Archive for the ‘Soap Box’ Category

Attention Fellow Garage Patron……

October 8, 2011

Date: Today and going forth until the end of time

Attention Fellow Garage Patrons,

It has come to my attention, as a fellow patron of the Land Down Under, that you may not have been informed as to proper “garage” etiquette.  So, to assist you in your transition or refresh your memory, if you have been here for a while, but have had some lapses in judgement, here are a few tips that might be helpful in your daily parking execution.

* The lines between the spaces are not to be UNDER your vehicle, EVER. Rather, there should be two of those pretty cheesy colored lines on either side of your car. Your car tires should be equidistant from the lines on both sides, not touching them. If I have to go through my sunroof AGAIN to get into my car because you don’t know what equidistant means and can’t park in the middle of the space, I’ll make sure to hop up on your hood to get into my car.  For the record, I ain’t little. Again, BETWEEN the cheese sticks, NOT on the cheese sticks.

*If your vehicle is sticking out of a space marked “Compact Cars Only” by a two and half feet,  your car/truck/bus/moonrover is NOT compact size, and you’re blocking the aisle! Of course, if you like parking in those spaces with your “compact car,” I’ll gladly take off your front end with my big ass SUV as I try to manuever through the garage to get to the space for my big ass SUV. You know the ones not marked “Compact Cars Only.”

*Conversely, if you DO own a compact car, please park in the spaces indicated for your vehicle size.  If your car is in a space that looks like it can fit three more cars in it along with yours (and still not be over the lines-see first bullet), then please troll on over to the spaces for the Matchbox cars.  If those spaces are full, please feel free to call me and I can park your car inside my big ass SUV.  If turned on its side, your car should slide in quite nicely. If driving the new Fiat 500, we can squeeze two in.

*For those veteran parkers, I know were all adults here, but I’m calling “Same Seats!” If you park in a regular space, then park there.  No need to wander over to my usual spot, just cause you want to sit with the cool kids or try something new.  Please note the previous references to the big ass SUV.  If you continue parking in my space, me and my big ass SUV will help you back to your regular one. Beat it, buster! I mean it. To newcomers who accidentally park in my space, you get a one-day free pass. If you’re in my space two days in a row, you will be treated like a veteran interloper. In which case, please reference this bullet from the beginning. Consider this your friendly reminder. And I use the word “friendly” lightly. Very lightly.

I hope you find these tips helpful in assisting you in your daily excursions into the our little slice of combustible heaven.  Thank you and have a pleasant day (not in my parking spot)!

Riding the Line,

Edge

To Cuss or not to cuss…

March 29, 2011

That is the question.  I swear sometimes, okay a lot. The F bomb is my fave.  It just sums everything up, so succinctly. 

I have been debating about swearing in my blog posts, worried that I might offend the other reader.  And we’re not talking about every single post, but now again, when deemed necessary.  I’ve heard the saying, “Cussing is an indication of the small vocabulary.”  Hmmmm……I’m thinking that was said by someone who just couldn’t come back with a witty retort when getting cussed out himself. Ass.

Growing up, I heard my mother say “shit” and that was only when she forgot something, which didn’t happen very often.  My dad didn’t cuss.  At home.  Craziest thing.  He would not swear at home, but in his office, he would cuss like a sailor. Shitdamnhellfuck was one word.  I think he forgot we were in the conference room when we visited him at work. Damn.

I don’t walk around my house just dropping F bombs or other such homophones (SAT word of the day. Eat that Mr. Small Vocabulary!).  On the occasion that the superheroes are in earshot, I explain to that those are “adult” words and not to be shared amongst friends.

Some folks make up words that they use in place of a swear word, which, really, is lame.  Just say a damn curse word already.  It’s like when cuss words are bleeped out in movies on TV.  We can see their lips moving and know exactly what is being said; so why bother with the bleep?  What’s the point? What the hell???!!!! 

Just go with it. You’ll feel much better.  I bleeping swear.

-Dropping the bomb at the Edge

Side Effects Include…..

March 24, 2011

Disclaimer:  Take any and all medications prescribed by your health care provider/s.  I’m not a medical professional, I just play one on TV.  Just yammering on.  Now that’s is out-of-the-way…..

I love how the commercials for meds have a voice quickly rattle off the list of side effects for a particular drug.  And the voice is always sooooo pleasant, particularly while mentioning that eye-twitching, unconscious eating, neck fur, burning, itching, blisters, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting, mood swings, heart attacks, strokes, suicidal thoughts, and even death could result. Makes me want to make a bee line to the pharmacy. It’s a wonder anyone takes medication. 

My favorite is the oily discharge.  This one results from taking those fat blocker drugs when working on weight management.  It was also a warning when eating those WOW chip that were fat blockers. Wow is right!  I had thought about trying said weight loss medication, but this particular side effect gave me SERIOUS pause. Humans were not meant to ooze anything. From anywhere.  That would be all I need to be chowin’ down at work, eating some fat blocker chips with my cheeseburger and just spewing like an oil rig in the gulf of Mexico. Mud butt is acceptable on small children, and even then it’s gross.  Yeow!

Nacho lube is not worth ANYTHING  one is trying to get rid of no matter what the heck is wrong with ya. Ever.

-Fat and Happy at the Edge

Out of Gas……

March 16, 2011

Over the past year and particularly, in the past couple of days, I’ve gotten emails and Facebook event requests to join the “Gas War.” While I understand the intention behind the information, there’s a couple of things that we have to consider.

The Gas War email/invite has been circulating since 2001. The gist of it is that if we and the 300 million other people who are to get the same email, do not buy gas on Wednesdays, this will reduce the oil company profits which will force them to lower the gas prices. But here’s the deal. So we don’t buy the gas on Wednesday. We still have to buy the gas on the other days of the week, so basically all this does is shift the profits to say Tuesday or Thursday, rather than Wednesday. The oil companies will still be making their money, they will just have less for their bean counters to do on Wednesday, or rather Thursday morning. The other bit that doesn’t work is that most gas stations are independently owned and operated, which means the oil companies aren’t getting hurt, the small, local business owner gets hurt.

So how do we get the gas prices to go down? To put a dent in gas consumption, folks would have to do a few things(from MSNBC.COM):

1) STEP OFF THE PEDALS: Don’t punch the gas or slam on the brakes. This could reduce gas consumption on average by up to 31 percent.

2) SLOW DOWN: As our speedometer creeps over 60, our gas efficiency drops dramatically. Depending on how big your lead foot is, you can save anywhere from 7 to 23 percent. There’s only a 7 minute difference in arrival time when dropping your speed from 70 mph to 55 mph on a 30-mile trip.

3) FILL ‘ER UP/EMPTY ‘ER OUT: Fill up your tires that is. Change your oil filter regularly. And get that junk out of your trunk.

With the first two, especially, it means that some of us need to leave earlier, right? We gas around on two wheels cutting the time close to get to our destinations. Figuring out travel time and adding say 10 or 15 minutes might help us cut down on consumption so we’re not pulling off the light like we’re at the pole position at Daytona. I’m guessing it’s will probably help lower our stress levels as well. Just a thought.

The really big way to lower gas prices is to lower consumption, to lower demand, which means we have to find ways to decrease our usage. Maybe the GAS WAR should be that once a week, we carpool, or walk, take public transportation, or find some alternative method of transportation that will cut consumption.

Ego Trip……..

January 20, 2011

There was a segment on the news this morning about a woman who was going to sue the mall, at which she is employed, where she fell into a fountain because she was texting and wasn’t watching where she was going. The video from a security camera is shown (repeatedly) and on it you can hear the security guards laughing in the background. In the tape, the woman, luckily with no apparent injuries, grabs her cell phone(can’t leave that!), steps out of the fountain, and quickly exits the camera’s view. Allegedly (I watch enough Law & Order to know I need to put that in there to cover my own hind parts), one of the security guards was allowed to copy the video to a private cell phone.  That guard then uploaded the video onto YouTube. And away it went. As of today, the video has had almost 2 million hits. During the segment alone, the network showed the clip at least ten times. I laughed every time the video was shown.

And so the woman, and her attorney appeared on television this morning indicating that she was pursuing the possibility of suing the mall. She admitted that it was funny and embarrassing, but that the guards did not come to her aid, she could have been hurt, and that it shouldn’t have gone on the internet. I laughed even harder. Was she serious???!!!

Here’s my take on this whole fiasco…..

If this woman was so embarrassed by this experience, why go on national television to exponentially add to the humiliation, to say that you’re suing the mall. Why not just sue the mall? And frankly, her face was obscured on the video, since she was looking down while texting and walking, so why not just deny it if asked. Then it would have been a random video on YouTube, and people would have been none-the-wiser. If she wants to sue someone, maybe she should sue her eye doctor for not testing her peripheral vision. One should see a gigantic fountain in the middle of the corridor, over the top of their phone screen, if her vision is working properly, no? And she worked at the mall, so I’m thinking she’d seen that fountain before. And don’t most of us learn in Kindergarten to, “walk on the right,” not up the middle. Just sayin’……

But there are far better ways to get your 15 minutes of fame. I’m guessing, she feels like a royal moron. But to make herself feel better, she going to take it out on the mall?  Why not sue the fountain company while she’s at it?  I was taught that if someone falls, check to see if she’s okay, and if she is, then laugh. She fell, she got up and ran off, seemingly okay from what we saw on the video.  So, learn your lesson and have a good laugh. Hell, I busted myself up skateboarding(see 2/2010 post-“I Killed Mommy”).  My husband laughed at me, or rather with me, while I was lying on the ground with a dislocated and fractured shoulder.  Granted my incident was not blasted out over the internet, but hey, it’s the voyeur age we live in and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And will forever be, “Fountain Girl.”

On the flip side, she’s right. However funny the incident, the security guards, a security guard, any security guard, someone official, should have gone to the scene, or tried to locate her to make sure that she was okay.  She could have done more damage, than bruising her ego and wetting up her phone.  She could have cracked her head open or knocked her teeth out.  Luckily, she didn’t. The guards should be embarrassed about not coming to the aid of a mall patron or employee and this only fuels the idea that security guards in malls are of no value and are themselves laughable wastes of space and oxygen. I wouldn’t say if it were my mother, since she won’t even use her phone for making calls, but if it were my mother, I would hope that someone, especially someone whose job it is to at least assist with public safety in the mall, would come to her aid.

There is a scene in the movie, “The Runaway Bride,” that is a reminder to us all.  It’s the scene at the town luau, where the folks giving toasts are taking shots at the main character, Maggie, for leaving more than a few grooms at that altar.  Richard Gere’s character, Ike Graham, gives the toast…..”May you find yourselves the bull’s eye of an easy target.  May you be publicly flogged for all of your bad choices and may your noses to rubbed in all of your mistakes…”

Just because we can post videos of other people making fools of themselves, whether on purpose or not, doesn’t necessarily mean that we should.  After all, it could beyou next time. Or your mother…..

On Meditation…..

January 12, 2011

I DO NOT meditate. I can’t. People always tell me I should meditate, it will relieve stress. First of all, the whole time I’m supposed to be meditating, I’m thinking about all the things I’m supposed to be doing while I’m wasting time meditating. On the other extreme, I’m soooooo relaxed that I nod off and start snoring like I’m getting paid. Same thing with the Yoga. And wrapping my leg around my neck is relaxing, how??!! Mojitos and chocolate work just as well.

It must be psychological because every time I’d go into yoga class, my stomach would start to gurgle. It was like my stomach could sense what I was about to do and think,” Hey, it’s yoga class, time to break some wind up in here, yea-uh, baby!” It would seem as though just prior to entering, I had eaten a troth of beans wrapped in cabbage with a little sprinkling of broccoli on top for good measure. And frankly, some good noisy fartin’ just makes me laugh. So here’s me in my last yoga class…

Whew, made it. Was almost late, but I l’m good…oh right, I need to focus, get my chi in order….pulling my feet in, leaning forward to touch my head to my feet….pzzzzt…ooooh damn, that one snuck out. Ewww, that smells like cabbage…oh I need to get some cabbage for dinner tomorrow night. We also need, potatoes, cereal, eggs, oh dang, bring it back around, focus, focus, damn it…..okay, downward facing dog, I like this pose since I can actually….my toes look like I been kickin’ flour and I need a pedicure like nobody’s business….did I wear my good strechy pants or the ones with the hole in the butt crack….shit, focus!….okay, okay, side angle pose, or whatever that was she said, “Uhitta Poriskova,” oh wait isn’t that a tennis player….and so my mind goes.

As I’m dropped down into the garland pose, I started bustin’ ass all the way down to the floor, and this one could curl the toes on a dead man. And then I start laughing ’cause that one felt great, two it was loud and the loud ones always make me laugh, and three the face on the woman behind me was priceless. Clearly this form of stress relief ain’t for me. I’m out. I think I heard them clapping upon my departure. I hope they get their toes stuck in their nostrils.

I decided to stick with mojitos and chocolate instead…..

Here’s to the prefect year!

January 12, 2011

Happy 2011!  I know a number of people who are quite glad to see 2010 go. Whatever your take on 2010, c’est la vie, it’s done.

In her book, “Being Perfect,” by Anna Quindlen, she tells us to leave the “perfection trap” behind. That trap requires us to live and be for other people; our families, our friends, and our colleagues, and not for ourselves. We live according to what society dictates.  To add to the madness, the trap changes depending on time and place. When we’re young, we wanted to please our parents.  As we get older, we need to keep up with our peers. Then it’s to be the wife, mother, and neighbor that we’ve all read about or seen in Norman Rockwell paintings. Quindlen wisely tells us to put down the backpack filled of perfection bricks and live for ourselves.  For when we do that, we will be our very best version.  She encourages us, while making decisions, to give the answer, “for me.” Our choices should be a reflection of who we are and what we want out of our lives, not what other people think they should be or require. And if our choices are, then they will truly be fulfilling and rich in meaning, and true reflections of our own uniqueness.

While I’ve never been one to subscribe to being perfect, we all in some form do things and make decisions based on others perceptions or societal conformity requirements.  Some of those requirements, I’m all about.  We should be required, whether by law or peer pressure, to wear clothing in the appropriate settings.  I’m not really trying to see a colleague’s danglies as he’s off to a meeting and I’m certain he can’t handle all of my zaftig wonder. But decisions about whether or not I should over extend myself to be the involved parent, to not say, “no,” or to keep up with the Jones’ are of what Quindlen speaks.

So rather than make resolutions, that inevitably fall by the wayside and make me feel like there was something I forgot to do….again, I’m deciding to free myself and be perfectly me. I hope the year is perfect for you too….

Guaranteed……

April 6, 2010

I was at work the other day and had gone down to the cafeteria to get coffee, which is THE nectar of the gods if you were wondering.  I stroll up to the machine and put my cup under it and pull the trigger.  As I am doing so, this man is cussing under his breath about the lack of hot water and the bad service in the cafeteria.  Me, being the curious sort (nosey was more like it), turned to see what he was groaning about.  The hot water spigot on the coffee maker was broken, and in the mean time, the staff had put hot water in one of those carafes that you push down the top and the liquid comes out. Apparently, the carafe had run out of hot water as well.  Hence, the groaning man.  He turned to me since I was checking out his dilemma and started to complain to me about there being no hot water left and it was the same thing yesterday.  I guess he was looking for some sympathy from me, but I had none. I said to him that the carafe only holds so much water and is bound to run out eventually, while thinking, “It’s 10:30am.  Our cafeteria opens at 6:30am every day and if you came down here at 10:30 am yesterday and there was no hot water perhaps YOU should have brought yourself down here a little earlier and then you would have had some hot water.”  I told him just to ask and I’m sure they would get some more hot water.  I think he was a little taken aback that I was not on his side.  He then started to complain about the service.  To which I responded, “Perhaps they are doing the best they can with what they have.” He was stunned…..but he stopped complaining.

We all get up in the morning and have expectations about how the day will go, that it will go perfectly, to our liking, smoothly.  We get in our cars, get on the road, see the backed up traffic, and get frustrated and start ranting and raving, worried we’re not going to get to work on time.  Some people get to cussing and swearing, flippin’ the bird.  I do it too.  I think we forget that NOTHING is guaranteed, not even a smooth ride to work. We are not guaranteed to get the parking spot we want.  We’re not guaranteed that our children will turn out to be fantastic human beings no matter the effort that we put into trying to make them so. And then we’re quick to blame something or someone or get upset without perhaps knowing the full circumstances of the situation.  We seem to have no patience for other people, but want everyone to be patient with us. 

Take the hot water hound.  Nowhere did he mention aloud that perhaps he could have come down earlier to get his hot water since he knew from the day before that the water might run out later in the morning.  Nor did he acknowledge that perhaps the carafe wasn’t immediately filled because the staff either could have been doing something else and didn’t know it was empty or the cafeteria may have been understaffed and didn’t have anyone to stand there with baited breath to refill the carafe as soon as it was empty, so that when his highness came down, there would be water. We won’t mention the hot water dispensers on every floor in the building either for that matter. Nope, instead, he was upset because his perfect day wasn’t going as he thought it should.  He needed his hot water now.

Some things we don’t have control over, but how we respond says a lot about who we are as people. I am not saying that there are not times when people are intentionally not behaving properly and insist on ruining the day.  Misery loves company, there are some people , or even some situations that will do that.  But we should remind ourselves that we are part of something bigger.  Being good stewards of the earth is a big catchphrase of late. But what about being stewards of humanity?  

For instance, last summer while on vacation, I went to get tickets for a show.  When I got to the ticket booth, I could tell the young woman behind the counter was not having a good day.  She looked at me and tried to conduct the transaction, but her eyes filled with tears.  I could have proceeded forward and thought she was crazy and unprofessional for crying at the booth, or I could give her a moment to collect herself.  I chose the latter.  I told her to take her time, that I would wait. There, I think is the key, the waiting.  We are so used to a “I need it right this second” mindset, that we are so wrapped up in our own little worlds that we sometimes forget to be human beings to one another.  A few moments was all this young woman needed.  She gathered herself, cleaned off her face, and then was able to assist me.  She appreciated my patience, thanked me, and smiled.

 “Do Unto Others….”

For Your Viewing Pleasure….

January 29, 2010

I’m a starer, always have been.  I’m the one who, when my friends say don’t look, always looks. Sometimes it’s really bad.  Sometimes, I scrunch up my face to make sure what I’m not supposed to be looking at is really there. When I was in college, I was in a meeting with a group of students and a faculty member.  I couldn’t tell you a single thing that was said because the faculty member had a mole and I spent the entire meeting staring at it.  I would catch myself, hope noone saw me staring, and try to refocus.  Inevitably, I would be pulled back in. I’m back at it today and it wasn’t pretty.

While waiting for the elevator, I was joined by two women that work somewhere in the building. Having seen them before, I smiled and said “hello,” and saw it and the staring contest was on.  One of the women’s belly was showing!  At Work!  When I finally looked at her face again, I realized that she is a repeat offender.

I think it is wonderful that women and girls are comfortable in their own skin these days, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us are comfortable in their skin. We are in the workplace and this woman’s stomach is showing.  And while I applaud her for her flat stomach, I don’t really want nor need to see it. 

It’s certainly one way to get people to stop staring at women’s boobs, but I don’t think that was the intended redirection area. And though we work in an environment that allows for some flexibility in the definition of “casual dress,” we’ve strayed from the path a bit.  And there is a time and a place for everything, including belly buttons.

We see it all the time.  Women, young and otherwise, with their arms across their stomachs covering their midsection .  Or yanking on the shirt to pull it down over the exposed belly buttons and butt cracks.  Really???? Stop wearing Underoos that belong to little sisters or daughters.  Get your own shirts!

Nice fitting shirts will show the flat tummies from the not so flat, without peep show.  I was always told that one was supposed to leave SOMETHING to the imagination, not look painted on or show what was eaten for lunch.

There are far better ways to get attention.

Precious…..

December 9, 2009

If you have not gone to see the movie “Precious,” do not pass go, do not collect $200, GO to this powerful movie.  The script and cast are phenomenal. The story was horrible to watch and process, especially when one realizes that this happens all too often on a daily basis, and not just in the black community, but all of them. 

The alternative school teacher in the film is the ray of hope through it all. She cajoles and pushes her students to complete the program, but more importantly, she lets them know there is at least one person in their corner.  And with that encouragement, she helps them find themselves through the written word.  In many of these cases, that kind of encouragement is what changes the course of these children’s lives.

My mother-in-law, “Ma,” is that person for the children of Connecticut.  She heads up Children in Placement, a program that trains volunteers to act as guardians-ad-litem for abused and neglected children in the Connecticut court system.  I remember when she was deciding between this position and another one.  She chose this job because while it would offer a number of challenges (and less money), the rewards would be far greater. That was 15 years ago.

Over these past 15 years, she has been that encouragement for the children that cross her path.  She has been their voice when they had none, but more importantly she has helped numerous children find their own.  Through The Connecticut Youth Alliance, she empowers current and former foster children to use their voices through digital story telling. They put their life stories down via computer (while learning some great writing and editing skills).  Initially, the students weren’t sure where to begin, could be believe that they had anything to say. Or that anyone would want to hear what they had to say since no one had ever really asked. With Ma’s support they find their way forward.

Rather than sharing what the students have written, she takes them along to events and presentations to share their own words, exposing them to people, environments, and situations that they would never have thought possible. On some occasions she spends her own money to do so.

Her success stories are the students that have gone on to bigger and better things, including college, some on full scholarships.  Her students come back to see her and to share their success with kids who came from where they are, letting them know that there is hope. They come back to say, “Thanks.”

This film shed a glaring light on the vicious cycle that poverty, abuse, and neglect can bring to bear on a community, reaffirming the need for what my mother-in-law and so many others like her do every day.  It has motivated my husband to action.  I hope it motivates others so that one day there will be no need for programs such as Children in Placement. And we will all be better for it.

Thanks, Ma.


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