Raking leaves under a fall of snowflakes is status quo for me at the Great Camp Sagamore volunteer work weekends, whether it be May or October. It may seem extreme, but it is the mountains, after all. What a curious place, Great Camp Sagamore, existing in another time. No riding mowers or leaf blowers for this clean up crew, just rakes and shovels and tarps that had been previously been used for raven mitigation. That was a whole separate job that I was not willing to volunteer for (although Dana did!) that involved raven shit being cleaned off roofs. I get enough shit at work. I am Queen Pee after all. Leaves piled on tarps are transported to a secluded section of woods and unceremoniously dumped onto other huge piles of leaves. And so it goes, every other season, fall and then spring and then fall again. No matter what the season, and what the weather, you could always find Dan wearing his trademark shorts.
You haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks because Shameless. I spent the last couple of weeks with the Gallaghers. slipping deeper and deeper into their dysfunctional chaotic lives. And what happened to the promises made at the beginning of the month to match NaNoWriMo commitments from previous years, to post a blog a day during the month of November? Sadly, it seemed to go the way of all the ones made in years past. Another pre-Christmas retail season had me working extra hours and limping home, reaching into the medicine cabinet for copious amounts of Advil. And then hours of keeping up with the drug and sex-fueled Chicago family who just can’t seem to keep themselves out of jail. Go Figure.
A total of 12 blogs, all written in the first two weeks of the month, is still more writing than I think I accomplished in past Novembers. It was a strong start. What did I learn during this latest attempt? That maybe November is not the best month for me. I will be gentle with myself, continue to blog at a pace more suited for my #retaillife, and bring you quality writing as often as I am able. Thanks for your continued support. And if I end up in jail in Chicago because of those crazy Gallaghers, I will let you know where to send the bail money!
Piles of boxes stacked taller than me, slivers of space to squeeze through to get to the back door where the UPS truck is waiting to load in 200 more packages. Books as far as the eye can see on every counter and spilled over onto the boxes. Sound like an episode of “Hoarders?” It’s the stockroom at Barnes & Noble, where booksellers now have to try and get the product out on the floor and in the hands of customers in the less than 6 weeks until Christmas.
It’s the same scene every year. Our back room is really too small to handle all the boxes delivered on a daily basis during the season and we have gotten pretty creative about how to maneuver, but it’s a tight fit for a few weeks and it is really stressful to try and scrape enough personnel together to take care of it all. Always too much to do and not enough time to get it done. But then we do. We will get it all out and spend the next several weeks delighting customers with all the gift ideas we have, then clean up the glitter and snowflakes and start the ‘new year new you’ theme, and then comes Valentine’s Day, and the year will continue. The circle of retail life.
The next six weeks will be a blur. I will put my heart and soul and extra hours in to make sure the store is ready for all those people looking to create an amazing holiday. I’ll make my special meatballs and bring in treats and try to keep everyone in the holiday spirit, and when they are not I quote my dad to them, who is fond of saying, “Ho ho ho your ass!” By New Year’s Eve I’ll bone tired, but also happy we made it through another holiday.
Why take the time to share all of this? To ask that every time you are out shopping, trying to make the perfect holiday for your family and loved ones, remember to thank a retail worker who spent the previous evening stocking the shelves. When you stop to eat somewhere because you are exhausted from holiday planning and you can’t even, give an extra smile and maybe a larger tip to your waitress who works so hard so you don’t have to. Instead of cursing DPW workers who plow snow into your driveway, say a thank you that the roads are clear and salted. So many people toil every day in service so others can go on doing for their family and friends. Make sure to let them know how grateful you are. I know I am. Happy Holidays!
I took some time today to catch up on Season 3 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. With so many shows on TV and the internet that have characters with no moral compass or redeeming qualities, this is a refreshing show with all the tongue-in-cheek crazy stunts. Rebecca seems to really believe she was wronged and is hurting everyone in her life in her quest to feel better. Kinda like if Trump was a 30-something throwing a temper tantrum and not just tweeting like one. Everything is so over the top in this show, including the elaborate musical numbers. But then it is also about friendship and support and there are little pockets of unexpected kindness. The wordplay is entertaining and the innuendo is just this side of inappropriate. At the end of every episode I have a smile on my face and I am happy to have had the chance to live out my revenge fantasies and crazy stunts that people think about pulling but know it’s just not right…
There are so many fun shows to watch these days. If you are looking for one that really is just pure escapism, check it out. Just Netflix and chill.
I know I have missed a couple of days of posting, but there are wireless problems in my home so am posting from my phone tonight. That way I only owe two days in December. But sometimes life happens and no amount of tech support can help and then you have a tiny little screen to tell all of your larger than life stories.
Technology has come such a long way in the last 5 years…the last 10 years…the last 50 years. I was a computer science major 35 years ago and all my programs were typed on computer cards and heaven help anyone who spilled those piles of cards and had to try and put them back in the right order…back when some computers still filled entire rooms and no one could imagine one fitting in the palm of your hand.
It’s like the memes of people talking on the phone connected to the wall with a long curly cord and talking about how kids today don’t understand what it was to be a teen in the 70’s. The phone in our house was next to a comfy armchair and I remember spending hours talking to my boyfriend on it even though he only lived 3 blocks away. Today I called my sister and my nephew answered and then yelled at her to come to the phone. “Why are you yelling? It’s not like the phone is connected to a cord!” “Well actually it is, Aunt Buddy. The batteries on our other phones are running out too fast.” I guess he told me! And now HE knows the struggle is real.
So forgive me any mistakes or misspellings that may be occurring because of this tiny screen. And maybe take a moment to marvel at the technology that allows me to blog on a phone!s
Before this month, I can’t believe it had been so long since this blog sat dormant. I have no excuses. I do a lot of blogworthy stuff, just haven’t been inspired to write it down. I had been spending a lot time bingewatching instead of writing! So what have I been busy indulging in? Let’s see.
Bloodline (Netflix) There is only one reason I would consider watching a show about dishonesty and murder. Kyle Chandler. I loved him in Early Edition and in Friday Night Lights (there is only one reason why I would watch a show about football…) so when my friend Judy told me about this show I had to check it out. Continue reading “Bingeworthy”
Ever since the end of the very first episode, with a glimpse into the lives of four seemingly random people all celebrating their 36th birthday, I have been hooked on This Is Us. I cannot tell you the last time I was so excited for a weekly TV show! In this day and age of streaming and binge-watching, it is rare that a show captivates so many people on a weekly basis. It is even more rare for me to follow something every single week, because with my work schedule I usually work 3 nights a week and it’s never the same 3, so I don’t put in much of an effort to invest in a show. This Is Us is sooo worth it!
The writing is incredible. So is the storytelling. And the relationships. I don’t want to say too much, because…spoilers. But just when you think someone is ready to throw in the towel, a connection is made in an unexpected and charming way. There is angst and drama, flaws and bad decisions. love and forgiveness. And every week there seems to be an important reveal that peels another layer. Even though I never feel that I am closer to finding out *SPOILER ALERT* how Jack died, pieces are revealed every week.
In one minute, the show will be on. And I am ready for whatever comes my way. And I will be sad and a bit empty when the hour is over. And then I will live my life until next Tuesday at 9 pm when I can enter the Pearson world again, where I can feel all the feels.
One of my favorite TV shows of the late 80’s was China Beach, a drama about a scrappy nurse stationed at My Khe beach (in Da Nang,Vietnam) during the Vietnam War. China Beach was full of strong female characters, even the fluffy Red Cross volunteer named Cherry White turned out to be a bit badass. I remembered this show when I was driving and “Reflections” by The Supremes came on the radio (yes, I am one of the few people to still use the car radio!) Check out the opening sequence:
I wish there was somewhere I could catch it in reruns; I watched it over and over when it had a second life on the Lifetime Channel. Captain Colleen McMurphy was a nurse at the evac hospital, Airman Wayloo Marie Holmes was a journalist, Major Lila Garreau ran the show, and Private Frankie Bunsen was assigned to the motorpool (she later became a DJ.) Early on the USO performer Laurette Barber befriended Colleen and helped her to loosen up a bit (that’s them in the opening sequence in the sparkly silver dresses.) I fell in love with the soldier turned lifeguard Boonie Lanier and was fascinated by the hooker with a heart of gold KC Koloski. There were other guys stationed there but Boonie was the only one that mattered to me. The stories were gripping and gritty, taken from the stories of actual veterans. Colleen had seen more than her share of tragedy and violence and the show did start to address her PTSD in Season 4, when they used flash forward scenes during some of the episodes, a novel way to tell a TV story at the time.
You know I am a sucker for sweetness and light, so anytime that Bonnie and KC had scenes together it was compelling because they seemed to bring out the best in each other, she was softer and so was he. When Boonie threw a prom for everyone, he really hooked me. I think it was my favorite episode. Another couple that was fun to watch was uptight Major Lila and Sarge Pepper (yes, I know, Sargeant Pepper.) This romance was a slow burn that lasted for almost the whole run of the show, but so worth it when they got together. And for some comic relief in Season 3 Ricki Lake joined the cast as Red Cross volunteer Holly Pelegrino. She spent a lot of energy trying to make the evac hospital a bit more fun, and her relationship with Boonie was another one that I loved to watch.
All of this research has me jonesing for another look at this great show. Maybe it’s on cable TV somewhere. Is cable TV still a thing? Lol.
People are always trying to get me in the middle of something. I never just agree with someone without finding out what it is going on and I try really hard to play fair. Family drama is always just one call away. The call today came from my sister Judy and her son Diego, each of whom were sure I would side with them. The situation of the day? Judy was ordering Christmas presents on a website and the package was delivered on Friday, along with a wallet she purchased for herself. Diego maintains that because it was purchased in November, it needed to be put away until Christmas, just like all of his gifts. Judy said that this wasn’t the same because she bought it for herself. Diego had taken the wallet and threatened to hide it upstairs until the holidays, which is not really fair because her wheelchair doesn’t go up the stairs. As much as I love that scamp Diego, I did have to agree with Judy and then yell, “Don’t go upstairs with that wallet!” which wasn’t really a threat from 2o minutes away.
Now that I have had some distance from the situation, I just have one thing to say to Diego: here’s a picture of my wallet. Aunt Buddy definitely needs a new one. I have changed my mind – could you hide that wallet from Mom and sneak it to me?? I will love you forever…
Selling books for 22 years and loving books for 56 years, reading stories is a big part of my life. My mom loves to tell about the very first book I ever read as a toddler, the Sears catalog. I spent hours flipping the pages and pretending to read each one. Reading allowed me to see lives lived differently than my own and it helped me to escape my life when it was boring or overwhelming.
My mom took us to the library every chance she had and I remember leaving the Beauchamp branch library with piles of books every time. We moved to the near west side when I was 13 and was so excited when I was old enough to walk the ten blocks to the main branch of the Onondaga County Public Library in the gorgeous Carnegie Building. I am so grateful to my parents for fostering a love of reading and imagination and for putting up with all the family gatherings where they found me with my nose in a book!
With all that I’ve read over the years, people may wonder which books are my favorites. My four sets of bookshelves would suggest that there are too many to choose from, but I will try. This list is in no way complete, and most of them are available at Barnes & Noble (of course!)