Be A Better Person: A Slightly Political Rant

I feel that there has been a steady influx of terrible things happening in the world. And with the current political climate, America is shamelessly displaying the hatred that courses through the masses. People aren’t even trying to be tolerant anymore. The state of this great nation of ours is not so great. Sometimes there is so much ugliness in the world that I can’t see the beauty anymore. And that sucks. Is there anything that can be done? Or is this the world? Take it or leave it?

We are once again in a situation where we are going to be voting for the lesser of two evils during this presidential election. And one of them will be taking over and either adding to Obama’s good work, or completely undoing it. I do not think either candidate is offering any kind of hope for a better world.

But back to the topic at hand – the sad state of our country as the presidential election has truly brought out the worst in so many people. And I think that there should be no question that one of the candidates shouldn’t even be considered because he is using hatred and fear to fuel his campaign. Blatant racism, discrimination, sexism, and bigotry are once again becoming not only acceptable, but encouraged. How can anyone talk about making America great again when our country has spent so much of our history preaching about equal opportunities in one breath and suppressing rights of anyone that isn’t a white male practicing the appropriate religion? Would America be great again if women’s suffrage had never happened? If segregation was still a thing? When rights were not a given, but something that had to be fought tooth and nail for? Was that greatness?

Personally, I like having the right to get a credit card without my husband’s permission. I like having the ability to vote. I value that if I were in a bad situation I could choose to safely get an abortion. I can buy a car. I can have a voice. I can get a job. I have these rights and I’ll be damned if I’m going to sit quietly and let hatred go unchecked. We do not need another holocaust. We do not need another führer. What we really need is for conservatives to get the fuck out of progression’s way. Stop trying to suppress basic human rights and worry about making the world a better place.

I don’t know what is going to happen on Tuesday. I know what I hope will happen, or more so what I hope will not happen. But either way, what I’m really trying to say is this – be a better person. The only way to counteract all the hatred and all the bad in the world is to try to put out extra good. Send out good vibes. Be nice to a stranger. Be there for a friend. Be a friend. Pay it forward. And maybe, just maybe, we can make this the kind of world that we want to give to our children. Maybe we don’t have to accept the world at face value. Maybe we can make a difference – however small – and bring a little hope back into the world.


Fire Department Fun on a Friday Night

This happened a few weeks ago, but I didn’t get around to posting this right away. Without further deferment:

I like to think that I am a responsible citizen. I don’t litter, I clean up after my dog, I try to turn down my music when I’m driving home with the windows down and it’s late. And when I’m not sure if a situation is okay, I call for help. I’ve called 911 when I realized traffic lights were out and people were just going for it – that was a dangerous situation. I’ve called the water department when the fire hydrant at the top of my street was just gushing water. I’ve called the cops when I saw a couple fighting and the guy shoved the girl. I’d rather waste their time then not do something and have a bad thing happen. See something, say something, right?

So yesterday, when I was out walking Ranger after work and we walked past a pile of coals, I paused. On the one hand, the coals were on the grass area between the sidewalk and the street, so no one’s home was in immediate danger. On the other hand, the coals were still red hot in the center and it was windy out. The grass all around the coals was charred. What would you do? I called Husband for backup and he said that it was probably fine but I could call the fire department if I really wanted to. So I asked him to send me their number. The thing is, there is no obvious number for the fire department. There is the safety office, the security desk, the fire code unit, and the fire marshals office. So many choices, but who should I call? I decided to start with the safety office and the guy I spoke to said that I could go into the neighboring houses and get a big bucket of ice water and just dump that on the coals, or I could call the fire department. Now, I know some of my neighbors, but not most of them, and definitely not the ones that were right next to the pile of burning coals. So I opted to call the fire marshal’s number next and explained the situation. He was very nice and said he would send some guys over. I asked if I should stick around and he said that would be very helpful because I could point out the exact location.

Being an upstanding citizen, I listened and stayed put. After I hung up, I looked down and realized that I did the same thing I always do when I get home. I changed out of my work clothes, took off my bra, and put on sweats and a t-shirt before taking the pup out for his walk. So now I was waiting for a truck full of firefighters with no bra on. Oh well…

The guys showed up on their truck, I waved them down, pointed out the coals, and with my arms arms strategically across my chest asked if I really needed to call them. They exchanged this look like, is this chick serious? And as the one firefighter terminated all danger by shuffling across the pile in his fire boots, he said it was okay but no, I probably didn’t need to call them. The whole thing was a bit anticlimactic to be honest.

I thought it was one of those situations where I might have saved my whole neighborhood from bursting into flame. Or I was overreacting to the danger potential and would end up wasting the firefighter’s time. But better safe than sorry, right? Maybe next time I will try to handle the situation myself. Or I’ll just take the time to put on a bra before interacting with a bunch of strangers. One or the other.

Never Challenge a Trash-Picking Bibliophile

Oh man, I am so hype right now! We just scored an awesome trash pick – a big, wide, sturdy bookshelf. Part of my excitement stems from the fact that we found such a treasure. And part of my excitement stems from the way that I obtained said shelf.

After enjoying a delicious dinner at our favorite bar (burger night!!), we walk outside with plans to go home. The sun has gone down, but there is still a little light in the sky. The humidity of the day still drapes over the city, but the air is cooling. Walking hand in hand, my husband and I stroll down the sidewalk discussing how early it is and whether or not we can fit in a movie before bed.

And just like that – it appears. At first glance, an ordinary piece of furniture that someone is getting rid of. Upon further inspection, it is a big, wide, sturdy bookshelf – the kind of trash picks that a bibliophile dreams about. Well, I had to have it. The obstacle being my husband’s reluctance to first acquire and then transport such a large piece of furniture. So, seemingly to deter my interest, my husband says that I can have the shelf if I can load it into the car by myself.

Challenge accepted.

I scooted the shelf back and forth, carefully and slowly as to minimize any damage. Once I approached the curb, I placed my hands underneath one of the shelves and scooted the shelf sideways towards the street. Closer and closer to my goal – I asked for my husband to back the car up a bit, and the nearer it came, the more realistic my goal became! I persevered, put down the car seats, opened the trunk, moved all the junk that was in the way, and finally worked the shelf into the car. Success! And only with a tiny help from my husband at the end to get it all the way in the car.


I now am the proud new owner of a big, wide, sturdy bookshelf. It just goes to show – never tell a bibliophile that they can keep the extra bookshelf if they can move it themselves. Challenge will be accepted and beat because BOOKS!!!


Shit Silver Lining


I’ve been trying to find the silver lining in things lately. I have a history of being negative, and sometimes I really let it build up. This is exactly what I did last week and I started to put a post together, but I got so pissed off that I didn’t finish. Here is me finishing it:

Sometimes you just end up having a shitty day. For me, it’s been a shitty week and it’s only Wednesday. Part of this was outside of my control, part of this was bad luck on my part, and part of this stems from my own inability to let things go. It’s a major flaw and causes me a lot of unnecessary pain. It’s something I really need to work on, but for now, it’s what inspired this rant.

Monday was stupid at work and I was hurting from my stupid knee, and I found out that the payments on one of my student loans skyrocketed. So I was in a bad mood. Tuesday wasn’t any better. I went to Wawa for lunch and some jackass was just sitting in his car in one of the front spots so I had to circle the building several times to find a parking space and ended up having to walk further because of it. (Why have I never tried to get a handicap tag for this knee thing?) Then Wawa didn’t have the soup I wanted! Stupid shit to get upset over, but that’s what I do sometimes. Then on my way back to the office, I take a turn a little too fast and almost get in an accident. So now I’m pissed at myself on top of everything.

Then I had to stay late at work and got stuck in traffic on my way home. I had to take DibKitty to the vet, so I walk Ranger as quickly as possible and pack up Dib and go. On our way to the vet I’m trying so hard to not laugh at Dib’s howls of protest. Then he howls REALLY loud. And then I smell it. Once we get to the vet (which was frustrating in itself because some asshole just stopped their car at the entrance to the parking lot to let someone out. At least put your hazard lights on so I know I can go around you!), I confirmed that Dib had in fact shit in the carrier. Awesome.

The technicians were very nice about it and offered to clean out his carrier, which I gratefully accepted. They walked out of the room and came back in and said Dib was actually due for a fecal sample and did I want to use his deposit from the carrier? I readily agreed. Shit happens, but sometimes it can be put to good use – there’s my silver lining!

That being said, while we were waiting to pay three dogs came in and kept trying to sniff at Dib in his carrier. He growled and growled, and then he pissed himself. Motherfucker. Dib got a bath last night and I’m still in a pissy mood. It was just my luck.

That’s what I wrote last week. And yes, I had a lot of stupid stuff happen all at once and it snowballed into a huge scribble over my head. But as I’m writing this now, I’m in such a better place. This is probably in part because last week was such a shitty week that when compared, although nothing extraordinary has happened, this week is so much better by default. So maybe the silver lining of last week’s shit was the ability to appreciate this week in all its ordinariness. Maybe that’s how everyone else does it, maybe I’m onto something here.

In Honor of Grandma: Official Rules of Black Mama


Today is Grandma’s birthday, it would have been her 101st. I have many fond memories of her, she was such a sweet lady. The time we’ve spent together frequently included playing cards. In fact, when playing cards Grandma would often lose that sweet demeanor and, while frowning at her cards, mutter “shit” when she got a bad deal. This happened specifically when we were playing our family card game “Black Mama”. This is a game that is played by everyone in my family. Generation to generation, we play this game and teach it to our friends and younger generations. I thought that in honor of Grandma on her birthday, that it would be nice to share the rules of this game. I think it would make her happy.

Official Rules & Regulations – Black Mama

At minimum, you need two people to play Black Mama. You can have as many people in a game as you’d like – just add additional decks of cards as needed. Personally, I think six people is a good-sized game. The deck of cards should include all fifty-two AND the two jokers.

To start, each player is dealt eleven cards and one card is flipped over for the discard pile. At the beginning of each turn, you must pick up either from the deck or the discard pile. You can only pick up from the discard pile if you have two of a kind or one of a kind and a wild card. For example, if there is a 3 in the discard pile and you have two 3’s in your hand (or one 3 and a wild card), you can pick up that card. You must play that card right away and any cards on top of that 3 are yours to keep as well. At the end of each turn you must discard.

In order to get points and get rid of cards, you want to put cards down. This can only be done during your turn; each turn must begin with picking up a card. You have to have three of a kind to put down. So if I have two 3s and pick up a third 3, I can put that down. Or I can have a wild and two of a kind. You cannot use two wilds and one of a kind. During your turn, you can put down as many cards as you are able. So if you’re dealt three 3s, three 4s, and three 5s, you can put all of those down during your turn. When you pick up at the beginning of your turn, you can add to any cards that you have down already. So if I put down 3s during my last turn and I pick up a 3, I can just add that to my pile. You can also add wild cards to your pile if you are trying to gain points and get rid of cards.

How to win: The ultimate goal is to have the most points at the end of the game. Whatever you have down counts in the positive and whatever you have left in your hand counts in the negative for you. Games are usually played to 500 or 1000 points.

When there is an even amount of players, you can opt to play teams. Your teammate sits directly across from you. The advantage of playing partners is that you can pass cards. So if Grandma and Dad are on a team, and Grandma puts down 3s, when it is Dad’s turn, if he has cards down, he can pass any 3s he has to Grandma. You cannot pass cards to your partner unless you already have cards down. It is polite to ask your partner if they’d like to go out before doing so, but it isn’t required. Your points are counted together, so it is nice to check and make sure they’re not holding the Mama and getting stuck with that many points in their hand.

If you’re playing and run out of cards in the deck but the discard pile is still there, just flip the discard pile over and continue playing. Alternatively, you can end the game there and just count the points you have. (Humbug).

Point Breakdown

Queen of Spades (aka the Black Mama) – 100 points

Jokers – 50 points

Deuces (2s are wild) – 20 points

Aces – 15 points

Kings, Queens, Jacks, 10s – 10 points

9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4,3 – 5 points


Experiencing Technical Difficulties


Some of you may know, but I have been out of commission for a few weeks post-knee surgery. The doctor told me that surgery couldn’t have gone better, so that’s great, but knee surgery still means recovery time. On Monday, I went back to work after being out for three weeks. I was excited and scared, worried that I wasn’t ready, stressed out that it was pouring and water makes canes slip, but I was going stir-crazy at home, so there was definitely some excitement.

I get to the office, and the first thing I notice is there is a HUGE FUCKING MILLION-LEGGED BUG!!! Not the welcome I was expecting. But the inner door was locked, so I called one of the guys and asked him to let me in and if he did bugs. Luckily, he did and that problem was soon handled. While I was waiting to be saved however, I tried to login to my computer and found my mouse was not working.

I don’t panic, after all, my husband used to work for Geek Squad and I have a certain degree of technical knowledge. So I turned my wireless mouse off and on again. Still not working. No big deal. I hobble to the kitchen to put away my lunch and get my teapot and mug and on the way there, run into BBE (best boss ever). I mention to her my problem and she says the batteries are probably out. I hobble over to MJ’s office to get batteries out of her locked cabinet, but I couldn’t find the key! After searching for a few minutes, I decide to ask BBE for help. Of course she found the key right away, but the result was successful retrieval of new batteries. I put the batteries in and try again. Still not working. Turn it off and on again. Still not working! We unplug the little fob from the usb port and try it in the second port. Still. Not. Working.

At this point, we’ve spent probably twenty minutes on this and so BBE goes and grabs a wired mouse and plugs it in. After restarting my computer by being savvy on the keyboard, it finally works. I login and start catching up on my emails when I realize my second monitor wasn’t working. What now?! Then, well… then I realized that the monitor wasn’t on…and guess where the mouse fob was plugged in? Yep, on the monitor. Once that was on, everything started working! Amazing, right? It was a classic ID-Ten-T US-Three-R error.

Have Any of You Ever Felt Personally Victimized by Regina George? I mean, Government-run businesses?

So. I got married, right? And I decided to change my name. And that’s when everything went downhill. If you’re unaware, changing one’s name is probably the hardest thing to do. And I’m pretty sure that these different places that I needed to go to change my name decided to fuck with me and make it the worst experience ever.

The first thing you need to do is change your name with the social security office. I checked online, found a place, went there, waited in line for over an hour, and was told that I needed to go to the social security office by my house. Awesome. So I looked online and was told to go to this one location. I called and spoke with someone and was told to go to the same location. So I went to that location and despite being reassured that they would be open on Black Friday, they were not. I went the Monday afterwards and after spending about two hours in line, was told that I needed to go to a different location. Awesome. At this point, I was beyond exasperated and so I decided to mail in my forms. This meant putting my ACTUAL passport in the mail. Very uncomfortable – but I got a call from the social security office a few days later and learned that I sent it to the wrong office! Awesome. Luckily, they forwarded my stuff to the right office and a few weeks later, I had my new social security card. That actually was awesome.

Next step, get my license and passport updated. Yesterday I went to the DMV. The first place I went to was supposed to be open at 8:30am. They weren’t. I stayed for 45 minutes and they still weren’t open. I’m guessing that they decided to close because of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. But that is on Monday, and the post office is open today, so why the fuck would the DMV be closed? But this was a revelation I reached later.

After this mess, I called The Crazy Lady and she gave me two other addresses of places that would be open on Saturday to update my license. So the first one I went to, found it, parked, walked over, and the sign on the door said they would only be open the first and last Saturdays of each month. HELPFUL FUCKING INFORMATION. At this point, I’m determined. I’m going to get this taken care of. So I go to the other address Crazy Lady sent. And they don’t open until ten, so I stop at a café across the street to get some breakfast. The empty stomach was only increasing the likelihood that I would stab someone. After chatting with the guys at this place (who may have brought something besides tea back from Colorado) they recommended a blended herbal tea that was amazing. It was soooooo delicious that it almost made the madness of my morning worth it. I enjoyed a pretty tasty breakfast sandwich too. After eating, I went across the street, brought my paperwork up to the desk and was told that I needed to bring my social security card with me. AWESOME! More determined than ever, I go home and get my social security card and drive back. I get there, wait a little while longer, and then am told that I can’t actually do all the stuff at that location because they’re an outside vendor, not the actual DMV and they can process my paperwork and get me a camera card, but ultimately I would still need to go to the DMV. So the guy I was working with told me three times that if it were him, he would go to the DMV to do it all at once. Never being one that had to be told to take a hint, I decided to heed his advice.

So my name has been officially changed, but my license doesn’t reflect that at the moment. Or my passport. Or my registration or my bank info, or so many other things. I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel like someone out there is messing with me. Am I being personally victimized? It seems quite probable…

Dog Walking 101

I am of the opinion that if you get a dog there are certain responsibilities that go along with that. Obviously, you need to do the standard feed and shelter the dog. If possible, you should walk the dog twice a day. But more importantly, you need to clean up after your dog. This seemed obvious to me, but given the amount of dog shit I see, maybe people need to be reminded that cleaning up after their dogs is an important part of owning one. Yes, poop is kind of gross and especially picking it up right after it has been evacuated from the dog and it’s warm is not a pleasant experience. But changing diapers is no picnic either, so suck it up.

Because of my knee nonsense, I haven’t been the primary dog walker like I was before. But my husband works late some nights and I can’t make the dog wait. A few weeks ago I was walking Ranger after all the leaves had fallen – one of the biggest challenges when picking up after the dog. So he squats down and I go to grab a bag from the dispenser we keep on the leash and it was empty!

What do to? I couldn’t just leave it. That’s not okay. Should I knock on some neighbor’s doors and ask for a baggie? That might be weird…I wasn’t too far from home, so I decided I should just go get more bags. The challenge would be to find the dog shit again. So I found a stick and pushed it into the ground in front of the shit. I walked back home, got the bags, went back, found the stick and the shit, and cleaned up after my dog. Because that’s what you do.

So yes, I am extremely judgmental about cleaning up after your dog. I’m not saying everyone will go to those lengths to clean up shit, but you should make an effort! When there is dog shit on the sidewalk – well I don’t know who you are, but I send a wish out. I wish with all my heart that you will get explosive diarrhea in your pants in the middle of an important meeting. That’s all I ask. So the next time you decide to not clean up after your dog, don’t be surprised when you get hit with karmic shit at the worst possible moment. And you’ll deserve it too.

Hunting Blondes at Wawa


For those of you that don’t know, I started a new job recently. One of the nice things about this job is that it is about five minutes from Wawa. Although I try to pack lunch when I can, sometimes that doesn’t work out and I go to Wawa. Yesterday was one of those days.

It started off simply enough, I was driving back from dropping off some paperwork at the doctor and headed in the direction of Wawa. I was behind a silver CRV and while driving around the bend I noticed that of the three brake lights cars have only one was working. That’s kind of a problem – and it isn’t likely that this car owner knew. So I made a decision. I decided that it was my mission to find this person and inform them that their brake lights were out. Of course this was all banking on the idea that the CRV turned into the Wawa parking lot. I wasn’t about to go on a crazy adventure. Lo and behold – the CRV pulled into the Wawa parking lot.

I followed the car around the building and then a spot opened up that the CRV had already past, so I parked and tried to get a good look at the car owner as I walked into Wawa. I could tell that the driver was a woman and that she was blonde. I assumed that would be plenty of information and I could tell her about her brakes.

Upon entering Wawa, I looked around. There were blonde women everywhere. Wawa was crowded as usual and I almost gave up. I then thought about making an announcement to the whole of the Wawa population. Finally I decided to just start somewhere, so I went up to a blonde woman and asked if she drove a CRV. She said yes. I told her that her brake lights were out except for the third one. Her face was full of panic and upset as she confirmed that her black CRV was the one I was talking about. I said no, it was a silver CRV with the brake lights out. She was relieved and informed me that her car had just gotten back from the shop. She then wished me luck. It was then that I realized at least two of the many blonde women in the Wawa I was currently standing in owned a CRV.

Another person would have given up, but at that point I had already invested my time in finding the owner of the silver CRV with the brake lights out. I asked two other blonde women and they did not own a CRV. Finally, I found her. I told her, and she was so grateful. And just like that, my mission was complete.

Thanksgiving Boycott

What does Thanksgiving mean to you? To me, it’s a day to eat a lot of food. I have some good memories around Thanksgiving and some that aren’t awesome, but overall I look forward to the holiday. After all, the most important part of celebrating the holidays is getting to spend time with your family. I don’t know about everyone else, but I love my family. And it doesn’t hurt that the Crazy Lady cooks like no other. It’s easy to overeat when the food is that good.

Lately however, it seems like Thanksgiving is becoming less about spending time with your family and more about shopping. And I don’t get it. Now, don’t get me wrong, I enjoy shopping – especially when there are great sales going on and even more so when books are involved. What I don’t like is missing out on spending time with my family because of shopping. This happened to me once, back when I was working retail. As far as I can remember, it was the first year that stores were opening before midnight on Thanksgiving. So I had to be there early, so early that I was unable to attend Thanksgiving dinner with my family.

It wasn’t like I had a choice either. Everyone had to be there. And why was that? Because of you. Yes, I’m calling out everyone that goes shopping on Black Friday and especially those that go shopping on Thanksgiving. It has gotten out of hand. Stay home and spend time with your family! It’s precious. The year I missed was one year that I didn’t get to spend with my Grandma. She’s gone now and I’ll never get that time back. And why? So that you could get a good deal on some fucking merchandise that probably was poor quality and unnecessary. Was it worth it?

Maybe before going shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday, you should stop and think about what that means. First of all, you personally are missing out on time with your family. Secondly, you are forcing other people to work. The unlucky retail workers, the ones you barely see when you are shopping. They’re real people with real families and they are missing out on the holidays and everything that goes with them. They’re being forced to work at ungodly hours when they should be sleeping. So that you can get some crap at discount.

How do we stop this? More and more stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving. This is because they know people will show up. The more people that venture out to get the deals, the more stores will open. And more employees are forced to miss out on time with their families. My advice? BOYCOTT!! The ONLY way that this madness will stop is if everyone stops shopping on Thanksgiving! If you don’t show up, the stores will end up losing money because they are paying workers to be there and not selling anything. So do me a favor, do all retail workers – past and present – a favor and boycott shopping on Thanksgiving. It’s the decent thing to do and the only way we can stop this trend. We need to take Thanksgiving back and remember that it is a time when we are supposed to be reflecting on what we are thankful for. I’m thankful for my family and I intend to spend the day with them eating way too much food and relaxing. That’s what Thanksgiving is all about. Well that, and a ritual sacrifice.