Monday, September 22, 2014

Pssst. You looking for Chicken?

I've moved!

Go to Wordpress.

Knock twice on the back door.  Ask for Ralphie.

When Ralphie comes, tell him the hens have gone rogue.

He'll tell you where to go next.

Or you could just link here:  The New Hen House

See you on the other side!

Chicken out

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Big Spirit

Sometimes  I experience the sensation  of expansiveness.  It happens most often just as I am waking up or drifting off.  The best thing about this sensation is its optimism.  This sensation  tells me everything is as it should be.  It's all good.

I can describe it is as a pot boiling over.  I'm the pot and my spirit is the liquid inside the pot that expands until it can't be contained and starts to run over the edge.  When your kitchen pots are boiling over it's a sign that you're doing something wrong.  When your spirit wants to expand beyond the container of your body, it's a sign you are doing everything right.  Just let it go.

I'm  not sure if the sense of expansiveness is just my  spirit letting loose with its bad self,  or whether it is my portion of spirit joining with the mother spirit.  Whenever it happens I get a glimpse of the person I can be, that I truly am, without the shackles of my ego, fears, values and social  mores.  The real me is playful, fearless, loving and curious. The real me really loves you.  Even if you are being a bit of an asshole, I love you.  The real me can see the real you inside of there.  The real me knows the real you is being contained in this moment by all of your ego, fears, values and social mores.  The real me wants to hug you or wink  at you or tease you or give you whatever you need right now to let you know that everything is as it should be.  You are all good.  The real me trusts that when the situation is reversed, you will also love me.  Imagine if the real me and the real you busted out at the same time?  How great would that be?

The real me would like to invite the real you out to play.

Chicken  out

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

And Then Chicken's Mother Wrote a Letter

Dear Blogger:

I am writing to discuss a matter of great concern.

My Chicken is being bullied by someone in your organization and something needs to be done about it.  Bullying is not to be tolerated.  Ask Michelle Obama.  Or any of the 87 Real Housewives.

I am disappointed in you, Blogger.  Has this behavior been happening under your nose and you've chosen to ignore it?  Or am I giving you too much credit?  Perhaps you are simply so negligent in  your duties that you failed to notice?  Either scenario is deplorable.  If it were up to me, I would have removed Chicken from this hostile environment after the very first episode, but she's a fighter, my Chicken is, and she refused to give up her turf.

"It's just photos, Mom", she said. "I can always replace them."  Well, it wasn't "just" photos, Blogger, it was every photo she's ever posted in the last six years.  Gone overnight.  If only she'd started on Word Press, like we encouraged her to do.  But no, she found your site more user friendly.  Ha. That's a laugh, isn't it?  I watched her struggle to locate and replace each photo.

And then you took them again.  Then post delays started happening.  Links suddenly broke and people were blocked.  Good people.

And still, my Chicken put a smile on her face and kept going.  "Maybe I messed something up, Ma, it's no big deal.", she said.

But now it's gone too far, Blogger.  I can no longer maintain my silence.  At 7:52 PM this evening,  my poor Chicken logged onto her page and discovered the theft of her entire blog roll.  Even the gadget that supported her blog roll has disappeared. You've taken away her friends.  Who does such a thing?

You, Blogger, will address this issue immediately.  Future acts of bullying will be met with legal action.  And I'm writing a letter to Andy Cohen.  You heard me.   Prepare for the anti-bullying fury of 87 botoxed housewives.  I've heard those Australian ones are particularly agressive.  But that's what you get.  Nobody messes with my Chicken.


Chicken's mother

Monday, September 8, 2014

I am your sales representative...

Dear Colleague,

I am your sales representative and as such I represent our company's brand, services and employees in the public realm.  Every day, I meet with potential customers.  I  tell them about our company.  I convince them that if they have a need for a service we provide, that we (you and I), are better equipped than our competitors to deliver that service.

When I'm successful at my job, we all win. If I am not successful, we both lose our jobs.  Wait, you might be thinking, why should I lose my job because you suck?  Well, if we don't have any customers, we don't really have an immediate need for your services, do we?  Have you worked through that equation?  "X (me) + Y (customers) = Z (our jobs).

Let's recap, shall we?  I am regularly in public making first impressions on your behalf.   We both need those impressions to be positive.  Our continued employment depends upon it.  Therefore, it would seem to behoove you to alert me to anything off putting regarding my appearance.  Green things hanging out of my nose, for instance, or a skirt stuck in the waistband of my underwear, would be examples of things I need brought to my attention.

Do not tell me, dear co-worker, that you did not see the hunk of spinach in my teeth today.   I know you saw it.  How could you not have?  We stood face-to-face discussing your awesome social media skills for at least five minutes.  "I rule at twitter and by the way you  have something in your teeth", was all you needed to say. Were you waiting for me to leave so you could tweet about it?  #gross #shouldisaysomething? Yes, you fucking should. Must we now crowd source the merest courtesy?

Your lack of common sense is not going to keep us paid and laid.  I don't care how many twits follow you.

Thank you for your future cooperation.

Your sales representative

Friday, September 5, 2014

Let Twilight Come...

Let twilight come.
Let it settle, now,
gently over our shoulders
and between the pines.
Let it slide down
softly, now
flowing around fingers
entwined between our chairs.
Let it brush the backs of dragonflies
that swoop and hunt
so fierce
so fragile
above our heads.
Let it set the stage, now
for fireflies
and let me pin it
to the corner of your slow, sweet smile
with a kiss.

K.M. B. (aka Green Girl)

Awhile back, I said I would post my best friend's (award winning) poem once I had permission. I got permission but lost the poem.  I just found it again.  So here it is.  My friend is shy, so I haven't used her real name.  Around these parts, she is known as GG or Green Girl.  I'm not sure why she's so shy.  If I wrote poetry this good I'd be plastering my name all over it.  Then again, that's always been the difference between us and, maybe, why we work. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Chicken out

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

This blog might be armed and dangerous...

My blog has gone rogue and might be lurking around a corner near you.

It escaped through a broken link. Is there something odd about the fellow on the bar stool next to you?  Could be my blog. Do yourself a favor.  Get up, nonchalantly, mind you, don't make a show of it, and stroll away, quick-like.  Whatever you do, don't look it in the eye.  If it tries to bum a cigarette, you don't smoke.  If it wants a ride home, you're going the opposite way.  If it wants to buy you a drink, you ain't thirsty.  Got it?

Because my blog is just waiting on a reason to kick your blog's ass.

I don't know what I did, who knows....maybe I didn't feed it enough in its formative years.  It's true-there were times when I'd go months between postings.  I didn't know, for Pete's sake. I didn't know blogs could be such pricks.

Now I'm hearing the stories:  Readers turned away at the gate, false membership mandates, domain names denied, unresponsive blog rolls, and thousands of followers lost.  Okay hundreds.  Hundreds of followers gone.  Fine, like a hundred, okay?  A hundred followers vanished without a trace.  And not only that, but we have a severe case of failure to update.

I think my blog may have skipped the country.  Yesterday I received a message comprised of magazine cut-outs that read

"You're a mean old wankerand I ain't comin' back ever".

And it's spell checking in the King's English.  Right now, It's probably sitting in some seedy London pub eating fish and chips, drinking warm beer, and bragging to Keith Richards about all the chat rooms it trashed back in the states.

Any minute now I expect I'll start seeing random Instagram postings of my blog behaving badly all across the UK.  Maybe it's sporting a beard, several new tattoos, and is thinking of joining the IRA.  It's probably developed a fake accent.

You know, I'm sure there's no cause for alarm but just to be on the safe side, if you see my blog, text blog control and seek shelter. It might be rabid.  Seriously.

Have you seen this blog?  Oh, wait, that's just George Michael.  Nice eyebrows, George Michael.

Chicken out

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I feel bad about my eyebrows...

Nora Ephron wrote a best-selling book about her neck. My insecurities lie elsewhere.  Let me tell you about my eyebrows.  The modern face is all about the eyebrows, isn't it?  Everywhere I turn, people are talking about a strong brow and how the brows frame the face.  Waxing and threading salons have popped up everywhere.  Even men get their eyebrows groomed these days.  Can I just interject one tiny observation?

It's hair, People.  It's hair on your face, over your eyes, like two wriggly caterpillars.  Must we give them so much distinction?

You think I'm jealous?  That I covet a strong, face-framing brow?  Yes, I admit it, I feel bad about my eyebrows.  For one thing, I barely have any.  There's definitely no face-framing going on.  The sardonic arching of the brow is a non-verbal expression I'll never display.   A display, I might add, that captures the inner workings of my psyche perfectly.  If I could raise my eyebrow sardonically,  I would be 62% more successful by my own estimations that I just made up.  Or less.  I'm not really sure how that might turn out.  I can see where raising a sardonic eyebrow might sometimes land one in hot water with one's boss, colleagues and/or husband.  Still, I am confident I would enjoy expressing myself with just the arch of a glossy, groomed eyebrow.

I stare at my brows in the mirror and I wonder....what the hell am I supposed to do with these things?  I've tried brow powder and pencils, I've bought kits and practiced, I've watched you tube videos, and still I seem to wind up with nothing more than thin wayward hairs waving against a background of muddy brown shadow.  Mocking me.

I used to have normal eyebrows  but I shaved them off.

It was the seventies.   Thin brows were de rigueur.  Cheryl Tiegs smiled down from my brother's wall with her naturally thin brows and tiny bikini, daring me to do something about the twin beards obscuring my vision.  First, I tried plucking them.   Turns out that ripping hair from your head hurts rather a lot, so I found an easier way.  I shaved them into shape.  Truth be told, I thought I might be a genius when I thought of that idea.  I've always heard that if you shave hair, it grows back  thicker and darker, which would have set me up beautifully for the thick untamed brow of the eighties.  Not so in my case.  My eyebrow hair hopped on the cosmic  highway and must have hitchhiked to somewhere it felt more welcome.  Possibly Brooke Shield's house.  The end of my sad story is that eventually most of my brows disappeared and I have no earthly idea of what to do with the remains.

Someone needs to bring the seventies back.  Who's in?

Chicken out

Nice brows, Cheryl, very nice

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's your favorite children's book?

I recently came across a short piece (InStyle September 2014) that queried celebrities about their favorite childhood books.  I remember four, in particular, that I loved.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks
The Little Princess
Robinson Crusoe
My  Side of the Mountain

In "Bedknobs and Broomsticks", kids used their magic bedknob to fly their bed through the night to distant lands.  I also wanted to fly, magically and safely, of course, to distant lands.  I was bitterly conscious of my lack of bed knobs.  Why oh why was I stuck with a dumb bunk bed with no removable bedknobs instead of an antique brass bed?  For awhile I concentrated nightly on an old glass door knob I found.  I thought if I believed enough, it might take me places.  A knob is a knob, after all.

The "Little Princess" was the perfect prepubescent comeback novel.   She's on top, then she's an attic room, slaving away, and then, because of her noble character, she's back on top again. Later on in life, I liked Flowers in the Attic, so maybe I just have a thing about being shut away in an attic.

"Robinson Crusoe" played into all of my adolescent fantasies; being shipwrecked on an island, eventually making friends with an Indian, and living off the land and off the grid.  I still fantasize about living on an island but less in the style of Robinson Crusoe and more in the style of Richard Branson.

In  "My Side of the Mountain", a young man lives in a tree trunk all by himself in the wilderness.  I can't remember why he was living there.  He had to be brave and learn how to keep himself fed through the long, lonely winter. I admired him and was a little envious of his solitude.  I must have been sharing a room with my little sister when I read that book.

Putting on my amateur psychologist hat, I would say that, at least as a kid, I  had a thirst for adventure and solitude.  These days, I prefer being caught up on my laundry and a nice nature walk to anything adventurous, but I do still crave solitude every now and then.  When that happens,  I go sit in the attic.

I'm just kidding.  I don't do that.  There are spiders up there.

What books did you love?

Chicken out

Monday, August 25, 2014

Bucket List

On  his last day as a first grader, littleb wrote a bucket list of things he wanted to do over the summer.  This is his list:

1.  Go into a pool
2.  Go to Block Island
3.  A Celebration
4.  Have a vacation
5   Buy flowers
6.  Go out with my family
7.  Go to Mystic  Aquarium
8.  Go Fishing
9.  Go to Camp Ok-wa-nesset
10.  Go Kayaking

Today he meets his second grade teacher and tomorrow is the first day of school.  Summer never lingers (unfortunately) but this summer has flown by so fast, I find myself a little bereft.  Looking back at littleb's list and recalling the moments when each mission on his list was accomplished makes me smile and helps bring the summer more into focus.   It may have gone by quickly, but we sure did enjoy it.  What did you do on your summer vacation?

Chicken out

Hiking the Megunticook Trail in Camden

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Butter Files: Back to School Shopping

My youngest starts school next week.  We have not bought one single practical thing.  We have bought a very exclusive set of Pokemon cards and a Pokeman Ball.  You can't start school without some winning Pokemon cards, according to littleb.

When I was a kid we went back-to-school shopping every August. One year, my step mom gave my grandmother some money and asked her to take me shopping.  I loved my grandmother to pieces and we were both quite happy with this arrangement.  We hopped in the car and headed for the K-mart.  We bought the obligatory under garments and socks, gotta have those, and then we started perusing the aisles for clothing in my size.  Everything was boring.  There wasn't anything special enough for the third grade.  Not until, that is, my eyes lit on something that stood out.  Something in the purple family.  I separated it from its dull pedestrian neighbors and held it up against my body.

It was purple pant suit perfection.  The entire garment was constructed of the finest machine knit fabric that Taiwan could produce.  Even then I could spot a quality garment.  The tunic-styled top was purple with a gold belt knitted into the waistline.  How practical!  The pants were, you guessed it, purple.  I couldn't believe my luck.  How could this fashion-forward treasure still be hanging on the rack at the end of August?  It was fate, obviously.

We bought it immediately.  It took all of the rest of our money and my grandmother paused, but I wheedled and pushed.  I needed that pant suit like a chimney sweep needs a chimney. That pant suit was my ticket into the elite world of Mrs. Yates' third grade classroom.  This much comfort and style would propel me to dizzying intellectual heights, and the stretchy knit fabric would allow me to run faster than a fifth grader on the playground.   I was finally ready for third grade.  "Bring it", my 8-year-old inner twerp proclaimed.

I was perplexed when my step-mom didn't seem to consider our shopping expedition a resounding success.  I proudly emptied my one small shopping bag on the couch and held up my first-day-of-school ensemble.  She seemed confused.  She looked at the bag. Then she looked at my grandmother. Then she looked at the bag.  Then her face kind of fell as I stood there, beaming, with the purple pantsuit clutched against my skinny frame.

I was intuitive enough to know something was wrong.  I was smart enough to keep it to myself. No need to stir up a nest of hornets which might, possibly, result in the return of my outfit, so I just stood there, resolutely, beaming and petting my tunic. I pointed out how the belt was built into the garment, how the color was so grand, and how warm the knit fabric would be in the crisp fall weather.  I willed her to see how this outfit would make me a better third-grader.

On picture day that year-in fact, on most days that year-I was a pig-tailed, fleet-footed, speed-reading, rock-stealing, purple-wearing beauty.

I think this must be the way littleb feels about his Pokemon cards.

Chicken out

P.S.  Sorry.  Those records are sealed.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I talk to dead people....

No, I still haven't heard from George, but I do talk to dead people all of the time.  My parents passed away a few years back.   When they were still alive we lived several states apart and I did not see them often-a few times a year.  In addition, we are part of an older generation who didn't communicate regularly.  It's partially due to a lack of technology during my young adult years, combined with long-distance phone charges, but even so,  it wasn't our way to be in constant contact.  Things are different now-I talk to my older kids who have flown the nest most days, at least by text.  If I had called my parents daily, however, they would have been a little perplexed and possibly annoyed.  I can see them thinking, "Yes, it's a nice day but what the hell do you want?  I'm busy here, for Pete's sake!"

Now that they are dead, however, I talk to them all the time.  I talk to them about my kids, the family, decisions I'm considering, the song on the radio, memories, lessons learned, and the direction I'm traveling in.  Literally.  I am always asking them to help me get un lost.  My father is especially good at party tricks, so for awhile I'd ask him for stuff, needing the constant reassurance that he was still paying attention.

"Dad, if you are there, can you give me a Jim Croce song?"

"Hey, Dad, gimme a sign, gimme a sign!"

"Okay Dad, this is totally random, but how about a good deal on cream-colored, 3-inch heeled pumps?"

In death, as in life, he has never let me down.   I've stopped asking for things, though, because one day it occurred to me that there may be a cost for these things that I'm not aware of.  No, I don't imagine there's a monetary exchange system where they are, but I can imagine some kind of energy exchange, and I don't want to tax his resources

Grieving is personal and different for everyone.  Talking to my dead people is what comforts me.  It's also quite handy when I'm talking myself into something.  A purchase, perhaps,  or an extra slice of pizza.  I could call my husband, step mom, or my best friend, but they might have an opinion.  An opinion that may not serve my purposes.  My dead people, on the other hand, want me to have these things. If they didn't, I assume they would send a sign.  In fact, they are a lot less judgemental now than they were as mere humans.  I've heard heaven does that to a person.

Chicken out

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

All aboard the yellow submarine....

Three odd things have happened.

The first odd thing is that I seem to be dressing like the Beatles, circa their Nehru jackets and love beads stage.  I'm not sure why this is and I didn't recognise it until the second thing happened.

The second odd thing is that Ringo Starr came to visit me in a dream.  Maybe you're saying, "What's so odd about that?  I dream about Ringo all the time." Maybe you were a swooning fan back in the day.  Or maybe you are a retro Beatles fan now.  I am apathetic towards  the Beatles.  I never understood the attraction.  Ringo dropping by for a visit?  Out of the blue?  Well, that's weird for me. That's like having a rabid dingo show up in my dream.  I just don't think about Ringo Starr or dingos.

The third odd thing that has happened is that my i-pad seems to have adjusted its spell check to the English version.   It wants me to type an "s" where there should be a "z" and to put "e" where normally I'd type "a".

What is the meaning of all this?  I don't know.

Well. Actually. I do have a theory...

I think George Harrison may be trying to channel a message through me.  As I mentioned, I've never been a Beatles fan, but I did have a favourite Beatle, just the same, and it was George.  George was rather beautiful and wrote most of the Beatles songs I did actually like.  In my humble opinion, George was the real talent in that foursome.  Also, he is the Beatle credited with their Nehru jacket phase.  It makes sense that if George were trying to channel through me, I might suddenly develop a fondness for Nehru jacket dressing.  Why he would send Ringo for a visit and not come himself is a bit of a mystery.  Is the message I'm meant to deliver intended for Ringo?

I'm not sure what it all means but as soon as the message comes through, I'll be back to let you know.

What is it George?  What are you trying to say?


Chicken out

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I've had my fill of shrimp dip...

My  sister makes a great shrimp  dip.  She brought a bucket of her crowd-pleasing shrimp dip to my party and now she wants to leave.  She wants me to keep the left over shrimp dip but she wants her tupperware.   She wants me to drop everything and search the cupboards for a bowl for her shrimp dip.

I do not want the shrimp dip because the vacation house does not have a garbage disposal.  I know this shrimp dip is going to end up in the garbage.  I do not care how good this shrimp dip is, we've all had enough bloody dip.  Just because we are vacationing  on the ocean does not mean we want to smell rotting shrimp dip all week.

"No, that's okay", I say, "You take it. We've got a lot of food already."

My sister insists I keep the shrimp dip.   "I can't bring it home.  I'll eat it."

My sister seems to be implying that if she eats the shrimp dip, she'll get fat, but if she leaves it here and we eat it, no one will get fat. Apparently, this excellent shrimp dip becomes magically void of calories when left behind.

"You  know what, I can't seem to find a bowl.", I say.

"Found one!", she yells, waving a cereal bowl over her head.

"But I don't have any Saran Wrap.", I say, "Just take it with you, honestly, it's so nice of you but we have plenty of food."

"Oh.  I think you could just leave it uncovered in the fridge until you get some.", she says.

"No, it might spill.  Better you should take it with you."

"Oh, look!", she says, "See this plate?  I'm going to put the plate over the bowl, and then I'm going to put the bowl in the crisper, that way  no one will knock it over by mistake.  Problem  solved!"

"Okay."  I sigh, resigned to shrimp dip smelliness, as the voice inside my head screams, "For the love of Pete, I don't want your fucking shrimp dip!  Why come you cannot hear me?"

"I just know how much everyone loves this dip.", my sister says, oblivious or triumphant, I can't tell.  "In fact, let me write down the recipe for you.  Do you have any paper?  And a pen?"

I'd share the recipe but I seem to have misplaced it.

Chicken  out

Monday, August 18, 2014

Hello Monday

It's not so good to see you, Monday.  I liked last Monday better.  Last Monday, I didn't get rudely awakened at 5 a.m.  Last Monday, I didn't make a work lunch or go to work.  Instead, I hiked to a lighthouse and combed the beach for sea glass. Last Monday, I didn't catch up with a single client but did catch up with friends and family.  Last Monday I didn't log into my fitness pal.  Instead, I ate cheese, chips with dip, and drank all the wine I could handle.  Possibly a little more than that.  And Monday?  Last Monday I didn't once think, "Can't wait for Friday".  I was only thinking about Monday, glorious Monday, with a whole week of vacation still left to enjoy.

So you see, Monday, I hope, that it's not personal.  First day back to work Monday can't possibly compete with first day of vacation Monday.  But still, you're not so bad.  Really.  You look cute today.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Fun Fashion Friday

I don't have time for a real post today but I do have time to entertain you with some delightful, cutting-edge fashion images that I borrowed from the internet:

Do you think she sees us?  (fashionevents1010.blogspot)

Did she just give birth to a dragon?  (fashionevents1010.blogspot)

Because 33 heads are better than one...(
Is this menswear of foxwear? 

I think he goes with the head lady.  Unless there's someone walking around with a bra made of hats.
In other news, I'll be blogging from a remote location for a few days.  If I miss a day or two, rest assured it's not because I'm not thinking of you.  It's because I've got a frozen beverage in my hand and five under my belt. #margaritaville

Namaste, Bitches (this is still making me laugh)

Chicken out

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Chicken Scratch

Well, since my good idea didn't mosey on back from where ever it's gotten off to, I'm going to play off Jenny O's idea.

Jenny said that even if she did write her ideas down, it's unlikely that she'd be able to interpret them later.

Friends....this has also happened to me.

I'll share below some excerpts from two notebooks I keep-one in my house and one in my bag-and maybe you can tell me where the hell I was going with them.  And if an idea strikes a creative  chord in  you? By all means, go forth and produce.

1,  Tornado on the surface of the sun

2,  I don't think Stephen King would like me

3.  How the AARP is like the mafia

4.  Alien commercials

5.  Comma specialist

6.  Help me to help you

7.  I live with three males.  As long as I keep ketchup  in the house it's a drama-free zone

8.  Bat Cat Rat Hairless Cat

9.  Hey you, get offa my Chi

10.  Namaste, Bitches

11.  I'm not a robot.  I just have bad eyesight.

12.  My bounce rate in Texas is not good

13.  Basically, I'm my target audience

14.  Pillow marketing

15.  Bed of nails?  What's that like.

16.  Bruce Springsteen might be Jesus

Any of this inspiring you?  Nope?  No idea what I'm talking about?  Me either!

I  think I might be onto something with Bruce Springsteen, though.

Ok, Namaste Bitches

Chicken out

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Will I ever learn...

I had a good subject for today's post.  It was right there, last night, shimmering and pulsing in the forefront of my mind.

"I should write this down", my  more practical left brain stated.

"You should pour another glass of wine and chill",  my right brain replied.  "It's just getting to the good part.  Ramona is going to tell Andy to zip it and Luann is going to spill the beans on Ramona's marriage.  You'll miss the fireworks!"

"But we'll forget if we don't write it down.  History has proven this."  Left brain is nothing if not persistent

"Soooo, you don't like wine and classy entertainment, is that it?"  Right brain is nothing if not sarcastic.

Guess who won.

Don't you worry your sweet little head about it, though.  I know that idea will come back from wherever good ideas wander off to when the aren't written down.  Hopefully, it will  come back at a more convenient time when I'm standing by with a pen and piece of paper.

Do you have to write down your good ideas before you forget them?  If you don't write them down,  will  you forget them?

Chicken out

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

It's the Little Things...

This morning I was flipping through an old Ladies Home Journal that I heisted from somewhere because yes, as a matter of fact, I do want to know how Miranda Lambert got that smoking hot new body.   I flipped to a page celebrating married couples and the sweet traditions they develop over the years to help each other and show their love.

One couple, married for 50 years, stated that she's bad at directions so he always drives her to a new place the day before her appointment so that she can find it, and she is good at grammar and spelling so she always checks his emails and FB posts.  Another couple reported that she makes little baggies of homemade muesli every Sunday for him to take to work and he...well...I forget what he does  But anyway, you get the point.

I started thinking about BigB and our sweet traditions, but then I was interrupted by BigB, who is on vacation this week and was upstairs lying in bed, calling out to littleb to come snuggle with him.  And this annoyed me and redirected my train of thought towards all the little ways we annoy each other.  He is on vacation, for God's's annoying enough that he has about 10 weeks of vacation a year....can't he just vacation quietly in the comfort of our bed without waking up the energizer bunny a half hour early?

No, he can't.  He can't because if BigB is awake, everyone needs to be awake, or he gets lonely.  He will try to engage a person in conversation and if that doesn't work, he'll resort to physical means such as hugging, tickling, anything for attention.

And Lord knows, I am not perfect.   BigB gets annoyed that I'm not friendlier in the morning.   I'm not a morning person.  I'm  not playful, I'm not chatty.....I get up earlier than everyone else for the sole purpose of being by myself.  If someone gets up early and joins me, well, it just bloody pisses me off.

BigB and I have a million little ways to annoy each other.  For instance, he eats his poached eggs whole.  That's one whole egg, yolk and all, just breaking in his mouth, coating his tongue, sliding down his throat.  I'm getting a little queasy thinking about it.  I, on the other hand, do not care about malware or internet security and this is not only irresponsible, but it drives BigB insane.  Have I set up the security feature on my phone?  I don't know.  Would I like to learn how?  Must I?  Deep sigh.

And don't get me started on the air conditioning/heating.  I do not care for air conditioning.  If I wanted to live in air conditioning, I would move to Arizona.  I want my windows and doors open to the fresh air.  I want to walk in from  outside  without experiencing  a 20  degree temperature  drop that sends me running for my snorkel parka.  BigB, on the other hand, would prefer to not walk into a bread oven every day between September  and  April.

Yup, we've got a million little ways to annoy each other without even trying.  But we've learned to compromise, and that's how we show our love for each other.   He gives a  little, I give a  I  make him little  yogurt sundaes every morning for breakfast.  He always grills my burger a little more on the well done  side.  Sometimes  I pretend to be friendly in the morning.  Sometimes he eats his eggs like a normal person.

It really is the little things.

Chicken Out

Monday, August 4, 2014

This might be my worst post ever...

Have you heard of the real estate listing  website, Zillow?  I'm going to assume you  have because  usually by the time I find something, everybody else has been using it for a year or ten.

Every once in  awhile, I go through a Zillow phase.  Lately, BigB and I have been discussing a possible move to a less urban, beachier part of our state and so I've been poring over the listings for the area we're interested in.

I've noticed that Zillow can be erratic. I've seen listings with no photos,  listings with upside down photos, and listings with really bad photos.  Why would you post a photo of a water stained ceiling?  Or five photos of one  bush?  This lack of standardization  has led me  to think there are no Zillow police.  And for some reason,  this  intrigues me....

I'm tempted, for instance, to list a particular neighbor's house.  Maybe I could get some new neighbors.  Neighbors that would invite me to use their pool and not keep me up all night with their loud parties.  Neighbors who would mow their lawn and paint their house a reasonable shade that compliments the houses around it.  

Assuming that goes well,  perhaps I'll  load some photos of the Capitol.  Would anyone notice?  Maybe I'll list it under foreclosed properties.  I wonder if the photos have to be original.  

A doll house might be a fun listing.  

This adorable move-in ready home has three bedrooms and two baths,  but no back  wall and watch out for the giant hands....

And now I have to go to work.  Ah Monday, how I've missed you.  Not.  I'd like to post Monday on Zillow.  

Have a good day.  Be careful out there.  Remember, what seems like a good idea today  get's posted on Zillow tomorrow.  No?  It doesn't?  Okay.  Be careful  anyway.  

Chicken  out

Friday, August 1, 2014

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: Sunglasses

Sunglasses say a lot about a person, don't they?  There's the big diva sunglasses that take up half your face.  There's the elegant retro Jackie O look, there's sporty wrap arounds, hipster tinted, and then there's the classic too-cool-for-my-school aviator style.

I like aviators.   They have style without appearing as though one is attempting to be stylish.  And I'm  super sneaky that way.  I don't like to look as though I've put much of an effort in.  Most times I haven't.  One need only take in the holy, maroon Columbia sweater, circa 2005, that I wear most days to intuit lack of style on my part.

Actually,  it's not even how one looks in their sunglasses, but how one feels.  Putting on sunglasses is a little like putting on a disguise.  You hide part of your face and keep it for yourself.  There's power in that.  And then you subconsciously project what you feel to the outside world, whether that's a big, sexy, curvaceous man eater, a triathlete, or a rock-star.  I've seen this, I'm not kidding.  I've seen a woman sashay  a little sassier, an athlete prowl more gracefully, and an icognito rock-star's insouciant saunter down the sidewalk.

Of course, you have to be careful with sunglasses, as with all things related to fashion.  You may be thinking and projecting Diva, but your sunglasses just may be shouting "Get out of my way, I'm mad and I'm drunk".  Your tinted wrap-arounds may be smirking and whispering, "Thinks he's Bono, What a tool!"  When I wear my aviators, I suspect they are broadcasting, "Highly delusional Chicken channeling Carrie Bradshaw, make way, coming through.."

Why all this talk about sunglasses?  Because I can't find mine, dammit.

What do you like about your sun glasses.  How do they make you feel?

Chicken  out

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Save the Elephants Takes on a Whole New Meaning

Came across this link today and rushed here to share it with you.  Go ahead and take a peek, I'll hang out here and drink my coffee.

Elephants addicted to heroin

Well?  Is that not bizarre?  What do you think?

I think it's cruel enough to be true.  There's no end, it seems, to what a certain slice of humanity will do in order to gain  money and power.

And I can't help but we feel more sorry for the elephants than we do for the human victims of addiction?  I'm willing to bet that if you took a survey many people would say, "people have a choice and they  know better.  The elephants didn't."

To those people I would say, it doesn't really matter when or why people try drugs.  It might be by choice the first time, it might be by trickery, sometimes it's by force.  The end result is the same-thousands of children and adults leading a sad existence from which it can  seem there is no escape other than death.

Heroin dealers infiltrate society and use the drug the same ways on people as they do on elephants. They have to create a market.   To control people.  To manage their human trafficking operations.  To make money.

Heroin dealers make house calls.   In your neighborhood.

At least the elephants don't have much of a choice when it comes to being rehabilitated.  They are at the mercy of their handlers.  Human addicts in recovery have to make the difficult choice every day to stay sober.

I wish that we were as worried about the drugs crossing the borders as we are about the children crossing our borders.

And now I'm just all upset.  I started out with the intent of talking about really skinny elephants, twitching trunks and elephants on  street corners holding signs.

But then I started writing and you know what ?   It's just not funny, is it?  Too many people (and elephants and who knows, maybe dogs or other useful animals) are suffering from addiction.  How can they be helped?  I'd start with harsher penalties for dealers and free elective and non-elective rehab for addicts.

You got any ideas?

Chicken out

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beginner Mind

A fellow blogger wrote a post recently about keeping an open mind and it reminded me of a concept that I first learned in yoga class, but which  originated in Zen Buddhism.

To approach a task with beginners mind means approaching with no pre-set notions about how things should proceed.  The task  is wide open to many possibilities.

For instance, if you write stories a lot, you probably know about sentence and  plot construction, grammatical style, etc.  As you write, maybe you keep these things in mind and maybe it interferes with your creativity.

If you are just beginning to write stories, you might not worry about  such  complications. Your focus would probably  be on getting the story down on  paper before you forgot it.  You'll learn more as you  continue writing.

For true beginners, embracing "beginner's mind" is fairly easy.  When you become a little more accomplished at your work, when you learn the tricks of the trade, and the small nuances that mark a hack from a pro, that's when the real work begins.  It's a lot harder to be open when you "know" how everything is supposed to work.  The possibilities narrow considerably.

I have struggled with beginner's mind.  I understand the concept.  Still, I like to know what I'm getting myself into. I've learned to prepare ahead.  Being prepared is sorta my thing.  I like to do well when I'm new at something, and I like to be recognized for my expertise when I'm well-practiced.  I have to impress you, don't I?  I can't just walk around trying new things without researching them on the internet first and picking up a few tips, can I?  I can't just humbly listen while you prattle on about something you apparently know nothing about, can I?  I can't try things  a new way.  At my  old school, we did it differently.  The right way. This is the way it's done, damn it.

Right?  Are you with me?

When I was younger, I was more open to possibility.  I believed magic could happen in this world.  I believed in fairies and parallel universes and portals into other dimensions.  I believed that I did not need to know how to do something before I did it for the first time.

On the negative side, I was a dreamy, magical-thinking, impractical hot little mess who once put an offer on a house without realizing that when you agree to purchase a house, custom dictates you hand over a deposit.  I  saw the house, got a prickly feeling, and knew I needed to buy it before someone else did.  Then I did what I needed to do to make that happen.  It all worked out.  Had I known then what I know now, that purchase would not have happened.  I would have researched, talked to my friends, made pros/cons lists, and scared myself with the financial concerns.  Then I would have given up  on the idea.  But beginner's mind saved me way back then and shortly after I moved into my own house.  And then proceeded to became a second-guessing, scaredy cat know-it-all.  Not all at once, mind you.  It happened over a long stretch.  I think it might be time to change my ways.

Let's all be beginners today.  I will if you will.


Chicken out

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I look really good on Linked In

I am connected to 750 people on Linked In.  I have 10 million people in my network.  Many of people I'm connected to I have never met.  This does not stop them for endorsing me for various skills I may or may not have.  Maybe I'm a great Cat Herder, and maybe I am not, but according to Linked In, I am a seasoned Cat Herder.  If you are looking for a good Cat Herder, rest assured, my name will come up in your search.  I don't own any cats, I've never herded a cat, but I guess it can't be that hard.  Thank God for benevolent Linked In strangers.

These mystery connections and endorsements happen because Linked In is, of course, highly engaged in supporting its own platform of connectivity and to that end, it makes suggestions daily as to who one should connect with to increase profile views and who might be worthy of one's endorsement for some specific skill. People can't be trusted to develop a network on  their own.  People are lazy.  At least Linked In seems to think so.

The premise of Linked In is great.  You develop a network of people you work with, have worked with, know professionally or personally, or went to school with.  And then, by extension, you are connected to their connections.  If your old school chum has a connection that you would like to meet, you can, in theory,  ask your old school  chum to introduce you.

This works well if you a.) do, in fact, know your old school chum and b.) they do, in fact, know your target and like you enough to provide a warm intro. Otherwise, it's smoke and mirrors, and unsolicited marketing attempts.

I realized this too late.  Early on, when using  Linked In, I accepted invitations from anyone.  I was LI Easy.  I was also in the habit of connecting to everyone I met in the course of business.  I really wanted to be one of those 400+ people.

Now I am and I look really good on Linked In.  Just don't ask me to introduce you to anyone.  I'd be happy to write you a recommendation, though.  What was your name again?

Chicken out

Monday, July 28, 2014

Cuteness Championships

Ladies and Gentlemen..

Welcome to the first ever Cuteness Championships.  After weeks of eliminations of such embodiments  of cuteness as kittens,  cheerleaders, capri  pants with sailboats,  chinchillas and mini-coopers, two  finalists have  been  selected to battle it out for the heavyweight title of World's Cutest.  It's a big belt to fill, my friends.  Let me introduce you to your champions.

In this corner, weighing in at just 19.5 pounds, meet the Baby!  That's 19.5 pounds of blue-eyed, fine-haired adorableness.  And she's just starting to walk and talk.  Can you take it?  I'm not sure I can, ladies and gentlemen.

And in this corner, weighing in at 32 pounds, meet the Puppy!  He's a four month old golden lab, folks, with a bright bandana around his neck and paws too big for the rest of his wriggling, tail-wagging body.  This is one tough competitor, folks.

Are you ready to rumble?


The baby is toddling, Oh. My.  God. how cute is she, oh oh oh, she's going to fall, nope, she's found her balance and she's off, waving shyly at the elderly couple in the first row.  They are smitten, that's Baby 1, Puppy 0

Oh, but Puppy has jumped onto the lap of a young man eating a cookie and he's stolen the cookie and gobbled it down before the young man could even take a bite.  The crowd is going wild!  I'm not sure how the baby can salvage this one.  The fight may be over quickly  today, but wait...

Oh man, the baby  has spotted the cookie and is crying because she doesn't have a cookie of her own. Oh look at that sad face, look at that little tear rolling down that pink cheek.  HOLY SMOKES, I can't believe it, people are falling over themselves to give the baby a cookie.  What a come back by the Baby.  Carrie, I'm glad you could join us  today.   How do  things look down there on the floor.  Can you believe this fight?

No, I can't, Mike, we knew it was going to be a battle but I don't think anyone expected the cuteness these two are rolling out today.  Aw, look at her smiling, she's got four little teeth in there....

Wait, what's this?  What's happening now?  The Puppy has spotted the Baby. Here he comes....I don't believe it, the Puppy has snatched the baby's cookie.  The crowd is going nuts!  Is the baby crying?  No?  The Baby's laughing.  Oh look at that, she is.  She's trying to hug the Puppy and he's licking her face.  The crowd is on their feet.  The referee is stepping in to separate the two...What?  What just happened?  Carrie, can you see what's going on from your position?

I can Mike, and I'm  not sure how the judges are going to call this one.  The referee attempted to separate the two competitors but they refuse to be separated...the Puppy ran between the referee's legs,  tripping him, and now the Baby is chasing the Puppy, chattering wildly.  She's gotten a grip on his tail and  they appear to be wrestling on the floor.  There's chortling and licking and barking happening. The crowd is out of control.   It's pure mayhem!  Back to you, Mike.

Thanks looks like the ref has regained his footing and has blown his whistle. The crowd  is calming down. And....Oh my  gosh,   I think we have a decision by the judges....

What?  Can you believe this?   The judges have announced that the match is a draw.  There is no possible way they can choose between a baby and a puppy.  Each are impossibly cute on their own but together?  Together, they are unbeatable.  The Cuteness Championship goes to the Puppy AND the Baby, as a unit.

And this, folks, is a historical moment.

Chicken  out

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: Old Fashioned...

This is the year I am officially old.  No, it doesn't have anything to do with my actual age, wrinkles, or droopage ratio.  I feel old because I've scanned several fashion magazines this week and I have not found one fall fashion that I want to embrace.

I feel like I should be lounging, newly permed,  around my neighbor's pool with a gaggle of older gals, gossiping away in our one piece skirted bathing suits, wrinkled evidence of too much iodine and baby-oil tanning in the 70s all on display, talking about the crap that passes for fashion these days.

High waist jeans?  Gross.  Crop tops?  Nightmares.   And I don't wear pastels in summer.  Why would I wear them in winter?  Leather?  Let's not.   Bollywood?  But what?  Bolly what?  That's a trend now?  Funnel coat?  I'm not wearing anything that sounds like it might add pounds.  And I believe we covered the scrunchie comeback last week.

It's true, I've never been a fashion maven.  There was that time when I was 21 and admired another girl's way with leg warmers.  She would wear them with pointy-toed pumps.  She was a beautiful  girl with a bird-like bone structure, and could pull off the odd fashion choice. With my athletic build, I was neither beautiful nor bird-like.  It was like putting leg warmers on Rocky.  It didn't stop me from trying.  I tried again  in 1984 when I paired a baby blue cotton dress with red pumps and pink ankle socks.  I don't even think that was a trend at the time.  I think I might have been stoned.

At some more lucid point in my adulthood, I adopted a classic, simpler way of dressing; structured, clean lines in neutral colors and quality fabrics, with an occasional pop of color. This is what looks good on me.  If it weren't for the way I attract dirt, cat hair, loose threads and food stains, I might even pass for well-dressed in some circles.

But now, it would seem, a classic style no longer passes for a style.  Fashion has become diverse and complicated.  Clothing is made to layer in odd ways.  It wraps and ties and serves multiple purposes.  Is it a dress, a shirt, a skirt?  How the fuck am I supposed to figure that shit out?  I see odd combinations of fabric, styles and decades.  These new clothes, they have holes in weird places....I don't want a tan on just the middle of my back, for Christ's sake.

I can feel myself faltering. I can't compute the code that allows two fabrics with different size stripes to be worn at the same time, and even though I lived in the 80's, I couldn't pull off an 80's style if I wanted to. Not that I want to, exactly, that's not what I'm saying.  I'm saying that even if I wanted to, I couldn't. Do you understand?  I feel as though I've passed over some invisible line into the realm of the style-less.  I've become one with the masses, dressing daily for practical purposes.  Like being adequately covered in public. Like someone who wouldn't know a statement necklace if it jumped up and bit her on the nose.  Which is why I don't wear statement necklaces, incidentally, because that seems like a valid concern.

And this feeling of not relating to current fashion trends makes me feel old.  This is not to say that older people are unfashionable.  Style is ageless-we all have heard that.  I have many friends who are walking proof.  I have other friends who have transcended fashion and are simply elegant.

But as for me?  I  may as well buy some elastic-waisted jeans, a velour sweatshirt featuring kittens, and some comfortable walking shoes.  And a fanny pack.

Chicken out

Thursday, July 24, 2014

It's Like Magic....

To My Fellow East Coast Commuters:

The next time you get in your car, after you've turned the car on, but while it is still in park, take a good look at your steering mechanism. That's the round wheel-like thing.  See it?  Good.  Now, take another look, see that longish handle sticking out to the side?  Yeah?

That stick?  It's like magic.

Don't believe me?  Push it up.  See?  See it?  There, on your dash.  See it blinking?  I know!  Now push it all the way down.  Oh my God, it's blinking on the other side now!  Holy shit, right?  If you like that, you aren't going to believe this.  Get out of the car, no, don't turn it off, just leave it in park and get out for a second.  Go around to the front.  Check it out, Homey, it's blinking there, too!  Now, reach into the car, and push the stick all the way up again.  Got it? Good.  Now go to the back and see what's changed.  It's blinking on the other side!  Whoa.  Is your mind as blown as mine right now?

"Has that always been there?",  you ask.  Yes, since  around the 1940's, believe it or not.  As a matter of fact, it's standard in most cars.

"Well, what's it for?" you say.  "Tailgate parties?  That's festive!"

And THIS is why I have high blood pressure.

Just use your turn signals, People!  I can't read your minds!

Have a nice day.

Chicken out

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

When Suddenly Nothing Happened..

I was in the drama club in high school.  We performed a Monty Python skit one year.  I don't remember the whole skit.  I just remember this one line that ends in "when suddenly, nothing happened!".  This could be my tag line.

It's not really the fact that nothing happens as much as it is my expectation, each and every time I step out the door, that something will happen, and then nothing does.

See that guy over there?  No, not that one, the other one.  See him?  Don't you think he's acting a little odd?  No?  Well, I do, so I will memorize his clothing in case I'm asked later.  And what about that car there, the gray one.  Didn't that car just go by in the opposite direction 5 minutes ago?  Yes, I remember the license plate.  Maybe the driver lives in this neighborhood or just maybe the driver is casing the neighborhood.  Hmmm.  The lawn hasn't been cut here in awhile.  Usually the elderly gentleman who lives here is meticulous about lawn care.  Do you suppose he's alright?  Come to think of it, I haven't seen him in a couple of you smell something?

Oh. My. God.  Up in the sky!  What is that?  Is that a space ship?  It doesn't seem to be moving.  It's  like it's just hovering there,  and plumes of smoke are coming out of the bottom.  They seem to be shimmering, as though the spaceship is emitting some odd gas. I've never seen anything like it in my life.

Oh....I guess it is just a plane....

Everywhere I go, everything I do, I'm seeking out the nearest exit and watching for anything suspicious.  You're welcome.

Apparently, I'm not the only caretaker of the world out there. Take a look at this photo of God peering  from the clouds, snapped by an amateur photographer walking the beach.

I'm Watching You!

Chicken out

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

No, I'm Good. You Go Ahead Though

I know a guy who is afraid of heights.  He's going to rappel down a 22 story building in a couple of weeks.  It's for a good cause.  I am also afraid of heights.  I'm  giving the other guy some money for the good cause.  I will not be rappelling from anywhere higher than my bed.  Why would I do that?

People say it's good to face your fears.  I say, "what's the point?"

If I have a fear and facing it results only in bragging rights, then I'm good.  I'll stay humble and fearful.  If I have a fear that, when faced, stands to improve my  life, then I'm all for it.

Littleb is afraid of the water.  He does not like water on his face,  never has.  This is a fear that his Dad and I will help him  overcome because knowing how to swim doesn't suck.  Last night, he jumped through the sprinkler several times and I almost cried.  It is not something he's ever been willing to do.  Real progress has been made this summer.

I am afraid  of  arachnids, heights and haggling.  I see no need to pet a tarantula or jump out of a plane.   Should I ever be in a position where I have no choice but to jump out of a plane into a rain forest full of bird tarantulas, then I guess I'll deal  with my fears  then.  It's sort of how Teenager Who Lives in the Basement (TWLITB) deals with his chores.  He procrastinates in hopes that they will cease to exist.  Sometimes it works.  I will exhaust all other options before exiting the plane.

The haggling, though, I'm not sure about that one.  Would a good haggle improve my  life?   It occurred to me this morning that I've never been through the car purchasing  process even though I've owned several cars over the years.  The first three were handled by my Dad.  He bought one when I got my license, helped me get another when that one stopped working, and then finally  did the haggling for me when I bought my first brand new vehicle.  He tried to teach me, he really did, but when he said,  "tell him you want _____ or you're leaving",  I handed the phone to the sales man and said, "Hey, my Dad wants to talk to you."

When that car wore out, I got married and my new husband purchased my next car.

I'm up in the air about the haggling.  There are other opportunities to purchase cars these days that circumvent the whole negotiation process so, really, it's not something I need to do.  Who decided, by the way, that we would all haggle over the price of a car?  Who made that rule?

What fear should you face to improve the quality of your life?

Chicken out

Monday, July 21, 2014

Sweet Chicken

I know it's coming because  I can hear him outside the door and, sure enough, Ray's head appears in my door frame, followed by his body. He says, as he does every day, several times, "Oh Chicken, Sweet Chicken, how we all love Chicken.   And how's Chicken today?"

"Mornin' Ray.  Doin' well.   How about you?"

"Can't complain.   Got up on the right side of the grass"

"Just another day in Paradise, huh Ray?"

"Yup, that's right Chicken.  See ya later."

It's a good day when I know it's coming.  Quite often,  I don't.  Quite often, I'm standing at the copier or at the front desk, lost in thought, minding my own business when, suddenly...

"Chicken Sweet Chicken, we all love Chicken"

I jump a half-mile, turn a somersault and come back down, landing where I began.  I am growing tired of this conversational thread and I am especially growing tired of jumping out of my skin several times a day.

I suspect Ray knows this,  but the amount of pleasure he gets from sneaking up on me outweighs any guilt he feels over repeatedly initiating my fight or flight response on an otherwise boring work day.

I try to give old Ray the benefit of the doubt.  He's old and hard of hearing, I tell myself.  He doesn't realize how loud he is.

Some other things Ray doesn't realize is how many times a day his eyes wander down to my chest or how often he demeans women  or how many times a day he complains about his crazy wife.

But still,  we work together, so common ground must be sought.

"How're the grand kids, Ray?..."

And  he's off.  He'd give the shirt off his back for those kids.  His eyes shine and his persona changes from grouchy old man to proud Pépé.  

It's just another day in Paradise.

Chicken out

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: Hair Got You Down?

Does your hair hang low?  Does it wobble to and fro?  Can you tie it in a knot, can you tie it in a bow? Can you  throw it o'er your shoulder like a continental soldier? Does your hair hang  low?

Well,  you're in luck, friends, because the scrunchie is back!  That's right, that 80's  staple has bounced back into fashion's highest circles.  It is once again totally cool to gather your unruly mane and contain it with a wide stretch  of elastic material covered in a fabric that complements your outfit.

The scrunchie is like the loud, colorful cousin you don't realize you've missed until you run into her at the family reunion.  There she is, governing the horse shoe pit with an iron glove, dressed in a lime green and fuchsia muumuu, and throwing back tequila like a tourist in Cabo on Cinco de Mayo.  You can't help but smile when you see her.

At least you might feel that way.  As with all things fashion related, however, my experience with scrunchies is a bit more unnerving.

My last scrunchie encounter took place in 2001.  The thing was crouching in a corner under my girl's bed, covered in dust balls, and I swear it had tiny, feral eyes that glared out at me, daring me to come in after it.  Bat, rat or hair piece, I wasn't sure what it was, so I stilled my pounding heart, narrowed my eyes, and took up arms.  The battle commenced, as I swiped wildly under the bed with my broom.  It was intense, but I emerged victorious after shoving the bed aside and exposing the rogue scrunchie to sunlight, a phenomenon it hadn't experienced in years.  Temporarily blinded, it remained still long enough for me to scoop it up on the end of my  broom and deposit it  in the trash.

Our home has been scrunchie-free ever since and, like denim on denim and leopard print,  it's not a trend I intend to embrace this fall or ever.  But you go ahead.

I'll  just tuck my unruly mane behind my low-hanging ears per usual.

Chicken out

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What do you want to talk about today?

You start.

No, really, I could wait here all day. I got nowhere to be.

Actually, that's not true, so I'll start.

There's a new reality show on Bravo called Game of Crowns.  It's like Tots in Tiaras except with boobs and husbands.

This show was filmed IN MY TOWN.  And now I feel a little cheated because one of my consuming curiosities is how these shows are put together.  We know there's got to be a lot of editing going on, right?  So how do they decide who gets to be the villain and who gets to be the victim, and how do they orchestrate that?    And are the producers the biggest bullies of all?

I picture it going something like this:

Reality *:  (to Production assistant A, who is having an in depth conversation with Production assistant B while both madly twiddle their thumbs through their text messages).  Excuse me, may  I have a glass of water, please?

Production assistant A:  (to PA-B)  Do you believe her, she is SUCH a bitch.  Who does she think I am, an intern? She's going down

Production assistant A: (to Reality *)  Of course, I'll find one of the INTERNS to get it for you. Because that's what interns do, they fetch things, and I'm NOT an intern.  I was an intern last week but then I got promoted.  But no problem (wink/shrug),  I'll find an INTERN for you.

Production B:  (to room at large) giggles wildly at own twitter message #realitybitches, and takes selfie of new bangs.

Production assistant A:  (Texts intern)  Her highness would like a glass of water

Intern:  Ohhhhh No she didn't.  Who does she think she is?

Production  Assistant A:  OMG, I know.  Maybe GOD?

Intern:  God's wife?

Production Assistant A:   OMG LMFAO #bitchisgoingdown

Do you think it happens something like that?  I think it might.  I wish someone would write an in depth expose on reality television and, instead of focusing on why people watch it, focus on the process.

My  lasting question, the one I ask myself every time I watch a particularly confrontational scene, is "Why in God's name do people sign on for this?"  Money?  Fame?  Cluelessness?  What about you guys?  Would you take a part in a reality show?  Would you rather be the villain or the princess?

I wouldn't be a reality *, but I would be an intern.

If anyone watches Hulu, there's now a spoof on the housewives series.  It's horrifying and hilarious at the same time.

Chicken out

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Secret to Good Food

If you happen to be in charge of naming a new food,  I recommend a name that begins in CH.  As evidence, I submit this list of culinary cash cows.

1. Chocolate
2. Chili
3.  Chinese Food
4. Chimichangas
5.  Cheddar cheese popcorn
6.  Chardonnay
7. Chips
8.  Cheese
9. Cheeseburgers
10.  Chowder
11. Chewing  gum
12.  Cheetos
13.  Cherry Pie
14.  Chop Suey
15. Chorizo
16. Chevre
17.  Chuck  roast
18.   Champagne
19.  Chateau Briand
20.  Charcuterie
21. Char (fish)
22.  Cheesecake
23.  Cheerios
24.  Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
24. Charleston Chews
25.  Chickory Coffee
26.  Chutney
27.  Chocolate (it bears repeating)

Hmmm.  I feel like I'm forgetting something....

Chicken out

P.S.  But beware-every rule must have its exceptions, and the rule of CH is not an exception.  The mere smell of these two food products just might undo all the warm gooey goodness of the former.

1. Chitlins
2.  Chum (of course, one is only likely to be consuming chum if one dines at The Chum Bucket with Sponge Bob and the gang, or lives in the ocean and thinks he's a shark, in which case one's diet is the least of one's problems).

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Invasion of the giant snails...

Pails of giant house eating African snails were recently taken into custody at LAX, where they had been labeled for consumption and shipped in pails.  Apparently, the snails are an environmental  hazard.  You can read the whole story here:  Link to article

This whole story is just begging for animation.

What do you call a group of house-eating snails? A swarm of snails?  Doesn't swarm imply speed?  That doesn't work then, does it?  A swaaarrrrrmmmmm of snails?  A body of snails?  A flock of snails?

According to, you call a group of snails an escargatoire, rout or walk.  I love escargatoire-so artsy, so avante-garde...I might not mind telling people my house got eaten by a escargatoire of snails.  Or is that redundant.  Would you just say "My house got eaten by an escargatoire?"

If you are making a science fiction movie about house-eating snails, you might want to use "Walk of snails".  Doesn't that have the sound of a cheesy sci-fi horror flick?  If, however, your movie is more art house than documentary - then you definitely want to stick with "escargatoire".  If you are making a documentary on house-eating snails, it might be best to use "rout of snails", which sounds somewhat technical.  Hey, what's the rout of 16?  Answer:  4 Snails.  Hahaha.  I crack myself up.

Okay kids, be careful out there.  Don't pick up any hitch-hiking snails.

Chicken out

Monday, July 14, 2014

Life is Like a Teeter-Totter...

It's not much fun unless it's going up and down.

I read part of an article recently about achieving balance in one's life.  The article asked various authors of self-help books what balance means to them.  I think it was Simple magazine-I can retrace my steps if anyone is interested.

I asked myself the same question, me being the supposed, but not confirmed, authority on me, and the answer I received is that balance is an urban myth.  Balancing your life, in my opinion, is like telling the tide to stop rising at that perfect place just a few feet from your beach blanket. You can't stop  the ebb and flow of your life any more than you can stop the tide from rising or going out, try as you might, with your routines, systems and advance planning.

So what is balance, then, and why do we covet it?  Do we focus on balance at the expense of flow?

The closest I come to what some might describe as balance is when I am fully engaged in the moment.  It might be cooking, playing a game of Yahtzee with littleb, writing a post, or cleaning out a cupboard. Whatever it is, I'm in the zone.  There is a feeling of contentment and good will.  If I could string a lifetime's worth of these moments together, I could live in balance, but that's not my goal.  A perfectly balanced teeter-totter might be fun for a moment, but it's the ups and downs that make it interesting.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fashion is a Two-Faced Bitch: Closet Tech

Late adopter that I am, I've just only recently  discovered the  usefulness of apps.  I've got a fitness app, a running app, a financial app, real estate app, and don't get me started on all the educational  apps I've downloaded.

It would be nice to have a personal shopper app.  An app that would shop my closet, pulling together looks that never would have occurred to me.  Unlike most personal shoppers, whose primary mission is to spend all your money, my app is like a classy, stylish, environmentally concerned friend; the friend who rolls her eyes when I complain I have nothing to wear,  throws open my closet door, rummages through hangers, occasionally pulling things out and tossing them on the bed.  She'll bark at me to try this and that together with the nude pumps and, oh, look, we can take this old ribbon and these bottle caps and spray paint them gold to make a statement necklace.    Then she'll smirk at me and say, "By the way, Chicken, why do you have bottle caps in your closet?  That seems bad.", and I'll say, as I struggle to tuck in a shirt tail, "Never mind that, where the hell did the ribbon come from?"  She'll study me as I stand before her in the appointed outfit, tapping her index finger to her lips, finally declaring, "No, no, not like that, like this."  She'll yank here, pull there, and voila, there I am, suddenly presentable.  Fashionable, even.

Wouldn't you pay for an app like that? 

She would be like Siri, but with a fashion sense.  Maybe we could call her Jane.  Doesn't that seem like a nice name for an app?

Oh, I can hear you thinking, out there,  don't think I can't.  "Surely you already know what's in your own closet and what goes with what?"  To that I would answer, "Have you met me?"  Most of you haven't, so allow me to illustrate.  I have little sense of style and multiple personalities.  I buy clothes completely on impulse.  Some days my gut says, "I'm a pirate", and other days it says "I'm sporty".  For quite a few years, my gut insisted I was a Cub Scout.  It's no wonder my closet is confused.  Have you ever seen a sporty pirate?  I mean, I can almost see it....maybe a plaid kilt-like tennis skirt with a laced up, flared sleeve shirt, paired with an eye patch and classic Tretorns, for instance.  My gut says fabulous.  My common sense tells me this is not a good work look.  I'm also practically color blind.  Have you ever seen a sporty pirate wearing a black heart on her t-shirt?  Oh, you think, she's being an ironic sporty pirate, but she's not.  She thinks the heart is red.  She's feeling flirty.  Ironic sporty pirate; kind of twisted and cool, pair with some heavy black eyeliner and send her out the door.  Leaving the whole mutton dressed as  lamb issue behind for a moment, it could work if she was internally channeling Marilyn Manson instead of Marilyn Monroe.

Of course, like all things fashion-related, it is only a matter of time before Jane begins mocking me.

"Jane", I'll command, "I need an outfit for Saturday night.  It's date night."

To which Jane will respond, "How about pajamas accessorized with Ben & Jerry's like all your other date nights?"

"No, Jane, I really think it's going to happen this week.  We're actually going to go out.  On a real date.  I can feel it in my gut."

"Is this the same gut that told you to buy the bateau neck sailor's shirt last week?  The one that made you look more whale than sailor?  I wouldn't listen to that gut."

"There was a hurricane warning in effect, Jane.  I was just being practical.  Can we focus  on  Saturday night?  I'm thinking dressy casual, but not like I tried too hard.  Look Jane.  I pinned this on Pinterest.  This could work, right?"

"If you hadn't also pinned 20 pounds to your ass, maybe."

"Jane, that's unkind."

"What?  It's not like I pinned 20 pounds to your ass, Darling."

You know what?  On second thought, maybe I'll just keep winging it.  Who needs the scrutiny.

Chicken out

Thursday, July 10, 2014

You're Going to Need a Bigger Shoe...

Sometimes I like to go fishing on the internet.  You just never know what you'll find.  Today I found a human arachnid.  She ain't pretty, but she sure is flexible.  Maybe she's pretty if you like spiders.

This is freakishly amazing

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Silver Tongued Devil

In my next life, I hope to return as a silver tongued devil.  It seems to me that these types usually make out okay regardless of mean circumstances and humble beginnings.   Good looks will only take you so far, and eventually they'll fail you, but a silver tongued devil is usually silver tongued all his life.  You'll  probably have noticed there aren't many dumb silver tongued devils out there. The mouth and tongue are only the front of the house-the real work is going on behind that, where all the wheels are churning out 427 persuasive words per minute.

I'll  let my lean, lightening fast tongue lead the way, helping folks less fortunate understand where they went wrong with their thinking and how I can help.

I'll start my own You Tube channel.

I'll run for public office.

I'll  rap.

I'll  give a Ted Talk.

I'll talk my toddlers into the bathtub and bed as needed, with nary a complaint or tear.

I'll convince my teens that doing housework makes them 60% more attractive.

I'll  convince my husband that meal preparation is super sexy.

Then I'll go take a nap.  It's tiring being a silver tongued devil.

What will you be in your next life?

Chicken out

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BigB's Breastfed Lawn

BigB believes in yard upkeep.  He's out there daily, enthusiastically tugging weeds, watering the grass, spraying things, cropping things, and so on.  BigB  thinks there is not enough  time in the day to get his lawn as pristine as he wants it.  This may be true, but still, BigB's work shows. We have beautiful  flowers, plants, shrubs, and a thick,  luxurious expanse of green with a sharp edge.   And don't get him started....admire one petite bloom and he will escort you around the house pointing out things  you never wanted to know, like, "these blah blah blahs are growing some kind of fungus but I'm spraying them with this organic bludie blupe and I think that will  get rid of it, but these blipety blips over here are attracting little black bugs.  See them?  See the little black  bugs?....

If I were in charge of the lawn, I would be more likely to point out (from a comfortable spot in the middle of my  hammock) a beautiful sea of dandelions waving in the wind and not requiring any upkeep.  My lack of enthusiasm for lawn care is not lost on BigB.  He toils away with little expectation of admiration or support from me.  On occasion, I have referred to our yard as "BigB's Breastfed Lawn".  

Yesterday, I got my comeuppance. 

Littleb and I were walking the neighborhood when we spotted the most beautiful lawn ever.  Even I couldn't help but notice it's thick carpet-like appearance.  It looked like an enchanted lawn from a Disney movie.  A lawn under a wicked spell that seduces you into lying down and stretching out just before it swallows you whole and spits you back out as a red, red rose.  It had perfectly straight lines where it had been recently mowed.  Or vacuumed, perhaps.  Littleb immediately plopped down and made him self comfortable.  In an effort to get him moving again, lest he be turned into a rose bush, I said, "Hey, let's go home and tell Dad we found a nicer lawn than his."

You would  think I had invited him to clean out BigB's savings account and hop a plane to Switzerland.  

"You can't do that!  That would hurt his feelings!  You don't want to hurt your husband's feelings, do you?  We are not telling him about this lawn."

He's a loyal son, that boy.  I'm so proud of him.  For now, we'll keep the enchanted lawn a secret, but it's nice to know it's there.....(twists ends of waxed  mustache and emits evil laugh).

Chicken out

Monday, July 7, 2014

I Had To Break Up With My Old Lady...

While the restaurant cashier is making small talk, as I wait for the other counter ladies to stop eating the food I just brought back for inexplicable reasons, and pack  me some new food, we somehow get on the subject of Sons of Anarchy, and how it just aired its last episode.  I tell the cashier how sad I was to see it end, and how emotional I got.  And then I get teary-eyed right there in the restaurant.  I can see that the clerk, who  is just making small talk, after all, is inwardly rolling her eyes, and why shouldn't she?  Who is this crazy, middle-aged woman, crying in her restaurant about a biker show.

Then  I woke up, without my Chicken Parmesan, but with my dignity, at least.

Truth is, I did just finish season 5 of  Sons, and I am quite fond of Gemma Teller Morrow, but I'm not sure I'll even watch season 6 because the show is just so dang violent that I spend more time shielding my eyes from torture scenes and machine gun spray than I do watching.  I think Gemma and I have parted ways for good and my subconscious knew it before I did.  Good-bye Gemma.  You were the best pretend Old Lady a girl could have. Sniffle.

Chicken out

Disclaimer:  You get that this was a dream, right?  About a show I like?  I have no idea how many actual SOA seasons there are, nor do I have an insider's track on when the show will end.  Don't quote me to the Enquirer, okay?

Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal)

Sunday, July 6, 2014


In a few weeks we'll be heading to Maine for vacation .  We've rented a house in the Camden area.   I know the area a little, having grown up just a couple of hours away, but if anyone out there has a favorite memory of the place or a suggestion for an activity, we would love to hear it.

The house we are renting is big-big enough that several extended family members and friends are planning on cycling through during the week.  It's an experiment for us.  If it goes well, we are hoping to do it once a year.  If it doesn't, we'll do our own thing from now on.  We are not anti-social, by any means,  but my husband and I are alike in that we both require a moderate amount of alone time.   I get mine by  getting up earlier in the morning.   He gets his by  staying up later at night.  I'm  wondering how the chaos of people coming and going will jive with our expectation of  a relaxing week on the coast.

On the one hand, we've co-imagined clam bakes on the beach, early morning kayak trips, and hanging out on the porch with our friends and family.  My imagination has added the sound track from Big Chill and midnight margarita parties.

On the other hand, it's occurred to me that there's a good amount of work that goes into entertaining people. Now, switch out the people on a regular basis, and haven't you just multiplied the work load?  This is not something that would occur to BigB because, as a traditionalist in his mid-fifties, his expectation is that the women will get together and figure it all out and tell him what needs to go on the grill.  Planning, shopping, and cleaning don't figure in his day-to-day plans.  On the odd occasion where they do, it goes something like this:

I'm hungry.  Is anybody else hungry?  I think I'll order a pizza.  Does anybody else want pizza?

BigB keeps it real.  I think I'll take a page out of his book this year and just go with the flow.  We'll see what happens.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hurricane Preparedness, 20s vs 50s

Hurrricane Arthur blew threw Rhode Island yesterday and has since been demoted to a tropical storm.  It's the economy.

I remember, back in my young adulthood, when news of an approaching hurricane brought a prickly excitement.  We'd make plans to meet somewhere for tropical drinks and dance parties.  We might tape a glass window, because who needs that kind of downer in the middle of a great party, plus it added to the themed decor, and we made sure there was plenty of alcohol and snacks,  but otherwise, we didn't prepare much.   In the north, where I come from,  hurricanes tend to be a little tamer by the time they get here, with some exceptions.  We all grew up preparing for nor' easters, but hurricanes didn't trouble us much.

Flash forward 30 years and hurricane patterns haven't changed, but the routine has.  Do we have batteries, have the gutters been cleared, are the drains working, have the lighter outdoor items been stored, do we have bottled water and food we can eat without cooking, does S want to come over and ride out the storm with us, did you know electricity can flow through the water, it can, I'm spending all day  cleaning because  if tomorrow is sunny, I'll want to play, damn, we should have cut those old trees in the back, the lady next door will have a conniption if another one falls on her phone lines, hey do we have wine and beer....

I guess some things never change.

Chicken out

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day - Letting Go

My husband and I were having a discussion one day.  I told him about a problem I was having.  As soon as I laid out my problem, he began  trying to solve it. That's what we are wired to do,  I think, is solve problems.  I remember saying to him, "I don't need you  to solve this, I just need you to listen!"

Of course, as a parent, it's totally different.  I must solve each and every problem my children present.   It's called being a good parent.  


My oldest finished college in January and is currently job hunting.  It's been a frustrating experience and not as expedient as she assumed it would be.  She's learned humility and patience.  I've learned to step back.  

Way the hell back.  Like, look behind you.  See that mountain?  No?  That's perfect.  That's just about far enough.  

It's the hardest thing, to support and help without fixing.  I'm  sure there's a trick to it.  If I live long enough, maybe I'll add it to my bag.  For now, I'm just very lucky that we communicate mostly by text.  It allows me to offer suggestions, which I then erase and replace with, "I'm so sorry.  That stinks", or other equally short, supportive statements.

She doesn't need me to fix this.  She can fix this.  She just needs me to listen.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

And occasionally, I'll climb on a soap box...

I won't be picketing Hobby Lobby on  Saturday, but I won't ever be shopping there, either. I disagree with their religious beliefs, particularly the ones that wish to dictate what rights I should have. They've always been religious, though, so their reluctance to cover Plan B contraceptives makes sense and, if it were an isolated case, I'd be okay with that.  People work there at their own will, and if people want to work there and want to purchase PlanB contraceptives, they will have to make that purchase out of pocket, the same way they probably had to do it before healthcare reform.  This isn't about a woman's right to choose. We can still choose.

It's the precedent that is concerning.  More than half of us, if this article by Aaron Blake for the Washington Post is accurate, are employed within "closely held" companies. How many of these companies are preparing to roll out their own deeply held beliefs and how will that affect our insurance plans?  As much as it's not about a woman's right to choose, it's also not about religion anymore.  At this point, religion is just the getaway car.  Plan B contraceptives represent the tip of the deeply held religious beliefs iceberg.

I'll leave the legal arguments surrounding the decision to someone more articulate, not to mention educated, but the fallout that seems likely  from this decision is not going to be pretty.

I have a deeply held belief right now, despite the "now now, Princess, don't upset yourself" tone of the Washington Post article, that a lot more privately held companies are about to find God, even if their only deeply held religious belief is that Obamacare should go away.  

Chicken out