Sunday, August 6, 2017

That's What He Said

Hey, Friends.

My niece and nephew were up visiting from Texas for the last month or so. They just went home on Friday and I miss them already.  I'm going to write about them a bit now to help me to keep the memories close.  If you aren't feeling that, think it sounds deadly boring, please feel free to take yourself elsewhere.

We're going to talk about my nephew here, Friends -- more specifically the things that he says.  He's 9, and I find some of the things he says to be hilarious. Sometimes it's because he really wasn't paying attention and repeats what he thought he heard, sometimes he can't remember the word he really wants to use so he comes up with a close approximation.  He's also just a really funny little dude.  I started making notes of some of them. I think they're priceless, but I'm totally biased on this.

Without further ado, I present the sayings of my nephew, Austin. I call them:


Let's start with a couple of classics that my brother relayed to me.  

1) "Ham on tuna" -- Hannah Montana.  They had been discussing the show, and clearly Austin wasn't really listening very carefully.  When he was really little he had to watch it a lot because my niece was obsessed with the show, and he used to call it "Best Show" because of the theme song.

2) "Can of fish" -- again, his listening ears weren't working so well.  Apparently my sister-in-law was trying to talk and he kept interrupting, and she said, "Can I finish?" 

3) Another older example I was present for:  he couldn't remember the word 'elves'.  He called them "Santa's midget clowns", and claimed that they hated children.  

On to the gems from this summer.  Some are pretty clear, and others might necessitate a bit of explanation.

4) "Like a rhino in a Chinese store" -- he meant bull in a china shop, but didn't quite get it right.

5) On dealing with  his sister:  "I'm not allowed to touch her.  At all."

6) On briefly seeing a display for something called Spikeball in a sporting goods store: "It's just what drunk people play."

7) To his grandmother, "You're wasting my words."  This could go a couple different ways.  Originally he meant that she was twisting his words.  He also used to complain that, "Grandma is always asking me a million questions about everything," and she was making him waste his words answering her.

8) When I asked him what he had been doing since his fingernails were caked with dirt:  "That's not dirt.  That's memories."

9) "Hands are nature's silverware.  Teeth are nature's knives."

10) To his sister, "You have all the length, I have all the muscle."  (She is older and much taller than he is.)

11) On debating with me whether 'bogosity' was a word: "Bogosity -- search it up, Aunt Tammy!  It's totally in Urban Dictionary!"

12) He came to visit me at the library where I work, and took it upon himself to put all of the puzzles in the children's area back together correctly.  He also morphed into a 90 year old man.  "These darn kids are irresponsible, losing all the pieces. They shouldn't be allowed to have puzzles!"

13) "Little tickets to heaven" -- that's what he called the goose poop that was all over sidewalk when we were out for a walk.

14) Showing me his profile picture on his Instagram account: "That's a cupcake.  I made it.  His name was Diabetes."

15) "Is this going to be an Austinism?  Don't write that down.  I can do much better than that!"

16) We were in the car.  He was really tired, watching YouTube videos on his tablet and trying to listen to the conversation Lili (my niece) and I were having about Pretty Little Liars. "Who what did?" and then whispered under his breath, "Oh, God."  

17) Commenting on his sister: "She's now turning into a real giraffe!  Long neck, long legs..."

18) He went to baseball camp at Marist College, and he would come home starving and totally exhausted.  He would never cop to being tired and would fight it every night.  It led to him saying things at dinner like, "I can't talk because there's a mouth in my food."

19) And when tired he kind of scrambles his words a bit: "Is the dar clocked?"  Is the car locked.  Totally wouldn't admit he said it, either.  Cause he wasn't tired, damn it!

20) My brother was up to visit for the week before taking his kidlets back home to Texas.  My mother had made a pasta salad with garbanzo beans in it.  Austin was sitting closest to the salad, and was dishing some out to my brother when he asked. "Do you want the garzombie beans?"  I like his word better, honestly.

21) "Everybody likes ice cream.  Except for people who are lactose intolerant."  Then he whispered, "They have explosive poo later."

22) He came home from baseball camp and announced to his sister and I, " I have swamp butt."  I don't know what it is, and I don't think I want to know.  I told him to make sure he told his Dad, since he was here.  Aunt Tammy doesn't handle Swamp Butt.  New rule.

23) This happened on Thursday night.  I worked late and went over to my parents' house after to visit everyone.  My brother had already taken Austin up to bed to start the process of trying to get him to sleep.  I went up to the bedroom to see him before he went to sleep.

Austin:  Hi Tomato-mobiler!  *cracks up laughing*

Me: Hi there, Giggles.

Austin:  Get it?  Cause Dad calls you Tomato and he sent your birthday present to Tomato and they delivered it!  And your car is red-- like a tomato!  The Tomato mobile.  You're a tomato-mobiler!"  He was giddy he was so tired, just cracking himself up.

Me:  Whatever you say, Swamp Butt.

His birthday is next week.  I hope he finds it just as hilarious when I address his present to Swamp Butt.  He doesn't think they will deliver it.  They totally will. I send flowers to my niece every year for her birthday.  Back in the day I used to address them to her self-proclaimed moniker of Princess Flapjack Electroboom.  They always got delivered.  Swamp Butt is in for a surprise!

Just to be fair and round this out, I'll share a bit of ridiculousness that my brother, my niece and I got up to.  It's entirely my fault.  I take full blame.

My brother, Lili, and I were all watching television at my parents' house.  (The kidlets stay there when they come to visit, as neither would be up and motivated to go when I have to leave for work in the morning.  My brother crashes at my house when he is in town.) There must not have been a Yankees game on at the time as I had the remote.  I was flipping through the channel guide, trying to find something appropriate for all viewers, and I noticed a show was on Animal Planet called "Finding Bigfoot".  

So I chose it.

I thought it was going to be something discussing the history of the Bigfoot legend. Nope.  They were in Iowa, I think, and were going to go out and look for Bigfoot where all of these sightings had purportedly taken place.  I assumed they were going to debunk them -- examine the area and talk about what native animals (like bears) people might have been mistaking for Bigfoot.

I was so wrong.

They were legitimately out there trying to find Bigfoot.  They had night vision cameras, thermal readers -- you name it.  Still cool.  It was interesting to see what they could find.

The thing that did us in was the terms they were using.  Did the area look "Squatchy?"  They were going out "squatching".  I really thought I heard them wrong the first time, but they kept saying similar things.

So, fast forward to the last day of their visit.  Lili had told my brother that she wanted the two of them to "go on an adventure" while Austin was at camp and I was at work.  We came up with a bunch of things they could do as an adventure, depending on what time Lili managed to drag herself from bed after being up chatting with her friends on her phone half the night.

They ended up going to Minnewaska State Park to go hiking.  It's really beautiful.  I go there quite often to get away from it all.

My brother takes some pictures while they are there, but he tags them with things like "squatchwatch2017". When they were taking a rest, it was a "squatchsquat".

I might have replied and asked if the area looked "squatchy".

But the best of them was definitely when he said, "Going to find them where they live.  Catch them in their sas-hole."  I found that highly amusing.  I don't really care if that makes me seem incredibly immature.

My point, Friends, is that Austin comes by his crazy sayings naturally.  We all do it.  I just happen to find my little dude to be super funny. Like I said -- I'm very biased.  

I hope you found some of this to be at least mildly amusing.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

But Can You Do It With Frosted Flakes Instead?

Hey, Friends.

Long time, no talk.

Sorry about that.  My niece and nephew are up visiting from Texas, so I've been spending as much time as possible hanging with the kidlets when I'm not at work. They win over you, Friends.

To make it up to you for the almost month-long silence, allow me to share this evening's attempt at a culinary creation.  It may end up being a total disaster. Doesn't that sound like fun?

I feel the need to explain that I am, generally, pretty damn good at baking and making desserts. Ridiculous amount of steps?  No problem.  High percentage that it could all go horribly wrong?  I love a challenge.  Going to require getting every pan I own dirty?  Okay -- that I'm not keen on, but I'll do it.

For no good reason, Rice Krispies Treats are like my kryptonite.

Picture from Rice Krispies recipe, which can be found here:  Original Treats

The commercials show children happily and easily making them with their families:

That's not remotely what happens when I try to make them.

The first time I tried to make Rice Krispies Treats it went very, very wrong.  You know what smells horribly nasty? Burnt marshmallows.  Also a bitch to get off of your pans.  

Some marshmallow tips from me to you:

1) Never use the giant "campfire" size marshmallows, even if they are the only option in the store.  I don't care how many different stores you have to go to, keep searching for any size that is smaller. Trust me on this one.  Learn from my misadventures in the world of marshmallows.

2) You want to try using fun, colorful marshmallows?  Be prepared for them to come out looking slightly grayish.  All of those fun colors are going to melt into one big, grayish pile of goo, not pretty swirls.

3) I know the official recipe says to use mini-marshmallows.  Maybe you can handle that.  I cannot.  That stuff will turn on you and start burning in the blink of an eye. You need to be vigilant in your marshmallow cookery.

4) I just use the normal size marshmallows.  No one will know once they are melted into ooey-gooey congealed goodness.

And for the record:  I have never tried the microwave route. My track record with marshmallows is bad enough that I'm not about to introduce them to my microwave. I have visions of them exploding all over the place, or expanding and oozing everywhere.  

Marshmallow woes aside, I can pull it off and successfully make them.  

Fruity Pebbles Treats

I have a process, now that I have screwed it up badly  made all of the mistakes  done it enough times to find all of my problem areas.  I don't know that the good people of Rice Krispies would be too thrilled with it, but it gets the job done.

How To Make Rice Krispies Treats: The Tammy Method

1) Get out your butter-flavored cooking spray and coat a 13x9 pan to within an inch of its life.

2) Get out your wok.  It's got a nice wide top for pouring in marshmallows without spilling them all over the place.

3) Put your box of Rice Krispies (or other fine cereal of choice) by the back door.  No, I'm not kidding. Make sure it is opened and ready to go!

4) Put the butter in the wok and melt it over low heat.

5) When the butter is melted, dump in your entire bag of normal sized marshmallows.

6) Stir constantly and avoid all distractions while stressing out and trying not to burn it.

7) When the marshmallows are nice and smooth and melty, turn off the stove.

8) Take your wok of marshmallow madness, your spoon, and your box of cereal and go stand in the driveway.

9) While holding the wok in your left hand, dump the cereal in using your right hand.

10) Drop the empty box on the ground by your feet and start trying to mix it all together before the marshmallow goo starts to firm up.

11) Pay no attention to the cereal flying out of the wok while you stir.  This is why you are doing it outside.  The birds and other neighborhood wildlife can enjoy a tasty snack later.

12) When it looks as mixed as you can get it, hurry back inside and put it into the pan.  Press that stuff in firmly so that the bars will (hopefully) hold together when you try to cut them up later.

13) Cover with waxed paper and hope for the best.

14) Go back outside to get the empty box and throw it in the garbage.

That's really my process, Friends.  I am apparently incapable of stirring in the cereal without making a gigantic mess.  I like to think of it as an urban campfire scenario.  A brief intermission en plein air.

Why are we discussing this, Friends?

Well, I have my book group tomorrow night.  We will be discussing One More Thing by B. J. Novak. In the book is a story called "Kellogg's".  As you might have guessed, it mentions cereal.

You probably remember that I like to serve refreshments that go with the theme of the book at my book groups.  (Don't remember, or you are a new reader and are dying of curiosity? You can click here or just click on the "book group" tag.)  Well, this particular chapter mentions Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes.  What am I supposed to do with that?  I'm not going to serve my book group bowls of cereal. You're killing me here, Mr. Novak!

And then I had an epiphany: I could make Rice Krispies Treats, but use Frosted Flakes instead!  My euphoria was short lived.  After my initial rush of giddiness subsided,  my brain had a lot of questions as to what I thought I was going to do.

  • What the hell would you even call them?  Frosted Flakes Treats?  Frosted Flakes Bars?
  • Is this even a thing?  You cannot be the first person to ever have this idea.  There is probably a good reason you don't see commercials for Frosted Flakes Treats.
  • Will these things even hold together?  Rice Krispies are small and easily coated.  Frosted Flakes are a lot bigger with more surface area.
  • You should probably Google this before trying it.

You're right, brain.  I could Google it.  I probably should....just to avoid a potential disaster.  It would be the smart thing to do.  You raised some valid points.

Yeah, I totally didn't bother to look it up.  It will be our own little culinary adventure, Friends!

So, just a few minutes ago, I mixed up the Frosted Flakes treats-bars-things

Why yes, those would be Frosted Flakes in my driveway.  I wasn't lying about that step.

and I have now squooshed (technical term) them into the pan.


As I write this they should be firming up into a nice solid block.  Cross your fingers and send me good vibes.  I'm not even going to attempt to cut these bad boys until tomorrow.  I promise I will fill you in on the outcome -- for good or for ill.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make carrot cake for my book group.  

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Art on the Farm

Hey, Friends.

Happy Fourth of July!  And Happy Tuesday to the rest of the world! I hope you're having a good day, wherever you may be.

I went to the parade in Hyde Park earlier this morning, and I'll be going to see the fireworks down by the river this evening. Earlier this afternoon, however, I went to see an outdoor sculpture exhibit with my Mom.  Art on the Farm

I'm a bit embarrassed to say that this was the first time I had ever been to Vassar Farm or the Poughkeepsie Farm Project.  I drive past the entrance on the way to work every day, but had never gone in to explore.

So what prompted me to go today?

Well, last week I noticed a big orange thing on one of the fields as I was sitting at a traffic light on the way to work.  It was just far enough away that I couldn't figure out if it was a sculpture or some kind of fancy new watering system.  I was intrigued.  I asked around and found out it was some sort of art display, but nobody really seemed to have any details about it.  Eventually a banner went up with the information.  (See the link above!)

It's really pretty cool.  I had to take pictures, of course.

Staged by Jean Brennan -- Beacon, New York

Starting From Scratch by Ed Benavente -- Beacon, New York

Angelina by Dick Crenson -- Pleasant Valley, New York

Lifecycle of an Idea by Julian Mackinnon -- New Paltz, New York

Cactus by Carl Grieco -- Hyde Park, New York

Man is an Island by Richard Marx -- Hyde Park, New York

Translogical Corner by Robert Parker -- Walton, New York

The Endless Picnic Tables, Then and Now by Chris Oliver -- Ithaca, New York

King Belotes by Jack Rusinek -- Marlboro, New York

Hoe Down by Peter Schlemowitz -- Beacon, New York

This would be "Whirly", but there seems to be a technical difficulty.

You Can't Find This on the Internet by Madeleine Cichy -- Ithaca, New York

Anomaly by Antonella Piemontese -- Beacon, New York

Walking on Eggshells by Anita Fina Kiewra -- Verbank, New York

Thunderhoof by Dave Channon -- Shandaken, New York

Wind Chapel by Nancy Steinson -- Beacon, New York

Setting Sun by Tom Holmes -- Greeley, Pennsylvania

The last one is a very bad picture.  I had to take it from the car at a traffic light.  That is the piece that lured me in to begin with.  

I would encourage everyone to go see this.  The pictures don't do the pieces justice.  It's an easy walk, and the farm is very pretty.  I'll definitely be going back since I had no idea there were so many nature trails on the property as well.  

And I had to take some random pictures while I was there.



Not that I'm playing favorites or anything, but this was really cool.  Walking through the trees to the giant mushrooms.  Made me think of Alice in Wonderland.

Monday, July 3, 2017

It's Not That Type of Adult

Hey, Friends.

How's it going?  I've been busy with a lot of things, especially going on at work.  In fact, let me tell you all about it right now because I'm more than a little proud of what we accomplished.

No, it's not about my awesome book group, although it is book-related.  Shocker, I know.

This year we are trying an adult summer reading challenge.

No, it's not that kind of "adult".  Get you heads out of the gutter, Friends.  I've already had more than one person ask me exactly what that entailed, and where did we keep those kind of books.  I could practically see the wheels in their heads turning -- some dark, overlooked corner of the library, cordoned off by beaded curtains, red light glowing overhead.  It just means it is for grownups. People over the age of 18.  It's not the program that happens every year for kids and teens.

A couple co-workers and I got to throw a kick-off event to get it started.  We really weren't sure how many people would actually be interested in participating.  It was a lot of work, but it was so much fun and it had a fantastic turn out!

I'm a little proud of what we pulled off, so I wanted to share it here.  Feel free to steal any ideas if you want to use them!  Maybe you have a book club of your own, or you're thinking of starting one, and need some ideas.  Maybe you just think some of the food looks awesome and want to try it yourself. Do as you please, kids.

First, we had the information tables.  Yes, tables.  Each person had to sign up, and then they got a little notebook to keep track of their progress on the summer reading challenge. The challenge?  To read 8 books in 8 weeks, and there are different categories to try and meet --  book published the year you were born, a poetry book, a book set in the Hudson Valley, etc.

My friend and co-worker, Chris, went all out on Readers' Advisory!  He made lists for everything: new releases, different genres, and lists based on different books, television shows, and podcasts that are popular.

List, booklets, and information on our book groups

Some of the lists that Chris made.

We also had a table for our Blind Date With a Book program.  We do this every year and people really seem to enjoy it.  The idea is that you pick a book based solely on the clues given to you.  It's all wrapped up so you cannot see what you are choosing.  Ideally it helps people to branch out and read a book they might not normally have chosen.  They might discover an author that they love but had never read before, or a new series, or find a subject really interesting and want to learn more. This year they also all had clues relating to the challenge part of the adult summer reading program.  

...and I might also have mentioned that some of the books met several different challenge categories.  I believe the exact phrase was, "If you want to do it quick and dirty, some of them meet several categories."  I was being helpful! Get all of the categories filled quickly, then read whatever you want for the rest of the summer. It's totally not cheating.

I wrapped 50 books.  I thought it would last a while.  I was wrong.  The supply lasted about 2 days, and then I had to start making more.

You have to have food and drinks at a party, right Friends?  Of course!  Since this was a party about books and reading, we decided that all of the refreshments should also tie to a book somehow.  None of you should be surprised that I was super stoked about this part.  I love coming up with these ideas for my book group every month!  (Need a refresher on my awesome book group?  Click here to get a taste.)

Let's start with the drinks....

Butterbeer! From Harry Potter, of course.  Chris made these and they were delicious.

I made non-alcoholic hurricanes.  I had made them when my book group discussed Isaac's Storm, and everyone really seemed to like it.

As you can see from my less than stellar camera work above, we also had regular refreshments for those who weren't feeling adventurous enough to try one of our more creative libations.  Good call on another co-worker's part for supplying those.

On to the food!  The rest of it is nice and all, but I know you really want to see what we came up with for that part of the evening.

The Devil in the White City  Chris made cupcakes that looked like little devils.  He even had a Ferris wheel cupcake display, and it actually turned!

Another co-worker made Kabobs for Under the Tuscan Sun.  They were delicious!

Chris also made an excellent chocolate trifle graveyard dessert (with awesome decor) for Lincoln in the Bardo.

I'm going to admit right now that we have reached the end of the classier offerings that were on the table.  I can say that because I made the rest of them, and classy was not on my mind.  I went more for amusing, or at least entertaining.  Some might say a little dark.  I fully admit to having a warped sense of humor.

Of Mice and Men  Those are little chocolate mice made out of maraschino cherries, Hershey's Kisses, and almonds.  
The men are Sour Patch Kids.  They were going to be gingerbread men, but I ran out of time.

Green Eggs and Ham  Why yes, I did make green eggs.  The ham is in the filling. 
Would you eat them here or there?
Would you eat them anywhere?

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland -- One of my all-time favorite books!  
It had to be included in the festivities.
(And the phrasing amused some people.)

Banana Cream Pie Murder -- the newest book in the series. I haven't read it yet, but the series is very popular.

Chocolate Pie from The Help.  Yeah, I went there.  It did lead to some interesting conversations.

Patron 1: Oh my God, you made the poo pie!

Me: This one is just chocolate pudding.  I swear.

Patron 1: Do you think anyone is going to eat it?

Me: Well, we'll certainly find out who read the book or saw the movie. It's also a good way to see how adventurous people are feeling.

Patron 2: *laughing* That is so sick!  Did you do that?

Me: Yes.  I take all the blame for that one.

Patron: You made the Eat Me cookies too, right?

Me: Yes again.

Patron 2: And the Green Eggs and Ham?

Me:  Guilty as well.

Patron 2: That's so awesome!

** Just a quick note: the links for all of the books above go to Amazon.  I'm not partnered with them, I'm not trying to get you to buy them.  I get nothing out of it.  They are simply there for your reference.  If you haven't read some of the books then you might not know how the food relates. **

The event went really, really well and had an excellent turnout.  It has been less than a week, but I'm hopeful that it is going to prove popular enough to do it again next summer.  

Of course I'm participating in the challenge as well -- can't ask other people to do what you aren't willing to do yourself.  I will also admit that I am using my own "quick and dirty" method on the challenge, and have managed to meet 5 categories so far.  I can't win a prize, but I am going to do my best to rock this thing.  I also might be just the tiniest bit competitive....even if it really is only against myself.

All credit in the world to Chris for doing a phenomenal job on this event, and doing an insane amount of work on the Readers' Advisory. Thanks to my other co-worker for her help and organizational skills!  I'm glad I could assist by wrapping books and making some interesting refreshment choices.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Finder of Small Things

Hey, Friends.

Have you ever put something away in a "safe place"?  It could be as simple as stashing away a gift for someone that you don't need right away, but you know it will be perfect in the future for their birthday or a holiday. Maybe it's a valuable piece of jewelry, an important paper, something with great sentimental value, or just something small that you don't want to get lost. I also tend tuck away things that I don't want Jazz-kitty to get her little paws on. For the most part this system works pretty well.

You may or may not remember my cat, Jazz-kitty.  Among her many talents she can list:

  • Being afraid of basically everything (strangers, loud noises, the outdoors)
  • Chasing bugs
  • Eating any plant she can reach
  • Music critic (She's not a Taylor Swift fan)
  • Attempting to eat things that were never meant to be ingested by any living creature such as rubber bands and twist-ties.
She has now added a new talent to her resume: The Finder of Small Things.

I first noticed her new talent a few months ago.  I was in the living room, and I could hear her running around in the kitchen, whacking something about and chasing it. I went out to investigate. What wonderful toy was bringing her such delight?  A teeny, tiny baby sock.

I honestly have no idea where she found this thing.  It was covered in dust, and probably used to be white or light blue once upon a time.  I don't have any kids.  I can't even think of any friends or relatives who have been here when they had children small enough to have fit in a sock this small.  I have no clue what hidden depths of my house she plumbed to find this sock.  It had to have been there since before I moved in almost 7 years ago. Makes me wonder what other treasures are around here in unknown hidey-holes. Maybe there is a treasure map or something. That would be awesome!  I could have my own adventure like the Goonies!

Probably not going to happen, so back to the story...

A couple weeks back I once again heard Jazz-kitty batting something around in the kitchen, but this time it sounded metallic. That had to be investigated immediately. It could be something that could hurt her. She also likes to steal my jewelry if I leave it out unattended, and I have lost several earrings this way. Jazz-kitty is keen on shiny things. What had she gotten her little paws on this time?  My iPod.

Now, I know for a fact that I had tucked this safely away when I first moved in. Jazz-kitty had not even been adopted at that time.  It was small, and valuable (at least to me), and I didn't want to lose it. Now, years later, it's being slammed around on my kitchen floor.

What did I even have on this thing?  I know I haven't used it since I moved.  I kind of forgot I even owned it, if I'm being totally honest.  It's one of the tiny ones, a Nano or Shuffle  -- I could lose this thing way too easily....which is why I tucked it away in the first place, come to think of it. I've gotten so used to just using my iPhone for everything that it never crossed my mind.

I really, really wanted to know what was on this thing.  It hadn't been updated in at least 7 years -- possibly longer.  This would be like sonic archaeology (is that a thing?  I'm making it a thing). Going back to the songs I loved in the past.  Dig up all the memories, try to figure out why I had loved them enough to purchase them in the first place -- musically spelunking through my mind.

I know what you're probably thinking:

1) This is way more interesting to you than it is to anyone else.

Fair point, and probably very true.  But admit it -- you're at least mildly curious as to what was on there.  There must be something horribly embarrassing or strange, right?  They are all songs I liked enough at one point to pay money to have.  I don't do that illegal downloading bullshit.  Everything on there I paid for.  You like the music, support the artist and pay for it.  End of story.

2) Just look at your iTunes account, dumbass.  It's all still there.

That would probably work for almost everyone, but technology and I have issues.

You see Friends, over the years I have had several iTunes accounts across many different devices. Services merge and email addresses change.  iTunes itself has changed the ways you can log in over time.  Did I use an apple id or an old email address?  Which dead and long gone computer did I create it on?  This all came to a head when I got my first iPhone and literally couldn't remember which one I had used on the phone, kept losing access to apps and music.  It was a royal pain in the ass and frustrating beyond belief.  Eventually I just sucked it up and contacted customer service to have them help me reset my shit.  I cut my losses and moved forward.

I have no idea what account I was using when this iPod was last updated.  I'm not even sure when it was last updated.  Had to be more than 7 years ago.  No way in hell am I connecting this thing to my laptop to charge and accidentally screwing up my current account or entering the nightmare of multiple accounts once again.  I've got to have the charger around here somewhere.  I'll just charge it using an adapter and the wall outlet.

I looked everywhere.  Every "safe place" I normally store small things in.  I dug through every old adapter/cord that I have ever accumulated.  Nada.  However, in that process I found my other even older iPod (also of the tiny variety), and I thought that thing was long gone, which is why I had a second iPod to begin with.

I'm a mess, Friends, I realize.  Fortunately, one of them would charge with my old iPhone 4s cord which I still had.  Apparently at least part of my brain remembered I had an iPod that would need it.  I had to buy a new cord to be able to charge the other one.  Stupid technology, always updating plugs and adapters.

So, once I got all of my necessary components assembled, I charged them up and got ready to see what was on them. There were a few duplicates, so either these two iPods had been on the same iTunes account at some point, or I really liked those songs and bought them every. damn. time.

I made a Spotify playlist of all the goodness I found on my iPods for you, Friends!  Aren't you excited?  I know you are....maybe just a little bit, buried somewhere deep down inside.  I don't think there was anything too embarrassing on there, but I'll let you be the judge of that.  I'll admit that a few made me wonder why in the hell I ever bought them.  Not like they are bad songs, but Kung Fu Fighting? Really? What the hell was I doing that I felt the need to buy that song?

I started the rather time consuming process of making a list of all the songs and artists on the playlist for you, Friends, but then I decided not to do it.  Nope.  I don't want to spoil your fun.  You can listen to them in the same order I found them on my iPods and draw your own conclusions. (I only listed the duplicated songs one time.)

Please note that there are 2 songs I could not add to my playlist, as they are apparently not available on Spotify at the moment:  Empire Sate of Mind by Jay Z, and I Love Rock 'n Roll by Joan Jett & The Black Hearts.  (I could only find a cover version of the second song, and just no.)

There are 98 songs on that list.  6 hours and 42 minutes of music for your listening pleasure, according to Spotify.  If you think the music a person listens to speaks volumes about who they are, then feel free to dive in and try to decipher me. Probably perfect for the super curious, the seriously bored, or those stuck on a long flight with nothing better to do.

Maybe you will decide I have awesome taste in music.

Maybe you'll think I'm a freak and there is something seriously wrong with me.

Best case scenario: you'll discover a new favorite, or have a moment jamming out with a song you forgot you loved.

Do what you will, Friends.  It's there for you.  If you do take the time to explore it, feel free to let me know what you think.

Monday, June 5, 2017

In Which I Am a "Devil Child"

Hey, Friends.

It's been a truly weird day here in my little piece of the world. I can't wait to tell you all about it!

What -- reading about my weird day doesn't sound like a good way to spend your time?  I don't think you'll be sorry.  This was pretty damn strange, and I have weird shit happen all of the time.  If I'm wrong and you end up thinking this was a massive waste of your time?  Feel free to use that little comment box and tell me: you think I suck monkey balls, how you've lost the precious minutes of your life you wasted on my blathering, or all of the other awesome things you could have been doing instead.  You get my point.

Weird Thing the First

I was at work this morning, and a gentleman looked at my right hand, made a face, and kind of snorted at me.  I asked if I could help him, and he kept pointedly staring at my hand before he said, "What's that thing supposed to be?"

I was caught a bit off guard.  Where was this going?  It's my hand.  How weird is this about to get if you don't recognize that you are staring at my hand?  It was only about 10:30 in the morning and I had not had enough coffee yet to be ready to deal with new levels of strangeness from the patrons.

Finally it dawned on me that he must be looking at my ring, so I asked him if that was what he was talking about.  He didn't answer at first...just kept staring at my hand.  Friends, you have no idea how hard I was wishing for him to say yes.  I wasn't sure what other directions the conversation could take, but I was pretty sure I didn't want to find out.

Eventually he said, "Yes, I suppose.  What is that?"

It's a ring, dude.

Uh...It's still a ring.  A piece of jewelry?  **I don't know where you're going with this, Buddy. Help me out, here.**

And then he looked at me like I was a complete moron, and said, "Yes, yes.  But what is it?  What is it supposed to be?  What does it symbolize?"

I think he was a bit bummed when I explained that it symbolized nothing.  It's a fork.  He looked at me like I was feeding him a bunch of bullshit until I took it off and handed it to him and explained that it was literally a fork that someone had bent and curled into a ring.  Found it on a table at Stormville Flea Market a few years ago, thought it was cool, and paid the princely sum of $5 for it.

He looked at it for a bit before giving it back, and then his entire demeanor changed. We were suddenly best friends, he was all smiles, and he called me Dear on his way out.

What the hell?  Help me out here, Friends.  What could he have possibly thought it was supposed to be?  I knew within about 10 seconds of looking at it on a jumble table that it was a fork made into a ring.  I can't come up with a single disgusting/horrifying/dastardly thing he could have gotten out of it. Someone told me once they thought it was an octopus or squid, but even that shouldn't have evoked quite such a reaction.

I chalked the whole thing up to Monday being a Monday.  Got the weirdness over with early in the day so it all should be smooth sailing from here on out.  Hindsight being 20/20, I should maybe have taken this little encounter as a sign of things to come.

Weird Thing the Second

I have bad luck with parking lots.  I must give off an aura of some kind that just screams, "Come talk to me!  Bring me your issues!"  To be very brief (because I have a lot of stories about parking lot interactions), I should really have learned by now never to acknowledge or answer the person yelling from across the parking lot.

I had to run some errands after work this evening.  My last stop had been the dollar store in the local shopping plaza. I was in and out in no time.  I just wanted to get home and be done with the day.

I left the store and as I was approaching my car this woman about 5 cars away started yelling to me, "Hey!  Hey lady is that your car?"

So I said yes.  I really thought that she was about to tell me that some asshole had hit it and taken off while I was in the store.

Oh no.  That would almost have been preferable to what actually went down.

I unlocked the car, put my things inside, and started checking for the damage I was sure she was going to tell me about.  She wandered her way on over between vehicles, and then she said, "That is an evil car."


I was lost.  It's a car.  How can a car be evil?  Is this like a new slang thing that I don't know about? She looked older than me so I didn't think it was, but I wasn't ruling anything out just yet.

By now she had approached close enough to be standing by the passenger side of my car, and I could tell that something was not quite right with her.  I'm not saying that she was strung out on something, but she did not seem like she was in the same reality as the rest of the world.  

She went off.  I was informed that my car is a "devil car" because it is all red and black -- "Those are the colors of Satan!"  That Satan was working to try and spread his evil through my car.  That the evil was infesting me and anyone who so much as looked at my car, and I was jeopardizing the souls of everyone around me.  

I locked the doors at that point.  I kind of hoped that she was strung out on something because she was out of her mind, and that would at least mean it was only temporary. 

She kept rambling on about how the devil was using me.  Apparently my black pants were also a sign of the ever-growing evil that was attacking me.  I listened to her for quite a while.  I didn't know what the hell was wrong with her, but I really didn't want to piss her off any more than she already was.  I'd already done a spectacular job at it without having done a single thing.

She finally came to a sort of rambling stop, but I don't think she had really planned on stopping.  It seemed more like she either lost her train of thought entirely or she had burned through all of the furious energy that her indignation had been giving her. She stepped back a bit and just kind of zoned out. 

I took this to mean that our time together was now done, unlocked my door and opened it to get in. The movement seemed to snap her out of it.  She straightened up a bit, and then asked me if I had any money I could give her. 

Are you kidding me? Like she hadn't just been ranting at me for a good 5-10 minutes about having an "evil" car and being an instrument of Satan. I looked right at her and told her, "No. Satan hasn't paid me yet this month." 

And she hissed at me. She fucking hissed at me and told me I was a "devil child". And then I got in the car and left her in the parking lot.

So....I probably didn't help my case with that parting shot. I feel a little bad for the next unsuspecting person with a red car that she decides to unload on.  I probably just gave her more fuel for the fire.

And for reference:

This is my car.  Why yes, it is a Kia Soul. Makes it all that much more special.

As you can see, Friends, I've had a rather interesting day.  I hope your Monday was much less weird than mine has been.  Oh, and sorry if I just inadvertently infested you with "evil" by making you look at a picture of my car.  My bad.  Maybe I really am a devil child after all.

**If you have a weird day story of your own, you totally need to leave that in the comments!  It would be nice to know I'm not the only one that has this kind of thing happen.**

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Will This Make Up For Being Away So Long?

Hey, Friends.

I'm a horrible, horrible person.  I just realized that it's been well over a month since I last posted anything here.  If anyone still bothers to check in here -- I'm so sorry.  I have lots of excuses for why I've been away so long.

-- Work has been super crazy, and I was just exhausted most days.  I don't want to write things here that will bore you all to tears, so for lack of anything amusing and/or interesting to say I just opted to stay silent.

-- It was my birthday back on May 16th, so I was busy being social.

-- My Grandpa passed away a couple days later.  (That would be the valid excuse I mentioned.) Compound that with everything going on in the news and the world feeling like it was going to hell in a hand basket most of the time?  I was not feeling the urge to write.

-- Then it was suddenly already Memorial Day and my Mom's birthday.....

And now here we are.  It's already June and it feels like the time went by so fast.

How can I make up for my absence, Friends?  I mean...I assume you might have missed me...maybe just a little bit.  I'm going to pretend that you did.  Odds are greater that you had so much going on in your own lives that you didn't even notice. That's cool.  I can't say shit about it since I wasn't around either.

So let's make up for lost time by climbing inside my psyche and trying to interpret my latest weird dream.  For those of you that have been reading here a while, you might remember some of my other messed up dreams:  like this one involving licorice, or the the one about a picnic on a mountain top, or the one about avocados and making guacamole.

I'm not expecting you to go back and read all of those -- you know, unless you really have nothing better to do, or you are just incredibly bored, or finish this whole thing and find yourself weirdly intrigued by whatever my crazy dreams reveal and want to go further down the rabbit hole.  That being said, I'm pretty sure Avocado Dream Guy made a reappearance in this last dream, so that might be helpful if only for reference.

Okay, enough dawdling.

For our new Friends here who haven't had the chance to read any of the previous entries, a little background:

  • I rarely remember my dreams after waking up.  I'm sure I have them, but I couldn't tell you anything about them.
  • When I do remember anything it's usually just small pieces, or a feeling. We aren't ever going to have a lot of material to work with is my point, kids.
  • I rely on Google for my dream interpretation.  They pretty much already own my soul, so any added weirdness in my search history based on a dream is just a drop in the bucket at this point.

On to the dream:

I was riding in a car with a guy.  The guy was driving and I was in the passenger seat.  I have no idea where we were or if we even had a destination in mind.  Once again, I could not see the face of the guy, but in the dream it didn't matter because I knew who he was.  He was taller than me, dark hair. I'm pretty sure it was Avocado Dream Guy -- it was definitely a similar vibe.  The interior of the car was black, and it was super comfy.  The only thing that could be seen from any of the windows was bright blue sky and puffy white clouds. There was no road visible, nor any other traffic.  I know we weren't in a plane because it was clearly the interior of a car, and he was driving it. We were just driving along and talking.  I can't even recall what we were talking about -- not one single thing.  I do remember feeling relaxed and happy during our conversation, but  I also had this kind of nervous, giddy, butterflies-in-the-stomach feeling.  It was a strange combination. How to explain?  It was like he was someone incredibly important, or with a really hectic schedule, and it just seemed unbelievable that he would choose to spend that much time and focus that much attention just on me.  It was odd.  It wasn't surprising, since we already knew each other and were friends, but somehow still kind of amazing that I was getting that much of his time to myself.

And then I woke up.  My first thought was, "It was nice to see him again."  WTF?!  That's why I think it was Avocado Dream Guy, because how can it be nice to see someone again when I don't know who the hell he is in the first place?

Are you ready to try and sort out this mess of a dream?  Fantastic.

Let's start with Mr. Blurry Face.  For those of you who still haven't bothered to click the link above and read about that dream, let me copy and paste the relevant info for you.

"Alrighty.  So maybe Mr. Blurry Face With the Dark Hair has some answers.  Let's Google that shit.

Unsurprisingly, the most popular answer is that it is someone I don't know.  Second most popular is that it really is someone I know, and I should not trust him.  My subconscious is trying to tell me I am being deceived.  Heartwarming."

I tried looking up dreams about cars, but apparently the color and or the type of car could make a difference.  I don't have either of those pieces of information.  All I know about the car is that the interior was black.  I'm not going to waste time looking up the importance of the color black.  Black happens to be one of my favorite colors, and the interior of my own car is a dark grayish-black.  I'm just going to chalk it up to familiarity.

The fact that I was the passenger got a ton of results...some of which were not so happy, and many of which were completely inapplicable.  

-- There were no other passengers, so we're going to ignore all of those results.  In fact, I don't even recall if there were seats in the back.  

-- It was definitely a car, so ignoring everything about trains, planes, etc.

-- We didn't crash, or speed wildly out of control.  Cross those off the list.

I'll spare you the rest of the weeding process.  Here are the points that seemed to come up time and again. Anything quoted in blue is the wisdom I obtained from a dream interpretation website.

"1. Leaving control, direction and drive to others, to relin­quish power (note mode of transportation). 2. Success is on the way (depending on mode of transportation). 3. Domestic dis­agreements."

Well, that's an incredible amount of options.  Also, nowhere did that website give a list of transportation options. Although another entry on the same page said it could mean I am dissatisfied. Apparently with life in general as no other details were given.  <-- This should be in black.  Blogger is being a pain in the ass and no matter how many times I correct this it keeps reverting to blue.

"To dream that someone else is driving you represents your dependence on the driver. You are not in control of your life and following the goals of others instead of your own."

That might make sense if I knew who the driver was.  I don't know how I can be dependent on Mr. Blurry Face when I don't know who the hell he is. And a big no to the second part. Nobody sets my goals in life but me.  

" If you dream that you are a passenger in a mode of transportation (car, train, boat, airplane), this indicates a feeling of ineffectiveness at reaching your goals. You feel that you need someone else to take you to your goals, because you cannot accomplish them yourself. It also signifies a loss of control of your life, as someone else is in charge of the ultimate destination of the vehicle."

Not exactly happy and uplifting stuff here, Friends.  I feel the need to declare here that I'm pretty damn happy with my life.  I'm not in the middle of an existential crisis. Promise.  I'm pretty sure my life is not spiraling wildly out of control.

"Positive changes are afoot if…
  • You found that you liked being the passenger."
I did!  I had a really enjoyable time being the passenger. This wasn't a bad dream by any stretch of the imagination, and it didn't leave me feeling all tense and worried about my life being an utter disaster. This was the only result I found that had a good interpretation of being a passenger.

Maybe the clouds and blue sky have some answers.

-- Fleecy clouds apparently mean joy, delight, and pleasure.
-- Sunny or white clouds symbolize serenity and positive thinking
-- Bright, fluffy clouds apparently indicate aspirations that can be attained.  They imply happiness and success in romance.

I'm out of possible ideas to look up a this point.  I've also dealt with more pop-up ads than I thought possible while looking up all of these websites, which is why I'm not linking to them.  No one needs to deal with that aggravation.

So what did we learn today, Friends?

1) Mr. Blurry Face is back, and I still don't know who the hell he is.  

2) I'm apparently totally cool with someone else being charge and driving to whatever goal there is.

3) I promise I'm not depressed, I'm not agonizing over some goal I cannot reach, and I don't believe the world is crumbling around me.

4)  I find it odd that this is the first dream I can remember in a long time, and the really weird part is that it didn't involve food in some way.

In conclusion, my interpretation of all of this mess is really pretty simple:

I am very, very single.  Like I shouldn't be that freaking thrilled that Mr. Blurry Face wanted to pay attention to me in my own damn dream.  (And I find it kind of frustrating that I still don't know who the hell he is, is I'm being totally honest.)

So does this make up for ignoring you for so long, Friends?  I'm really sorry.  You'll forgive me though, right?