreams of social justice and reform.

My dream was that I cleaned the kitchen. That’s right. Even in my dreams I’m cleaning the kitchen. I emptied the dishwasher. I wiped the counters. I swept the floor.

It’s not enough that this is what I do a hundred times a day in real life. Now I’m cleaning the kitchen in my dreams.

What is going on? I don’t usually remember my dreams. I’m a pretty deep sleeper. Well.. obviously not deep. Heavy sleeper.

I need to think sexier thoughts going to bed. This is just sad. I even had my favorite all-purpose solution bottle. The homemade one my husband gave me that says, Neha’s allpurpose solution. That was in my dream. It’s Mr. Clean blue concentrate with water. Color should be light light blue. You’re welcome.

I have been spending a lot of time on my favorite Instagram page, gocleanco. Maybe that’s it. Do you follow them? You should you filthy animal.

No worries. I’ll just spend the day asking the internet why I’m dreaming about what I’ll be doing all day anyway. The internet will know why. Worse case I’ll go to TikTok.

Happy Sunday. Hope you dreamt about Brad Pitt or finding a cure for cancer. Don’t worry about me. Maybe tonight I’ll clean the toilet in my dreams. I’m fine. Send help.

Oprah, Meghan&Harry, and things that are bothering me

You know what I thought you’d enjoy on this sunny, warm day? A list of crap that annoyed me in the last few days. You’re welcome!

  • Ok Oprah isn’t bothering me. What’s bothering me is all the posts I’m reading about how great of an interviewer she is, how good she was at getting info, how masterful she is, blah blah blah. Who is just figuring this out?? I guess everyone born in the 2ks? Well I’m here to tell you that this is no surprise to any Gen Xer. What you fools got for 2 hours last Sunday, we got EVERY DAY. Every day. 4pm. Oprah’s on! Where’s everybody gone? Oprah’s on! Who remembers that jingle? Every day we got Oprah. She covered all the topics. It could be a hard hitting abuse story, a celebrity interview, or it could be her rolling out a cart of fat talking about her weight loss. You never knew what you were going to get. It was awesome. Sure, now you have Ellen and Hoda and Dr. Phil (he bothers me) – but they don’t compare to the big O. Is she a wacko? Ofcourse she is. But she loves bread. She’s been on Weight Watchers for 100 years and still looks exactly the same. We know more about her BFF Gail then her man Stedman, but who cares, he seems like a bore anyway. If you’re coming out of fog with some new respect for the queen O, welcome. Join the many who have followed her every wig-wearing move since we rushed home, cracked open a Diet Coke and ate a “fat free” loaf of bread while we watched her show.
  • Meghan & Harry…where to begin. First and foremost – the racist attacks that Meghan dealt with in the UK were absolutely horrible and absolutely not surprising – UK media is the WORST. Remember how they killed Diana by chasing her into a tunnel wall? Why are we shocked they are bad people? It was also sad to hear that Meghan got to the brink of suicide while pregnant with Archie, heartbreaking. No one deserves that. I thought she was really credible and calm and intelligent. I bought into a lot of what she was talking about. I don’t think she’s lying or making anything up. THAT SAID, there were things that were bothersome about that conversation. The first time she lost me a little was when she said she didn’t know that you’d have to curtsy to meet the Queen, and that she didn’t know how to do it. Someone had to run out and show her. Really? You didn’t google “royal etiquette” or “what should I do when I meet the queen”? I’ve googled those things. Seriously. The second time I rolled my eyes during the interview was Harry saying they lost security and felt totally unsafe in Canada. You guys don’t have money for security? Ummmm… what? Then you left Canada and moved to Malibu. You wanted to feel safe from the media so you went to the most paparazzo ridden part of the US? I don’t know dog…I’m not feelin’ it. And then the bombshell! Someone in the family was worried about Archie’s skin tone. This is bad. What kind of turd brings that up? Who could it be? Who? Could it be…the diabolical man that drove Harry’s mother crazy?? The dude that married his mom while having a full-blown, public affair the entire time? It’s Charles! It has to be. I’m convinced it’s Charles. Do I think he’s a racist? Who knows. Probably. But what we DO know for sure is that he is the villain. Always has been. It’s Charles. Just watch The Crown. Last bothersome thing about the conversation was when Oprah asked if they were getting paid for this interview and Meghan said no. No? Is that your final answer? Wanna phone a friend? Come on. I’m feeling like they should have known that WE knew. We knew. We know. They may not be getting paid, but they are making a profit. Somehow. I know nothing is for free. Oprah taught me that.
  • Moving away from Oprah and the Royals…anyone else not going nutty trying to get a vaccine? I know there’s issues with the rollout etc. but I’m just not going crazy about hunting it down. I’m hoping the people that need it are getting it – first responders, teachers, retail workers, etc. I’m also hoping that people that are a little….let’s say….more cautious than I am about Covid get it before me too. Anyone who is in a panic or has anxiety about Covid, go first. I’m ok with it. Having people go before me in line has never caused me anxiety. Please, go first. I’m fine. I’m following rules. I’m following guidelines. But I’m totally not upset by people getting it before me. I only feel safer the more people I hear have it. Not bothered by this at all.
  • Last one. Let me set the scene. I’m coming back from running an errand. I pull up to a light. I’m in the right lane. To my left is a big, fat black SVU, SUV. Whatever. I am listening to a podcast (about murder) and absent-mindedly turn and look at the driver. Nice looking middle-aged dude drinking a big iced coffee. Light turns green and he floors it. Like….this huge-ass car makes a bunch of roaring noises and he floors it. Needless to say, he won. He won the imaginary speedway race he was having with my Subaru. My very safe, very boring, very opposite-of-threatening Subaru. I was so busy turning the volume down on my podcast that he totally got ahead of me. Not that I was even trying. I didn’t even think of it. What is wrong with men? And yes, I think I can generalize here and say men are the ones doing these pretend races. Congrats dude. You beat me. You are now king of the 1/4 mile between lights when you were ahead of me. When I literally pulled up next to him at the very next light, I had visions of turning to him and smiling or gloating or whatever. Or even better, maybe even flooring it myself when the light turned green. But I didn’t. I didn’t do any of that. I let him drive away, small penis problems and all. But it did bother me.

No Bueno

I broke my cardinal rule.

No, it’s not don’t eat potato chips at 10pm.

I was only going to eat 12. Which is one serving. Promise. Stop looking at me.

So what’s the rule? I’ll tell you. My cardinal rule is… don’t eat fused food!! I hate fusion! Ok not hate, but like really dislike.

I like mango. I like habanero. Why do they need to be combined?? And why did I fall for it?

Let me clarify that there are certain things that work – sour cream and onion, magic! Salt and vinegar, genius! But can we just calm down?

Chocolate wine? Dill pickle bagels? Please. PLEASE. Stop.

Anyway these are not great.

Mango?? Nope. Not there. Don’t taste it. Mango is unique. Mango is not just sweet. It’s nuanced and sometimes tart and fibery (it’s a word) and makes you feel Islandy (it’s a word).

Habanero? Ummm maybe a little black pepper or something. Go ahead and give it to your toddler – it’s fine. No heat. There’s almost nothing there. Those fiery Cheetos do more harm (btw love those).

There’s not much more to this post, I’m afraid. Don’t buy these chips. Also I wanted to say crisps because I’ve been watching Bridgerton but I fought the urge.

Tomorrow will be better.

I ate the full serving. If I’m being honest.

Mirror/Window

Soooooo I know I told you that I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts. I revert back and forth between informational ones and pure garbage. If I’m honest I still lean heavy on the garbage end. And I think I’ve decided that I’m an auditory learner. I’m never reading a book again! Just kidding. I just think it’s so much easier to retain what I’ve heard vs what I’ve read (also I can’t see anything anymore so there’s that). Anyway these podcasts are making me super interesting. I think I’m smarter too. I hardly ever use exclamation marks anymore! Are you rolling your eyes yet?

I heard one last week that has stuck with me. I think about it every day. It was about how people react to mistakes.

Mistakes. I make them. Everyday. Big ones. Small ones. Mean ones. Dopey ones. I’m a master mistake maker.

That doesn’t really bother me too much. Most of the time I know the intent was good. And I’ve been trying to do what I see many men do… just shrug it off. No apologies. No nothing. Just….oh yeah, that’s wrong. Oh well. Instead of sinking into the deep well of misery and self loathing which is my first instinct.

But the podcast wasn’t about mistakes. It was about how people, specifically leaders/parents/partners react to them.

When something goes wrong, where do you go first. The mirror or the window?

Are you drawn to the actions you created, the things you may have done to cause the error/fight/mistake/lapse in judgement – or do you immediately look to blame the outside world? Your partner, your child, your co-worker or colleague.

This isn’t rocket science. And those of you that are used to spending time thinking about deep things will probably think this is highly simplistic. But remember, I spent most of January still thinking about the Hilaria Baldwin scandal and whether or not I should get an eyeliner tattoo. I told you I lean garbage.

So this week I spent some time thinking about it. Spoiler alert, things went wrong this week. There were errors. F’ ups. Each time something happened I stopped and did the mirror/window approach. Another spoiler. I lean window! It seems that I think most of the things that go wrong in my life are the fault or actions of other people/things/situations. I’m really surprised by this in all seriousness.

In my mind I am very self-critical and hard on my actions. But in reality – I let myself off the hook pretty often. Like almost immediately. I’m like….oh that….I’m good. That’s that other moron’s fault. The storyline of my mistakes has me as the victim way too many times.

It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress.

Anyway just sharing. Today is Friday and it’s sunny. I’m going to go for a looooonnnngggg walk and listen to another podcast. Probably about Hilaria Baldwin or eyeliner tattoos.

Date Night

Every Thursday night, my husband and I go out to dinner.

I don’t remember when or how it started. Our kids got older. Weekends were busy with family and friend stuff. But Thursday was a “free” day to sneak in a date night. Before Covid when I was still commuting, it was also the last day of my commute. Friday I worked from home and didn’t have the 5:30 am alarm (remember commuting? I kinda miss it. Just a little)

Sometimes we go fancy, but more times we keep it low key. I put on some make-up and he wears his dress crocs (yes).

Sometimes we go with other people, double date night!

Where we go depends on weather, mood, and our last good meal. We’ve been known to go to the same place for months if things go well. Sometimes we go locally, sometimes we go far. A lot of couples go out to try new places, try new food. That’s not a priority for us.

Before Covid our favorite way to have Thursday date night was to sit at the bar for dinner. Yes, we are those people.

Once or twice a year we make it an overnight and sneak into New York City. Treat ourselves to a hotel.

Unless we’re sick, the rule is you can’t miss it. Does it have to be magical? Hells no.

We’ve had plenty of good fights on date night. Lots of driving home in silence. But guess what? It’s fine. We can try again next week.

Sometimes we talk about work or kids or family. Sometimes we talk about money or vacations or bills. Most often we talk about the day. We keep it light. This isn’t the night to solve major problems or make big decisions.

When things started shutting down last March, our date nights came to an abrupt halt. We spent the next few months eating at home and sheltering in. Which was nice too. Then, in early summer, things started slowly opening up. We were back in business… kind of. But it was better than nothing.

This pic is one of our earliest dates. Look at those young, care-free kids with the good hair.

Here’s the years since…

Pre-masks!

Why does be make faces?? I dunno. That’s for another post.

Product of India

Remember this tin?

If you are a child or grandchild of an immigrant, then the answer is most likely yes. You’ve had this blue tin in your home. You may still have it, full of nails or thumbtacks or something. Check your junk drawer.

We never had Oreos or Chips Ahoy in our house – not that I remember. We had Parle G biscuits and this blue tin. Parles were shipped from India and never came in a big package. You got them in these little packs of 10. Most likely due to how many preservatives you were allowed to ship at once overseas. They were/are sweet and crispy – with just enough aftertaste to know the FDA didn’t approve them.

Yes that says Glucose!

Listen, there’s no such thing as a bad cookie right? So I’m not complaining.

My husband, on the other hand, did grow up with Oreos and Chips Ahoy. But he also spent a lot of time with his beloved Nana. She was a feisty, strong Ukrainian woman who came to this country without much and raised four sons. As the matriarch of the family, she had all the grandkids over every weekend and holiday. And ofcourse, she always had this blue tin of cookies.

The cookies were super simple. Just a shortbread cookie. Each tin had a few different shapes that all basically tasted the same.

I got excited last week when I saw a cute little version of the blue tin. I grabbed it right away for my husband. Thinking it would make him smile and be reminiscent about his childhood. When he saw the tin, he immediately smiled and cracked it open. It didn’t taste the same. Something was different.

We took a closer look and it turned out that this tin was a phony. A fake.

Artificially flavored?? Danish Delights? Oh no. And here’s the real kicker…

PRODUCT OF INDIA!!

My poor husband. He just can’t get away from products from India. Lol!

Happy Sunday all.

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