Frog With Glasses

On one particular evening, I saw a sweatshirt that popped up on my Instagram feed. This shirt came in several different colors, but the print on it is what captured me. I was instantly possessed by an unexplainable force and before I knew it, I clicked, paid and waited. On the front of the shirt was a print of a frog wearing oversized glasses. Picture a green head, the size of a bowling ball, coming out of my ribs wearing huge costume glasses. I’m sure it had a body too, but it was much smaller. The depiction was caricature like. When I looked into the creature’s eyes I was under control that was not my own. This green toad with glasses was most definitely incongruent with my normal fashion sense as my closet is flooded with black and various shades of gray. This piece of clothing was a fashion abomination.

To describe what was going on in my brain is still hard, but I was compelled to put this shirt on every time I made eye contact the bespectacled creature. Each time I put the shirt on I would think about the ramifications, but didn’t have the willpower to take it off. My mind was worried and my thoughts became flooded with anxiety of how this disease would progress.  Will I eventually become the person that proudly wears over the top Christmas sweaters to normal  every day, non-holiday  functions believing that is it not ugly, but trendy. I shudder at the thought.

For a good part of four months, it seemed the frog and I were best friends.  We went everywhere together and if I wore the shirt for consecutive days it didn’t seem to matter. However, every time I would take the shirt off, pulling it back over my shoulders, and did not meet its glassy gaze it seemed I could resist it at times. These episodes of wearing this shirt was not unlike how I feel after polishing off an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting. My brain is skilled at treading the cold waters of self-loathing. Nevertheless, it might have been easier for me to resist the ice cream during my time living with this amphibian. The cursed croaker had some unexplained mind control and its eyes willed me to put him on and wear him like a badge.

Before Christmas I was packing for a trip and I opened my dresser drawer to find the sweatshirt. I quickly grabbed it and shoved it in my bag, thinking that maybe this was going to be the last trip we were going to take together.  On New Year’s Day, my friends and I were enjoying a nice fire outside and I seized the opportunity to abruptly put an end to the stupidest impulsive internet purchase ever made, by tossing it into the fire. In an instance the spell was broken and I swear the frog winked at me before disappearing into the flames.

Tropical Storm Rainy

I realized this morning my Labrador retriever, Rainy is almost out of her medication. Feelings of unease washed over me as I picked up the phone to ask the vet to call this med into the local Costco. Costco is the only pharmacy that will fill this particular pet medication. The trouble I feel brewing is multi-layered as my bitch doesn’t give two thoughts about her condition of urinary incontinence while she is sleeping on my bed. When Rainy is medicated there is no issue. However, without the meds and having a dog this size, the result of Rainy unmediated is nothing less than a natural disaster.

Driving to Costco is the easy part. However, as I get closer I can feel the tension start to build. I have never been a member of this store and I am not a fan. The sight of the parking lot brings on a bit of irritation. I am perpetually befuddled as how this place can always be packed full because people must buy in bulk. Prior to COVID19, I had serious issues making myself buy more than a 4 pack of toilet paper. Now I either can’t find any or I am forced to buy at least 16 rolls at one time! I’m troubled every time I bear hug my bulk pack of newly purchased TP through the threshold of my home. Buying in bulk and my personality are not friends.

I walk past the greeter with a chip on my shoulder and tell her I am going to the pharmacy when I have no membership card to show her. I feel she doesn’t believe me, but I don’t care enough to attach any type of emotion to the interaction.  The walk from the door to the pharmacy is a long one and thankfully this gives me enough time to fantasize (in mental slow motion) about toppling the shelves over as I walk by them. Fortunately, this lead to another fantasy within a fantasy of me winning 30 minutes alone inside the store to ransack it without the stealing and penalty, leavening with nothing but a smile. 

I make my way to the pharmacy line to wait. I have a quick chat with the pharmacist about the meds for Rainy, which always makes me want to ask the druggist if she would like to talk directly to my dog, but I don’t this time. However, one day I might bring in my dog so when this drug dispenser wants to consult with me about the possible side effects. I will force her to look Rainy in the eyes and explain them to her. I actually don’t believe the side effects are anything concerning, but Costco staff do not seem to care or submit to their understanding that this medication is for my dog.  It’s a silly policy they follow and I would like to draw attention to the absurdity of the practice of making me consult with the pharmacist about my pet medication.  I always wonder if they expect me to sit down with Rainy and go over the possible side effects when I get home. What if Rainy has questions, I can’t answer? However, for today I turn quickly on my heels and stroll back through this spectacle of gluttonous American spending that hurts my head, heart and eyes. Perhaps, someday I will understand all the rage of shopping at Costco and will leave mine in the parking lot. I walk out to my car with medications in hand knowing that I have avoided the floods from Tropical Storm Rainy for the next few months, and in the moment I am grateful for Costco on this fine afternoon.

I Think We Need An Exclamation Point!

I recently returned from vacation to a mountain of emails. Historically, I have deeply pondered taking vacations before pulling the trigger. Mainly because I have always detested ascending the Mt. Everest of emails I feel I am expected to summit as quickly as possible directly after taking any relaxing days off. This journey always, ALWAYS negates any positives the vacation brought and often leaves me a bit more mentally exhausted. I often find myself asking if the vacation was worth it. I do not have any constructive solutions to offer. I also want to point out I don’t have much of an ego and understand day to day business operations will not stop when I’m gone. I guess it would be nice if work would wave their collective hand, tell employees not to worry, and treat all vacations like email free zones. It would be refreshing for employees to have no responsibility to conquer the accumulated mass of emails upon their return.

Knowing the above is not going to happen, I trudge on and try to exercise my grateful muscle (my brain). I do understand with all 2020 has been and brought, I am thankful and have a deep appreciation for what the universe has put forward for me and I try to remind myself of this on a daily basis. However, the human condition is sometimes a bitch. The balance of torment and gratefulness sometimes tips more in one way or the other. When this happens I either feel more bliss or think perhaps the big sleep cannot be that bad, but perhaps I am being a bit dramatic.

While cleaning up the rest of my emails this past week, I became even more acutely aware of the “canned” responses Gmail features as possible acknowledgements that can be selected and sent back to the sender. Examples are, ” Sounds great”, “Thanks for the clarification”, “Good”, and other similar replies. On this particular day, I think my “canned” response could have been “Are you f*@cking kidding me!” as I was making my way through this electronic communication imprisonment that was tethered to my fingers and my brain. Maybe because of my mood, I kept seeing an automated response I was not accustomed to seeing from Gmail and I was instantly perplexed because I did not agree with the punctuation. I wasn’t seeing the response on all emails, just a smattering. At first, I thought maybe someone at Gmail just had enough of 2020, because the formulated response I thought I saw said, “Sorry, I can’t take it.”

I am not saying I did not agree with the response, because I did, I do. But I had difficulty understanding why it ended with a period and not an exclamation point. Then I looked a little more closely and actually squinted at the phrase and then I realized I have to accept I need to start wearing my glasses on heavy computer days. It also became abundantly clear why this response only showed up when receiving a request from someone who wanted me to attend a meeting, because what it actually said, ” Sorry, I can’t make it. I was instantly a little relieved there was not a despondent staff person at Google who was crying out for help in a misdirected or misguided way though Gmail. However, it is important to mention how much I wanted this response to be real, because the feeling is just so 2020.

Time to Prep the Turkey

I am certain most everyone I know is presently engaged in some type of turkey preparations. I talked to a friend and he stated he was worried about his Thanksgiving turkey. He explained he was late in taking his turkey out of the freezer and is concerned it will not defrost before the time comes to put it in the oven tomorrow. I explained to him that perhaps he should do some skin to skin tonight in order to accelerate the thawing process. The rumor is turkeys are great little spooners and love to cuddle.

Presently, I am staying next door to a family who raised two turkeys for the purpose of being on the table for tomorrow’s dinner. Over the past several months, I have heard the excited calls from these birds . I have grown accustom to these gobblers’ shrill throaty jumbling calls. However, as the hours close in and night is about to fall, I grow even more anxious for these two. I am sad to think that these two will be no longer in just a few hours.

I wonder if part of the turkey prep for live fowl is to have a quick sit down next to their pen and explain the situation. I imagine I would lead with the positives. I would recap the last few months expressing gratitude and thanks for their company and then let them know of their true purpose. I think this is the least I could do in this situation. Most people go through their entire lives without ever finding or knowing why they have been placed on the planet. These two birds might just be ahead of the curve.

Whether you might be wrapping your turkey in a heated blanket for a cuddle, sitting beside the pen to have one last conversation, or setting up your smoker or deep fryer. I am thinking of all the family and friends I will not be sitting down with this year and wishing all a wonderful hope filled Thanksgiving.

Underwear and Career Achievements

I recall the packs of underwear with the days of the week spelled out in various styles that I’m sure I wore at some point while growing up. I remember from the movie, When Harry Met Sally, Sally discussed a breakup related to the absence over a pair of Sunday underwear. She stated her then boyfriend was paranoid about why she never wore Sunday, thinking they were missing somehow by nefarious activities .

Sally reasoned the underwear companies could not bear printing the Lord’s day on the seventh pair because of God. If this was really the case then I can only assume that on Sundays these companies felt that because of God, going commando was justified. Or it was assumed that the owner of the underwear would either recycle and wear another “day of the week” (wearing them out of sequence) or pick a random pair with no assigned day to wear on Sunday. I have to admit, I am a rule follower. I would have been bugged beyond belief to wear my “day of the week” underwear out of order.

However, this appears to be more of a myth and Sunday was actually printed on most packs of the “days of the week” underwear. This fact begs another alternative that might be unpopular. It could be those with certain beliefs were the ones that could not fathom wearing underwear with the Lord’s day printed on them. With this in mind, I think about Sunday parishioners sitting in the pews without their delicates underneath their clothes…seems un-Christian-like. I can’t tell if the un-Christian-like part is targeted at me for thinking about all or parts of the congregation going commando during Sunday service or the amount of time these thoughts spent bouncing around in my head before they spill out on paper and eventually freed to perhaps infect you.

These types of underwear ponderings surprisingly bring me to think of where I have been and where I am at the present. I have fumbled my way though most of my life without much of a thoughtful path. I did not have a map or instructions and most times I did not trust my guts. Regardless, I seem to have found my way. Retracing the routes from years before until the present, there aren’t any real surprises. The common thread that linked the years has been my passion to advocate for those individuals who happen to be diagnosed with certain concerns and who have landed in some type of unsavory system that was supposed to either support or punish. Although, it seems both systems appeared to be more adept at following through on the latter.

I have been thinking a lot about my years of service and the fight for the betterment of of others. I have been reflecting on the amazing legacy of John Lewis and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I am in no way comparing myself to either of these amazing leaders. I only mention Mr. Lewis and the notorious RGB, because I can only aspire to hang in there and keep challenging the oppressive structures that still remain. Perhaps, I want to be like both of these icons when I grow up.

I have to admit I have grown tired over the last two years and find myself thinking of a way to exit this exhausting process I have battled. I dream of gaining citizenship to a lonely island where I can start over with an appreciation of knowing I have done my best and leave the fight for others. I fantasize about doing simple things, where my one task is to ask one question, “Do you want cream or sugar?”

In this time of consideration, I have been thinking about the battles I have won and lost. I made small but meaningful changes in big systems that provided some comfort to those who lived within the walls. My work was to make those days inside a bit more humane, less demoralizing, and hopefully less scary. I provided a voice to those who were not able to speak for themselves. Sometimes I provided the nudge for those that could find their voice and courage to stand up to those in power to demand something different.

On many occasions, I would drive to my place of work for that particular day and park. I would sit in the parking lot, stare though my car windshield at the buildings I would eventually enter. Instead of rushing through those doors, I would drink coffee in my car for a little bit longer. I would drink coffee not only because it was a normal morning ritual, but because I read that caffeine was supposed to make people more agreeable. It was supposed to make me more agreeable. I can’t say that I was the most pleasant person, but I’m sure the caffeine helped.

Once inside, I would do a bunch of listening between my scheduled appointments. On one particular day, a man told me he had no underwear when he arrived. He explained that when he was arrested he was not wearing any and he had no family to bring him the needed items. He said he alerted staff he had no underwear and was led to a spot that contained a plethora of used and otherwise discarded unmentionables. I asked only one clarifying question, “How did you know the underwear was used?” It was a silly question, but he politely answered and stated that some of the underwear available for selection were stained.

Disgusted by this news, I scheduled a meeting with the person responsible for managing this particular section of the facility. When questioned she responded that the selection of used underwear was washed. Her tone suggested that since the underwear was washed, it should be absolutely acceptable. I asked her if she would wear washed, used, stained underwear. I’m surprised I don’t remember her answer. Eventually, after moderate nudging from me, the institution agreed to provide all incoming humans who arrived without their own underwear, 5 brand spanking new pairs. I shared this story with a fellow advocate and I was quickly reminded that there are 7 days in a week, not five.

In my world of almost and good enough, I still considered this a win. In my mind, I imagine that these packs of underwear were 5 plain pairs of “tighty whities” with no days of the weeks printed on them. No organization needed to ensure that the pair was worn on any particular day or the stress of wearing them out of order. My hope was that a mid-week trip to the washing machine would not force any person to make a decision to go without due to not having access to a clean pair, even on Sundays.

Next time you all reach into your underwear drawer, please consider the following: 1. Designate that person in your life that knows where you store your underwear and who can get your unmentionables to you in your time of need. If you have this type of person in your life, you might be ahead of the game. 2. Not everybody has an drawer devoted to just underwear nor is it stuffed full of countless choices for your behind to inhabit. 3. Regardless of what type of underwear you own, if you have Sunday spelled out or a picture of your Lord printed on them. It is A-OK to wear these underwear to your weekly worship. Satan’s criteria for a spot in Hell does not appear to have a category for underwear. I am certain there are a abundance of activities that will get you a reservices spot for the afterlife.

The Awkward Conversation

In the not so distance past, I received a phone call that begun with the caller asking me, ” Do you know what happened to me today?” Innocently, I replied, “No.” How could I guess, really? The caller then reported, “I shit my pants!” The person on the other end of the call appeared to be just as surprised about this news as I was as I held the phone to my ear. My first thought, if this had happened to me (and I was alone) this incident would have been taken to my grave unreported. However, it felt surprisingly consequential to be the “chosen one” bestowed with this terribly sensitive information.

I feel incidents like these should also have a greeting card option. The cards could highlight various events. An example of one such card could read something like this on the cover, ” I had a sneezing fit the other day and peed my pants.” On the inside, “You are the first and only person I have told. Welcome to my inner circle. This is a big achievement! In a few days you will receive a second card with a key to my house and instructions to cull all my belongings I don’t want my daughter to ever see or find, in case I meet an early demise. Congratulations!”

These self disclosures offered up voluntarily might be awkward, but they require little prep, effort and the response can be minimal. Having a difficult conversation is something I’m often paid to do and I have been having them for the past 20 years. Sometimes before 9 am, I am composing emails that contains the word anal. I have sat down with professionals to discuss the value of adding a picture as an exhibit to my work. The picture was of a penis. I did not want to show this expert the picture, because it already burned a pretty distinctive image in my brain and I wanted to protect this person and others who would view my work. We pondered this picture. We discussed how remarkable this member looked in the photo and I was asked questions about how it looked and if there was anything about it that made it remarkable. There wasn’t. I determined if there was a hypothetical line up of sorts there would be no disguising marking or characteristics that would link this particular penis back to its owner. In the end, this picture was not included. It was a win I thought for not causing any more harm to others, this picture, but the damage was already done, at least to my eyes and brain.

I thought my ability to have a awkward discussion could be my super power. However, I do understand I do much better with these conversations when I am not emotionally attached to the person on the other end. In spite of emotional connection, I still believe I have been able to present myself in a calm, non-judgmental and non-reactive manner throughout these discussions, at least on the outside. One the inside, I’m certain my organs do a full dry heave of raw emotions hidden somehow between slow breathing and thoughts of retreating to my happy place.

Presently, I have been engaged in an ongoing awkward discussions with my daughter. This is lead me to go from her being a big fan of mine to answering me with one word answers. I am used to being the most unpopular person in the room when it comes to my career, but this is a extremely uneasy feeling with it comes to my daughter. Regardless, I will continue my efforts because somethings are too important not to discuss. However, if I could pick between the discussion I had about the value of a penis picture over these awkward conversations with my daughter. I would pick long deliberations over peckers every time.

My Thick Bitch

While out for a walk with my sweet little dog, I noticed she was stopping frequently for potty breaks. I found it odd because she often powers through her walks never halting even to sniff the things most dogs love to smell. The thought that she might be afflicted with a urinary tract infection motivated me to call the vet and scheduled a visit.

The process of going to the vet is a little different these days. The parent can no longer go into the appointment with their dog. The office requires a call to the front desk at the time of arrival. A staff member will come out to fetch the dog from the parking lot, and the owner goes about their day. Aside from Jazzy becoming terribly upset when she recognized the destination, and then trying to run away from the nurse who came out to collect her. Everything went as expected and I went home.

Not long after I arrived home, I received a call from the wonderful Doctor and he informed me that he and the nurse loved their time with Jazzy. He told me she was a very good patient and incredibly compliant with the examination. This news did not surprise me at all. The last time I was in the office during her exam, Jazzy did not protest or even flinch during her anal examination. She is either a good little solider or kinky. I haven’t decided yet. The good Doctor went on to report all the tests came back negative and she looks healthy.

However, he then stated Jazzy had put on some weight and is now at the top of the range for what is considered healthy for her size. Jazzy is a small dog (a mix of a Boston terrier and French bulldog), and she typically weighs just over 14 lbs. He stated Jazzy put on almost two lbs. since her last visit. Without thinking of how it might sound, I immediately blamed COVID-19 for the weight gain. He was taken aback and said this was the first time he heard this particular excuse and laughed. We ended the conversation with him saying he would like to see more of a defined waist on Jazzy.

Looking back, I should have seen the signs of Jazzy’s uptick in weight. It seems she was always at the fridge and I did observe her stress eating her dinner after lying in bed with me watching the evening news. Jazzy also would mysteriously appear out of nowhere when I was eating, demanding she finish my leftovers. I often complied most times because I didn’t want to cause a fight. I noticed Jazzy eating with a new sense of intensity when in front of her dog bowl. When Rainy (my Labrador retriever) would get too close to her bowl, Jazzy’s response was incredibly emotional and she would go into full defensive mode nearly attacking Rainy.

Lately, she has been sleeping more and ignoring her watchdog duties, barking less at those who walk past our house. I know this will sound a little unbelievable, but I swear I caught her standing in front of the mirror attempting a no hand clap with her backside. To clarify, Jazzy always dances, but this was a new move I had not seen her attempt before. In retrospect, I should have seen the signs that my dog was becoming a thick bitch.

Angry Hugs

Over a year ago, maybe two years now, I was introduced to UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship). I was surprised by how much I adore watching two people pummel each other. I have to say I love almost everything about it. I love the pageantry, the sportsmanship, the athleticism and skill of the fighters. I would like to say I could do without the blood, but I won’t. When the fights stopped due to concerns over spreading the virus, I was sad but understood the reason for the halt in the schedule. However, I was over the moon when the fights recently resumed. As I said to a few of my fight viewing friends, I was so starved for any form of sports viewing, I would have settled for the fighters to just stand in the middle of the ring and slap each other back and fourth for three to five rounds.

My daughter is not a fan but for some reason, most likely boredom, she decided to watch for a bit with me last weekend. She had many questions and I am not an expert by any means. I did my best. She questioned me about the weight classes and how a person can win and lose. She was perplexed about the grappling and was trying to find the words to describe what she was seeing. I offered that perhaps what she was seeing was angry hugging. She seemed to be pleased with this description.

My need to see some sort of organized sports is deep and this yearning is something I didn’t even realize. I grew up in Central Pennsylvania, just 10 miles from University Park, Penn State’s main campus. I believe it is mandatory all locals must love the Nittany Lions. I did, and still do. One of my favorite childhood memories, on game day was laying in the middle of my gram’s yard, in Houserville and hearing the muffled announcers from Beaver Stadium. On an occasion, I was able to go to a “Blue and White” game and be a spectator at one or two of the football games throughout Penn State’s normal season. It was heaven. Fall in Pennsylvania was my favorite season. Attending undergraduate studies at Penn State and spending time in the stadium’s student section will always be a fond memory of mine.

I moved away several years ago and still try to watch as many games as I can, but now living in Oregon I tend to keep track of the Ducks too. My first love will always be college football. However, I do love NFL and still follow all of my East Coast teams. Even when I don’t care about who is playing, I always seem to have a game on just for background noise and the comforting effects. When football season ends, I get a little depressed. I watch a little hockey and with the Blazers being super popular here, I try to muster up the same enthusiasm. The only team sport I cannot watch at all is baseball, cause I don’t have the patience or the time. However, since watching “Brockmire” I might give it another chance.

With the pandemic and most sports coming to a halt. Out of desperation, I have found myself sitting in front of the TV watching old Stanley Cup game play offs, golf and other games the networks have been so kind to re-broadcast. Having all of this on my TV makes things seem a little bit normal. My daughter thinks I’m crazy and I can see her concern and confusion when she walks into my room asking who is screaming, when I was watching an old tennis match too loudly. I typically never watch Tennis. It’s not the first and most likely not the last time my daughter has questioned my mental health status. I can only hope that I provide a little comic relief to distract from all the despair she is absorbing. The other alternative is that I will provide her with a long list of issues to work through in therapy when she feels she is ready. You are welcome, Ella.

Presently, I find I am watching normal and mundane occurrences much like sporting events, trying to equate points to various activities. Whether it be heated arguments between differing points of views on local news stations or watching squirrels fight to defend their territorial boundaries, as they taunt my dogs and sometimes me. I have my own point system going on in my head and I typically declare one side as the champion of the perceived battle. I believe most times I’m somewhat satisfied with the winner.

The effect of quarantine on my brain has done some interesting things to my thought process and I being to wonder. Would I participate in the viewing of events similar to The Hunger Games or The Purge, if they would come to be? Gosh, I hope not, but I almost can see a society where we have some type of organized sports teams who battle it our for scarce resources like toilet paper or a coveted meat product. A trophy is no longer necessary. I believe we are getting closer to a society where poverty, oppression and squalor might be played out in dreadful displays of competition. My want to read any more stories of this type of genre is slowly dissipating. However, my need to be a spectator has not gone away in the least and this is the scary part.

I completely understand this is first world problem of want vs need. But I need to see athletes battle it out, and soon on possible on a regular basis. I would even watch Tennis on a more consistent basis if all the players agree to scream more and louder as they smash the ball back and forth. I want to see bone crushing hits, played by men in really tight uniforms. The more aggressive the better. I do acknowledge that I have no problems with objectifying men and I might have underlying anger issues requiring therapy. I’ll be sure to get a referral from Ella’s future therapist, and maybe I will be enabled to explore my endless need to shove my mind full of brutal competition in order to quiet my own restlessness. Until then and until the other sports return, I will endure lots of angry hugs when watching UFC fights and perhaps If I am lucky enough maybe I’ll even give a few.

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Anti-utopia and Homeschooling

Over the last few months, I have felt like I have been walking through a dream. Not a good one. It has been one of those that might be more nightmare-ish. The ones where I find I can’t scream or move in the manner I want in order to protect or defend myself against whatever my mind unleashes when my guard has been temporary lowered. I wake up with the hope it was all something my mind has made up to mess with me, to keep me on my toes, but only to find my brain has been replaying the days events again during the night.

I find I am watching more TV than I should and am bombarded by shit I should turn off, but can’t because I guess I’m caught somewhere between no self control and boredom. I am forgetting myself and find I am focusing on things I can’t control like other people’s decisions to not to wear face masks. It seems this rationalization is now a political statement instead of being a careless and otherwise selfish act.

This never ending pandemic, my brother’s death a few weeks ago, George Floyd’s death this week and the reckless riots in the city I love…I now ruminate over the profound callousness of my fellow American citizens. I find myself not being myself and perhaps just slightly agitated, not the normal level of agitation I typically reach every morning with my caffeine consumption. This is a deeper level of unrest I haven’t felt since my hormone induced teenage years.

These are the times of “one glass of wine isn’t enough”. However, I still judge myself incredibly harshly even knowing these times are a little darker than normal. Returning to a practice of gratitude is always something I try to do in these times, especially when my humor escapes me. My bright spot is my lovely daughter and everything about her. I am so incredibly lucky that she is so amazingly independent with her school work. I do not have to take on the task of homeschooling.

I cannot image the level of strife parents are going through with potential joblessness or working from home and topped with the need to now be a teacher to your children. I might be able to muddle through most subjects, but my daughter just happens to be in compacted math. My daughter’s current knowledge of math far exceeds mine. Hats off to all those parents who are white knuckling though the next few weeks. With all that is presently wrong with the world, I have to believe that homeschooling might be a point of agitation and contributing to a whole new reason to struggle with self-esteem.

Mental health professionals have their work cut out for them and will have to do a major overhaul to those questionnaires and surveys that some take in their PCP or therapist’s offices. Two new questions I propose to assess overall mental health should be: (1) how many rolls of toilet paper do you presently have in your home and (2) are you currently homeschooling? If so, how many children? A “yes” answer to homeschooling, regardless of how many children, is a automatic prescription to a anxiety/depression medication of your choosing. If the answer to the T.P. questions is zero, then that might require a psychiatric hold.

Meals, Weed, Rap, Repeat.

I know so many of us have lost count like I have on the number of days we have been living, working and entertaining at home. I was on a Zoom happy hour and someone said it was 8 weeks. I don’t think it has been that long, but I honestly don’t know. Maybe 6 weeks? My brain has gone limp, and it no longer is able to process time the way it used to. Now, the measurements are not in days or weeks, but my time is now tracked by meals.  These days I yell to Ella from across the hallway to remind her of the awesome something or other that we made for dinner the other day, week or month. I’m also paying attention to the news threatening a meat shortage.  This is what I have turned into in just 6 or 8 weeks.

I also have renewed my addiction for weeding and rap music. It seems that one cannot exist without the other. For the past couple meal cycles, I have been tackling parts of my yard and my weed problem. I do get a bunch of gratification from ripping, tearing, pulling and digging these strong invasive nuisances from the earth. However, when you have Snoop Dogg and all of his friends on Pandora playing, it is heaven.  The weeds are no longer weeds, they become muthafu!@%ing bitches! And I realize that my love for rap makes so much sense, as I love the word play, cursing, and channeled anger.

Unfortunately, my love for rap has bled unto my daughter and I found her listening to Eminem in her room. Her only question, ” Mom, why is he so angry?” I tried to explain he was just a po white boy who had a bad mamma. I tried to expound to describe that rap is form a blues, but spoken and angry. I don’t think she understood, so I invited her to a Zoom meeting for further clarification.

I was a little concerned my daughter was listening to rap, because I do understand women are depicted often in a terrible manner.  However, I  think it is because rappers have watched one too many porn videos and it’s played out in the music to perhaps enhance masculinity. Nonetheless, I wholeheartedly believe in the average rapper’s home, the woman is calling the shots. I mean, Snoop cooks with Martha when he isn’t out being a gangsta.

My point, I have none, but I’m not certain I am documenting this time as I should. When Ella looks back on this period of time I am a little concerned. What she will remember, tell her children, and how I will be depicted? I am curious of how this will all shake out in the end. Until then, I will continue be in my yard and garden with my weed(s) and my muthaf!@%&#ing hoes.