Smarter than the Average Bear

We all know that proud, overly-sharing parent, the one who is amazed their child can do perfectly ordinary things.  “My daughter Marjorie can add up to ten!”  Your daughter Marjorie is in college, Karen.  “Look at little Timmy read this book!”  It’s a picture book, Barbara.

If you’re like me, you want to back-end every car sporting a “My Kid is an Honor Roll Student” bumper sticker, and you snicker at the “My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Roll Student.”  I have a new bumper sticker:  My Super Smart Dog Bit Your Honor Roll Student.

If you ask me, there’s not enough focus on the truly smart animals in our lives.  Anyone who thinks animals can’t count has never tried to give three biscuits to a dog who is used to getting four at a time.  The internet abounds with videos of horses counting and even if it is a trick of clever training, the idea that a horse can be trained to appear to count is pretty freaking amazing.

Recently, a family member was gushing about her toddler who knew where the pretzels were kept in the house.  She even went so far as to surreptitiously record her child in this endeavor to share with the audience. This tiny human marvel could even open the pantry door and get the pretzel jar, but the act of unscrewing the tightly closed lid thwarted her adorably chubby little hands.

Awww, isn’t that cute.

My dog knows where the treats are.  He opens the kitchen cabinet, gets his treats, opens the box, and eats his fill. I will admit, he hasn’t quite grasped the idea that cleaning up after himself might be to his advantage. At the least, as I keep explaining to him, it would buy him some time before being found out. I had to put childproof locks on drawers and doors and everything in between to foil my cat, the ne’er-do-well, who is apparently a master locksmith and can open any barrier placed in front of her.  So long as she wants whatever is behind it, that is.  My friend shakes her head sadly when telling me about her German Shepherd who can unlock door handles, open the door, and go into any room she likes.  Baby gates? Pfftt. It’s like you’re not even trying. Cabinets and drawers and off-limit rooms are nothing to these animals, so while I think it’s adorable that your toddler can find the pretzels, I am holding my applause for now.

Don’t get me wrong, I know kids are smart.  Heck, I’ve had two kids raise and train me perfectly.  I just think it’s funny when over-effusive parents boast about ordinary milestones in a completely unironic way.  “Look, she’s only 144 months old and she can recite the alphabet!”

Yeah, Lois, very nice.  Can you hold the cat while I call the vet?  She opened my locked bedroom door, climbed a ladder, cracked my wall safe, and got into the treats that I thought were for sure out of reach this time.  And let me know if you’ve seen the dog, my car keys are missing, and I think he drove down the street to see that damn poodle. Again.

Don’t even get me started on that horse next door who keeps blowing the whistle on my trips to the refrigerator at night; I never should have gotten him binoculars for Christmas.

 

Thoughts from a Shower

I’m not sure why people always have their deepest, most sincere and profound thoughts in the bathroom.  Men are famous for flushing the toilet, opening the door and announcing, “I just thought of something.”  For women, we do our best thinking for the shower.

Sometimes, shower thoughts are genius:  We could solve world hunger if cow manure was edible.

Other times, they are life-changing:  I am going to invest my tax refund wisely instead of buying another pair of shoes.

And sometimes, they are rambling, incoherent, and pointless.

Ladies and gentlemen, I devote this entry to my rambling, incoherent and pointless Shower Thoughts. Lucky you!

  1. I know there are dogs who are allergic to fleas, but what if there are sheep who are allergic to wool?
  2. What if a turtle is claustrophobic?
  3. Are there cats who are afraid of mice?
  4. Are there mice who hate cheese?
  5. I know this has been pondered by better people than me, but what if the Hokey Pokey really is what it’s all about?
  6. Why do people say they are putting toast in the toaster? And for that matter:
  7. Why do people refer to their water heater as a hot water heater? If the water is already hot, why heat it in your hot water heater?
  8. Am I the only one in the world who knows that “penultimate” means second to last, and not top of the line?
  9. Why do we demand piping hot pizza when we have to wait for it to cool off before we can eat it? Why isn’t lukewarm, edible pizza a thing?
  10. Why do we say people who don’t eat much “eat like a bird” when birds eat half of their body weight every single day?
  11. If we’re at a restaurant and someone tells us our meal looks good, why do we say thank-you?
  12. How can every coffee shop have “the world’s best coffee?” They do mean OUR world – Earth, right? I guess they could mean Venus and not be wrong.
  13. Why does every person in a crime thriller shoot until they run out of bullets, and then throw the gun at their target? Has that ever worked?
  14. Why is “moist” such an awful word?
  15. Why do we “dust” when we clean our homes? Shouldn’t we be un-dusting?
  16. Are there any pilots who are afraid of heights? And if so, just don’t even tell me.

Okay, so where do you do your best thinking?  Any Shower Thoughts you’d like to share?  Feel free to spill, folks!  I’m always looking for proof that I’m not the only one with a mind like a mouse in a maze!

 

Sticking to Beauty

It’s unbelievable the lengths someone will go to for the sake of vanity.  Case in point?  This lady happily taping her neck to hide her throat wrinkles and wattles.

The inventor of this medical-grade neck wrinkle tape is no stranger to the beauty scene; she gave us the lip plumper (an adult lollipop with no flavors, basically).  She is apparently a grandmother of three at the age of sixty, so there’s that.

No offense to this beautiful lady, but there is no way this tape would work for me.  I superglue my fingers together every time I try to fix a vase, so I can’t imagine trying to tape my neck wattles in the back.

First, you know as well as I do that I would end up taping my hair to my neck.  Doesn’t matter how carefully I pull it back, it will end up taped to my shirt, my face, the mirror, and my dog.  And while this tape may not work on neck skin, I guarantee it will stick to anything and everything else. That’s just a given.

Second, I am well aware of my own luck.  The tape would blow out half-way through a presentation at work, setting my epic folds free in a glorious explosion of skin and fat … I can see the slow-motion capture on YouTube now.  My peers would be utterly transfixed and fascinated by my waving wattles; they couldn’t possibly be expected to take me seriously after that. The tape, under the super pressure I’d need to rein in my wrinkles, would slingshot across the room, taking out a few coffee cups on the way and smacking the new CEO square in the forehead.

Look, I’m all about women doing whatever they need to do to feel better about themselves, but neck tape?  Please, ladies, just say no to neck tape.

I agree that our necks can make us look much older than we are, so I proudly introduce my own invention:  wattle staples.  These can be used in any common stapler, and they aren’t just for neck wrinkles!  Got sagging boobs?  Staple ‘em.  Droopy butt?  Staple it!  And those obnoxious butterfly wings under your arms?  Staple those, too.  I have a staple for everything!  Defy your age, and gravity, by Stapling It! You know, I really should be on Shark Tank with all of my fantastic ideas. I’ve got entrepreneur stapled written all over my face.

OK, so the concept of taping your neck is actually not a new one. There are lots of other brands and uses, too.  Many stars have been taping body parts for years.  I applaud them for not going under the knife, but I am disappointed that they are setting the example for us common folk that aging is unnatural and evil.  It’s not.  I’ve earned every wrinkle, crease, and droop on my gloriously imperfect body. And so have you.

Come on, I mean, we have fake nails, fake boobs, fake butts, fake eyelashes, and even fake hair; now, we have neck tape to complete the package?  Yes, feeling good about yourself is important, but why aren’t we happy with ourselves to begin with?

I blame media for setting unrealistic beauty goals for women. Aging stars are displayed in all of their perfection, looking half their age, as beautiful and timeless as money can buy.  And make no mistake, money does buy youth.  Age-defying stars and models probably spend more money on time-stopping surgeries than most of us will ever invest in mortgages. Even those stars who want to age gracefully are often victims of post-photo shoot airbrushing because the editor of so-and-so magazine decided they didn’t want a naturally aging woman on their cover. God forbid. Hell, even those stars who are already flawless are routinely airbrushed to create a next-level completely unattainable vision of youth and beauty.

For the rest of us, thank God there is medical-grade neck tape!  Ladies (and some guys, too), do what you need to do to feel beautiful, it’s none of my business.  Frankly, though, spending $16 plus shipping and handling on neck tape is a little silly when you can get duct tape at the dollar store for fifty cents.  You’re welcome.

Who You Gonna Call?

So.  I saw a sign on a bus I was following on my way to work this morning. It took up the entire back of the bus. I wasn’t able to take a picture of it because … you know … driving. Aren’t you proud of me? (I’m looking at YOU Lee!).  “Big surprise” you mutter to yourself, mass transit vehicles often have signs on them – marketing gurus routinely avail themselves of the moving real estate for product placement and advertisements for businesses. Yes, you’re right, of course. But this sign got me thinking and as we know, my mind does tend to wander.

“Feel like you got hit by a bus?”

That was the headline on the advertisement that filled my windshield with its smoggy glow this morning. Luckily … despite the question in front of me … the advertisement, and the bus, stayed firmly on the outside of my windshield, thank you very much.

The ad was for a doctor’s office, one of those urgent care clinics where they’re open late and cater to families whose children get sick at odd hours (don’t they all?) and late-night revelers who wear their beer goggles with pride, even though they couldn’t juggle those chainsaws as well as they thought they could, and well, they end up at the urgent care clinic advertised in front of me.

Presumably, the ad was directed at sick people, as in “I have the mother of all stomach flu,” or, “I have a head cold to beat all head colds and since I have to work every waking hour of my day and can’t take off to see a regular doctor, can you help me breathe through my nose, please?”  But …

It got me thinking. It’s clever marketing, there’s no doubt about that – got hit by a bus … on a bus … now, that’s funny.

Or is there a more sinister motive? Is it subliminal messaging?  Are they planting the seed with their ostensibly innocent headline? I mean, that’s how subliminal messaging works, after all. Do they want you to get hit by a bus? And if their prognostication should come to fruition, you know who to call. Seems like a twisted bit of cross-promotion symbiosis if you ask me.

When Pumpkin Spice is Less Than Nice

It’s that time of year. Fall. My favorite season, to be honest. But it also means our world is briefly transformed into a pumpkin spice hell-hole paradise. You may think that pumpkin spice is just a Starbucks thing – which my daughter loves by the way – but alas, there are more pumpkin spice things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in our philosophy.

A friend of mine (yeah, a friend, not me, a friend) went to a veterinarian recently to get some medications for her dog.  She was glancing around the office as the receptionist ignored her and was caught by a sign posted by the office’s groomer that boasted pumpkin spice shampoo and spa for dogs.  Yes, this is a thing, and I can’t imagine what a wet-dog pumpkin spice smell would be. In fact, I try not to think about it at all.

If you’re wondering about other bizarre pumpkin spice offerings (and really, why wouldn’t you be!?), wonder no more.  I have researched the most incredible pumpkin spice products, that actually exist, and compiled them here for your enjoyment.

Pumpkin Spice Protein Powder:  For those guys who want to bench press five hundred pounds while staying in touch with the purity of the season.

Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses:  For the love of all things pumpkin, why? If you are a bit more high-browed in your chocolate choice, never fear: chocolate royalty Ghirardelli has a version as well.  Still not enough?  Check out pumpkin spice truffles.

Pumpkin Spice Oreos:  I think this one is the most offensive one on the list.  Is nothing sacred?  Don’t panic, there is also pumpkin spice milk for dipping these atrocities.

Pumpkin Spice Sparkling Water:  Carbonated pumpkin; who could ask for anything more? Personally, I hate sparkling water … especially flavored sparkling water. You expect this delicious, refreshing beverage and all it is, really, is just angry water. Who needs that kind of negativity in their life?

Pumpkin Spice Burrito:  I guess this makes your post-burrito bathroom experience a little more pleasant to those on the other side of the door?  Rest assured, there is also a pumpkin spiced hot salsa to complement these.

Pumpkin Spice Bagels:  Yep.  Never fear; there is also pumpkin spice cream cheese and pumpkin spice butter to spread across these New York Hell Spawns. Prefer pumpkin spice English muffins?  Yup.  They’ve got you covered. This one might actually not be so bad, all things considered. It’s kind of like a pastry in a way, so I might could get on board with the whole pumpkin spice thing here.

Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn:  As if candy corn wasn’t already awful enough.  On a side note, the dreaded pumpkin spice Peeps are on the shelves as well.  If you want to deter trick-or-treaters forever, offer them a handful of both. I’m stocked up. Just in case you were wondering.

Pumpkin Spice Pasta:  There are no words.  I suppose pumpkin alfredo would require pumpkin pasta. If you’re feeling especially spicy, there is also a pumpkin spice pasta sauce.

Pumpkin Pie Spiced Pringles:  I bet you CAN eat just one.

Pumpkin Spice Vodka:  Well, after the first drink I suppose this one won’t really matter. If you’re not a vodka lover, there is pumpkin spice moonshine as well.  Follow this up with a little pumpkin spice chewing gum, and you can’t go wrong.

Pumpkin Spice Toothpaste:  There is a fake meme about Crest’s pumpkin spice offering, but Breath Palette does offer pumpkin spice toothpaste.

Pumpkin Spice Toiletries:  Soap, shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, beard oi, lip balm, nail polish, and body spray are all available in pumpkin spice aroma.

Mentholated Pumpkin Spice Cough Drops:  Turn your cough into a gag with these medicated nightmares. At least you’ll forget about your cough!

Am I the only one that thinks pumpkin spice has gone a little overboard?  Sure, we all love a little pumpkin spice candle on a fall night, but these other monstrosities have got to go.

The saddest thing about all of this, is I just know that some of you are already Googling these to see where you can buy them.

 

Blowing Hot Air

Just in case you live under a rock and missed The Weather Channel’s overly dramatic hurricane Florence coverage, here it is.   The hurricane had devastating effects in some areas; by no means am I belittling that or trying to play that down. However, this meteorologist’s sad performance devalues those who have taken some real falls, on live TV, for the sake of the story, like this weatherman getting swept away by hurricane Sandy, this reporter hit by a donkey, or this oldie but goodie, the news reporter being hit with a skateboard.

To be fair, weather forecasters have been doing this for decades.  Expecting a dusting of snow?  Amp it up, turn it into all-day coverage, and stick your ruler into snow drifts… even if your crew has to shovel an ever-growing perimeter for hours to create a mountain mole-hill of snow for your epic broadcast.

After all, it’s well known that the weathermen (and presumably weatherwomen) are notorious stock holders in bread and toilet paper companies; when they are feeling a little light in the wallets, they pour it on for their viewers prompting the Grocery Snow Dash.  Never mind the obvious; if people weren’t eating all that bread, they wouldn’t need all the toilet paper. Hey, I’m just saying.

On the Road

Commuting to and from work is fun.  Said no one, ever.  We share the road with many drivers, each one completely unique and apparently, as I have come to find out, following their own set of traffic laws.  As a frequent traveler on a major highway system in my state, I am amazed at how my mere presence on an entrance ramp has a magical effect on the flow of traffic.  A car that was previously more than half a mile away in the middle lane spots me and speeds up, moving over to the lane I need, and cuts me off…or worse, keeps time with me so that I can’t get over.  This dastardly deed is known as “Don’t Let Him Over” and the game begins as soon as a trailing car sees your turn signal, indicating politely that you’d like to be somewhere else, anywhere else, really, as long as it is away from the grandmother doing 25 mph in the fast lane.

There was obviously a law passed about this, requiring you to speed up no matter how far away the car wishing to slide over and merge actually is.  The memo never reached me, though, and I continue to think there are nice drivers left out there.  Somewhere. Obviously far, far away. It could be that my language in traffic is too brutal for the delicate souls driving around me, so they purposefully excluded me from the mass mailings.  Sadly, this only increases my tirades and antics; not knowing the rules of the game, I’m run up onto the shoulder of the entrance ramp.  My oversized sunglasses hide my identity, though, and in my car I’m free to call you whatever I want. Sort of like those extreme-right trolls on Facebook.

Karma is sweet though, when I am cut off by someone speeding towards the light, only to be caught next to me in its web of eternal redness…that just makes my day. Yes, I know, obviously I live a pathetic existence for this to humor me as much as it does, but I try to get amusement when and where I can.  These people will always find a reason to fiddle with their radio, adjust their visors, or do anything that allows them to not make eye contact with my triumphant face as we sit in what, for them, has become the world’s longest light.

My personal favorite are the ones sitting, waiting to make a turn into my lane, seeing my lone car coming with no one else behind me or around me, only to turn directly in front of me …sometimes waiting — no, usually waiting, until I’m right up on them to do so.  The unwritten law here is that they must go no faster than 20 mph when they accomplish their feat.

Motorcyclists have laws all of their own.  I do love being on the back of a motorcycle, though I have never learned to drive one myself.  There is definitely something exhilarating about the freedom of being precariously perched on a motorized bicycle without the added security of metal surrounding you.  Every wheeled mode of transportation is supposed to adhere to the written laws of the road, from horse and buggy to tractor trailers.  Except, evidently, motorcyclists (okay fine, most some not all).  I have heard the announcements and I’ve seen the multitude of signs posted about looking twice and sharing the road with motorcycles, and I am saddened by accidents that are usually pretty brutal when a motorcyclist is involved.  That said, motorcyclists need to remember that they are not superheroes, impervious to the laws of nature, God, and man.  I see them riding down the white lines of the road, hurtling through time and space at the speed of sound, barely missing the mirrors on the sides of the cars they squeeze between as they seek to show off avoid the traffic jam the rest of us are just so deliriously happy to be sitting in.  I am not sure it was ever made clear to them that white lines are not designated motorcycle paths.  All joking aside, despite the immediate frustration that arises when I see these insane antics, I can’t help but cringe thinking of what might await them…and those they’re cutting off, down the road, and I keep my fingers crossed they make it home in one piece.

I hate driving … it’s a necessary evil. If I ever when I win the mega-million jackpot, the first thing I will do is get a driver on retainer. I mean, honestly, I have enough to worry about every day without trying to understand the unwritten games and laws that apparently govern our roads.  Most days, I am damned lucky I found the keys to my car to begin with.