Mask on? Mask off?

I just went to the grocery store this weekend. On the door it says, “If you HAVEN’T been vaccinated, we RECOMMEND a mask”. But when you enter the store there’s a sign that says, “Don’t forget your mask!” – just like that. With a friendly exclamation point. You could also take the exclamation mark as an order, but I’m assuming best intent here.

Almost everyone in the store had a mask on. A few didn’t. Even the workers were a mixed bag. Some had it on, some didn’t. I ended up putting it on. Then I was in the pickle aisle and no one had it on, so I took it off. Then I went to the diary aisle and everyone had it on, so I put it back on. I’m losing my mind.

I liked it when we were all doing the same thing. Wearing masks or not wearing masks. This weird middle time is not good for me.

Now this post isn’t for those that believe there’s no virus or that this is a global hoax. No, bless your hearts, you can keep going about your day.

This is for those people like me. I know it’s real. I followed all the rules. I made a pod. Wore the mask. I tried to be as safe as possible. But when restaurants opened up slowly last year – we went. First only outdoor, but then slowly indoor. When stores opened – we went. When vaccines came out, we got it.

We have close friends that have lost family to Covid. I’m not diminishing the severity of what we just went through – but I’m also desperately wanting it to be over.

Isn’t it possible for me to completely believe in the science of it and also want to wear lipstick again? I’m just so done with it.

If there was a scale from 1-10, 1 being the folks who thought it was a hoax, and 10 being the people who washed their delivered groceries in the garage until last week – I’m a solid 6. Maybe a 5.5. My family was careful for sure. But not the most careful, if you know what I mean.

At the beginning of the month we had a family wedding where there were literally people called “mask police”. Worst job since Norton on the Honeymooners. They would follow you around and if you were not sitting – you needed your mask on. Fair enough. My entire family was fully vaccinated at that point but I did what they asked. No big deal.

Compare that to a week ago when many of the restaurants near us dropped the capacity rules. My husband and I did our all time favorite thing. We had dinner at the bar. They still had those plastic shields up, but it was great. I want more of that.

I want no masks. I want parties. I want to go to Shoprite without hyperventilating and figuring out which aisle I’m allowed to walk into. But I want everyone to do it together. Impossible?

I thought it would be easier. I thought I’d be ok with the “you do you” approach. But it’s causing me anxiety.

You know who I like? Airports. I like airports. They have a rule. Everyone needs a mask. Done and done.

You know who I also like? All the places we went to this past weekend on the Jersey shore. They had no signs at all. No one wore a mask. Not even the servers. So we didn’t either. And we were not sorry.

I like wearing a mask on a plane or a train. I don’t like wearing a mask almost anywhere else.

I cannot be the only one. Mask haters when fully vaccinated unite!

Happy maskless Monday. Maybe.

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

oil and vinegar

May 12, 1996 was a Sunday. Mother’s Day.

It was also the day that my husband and I eloped.

Today is our 25th anniversary. Our silver jubilee!

Last night at 10:40pm my husband of a quarter of a century said,” what do people do for their 25th anniversary? A party or something?”

He’s all mine ladies. Has been for multiple lifetimes according to some. Let me explain.

Because I like to throw money away, I go to a lot of psychics and readers. One of these readers told me that Joe and I have been married before. Many times. During many lives.

Really? Us? I loved hearing it and yet instantly doubted it.

“That’s so funny because really we are like oil and water” I said,” very different”

The reader took both my hands (this was way before Covid) and looked me dead in the eyes.

“Oil and water? No no, that’s not right. You are oil and vinegar. You emulsified. Transformed. You are perfect together” she said.

I cried ofcourse. And gave her a big tip. All these years I walked around thinking we were oil and water. Never mixing. Two different to combine. She turned it upside down. Or maybe she right sided it. She may have been a total hoax, I’ll never know. I didn’t go back to her again. I was afraid the magic moment would never happen twice.

So today, to celebrate this union of salad dressing, I thought I’d share some moments from our 25 years. These pictures doesn’t show the fights and pain and anger and sorrow – which are in between these happy moments.

It’s been good and bad and better and worse. It’s been everything you can probably imagine and everything you’ll never know. Thanks for letting me share.

How it started…

90s dorm room fashion! Denim on Denim
He went to an empty classroom and surprised me with this. I walked out of my class to go to the next one and he was there, waiting to show this to me. Creepy and cute
So many questions with this one. 1) Why did we feel the need to take a pic in front of Walmart? 2) We brought a camera to Walmart? 3) Who the heck took the pick?

We graduate and elope!

May 12, 1996, East Hampton NY
This is where our honeymoon pic should be. But because we eloped so quickly the first trip my new husband took was with his best friend to London and Amsterdam. Every new marriage should start with a trip apart. Not
This was a year later. Our honeymoon trip to Bermuda. I look at this pic and only see my healthy, shiny hair. I have issues.

This next set of pics is called – BABIES HAVING BABIES (on purpose)

Kera in my big belly, our NYC railroad apartment
Sure! Stand in the middle of Lexington Ave in NYC with a newborn in your hand. Totally safe. You’re in good hands baby girl!
Jack in my big belly, Fishkill, NY

Since it’s my Jubilee (said like Elaine says fiancé on Seinfeld), I’m going to be indulgent and keep sharing…

Joe told us he was taking us to tour Martha’s Vineyard. In reality we toured all the spots they filmed the movie Jaws. I was less than pleased.
Brussels for the day. We took the metro from Paris. Everyone spoke English.
Ugly sweater contest that I won but my neighbor stole the votes (I know what you did Jeff!)
I now like a beach thanks to this man. I also like an umbrella, a visor, and SPF 100.
One of my favorite pictures. Nothing makes him happier than a belly full of steak. I think I had creamed spinach that night. Thanks for nothing Peter Lugers.

The years, the months, the hours. I remember every minute of it, and yet it’s a blur! From the missteps we made, to the mountains we moved together, I’m so happy we went for it.

Love you Joseph.

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?

9 years older and none the wiser

I can’t believe this blog is 9 years old. I don’t feel a day over 2.

I highly recommend writing a blog. It’s super fun. You get to pretend people want to hear what’s on your mind. You get to spout off the nonsense that’s rattling in your head.

Most days I have nothing to write about. Other days there’s so much to say.

I have a dozen posts in drafts that never saw the light of day. Mostly because they were awful. You’re welcome.

So 9 years went by. I took breaks. Long ones. But I’ll still celebrate the milestone. Besides my kids I haven’t grown anything for 9 years.

What will the 10th year bring?? More cooking posts? More skincare posts? More deep, intelligent thoughts about Oprah and bread? Yes. All of it.

Why don’t you write a blog? I’m telling you it’s easy. You can do it. I’ll read it. I’ll be your first follower.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for commenting. Thank you for all the texts and notes about the posts I’ve written. I love doing it.

Lookout for the WMEP Podcast coming soon… JK JK

Diet tips…Vol.1

First have a healthy, balanced dinner.

Then walk to the kitchen, pass a pizza pie your 17 year old with a metabolic rate of a cheetah ordered as a snack and keep walking.

Loop around, go back into the kitchen once he’s done and spy the box.

Because being wasteful is bad, decide to not throw out the leftover slice. But since you’re also literally trying to walk your ass off, only cut off a small piece. Go back to watching tv.

Loop around. And again.

And again.

Calories consumed in small pieces don’t count. It’s a law.

When finished delete your 17 year olds door dash account to show him who’s boss and project your anger and guilt.

Here’s the tale visually

Vol. 2 coming soon… how to eat a donut in 29 bites.

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.

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.

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