Wah Wah

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“I think I’m entering my summer seasonal affective disorder – somewhere between restless, irritable and depressed. I’m always perkier in cool weather.  How about you?”

A good friend shared her summer doldrums with me via email last week.  As I pondered her words, I realized this is exactly what’s happening to me.  I’m in a funk and it’s all summer’s fault!

I love my blog.  It’s a good friend.  If you would have told me a year ago, I would not only have a blog but actually LOVE writing 400+ word essays every week to share with the world, I would have said something rude to you.  Probably.  But in a nice way.

So it’s unusual that for the last month or so, writing my one whole blog post a week has been kind of a chore.  I’ve found myself avoiding it.  Instead of writing this morning when I had a large chunk of free time, I folded laundry.  And put it away.  And unloaded the dishwasher. WTF?  There is something seriously wrong here…

And I usually have several highly amusing – to me at least – ideas for my posts.  I just tend to snicker away as I write.  I’m easily amused.

But lately, every subject that has popped into my head to write about has not been, by it’s nature, amusing.  The lack of will among US politicians to enact reasonable gun control measures, the pain of long term family dysfunction, the ever growing income gap between rich and poor, D-Day and the passing of most of the veterans who survived WWII.

Not that these are not totally worthy subjects to write about.  They are, but should be tackled by somebody more gifted than I.  A serious, thoughtful writer.  Somebody who’s not in a funk.  All I would do is bitch and blubber, moan and complain, and be sad. Seriously Debbie Downer.  Wah wah…

I AM perkier in cooler weather.  As a matter of fact, when people are lying naked in front of their artificial sunlight lamps in the middle of winter trying to get over their cold weather, low sunlight blues, I’m bouncing around like Tigger wishing that it was colder and snowier in Georgia.  Crazy.

Cooler temps keep the little gray cells working and the endorphins high, right?

I mean, look at the 2013 list of the happiest countries in the world. Denmark, Norway, Switzerland, Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Finland, Austria, Iceland and Australia.  Nine out of the ten are pretty damn chilly for a good part of the year.  Australia’s only on the list because they have kangaroos, koalas, flat blacks and tim tams.  Everybody knows that.  Duh…

Now that my friend’s dilemma has enlightened me, at least I get it.  I always think it helps when you “get it.”  Makes you less inclined to think that you are losing it.  Whatever “it” is…  Gives a context to your discontent.

Global warming is not going to go well with me.

Memories of Slurpees

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“My feelings hoort!” declared our two year old, grabbing his head after eating a big spoonful of soft serve ice cream.  My husband and I looked knowingly at each other.  Brain freeze.  Only in the wonderfully wise and mysterious mind of a two year old would he think to describe the pain as “hurt feelings.”  So cute and charming.

Nearly thirty years later, I find myself getting my “feelings hoort” a lot when I eat or drink cold things.  Actually, they don’t even have to be very cold.  Just a smidge above 98.6F.  Anything minutely above my body temperature will send shudders of pain through my mouth and head.  And you can forget ice cream, frozen margaritas and Slurpees.  But this isn’t brain freeze.  And it’s not charming.

I’m talking, of course, about receding gums.  Yet another one of those “delightful” by-products of the aging process nobody tells you about when you are younger.  Or maybe they did and you just didn’t pay attention.

Okay – so it’s not totally caused by aging.  Part of it is my fault. Probably a big part.  I know that I should have taken better care of my teeth over the years.  Brushed more, flossed more, rinsed more, seen the dentist more regularly.  Honestly, when you’re young, all of that sounds so boring…

It didn’t help that we moved several times in the last six years and I was just too lazy to find a new dentist.  What the frack was I thinking?

Oddly enough, the crisis came when I started using an electric toothbrush a few years ago.

My teeth and gums started to hurt.  I mean really started to hurt. Bad.  Nothing will get you off of your lazy ass to find a dentist like throbbing pain in your mouth.  Yeah – you know what I’m talking about…

Diagnosis: gum disease. Treatment: periodontal scaling and root planing.

So I had both of my kids “unmedicated” in the early 1980’s.  This means that I had no pain meds at all when I delivered my children who were each the size of a football or large meatloaf.  A extra long, large meatloaf.  The birthing experinece was like a walk in the park compared to being scaled and planed.

Thank you sir, may I have another…

My gums just felt so traumatized and violated.  I had to have a stiff drink, two ibuprofen and a two hour nap when I got home.

I never want to go through that again.  I’ve changed my evil ways. I’ve become the poster girl for outstanding dental hygiene and regular trips to my dentist.

Only YOU can prevent gum disease…

But now my dental visits have a new element of torture to them. Aside from the run of the mill, normal torture.  My gums aren’t understood and handled with the TLC I feel they deserve.  Young dental hygienists don’t seem to get the connection between my nerve-rich exposed tooth roots and my contorting body emanating low guttural noises when they start digging in with their ice picks, rinsing with cold water, and blowing their cold air on my teeth and gums.  OMG – shoot me now!

My next visit is in July.  My mouth is hoping for more mercy

And maybe some nitrous oxide.  Or that awesome stuff they give you when you get a colonoscopy.

But that’s another post…

My Freshly Pressed Fifteen Minutes

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So for five days, my smartphone has almost constantly displayed the little blue WordPress app icon at the top of the home screen. Notification that somebody is either following my blog, liking one of my blog posts and/or leaving a comment.  This is not my normal. This is heady stuff.

This, I realize, is probably as close as I’m going to come to my Warhol Fifteen Minutes of Fame.

I was Freshly Pressed last week.

Am I the only one who feels the guilt of baskets of wrinkled clothes awaiting ironing piling up for weeks on end when I see the phrase “Freshly Pressed”?  I really hope so…  Or – much better thought – about buying a bottle of champagne and making mimosas?  Maybe several bottles.

I got the email last week from one of the WordPress editors.  She said she had selected one of my posts to be Freshly Pressed.  She said many nice things.  Amazingly all without any sort of promise of compensation by me at a later date!  The comment that I liked best was that my writing was “off-kilter in just the best way.”  Welcome to my world…

It feels strange having followers.  I write this blog for myself.   As I told my new bff WordPress editor, for me, it’s enough to just get it “out there”.  I needed a cheaper alternative to psychotherapy.

The fact that it might also be entertaining to some individuals of questionable taste is a serious bonus.

I am not a natural writer.  My grade school, high school and college English grades will support me on this.  Possibly my kindergarden grades as well.  Oh, I did do some writing during the many years I was an IT business analyst for an insurance company.  You can only imagine – if you stay awake long enough – how fascinating my memos and emails to vendors, internal customers and programmers must have been.

For a few anxious moments in the past few days, I worried if I was up to having – gasp – nearly 200 followers.  For many of you, I know this is a modest number.  To me it’s like having 20,000 followers.  A huge number to somebody who didn’t anticipate any.

Will future posts be as delightfully charming and witty?  Will I continue to be able to entertain and amuse my devotees?  That’s sarcasm in case you didn’t recognize it…  Can I maintain being “off-kilter in just the best way”?  Can I live up to the lovely compliments that so many people have offered?  That’s not sarcasm.

Like so much of life, I have to say I have no idea.  As I get older, I’m far more comfortable than I used to be with having more questions than answers.  Actually, it’s almost a relief not to have answers.  It seems to leave more space for possibility.

So I’m just going to continue to reflect on the absurdities of aging in our youth obsessed culture and the increasing madness of a world gone catawhampus.  All in my “off-kilter” way.

Senior citizen gone wild. For fifteen minutes.

Pass the Mardi Gras beads, the mimosas and Campbell Soup!

Ode to My Firstborn: Thank You for Making Me a Mom!

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It never dawned on us that it might be difficult to conceive a child. We just thought that when we decided it was “time”, we’d stop using birth control and poof… we’d get pregnant.

But in early fall of 1981 our neighbors, who were going for their second child, were having trouble getting pregnant.  Hmmmm – we didn’t feel as if we were quite ready to be parents yet (I mean, who is?) but we felt compelled to “get busy” trying.

Remember when you were young and your parents gave you the stern warning that “it only takes one time?”  They were telling the truth.  It only took one time.

Clearly you were destined to be.

I was commuting weekly for my job to a city that was a hundred miles away from our home.  Long, stupid story, but I would leave on Monday morning and come back home on Friday night, staying at a small apartment during the week.  Not sure why I thought this was a good idea…

One Monday morning, I got up bright and early as usual, made my HUGE thermos of coffee and hit the road.  And that’s when it hit me. I’ve always loved the smell of the coffee, but this particular morning, it was making me sick.  I couldn’t drink any.  At all.

Hmmmm…

Home pregnancy tests made their debut three years before in 1978. They were very different from the immediate results tests available today.  It was a delicate operation that took several hours.  After spending $30 on three tests and getting three positives,  I still couldn’t believe it.

Holy crap!

I bought all the books I could find on “how to be pregnant.”  We looked at the pictures of the fetal development.  We started to call you Peanut.

And I started eating everything in sight.  It wasn’t pretty.  Forty pounds later, my OB didn’t think it was pretty either.  I’ve been trying to lose that baby fat for nearly 32 years now.

You were a busy baby.  You tumbled and rolled and kicked.  I loved every minute.  I sung to you, patted you and dreamed of you.  My heartbeat was your constant lullaby and your gymnastics were my joy.

I was going to be the perfect mother.  I was going to give you a life of emotional security that I didn’t have.  I was going to give you the love that I had lacked.  I was going to care for you as I hadn’t been cared for.  I continued to dream.

At some point about month six, I realized with horror that you couldn’t stay where you were forever.  You had to get out somehow.We dutifully went to childbirth classes where the instructor assured me that the body makes “allowances” for moving a seven pound baby, four pounds of which is head, down through a passage that seemed like it was never meant to have something the size of a football move down.

Yeah, sure…

Ten days before your anticipated arrival date, I felt something odd. Like I sprang a leak.  Ick.  You were getting ready to make your grand entrance!  But it wasn’t time yet…  I hadn’t packed my bag. Dad’s vacation didn’t start for another ten days.  I wasn’t quite ready to be a mom just yet.

In God’s infinite wisdom, God was preparing me for parenthood. The lesson was: your kids don’t always cooperate with your plans. You let us know that from the very start…

I packed my bag, Dad made chocolate chip cookies and we were off to the hospital.  This was going to all work out!  After five or six hours of “unmedicated” labor, I would deliver my firstborn and still get a full night’s sleep.  This is when God’s plan kicked in again…

Fifteen hours of labor later, the doctor decided to give me something to “kick it up a notch.”  Holy cow!  I was exhausted after being up all night and the contractions really started coming fast and furious, and they hurt.  Really hurt.

I gave up.  I couldn’t do the unmedicated thing.  I asked for an epidural.  But right before they administered it, you decided you’d had enough.  It was time to get the party started.  I started pushing. This was not a good thing because there wasn’t a doctor anywhere in sight.  The nurse told me not to push.

Right.

From what I remember, think I basically told her to go to hell.  You say crazy stuff when you have a seven pound football coming out of you.  The nurse started getting ready to deliver you when my handsome OB swept into the room just in time to catch you.

This was the days before doing ultrasound was standard practice so we had no idea if you were going to be a boy or a girl.  We were both breathless (especially me!) as we asked,  “What is it?”  It??  A boy!  I was a mother.

Holy crap again!

That’s when the fun really started.  And that’s when my life really started.  I thought I understood what my life was all about until I held you for the first time.  I didn’t know shit up until that moment. Nothing was ever going to be the same.  I was never going to be the same.  And I haven’t been.  And it’s been a good thing.

Turns out, I wasn’t the perfect mother.  I made lots of mistakes. Sometimes I embarrassed you, made you angry, made you sad, made you cry, criticized you too much, said some harsh things, didn’t understand you.  Everything I swore I would never do to my most precious and beloved son.  For that and the myriad of other times I disappointed you and let you down, I am sorry.  Really sorry.

But I think we had many good times too and there were a lot of things I, miraculously, did right.

With age comes wisdom and now that I’m older, I know I would be a better mom if I had a chance for a do-over.  More patient, more laid back, more fun.  We’d laugh more, do more goofy things, have more adventures, play in the rain.  Time for grandchildren?  Remember, it only takes one time…

Please never, ever doubt this…  I loved you Peanut, right from the start.  And through all the mistakes – both mine and yours – I kept loving you.  Fiercely loving you.  You were then and will always be the shining light of my life.  I have been so incredibly fortunate to be your mother and I am so very proud of you.

I hope that somehow, that’s what you will remember about me when you’re my age.

Happy Mother’s Day to me!

Ode to The Hill, Ted Drewes and Toasted Ravioli

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If you ever lived in St Louis, you understand.  If not, I feel a little bit sorry for you…

It’s 9 PM on a Saturday night and I’m into the third day of my four day visit to St. Louis.  At the moment I can’t move.  I’ve eaten too much pasta and had a bit too much wine.  Yet again.

It’s good to be back!

I wasn’t always like this.  I used to be a relatively normal woman with normal appetites and culinary desires.  Maybe a bit of a sweet tooth.  And then we moved to St. Louis.  Paris isn’t the only place that’s a moveable feast…

Seriously?  St. Louis?  Now what state is that in….?  Illinois, Arkansas, Kansas?  You know those midwest cities in those midwest states…  Can’t keep ‘em straight.  Fly over territory.  Who know and who cares?

Big mistake.

St. Louis is one of the best kept secrets in the U.S.  Not only does it have one of the best universities of the nation – Washington University – and free (yes free!) museums and a free zoo and the second largest urban park in the U.S. and amazing old school architecture and a kick ass Mardi Gras celebration and a dedication to their professional baseball team that most cities can only dream of and Clydesdale horses roaming free in the fields at Grants Farm BUT they have some of the best food in the country.

Let me explain…

I moved to St. Louis in 2010 after living in Atlanta for five years.  Big change.  But having grown up in western Pennsylvania and then lived in southern Ohio for nearly thirty years, it felt a bit like coming home.  Medium sized midwestern city with midwestern sensibilities (translation: the mantra is shut up, suck it up, deal with it and don’t give me any crap about it.)  Minimal botox big lips, sun bleached teeth, fake tans and boob jobs.

What I didn’t expect was the food.  The incredibly amazing food. Wondrous food.  And it was all no more than ten to fifteen minutes from our house.  During rush hour.  I gained five pounds in twelve months.

There’s The Hill.  This area was originally settled by Italian immigrants and was, in a much less politically correct world, referred to as Deigo Hill.  Imagine every wonderful Italian restaurant and sandwich place you have ever been to.  Then imagine they are all within a ten square block area.  Then imagine that the prices on the menu are 30% less.  That’s The Hill.  Throw in some totally authentic Italian markets (where the clerks and some of the partrons still speak Italian to each other), Italian bakeries, salumarias, and gelato places and…well…you get the picture.

Then there’s the frozen custard.  Not only is there the famous Ted Drewes on old Route 66, but a bunch of mom and pop places. Fritz’s, Mr. Wizards, Doozles, Silky’s, Spanky’s.  All selling rich, creamy frozen paradise with the option of mixing in nearly a unlimited combination of sauces, candies, fruits and nuts to create a “concrete”.  Think a DQ Blizzard on lots and lots of steroids.

Everything from local bbq and chicken joints to soul food (Oprah made Sweetie Pies famous) to restaurants that serve only locally sourced foods to wonderful microbreweries (in the heart of Budweiser land!) to elegant, formal establishments and everything else in between.  It’s all there and tastes fabulous!

But St. Louis is so modest and unassuming about it’s food.  That’s so Midwestern…  I honestly don’t think the people living there realize how good they have it.  Until they leave.

To natives who had to move away and those of us who were transplants then then yanked out, we know.  We understand.  And we eat when we come back to visit.  Oh yes – we eat.  Fried chicken at Hodak’s, char grilled oysters at The Broadway Oyster Bar, the pasta a Zia’s, toasted ravioli at Lombardo’s, the smoked duck breast at The Shaved Duck, pretzels from Gus’, cupcakes from Sweet Art, pies from Sugaree, and on and on and on…  In a very Pavlovian response, I start salivating when I catch a glimpse of the Gateway Arch from the air or driving in on I-64 through Illinois.

So I only have one more day.  And my list of places to go is far larger than one day’s worth of eating.  Something has to go.  Or maybe not…

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that Tums are made in St. Louis?

[Full disclosure – I wrote the bulk of this on Saturday night, but did some editing today when I was less under the influence of tortellini and Chianti.  Also – just so you don’t think I’m a shill of the Greater St. Louis Restaurant Association – of the food items that are indigenous to St. Louis, I do not like gooey butter cake (too sweet), provel cheese (click the link) and their cracker crust style pizza (no explanation needed.)]

The Siren Call of “Hot Now”

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I ate four doughnuts this morning. Krispy Kreme. More like inhaled them actually. Three glazed and a chocolate frosted cream – not custard – filled. The agony and the ecstasy.

I never heard of Krispy Kreme Doughnuts until fifteen or so years ago when one opened about ten miles from my home in Cincinnati. Evidently it’s been around since 1937 – like George Takei. Oh myyyyyy…

How could I have lived such a shelter life?

Krispy Kreme does not just sell doughnuts.  Oh no….  A visit to Krispy Kreme is an adventure that engages all of the senses.  Every glorious detail of the doughnut birthing process is on display behind a glass wall.  From the moment the dough gets formed into a circle to it’s journey through the fryer to the final glazing bath on the hot finished product, you get to see, hear, and smell it all.  Doughnut Disneyland. Of course the touch and taste part of the experience – the BEST part – comes at the end.  When you buy a dozen hot glazed doughnuts five minutes out of the fryer.  And eat six.  Before you leave the parking lot.  Sometimes before you leave the store.

Krispy Kreme’s Mission as stated on their website is “…to touch and enhance lives through the joy that is Krispy Kreme.”  Best. Mission. Statement. Ever.

There is a “Hot Now” sign in the window of most Krispy Kreme’s. When it’s blazing neon red, this means that doughnuts are being born. Hot, soft, sweet, yeasty doughnuts.  The kind that make you want to lick your fingers.  Several times.  The “Hot Now” sign of the Krispy Kreme close to my house is, and this is the honest truth, ALWAYS on.  Always.  Who is safe?

A few years ago, I bought a Krispy Kreme “Hot Now” ornament for our Christmas tree.  It’s red.  When you slide the tiny On switch, it flashes.  Hot Now. Hot Now, Hot Now.  This is my favorite Christmas ornament.  Not the 30+ year old Baby’s First Christmas ones for each one of my sons.  Not the one of a kind handmade ceramic Twelve Days of Christmas collectable set from a local potter, now deceased.  Not the ornaments that were on my mother’s Christmas tree some 60+ years ago that are irreplaceable.  Hot Now. Hot Now. Hot Now.

I rarely go to Krispy Kreme anymore.  I think you know why.  It all starts by admitting there is a problem…  But I had a coupon today for $3 off a dozen and it expires in a few days.  No harm in buying a dozen for the guys who are employees of a homeless ministry I volunteer for on Mondays, I reasoned.  I took the slight detour on the way downtown that brought me face to face with the blazing red “Hot Now” sign.  Always on.  Always.

Six glazed, two chocolate frosted cream filled, two chocolate frosted glazed with sprinkles, one raspberry filled and one chocolate frosted custard [yuck] filled.  Twelve doughnuts for six people.  Perfect.  Two doughnuts won’t ruin me, I thought.

When I handed the cashier my $3 coupon she said, “You know, we’re having a special today. Buy a dozen, get a dozen free.”

And that’s when the trouble started.

The Tale of Louis and Fanny

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I’m a nice person.  Most of the time.  Kinda bitchy the rest of the time.  Just ask my husband.

Wonder who will show up today?  The classic Jekyll and Hyde conundrum…

I’m fortunate to know a few people who are truly, sincerely nice. From a healthy place.  That’s important…  They are amazing; almost saintly in their compassion, care and concern for others.  It’s just not in their DNA to be mean and nasty.  Or bitchy.  I would not be one of these people.

When I’m Dr. Jekyll, I AM a nice person.  A really nice person.  But sometimes I can overdo it with the nice.  Too nice.  Doormat nice. That’s when nice is not from a healthy place.  Dysfunctional nice. Not long after we cross over doormat nice, Ms. Hyde shows up.

I’ve found that you just can’t “force” nice.  When you try to force the square peg of “nice” in the round hole of “where no nice should ever be forced to go”, you end up with a messed up peg.  A cranky, nasty peg.   At least I do.  Paging Ms. Hyde….Ms. Ubetter Hyde…..

A few months ago, author Nancy Horan was on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR.  The topic was Nancy’s latest novel Under the Wide and Starry Sky.  It’s a novel about Robert Louis Stevenson and his ten years to his senior wife, Fanny Osbourne.  Nancy said Louis, as he was called, had a horrible dream one night that inspired him to start writing a new novel.  After writing nearly nonstop for three days, he had written 30,000 words.  I can barely write 400 in week… Anyway, Louis read what he had written to Fanny.  She didn’t like it. He didn’t like it that she didn’t like it.  Fanny thought he was being too narrow, too confining with one of the character’s sins.  But she saw the potential.  Fanny told Louis that he had the opportunity to write a truly great allegory that would be timeless and apply to all humanity if he would just widen his gaze.  Louis was a smart man – he listened to his wife.  Very smart.  He burned his first manuscript and in three more days, wrote another 30,000 words that eventually became The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  And the rest, as they say, is history…

Yin and yang, light and darkness, love and hate, nice and nasty, plums and prunes.  The duality of life.  Putting two people together to make one.  Or splitting one apart to make two.  Like death, nobody escapes.

I guess even the incredibly nice people I know have their struggles with Mr./Ms. Hyde.  Maybe they’re just more successful than most in minimizing the “power of the dark side”.  Or in accepting it and thereby transforming all of that negative juju.  That’s a lesson I’m still learning.

You know the old adage you can tell how nice a person really is by how they treat a food server?

Okay, I’m feeling better about myself now.

The Corny Captain

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On Sunday, I saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier.  In 3D no less.  Chris Evans on a big screen in 3D – a glorious sight!  I feel a little odd saying that – I’m more than old enough to be his mother.  Hmmm…I guess there’s still some life in the old girl yet!

Aging gracefully my ass.

I like all of the movies in Marvel’s Avengers franchise.  They’re fun, fast-paced, and clever without being too graphic in any of the areas it’s possible to be too graphic in.  To me, movies are pure escapist entertainment.  I don’t want to pay $15 for a ticket to see trauma, sadness, graphic violence and chaos.  I can watch the news for that anytime.  I want to walk out of a movie theater smiling and The Avengers movies make me smile.

But the Captain America movies are special.  I find it really interesting that this second installment in the Captain America series has broken all previous April box office openings taking in something like $96 million in the first 3 days in the U.S.  Worldwide, it has taken in $330 million in 10 days. That’s a lot of movie tickets! The execs at Marvel and Disney are exceedingly happy.

Yes, Chris Evans is hot.  Did I say that already?  And Scarlett Johansson is hot.  And it has great special effects and action scenes. And everybody wants to have wings like The Falcon.  Hell yeah!  But I think there’s more…

The character of Steve Rogers (aka Captain American) is a throwback to a simpler, less complicated time and place.  A time where honesty and trustworthiness and integrity and a concern for the greater good were highly regarded values.  Remember when deals were done on a handshake and people like Jonas Salk freely shared their life-saving knowledge with the world without charging $1500 for a dosed sugar cube?

I’m not one to idealize the past.  I’m well aware of the evils and injustices that were present back in “the good old days”.  And I would never wish them back.  But I do long for the days when people kept their word, took pride in their work, and money wasn’t the only motivation for doing anything and everything.  Certainly, there were many back in the day who let greed and power corrupt them, but it wasn’t condoned, worshiped and glorified like it is now.

We have lost our way and the Cap knows it.

I believe the popularity of Captain American reflects the unconscious longing of our society to return to values that are, in a word, corny. I mean, look at how corny the Cap is…  He hasn’t really kissed a girl since 1943, he never lies, he is loyal to his friends and he believes in sacrifice for the greater good.  What a sucker!  The Marvel script writers did a wonderful job writing dialog for an “old-fashioned values” character that doesn’t come off as cartoonish or judgmental – just sincere and human.

There’s a great scene in Winter Soldier where it becomes clear to Steve that, in the world today, it’s infinitely more difficult and complex to tell the good guys from the bad guys than the world he left in 1943.  He wonders, not if he will ever fit in, but if he really wants compromise what he would need to compromise in order to even begin to try to fit in.  And of course his answer is no because, after all, he IS Captain America!

Duh…

We all long for a hero.  We all need a hero.  We want somebody to look up to who is so good and so honest and so trustworthy that they are above corruption.  Somebody to give us faith in the human race again and the assurance that goodness will win out in the end.

The bad news is that Captain America is a fictional character.

The good news is that the Cap is alive and well in digital media and old school comic books to remind us that those values are still noble and worth pursuing.  And I have hope because a whole lot of people lined up this weekend to shell out good money to get their dose of corny!

Or in my case, corny and Chris Evans…

Flying Snakes!

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I hate snakes. Oh my…it feels good to get out in the open with that.

The word “hate” is such a strong word. I try not to use it at all because it conveys such negativity, such harshness, such absolute loathing. There’s no chance of redemption in it. The word “hate” just doesn’t fit in with the mellow, sweet, laid back person I am – most of the time. Except when it comes to snakes.

If you want to torture me to get information, any information, just tie me to a chair and prop my eyelids open with toothpicks and make me watch “Snakes on a Plane” or any of the “Anaconda” movies. I’ll sing like a canary right before I pass out.

If I had been Eve, Adam and I would have NEVER gotten kicked out of the Garden of Eden for eating the forbidden fruit. I would have seen that snake wrapped around that apple tree, hightailed it in the opposite direction and just kept on running. Run Eve Run!

My husband is aware of this ophidophobia of mine. He tries to reassure me that at least snakes don’t fly. Why would he even think of such a thing? But this doesn’t reassure me. It just causes more anxiety as to the possibility of genetic mutations. You know – those crazy scientists are doing all kinds of manipulations with animal DNA just because they can. Who’s not to say a flying snake might not be on their radar. Wackos.

We just got back a few weeks ago from Australia. There are snakes in Australia. Lots of them. And most of them are poisonous.  One list I found on the Internet said that 7 of the 10 deadliest snakes in the world are found on land or in the waters of Australia. And some of them are very ill tempered, aggressive, extremely poisonous and are found all over the country – even in the urban areas. And I voluntarily went there. What the hell was I thinking?

Sitting in a friend’s living room in Adelaide, I asked, “Are all the snakes in Australia poisonous?” “Oh no,” she said smiling at me, “The pythons aren’t poisonous!”  Now I have the choice of being poisoned or swallowed whole.  Really, that makes me feel so much better…

Other friends we stayed with near Byron Bay “entertained” us with various stories about all the snakes they’ve found in and around their house. Did you know that pythons can live in people’s attics and crawl spaces during cold weather?  Charming. It took weeks for me to quit obsessing about that one.

Two years ago, I went to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in DC with my niece and her two young sons. The boys were quite excited to visit the Titanaboa exhibit. Certainly this exhibit was one of the levels of Hell in Dante’s Inferno… Have you heard of this monster? I’ve since watched the Smithsonian Channel special on the Titanaboa. The stuff of nightmares.

The rational part of my brain realizes that snakes are part of the natural world and that they have a place in the order of things. All life is noble and sacred. The irrational part wants to pump gasoline on them and set them all on fire. Like my hero, Indiana Jones, who asks the eternal question…

“Snakes….why did it have to be snakes?”

Pb to Au

“It’s all good!”  I don’t know the origin of this much beloved, contemporary phrase, but I use it all the time.  Is this a bad thing?  How can it be a bad thing if “it’s all good?”  I find this confusing.

Urban Dictionary has 16 definitions – and I use the term “definition” loosely – for “it’s all good.”  I really haven’t been exposed to Urban Dictionary very much.   Quite interesting.  Uses the “F” word a lot.

But among the interesting takes on “It’s all good” – not using the “F” word” – is this:

“ “Platitude that covers so many emotions and situations that it says little; its only real meaning is that the speaker is trying to rise above whatever problem exists, without expressing their underlying negative emotions.  (They might be angry, sad, upset, frustrated, hurt, disappointed, etc.)  Often used in a passive-aggressive way.  Rarely, used compassionately for someone else, trying to make them feel better.  A favorite of inarticulate teens; fills in the gaps between: like, dude, dudette, whatever, so, I dunno, hey, etc.

Ariel: “I’m breaking up with you.”

Campbell: “Whatever. It’s all good.” ”

I resent the fact that I am being referred to as an inarticulate teen because – yeah – that’s how I use it.  Exactly how I use it.  And I’m not inarticulate.  Or a teen.  Oh, so not a teen…

But because I don’t use “dude”, “dudette”, “so”, “I dunno”, and “hey”, should I create a new definition in Urban Dictionary?  I DO use ‘like’ and “whatever”.   I mean, like, doesn’t everybody?  Can I split hairs like that?  Whatever…

When I say “it’s all good”, it is definitely NOT all good.  And I think that’s how most people use it, right?  I mean, is it really good for you?

I decided not to go running tomorrow because it’s supposed to rain – maybe – and I’m drinking too much wine tonight.  “It’s all good!”

My husband & I bought our plane tickets to go 1000 miles to visit our son, but he discovered a conflict for the weekend so we actually can’t come to visit.  “It’s all good!

I ate a whole box of Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies today.  “It’s all good!”

The cat just threw up all over the carpet on the steps.  “it’s all good!”

Sorry I didn’t remember your birthday.  “It’s all good!”

I really thought my life would turn out so much differently… better, more fulfilling.  “It’s all good!”

Bruce Lee is credited with saying, “As you think it, so shall you become.”  Maybe that’s why I say “it’s all good.”  I want it to be all good when it’s not.  Desperately.

Mental alchemy.  Hmmm…It might actually be easier to turn lead into gold…