A day in the life…

clock

I know that ya’ll have been wondering what my ‘typical’ day might look like.  “How does AGMA pass the time?” is a question you probably ask yourself on a daily basis.

Understandable.

Let’s use today as an example of a typical, dysfunctional day in my life.

While my day usually starts around 6:30 AM or 7:00 AM, I slept in a bit.  What??  But I had good reason.  Last night Hubs and I went to see….

…wait for it…

Jon Stewart and Dave Chappelle!  Yeah – THAT Jon Stewart and THAT Dave Chappelle.

With special guests Michelle Wolfe of the 2018 White House Correspondence Dinner fame and Chris Tucker of the Rush Hour movie franchise fame.

AGMA stayed up way too late gaffawing the night away.  But it was epic!

At 7:20 this morning, our cats, Gux and Max, made it known that they were over this sleeping nonsense, and that I needed to get up chop chop and feed them.  I went back to bed after depositing kibble in their bowls.

I got up again at 8:00 to clean up some food that Max puked up.  On our bedspread.

Delightful.

Hubs and I discovered about 20 minutes later that the REST of the food expelled by Max was in a huge pile on our bed sheet in between our pillows.  Glad I didn’t try to shimmy over to snuggle Hubs.

Double delightful.

With the washing machine now swishing in the background, AGMA got ready for the day.  This required I look in the mirror which is always a shocking proposition in the morning.

Washed, brushed, curled and flossed, it was time to take care of some work stuff.

My little Ebay business is picking up again so I needed to get a package ready to ship.  4 English china teacups and saucers.  Scary.  I know I used too much bubble wrap.  AGMA’s  anal in that way.

With the package sealed and labeled, now I needed to figure out if I had enough time to go to the USPO before my physical therapy appointment.

My appointment was in 40 minutes.  I still hadn’t had breakfast, the post office is 15 minutes away, then another 25 to my PT appt.

Just enough time if I grab a banana, put in a mobile order at Starbucks for a mocha, and get all green lights.

Unknown…how long of a line there would be at the Post Office.

AGMA’s always willing to roll the dice.

All green lights?  Not nearly, but there was no line in the USPO and I managed to avoid some accident brouhaha near Starbucks.

I got to my 11:00 AM appointment at precisely 10:59 AM.

It’s a charmed life!

My PT specializes in spine issues.  This is good since I recently found out I have a nasty case of scoliosis in my lumbar spine.  Really nasty.

Bummer.

But it explains a lot.  Since February, running has caused me a lot of hip pain and, later at night, radiating pain down my entire right leg.  Really ouchy stuff.  Difficult to get comfortable.  And I was limping like Chester on Gunsmoke (not everybody’s going to get that reference…)

This has been cause for concern.  I’m supposed to run 26.2 miles in early October as a charity runner.  Friends and family have donated over $2100 to the cause.

AGMA. Must. Run.

Exercises over the course of several weeks proved unsuccessful, so last week my PT tried “dry needling”.  Yeah – it’s just like it sounds…

He exposed my cellulite infested right buttock and proceeded to poke needles into my hindquarters.  It’s sort of like acupuncture, but the needles go deeper and into muscle tissue.

AGMA only yelped twice.

THEN he hooked some of the needles up to an electrical current.  He let my rear end pulsate for 15 minutes.  It felt like simmering butt stew.

But it helped immensely.  There are still some sensations down my leg, but no hip pain during my runs.  And my limp is still there, but it’s much reduced.

So AGMA showed up to my PT appointment today and said, “Bring it on!”

Because there’s been a bit of numbness in my right foot the past few days, he put even MORE needles in this week.  And he turned the current up so that, every now and then, one of my lateral rotator muscles in my rear would start to jiggle.  Like jello.  Cellulite jello.

AGMA kinda wanted a cigarette afterwards.

I’d love to have a picture of the whole set-up, but couldn’t figure out how to ask him without him thinking I was a bit of a freak.

Maybe next week I’ll try a selfie.  Of my butt with needles sticking out and little electrodes hooked up to them.

I am a freak.

And now I’m at Dancing Goats reading blogs, making comments, answering comments and writing this post.

Cats puking on the bed, speeding to the Post Office, shoving a banana down at a stoplight for sustenance, getting electrified needles stuck in my rear, blogging….

Pretty much a typical day for AGMA.

Aging Gracefully My Ass (literally…)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Control freak

 

ControlFreakMeme

Source:  RotteneCards

Okay, I know this is going to sound morbid, but AGMA’s started gathering the pictures I want displayed at my funeral/memorial/celebration of life service.

Ewwww…  Who does that?

Note of disclosure:  There is no imminent threat of my departing this life anytime time soon that I am aware.  No new medical diagnosis or forebodings. Nothing (other than the normal ‘I could step out on a street and get hit by a car’ notion) that would lead me to believe I need to hurry up and get my affairs in order.

AGMA’s just a bit of a control freak.

I was trying to sort out the junk we have in our 4th floor closets.  Since we live in a townhouse with no basement, but a finished top level, the 4th floor has become what our basements used to be…  The place of collection of our precious belongs.

You know, the junk.

Found…a Lladro figurine collection.  They’ve been in a box since 2010.  Also found….the chachkies/pictures we had on our built-in bookcases two houses ago.  They’ve been in a box since 2010 too.

AGMA can’t say that I’ve missed them.

We have two walk-in closets on the 4th floor.  The wire shelving in both have collapsed and ripped out of the wall from the weight of the myriad of boxes I stacked on them.

Oops…

I haven’t told Hubs yet.

So in trying to bring order out of chaos before informing Hubs, I started digging into some of the boxes that fell.  There was one with shoeboxes – soooo many shoeboxes – of pictures from 1963 to the early 2000’s in them.

Of course, AGMA couldn’t resist a stumble down memory lane.

Fresh on my mind was my old friend Scott.  Scott had been a friend of Hubs and I since college.  He was younger than us by a few years and full of energy, life, fun and mischief.

In the days before social media, for all of you young whippersnappers out there, the annual Christmas/holiday letter via snail mail was our version of a timeline.  Far flung friends got brought up to date with our lives over the preceding year through this annual ritual.

And so it was with Scott after we graduated.  For 30+ years, we communicated once a year with him.

Then, in 2011, we started making annual trips back to Tucson to visit my MIL and old friends still living there.  Like Scott.

We were delighted to discover that he was much the same – full of energy, life, fun and mischief.  30+ years older, yes, but with a positive outlook on life that was contagious.  He was like Peter Pan – the boy who never really grew up.  We always looked forward to visiting Scott, and hearing about his latest adventures and plans for the future.

Our last visit to Tucson was this past October.  We a lovely evening with Scott and his new wife.  I felt like he’d finally found his soul mate.  We had a great time with them.

Last week, we heard through a friend that Scott was in hospice.  WTF?  Two days later his wife let us know that Scott had passed away.

He was only 62.

So while AGMA was looking through those old pictures on the 4th floor, my heart was heavy at the sudden loss of our friend.  And I started wondering what his memorial service would be like.

I hope that it will be fun and uplifting just like Scott was.  And full of images from his life which was a wonderful mix of adventure, service to the less fortunate and family.  Hubs is going and will give me a full report when he gets back.

But then I started wondering what AGMA’s ‘celebration of life’ might be like.  Not in a morbid sense; more curious than anything else.   And what kind of images there will be to show the highlights/lowlights (gotta keep it real) of AGMA’s time on earth to those who come to party.  Because it WILL be a party.

Oh no – this is just too important to leave up to Hubs and sons…  They’re guys and wouldn’t have a clue.

So I started putting ‘AGMA approved’ pictures aside for that final hoorah.

I can hear the announcement at the memorial now, “AGMA selected all of the pictures in this montage of her life many years ago because she was such a freaking CONTROL FREAK!”

That’s cool…

At least I know I’ll look cute.

RIP sweet Peter Pan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Latern Rouge

laternrouge

This is a story about bloodied bodies, broken bones, man tears, epic battles of the spirit, redemption and altruism.

Not AGMA’s normal fare.

It’s is a story within the bigger story of this year’s Tour de France.

No, no, no…PLEASE don’t close this window.  I know most of you aren’t interested in cycling but PLEASE keep reading.  Trust me – this is an incredible story.  You might even want to bring out a hankie…

Rather than go on and on about how amazing it was (it was) and how it’s the most grueling athletic event in the world (it is), AGMA wants to tell you the story of one unforgettable, brave rider.

Meet Lawson Craddock.  The 26 year old Texan was one of the 5 Americans in the TdF this year.  This was his 2nd TdF and he rides for the EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale team.

Can you imagine how much room that name takes up on their jerseys?

Men’s Elite Cycling 101 Primer (a bit of a snoozer but bear with me)…  The professional teams start training for the “Grand Tours” in January as well as the Spring Classics (1 day races) and the week long races (Tour of Switzerland and Tour of California for example.)  The Grand Tours are 3 bike races that are 21 days long – the Tour of Italy (Giro d’Italia), the Tour de France, and the Tour of Spain (Vuelta a Espana.)

Each professional team has around 26 riders on it.  For the Grand Tours, each team’s director is allowed to only select 8 riders on their team to participate in each one.  Sometimes a rider gets chosen to ride in two of the Grand Tours. Not too often though because they are grueling races (over 2000 mile each) that take place only a month or two apart from each other.

Some riders never get chosen to ride in a Grand Tour.  Sad face…  😦

But they ALL, without exception, want to ride in the Tour de France because it’s the most prestigious bike race in the world.  Yeah it is!

The professional teams announce their TdF teams about a week before the race starts.  Some riders know they are going to be on the team far in advance if they are considered a team leader.  Other are on the bubble and don’t know until a few days before the teams are announced that they’ve made the team.

Lawson was one of those riders on the bubble. He didn’t know until the last minute that he’d made the team.  His job, as the others on the EF Drapac TdF team, would be to ride in support of their team leader, Rigoberto Uran.  Rigoberto finished a surprising 2nd in the 2017 Tour, and they had high hopes that he could win the TdF in 2018.

Lawson’s rider number in the Tour was 13.  Ahh oh…  In an attempt to fend off bad luck, he wore the number upside down.  It didn’t work.

About 60 miles into Stage 1 of this year’s TdF, Lawson’s bike hit a water bottle in the Feed Zone (the area that the riders get snack bags full of treats) and crashed hard.  Really hard.  Only 60 miles into this 21 day, 2082 mile race.

Battered, bruised and with blood pouring out of a gash above his left eyebrow, he got back onto his bike and continued riding.  It’s just what cyclists do…

craddock

Lawson as he finished Stage 1

Like other injured riders who press on after an accident, Lawson was treated by the Tour doctor.  While he was riding his bike.  While the doctor is hanging out of a convertible going 30 mph.  Crazy stuff!

Lawson finished the stage.  In last place.  During a post race interview, he broke down into tears.  He knew he had a potentially race ending injury.  All that training.  All that sacrifice.  Only to crash on the first day.  Of THE Tour.

He needed stitches to close the gash above his eyebrow.  And X-rays showed he fractured his scapula.  Plus he hurt all over.

“That’s it,” I told Hubs, “he’s out of the race.”

But we are taking about cyclists here, not soccer players.  Ouch…

That night, Lawson tweeted that he was going to start Stage 2 and ride as far as possible on the stage.  And not only was he going to start, but he pledged a $100 donation for each stage he finished to a fund to restore the Alkek Velodrome in Houston, TX that was decimated by Hurricane Harvey last year.  He challenged all of his fans to do likewise.   The Alkek Velodrome is where scores of hopeful kids in Houston get their start in bike racing.  It’s where Lawson got his start.

He started and finished Stage 2.  And Stage 3, and Stage 4, and Stage 5, and, and, and….

Stage 9 had 13.5 miles of France’s infamously rough and bumpy cobblestones.  He said he would double his donation to $200 if he finished that stage.  AGMA didn’t think he’d do it.  He did.

Through the Alps and the Pyrenees, there were 26 climbs up mountains.  Really, really big mountains.  And lots of twists and turns in the roads descending the mountains.

And as every day passed, the donations to the Alkek Velodrome kept coming in.

Stage 20 was an individual time trial.  Each cyclist rides the route by themselves as fast as they can.  The rider with the best time after all the rider have ridden the route is the stage winner.

Lawson was interviewed again after he finished his time trial on Stage 20.  There were more tears.  This time though, they were tears of unabashed relief and joy.  He was going to make it to Paris the next day for Stage 21 and finish the Tour.

Oh, did I mention there are time limits on each stage? If a rider finishes outside of that time limit, he is out of the Tour.  Poof.  Goodbye.  Five riders left the Tour because they were outside the time limit on some of the mountain stages.

Not Lawson.

One rider was DQed for being a bad boy and punching another rider.  Some riders had to abandon the race because of illness.  Other riders were injured too badly to continue.  A broken collarbone here, a fractured vertebra there, and throw in a fractured patella. Some riders just abandon because the mountains were too hard.  31 riders in all left the race before it reached Paris.

Not Lawson.

He rode across the finish line in Paris on Sunday with his EF Drapac teammates who gave him unwavering support throughout the entire 21 days of racing.

efdrapac

Lawson and teammate American Taylor Phinney after they crossed the finish line in Paris on Sunday.  Taylor broke his nose when he crashed on a descent on Stage 19 and face planted on a tree.   And he rode two more stages.  With a broke nose.  And a fractured orbital plate underneath his right eye.  Only in the Tour…

Lawson rode across the finish line as the Latern Rouge of the 2018 Tour de France.

The Lantern Rouge is designation given the rider to who finishes in last place.  It’s named after the red lantern that was on the back of the caboose of a train back in the day.  Bringing up the rear – get it?

And he made a little bit of TdF history…he was the first rider to be in the Latern Rouge position at the end of each stage for the entire race.

But he finished the race.

He admitted that he was in intense pain for most of the Tour and that he wanted to quit more than once.  But the donations coming in for his beloved Velodrome keep him peddling forward.  One kilometer at a time.

Lawson was hoping to raise $2000.  As of July 30th, his campaign has raised over $225,000.

And now you know why AGMA loves her cycling so much!

 

 

 

Old friends

washer

When Son#2 was around 4, our dishwasher died. Feeling rather panicked at the idea of…OMG no…hand washing all of our dishes, AMGA and Hubs went out to purchase a new one immediately. When the delivery/installation people pulled out the dead dishwasher and hauled it away, Son#2 started wailing.

Evidently he and the dishwasher had a ‘special relationship’. Like Putin and Cheeto Man.

Only the passage of time and M&M’s managed to calm him down. It took about 15 minutes. I think he liked the look of the new dishwasher.

4 year olds tend to be a bit fickle.

Once upon at time, AMGA laughed at what’s become known as “the dishwasher incident”.

Not anymore… I get it now.

Some of AGMA’s best friends are machines.

Take Goldie for example.

Goldie is my 2008 Toyota Prius. I bought her in September of 2007 after I was T-boned in my 2006 Prius – Bluie – on I-75 at about 50mph.

The good news was that AGMA was basically unharmed from the accident. The bad news is that Bluie was totaled.

(Can you guess the colors my last two cars? AGMA’s creativity is simply astounding and can’t be contained… I’m like an American Dali.)

So I’ve had Goldie for nearly 11 years. That is the longest I’ve ever owned a car. It’s 25% of my car owning life.

I feel old.

AGMA tends to take my cars for granted. I get Goldie regular oil changes and check-ups, but other than that, I basically ignore her.

My interior looks like I am homeless, and live in my car. On any given day you can find a treasure trove of banana peels, energy bars, half empty coffee cups, a plethora of napkins from Starbucks, mail, a variety of plastic utensils, salt and pepper packets, 15 reusable shoppings, empty soda cans and used dental floss (ewww…) in her interior.

There’s a large chocolate spot in the rear hatch back carpet area (spilled mocha), the carpet under the gas pedal is thread bare. Her glove compartment is stuffed with oil change receipts that date back to 2008.

But despite my treatment of her, Goldie has been very, very good to me. She’s been the most dependable mode of transport I’ve ever had. And she hasn’t been fussy at all.

Plus, she gets killer gas mileage – 48mpg. Her hybrid battery, that was supposed to last only 7 years, has far exceeded expectations.

Which is exactly why AGMA is thinking that it might be time to start looking around for a late model used car.

Shhhh – don’t tell Goldie.

Truth be told, I’d love to have a car with all that hands free stuff and blue tooth and the internet and the loud alarms that let you know you’re too close to the mailbox when you’re backing up.

My son and DIL have a car that parallel parks itself! WHAT?? Yeah it does!

But then I look at Goldie. And I realize that she’s a lot like me. Not fancy, not flashy, not a lot of bells and whistles. But sturdy, dependable, cute in a 2008 way and wears her mileage well.

I’m pretty attached to her. I’m real attached to her actually.

I think it might be love.

And then there’s AGMA’s washing machine and dryer.

We bought them waaaayyy back in 1995. Well before the advent of high efficiency (HE) front loading washers.

There’s something about those front loaders that I don’t trust.

My son and DIL have one, and I watch it sometimes when I’m visiting.

Seriously.

It just sort of tosses the clothes around in what looks like 1/2 cup of water and a tablespoon of detergent. I guess it’s fine for now while their kids are little. But there’s nothing like a full tub of soapy water and a violent agitator to knock the crap out of the clothes to get the the grime out of a 10 year old’s play shorts and shirt.

AGMA’s going to be sad when they need replacing. Which may be soon. Actually, at this point, every load they do is a gift.

I’ll be sad not only from a “Holy sh*t…a new washer is how much???” perspective, but from a ‘tug on my heartstrings’ one as well.

I washed/dried innumerable soccer, baseball, football and track uniforms in them. I washed/dried the last couple of years of little boy play clothes before they turned into teenage angst clothes. I washed/dried pants & shirts that were worn to junior and senior high school dances. And I washed/dried massive loads of clothes brought home from college on breaks.

Call AGMA crazy, but I kinda miss those days…

I washed/dried throw rugs that were ‘messed on’ by our dog, KC, and our cats, Wart, Willie, Caesar, Gus and Max. Okay – maybe not such a fond memories of the messes, but 4 out of the 6 critters have gone over the rainbow bridge. I still miss them…

I washed/dried my sweet step-mother’s clothes in them weekly while she was in the Alzheimer’s unit of a local nursing home. And AGMA was very grateful for the long soak cycle at the beginning, the extra wash cycle and the extra rinse cycle. If you catch my drift. She’s now been gone for 17 years. I will always miss her…

Yeah…AGMA is just one big sentimental blob about my washer and dryer.

And Goldie.

I’ll probably cry like Son#2 did so many years ago when they reach the end of the road.

Anybody have any M&M’s?

 

Crones of Anarchy

thats-not-how-this-works

Facebook and AGMA have been a ‘thing’ for over 10 years now.

Mostly, it’s been a positive ‘thing’. To prevent hacks, my page’s security is as tight as Melania’s face. And I’ve been able to reconnect with people I haven’t seen since Richard Nixon was pseudo-President and The Beatles were still making beautiful music together.

Facebook has changed a lot these past 10+ years.

Now it has all these algorithms built in it to target tons of advertising and the appropriate Russian trolls to on your personal FB page. They also dictate which one of your friend’s posts appear on your timeline. So you can have 400 ‘friends’ (serioulsy?) but only see the posts of 25 of them on your timeline. You can always pop on over to those 375 other ‘friend’s’ (seriously?) pages to see what they’re up to, but c’mon…

“What the hell is an algorithm anyway?”

I’m glad you asked.

According to the first definition that pops up on Google, an algorithm is “a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.”

Clear as the accounting on the Trump Foundation’s balance sheets, right?

I guess Facebook used special algorithms when it sent all of our personal information to Cambridge Analytica for the tRumputin campaign.  Those wacky kids!

But AGMA fully believed Mark Zuckerburg when he said Facebook would change it’s ways. And AGMA fully believed that Facebook would do an amazing job of protecting its users data in the future from unauthorized collection. AGMA also fully believed that Facebook would not need any government regulation – they would do just a dandy job policing themselves.

Oh crap! I misspoke. I meant wouldn’t! WOULDN’T!!

But despite the trolls and stolen personal data, AGMA still has her FB page. They say a bad love is better than no love at all…

However, the number of ‘friends’ AGMA can claim has dwindled a bit since November 8, 2016. My posts since that day have tended towards scathing criticisms of Putin’s Puppet and his band of merry traitors. I asked people to de-friend AGMA if my posts offended them. Some obliged. Quite a few actually.

Including my brother. He also de-friended my sister, who is the most gentle soul you can imagine, because she’s against caging children, supports common sense gun laws and wants a President who actually likes the rule of law, democracy, American, and Americans. And our allies.

Go figure.

One day, under the “Facebook Pages You Might LIke” side bar on my FB page (clearly al-go-rhythm driven), a page named Crones of Anarchy popped up. Clearly the name held great appeal for AGMA.

Why not?

AGMA’s definitely a Crone, and a little bit of Anarchy is good for the soul.

But to be a part of the Crone club, you had to take a test. AGMA hates tests. I guess they don’t want any posers – Russian trolls or males or unCroney women. Or Cult45-ers.

I get that.

The good news is that I passed! I’m in baby!! AGMA’s officially a Crone!

But then you knew that.

So if any of you ladies are on Facebook and have felt, deep on the inside, that you are and have always been a Crone, check them out.

Guys…AGMA doesn’t know what to tell you… Maybe the Crones of Anarchy can start a fraternal branch. You know, like the Eastern Star is to the Masons?

I’ll make that suggestion at our next Crone meeting and get back to you.

 

P.S. AGMA sincerely apologizes for my unexplained absence these past 2 weeks. Been visiting the MAGCITW (the grands) which is always exhausting and all time consuming.

I missed a lot of sh*t that went on in the world while I was immersed in Peppa Pig and playing good car/bad car/good train/bad train.

Sending late, but very hardy KUDOS to my friends living in the UK (or is it England, or Great Britain, or the United Kingdom?) for the AWESOME BABY TRUMP BALLOON!

And having a Queen who, very passive aggressively, wore her Barack Obama gifted brooch when meeting Putin’s Poodle. You rock Beth!

Hail Britannia!

Goats who dance

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On any given day of the week, you will find me hard at work on AGMA in my favorite coffee shop, Dancing Goats Coffee Bar.

Seriously, how can it be anything less than awesome with a name like Dancing Goats?

When I decided to start AGMA (the blog) in December of 2013, I knew I couldn’t write at home. Home was not the place to birth AGMA – too much cat hair.

I needed excitement.  I needed inspiration. I needed a place full of diverse, interesting people. I needed the stimulation of hipster surrounds.  Because AGMA – the blog and the person – is nothing if it isn’t hipster.

But most of all, I needed great coffee.

Not sure how I found Dancing Goats. It’s about 4 miles from my house so I must pass at least 6 other coffee shops on the way here. But it’s located in Decatur, GA which is a liberal enclave in the very red area surrounding Atlanta. It’s also close to world class Emory University and the all-women Agnes Scott College. DG is quite large inside with lots of seats, natural light and great wifi.

And they have great coffee.

Many a time, AGMA has come to Dancing Goats write with no clue as to what I was was going to write.  And many a time, DG has come to the rescue, providing the most interesting source material in the world – human beings. Something I see or hear will flip a rusty switch in my brain.  Actually, they’re all rusty.

Dancing Goats has provided many ah ha moments.

And did I mention they have great coffee?

My favorite seat at the high counters by the windows. On the wide end. There are 4 of them in the shop. It’s hard to explain….

During the school year, it gets really crowded. Sometimes I have to sit somewhere else. This is very definitely a 1st world problem.  But AGMA can’t seem to write as well as I can in one of the four favored seats.

Today I’m in one of the four.

This could be a Freshly Pressed post in the making.

I’ve met incredibly interesting people at DG. College professors, graduate students working on their doctorates, film industry folks, foreign visitors, business types, harried moms with their toddlers… All ages, colors, shapes and what ever else you can think of. Like I said, human beings.

…who all love great coffee.

And today, I was reminded just how much I love the staff here.

They’re normally stellar and recognize their “regulars”. AGMA tries to come once a week so I think that qualifies me as a regular…

And did I mention they make great expresso drinks?

Today, as I was ordering my mocha (fyi, AGMA is a mocha whore), the young lady behind the counter asked, “Is that a Tour de France shirt you’re wearing?”

I was stunned.  This woman was my very favorite person in the world at that moment!

“Why yes!” I said excitedly, “It starts tomorrow you know!” And I proceeded to show her the Tour de France logo on the sleeve.

“It’s official Tour de France merchandise.”

Yes, boys and girls… YES!!!

It’s what AGMA longs for 48 weeks of the year. It’s 21 days of sheer joy and delight. It’s the time of year where you will find me glued to the television (or my phone if I have to be out and about) every morning for 3 hours. It’s the biggest, most grueling annual athletic event in the world with the best athletes in the world. (Yeah – I said it…)

It’s the Tour de France!!!

(crickets)

For those of you who are relatively new to AGMA, I have this recently acquired inexplicable passion for professional men’s elite cycling. I just LOVE watching it. And it’s not the tight spandex suits these very fit young men wear.

Butt it doesn’t hurt.

I had the thrill of actually being there twice in the past 5 years, and it’s an experience like no other. It’s pretty much the best party ever!

Imagine that you are a fanatic football fan and get to go to the Super Bowl, or a crazed college basketball fan and get to go the the NCAA finals. Or (very timely) a serious soccer fan and get to go to the World Cup finals.

SSSSSSCCCCCCOOOOOORRRRRREEEEEE!

That’s what it’s like for AGMA.

They guesstimate that, in 2016, between 10 to 12 million fans lined the roadsides in France over the Tour’s 3 week duration.

It’s really a sad that, once Lance Armstrong fell from grace (as he should have),  American interest in cycling shriveled up like Cadet Bonespur’s winkie.

But that’s another post (on the state of American cycling, NOT CB’s winkie…)

AGMA will try very hard to find time to post over the next three weeks, but I’m making no guarantees.

I’m going to be very busy managing my four – countem’, FOUR – TdF fantasy cycling teams. I’ll report how well my teams did in August.

AGMA knows you’ll be holding your breath until then.  Naturally.

Watch out world, the SpandexAvengers are on the loose!!

I need a cigarette…

Who’s the fairest?

snow-white-magic-mirror

“Vanity working on a weak head, produces every sort of mischief” – Jane Austen

Beloved author and all around awesome English babe, Jane Austen lived from 1775 to 1817. She died waaaayyy too young at 41 from, what scholars believe, was Hodgkins Lymphoma.

Unlike “I can’t sit still” AGMA, Jane never went more than 150 miles from her home in the south west part of England. But nevertheless she had a keen understanding of human nature that shines in her works. Her characters are just like people we come in contact with everyday. I mean, we all know somebody like Mr. Darcy or Elizabeth Bennett or Lydia Bennett or Mr. Wickham.

Did I mention Pride and Prejudice ROCKS!

Emma was updated on the big screen in 1995 for a new generation by the movie Clueless.

And who can forget the 2016 movie classic, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?

Jane understood people, and their flaws and their strengths, and how it all impacts them in their relationships . Because she was so spot on in her assessment of the human condition, her books transcend time, culture and geography.

Can you tell AGMA’s a fan?

And she sure as hell knew about vain people.

Just look at the massive Orange Cheeto in the WH with his hair transplants, his fake tan and his Twitter account.

Weak head? Check. Mischief? Understatement.

Baby Boomers are in their 60’s and 70’s. Our youth obsessed culture is more obsessed than ever.  Forever 21 is more than a retail store; it’s a way of life.

There is a pot load of money to be made out there from folks like us.

Google “anti-aging products” and you get like a kazillion hits. The global (‘cuz nobody, no matter where they live, wants to look old…) was 250 billion – with a “B” – in 2016, and is expected to reach nearly $331 billion – with a “B” by 2021 (according to a report by OrbisResearch.)

Holy Hyaluronic Acid!

I am not immune to the power of the dark side.

Don’t judge me.

AGMA has always been an “au natural” beauty. I kind of grimaced when I typed the word “beauty”…

I’ve never worn much make-up. A touch of eyeliner here, a bit of blush there for the last umpteen years. Of late, I’ve given the eyeliner and blush.

And AGMA has never had a skin care regiment. I wash my face and smear a moisturizer with sunscreen on afterward. The sunscreen part makes my dermatologist happy.

While my extremely oily skin was a cause for much gnashing of teeth, wearing of sackcloth and sitting in ashes when I was young, it’s served me nicely as I’ve aged. Once I stopped getting zits. In my 50’s.

OMG.

But of late, AGMA has wondered if I need to start a “formal” skin care regimen. Should I wade into anti-aging money pit?

“What do you mean you don’t use retinol on your skin? You should use it everyday Aunt AGMA!” exclaimed my 46 year old niece when I visited her a few weeks ago. I should?

Maybe I should.

I did some research when I got home. Evidently there are things that I could be doing to my face that would make it “brighter, clearer and removes fine lines and wrinkles”.

Welcome to $250 billion band wagon AGMA!

The basics seem to be a mild cleanser (check), a toner, a moisturizer during the day (check) and a cream with RETINOL at night. I call them the Big 4. Plus you need to add a facial mask once a week to “pull out the impurities”.

Sounds like something that needs to happen at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

So companies will sell you their specially packaged skin care regimen. The cult of Mary Kay and the pink Cadillac has been doing this since 1963. My MIL has been selling and using Mary Kay for years.

Based on her skin’s appearance (somewhere between the basketball from the first NCAA championship in 1939 and my old hiking boots), AGMA will pass on that one.

There are a lot of other companies that want me to contribute my share to the $250 billion.

One has the Big 4 for $170 on Amazon. Plus eye cream for $65. And “Renewing Serum” for $94.

Does anybody actually know what renewal serum is? Sounds like something they used in an episode of the Twilight Zone.

As usual, AGMA went in a “value” direction.

I ordered a witch hazel (an oldie but a goodie) hydrating toner for $13, a night cream with RETINOL (my niece would be so proud!) for $24.00 and bentonite clay for a facial mask for $9.00. I already had the other stuff.

Excitement filled Casa AGMA when my Amazon package appeared two days later (Prime of course.) Next stop…clearer, brighter and less wrinkled/fine lined skin!

So it’s been 2 weeks now. And while AGMA’s skin is softer to the touch I can’t say I look much different. Not clear, not brighter and definitely not less wrinkled/fine lined.

Bummer.

Maybe I need to adjust my expectations?

Maybe AGMA should keep on keeping on because what I’m doing now is healthier for my skin, and not worry about that other stuff?

Maybe I should embrace my aging skin and celebrate the wisdom behind the wrinkles?

Maybe I should rejoice at the smile lines that reflect past laughter and joy?

Nah…

Botox anybody?

“Vanity is the quicksand of reason.” – George Sand

Shareable

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Sharing is evidently not an innate instinct of the human species.

AGMA has no scientific anthropological information to back up this statement. It is strictly based on anecdotal data.

Mainly by observing my two offspring in the 1980’s and more recently, AGMA’s MAGCITW (most adorable grandchildren in the world) in their interactions with each other and their friends.

My issue are 18 months apart. The MAGCITW are 22 months apart. For the most part, both sets of children played/play with the same toys at the same time.

“Share with your brother!” AGMA said this to no son in particular. Neither one of them liked to share their stuff.

And I hear a similar refrain from my son and DIL. “Share with your sister/brother!” The fact that the MAGCITW are different sexes makes no difference at all. He likes her pink teapot; she likes his red fire truck.

AGMA is going to assume that this lack of desire to share one’s bounty extends beyond her immediate family.

Duh.

Just read/listen to the news (real news that is…) to figure that out. So very many people need their moms to come back to earth, give them a good swat on the behind while admonishing them, “You’ve got plenty of sh*t, more than any human needs! Share with the folks who didn’t have all the advantages you did for heaven’s sake!”

AGMA wonders, how do only children learn how to share? Maybe when they are with playmates or at birthday parties or in daycare?

I’m a third child and the youngest. Because my siblings are 6 and 12 years older than me, I really didn’t have to worry about sharing my stuff when I was growing up. In that way, I imagine I was like an only child. But because AGMA grew up in a one parent household of very modest means, I didn’t have very much stuff. But I didn’t really know any better so I was pretty happy.

My neighbors were sort of in the same boat. So we shared what we had with each other. It was a way for me to have playmates.

But AGMA’s far from prefect at sharing as an adult.

My ungenerous side usually rears itself around food. Food I like. Food I don’t want to share.

Don’t judge me.

Most of the time it’s directed at Hubs, but not always. In the past, it’s involved beater/spoon licking, raw cookie dough/batter consumption, and Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies.

More recently, Hubs has been known to finish off MY unconsumed food brought home from the previous night’s dinner out.

Last night as a matter of fact.

He polished off my leftover pineapple fried rice from dinner the night before. I was at a 5K run when the offense occurred. AGMA came home starving and threw open the fridge door.

“What do you mean you ate my rice?!? *^%$#*!&@!!”

I was pissed.

First world problem, I know.

A couple of months ago, AGMA bought a bag of the totally amazing and delicious Crispy Mint M&M’s. God bless the person at Mars Inc who thought this was a good idea because it’s beyond brilliant!

The bag had “Share Size” printed on it.

Ha ha ha ha!

Yeah – I shared them. With my thighs, my butt, my waist, my hips, etc…

Seriously, it was just one individual serving as far as I’m concerned. And a small one. Just like a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints is a two serving box.

AGMA’s trying to get better at food sharing. When I was visiting my niece a couple of weeks ago, she made cookies. Chocolate chip cookies. My favorite.

She asked who wanted to lick the cookie dough beaters. I raised my hand the same time my great nephew chimed, “I do!” He being 10 and me being 64, he got the beaters. Not sure that was fair, but I was semi-gracious about it. At least I didn’t tackle him to take them away.

Let’s face it, we all can get better at sharing. Those of us in the USA live in a land with wide open spaces, abundant natural resources, bountiful food production and a vibrant economy.

There is no reason in the world we should have hungry children or homelessness.

There is no reason in the world that people should have to file for bankruptcy because of the crushing financial burden of medical bills.

There is no reason in the world that an elderly person needs to choose between buying food or affording their life sustaining medications.

There is no reason in the world that we should not welcome with open arms people fleeing oppressive regimes and seeking a better life for themselves and their families.

There is no reason in the world that we should not offer protection to women fleeing from countries whose law enforcement officials will not protect them and their children from violent and abusive partners.

There is no reason in the world that children should EVER be separated from their parents at our borders no matter what their color or immigration status is.

It’s time to get to sharing our national bounty. It’s the moral, decent, compassionate and patriotic thing to do. You know, the old fashioned American values?

Oh, and karma is real.

And she can be a total b*tch if you piss her off.

Just like AGMA when you eat my left over fried rice.

To tat or not to tat, THAT is the question

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AGMA decided to make a late mid-life career change in my 50’s.

Despite having an MBA, I never quite warmed to the politics of “How to Succeed in Business by Kissing Ass” scenario. I’m not a mover and shaker type. I’m not uber competitive. I deplore drama of any sort.

When AGMA first started working as a young adult, I believed that intelligence, integrity and hard work would bring success in the business world.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha….

When it dawned on me how incredibly naive I had been, I settled into a career as an underling in the IT department of an insurance company in Cincinnati for 20+ years. But AGMA was pretty happy being an underling. I was able to work part-time (much of it from home) in a professional position that allowed me to be around for my kids (can you say car pool queen?) and do lots of volunteer work while earning a decent salary.

It was all wonderful until Son#2 (the snarky, but oh so sweet one) had the nerve to go off to college. My company got a new CIO who did not approve of part-time at home workers, so I was “forced” to work (I shudder when remembering)…40 hours a week. Full time.

Oh, the humanity!

AGMA was a baby about it; I was miserable even though I loved my co-workers and was now making more money than I’d ever made.

Then Hubs got a promotion and had to move to Atlanta. AGMA didn’t want to move to Atlanta. I didn’t want to leave what had been my home for 30 years to start over. I didn’t want to leave my friends.

“But you can quit your job and not have to go back to work in Atlanta.” Hubs crooned softly in my ear.

Thems was powerful words.

Buh bye Cincinnati!

But of course, AGMA, being undiagnosed ADHD, got bored pretty fast.

After taking a hobby job at a upscale cookware retailer for several years, and stocking my kitchen with amazing cooking stuff (eat your heart out Alton Brown!), I got restless. I had this nagging feeling that I should be doing something else; something more meaningful than working for minimum wage selling $200 chef’s knives to people with lots of disposable income.

That something was becoming a theraputic massage therapist. Who knew?

Since AGMA graduated from massage school in 2009, I’ve been hopelessly happy with my career choice.

OMG – it’s about time!

My business has morphed from exclusively table work to now, almost exclusively corporate chair massage. And I love it!

I contract with a number of other MT’s who own their own businesses. They do all the marketing, billing, payment and recruiting. They are the ones who have the headaches associated with owning a small business.

All I do is show up and work.

It’s awesome because it fits in perfectly with my travelin’ ways. AGMA works when I want and turns down jobs when we fly off to wherever.

A MT works with far more people doing chair massage than doing table work. A typical chair session is 15 minutes. A table massage usually last an hour. So in at a 3 hour job, I will work on 11 or 12 people.

And AGMA comes in contact with a whole spectrum of folks when I’m doing chair massage. Actors, electricians, teachers, administrative assistants, CEO’s, graduate students… And they come in all sizes, colors, genders, ages, religions – you get the picture.

And a lot of them have tattoos. A. Lot.

Even the ones who look like they wouldn’t a tattoo will have little ones hiding on the their shoulder blade. How do I know this? Sometimes is necessary to pull down a clients shirt a little bit in back to work on their necks. I mean, you gotta do the neck – people hold crazy tension in their neck. So that can give a pretty good view of their upper back.

There are others who have tattoos all over their arms and back. I worked on one young lady last week who had huge wings tattooed on her upper chest. She also had tattoos on her arms. All up and down her arms. And her back. She was quite colorful!

So, of course, AGMA, feeling like I should be more colorful, is pondering getting another tattoo.

I thought the one I got last year would be my first and last. I’ve loved it from the first day I got it and have never had any buyers remorse. Every time I look at it, I smile.

I realize that I am delightfully not normal.

But AGMA needs to accelerate the decision making process. It took 13 years for me to decide what kind of a tattoo I wanted. 13 years from now, I’m going to be closing in on 80. I think I want to pull the trigger a bit sooner for my second one.

But what to get, what to get…? And should I even get another one? I mean, I’m not a spring chick anymore. More like an old cluck up.

I’m conflicted.

So whaddaya think? Do I have millennial envy? Or am I just a late bloomin’ Boomer? A really late Boomer bloomer… Should I listen to my head that says, “WTF?” Or should I follow my heart and become more colorful?

Aging gracefully my ass!

Tarzan vs Indiana Jones

Tarzan and Jane

When AGMA’s issue, Son#1 & Son#2, were young, I mean really young (3 & 4 maybe), Hubs let them watch “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”.

If you saw this movie, aside from the usual “Indiana Jones gets out of impossible situations and cracks a few jokes in the process”, there are some pretty dark themes in it. Child slavery, human sacrifice, chilled monkey brains & eyeball soup, etc…

Definitely NOT for the milk and cookie pre-school crowd.

I was unaware that Hubs allowed them to watch this movie. That is, of course, of until Son#2 put his hand on his brother’s, Son#1, chest and said, “I’m gonna rip your harrrrt out.”

Kali Ma Shakti de

AGMA was not happy. Not happy at all. And Hubs heard all about it.

However, in subsequent years, the process of trying to rip each others hearts out became a staple on long car trips. One son would pin the other in the back seat, hover his hand over his brothers heart, and chant, “Kali Ma Shakti de.”

And then we’d all laugh. How twisted is that?

It became one of those unexpected family traditions.

And traditions die hard in AGMA’s family. I think they did this to each other as recently as a few years ago (both in their early 30s)

But holy sh*t, the Temple of Doom doesn’t hold a candle to old Tarzan movies.

I’m talking about Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan movies of the 1930’s and 40’s.

As a child, AGMA watched every Tarzan movie that was broadcast on our little black and white TV. The African jungle and the native tribes and Cheeta and the elephants and Tarzan always saving the day…it seemed to be otherworldly and so very exotic.

Compared to Pittsburgh, PA that is.

But good Lord…even in black and white, those things were terrifying!

A few weeks ago, “Tarzan and his Mate”, vintage 1934, came on TV. It was the sequel to the 1932 Tarzan the Ape Man, and starred Maureen O’Sullivan as Jane.

Since we hadn’t seen a Tarzan movie probably in 40 years, we thought it would be fun to watch it.

Sure – it’s all fun and games until the giant crocodiles start attacking.

As AGMA watched the movie, my palms started to sweat. I was breathing a little to fast, my heart started to thump, and the hairs on the back of my neck started to stand up.

The childhood memories of Tarzan terror came storming back.

Some of the “highlights” in the Tarzan movies I saw…

  • Crocodiles, hippos, lions, snakes, etc attacking and ripping people apart
  • Tarzan stabbing or otherwise killing said crocodiles, hippos, lions, snakes, etc…
  • People getting devoured to the bone by piranha in a river
  • Cannibalism
  • Human sacrifice
  • Natives getting killed for sport by the white hunters
  • White hunters boiled in oil
  • Throats/chests slit open on a regular basis
  • People being tied to a tree then eaten by various wild animals
  • Huge snakes (I mean YUGE!) squeezing people to death – slowly, painfully
  • People getting trampled to death by stampeding animals (mostly elephants)
  • People literally getting ripped in half after being tied to two criss crossed trees that were cut apart.

That last one REALLY made an impression on me. Gristly.

Kinda makes ripping somebody’s heart out seem a bit subdued. A little.

Baby Boomers watching Tarzan movies when they were young might explain a lot about what’s going on now a days. Just sayin’…

And, to quote Gomer Pyle, surprise, surprise, surprise…”Tarzan and his Mate” is incredibly sexually charged too.

What?? In 1934??

Yup!

Let’s just say, it’s made obvious that Jane is not staying in the jungle with Tarzan because he is a great conversationalist.

If you get my drift.

In one scene, Tarzan rips Jane’s clothes off and there’s an extended nude swimming scene (Maureen O’Hara had a body double) with them cozying up in the water.

In another scene, Jane tries on a silk frock brought to the jungle by a former suitor who is trying to lure her away from Tarzan. AGMA doesn’t believe that a silk frock can even begin to compete with what Tarzan brings to the table.

If you get my drift.

Anyway, Tarzan swings by, feels up the silk frock, feels up Jane, then picks here up and carries into the trees for a night of cavorting. The next morning, Jane naked and covered only by animals skins starts canoodling AGAIN with Tarzan.

Hey – get a room you two!

Oh, and did I mention that Johnny Weissmuller and Maureen O’Hare were wearing nothing, nada, zilch, under their oh so skimpy loin clothes. Oh la la!

So I suppose that AGMA shouldn’t have gotten that upset with Hubs for the “Temple of Doom” incident ‘cause, seriously,  Indiana Jones ain’t got nutin’ on Tarzan.

Ungawa!