Soul searching

So AGMA’s been at Dancing Goats for 2 hours and has yet to start a new blog post,

I’ve been catching up with old friends and replying to comments.  And reading posts I should have read last week, month, year.

So many words, so little time!

Since I recently celebrated my 5th anniversary of blogging, I thought it would be tons of fun to repost AGMAs very first post.

I just read it over.  And I have to say I was much less “wordy” back then. I know many of you would wish AGMA return to that original succinct format.

Nah baby nah.

And, sad to say, I didn’t do most of those things in 2014 and still haven’t.  Still, 4 out of 10 isn’t too bad.

No, really, it sucks.  I have to say I am a bit shocked I still have 6 open times on my list from 5 years ago.

I need to do some serious soul searching.

But putting my present emotional life crisis aside, I present, for your enjoyment and amusement, AGMA’s very first blog post on WordPress:

George Eliot’s 2014 throw down

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“It’s never too late to be what you might have been.”

Chewy, hopeful words penned by Mary Anne Evans (1819-1880), aka George Eliot, British novelist and one of the leading writers of the Victorian Era.  I am all over that Mary Anne, you wild child you!  2014 – no resolutions – just being resolute.

The year to learn how to ride a bicycle.

The year to zip line for the first time.

The year to maybe entertain the notion of training for a marathon.  Did I say that out loud?

The year to keep the promise made when I started massage school in 2008.

The year to add a little bit of sugar to some not-so-sweet relationships – ouch!

The year to visit The Clermont Lounge and Johnnies Hideaway. Yeah – I said it!

The year of long hugs, thank you very much Linda!

The year to climb a bridge and visit Middle Earth.

The year to start blogging.

The year to enter a new decade of life.

Really nothing that would register above a 3 on the “Isn’t my life fabulous?” Richter scale, but the beginnings of throwing off and putting on and continuing to discover what is yet to be.  And you?

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A lot of sh*t can happen in 5 years!

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In 2015, at 92, Harriette Thompson became the oldest woman to complete a marathon!  She passed in 2017, but what an inspiration!

So somewhere in the bustle of the holidays, my never ending sniffles, and out of town guests, I missed my 5th anniversary on WP!  It happened like on December 30th (give or take a day.)

Happy Anniversary to my little ass, Aging Gracefully!

Holy cow, that was a fast 5 years!

When I started AGMA, I had a lot of time on my hands.  Blogging seemed like a good way to fill some of it.  I’m a bit ADHD, so I needed something to keep me busy.

Little did I know that the next 5 years would turn out to be crazy eventful.  And my days would soon be overflowing with “opportunities” to be busy…

  • The most adorable grandchildren in the world (MAGITW) made their appearances in 2014 and 2016.  And there is soon to be a 3rd MAGITW!  Stay tuned this summer…
  • I decided to start “running” marathons, and have 6 notches in my belt so far.  I ran my 1st one 2 months after starting AGMA.
  • My love of thrifting turned into a little Ebay business.  The problem is that AGMA loves thrifting more than listing the items on Ebay.  And I’m running out of places to store the crap…eh…treasures.
  • I gave up the space I was renting and made the decision to switch my massage practice almost exclusively to corporate chair massage.  And business has been good. Very good.
  • Because of the series of most unfortunate events on November 8, 2016 and after, arranged by Comrade Putin, I’ve become a Resistor (NOT the electrical kind.). This has taken up quite a bit of AGMA’s time.  But it’s time well spent (refer to the 1st bullet point!)
  • I’ve been able to indulge my passion for travel both domestically and internationally like never before.  With a very flexible work schedule, family & friends flung all over the US, a bit more in the bank account, and the desire to sample local wines in every country in the world (still working on this…), AGMA has racked up beaucoup miles in the air and in the car.  Now THAT’s what I’m talkin’ about!
  • Some “not aging gracefully” health junk has taken up way too much time.  I’m not a fan and ignore whenever possible…   But I’m pretty pumped because I had my BIG birthday a few weeks ago.  It’s Medicare time now baby!

Whew.

It’s been a rockin’ and rollin’ 5 years.

But I love this little AGMA blog and ADORE my blogging friends.  Yinz guys (to say it in my native Pittsburghese!)

And I’m looking forward to another 5, 10, 15, dare I say 20 (?) years of blogging.

By 2038, I predict I will have at least 4 more tattoos, will have run at least 30 marathons, have an Ebay business that Jeff Bezos will envy, will have finished my wine quest (hic), will have a great grandchild, and will have visited the Big Orange Cheeto and his posse in prison at least once since being sentenced in 2019.

Nah – maybe not that last one…

But you can read all about it here on AGMA so stick around!

P.S.  I am forever grateful to the now “retired” blogger, Dobster, who gave me wonderful encouragement in those early months of AGMA.  I still miss him – he quit blogging cold turkey one day in 2015.  It was jarring and I felt like I’d lost a friend.  If he hasn’t already, I hope he returns to the blog-o-sphere one day.  His posts made me laugh.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced, peppered and capped

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Bet you didn’t know that Atlanta is the home base of the Waffle House chain of eating establishments.  And that there is a Waffle House Museum in Decatur, GA. And that Waffle House helps predict extreme weather events.

Of course not.  Why would you?

“Plllllease tell us more AGMA!”  I can hear you beg…    I know you want to all become Waffle Houseinistas!

Waffle House is a “restaurant” (I use this word loosely) chain that serves – duh – waffles.

They also have other breakfast offerings as well as pork chops, T-bone steaks, burgers, grilled sammies and Texas melts.

AGMA’s personal favorite is the raisin toast.

Every Waffle House restaurant is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  Every single one. So when you’re on the road on Christmas Day and EVERYTHING else is closed, you can always stop into a Waffle House for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  As long as you’re traveling through the South or Midwest or the lower Eastern Seaboard.  Or southern Arizona.

AGMA and fam did this several times in the 90’s and early 2000’s out of sheer desperation.

This was before I was a Waffle House convert.

Don’t judge me.

Waffle House has 2100 locations in 25 states, with over 15% of them located in the Atlanta Metro area.

They sell 10,000 T-bone steaks a day. Everyday.  And use 2% of all the eggs used in the Food Service Industry. Waffle House is the world’s (and most probably the universe’s) leading server of waffles, hash browns, eggs and cheese, country ham, pork chops, and grits.

Waffle House is a force unto itself.

Who knew?

Because Waffle House is open 24/7, they need to be prepared for really bad weather.  They have something called The Waffle House Storm Center that mobilized during extreme weather and determines if they can continue operations in the area.

Eat your heart out Starbucks…

FEMA (when the government isn’t shut down) uses something called The Waffle House index as part of the criteria in gauging the severity of weather events:

Green: Waffle House is serving a full menu and electricity is on.

Yellow: Waffle House is serving a limited menu, may be low on food supplies, and is likely using an electrical generator.

Red: Waffle House is closed. (Oh sh*t, time to panic.)

When Hurricane Michael slammed into the Florida Panhandle last October, it was Code Red. Waffle House shut down 30 restaurants in the area.

Oh sh*t is right!

But to AGMA, who has grown fond of Waffle House over the 10+ years I’ve lived in Atlanta (don’t judge me), the most fascinating aspect of WH is the way they dish up their hash browns.

Try to follow along…

Order hash browns scattered and your get crispy hash browns.

Scatter and smothered adds onions.

Scattered, smothered & covered adds onions and melted cheese.

Scattered, smothered, covered & chunked adds onions, melted cheese and ham.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked & topped adds onions, melted cheese, ham and chili.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped & diced adds onions, melted cheese, ham, chili and diced tomatoes.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced & peppered adds onions, melted cheese, ham, chili, diced tomatoes and jalapeños.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped, diced, peppered & capped adds….yada yada yada and mushrooms.

Or you can go “all the way”…

Now THAT’S what I’m talkin’ about!

Somebody with way too much time on their hands (a furloughed government employee perhaps?) figured out that there are 2,048 possible combinations of the above.

Yum.

Waffle House is quickly approaching legendary status.  It’s had books and songs written about it.  AGMA is pretty sure there were no Grammy winners, but you can play some of the songs on the Jukebox that is in most every WH.

Famous people love WH and WH loves famous people.  Kim and Kanye doubled dated there with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen.   AGMA and Hubs also dine occasionally Waffle House.  Like I said, famous people.

Since LA and Boston have no Waffle Houses, I predict that Rams and Patriot players will be spotted in WHs around Atlanta in the lead up to the Super Bowl on February 3rd. They can eat a whole lotta stick to the ribs (and arteries) food for pretty darned cheap!

In 2016, Anthony Bourdain went on what was probably his most adventurous culinary adventure of his career.  He ate at a Waffle House.  Of the experience, he said, “It is indeed marvelous — an irony-free zone where everything is beautiful and nothing hurts; where everybody regardless of race, creed, color or degree of inebriation is welcomed.”

AGMA’s geting misty eyed…

Hubs and I have seen both Waffle Palace and the sequel, Waffle Palace Christmas; plays based, in part, on actual incidents that have happened at Atlanta area Waffle Houses.

Truth really is stranger than fiction.

True – so true – for the other WH (White House) as well.

Hey, maybe Individual #1 will treat the Super Bowl winning team to WH in the WH. One can only hope…

Finally, you can take the love of your life to Waffle House for Valentines Day!

Waffle House pulls out all the stops and dresses up some of its locations with candlelight, tablecloths and flowers.  Says CEO Walt Ehmer, “A perfect Valentine’s dinner consists of soft music, great food and a welcoming atmosphere.  And we have all three waiting for those who are ready.”

Are you ready?
Let me know how that works out for you…
To learn more about Waffle House (and you know you want to…) click here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Annie

bestie

On Sunday, Ann, my good friend of 50 years, “relocated”.

She moved out of a body that had been slowly failing over the past couple of years due to COPD and found better accommodations.  Far better.

She leaves behind her adoptive mother, two early 30-something daughters, and two adorable grandchildren.  FYI, her daughters and grandchildren have her fiery red hair.

It’s awesome.

When we met as sophomores in high school in 1968, we were very much opposites.   AGMA was quite shy, reserved and sort of boring.  Ann was gregarious, outgoing and talented.  She had an incredible zest for life.

I think we got to know each other because had the same lunch schedule, and hung out together in the cafeteria.

AGMA once snorted out – through my mouth and nose – a huge mouthful of cherry slushy onto Annie’s parent’s car’s dashboard and windshield.  All over.  She’d said something really funny right after I took a serious slurp of slushy.

We were that kind of friends.

When we were juniors, she tried to fix me up with a friend of her boyfriend.  The only criteria for the fix-up was that I was shorter than the young man.  The relationship didn’t last.  Thankfully…

Annie and I stayed in touch though college and beyond though we lived many states apart.

She came to my wedding and I went to hers.

She had two daughters; AGMA had two sons.  We sent each other birth announcements.

We only saw each other at decade separated high school reunions.

We were on track for one of those, “we were friends in high school, but we have nothing in common now so we’ll just send an annual Christmas card” type of relationships.

Then in 2003, both Annie and AGMA’s lives sort of fell apart.  Different reasons, different circumstances; but semi-devastating to both of us.

And Ann and I started a whole new friendship.  It was a relationship like I’ve had with nobody else in my life.  We shared heart wrenching, soul exposing emails and telephone conversations.  We cried together.  And occasionally we laughed together.  She had a wonderful laugh!

We truly listened to each other.  We were brutally honest with each other.  We didn’t judge each other.  We shared words of wisdom with each other.  We confessed to each other.  We forgave each other.

We shared grace with each other.

AGMA came out on the other side of my crisis a few years later relatively okay.

But for my sweet Annie, it was only the beginning of the domino cascade.

Her husband of 25 years left her.  And was very, very nasty about it.

Her father passed away.

She lost her full-time job during the recession.  In her mid-50’s, she couldn’t find another FT job so had to take part-time jobs with no benefits to survive financially.

Her aging mother, with whom Annie had a lifetime contentious relationship, was no longer able to care for her large house in another state.  Ann helped her mom sell her house and moved Mom in with her.   It was a difficult transition.   And didn’t improve with time.

A lifetime smoker, Annie was diagnosed with COPD.

The last time I saw Ann was in 2012, at her daughter’s wedding in Michigan.  Together, we looked like Jack Sprat and his wife.  She was exceedingly thin and AGMA was this pudgy lump.  The picture is priceless!  It was a beautiful wedding and Annie was so very happy.

AGMA tried to convince her to come to our 45th high school reunion in 2016, but by then, the COPD was taking over her body.  She wouldn’t go.  She wanted everybody, including me, to remember her as she was.

It broke my heart.

But boy, was she a fighter!  She nearly died in late 2017.  Her older daughter was pregnant with her second child.  It was Annie’s fighting spirit that kept her alive until her sweet little redheaded grand daughter was born and then some.

AGMA found out in mid-December that Ann was under hospice care.  Her daughter said it would be okay to try call her.  Annie may or may not be able to talk with me depending on what kind of day she was having.

Lots of days were bad days.

It was one of the most difficult phone calls I’ve ever made.  But I’m so very glad I made it.  I even got to hear her laugh.  I told her I loved her.  In a weak voice she told me she loved me too.

I cried like a baby as soon as I hung up.

It’s only now, after she’s transitioned, do I fully realize how incredibly special and unique our friendship was.

AGMA has been greatly blessed.

I’ll be making that 800 mile trip on Friday to say my final goodbye to her.

But I’m pretty sure she said her goodbye to me…

On Sunday, the day she passed away, AGMA awakened in the wee hours of the morning.  I felt this weird sensation and saw a brief – I mean instantaneously brief – flash of light.  At the time, I wondered it Ann had died and she was visiting me before moving on.  I chalked that thought up to AGMA dramatic middle of the night cray cray.

But when I found out Sunday afternoon that she passed in the early hours of the morning that day, I knew…

Thanks Annie!

Save me a spot in the lunchroom beside you dear friend….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My “life” movie

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Some Baby Boomers define their lives by the music they’ve loved.  Some Boomers look to  look to the Golden Age of television and beloved classic shows like I Love Lucy or The Honeymooners or The Ed Sullivan Shew (really big shew!)  Some BBs identify with a movie that has had a lasting impact on their life.

AGMA is in the last category.

It hit me this past week that my life has been profoundly and deeply influnced by one movie.  My entire view of the world and adulthood is inextricably linked to this masterpiece of the big screen.  The themes have been woven into my life to the point where I don’t know where the movie ends and my life begins.

That move is, of course…

(wait for it…)

White Christmas!

The picture was to throw you off track.

AGMA needs to set the stage for you (pun intended)…

Last week we went to the Atlanta Fabulous Fox Theater to see White Christmas, the musical.   Although it’s been making the rounds since 2004, I’d never had the chance to see it and was pretty darned excited to go.

I gotta tell you, I had high exceptions.  AGMA’s seen WC the movie so many times that I pretty much can recite the most of the dialogue.  Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen are like family that I visit once a year and it’s always a glorious reunion.

Sadly, I was pretty disappointed in the stage adaptation.  I’m sure it’s difficult to take a classic movie and remake it for the stage, but it’s even more challenging if it’s an iconic movie adored by literally billions of people around the globe.  And on Mars.

That may be an exaggeration…

The stage musical was choppy, disjointed and sorta kinda followed the basic plot of the movie, but not really.   There were glaring omissions, unnecessary additions and sh*t that was just plain wrong.

It was all AGMA could do to not walk out.

It starts out like the movie in 1944 with Bob singing White Christmas and General Waverly leaving his troops.  Then the next scene is Phil and Bob doing a nightclub act in 1954.  WTF?  No building falls on Phil so Bob doesn’t get to save him?  How did they become a duo?  Gone from the play is Phils “injured” arm that was a running gag thought the movie.

And there’s no Novello’s in the play.  Phil and Bob meet Judy and Betty at a club in NYC not Florida.  And in the play, Bob and Phil were going to be heading to Florida after the girl’s show. Holy crap, my head was spinning…

Once they got to Vermont, things went from bad to worse.  Emma, the busybody, but lovable, housekeeper in the movie is replaced by Martha, the busybody, not that lovable, former vaudeville star who belts out songs like a wannabe Ethel Merman and wants a part in the show.   Is nothing sacred?

Oh, and the General’s niece, Susan (her name in the play as well), is also a singing and dancing showbiz wannabe who really should have been cast as a snarky orphan in Annie rather than WC.  Evidently it’s a hard knock life in Vermont.

Ed Harrison is gone, and The Ed Harrison Show is replaced with the Ed Sullivan Show Huh? And there’s a farm hand (ski lodge hand?) named Ezekiel who was cute but totally superfluous.

There were extra Irving Berlin songs thrown in that didn’t seem to fit the theme and pretty much wasted time that could have been used for backstory.  And movie songs were left out – Mandy, Choreography, Gee I Wish I was Back in the Army.  WTF?

And in the play, when the Army rejects the General’s request to be put on active duty, he writes to President Eisenhower.  And the President pulls some strings to get him back in and assigned to a post in Europe.  But at the end, he turns it down.  WTF?

Oh, and Bob was taller than Phil.  And Betty was not nearly as snarky in the play as she was in the movie and the stage Judy tried really hard, but her dancing paled in comparison to Vera Ellen.  Oh the humanity!

After being traumatized by the play, AGMA HAD to watch the movie again to set the universe right.

So Hubs and I settled in on Sunday evening to drink some ‘nog (the stuff you buy at the liquor store) and watch White Christmas.  I felt my anxiety easing and the earth started turning on its axis again.

Then it hit me. Like a Robert Mueller subpoena slap across the face.

White Christmas is my “life” movie.

It was made in 1954.  I was made in 1954. We have experienced childhood, puberty,  middle age and now, the beginning of our golden years together.  And I’m pretty sure the movie is aging more gracefully than AGMA.

I realized that a lot of my ideas of adulthood came from WC.  As a teenager, I wanted to be one of those very lovely, sophisticated women, all dressed up to the nines in the final scene, drinking a martini with my brave ex-soldier husband at my side in a ski lodge in Vermont.  In the snow.  On Christmas Eve. With Bing, Rosie, Danny and Vera entertaining me.

I still do.

AGMA loves the themes of the movie – self sacrifice, bravery, loyalty, friendship, love, the importance of family, honoring those who served in the armed forces…

Noble stuff.

Stuff that the stage musical tripped over terribly.

I can hear you ask, ‘Did you like ANYTHING about the musical, AGMA?”

Fair question and yes.

I liked the tap dancing scenes.  And that General Waverly was played by John Schuck.  You remember John Schuck right?  He’s best know for playing dentist Capt. Walter “Painless” Waldowski in the 1970 move M.A.S.H.

Remembering that mock burial scene with him in the coffin made me smile.

Don’t judge me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up time?

aqua velva

In 2014, within a few months of starting AGMA, one of my posts got “Freshly Pressed”.

To be honest, I was so wet behind the ears with this blogging stuff on WP that I really didn’t know what that meant.

But it didn’t take long to figure it out.

AGMA went from something like 25 followers to over 2000 in a matter of weeks.  And I was overwhelmed by the volume of comments.

I handled it with my normal cool aplomb….  I turned red, panicked at the thought of more than 15 people reading my posts, and started hyperventilating.  

It seemed like there might be some lofty expectations from AGMA going forward.  I wasn’t sure I could handle the pressure.  

But I managed to hold my AGMA sh*t together and boldly went forward writing whatever the hell I wanted.  Screw ‘em if they didn’t like it….

That post (No Close Ups!) is still my all time high post for likes and comments.

And it was about lightbulbs.

Go figure.

But get ready faithful readers…. 

Get ready WP Freshly Pressed folks…

Get ready world…

Lightning is about to strike twice.

AGMA went lightbulb shopping again!

It all started when I was perusing the Black Friday ads in the newspaper on Thanksgiving Day. 

“A newspaper, AGMA?  How quaint and retro…”, I can hear you say.

Thanksgiving Day is the one day of the year I ever buy a real live newspaper.   And I know why.  Other than the ads, the rest of the paper was dismal.  I think there were 4 sections that were 6 tiny pages each.  

I don’t know about you but AGMA misses old school newspapers.  A computer screen just doesn’t have the same tactile or visual stimulation.  And you can’t wrap a set of cups and saucers with it when you’re moving.

So in one of the super mega hardware store Black Friday ads, I saw something called a wireless lightbulb.

Wireless lightbulb. Seems like an oxymoron.  Like the phrase “Presidential integrity” (specifically applied to Trumputin.)  Maybe not so much the oxy, but the moron part definately applies…

Upon further research, I realized that the lightbulb still needed to be in a wired socket (whew!)  It’s the control of the bulb that’s wireless.  

This is getting interesting.

No more fumbling around in the dark to find a light switch.  Or using old school mechanical timers. 

These “smart” lightbulbs somehow (does anybody really know how?) connect to your WiFI network and are controlled by an app on your smart phone.  Or a hub. Or Alexa. Or Google Assistant. Or Facebook Portal (never in a million years Zuckerberg, you arrogant snot!)  (OMG – did I say that out loud?) 

Or other demonic devices meant to listen into and/or watch your most intimate moments and plant earwigs in your brain.  

Not surprisingly, AGMA does not own one of these wicked devices, born from the depths of Hell, so I’d have to use the app.  Just sayin’… 

And not only can you control them wirelessly via either a hub or app or evil device, but you can control the color and choose from like 1000 different color choices.  

Seriously.

Always in search for the perfect Christmas gift for tech savvy Son#2, AGMA ventured out on Black Friday to said super mega hardware store.  

And I ended up just staring at the hundreds of lightbulb choices.  Again.  It was overwhelming.  Again.  Just like 4 years ago.

Incandescent bulbs are still around, but in short supply.  Thomas Edison and I are still sad about this.

To AGMA’s surprise, those twisty fluorescent “not really a bulb” bulbs were no where to be seen.  No loss there – I was definitely NOT ready for my close-up when those babies were lit up.    

LED rules the lightbulb aisle now. 

But even on sale, the super mega hardware store price was still pretty high for one of those smart bulbs.

So AGMA ordered one from Amazon on Cyber Monday at like $10 off the super mega hardware store sale price.

I got it a few days ago.  And my curiosity is getting the better of me.  

How does it connect to WiFi?  How does the app work?  Will one of those 1000 colors be THE perfect color for me?  Will I FINALLY be ready for my close-up?  Could one of the 1000s of colors not make the Grand Cheeto look so very orange?

Inquiring AGMA minds may need an answer soon.

Very soon.

I’m sure Son#2 wouldn’t mind getting a nice bottle of Aqua Velva.

Windmills

windmill

It’s AGMA….

You remember me don’t you?  Short and stocky 60 something with the salt n peppa hair, and the obsession with her lazy girls and men’s cycling?

Sure you do!

I’ve been MIA for a spell.

Once again I’ve over committed myself and my beloved AGMA has gotten swept to the side.  Just like leaves on a Finnish forest floor…

15 years ago, I had a friend who only needed 4 hours sleep a night.  Talk about being productive…  She worked full time and raised 3 children as a single parent.  She was a Girl Scout troop leader, involved in her church, took care of her aging parents and had a small business on the side.

Clearly she needed to only need 4 hours sleep a night!

This is not AGMA.

I like to blame my autoimmune disorders for my pooping out so fast during the day, but I honestly think that I’m getting a bit lazy as I get older.

Like, I think, Cadet Bone Spurs.

tRump’s WH schedule for yesterday (11/19/18) consisted of two items.  He and the squinty lady he’s married to at the moment participated in the White House Christmas Tree delivery at 1 PM.  I wonder what that entailed?   Then he ate lunch at 1:30 PM.

Now THAT’S what AGMA’s talking about…

How do I get a piece of this Presidential gig?  I like his hours…

Being civically involved (me, not the Great Cheeto who is clearly NOT civically involved….) has it’s downside.  You actually have to carve time out of your day to actually be involved.  WTF??

And AGMA didn’t have a lot of excess time or energy to begin with…

But it’s that civic “stuff” that’s keeping me from the keyboard.  I’m still registering new Americans to vote at naturalization ceremonies.  And we still have some undecided races here in Georgia.  There’s a run-off election on 12/4 that will decide the next Secretary of State and Public Service Commissioner.

That’s a really short timeline with a major holiday – Thanksgiving – thrown in.

There probably isn’t anybody out there who hasn’t heard about the rampant voter suppression in Georgia leading up to and during the mid-terms.  I had a friend from Australia tell me it was on their news.

It really was worse than you heard.

The person in charge of Georgia’s elections, the Secretary of State, just happened to be running for governor.  And despite calls for him to step down during the campaign, he continued in his role as Secretary of State and Grand Poobah of elections.

No conflict there, right?  Very tRumpian….

It was a shit show of subtle and not so subtle voter suppressions tactics with the end result of him stealing the election from Stacey Abrams and the good people of Georgia.

OMG – AGMA is still so pissed!

Those of us who believe in open and fair elections are channeling our anger toward the 12/4 run-offs.  We are doing whatever needs to be done to support the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State, John Barrow.  He’s Georgia’s best hope for returning integrity to the election process.

Here’s his website in case you feel moved to donate to the cause…  barrowforgeorgia.com

All the above is to say that I’m sooooooo very sorry for ignoring AGMA these past few weeks and (probably) in the coming weeks.  I LOVE this sweet little blog, but I feel like I need to be in this fight right now for every voter who got illegally purged from voter rolls, or who had to fill out a provisional ballot for bogus reasons, or who never received their absentee ballot or got their ballot trashed because they didn’t follow the confusing instructions for submitting them, or who couldn’t stand in a 4 hour line to vote.

Don Quixote and AGMA – always fighting windmills.

Oh yeah – and after the election, then the Christmas crazy starts.

**sigh**

If I only needed only 4 hours of sleep a night…

P.S.   In this season of thankfulness, please know that I am so VERY THANKFUL for all of you and your affection for this quirky little blog.  Gratitude is indeed an underrated attitude…  So THANK YOU and HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!

 

 

 

 

 

BUBBLES!!

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If I made a movie about our recent trip to Istanbul, Rotten Tomatoes would describe it: “The adventurous AGMA and her humorous sidekick Hubs sing and dance their way to Istanbul while encountering wacky blondes, many naked people, and never ending samples of Turkish Delight.” 

Turkey has been on my “list” for a long time now.

A few months ago, after having just read a travel post of one of my favorite bloggers, Life in the Boomer Lane (or LBL), describing her latest trip to Istanbul, AGMA perked up.

Turkish Airlines started flying direct to Istanbul from Atlanta several years ago and offered dirt cheap promotional pricing for a while. But it was right after the terrorist attack on the Araturk Airport and the coup attempt. 

Timing…not so good.

But two years later, LBL’s post about Istanbul got me thinking again…

A couple weeks later, a sale to Istanbul popped into my inbox from one of the travel sites I follow.

It was a sign!

Not only did we book the trip, but two friends of mine from my former life in Ohio decided to join us!  P-A-R-T-A-Y!

AGMA has to say that this was one of the best (albeit shortest) international trips I’ve ever taken.

Sadly for the Turkish people, their currency, the Turkish lira, is at one of the lowest levels against the dollar and Euro it’s ever been.  For Hubs and AGMA, it meant a $3.77 twenty minute Uber ride and lunch for two for at a local place for less than $6.  We left big tips.

Prices for tours, authentic name brand clothes/accessories and “experiences” (think a Turkish Bath) are in Euros because of the unstable lira.  

Did somebody mention Turkish Bath?

Yeah we did!  

We went to the Cagaloglu Hamam. They’ve been scrubbing and bathing the good people of Istanbul since 1741.

Reservations (done via email) are a must because it is a relatively famous Bath in Istanbul.  They have a “Wall of Famous Clients” (pictured above.)

AGMA’s picture will be added beside Oprah’s next week, I feel certain.

We opted for the 50 Euro “Istanbul Experience” – sort of the basic Turkish bath.  

The check-in area in the lobby was serene and peaceful, with a flute player playing mellow melodies. There was a fountain in the middle, and low table and stools for post-bath tea.

Serenity now…

 A lovely woman who spoke wonderful English whisked me off to the “Ladies Only” section.  I said bye to Hubs, praying that he wouldn’t bolt as soon as I left. 

She escorted me to a courtyard area surrounded by dressings rooms. I got my own personal room complete with a lounging couch, a side table, lamp and mirror.  On the couch was a towel and sandals wrapped in plastic.  And some “undies”.

This was getting interesting

I changed out of my clothes, wrapped the lovely towel (called a peshtemal) around me and slipped on my “underwear”.

Turns out, it was a disposable thong.  A thong??  AGMA, for reasons that would be totally clear if you knew me in person, has never worn a thong in her life.  But when in Rome… (or Istanbul!)

When my attendant Eaja came to fetch me, she told to leave my glasses in the dressing room.  AGMA is blind without her glasses.  

In hindsight, it was a good thing.

Eaja lead me to the sauna area first.  The idea was to literally sweat the crap out of your pores.  Turned out, I had a lot of crap in my pores.

After about 15 minutes, Eaja lead me to the large bath area and one of the many sinks that surrounded the large central marble slab.  Sans my towel (oh-la-la) Eaja dumped small bucket full of water on me.  Cool water.  

WTF?

She also washed and rinsed my hair.  With cool water.

Eaja then lead me to the central raised marble slab, laid my towel out and had me lay on my back.  

Mind you, AGMA is only clothed in her “thong”.  YIKES!  But my fuzzy vision could tell that everybody else was going almost commando.

It took me about a minute to get over it.  I guess that answers my question about going to a nudist camp!

Then Eaja started scrubbing me with a kese (a exfoliating mitt).  And baby, she scrubbed me from head to toe.  On both sides.

No soap; just the kese.  From the looks of the kese afterwards, I was pretty grubby.

But the next part…OMG…was the best!

BUBBLES!!!

More bubbles than I’ve ever seen in my life!  They covered me like a blanket.

Then a massage.  A bubble massage.  For about 10 minutes.

I flopped over onto my tummy, and got bubbled and massaged again.

AGMA was sooooo relaxed and little fuzzy on what happened next… 

Somehow, I got rinsed, wrapped in a dry towel and was lying down on a lounger back in the dressing room courtyard with a cup of tea, small glass of sharbat and some pieces of Turkish delight beside me.  

After 15 minutes of lounging and sort of getting my wits back, I changed in my dressing room (sadly leaving my “thong” behind.)  I dried my hair, gave Eaja a nice tip and was off in search of Hubs.

I found him in a robe, with his hair in a towel, drinking tea on a lounger in one of the rooms off the lobby.  Smiling.

He LOVED it!  Whew…

The wacky blonde was my friend who almost spent $500 (but didn’t) on saffron for “stocking stuffers” in the Grand Bazaar.  Long story…   

And Turkish Delight was EVERYWHERE and everybody wants to give you a sample!  

It was a quick hit trip – we were only gone for 5 days.  But it was a truly amazing 5 days. 

We found the Turkish people incredibly friendly and so very helpful.  Somebody was always willing to help Hubs and I when we needed to lift up his mobility scooter on a curb or up some stairs.

AGMA signed up for Turkish Airlines deal emails as soon as we got home!

I can’t wait to go back to get scrubbed and bubbled again!  Naked (nearly…)

Don’t judge me.

 

Tape me!

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So last week turned out to be every bit as cray cray as AGMA thought it would.

Readers Digest version…  We went to Naples, Florida on Thursday for a weekend wedding.  Son #1 was Best Man so he rented a 5 bedroom condo and brought the wife and kids.  And my DIL’s parents came as well.  And Son #2.

And we celebrated my sweet grandaughter’s 2nd birthday.  And got together with my Belle Mare’s (DIL’s mom) newly discovered siblings (thanks to Hubs brilliant genealogy research – that’s going to be a whole other post!)

And got together with my old boss who I haven’t seen in 5 years.  And entertained a few friends who came down for the wedding.  And went to the beach.

Besides the wedding, we went to the “out of towners” cocktail reception the night before.  And all the guests were invited to breakfast on Sunday.

Busy.

The groom is my Son #1’s BFF and was Best Man in my son’s wedding eight years ago.  They grew up together in Cincinnati, a lovely, but very conservative town in southwestern Ohio.

I used to be very good friends with Groom’s mom.  And all of the other moms of the kids Son #1 hung around with in Junior and Senior High.

But something ugly and orange happened on November 8, 2016.

And we are no longer good friends.  Some of the moms defriended me on Facebook because of my rather “spirited” comments on Cadet Bone Spurs and his Nazi posse.  Others, I’m sure, are following my posts closely and report them to the Bolton Gestapo.

AGMA won’t be going into any US Embassies on my travels.

So what’s the best passive aggressive way to show these GOP right wing Ohio mom’s that AGMA denounces all the hate the Massive Cheeto stands for, and is pro-humanity, pro-decency, pro-diversity, pro-equality, and pro-compassion?

I needed to show up at that wedding looking absolutely fabulous.  Of course.

This proved to be a challenge.  AGMA is a no make-up, comfy jeans, and Birkenstocks (generic of course…) kinda gal.

But I had a plan:

Step 1.  Get a “blow-out”.  It’s not what it sounds like…  It’s where you go to a hair salon looking place, but they don’t do haircuts.  They only wash, blow-dry and style your hair.  I spent $44 bucks (ouch) and the “do” lasted for about 8 hours.  But it was long enough.

Step 2.  Wear make-up.  The “blow-out” place also does make-up, but AGMA felt that would be over kill.  So for what I would have spent on them smearing stuff on my face, I went out and bought a whole slew of make-up and brushes.  Evidently you need a separate brush for everything. Seems like a bit of a racket…

Step 3.  Wear a fabulous dress.  AGMA doesn’t like wearing dresses.  So I really needed it to be very comfy.  But chic.  I found a winner on a visit to Nordstrom’s Rack,.  And better yet, it was on sale for – I kid you not – $13.50.

Crazy considering it was a great brand, lined and really good quality.

And it has a little strip of rhinestones in back.  At the top before the back plunges down almost to my waist.

What??

A plunging back?  With my barcalounger lazy girls that require severe trussing up on a daily basis?

If you didn’t already, you can read about them on a post I wrote not too long ago here.

Ever the optimist, AGMA felt confident that I could find some way to hold them in place.  Somehow.

There are these things called “sticky” bras.  They are supposed to hold you up and allow you to wear backless, strapless stuff.  AGMA found out they are mostly made for 34AA types.

I need support.  Lots and lots and lots of support.  There were a few who made that promise…  I bought a “sticky” bra at a store and ordered another one online to have options.

Then I found this hysterical post about a woman in a similar situation.  Her conclusion, “Stick-on bras are not made for women with a lotta boob, full stop.”

Her solution?

Tape.

The magic answer was to tape the ladies into submission.

Not scotch tape or duct tape or electrical tape, but Gaffer Tape.

I did a practice taping at home to make sure that it would work.  AGMA wanted to give the girls the help they needed, but also wanted to make sure the damn stuff would really stick.  Disaster could ensure if it let loose at the wrong time.

Oh the humanity!

To make a long story that NOBODY wants to hear short, it worked!

My hair looked fantastic. I did a decent job of putting on makeup (AGMA practiced that too!) and wore lipstick.  And the dress was lovely and chic in front but oh so sexy in back.

Take that you GOPers!

There was one point in the evening, after I had been dancing up a storm and sweating a bit, that I felt a few of the “anchor” pieces sort of peel off.  Uh oh…  But it lasted a few more dances until we left the reception.

Sweet.

It was a beautiful wedding.  The bride was stunning and the groom dashingly handsome.  Son #1’s toast went over very well.  And we all, blue, red, and purple, behaved ourselves and nobody talked politics.

We got home late Monday afternoon.  AGMA’s still exhausted.

But that’s okay…   I can sleep on the plane tonight.

Yup – AGMA’s hitting the road yet again.

This time it’s a short trip to Istanbul (or is it Constantinople?)

And AGMA and Hubs are going to go to a Turkish Bath.

I sense a really funny blog post in a week or so…

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!