The city pool & polio…

Life

I find city pools, public pools, water parks, pretty much any artificially created body of water teeming with germs to be literally the most vile thing in existence. I cannot believe that I am reading reports about these facilities re-opening in some locales. Luckily, I’m allergic to chlorine and have had very few encounters with any pools. There are a handful of films set in the late 50’s-1970’s that so romanticized the city pool that I really felt like I was missing out on something. I’ve been to pools, mostly to lay out and read but I’ve never experienced the elation of diving into a packed pool on a 90 degree day. The city that I work for actually had 2 public pools that were filled in and turfed over back in the 40’s and I never knew why. Last night, I was watching a documentary on polio – I mean, who hasn’t watched every documentary on modern pandemics since this has all started? During the polio pandemic, pools and movie theaters were closed each summer for four decades. FORTY YEARS. So it makes sense that films and television shows depict going to the pool as peak childhood ecstasy. There probably wasn’t a lot to do as a kid back then and they were deprived of two main sources of entertainment for decades. Can you imagine the feeling of being able to safely sit in a movie theater in July post the discovery of a vaccine? It must have been mind blowing. Not only that, parents wouldn’t allow kids to play on playgrounds or go to birthday parties. FOR FORTY YEARS. Kids went from school to polio season, sounds like a fucking nightmare. And people just did it because they understood what they were doing was for the greater good. Fast forward 70’ish years later and people could not stay off the playgrounds for literally FOUR WEEKS.

Is COVID-19 the same as polio? No. Is there really any comparison when you consider the symptoms and long-term impacts in addition to the fatality of polio? Perhaps not but people are still dying. I think that’s reason enough for people complaining about not being able to get a haircut to shut up. What happened to people? When did we become these egocentric assholes who can’t even put on a mask to protect someone else? So a haircut or nail appointment is delayed, who cares. I don’t see a lot of people protesting and holding up signs saying that they need heart surgery or some other important service that has been tabled due to COVID (even though I know that they are out there). We are a society in which very few people have experienced real hardship and it shows. It’s truly unfortunate that instead of coming together for the long haul, we have people getting shot over face masks, purposely coughing on one another, protesting at hospitals. Elon Musk, talking out his ass. Like, come on – we are losing a war on germs over fucking haircuts.

I know that people are out there doing good too and all we can do is keep trying to take care of one another 💙

“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create good times. Good times create weak men. And, weak men create hard times.” G. Michael Hopf

Apprehension…

Life

The Minnesota Stay at Home Order was set to expire Monday and the Governor announced that he would in fact not be extending the order through May as originally predicted. Bars, salons and restaurants must remain closed until June 1 but most other retailers are allowed to reopen. This is it, right? What we’ve all been waiting for. But now that it’s here, I’m not so sure. I think the human race learned a hard lesson here, Mother Nature can bring us to our knees in a matter of weeks and she doesn’t give a fuck about the economy. Are we just supposed to go back to business as usual, pretend that the way we live our lives isn’t completely unsustainable? I think we figured out real quick that it’s not just average people living paycheck to paycheck – it’s landlords, corporations, small businesses, big businesses, universities and the government. The people who are supposed to have this all figured out and provide security to the common man have no ability to do so at all. I don’t believe we are in the clear, I think the future holds a lifetime of uncertainty. Not just about what will happen with the virus or the next pandemic but job security as well. Obviously, the days of retiring from a lifetime career with a cushy pension are long over, Hell, I think my grandparents were the last generation to retire comfortably. Now we see people working well into their 60’s and often taking part-time jobs to supplement their social security benefits. I have no delusions that I will ever retire and am planning on social security being bankrupt by the time I am eligible, the government can’t just keep printing money. I also don’t believe that UBI is a good idea either, citizens shouldn’t have to depend on government for our livelihoods – we should be able to make our own way and they seem to want to make that more impossible each and every day. Squeezing out small farmers with ridiculous regulations, squeezing out small businesses by mandating minimum wage and health benefits – they’ve made it very difficult for anyone who is not ultra-wealthy to be successful in their own enterprise and it’s scary. A society that is completely dependent on their government has no freedom.

I think this is a wake up call, it wouldn’t be wise to go back to how things were. We need to become self-sustainable, self-dependent and self-reliant. For me, Monday won’t be back to business as usual – it will be hoarding my assets now more than ever so that I can get out of this cycle of working for someone else so that I can have money to spend on stuff I don’t need only to the benefit of those who don’t need more money. I thought that I had learned this lesson after the 2008 Recession and yet, here I am. My only post-pandemic plan is freedom 💛

The old normal wasn’t normal…

Life

Hearing that more businesses within the service industry are being given the green light to reopen elates me but also gives me pause. I’m glad that more folks can get back to work but also concerned about the risk they are being put at. If you’ve worked in the retail or service industry in America then you know that calling in sick for work is frowned upon. I’ve work(ed) for three major retailers and while I rarely called in sick or missed shifts, I know firsthand what it feels like to get guilt-tripped into going in for a shift while sick. It’s scary how normal this is, I waited tables for a restaurant in Minneapolis whose policy was if you didn’t have a fever or diarrhea then you should be at work. This culture runs deep within the service industry and I think we can all agree that this is not acceptable any longer (nor was it ever).

Unfortunately, for those of us who grew up working service jobs, this mentality stuck with us. At my former corporate office job, we wouldn’t take sick days but would work from home instead. It’s not unusual for people to be in the office coughing and sniffling at work during flu season, even at my current workplace. It’s bizarre to me that staying home when you aren’t feeling well has to be so stressed, this is what we should have all been doing in the first place. Employers should be required to offer sick time to all employees from their first date of employment. It took me 3-years to start accruing PTO while working for JCPenney and I think I started at .89 hours. That means it would have taken me 16 weeks to accrue ONE paid day off. One. After 3-years, I could request a day off while working for a huge corporation. Funny thing is, I graduated college shortly thereafter having never taken a day off and they had to cut me a check for 2 hours of PTO when I left that job 😀 Now, the obvious argument is that if you want a better benefits package then you should get a better job. I think that all of the people who live by that mantra have figured out how much they depend on these ‘low-skill’ workers and I hope that their mindset has changed.

I am thankful that I have a good job now with better than average paid time off and an awesome boss who would never make me feel guilty for being gone. Even now though, over 10 years into my career, I still feel guilty about taking a sick day. I often check my email and voicemail even if I am at home sick even though there isn’t any pressure from my boss to do so.

As someone who is trying to be a more conscientious consumer, it’s past time to start holding companies accountable for how they treat their employees. Minimum wage workers are an integral part of the huge profits these corporations make each year & should be treated as such. If a company can’t afford to pay their employees reasonable benefits then they should cease to exist (looking at you JCPenney). I’ve been watching very closely what corporations have been doing to safeguard their employees well-being through all of this and there are some that I will definitely not be giving my hard earned cash to any longer. I think it’s the least I can do to support those who are expected to do so much for so little 🤍

Damned if you do, double damned if you don’t

Life

Much to my surprise I found myself at the grocery store this weekend. Prior to this whole pandemic, I rarely went into grocery stores and almost totally depended on grocery pick-up because I just hate grocery shopping. Actually, I used to only do Coborn’s delivery but they stopped delivering to my area about a year ago so I switched to pick-up. Unfortunately, now that so many other consumers are also using pick-up, it’s become a complete nightmare. There’s a three-day wait time at Wal-Mart and Target in my area with some of the smaller chains experiencing even longer delays. I get it, their volume exploded and they are just trying to make it happen. I’ve been shopping for enough food to last me 3-weeks or longer if needed just in anticipation of this. I rolled up to get my order like you do on Saturday, there were 4 other cars waiting and two associates were talking to one guest. It seemed like there was some confusion as she was picking up multiple orders for Door Dash which wasn’t a good sign. I waited probably 20 minutes or so, not unusual, for an associate to come to my car. During that wait time, I received an email thanking me for picking up my order. Uh-oh. When the associate came to my window they said that my order had already been picked up, I explained that I had just arrived and hadn’t picked up my order. They went back inside to double check that my stuff wasn’t sitting somewhere and the notification had just been sent by mistake. No such luck, another associate came out and reiterated that my order had been picked up. I explained that I hadn’t picked up my order. To which her response was, well it’s been picked up. No apology, no explanation of what I was supposed to do now just – your order was picked up. My order in total was right under $300 and she wasn’t providing any explanation of how this happened, what I was supposed to do, etc. I ended up just calling the customer service number and was issued a refund that I should see in 5-7 days.

The whole thing just got me thinking though, it wasn’t a huge deal for me financially as I was able to just go into the store and purchase what I needed (what was in stock, that is) but what if I didn’t have the ability to do that? What if I had just spent all of my money on food and would have to wait for the refund? What if I was out of food? What if I had kids at home? It really irked me, maybe if I had made a fuss then I would have at least been given an apology but maybe not. From now on, I will be going into the store and doing my own shopping. I’ve been trying to avoid doing so but don’t really see another option given what happened this weekend. Maybe I won’t always have the money in my account to cover SIX WEEKS of grocery shopping since I was effectively out that amount of money. Which brings me to my next gripe, people not wearing face masks in public.

Why is this so hard, America? You couldn’t stay home when told and now that we are being allowed to get out more, you can’t just cover your fucking face? JUST DO IT. Nobody likes wearing them, they make your face sweat, rub on your ears and make it harder to breath but this is not an infringement on anyone’s civil liberties and I am tired of hearing that it is. If the government suddenly mandated that everyone wiped their ass would people just stop doing it?! That’s how stupid these people sound to me. Also, if you aren’t going to wear one then you don’t get to heckle people who are or harass store associates who tell you to wear one or walk around being a general asshole. This mentality of thinking it’s OK to infringe on someone else’s freedom as long as they don’t infringe on yours is such hypocritical bullshit and I’m sick of it.

Honestly, what a shit weekend and I am glad that it’s over even if that means today is Monday 😛 Hope you are just doing the best you can wherever you are 🖤

Friday Thoughts…

Life

Fair warning, I will mostly be complaining in this post so if you are feeling down or particularly joyful – maybe skip this one 🙂

Buttey Honey Regular

Not that I loved working for the weekend but Friday doesn’t feel like Friday anymore. Working from home makes almost everyday feel like Friday because pre-Corona, that would have been a Friday luxury. Since every day feels like Friday, the next day always feels like Monday. I’m in this weird Friday/Monday time warp where it’s Monday morning then Friday evening every monkey flying day. It’s exhausting.

snakes

Buttey Honey Regular

Unprecedented, novel, uncertain, tumultuous, new normal – these phrases and numerous others must be stricken from the lexicon. We get it, many of us have never experienced something like this in our lifetime, we don’t need a reminder. Also, new normal? Do we remember what the old normal was like? Aside from the pandemic, the world was pretty much a shambles. I mean, at least a plus side to the pandemic is that it’s so traumatic that it’s taking our minds off of the current events that were were current events pre-corona. I’m going to stop saying pre-corona now 😉

Buttey Honey Regular

My place of work has started very preliminary discussions around what going back to work will look like, mostly because our shelter in place order expires on May 4 & the assumption is that some restrictions will be lifted. Plexiglass shields and temperature checkpoints are some of the precautions being discussed. All I can say is that I hope that the antibody testing becomes widely accessible because I think I already had corona.

Buttey Honey Regular

In mid-December I became extremely sick with a respiratory illness that I ended up being sent to the ER for (I needed additional testing, not admitted or anything). They didn’t know what I had, I was sent home with steroids, an inhaler, an antibiotic and saw a respiratory therapist for a month for nebulizer treatments. I was sick for weeks & had complications with lung inflammation for even longer. I have pleurisy in my right lung that causes pain when I’m running or working out still. It was chalked up to a case of pneumonia but now I’m wondering, if corona has been in the US for longer than experts knew then some of us have likely already been sick. Better believe I am getting that antibody test as soon as I can. It would be nice to know so that I can start my MS treatment again which has been stalled since mid-March and indefinitely since the medication I take is immunosuppressive.

Buttey Honey Regular

I do believe that each day that we get through is another day closer to this new normal and that makes me feel a little less anxious. I still have a job, I’m starting my urban garden and Amazon donated 250,000 euro (is that what it’s called still) to a bookstore charity. Some days I feel like everything is going to be alright & other days I feel like nothing will ever be the same. Perhaps it won’t, being a natural introvert who loves being at home, even I have felt a yearning to take a trip or wander through a mall window shopping. I cannot imagine what people who do these things on the regular are feeling. As soon as the travel bans are lifted, I’m getting my passport renewed and I’m going somewhere. I mean, maybe just to Idaho but I’m going.

I hope that you are making it through the days, stay safe wherever you are 💛

One of Us Is Next: Bayview High Book II

Books, Entertainment

How’s that new blog schedule going? Terrible 😛 I have just been incredibly lazy lately, I literally cannot sleep enough even though I’m in bed by 8 most nights. Well, aside from one night where I decided that I would check out the Star Wars saga and stayed up until 3 AM. I can now say that I have watched these movies at the ripe old age of 33. You heard me, I had never seen a single one but they were OK if a little light on plot. Anyway, this post was supposed to be my January To Be Read but it’s already mid-January and I’ve read most of my picks. Instead, I will share my thoughts on the wildly anticipated sequel to the YA novel One of Us Is Lying which I really enjoyed. Now, I’m almost middle-aged and don’t dabble too much into this genre because of the corny high school scenarios but the plot of both books is pretty shocking and twisted for a YA novel which I appreciate.

one-of-us-is-next-chapters-in-post-1380x1000

This book picks up where the first left off, there’s drama at Bayview High again and this time, the stakes are deadly. The main characters from the first installment have gone off to college, started lives of their own but still share an unbreakable bond after the death of one of their schoolmates, Simon. He ran a gossip app that tormented and entertained the population of Bayview, in his absence some have tried to rekindle the popular gossip forum without much success. That is until an anonymous schemer kicks off a game of Truth or Dare exposing the darkest secrets of the students.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the author brought back some of the main characters from the first one but also fleshed out a few of the supporting characters that we didn’t know a lot about. The story is told from different points of view, the main characters this time are Phoebe, Maeve and Knox whose lives are somewhat already intertwined before they become the focus of the Truth or Dare game in one way or another. I like this narration style but it can be hard to follow each story line which is why I will most likely give this one a second read. As the story picks up towards the end, I found myself losing track of small details. The game kicks off with the anonymous texter exposing Phoebe for sleeping with her sister’s boyfriend which starts a rift between the sisters who are already under strain after the death of their father. Then Knox is exposed for an unfortunate performance during what was supposed to be he and Maeve’s first time. The game turns deadly though when a fellow classmate Brandon falls to his death after deciding to take the seemingly lesser high risk dare option. You’d think that everyone would tell their parents what was going on at this point but in true teenage fashion, they don’t. Problems only escalate when the anonymous texter tries to bomb a rehearsal dinner. Yeah, apparently high school students know how to build bombs and aren’t afraid to use them. Knox and Maeve save the day and we find out that the most unlikely student was involved with the anonymous bomb maker and Brandon’s death.

81dTx5RN7IL

It’s really a sad story all around, all of the kids involved have had their lives ruined by some family tragedy. There’s a weird feeling of revenge not being the answer but also thinking that some people deserved what they got. Then, when you find out who was really behind the whole ordeal, it just gets even sadder. After I read these types of books, it always makes me wonder if these things are really happening in schools or if it’s just the author embellishing the sometimes irrational actions of the American teenager. Not to get real dark here but in light of some of the violence that has happened in our schools, some of these events really wouldn’t even shock me. I enjoyed the pace of the writing, the characters are fun if a little moony at times and apparently none of these kids had any homework…or parents around to pay attention to what they are doing. Even if you aren’t into the whole YA genre (which I’m not) I would still recommend both Bayview books as pretty decent thrillers. I also like the writing style of the Author, Karen M. McManus and plan to check out her recent standalone novel.

Have you read either of these, let me know what you thought!

🖤

Blogmas Day 23: Merry Christmas Eve, Eve

Blogmas - 2019

I can’t lie, I’m kinda ready to be done with Blogmas 😂 It’s fun but hard to come up with content that’s unique. Although, I love reading all of the festive posts and will be a little sad going back to business as usual. Tonight’s post will just be a bit of a catch up ☺️ I’m enjoying some hot cocoa and listening to some Christmas tunes, I feel very festive but wish it was snowing.

Today was my last day of work until January 6 and I couldn’t be more thrilled. It’s been a long year, I’m ready to not be at work for awhile. Two blissful weeks of sleeping, snowboarding, snowshoeing and sleeping.

I almost finished wrapping all of my gifts, I’m loving the new wrapping paper and how sparkly it is. I need one of those bins for storing paper though because my cats like to futz around in the rolls. I plan to hit Target bright and early to score some more string and will look for one then. I’m loving the rustic look of the string against the glitzy prints.

I received an Echo Dot as an early Christmas present and it’s the coolest thing! It’s the perfect size for my bedroom and I’m already thinking about one for the living room. I don’t own a television and my apartment can be too quiet at times, I can play just about anything on the Dot and it’s awesome.

I went to confession, it was as boring and sad as I thought it would be 😂 I’m all set for Christmas Mass though which is the only reason I went, that and the damn sign. Confession does have this weird ability to make you feel shiny and new, it’s hard to explain but glad I got it done.

That’s about it in my neck of the woods, a quiet evening before the hustle and bustle of Christmas celebrations commence. I hope you’re having a Merry Christmas Eve, Eve ☺️

💙

Blogmas Day 19: Christmas Traditions I Can Live Without

Blogmas - 2019

I post something along these lines each year and most of it is hyperbole, I know and love that the holidays mean something different to everyone!

Forgiven Script

I know that it’s not raw eggs but I can’t with the texture of eggnog, the flavor or the smell. Why does it always taste and smell like there is booze in it when there isn’t? It’s milk, cream, sugar and whipped eggs, I can’t even. Also, booze doesn’t make it better.

Forgiven Script

I think that popcorn garland looks lovely but stringing it is a nightmare. I was terrible at stringing popcorn when I was a kid and repeatedly stabbed myself with the needle, I would never subject myself or others to this activity.

Forgiven Script

It’s creepy & everyone knows it, lets all collectively stop doing it.

Forgiven Script

I’m probably overthinking this but it’s odd to me that children everywhere are excited about their homes being invaded. I much prefer the kindly, charitable Saint Nicholas as opposed to the modern day, breaking & entering Santa. Who, by the way, doesn’t even eat the cookies that are left for him.

Forgiven Script

The milk and cookies thing – what a waste.

Forgiven Script

When I was a kid, it literally took my mom like 16 hours to cook a turkey. I have no idea why but it was Christmas Eve tradition that she would be up all night basting this stupid turkey. In my adulthood, I have found out that it does not take that long to cook a turkey – even a big one. I’ll never know why she cooked that thing so long.

Forgiven Script

Have you ever really listened to some of the lyrics to popular Christmas songs? Some are really bizarre, Winter Wonderland comes to mind. First of all, who is Parson Brown? Second, that whole are you married bit and the part time husband thing. Again, probably overthinking it but can someone write some new Christmas songs for the love of Parson Brown?!

Let me know what holiday traditions you could do without & thanks for stopping by!

💙

Blogmas Day 13: Thirteen Festive Facts

Blogmas - 2019

I am delighted that we get a Friday the 13th in December, I’m going to see a horror movie tonight and can’t think of a better way to spend a snowy winter’s eve. I think that there are probably elements of Christmas rooted in the supernatural but I couldn’t find enough facts related to this so just rounded up some kinda’ interesting ones instead!

  1. Evergreen was used during the winter solstice by the ancient Romans and Egyptians as a reminder of spring.
  2. Christmas was deemed a pagan holiday in the colonies from 1659-1681 and anyone caught celebrating it would be fined.
  3. 65% of Americans identify themselves as Christians but 90% celebrate Christmas.
  4. Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25, the date was likely changed to align with the pagan festival of Saturnalia.
  5. The same man who dreamt up the Headless Horseman is also responsible for Santa’s sleigh.
  6. Eggnog was popularized in Jamestown in 1607.
  7. Christmas wreaths began as symbols of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus.
  8. Tinsel was once made with real silver and was outlawed for a period of time for containing real lead.
  9. Christmas is not actually recognized in the Bible as a holy day.
  10. Coca Cola was the first company to capitalize off the holly jolly image of Santa, he was originally depicted much older & creepier.
  11. Leaving cookies and milk for Santa emulates the Dutch practice of feasting on St. Nicholas day.
  12. Mistletoe was thought to be an aphrodisiac.
  13. According to Austrian folklore, Krampus is the demonic opposite of Santa and will drag naughty kids to hell. Way scarier than coal 😉

There you have it, 13 festive facts. Thanks for reading!

💙

Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous

Random

Shout out to all of 90’s kids who thought they were punk but were really just wearing too much black eyeliner 😛 I had another post planned for today but am lacking photos and will save it for later in the week. In case you missed it, Kourtney Kardashian’s most recent brainchild Poosh launched yesterday and I am simply baffled. In fairness, Kourtney is my favorite Kardashian (don’t act like you don’t have one) and I am guilty of following the family on some level so of course I had to check it out. It’s just what you’d think; bright white, shiny, gorgeous photos of spacious rooms and stunning decor, pretentious recipes, DIY beauty that only works if you are already stunning and eerily reminiscent of Into the Gloss…Goop…literally any other lifestyle website you can think of…Oh, and it’s also everything I’d like my wesbite to be because obviously this shit sells. First off, you need a completely meaningless name that’s annoying to pronounce but inexplicably unforgettable, I call dibs on Schlep. Then you just need a bathroom the size of a large studio apartment, Beyonce’s makeup artist, a dozen staff writers, camera crew, a closet stocked with designer brands and the whole being gorgeous, rich and/or famous thing certainly will not hurt your cause. The whole idea of putting these ultra-decadent, mostly unattainable lifestyles on blast generally just irks me and yet, I can’t look away. None of the content adds any real value to my life unless of course, I am looking for an $800 sundress or wondering what Emma Watson’s skincare routine is or I have a hankering to become a spiritual herbalist (whatever the fuck that is). That sundress won’t make me look like Gwynnie and in fact, no product mentioned or sold on these sites will transform me into the lifestyle goddess that I so desire to be. When I peruse these sites and take in the perfectly choreographed candid photos I can’t imagine that it’s real, nobody lives like this and that’s just what these sites are for me – a fantasy, an escape from the daily schlep. I find them more fascinating somehow because of how foreign they are to me and probably most normal people.

POOSH

GOOP

ITG

Honestly though, do they all have the same web designer?! Anyway, if you were just dying to know what a day in the life of Kourt looks like, head on over but be prepared to not have your life enriched in any way 😛 If you haven’t got sucked into the whole lifestyle site, I recommend Into the Gloss as they are the OG, the content is pretty varied and not completely asinine. Let me know your thoughts on these types of sites, why do people care (myself included)? Also, let me know your thoughts on Schlep, I think it could work 😛

🖤