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.

I’m a poet, you just didn’t know it

Goodbye Christmas lights and holiday sights.

Goodbye cookie baking and prime rib making.

Goodbye gift buying and bow-tying.

Goodbye White Russians for lunch, I really loved you a bunch.

Goodbye to my Santa mask, which was really up to the task, It made people smile and kept me safe all the while.

New Year’s Eve was so fun, I love a good Cosmo clearly. Thank goodness for our pod, I love them all dearly.

Resolutions were made and good wishes shared. We brought in the new year with people that cared.

So here we are in the new year, and it’s not that great so far, I fear

But I’m still thankful and full of hope, see sometimes it comes in handy to be a silly dope

So let’s keep our friends close and our naysayers at bay, and make sure you do something good for someone else today.

Things will get better, they always do, but even without the news, it’s easy to be blue.

So thank you Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max too, Bridgeton and Cobra Kai will help get me through.

So I’m sending you love and hugs Covid style, I hope this little ditty helped make you smile 😊

Vacation me

I’m off work for a few days, and it’s magic!

This week… from Christmas to New Years is amazing. A black hole of nothingness.

Why didn’t anyone tell me how great this was??

Vacation me is such a gem. She’s relaxed, and happy and almost light hearted! Almost.

I mean this isn’t my first time off this year. I took a week in July but that was different. Other people were working and I was still checking emails. Still working from the side of my vacation.

But this week. This magical week. No emails, no missed meetings, no nothing.

Listen – in general I’m not saving lives at work. What I do day to day in no way impacts the world. It should be no surprise that me not doing the work is totally inconsequential. It’s a non-event. And I couldn’t be happier.

Vacation me is mellow. Most likely because vacation me day drinks, but who’s judging?

No alarms. No schedules. Thanks to Covid no plans at all.

In the past I’d have to figure out how to visit family and friends – but not this year. Nope. Vacation me and pandemic me are a perfect match.

Am I cooking big family meals? Nope! I’m saving restaurants by not cooking and only ordering in. You’re welcome!

Am I schlepping to my relatives houses and dragging my kids along? Nope! I’m saving lives by not seeing anyone, including my own kids. Kidding.

Vacation me is so funny. Not a care in the world. Well that’s a lie, but you know what I mean.

I hope you’re taking time off. I hope your heart is getting lighter. I hope you are letting go of all the crap 2020 laid on us. It’s not easy, I know. Do what I do. Take a deep, slow breath and exhale it all out.

Vacation me has all the answers.

Vacation me thinks all will be well.

Let’s go with that. Xoxo

31 days 3 things

I don’t do deprivation. I also don’t go on big diets. I’ve never done Keto or Paleo or anything like that. In high school I did Slimfast. Once. But I blame Oprah. She rolled out that wheel of fat and I couldn’t resist. For you young kids out there that don’t know what I’m talking about – YouTube it.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s January. Here comes the obligatory post about resolutions and diets. But that’s not what this is.

This post is about habits. I’ve formed some bad habits. Nothing criminal or overly damaging, but bad none the less. There were 3 things that ramped up for me these last few months. Facebook(FB), booze and going out to eat.

3 things that are all innocuous on the surface but I was taking to new heights.

Booze… I don’t really need to explain right? Thanksgiving to Christmas was full of “cheer”. And between Christmas and New Year’s? Let’s just say I was “cheerful” from lunch to dinner to bed *hiccup*.

Facebook… oh I love social media. I’ve told you that already. But when social media is more entertaining that being actually social. Time for a pause. A respite. Btw I’m not giving up Instagram. Maybe in 2021.

Eating out… I love eating out! It’s the best. Not just the no cooking part, but the whole experience. Picking where to go, what to order, what to drink, etc. I love it all. It was/is one of my favorite hobbies. When we travel the first thing I do is find places to eat. But lately, the fun is slipping away. We’ve eaten everywhere in town. We’ve eaten everywhere in surrounding towns. We’re locals at multiple places. We don’t even need to look at most menus. It’s too much. We need a break. I’m not saying I’m cooking all the time – there’s no shame in the DoorDash game- but enough with the restaurants.

That’s it. Just three small changes for January. Not forever. Just 31 days to develop some new habits. A palate cleanser. Nothing more.

This isn’t for weight loss (you’ll never take my carbs from me!)and I have zero desire to do some sort of self evolution. It’s not that dramatic. I just want to see if I can re-adjust my current normal. Just tilting the ship upright a bit.

My blogs post automatically to my FB, in case you’re wondering if I’m cheating already. I’m not, and I’ve deleted the app from my phone and computer. I’ll miss seeing all the birthdays and photos, but I’ll be back Feb 1…unless I fold like a cheap suit. Which is fine too. I like cheap suits.

Pardon the interruption…

But had to share this. I love my husband. I’ve loved him on and off for 23 years of marriage and 27 years together. He’s a creature of habit. Once he likes something he sticks with it.

Can you guess what he likes currently?

Rao’s, we have a problem.

I think I’ve told you all before that growing up we only had Ragu Traditional. I had Saturday morning spaghetti while watching cartoons – The Smurf’s usually. Why breakfast? I dunno. My Indian mother didn’t know too much about pasta hours I guess.

But this is where we are now. Rao’s for the whole town. You want to try another type of sauce? Too bad. This is what you’re having at our house.

Also – I didn’t line them up like little soldiers for this photo. This is how I found the cabinet.

Send help, or maybe a nice pesto we can have for a change.

Things that are currently driving me crazy…

1) How much I talk about weather.

2) Someone (my husband) threw the stick part of my wet Swiffer out and even though it took me months to realize it, I wanted to use it today and now I can’t.

3) Jussie Smollet. Why?? You won the lottery. You are an actor with a full-time job. A steady paycheck. Probably enough money to change the way you were living. Why. WHY throw it all away with a career-ending stunt?? In the words of Cardi B,” you ruined Black History Month bro”.

4) Jordyn Woods. Why?? You won the lottery. Your best friend is a billionaire. She’s letting you live her life with her. Not enough? WHY?? Krazy with a Kardashian K.

5) Can someone invent a pantry door that shuts itself? It may save the lives of the people who live at my house.

6) Abducted in Plain Sight omg. OMG. Two hours of shouting at the TV.

Thank you for listening. Happy Weekend everyone!

And when they met….it was Murdah….

Only kids who grew up in the 80s with no outside hobbies will know that reference. It’s the opening line from Hart to Hart, said by the butler with a very strong New York City accent. Here’s the IMDB blurb:

Image result for hart to hart

Self-made millionaire Jonathan and freelance writer Jennifer are the Harts – a globetrotting married couple with a talent for finding mysteries wherever they go. And even when they’re uncovering thefts, espionage and assorted skullduggery, they still find time for romance.

I mean what’s there not to like? Thefts, espionage, skullduggery (really?), and romance!  Welcome to the 80s. Pretend you’re a young Indian gal in Harrisburg, PA with a really bad haircut watching upstairs in her parent’s bedroom. Or pretend you’re a not-so-young Indian gal in Yardley, PA watching reruns on the Hallmark Network on her phone so no one sees – either way – set the scene.

Side note – I was also completely unaware of the whole Robert Wagner/Natalie Wood thing. Which takes the whole murder thing in another direction.

Anyway I have always enjoyed a murder mystery. In all honesty there doesn’t even need to be a mystery. I’ve just always enjoyed….murder. Let that sink in. I did start out lightheartedly. Hart to Hart. Remington Steele. Murder, she Wrote. But it went downhill fast. I blame Law and Order. I just love a gruesome tale.

Turns out, I’m not the only one. Michelle McNamara was obsessed with The Golden State Killer case for years. The notorious unsolved crime of someone who had committed upward of 50 sexual assaults and at least 10 murders in California in the 1970s and 1980s, was left untouched until her book (published posthumously), I’ll be Gone in the Dark, came out.

Image result for I'll be gone in the dark

The book and her research fueled blogs, podcasts, etc. and relaunched the search. The killer was captured within a year using a DNA website. I read the book. Listened to the podcasts. Read all the blogs. I couldn’t get enough. And neither could a million other people. Just sayin’, I’m not the only weirdo.

Now here’s where my interest takes a turn…so maybe I am a weirdo.

I don’t remember if I’ve shared this with you before. If I’ve already talked about my massive crush on Frances Glessner Lee, I’m sorry to repeat myself. But she is so freaking cool. Or was so freaking cool. She grew up in the 30’s and 40’s in a wealthy family. Her passion was police work from an early age, a profession that was considered both beneath her class and out of her league as a woman. She tried to join the police force, but her family objected. Instead she started spending time volunteering in police stations. She noticed that during murder investigations, there was no way to re-create the crime scene. Because most of her leisure time was spent on sewing, painting, etc., she started recreating crime scenes using dollhouse miniatures. Genius. And weird. And useful. All things I love in a person.

Long morbid story short, she became the “mother of forensic science”, eventually joining the police force and also becoming the first female police captain in the country. The techniques she developed helped revolutionize the way police reports were created. She was bad-ass.

You’re probably wondering how I found out about her? You’re not? I’ll tell you anyway. I decided last year that in the near future, say 10 or 15 years from now, I’m going to start working on a dollhouse. Obviously I plan to get creepier with age. As I was researching dollhouses and the weirdos who work on them, I found a podcast called,”Murder is Her Hobby”. It had me at hello. It might as well have been called,”Listen to this Neha, you’ll love it”.

I think you’ll love it too. What’s not to love about a crocheted crime scene?

Another podcast that speaks my name is, My Favorite Murder. 

Image result for my favorite murder

Until some years ago I had no people named April in my life. Now I have two. The first one is like family and lives a few houses down. She introduced me to the second one during a girl’s weekend. The second one introduced me to this podcast – and that’s when I knew I’d found a friend for life. That and her love for tequila.

Tonight, both my Aprils and I are heading into Philadelphia (which is sometimes called Killadelphia by smart alecks but really fits with everything we’re talking about here, don’t you think?).

We are going to see that podcast, My Favorite Murder, live! In person. Geeky and edgy all at the same time.

A night of murdah…what could be better? Don’t answer that.

Liar Liar, Pants on Fyre

Did you watch the documentaries on The Fyre Festival? Hulu and Netflix both have a version of this story. I watched both. If there were 6 versions I would have seen them all. I can’t get enough. I watched the first one twice. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me try to explain…

A young, upstart entrepreneur from NYC decides to partner with Ja Rule to host a music festival on an uninhabited island in the Bahamas (once owned by Pablo Escobar) in 6 months.

Why does he think he can do it? Because he’s been hosting “parties” for a few months in penthouses all over the city. Ja Rule performs at one of those fun parties and decides, “yeah, ok, I’ll partner with you on a multi-million dollar event”.

What happens next is a mash-up of ego, lack of experience, lack of leadership and lack of morality. It’s a hot mess.

Billy McFarland, the young entrepreneur that I mentioned earlier is either a smart dude who let things go out of hand, or a sociopath who let his ego lead every decision he made. Maybe a bit of both.

The documentary tells a month-by-month, day-by-day story of everything leading up to the non-festival. Here’s what they did first. They created a slick, well-produced teaser. They filled it with top models. They went to the island where they wanted to have the festival, stayed on private yachts (not on the island) and partied for a few days while they filmed the promo. Turquoise seas, beautiful women, expensive boats, it had it all. The promo was incredibly well produced. I think you can still watch it somewhere on YouTube. The company they hired to do the teaser gave them an incredible digital and social presence. Their website was super slick and their marketing was off the hook. Really high-end and modern.

They spent the next few months designing an experience. Luxury tents. Luxury villas. Beautiful packages that made you feel like you were going to a music festival in some private piece of heaven. And it had a price tag to match. Each package was thousands of dollars. And they all still sold out, in record time.  Through their social campaign (which was genius), they sold every package they had. All the tents. All the villas. Sold.

Just one problem. There were no luxury villas or tents. All the images were created. Nothing was real.

Turns out the island they originally wanted couldn’t be used. The owner of the island had only one deal-breaker in the contract – don’t mention Escobar – so what did they do? They mentioned it in the first teaser. Game over.

Luckily Great Exuma was near-by. This island, under other circumstances, was a much better place to host a festival. It had infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, etc.

Sadly, by the time they decided to go there – everything was sold out. The only thing they were able to get was some undeveloped real estate on one side of the island by the water. They grabbed it.

The details of what went down are so crazy. Instead of luxury tents – they put up hurricane tents left over from the last season.  There weren’t enough homes on the island to get for private villas, so those who signed-up and paid for one got a tent too. And they didn’t even have enough crappy tents. 380 for 900+ people attending.

Not enough food. Not enough bathrooms. No plan B for rain. The attendees were f**ked. The musicians who agreed to perform weren’t any better. There was barely a stage – let alone multiple stages for a festival. Most of the acts started dropping out. Still, the producers let the event go on.

In the end, it was a nightmare. You can google how much of a nightmare it was.

I can’t tell you how validating it was to see those documentaries. I watched the first one with my husband. The entire time he kept turning to me and going, “ohh babe, can you believe it?”. Even he knew. He knew because he’s been married to an event planner for 20 plus years.

I couldn’t believe it. But I could believe it. It was totally believable. Let’s be honest. People think they can do it. On the surface it’s a job that literally everyone thinks they can do. Oh you planned your sister’s shower? Sure! You can be a planner! You organized the office pot-luck lunch? Sure, you can plan a 1,000 person event. Go for it.

I would re-title those documentaries as, “So You Think You’re An Event Planner?” or “You Are Not A F**king Event Planner”.

Go ahead. Roll your eyes. I know. You’re a teacher (love teachers), or a nurse (love nurses), or whatever. You are impacting the world. You’re maybe literally saving lives. But here’s what I know for sure. I know that in this world of big picture thinking, one thing is lost. Execution. No one likes to say they execute. Everyone wants to be a “strategist”. Big thinking. Not big doing.

Ok, sure, you had a really great idea. A world-changing idea. Awesome. Good for you. Can you actually execute it? Can you plan the steps it’ll take to get it done and make it happen? Can you think 10 steps ahead to all the problems that might pop up and solve them before they happen? Can you manage the emotional toll it’ll take on people to get them to do what you want them to do for your idea to come to life?  And can you do it without complaining and whining? Better yet, can you work for never-ending hours and days while pretending to be happy and smiling the whole time? Can you be a 20 year professional that’s managing million dollar budgets while still being asked to get someone a tampon in the middle of an event – and do it without question? If the answer is no. Please, for god’s sake, go back to your day job. If the answer is yes, welcome. You are welcome here. In the group of people who immediately start figuring out how to get something done.

When I saw those documentaries I was so moved. In the last few years, a value has been placed on people who can weave a good story in 280 characters. People who can produce slick, marketing ads and pieces that last about a minute or two. They are digital geniuses. They can make an idea viral. Get a million impressions. Which is great. But guess what they can’t do? They can’t execute. They can’t figure out the one million things that need to go down before something happens.

Billy McFarland had no planners working for him. He had digital teams and marketing teams. He had supermodels and rappers. He even had someone called a “producer”. But no planners. To give credit where it’s due – he did have some people with festival experience that he ignored. But those people basically went along with a plan they knew would fail.

One of the things that is the most troublesome about the documentary isn’t the attendees, ok fine, they didn’t get a music festival. Uptown problems. They had to go back to Miami with their miniature dogs and flower halos. Boo hoo. To me, the saddest part was that the island residents were dragged into making this nightmare happen. Hundreds of workers signed up to help Billy and his crew. No one got paid.

So maybe calling Billy an entrepreneur is wrong. He’s a cheat. A fraud. A con man. And I know that’s what this story is really about. But what I got from it was so different. His story validated and brought to life everything I know to be true. You can be a big idea guy or gal. You can be good at tweets and posts and ‘grams. You can get a thousand likes, and a million impressions, but can you bring that vision to life in the real world? A world full of bad weather, cancelled flights, broken technology, and unhappy people? Can you handle it? Maybe. But let’s be honest, probably not.

 

 

 

Monday confessional

Ok let’s just say today wasn’t the winningest day I’ve ever had. The theme for my day would be, “two steps forward, three steps back”. Or is it,”three steps forward, two back”? You know what I mean.

Things that were done got undone. Technology was not my friend today. I went to go pick-up dry cleaning that I never dropped off. True story.

Anyway – not my day.

It was time for chocolate cake and tv.

But because this is opposite of good day – I didn’t even get this right.

The cake looks good in that pic, because I FaceTuned it. What is that you ask? New favorite app. Spend the $3.99. Treat yo self. As I was saying, the cake looks good but it was just ok. Not that I expected anything else from it. It’s a boxed, aisle cake. I wish it no ill will. It was a sad attempt at saving my day.

And the tv… I know I know. I should have known better. Even with my low-brow tv habits I haven’t succumbed to The Bachelor (ok I watched season 1-3 but those weren’t bad). But there’s been so much chatter about it that I gave in. It was a weak night.

Oh god was it bad. Like so bad I am shook people aren’t talking about how bad it is.

The premise is interesting. He’s a virgin. There’s a house full of vipers after him. It could be so bad it’s good, but it’s so bad that it’s sad. Weird and uncomfortable. Perfect for my day.

I’m just going to bed. We can try this all again tomorrow.

Is your underwear drawer full of joy?

Thank you Patty for letting me know about Tidying up, my new Netflix binge. I know I’m late to the party. Marie Kondo and her tidy revolution have been around for a couple of years. I’d never heard of her or her books or her YouTube videos. Where have I been?? I know… living in filth and wearing clothes that basically drain my soul! Here’s her books which I’ll never read now that she has a show on Netflix and videos on YouTube…

I’m hooked! I’m folding shit into neat little rectangles that stand up as we speak. You’ll know what I’m talking about after you watch her or read her… yeah right, just watch her. At first I was weary. I’ve seen enough Hoarders to know the basics. But never has a clean-up show started with a tiny, tidy Japanese lady greeting the house, kneeling on the floor, with eyes closed in meditation. Never has a hoarder been asked,” does that pile of newspapers bring you joy?”. The idea that you need to feel joy from every item in your home is crazy. And nuts. And wonderful.

In her theory, if an object no longer brings you joy – you say thank you and goodby to it. Easy. And so hard.

There’s something so mesmerizing about her folding things. Go on YouTube and spend some time watching her fold shirts, pants, and underwear. I did. For hours.

She goes by KonMari. And whatever KonMari is telling me to do – by Buddha I’ll do it!

I started this weekend. Here’s a peek into what one of my drawers looked like before… don’t judge! KonMari would not approve of judgement…. this is a sock, underwear, Spanx drawer.

I kept the dryer sheet in for the pic to keep it real. Incase you needed more realness.

So I dumped everything out. And with each piece I said to myself,”does this bring you joy?”. And to be honest – the majority didn’t. I had underwear older than my kids. That was easy. But I had moments of doubt too. Do my Spanx really bring me joy? Hell-to-the-no. But being able to eat a bagel does, and so in the end… yes there is some indirect joy in those straight jackets. I bet KonMari never had this issue, why would she, she’s wallet sized.

Anyway here’s my JOYFUL new drawer…

Not a bad start! I see the bottom of my drawer… you know what that means? Time to shop! Kidding. Maybe.

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