Friday, April 01, 2016

Judgmental

You know when you have limited information about someone but you feel like you can still form a full opinion on them? Like, maybe you see their twitter feed and they misspell every other word but think they are smart? And they act like know-it-alls but they really know nothing? So you read what they write and you totally get who this person is. You know she is a completely uneducated, trashy, judgmental moron who sees herself as above everyone else - even though she has a shitty job and no car and lives in a white-trash town and her ex-man is even trashier than she is.

So you have a pretty fully-formed opinion of this person, despite not knowing this person and not wanting to. Maybe you think to yourself, perhaps if we met I would feel differently, when I just have to hear her talk and not read her ignorance? Maybe she aren't so bad in real life.

And then, this person comes out as a Donald Trump supporter and it reinforces the fact that your judging skills are 100% on point and that everything you inferred about this person is 100% fact.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Dreaming of Vacationing....

All I can think about is vacation.

My first vacation of 2016 is only 2 weeks away and I could not be more ready. Work has been hellish, as I walk on eggshells waiting for a doomsday meeting with my boss (which, honestly, would not be completely unwelcome right now). I need a break. I need to relax. I need to detach from life as it is, and lull myself into a fluffy cloud of pretending that life is really frozen drinks, hot sun, sandy beaches, and more frozen drinks. Two weeks, two weeks, two weeks...

The shelling in Sanibel and Captiva is amazing.
We have three great vacations coming up this year and I am so looking forward to them. We have Sanibel Island/Captiva, which is more welcome because it should be fairly carefree. My only concerns there are that we are traveling with a friend of mine and her daughter, and we have never traveled with them before. She and I get along so well, and Hubby gets along really well with her as well. Our daughters have been friends since kindergarten and have been on-again, off-again at times, but seem to have a good time when they are together. Her daughter is not used to traveling; in fact, she has only gone on weekend trips to amusement parks and to visit family. My daughter is an avid traveler and her mind is as open as it gets to new experiences. I'm hoping once the girls get together and TJK can show her friend what travel is all about, it will spark something and get her friend into traveling as well.

Our other trips are a week in Toronto and just over a week in Portugal. I don't know why, but I am not overly excited for Toronto. I've been there before (it has been a long time though, so I'm sure much has changed), but I don't have a driving desire to go back. But, we will have a great time because we always do. We'll research and find off-the-beaten-path things to see and do, and it'll be a wonderful adventure. Plus, we are driving there and will add in a stop at Niagara Falls, which TJK has never seen. And we'll spend the night there in a room with a view of the Falls from our window, which should be pretty damn cool. 

Portugal, on the other hand....I could not be more excited. I have never been, but have been looking into all it has to offer. We will spend 4 days in Lisbon and then rent a car and head down the coast to the beautiful beaches and seaside villages of southern Portugal. We will spend a couple of nights in a variety of small towns along the way, even staying in a converted convent one night! From all I have seen, Portugal looks stunningly beautiful. I truly cannot wait. My mother is nervous for us to go; she is petrified of terrorism and thinks our airport is going to get blown up. I won't be scared out of seeing the world, though. There are nerves, of course, but nothing enough to hold me back. I always think of how we had plans to go to Egypt and decided "next year..." That was a terrible mistake, because then there were the uprisings and now it is too dangerous for Americans. Last year I really wanted Istanbul and Cappadocia, but thought it might be too dangerous. Now this year, it is even worse and had a tourist area in Istanbul hit by a suicide bomber not that long ago. I hate living in a world where there is so much to see and do and appreciate about other cultures, yet it is just not safe.

Here, piggy piggy piggy....

I had hoped we would do Istanbul next year, but it isn't looking so good due to the terrorism concerns above. So my plan for next year is one week in the Bahamas - maybe part of it at Atlantis because TJK would love that, but the rest in the Exumas where I can swim with pigs. This has become top-of-bucket-list for me and I want to do it SOON. I mean, really, can you imagine pulling up to an island and having pigs swim out to meet your boat? And then getting out into the water and swimming with them? I need this in my life.

The other trip on tap for 2017 is Cuba. I feel like it is a year too late for this trip, but I'm hoping it will still be old school Cuba and not 'Murrica Cuba. I don't want to see McDonald's. I don't want to see a sanitized version of this island that tourists see but the Cuban people don't live. I want to see as accurate a view of what Cuba truly is as possible before it changes due to open relations with the US. I want there to be no US money. I want to see how people really live. I wish there would be a little bit of wifi, but I can live without it if it means an authentic experience. And then, in five years time, we will go on a cruise with a stop in Cuba and we will eat at the Margaritaville and shop at the Diamonds International for tanzanite jewels.

And for our other trip(s) in 2017? Maybe Salt Lake City. I've been itching to go there and hike in those beautiful national parks that look like moon landscapes. Maybe Vancouver, as it would be cool there in the summer and they have lots of interesting breweries. Probably a cruise. We aren't doing one this year and Hubby is not happy about this fact. He wants to do one of those mega ships. I really couldn't care less, but would love to eventually hit Jamaica (because I have never been) and Grand Cayman (because we snorkeled in Stingray City a few years back and I'd love to give TJK the same experience as it was badass).

Two weeks....two weeks....two weeks......

Friday, March 04, 2016

Politics: You Love Trump Because Of What He Says, Not Despite It

Here's the short of it - Trump has so many supporters because he is saying exactly what they think. They don't support him despite the racism and sexism and all that - they love him because of it. They say they don't, because they would be embarrassed to admit it, but they do.

Because really, if I supported a candidate and believed is his or her positions on the issues, and then s/he made fun of a disabled person or pretended not to know who David Duke is or called women s/he didn't like fat and ugly...that would end my support. Immediately. Hard stop. Trump's supporters only love him more the more extreme he gets. They love it and they support it and it's what they want.

Americans are scared because life is hard. They feel like their power is slipping away, and who better to blame than the "other"? Donald Trump makes them feel like he is their big strong daddy who will send the bad guys away with just a stern look and snide comment. And Americans want to believe this. They do believe this...as if life were that simple.

I have to admit, I do not know one person in real life who supports Donald Trump. No one I have actual live conversations with has any idea why anyone is supporting him. But numerous people I know (and a distant cousin or three) on Facebook are loud-mouthed supporters of his, and if you try to engage politically about him, they all-caps scream at you. I don't know if they learned to shout down their detractors rather than converse with them from Trump, or whether they are just birds of a feather. But they certainly have the lack of intelligent curiosity thing down pat.

What I feel about this election is simple. I'm sad that my country-people are so ignorant. And I'm scared that there are more of them than there are of us and President Trump is in our future.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Cold Weather Sucks

But first...how badass is Daryl on Walking Dead? Finally he gets to kick some ass and I'm happy to see him being heroic rather than moping.
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I am definitely not a hot weather person. If I were Mother Nature, every day in Jersey would be about 60-65 degrees and sunnyish - not too hot, not too cold. Perfect weather for jeans, a t-shirt, a cardigan or light jacket, and either boots or sandals depending on my mood. So don't think I'm a person who only wants 85 degree days and sun. I like it to be on the chilly side, and even a 40 degree day can make me smile because it means I can wear a cute coat and over the knee boots with a pretty Irish-knit sweater.

But Mother Nature has been messing with us for pretty much the whole winter. I mean, on Christmas Day it was in the 60's and then we had over 2 feet of snow during a recent blizzard, and it's been varying between warmish and coldish through most of the season. Totally inconsistent and wacky. However, now it is just downright cold.

Our thermostats are registering around zero and below, and then when you add the wind to  it, it's just a little too North Poley for me. Yesterday, I woke up to find that my house was an ice cube. I felt the radiators and there was heat coming out of them, and the boiler was working as well. WTF? I had someone from PSE&G come out to check things out and they basically told me that everything is working the way it should - it is just so friggin cold that the heat in the house just isn't enough to combat it. JFC.

So then, the bathroom situations happened. Our downstairs bathroom toilet froze - meaning that the water flushed down but then would not refill. Hubby took it apart and tried to fix it, but there was nothing he could do. Last night, I was frozen to the bone so I went to take a shower in the master bathroom. I start the water and then get undressed....and by then, the shower (it's a stall shower) was full and nearly overflowing. Hubby took a look at that as well and found that whatever was in the pipes (I guess just general pipe sludge, ew) had frozen. We tried to defrost it with boiling water to no avail. Finally, after a good hour, the water went down but by then I was hibernating under the covers and the shower had to wait until morning.

Long story short - winter sucks and it needs to be spring now.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Soundtrack of My Life

Music has always been a driving force in my life. Even now, if I hear a certain song it will bring me right back to that moment in time in my mind, no matter how long ago that moment might be, I feel like I have a running soundtrack to my life....and here it is:

The Beatles - Octopus' Garden:
The Beatles - Her Majesty
John Cougar - Pink Houses:
The Manhattans - Shining Star:
Van Halen - Jump:
Don Henley - Boys of Summer:
Grease 2 Soundtrack - Back to School:
Guns n' Roses - Patience:
John Cougar Mellencamp - Wild Nights
John Cougar Mellencamp - Last Chance
Pearl Jam - Even Flow:
Pearl Jam - Black:
Hole - Violet:
Van Halen - Why Can't This Be Love?
Husker Du - Could You Be The One?:
Soup Dragons - I'm Free:
Goo Goo Dolls - Two Days in February:
Fugazi - Margin Walker:
Four Seasons - Can't Take My Eyes Off You:
Destiny's Child - Lose My Breath:
White Stripes - Fell in Love With a Girl:
Hole - Beautiful Son:
John Mellencamp - Lonely Ol' Night
White Stripes - Seven Nation Army:
My Chemical Romance - Famous Last Words:
Lana Del Rey - basically all of Born To Die:
The Beatles - Her Majesty (again, for a different reason):
Miley Cyrus - Wrecking Ball:
Pearl Jam - Sirens:

I was going to write a little about each song and why it struck a chord with me at particular times in my life...but I decided not to do that. I truly don't need to write it out, because when I just look at the title of a song, it brings me to the pink houses we rented every summer down the shore, or dancing with friends at the Johnny Cougar concert, or my husband yelling at me to turn down the White Stripes and me turning it up even louder. A whole story on each isn't needed because when I hear the song, I see the whole picture in my mind. Music is such a wonderful thing!

(And, if you really need to see how wordy I can get with these memories, read this about the song Even Flow and how it changed the course of my life.)