It's a bird, it's a plane....it's the train walk of shame....

Riding the train is great when you are traveling a decent distance for work. The train is quick, always on time and has free wifi so you can work and remain productive on the commute. The air conditioning works well, the cafe cart is edible and there is plently of room in the overhead luggage bin (Which I refuse to use). While all of these are positives, nothing out weighs watching people try to casually walk down the runway of a train going full speed down the tracks. 

Here are my favs:

Lady who sways and pushes hard on the back of a passangers headrest almost fully reclining the seat before letting go and having it spring back up. Passangers not amused offering scouls in return.

Guy who is doing the shuffle down the asile, terrified to actually raise a foot off the ground (feet scraping carpet so hard almost causing fire trail).

Guy who has death grip on railing with extremely concerned look that no seats are ahead in sight. Looking back he see's no seats there either.

Lady whose legs have taken over and she is going too fast down the asile to stop herself. If you can catch a glimpse, she has a look of sheer panic.

Guy who walks like a wild wild west cartoon character....taking wide steps to brace himself on the seat sides.

Guy with a huge gym bag, green juice, breakfast burrito and hashbrown in his hands only able to rely on his legs....and it appears to have been leg day at the gym. 

Lady looking straight ahead...baby stepping...no eye contact...likely trying not to vomit.  

While each have brought a small bit of joy to my morning commute....nothing is better then watching people on the 6:00pm trying to walk after having a glass of Amtrak's finest Woodbridge wine.  

As Rupaul would say: You better work! 

 

 

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The things you learn by age 4: Travel Edition.

1) Continue to carry a spare pair of underwear for your 4 year old child. Of all days, they will need it on a travel day. Especially after a bad airport grilled cheese sandwich.  You will know when "it's happening" because the child will get very serious but start walking like Yosemite Sam at the airport. R.I.P to his "Tuesday's". 

2) If you buy any reading material for your personal enjoyment, immediatley dispose of it in the nearest trashcan as you will not read any of it. 

3) As you enter the plane, be prepared to carry your bag (full of work) and childs bag (full of nonsense) while yelling at your child to get off the heels of other passangers, to slow down, to speed up and to make good choices in general. This includes not touching the switches that detach the runway from the plane.

4) Ignore everyone ignoring you hoping that your child doesn't want to sit in their aisle. Guess what! We don't want to sit with you either! 

 5) When you offer your child a peanut on the airplane, be prepared to ride with it in your shoe for the rest of the flight. In fact, instead of offering the peanut to the child, just place it in your shoe instead. 

6) Don't wear a watch. Time doesn't exist on an airplane when traveling with a child. It will be the same time the entire flight (time to remember your birth class breathing techniques) 

7) Prepare for your child side arm to resemble Brad Pitt's arm from fight club based on the number of times you will be poked for more: fruit snacks, tootsie rolls, crayons, ipad, books and of course for no reason at all. 

8) The child will always want to go to the bathroom on the airplane. Always. Strategic move: Whisper in their ear that they should ask your travel companion to take them. If you are traveling alone with a child, have mercy on your soul.

9) Passing the time: Guess how many times you will say: "Sit still and stop touching the seat infront of you". (Wrong: More times then that)

10) When the arrival chime dings and your fellow passangers become absolute cagged rabid animals leaping up and grabbing their belongings when there is absoutely no where to immediately go, your child will be inspired to lose his shit and want to jump on the seat, head butt you and ask 700 questions about getting off the plane. 

Finally, repeat #3 and just enjoy your vacation. They are only 4 once afterall :-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Liebster Award – My Nomination

"This might be the one time I am speechless". (Said Robin Williams as he accepted the Oscar for supporting actor in Good Will Hunting). Surely, you didn't assume that was me. I have plenty to say and will *kindly* take on an interrupting Kanye and blog about it. Bring it 'Ye! 

But wait, my fireplace mantle doesn't display a 24 carat gold dipped Liebster. And who is Liebster anyway? If you are like me, you haven't heard of this award before and likely are secretly hoping that its connected to Justin Bieber - Am I a bie-liebster?. (Ok, confession - when my "adult" friend said she was into him I was confused. Then I watched a few recent videos...what in the what?! And when did that happen!) Sorry, totally lost focus there. 

The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to bloggers. ("You like me! You really like me!"  And check that off the bucket list) Yes my mantle is still empty because there isn't anything to hold in your hand - rather it's a way to connect and show support for your favs in the blogging world. Your readers (Thank you ALL, and you too Justin Bieber - holy crap!) get the chance to see what you read and support and bonus...you answer a bunch of questions so your readers get to know you better. (Sorry about that part) 

I was excited to receive my nomination from a fellow mom blogger. You can check out her awesome sauce here: justplayinghouse She posts about reality with humor and a ton of love, through every day times and the most challenging times straight from the heart. 

So here come the questions I was given to answer: 

 1. Describe yourself in one word. BUSY!

2. If you could change anything in your past, what would it be? So this is a tough one. And #2 at that! I know the answer and plan to write about it someday. It relates to my wedding day - marrying my best friend and losing my best girlfriends (for a few years)  in the same hour. 

3. What has been the biggest accomplishment in your life to date? I would say finishing these questions but I am not there yet. These questions are hard! Other then this, I would say completing an MBA in 15 months while working full time. 

4. If you won a million dollars today, what would you immediately spend it on? If more time could be purchased, I would buy that. Let's be specific, more "free" time. Oh and KRAFT DINNERS. Is it even possible to hear the words "a million dollars" and not think of Barenaked Ladies?  I am interrupting this award ceremony to share the video (you know you need some): MillionDollars

5. Where was your best vacation? Why? Traveling to Paris over a very short weekend - but you absolutely cannot beat touring Paris in the springtime.  It's amazing. And the cheese plates are ridiculously good. And the bread. And the wine. (the shower at the hotel - not so much - yabba)

6. What is your most prized possession? This breakfast pizza that I am eating right now is pretty special - and my skills with the toaster oven have created a work of art yet again. Besides this, my son of course. (who I am praying doesn't ask me for a bite of my breakfast)

7. Who inspires you? Why? People inspire me. Yes, people in general. I like to people watch. I also like to write about it. I like finding the humor in general situations. If you are waiting for something extraordinary to happen all the time, well  let's face it - you will be disappointed often. So instead, I blog about the little everyday things that I find funny and sometimes people laugh along with me (bonus!). Here are a few examples: NightmareOnMyStreet HappyHourOnTheRoad /  TodayWasAGoodDayThePromise

8. What was your fondest childhood memory? I would say spending time at the shore with my cousins. Sun, sand and bad bathing suits. 

9. A memory you would like to erase? See #2 - well, just parts of it of course. 

10. What do you think of social media? I am more of an "off grid" type of girl. (with the exception of my blog, my friends blogs, facebook, youtube, periscope, instagram, pinterest, waze and  snapchat...... does yahoo weather count? Don't answer that.....)

11. Favorite food in the whole world. PIZZA. 

Rules for the Liebster Award Nominees

Thank the blog that nominated you on a post in your blog.

  1. Answer the questions asked by the blog that nominated you.
  2. Nominate 5-11 other new bloggers.
  3. Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer.
  4. Notify all nominees via social media.

And my nominees are:

  1. Jamie Michele - A new blogger and a newlywed Police Officer taking on the added "pending chaos" of her first baby. Well written and real: Check her out @ lebebeblog
  2. Dawn Price Markievich - A working mom on a journey of blending two families. Winning most days and learning everyday: Check her out @ JavaTalk
  3. Dawn Clancy - A raw, well written blog about growing up in less than favorable conditions, and turning those lessons into inspiration, hope and guidance to live a positive life in the aftermath: Check her out @ GrowingUpChaotic
  4. Parent from the Heart: Extensive blog from a Canadian mom with great tips and articles influenced by professional research, traditions and instincts. Met her through The Good Enuf Mommy!  Check her out @ Parentfromtheheart
  5. Mama By Fire: An ex-bartender (fun!) and now stay at home offering a variety of inspiration (crafts!!) for everyday. Met her during the Take Time Challenge:  Check her out @ MamabyFire
  6. The Good Enuf Mommy: She describes her blog perfectly: A little piece of cyber space feeling confident in your own parenting decision and with a sense that you are not alone (brilliant!) She helped me earlier this year with "take time in January" - and I appreciate it! Check her out @ GoodEnufMommy

And here are my questions:

#1) Share how much you love my blog:  "Licensed to Muse" JUST KIDDING. Let's start again

  1.  Describe yourself in your past present and future using 1 word for each
  2. Where do you go to wind down and relax? 
  3. Are you where you thought you would be at this point in your life?
  4. What is your most valuable skill?
  5. What song do you consider your life anthem?
  6. What are questions that you don't like to answer?
  7. What was the moment in time that you thought: Yep, I am now an adult?
  8. What is your go-to joke to break the ice?
  9. What did you do before the internet/social media?
  10. What is the happiest that you have ever been?

Congratulations and I am excited to read your answers! Please tag me so I don't miss your response. I may even write about it :-) If you already completed a Liebester (in other words ARE a Bie-Liebester, yes I brought that back) then just glad to promote you here. Happy blogging! 

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Terrible Party Theme Turned Monstrously Fun

When I asked my 3 year old child what type of party he wanted for his 4th birthday, he clearly stated: Godzilla. You heard me: He said Godzilla. He practically annunciated it. If he could spell it, I assume he verbally would have slowly to ensure that I was under the impression that he was not playing with me. I could do nothing but stare speechless. I was suddenly living in the movie Rush Hour as he was basically asking me "Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth".

Fine, I thought. You are only 4 once. I'll get all of the hideous decorations at the local party store and we will be set for a day of stomping and mayhem. I then found out how unique this theme request was as I called every party store in the tri-state area to find that none of them carried anything related to Godzilla. N-O-N-E O-F T-H-E-M. 

I panicked. I questioned him: Are you sure you want Godzilla? How about Paw Patrol, Batman or TMNT?! He stared at me with a blank face. I knew the answer but still wimpered: Spiderman? He waked away clearly disgusted as only a 3 year old can do, leaving you feeling like a failure as a parent. 

FINE. LETS DO THIS. I started thinking about what boys may like and how to dress it up for the ladies attending. I racked my brain searching for ideas for who to hire for entertainment...by the way, if you are looking for a Godzilla character to show up to shake hands and "kiss babies" that doesn't exist. Likely for the better because kids unfamilar with him may pee their pants at the sight of Godzilla entering the room anyway.  

I panicked again. What the hell am I going to do to fill 2 hours without "assistance" or decorations?! I looked at my child again and on cue, he said: Mom, Godzilla right? And with that I sent out the evite. 

To my horror, people started accepting. I think more so to see this train wreck in person. I can't argue with it, I would have totally done the same.

Think. Think. Think. (And work full time, run errands, do the laundry, get ready for Easter and "mom") I started to consider what I would like if I was 3 going on 4. Here's what I came up with: 

Godzilla coloring pages: One cute cartoon and one ugly regular godzilla cartoon to color. Print, add crayons - Boom - activity 1. 

Godzilla Nest: Made from a large flat plastic sweater container, a lot of black crinkle paper (literally, this is what its called) and colorful plastic Easter eggs filled with dollar store valentines day tattoos and tootsie rolls. Who doesn't love bad tattoos and tootsie rolls? Boom - activity 2. 

(I had a glimmer of hope at this stage)

Paper Godzilla Dolls: Found the print outs, printed out....cut out (I now know what I assume arthritis of the hand feels like) - and boom, ugly but cute activity 3. 

Paper box city: Found on Pinterest, I can't take the credit for this idea but we stole with pride. And it was awesome for stomping and Godzilling. Boom - activity 4. 

(This may be pretty awesome afterall) 

Godzilla Pinata: Enough said. Boom - activity 5.

(Because a good beating seemed appropriate) 

I noticed my son started checking my work along the way. He was interested to see what I was doing and had had his red inspectors marker out ready to judge me. To my surprise, he liked my ideas. 

But what about decorations?! I researched napkins and laughed out loud at the price. Then I searched more niche party sites...same price. $16.00 for packs of 8?! (I was up to 25 RSVPs of "yes"...that's a lot of napkins!) And they don't come with plates?! You don't even want to know how much the plates cost. I ordered 2 packs of napkins and decided to go black with the plates from the "over the hill" section at the party store. (I figured I might as well get familar with this section as this party was sending me into an early grave). In an effort to lighten it up, I tied in lime green forks and knives. Be still your hearts, I know.

Now for the decorations....there are ZERO ready made decorations outside of the pinata. What is wrong with my kid?! I thought a few (100) times. Surely the party stores would have "A" Godzilla balloon. Nope! That's right...not one Godzilla balloon could be found in the area I live in. (Pretty sure I heard the party gods laughing at me over my inquiry) Instead, I had to special order a pack of mylar Godzilla balloons. Kill me. Luckily, I found a kind woman on Etsy that must have gone through the pain I was experencing and had a Godzilla file for sale containing a banner, sign, water labels and thank you cards that she customized with my sons name on it. I could hug Samantha from RiverMamaDesigns for the file she sent. Here is her link if you ever find yourself planning a Godzilla party (have mercy on your soul) (https://www.etsy.com/listing/190648052/printable-godzilla-birthday-invitation#)  I also found a cartoon city photo banner that I plan to repurpose in his bedroom (maybe one day).  Bonus: I remembered that we HAVE a bunch of Godzilla action figures (that we *like* to trip over daily)...and incorporated them into the party.

Finally for the take home gift. I am a big fan of using the take home gift at the party. I think its more fun and gives purpose to the trinket. My cost was fairly low so far so I splurged on Dinosaur Tails and called them Godzilla tails that the kids wore (and destroyed a few... Boys + Godzilla = holy s%i+) at the party. Pretty cute overall. 

I was still less then confident on game day. Let's face it, even with my plan I had no idea what was actually going to happen. I thought to have kids move from activity station to station but organizing kids at this age is like herding mini Godzillas. Instead, I just let it happen. And guess what? They figured it out. They colored, they paper dolled (which we hung for additional decorations) and stomped through the boxes destroying them exactly like Godzilla would have. It was wild at times, but they were having fun and really - thats all that mattered.

Leason learned: My kid actually had a good idea for a party and when I relaxed from trying to type A the entire thing, I had a good time too.

Here are a few photos from the day. Of course I ran out of time and didn't get pictures of everything but I promise, its all true. 

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Are you my bestie?

Driving into work today I pulled up next to a car full of teenage girls laughing and carrying on and clearly skipping school on one of the first days of spring like temperatures. Part of me (the Corporate Recruiter) wanted to signal to them to pull over so I could lecture them how important education is. To remind them not to waste their days playing, but to study science and math and subjects that will help them to land a career in life. To advise them that it's going to be hard being a female in a workforce structured by "the boys club" and that they have to be quick, wise and confident when making recommendations and decisions. Thick skinned, but humble and willing to learn while making mistakes. To remember to laugh like they are today, but to not expect success to fall into their lap. The other part of me (the old me) wanted to inquire if I could hop into the car with them and blow off the day. . 

As the light turned green and we parted ways, I started to think: "In my adult life, who are my friends"? In the past, it was simple. You had your core crew. The friends that you were the closest to that you did all sorts of things with. The ride or die group that ran thick as theives. Nobody had real jobs, everybody had free time, and staying out late during the week was no big deal. (late by the way is 9 o'clock now) As I cruise through my late 30's (actual number not important), friendship is ...well, different. You may still be friends with some of those people, but you're not doing the same things that you used to (Let's hope not). You're not going to the same places or talking about the same things. It's harder to get together. Free time seems almost nonexistent. I realized today my core turned into categories of friends. The following is a list of categories that make up my Adult circle of friends:

1. Work Peeps: The friends you spend the most time with. Even more time then with your family in most cases. (Hence work wives and work husbands) These people know everyone's name that you deal with, they know what you go through daily and they actually want to hear about it. They may even be entertained by your work stories that send outsiders into a coma. They have your back and you have theirs. Aligned by the common goal (which is purely survival some days), naturally they become your friends. 

2. Ex Work Peeps: These people know you likely from your wilder younger days. More happy hours (and really late hours) with this group. You've danced till dawn and traded clothes on the way back into work in the morning. (If this was attempted today, you would die) Fast forward a job or two and later in life another subset of this category has formed into a solid network of respected friends that can highly recommend you for various reasons. Either way, you have the bonding stories that keep your friendship going and you even keep legends alive with your current work peeps through tales and examples proving you were cool once (maybe) and made a few decent work related decisions in a prior life. 

3.Old School Crew: These are your high school and college friends. You made irreplaceable memories with high school friends riding around listening to the TLC  cd (No scrubs was your anthem, and may still be). You also made irreplaceable memories with your college friends as together you morphed into MacGyver creating miracles on a low budget. High school friends hate your college friends since they feel replaced and college friends cant understand your high school friends BUT they join forces and equally hate your  new work friends. Meanwhile, your work friends couldn't care less about either party. 

4. Mom Circle: These ladies get you out of the house and moving when you feel like you will never dress in anything other then a robe. They encourage you to shower and comb your hair. (Optional but appreciated) They share stories of how gross and annoying their kids are to keep you sane around your equally gross and annoying child. They sip wine with you on playdates and laugh about life in general. Your child can have a melt down and its fine in this no judgement zone. This group is generally accepted by all, and surprise, the spouses like eachother too. 

5. Cousins: Three words: Free For All. Cramming 9 people into a two bedroom home to create summer memories is completely acceptable here. The kids watch out for eachother and its gratifying to see them together. Your child can break something and you dont have to replace it. You can talk or sit in silence...and even close your eyes for a few moments as someone is always watching (likely the adults appointed the oldest child). There isn't an option to dislike anyone here. 

6. Friends you have met in distant lands:  The friends you have met when you've moved to new places. These are the people that made your new area feel like home again. You stopped wanting to jump off the cliff of "why did i move here" and actually enjoyed yourself. Old school friends just found a group to hate more...college friends agree and work friends want to hang out with them when traveling. 

7. Facebook:  The epic cluster of friends. Most of the above can be found here (a few are too cool for fb and rightfully so!) Best friends of present and past that you like and comment with on the regular to people you met at that conference that one time. You swore to keep in touch and now when they show up in your feed you wonder: who the hell is that?! You know more about people (and their kids, pets, meals and check-ins) from their status updates then you realized you cared to know. So much that when you see them out in public, you're pretty much already caught up. If anyone is incredibly offended by anyone else, you can resort back to the earliest years and decline friendships by deleting people. (Cyber Bye Felicia) 

8. Bloggers:  Whether you write a blog or just read a blog you tend to get close to those that you either religiously follow or  just happen to peruse. Reading a blog on a regular basis allows you to feel close to the writer. You read because you like them. And why? Because they are like you, or so they write about topics you may be experiencing. I've become friends with a few bloggers over the past year and have to say that I really enjoy these friendships even though I may never meet them in person. Which is fine, because who has time for that. These people want to be friends with your friends (more people to read their blog) and likely if they are popular enough, your friends are following them already.

9. The lady at the State Store: I don't know if this friendship is even real but she certainly doesn't pass any judgment so she's OK in my book. 

10. Friends of the Future: Who the hell are these creeps? Will they create more categories in my circle of adult friends? Will they become new work peeps, ex work peeps, newer old school friends, expanded mom friends, friends in a new town, friends on a new social media platform or friends writing a blog that I "so get" in my senior years?  Can we fit more than 9 family members in the 2 bedroom shore house as we continue to grow? Will the lady at the State Store get promoted?

These are all questions that cannot be answered. I miss the days where life was simple and less obligatory. Where no plans were needed and the best times were made from nothing. Friendship is work.... hard work as you get older. Thank goodness for texting, facetime and forgiveness. We are so busy running here, there and everywhere all the time. So to those of you that have offered your friendship to me in one way or another, from my category to yours, Thank you for being a friend.....

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My response to being mom shamed for Valentine's Day.

Recently I was mom shamed. It wasn't the first time, and if I had to guess, it will not be the last. I am still alive, but I've been wondering ever since it happened: What's with mom shaming?  

I have taken a few personality tests over the years and I never believe the results when they are returned. Oh that's not me! (I always think) - but in reality, it is. Consistently, one trait that I am called out for is being strongly empatheic towards others. While this makes me great at my job, I also consider it a weakness. To feel for others so strongly can bump me down and sometimes even off the list of considering my own feelings when making decisions. I have been at the very least, unkind and unmerciful to myself at times. I decided to work on this recently. Better late than later right? I am a work in progress (and always will be), however the mom shaming naturally makes me question: What's really her problem, and what can I do about it? 

When we are not comparing ourselves with others, their actions can't penitrate our personal happiness. Sounds good right? I just made that up. There is likely something out there simlar already.  But I think it's true. 

So here is a short list of my thoughts on being mom shamed over my sons 2016 class Valentines. 

1. I only have one child. He's 3 years old. He will only be 3 years old once. Would I have made the same Valentine's if I had more than one child to do it for? I don't know the answer to that.  Regardless, so what. Whatever you did or didn't do is fine. I am not trying to show you up or out do you. You're a great mom. Valentine's don't define you.  

2. If you used Pinterest for your idea, good for you. If you picked up a box of cards at the store, good for you. If you didn't do anything, good for you. I pieced ours together from the dollar bin at Target, and you know what? Good for me. Valentine's Day is once a year. You're more resilient daily as a mom then you may realize (what choice do we have after being told "no" in one way or another by little voices over and over) and bonus: Feburary is the shortest month so this "mom life" crisis will pass quickly.

3. I thought about you when I created the Valentines. What about moms who may not have time? May not be able to spend a few extra dollars? May not celebrate Valentine's day? I thought about all of it. We all fall into these categories and more all the time. I thought about everyone's feelings and realized that I can't make everyone happy all of the time. In this situtation, I did what made me and my son happy. That felt good. Teaching my son to think of others is important to me. Activities (regardless of the size) that involve doing things for others are one of the many ways that I try to spend quality time with my son. It's my way, and it doesn't have to be yours. You are doing a good job in your way.

4. I work a full time job. Its no harder or easier then your job be that if you're an office mom or stay at home mom. I have feelings about my personal situtation as I am sure you have feelings about yours. I know the days that I only get to spend a few moments tucking my son in at night are hard at my house....on everyone. Regardless, my son likes to go to school. Largely, its due to his friendships. This means a lot to me since it's my only option to have him in daycare for full days. Long days. I appreciate your positive influence on your childs life which is seen when he/she forms a friendship or shows kindness to my son. This is one very small way we are saying Thank You to you and your child. Seriously, Thank you. 

5. I've looked forward to being a mom. You may have too. Or maybe not. Either way, these little people are game changing. We all want better for our kids then we had. None of us know exactly what to do in every situtation. Dads included (gasp!). We all worry from time to time.  This shit is hard. And stressful. Some people hide it better then others but its real. Some days are better then others. We are all tired, physically and emotionally. Crafting the Valentine's, after a particularly hectic week, was a stress relief for the 30 minutes I spent putting them together. Weird? Maybe. So what. Do what helps you. You're a stronger mom then you think. 

My response to being mom shamed over silly Valentine's was shorter then this post (lucky for them!). I mean what I've said here, but sometimes less is more depending on the situtation. Instead of shaming, what if we said something uplifting in that moment. Hearing the words: I hate moms like you! generated the likely unexpected, non retaliatory short and honest response from me of:

I think you're a great mom too.

And in reply I saw the right corner of her mouth turn up ever so slightly.

And we left it at that.

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Inspiring the community.

It's been a little over a whole week since we got our last major snowstorm. To describe it in a category, I would place it under shit storm. A huge dump of snow that was once piled so high that it cant help to over stay its welcome. Pushed to the sides of the road and traveled  through, it's gone from a blanket of white to piles of filth that cling to your car making it look like you've driven through a war zone. After weather like this l, as I drive along I like to play a little game called: How dirty can my windshield get before I clean it with the wiper fluid.  Partialy because I never know how much fluid I have left, and akso because I don't want to believe Monday is on the other side of the windshield. I made it through the entire day and was on the commute home when I noticed that I had to stop for gas. This was a great opportunity to let the windshield get as dirty as possible with an end goal of reaching the squeegie trophy at the station. As I pulled in I lined up at the first pump. There was a car to the right of me with a man pumping gas. I went about my business and reached for the squeegee to clean my windows. A smile of pride crossed my face that I made it that far. The guy next to me noticed that I was cleaning my windows and was inspired to do the same. As I placed the squeegee back into the liquid I noticed that he was not only cleaning the windows of the car but was also using the squeegee in an effort to bathe the car in total. Feverishly he robbed the squeegee back-and-forth on the driver side panel of the car. Unfortunately,  the caked on salt turned into a muddy mess on the side of the car. I stood there staring in disbelief. I couldn't help myself. IT was hard to process what was happening. It was awesome. And awful. He stood staring at it for a moment, confused that his plan for a free car wash was spoiled. He went for the tires.  Muddy water smeared and dripped down the once white coated now brown rims. I let out a quick gasp and he turned and looked at me. I moved only my eyes to the left as i stood paralyzed trying to look natural. Then I took three side steps behind my pump, to my car and drove off. In the rearview I saw him toss the squeegie back in the bucket, defeated. 

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This guy.

It's the week after the week after Christmas. Everyone has that same look of denial on their face. The "this is not my life" look as they're commuting to work. The plus side of getting back to reality: for the waistline the availability of the holiday cheese plate is non existent.  It doubles as the downside too because I love a good cheese plate.

Today I closely encountered someone in complete denial. The feeling I experienced may be exactly how the animals in a contained safari feel when humans are driving through their habitat. As I exit my vehicle and start walking through the parking garage at 30th street train station I see headlights heading up the down ramp I just parked on. As everyone is aware, parking garages are made of up ramps and down ramps. It's easy to get turned around, however a few clues are the "do NOT enter" signs, the continuous arrows painted on the ground in bright yellow signaling appropriate direction and the general angle of the head first pulled in parked cars. I step aside waving "no" point up the ramp as the car drives slowly past me up the down ramp. I get to the top and he pulled into a space realizing that he's encountered a do not enter sign. He then backs up, and instead of going down, he proceeded around the corner again in the wrong direction. 

By observing people, you can learn a lot. Here is a list of the top 5 hobbies of the stranger I observed in the garage. 

Hobby 1: Taking no passengers. Driving is in his list of 99 problems but.....

Hobby 2: Practicing Amish Shunning successfully by refusing to acknowledge others hand gestures that he's going the wrong way.  

Hobby 3: Not being a morning person. May not be an afternoon person either. 

Hobby 4: Living his life to the Merv Griffin "Jeopardy Theme Song". Category: Who is doing it wrong. Answer: Who is this guy.

Hobby 5:  Giving zero F's. This man gives zero. Mentality: His way or the highway - literally.

 And from there we parted ways.  

 

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Happy New Year - From Me!

Well, it's NYE again. The night that ABC pulls together Ryan Seacrest, Carson Daly, Jenny McCarthy, Pitbull and Fergie into one area to absolutely ruin the last few hours of the year, securing that January 1st will be better then 2015.

Personally, I like to think that Dick Clark refused to stop breathing until he was sure (in writing) that the event would always be called "Dick Clark's New Years Rockin' Eve" and never "Ryan Seacrest's New Years Rockin' Eve". And for that Dick, I will always toast you in appreciation. #LetsDigUpDick #FeliciaBallDropParty

Happy New Year my friends! ✨🎉⭐️✨ And Thanks to all who read and support my blog :-)

 

 

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I refuse to play your grocery store aisle mind games.

Personally I love Ashton Kutcher. Who doesn't? Don't bother answering that.  We all do. He is awesome at punking people, was hip in that 70s show and "Just Married" always makes me laugh out loud. Not sure what happened with him and Demi but overall he and Mila Kunis likely made one of the cutest babies ever. (My child is still my favorite) I could pretty much watch "Dude, Where's My Car" on a Rick Roll - Sweet! What I don't want to do is live out the scene at the Chinese foooooood takeout drive-through, but we don't always get what we want.

Today at Wegmans, went something like this. I am standing in the spice aisle and someone asks me if I need help. I look up and against my better judgement I initiate the following conversation with the 20 something, who looks like a regular hot pocket gourmet offering help:

Me: Thanks, I am ok as I look at my list.

Her: Are you sure?  

Me: What asile is your granulated bouillon in?

Her: What was that?      

Me: (a little louder) Granulated Bouillon?

Her: Ballooons?        

Me: No Boui-llon - like cubes for making soup

Her: Ba, Ba, Ba ........  

Me: No, Bou, Bou, Bou.......          

Her: Ba.....      

Me: No Ba, Ba, Ba. Think Bull +Yon

Her: Bull-Yon? Bull-Yon!

Me: YES! That's it! Where is it???   

Her: Hey Mark - Where is the Bull-Yon.....  

Me: .........(insert me internally screaming here)

"Eye Roll" aka Mark: It's two asiles over  

Me: Shibby! 

And with that I was off to get the Continuum Transfunctioner, better known as granulated bouillon.  

 

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My three-year-old son wants the $99 teenage mutant ninja turtle and a stripper for Christmas.

December is an interesting month. It's the only time that I turn off satellite and turn on terrestrial to toggle back-and-forth listening to Christmas songs. It's the time of year that I actually look forward to Mariah Carey and can even tolerate remakes of other Christmas songs, when remakes typically infuriate me. During the month of December, on my hour-long commute to the office I will indulge in "Feed the World" immediately followed by "Mele Kalikimaka" without a breath in between. I find nothing funnier than the Christmas card guy in the 12 Pains of Christmas and if you don't agree that Bruce Springsteen's "Santa Claus is coming to town" is the greatest thing ever we seriously can't be friends.

Aside from one-man-band Christmas caroling in the car, I also enjoy a good holiday light display. So here's where this holiday season gets awkward. I pick up my son and in an effort to engage him, I create a game to see who can find Christmas lights on the drive home. Little entheustic shouts from the backseat ring out: There! And over there! as we journey home. We are enjoying the ride through the neighborhoods when we reach the darkness of the stretch of a local bridge that connects the current town we are in to our own. Given the lack of homes, I call half time for the game and turn up the Christmas tunes. Suddenly I hear: And there! over Wham's "Last Christmas".

What? Where? 

Over there! Christmas lights! That's my favorite! came from a spirited voice in the backseat.  

I turned my head towards the only light in the area. There it stood. A rival to the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, in all its LED splendor, decorated with a candy red heel and green olive placed in a "holiday spirit"- was the Just Enuff  "Gentleman's Club" Lounge sign. 

Suddenly we were driving in a "Silent Night" as my son waited for me to agree. Yep, I managed to mutter and over the bridge we went. 

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Killed with kindness

Another long early morning commute through mist and fog. In my rearview I catch headlights coming up quickly behind me. As they get closer, I can see that it's a black Esclade, which commonly could be an under cover officer in the area. Because of this, I move over into the right lane. The headlights follow me to the right a few cars back in an effort to what appears to be to keep up with moving traffic. Suddenly they break left in a gap and are coming up quickly on my drivers side. For the record, I am one to enjoy a good horror movie from the comfort of my living room sofa. However after watching so many, I've become a little paranoid over the years that a murderer could be right behind me. The car pulls up next to me on the left-hand side and I refuse to look over. We are driving parallel at this point. Instead of keeping the pace, I hit the gas a little and quickly inch ahead. This back and forth happens for miles. Clearly this is a killer as what sane person travels such a horrible commute in the same direction and wants to desperately "catch up" about it. I break left and right only to be pursued persistently.  I continue to keep the advantage almost all the way into the office. Then it happens. Unable to avoid it any longer the car pulls up next to me at a red light. I glance over slowly as I see what appears to be a hand holding a butcher knife making a stabbing motion. Turns out it's one of the Vice Presidents that I used to support just trying to say hello. He's smiling and waving and he signals me to roll down my window. Then he proceeds to thank me for letting him into traffic a few miles back. I say sure, I thought that was you! The light turns green and we pull away. 

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Basting with bleach

It was still dark. Too dark for little running footsteps coming my way. I kept my eyes closed as he arrived. Silence. Then the creaking of my bedframe as he climbed in and over me. Suddenly I am sharing my pillow with a tiny head that seems to take up more then his share. He snuggles in under the blankets. I open one eye. He's staring at me smiling. I think, well this is a nice way to start Thanksgiving so I whisper: Hi....do you know what today is? It's Thanksgiving and I am thankful for you! He responds: Hi....I wet.

Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to the good people at Arm & Hammer, and  to you and yours.  

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I threw down on a Thursday at 7:30am, and I'll take you on too.

Traffic was very heavy this morning. Stopped at a light in a sea of red brake lights, I was 20 deep in the pack when I happened to notice movement one vehicle over. He was about my age, maybe a little older (wink), dressed in business casual attire, likely headed to the office. Clearly his jam was on the radio as he casually moved his shoulders to the beat. As with most favorite songs, there comes a point when you get lost in the music and tend to let go of reality. I witnessed that moment when he went from casual shoulder move into a heartfelt, what I remember to be "cabbage patch". As he was rounding it out, he glanced my way and in an embarrassed panic, quickly dropped his arms remembering he was in traffic. We stared at eachother for a moment.  Feeling inspired by Walk the Moon's "Shut Up and Dance With Me" , which was playing in my car, I gave him a left/right, left/right  "snake" in return. He looked surprised. Another moment passed. He began to work "the prep" entheustically and I started to "wop" in return. He gave me a "sprinkler" and I showed him "the shopping cart".  He followed up with a "fishing pole" and I threw out a "Night at the Roxbury". Then the person behind him laid on the horn indicating it was past the time that he should be keeping up with the now moving traffic and with the same surprised look he had at the start of our dance off, he snapped back into commute mode and drove off. 

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Nightmare on my street.

I have 3 nightmares. First is anything involving clowns. Because clowns are scary as hell. Second is someone repeating the word "moist", (which sounds like nails on a chalkboard to me) over and over.  The third actually happened today. 

Let me start by saying that I appreciate anyone that wants to do my laundry for me. I'm very particular about folding, hanging and the temperature of the wash but I typically do appreciate not having to do it at all some weeks. Now, that thought process completely changes based on nightmare number three.

I had a particularly good day at work. I was feeling like I had a few good success stories and I was headed into slinking down into the sofa for the evening hours. But first I had to stop at daycare for pick up duty. When I got there, the class room was empty and the kids were playing outside. I walked over to my sons cubby and checked to see if there was anything that needed to be washed. As I pulled everything out and got to the bottom of his bin, there they sat in all their glory. My beige pair of cotton underwear. 

I whipped my head around quickly to see if anyone else was in the room. I was alone and now wondering: has anyone seen my underwear?! I quickly shoved everything into my sons backpack and in a cold sweat zipped up the bag and headed out for the playground. The entire walk down the hall my mind was racing with thoughts like: maybe because they are so plain no one noticed. I should write a letter to the bounce dryer bar company for their incompetence in product design. I wonder if washer and dryer's are on sale. Should I call my husband from the car and give him a running start? 

I took a deep breath, opened the door to the playground, put a big smile on my face and waved frantically at my son to hurry up. As he was running over, his teacher was also headed in my direction. It was now the race of the century: who would get to me first? I wondered if I could punch in the code fast enough and hustle him through the door before having to potentially address that my underwear had made an appearance in public. 

They arrive at exactly the same time. My son has a sweet smile on his face and for a moment I feel like it's no big deal. Then I learn that not only did my underwear fall out of his blanket and on to the floor,  but that my sweet smiling son had retrieved them from the floor, lifted them up over his head and threw them across the classroom earlier in the day. 

I don't think I've fully tackled nightmare number three but the good news is I did survive it. Sorta.

 

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Behaving like adults

He was already at one of the tables on the train. I gave the courtesy "do you mind if I sit here" to which he responded "Please do". I took out my laptop and rested it on the edge of the table noticing there was less than the average amount of space available on the shared tiny table top. Surely he would move his laptop back a bit.  During log on, my screen was as straight as his face which refused to acknowledge that he was hogging the table with a 120 degree screen lean. I examined the next table, analyzing the lean on all of the screens and came to the conclusion that they were a table of respectful adults. All were at a comfortable 100 degree lean. True traveling champions working together, achieving nirvana in their tiny working space. I glanced back at my table mate. I notice he has really nice hair and I consider excusing him on that alone. I wonder what kind of shampoo he uses to get such body and shine, but quickly realize this is likely just one of his distraction tools for getting everything he wants. The introvert in me craves its own space and I can't forgive him. After a few miles of alternating between pretending not to notice and causally inching my laptop a total of one forth of an inch forward, he finally gets up and heads towards the next car. I watch him until I am confident that he is not coming right back then dip my head swiftly into the aisle to closer examine the distance between ourlaptop screens. With a squint of the eye, I alternate between team Nirvana and my table, eyeballing the total distance between all machines and come to the conclusion that my table mate was raised by wolves. As I lift my head back into in upright seated position,  the train rocks and I start to hear a tapping noise. I look all around and finally realize it's literally the back of his laptop screen tapping the back of mine over and over. I put my head back and close my eyes and practice breathing techniques. When I open my eyes he's back again putting his coat on. He bends down to pick up his laptop and says: "Ooo sorry about that".  I respond "No problem". And with that he's gone, and I recline my screen to 120 degrees for the rest of the ride. 

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Proof that the left is always right.

For the past nine years merging at the end of Trooper Road in the morning has been a fiasco. And in recent times with the construction it has become more congested than your worst sinus infection, resulting in an all out game of war. The left lane opponents must merge into the right lane opponents space before coming up on the standard one lane ramp. In the division of opinion, I am a left laner all the way. Now right laners clearly get agitated by left laners thinking that they are just trying to jump the line. The left lane is always shorter because it's a risk. You have to be a confident driver to come up on the long line of rights knowing the merge is near. While oozing patience, the one thing that the right fail to acknowledge is that their line would be that much longer if all of the lefts were in it. There is always a right that will not let a left in on the sheer purpose of the amount of time they have wasted in the right lane. In particular, those rights are likely the people that also drink the coffee in the office to the last drop without starting the next pot. They cook fish and burn popcorn in the microwave spreading misery down aisles of cubicles. But today was a special day for the lefts.  A true historic moment in time that could go down in history sections of highway codebooks and driving manual's. Today on October 20, 2015 the right lane closed down forcing the rights to merge into the lefts space. The day has finally come proving the left is always right. 

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Based on a true story

Clearly she was in disbelief as I pulled into the car wash today. I checked the weather one last time before making the commitment. No rain for the next 5 days. The filth was layered on my car like a homeless guy trying to stay warm in the winter. Because of this, I splurged for the $10 special. The cashier didn't crack a smile as he gave me an extra rinse before letting me loose in neutral. As I reached the end of the line the sun was shining so bright, I wondered if I was pulling into heaven. The towel guy waiting on my right was smiling a little too much for it being 48 degrees and windy. I awkwardly played with the radio until he was done. As I pulled out and looked to the left, the sky was rolling in dark and fast. I knew why he was smiling. From the looks of it, I had less than 2 minutes to make it home. There could be no mistakes. Literally closed the garage door and it started to pour rain. Nice try Mother Nature....if you need me, I'll be over here winning. 

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