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Taking a Social Media Break

January 23, 2017

I’m going to be taking a social media break. Mostly from Facebook since that is where I waste most of my time. I’m doing it for many reasons, the above mentioned wasting time is a big one, but I’m also doing it because it’s not fun anymore. Social media has turned into the Mean Girls table in 7th grade and I hated it then and hate it even more now.

Taking a Social Media Break

Twitter has always been a clusterfuck of negativity, and I am sure Instagram, and Pinterest are getting filled with just as many negative memes if not outright status updates. 

For the most part I have kept my sadness and anger under control when I peruse the status updates of friends and people who update publicly. I’m not a troll and it isn’t my job to educate anyone on the ways of persuasion. I’ve simply had enough.

Stop Being Such Douchebags to Each Other!

People are upset and I appreciate and respect that, but oh my god they are also so very rude, childish and just plain mean. 

This negativity, this aggressiveness, this unpleasantness has been going on for well over a year now, but since the election it’s gotten worse. Since the inauguration, it has gotten out of hand.

“I don’t care who started it!”

Yes, I know, I sound just like my father. 

I know there are important issues that need to be discussed. I get that people are scared and want to do whatever they can to change something… The thing is, I’m not listening anymore. And I’m really tolerant! 

This past weekend I saw women tearing at each other because the appropriate response was not given with regard to the women’s march this Saturday. According to many if you didn’t go you are considered a Trump supporter. That’s quite a leap. I had no idea my lack of desire to participate in an event would lump me in with the deplorables. 

Bittersweet

Social media, especially Facebook, is my socializing. As a single mom, I don’t get out much. Spending some time on Facebook and chatting with friends has always been a welcome way to start the day and wind it down. My time on Facebook was something I looked forward to. Now, it just makes me sad or angry, lately enraged.

And I love you people, but you are being really mean to each other right now and I’m scared. I’m afraid to leave a comment, to engage with other people, because I am afraid my inability to concisely sum up an issue with a pithy comment that is regarded by the majority as correct is lacking. That I can’t say what I want to say without pissing someone, everyone off. 

It Used to be Fun

Listen, I know that social media has never been a place to discuss issues in any sort of meaningful or deep way. Social media comments are like romance novels, you will get down and dirty by page six, or the 6th comment as the case may be. But sometimes, respectful discussions did take place.

These discussions may not have changed any minds, but when respectful they were at least enlightening. Now, it’s just a race to see who can work Hitler or the Nazis into the conversation first. No one actually expects discourse, they just want to get their clever comeback in and then wait for their tribe to hit the like button so everyone knows how influential they are.

And That Pisses Me Off

I’ve tried to reason with social media to no avail so for the time being I’m removing myself from the negativity. Unfortunately, I manage social media for many businesses so I still have to show up. However, I won’t be engaging for a while and as much as possible I will automate my presence there.

That said, I will still be hanging out at my blog and with all the free time I expect will be able to visit those blogs that are actually still blogging. I hope discussion about these interesting times can be had with less snark. If you see me on Facebook – I’m playing Candy Crush or updating a client’s status. I will automate the promotion of any posts here on Facebook and other social media. 

See, I’m explaining myself!! How stupid is that?

I’m sure I will not be gone for too long, probably until TWD returns and all has been righted in the world. I just need to get away from the negativity for a while. Life is simply too short for all of the mean girl bullshit. 

I love you all and I will miss you, but you piss me off too much to stick around right now so I’m disconnecting.

politics

President Trump’s Inauguration Speech

January 20, 2017
President Trump's Inauguration Speech

Here is the video and text of President Trump’s inauguration speech:

“Chief Justice Roberts, President Carter, President Clinton, President bush, President Obama, fellow Americans, and people of the world, thank you. We the citizens of America are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and restore its promise for all of our people. Together we will determine the course of America, and the world, for many, many years to come. We will face challenges. We will confront hardships, but we will get the job done. Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent. Thank you.

Today’s ceremony, however, has very special meaning, because today we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another, or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, D.C., and giving it back to you, the people. For too long, a small group in our nation’s capitol has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished, but the people did not share in its wealth. Politicians prospered, but the jobs left, and the factories closed. The establishment protected itself, but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs, and while they celebrated in our nation’s capitol, there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land.

That all changed starting right here and right now, because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. It belongs to everyone gathered here today, and everyone watching, all across America. This is your day. This is your celebration, and this, the United States of America, is your country.

What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people. January 20th, 2017 will be remembered as the day the people became the rulers of this nation again. The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now. You came by the tens of millions to become part of a historic movement, the likes of which the world has never seen before.

At the center of this movement is a crucial conviction, that a nation exists to serve its citizens. Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are just and reasonable demands of righteous people and a righteous public, but for too many of our citizens a different reality exists. Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities, rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation, an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of all knowledge, and the crime, and the gangs, and the drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now.

We are one nation, and their pain is our pain. Their dreams are our dreams, and their success will be our success. We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny. The oath of office I take today is an oath of allegiance to all Americans. For many decades, we’ve enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries, while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military. We’ve defended other nations’ borders while refusing to defend our own. And spent trillions and trillions of dollars overseas while America’s infrastructure has fallen into disrepair and decay. We’ve made other countries rich while the wealth, strength and confidence of our country has dissipated over the horizon. One by one, the factories shuddered and left our shores, with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind. The wealth of our middle class has been ripped from their homes and then redistributed all across the world, but that is the past, and now we are looking only to the future.

We are assembled here today issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, in every foreign capital, and in every hall of power, from this day forward, a new vision will govern our land, from this day forward, it’s going to be only America first. America first. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs will be made to benefit American workers and American families. We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies, and destroying our jobs. Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before.We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders.

We will bring back our wealth, and we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads and highways and bridges and airports and tunnels, and railways, all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work, rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor. We will follow two simple rules — buy American, and hire American.

We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world, but we do so with the understanding that it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first. We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone, but rather to let it shine as an example, we will shine for everyone to follow. We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones, and you night the civilized world against radical islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the Earth. At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.

The bible tells us, how good and pleasant it is when god’s people live together in unity. We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable. There should be no fear. We are protected, and we will always be protected. We will be protected by the great men and women of our military and law enforcement. And most importantly, we will be protected by god.

Finally, we must think big and dream even bigger. In America, we understand that a nation is only living as long as it is striving. We will no longer accept politicians who are all talk and no action, constantly complaining but never doing anything about it.The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action. Do not allow anyone to tell you that it cannot be done. No challenge can match the heart and fight and spirit of America.

We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again. We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease, and to harness the industries and technologies of tomorrow. New national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions. It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black, or brown, or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots. We all enjoy the same glorious freedoms, and we all salute the same great American flag.

And whether a child is born in the urban sprawl of Detroit or the windswept plains of Nebraska, they look up at the same night sky, they fill their heart with the same dreams, and they are infused with the breath of life by the same almighty creator. So to all Americans, in every city near and far, small and large, from mountain to mountain, from ocean to ocean, hear these words. You will never be ignored again. Your voice, your hopes, and your dreams will define our American destiny, and your courage and goodness and love will forever guide us along the way.

Together, we will make America strong again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America proud when it. We will make America safe again, and yes, together we will make America great again. Thank you. God bless you. And god bless America. Thank you.”

Blogging Events politics

Live Blogging Inauguration Day

January 20, 2017
Live Blogging Inauguration Day

Today I’m going to be live blogging Inauguration Day. Today we will witness the peaceful transfer of power, a pretty amazing thing that you don’t see in many western democracies. Knowing how divisive this election has been and how many rallies are planned, I suspect there might be a few blips, but I don’t expect anything horrible to happen. In fact, in just watching a few minutes of the morning news show I am encouraged at how respectful most pundits are of President Elect Trump.

Live Blogging Inauguration Day

3:30 PM CST

Barron seems to be getting the hang of this…

President Trump Melania and Barron Trump Inauguration Parade

2:42 PM CST The parade is just getting underway. One side of the street is filled with supports, the other protestors, and then there are bikers there doing whatever it is they are doing. #GodBlessAmerica! split screen of Donald Trump and Barrack Obama 12:09 PM CST Obama making a “brief” statement. (Paraphrasing) “When we started this journey we did so to change things. Change happened from the bottom up….” Split screen with Obama saying goodbye and Trump about to sign some executive orders.  And NBC totally just cut off Obama as he was speaking…. How quickly he has become old news to the media. Everyone keeps telling Trump to use multiple pens. 12:02 PM CST Meanwhile anti-Trump protesters are throwing a fit….

Former President Obama Leaves on Executive One 11:45 AM CST Barrack and Michelle Obama board Executive One. It strikes me how quickly this transfer of power takes place. Obama and Michelle are embracing President Trump and First Lady Melania as they leave.  11:37 AM CST Obama and Trump, Pence and Biden getting ready to send off Former President Obama and Former First Lade Michelle Obama as they board Marine One and go on vacation. 11:22 AM CST Rev Graham says rain is a sign of blessing from God.  11:12 AM CST Just popped by social media to see people complaining about the dress Kellyanne Conway is wearing and how there are few people of color in the audience. Um, the last several weeks we saw some very high profile and popular people of color receive death threats for meeting with Donald Trump, what do they expect? I mean seriously, the campaign to vilify anyone who met with Trump, not necessarily supported him but just met with him, especially people of color was incredibly successful. Want it both ways much?

11:03 AM CST It’s beginning to rain as President Trump tells the audience how the power is going back to the people of the United States. “Politicians have prospered but not the people of our country….” “What truly matters is not which party controls our government but how they serve their citizens (I’m paraphrasing at this point, will update when the speech is published). 11:02 AM CST  President Trump thanks past presidents and addresses the nation. “We will face challenges, we will confront hardships….”  Click here for the video and text of President Trump’s inauguration speechDonald Trump taks Oath of Office 11:00 AM CST President Trump has just taken the oath of the presidency. Former president Obama is shaking his hand and smiling. 21 gun salute and Hail to the Chief. Mike Pence take oath of office, Shit eating grin on Paul Ryan as Pence takes Oath of Office 10:53 AM CST Clarence Thomas is administering the oath to Mike Pence. Ryan has a shit eating grin on his face. 10:51 AM CST Stopped by social media to see those who promised not to watch the inauguration are, indeed, watching it. They are not happy about it, but can’t help but watch. 10:49 AM CST Chuck Schumer is talking about the peaceful transfer of power and how we are a forward looking country.  10:45 AM CST Missouri State Choir is singing. Split screen with other view on Trump looking rather Trump-ish. The music seems to be softening his demeanor. The crowd looks pretty big, don’t even notice all the democrat elected officials who are missing.  10:43 AM CST Trump will take the oath using the same bible that Lincoln used and Pence will take the oath using the bible Reagan used. 10:40 AM CST  Panning the crowd – most people have their heads bowed in prayer, a few not so much and aggressively glaring at the cameras.  10:37 AM CST Cardinal Timothy Dolan, I love him, is giving invocation. Give us your wisdom, we’re mere mortals and none of us is perfect….. 10:17AM CST  Hurrying back from my walk at the Mall of America and listening to the festivities on the radio as they start introducing President Obama, Michelle, Melania, and Mike Pence’s wife whose name escapes me. What is that clicking? Is that Melania’s heals clicking? Don’t know, it’s the radio. 9:55 AM CST  I’m getting a barrage of text messages telling me how beautiful Ivanka and Melania look, as well as some updates about some rather petty status updates on social media.  8:55 AM CST Heading out to do my walk, will be back in an hour or so. Hopefully nothing bigly happens. 8:42 AM CST Trump and Melania arrive at the Whitehouse and are greeted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle. Everyone is smiles, joking, Melania has a gift for Michelle from Tiffany’s. Obama tells Trump he will get used to the protocol and to not sweat it. 8:31 AM CST  Nicole Wallace calls Trump the originator of the birther movement. 8:15 AM CST Tom Brokaw is doing a montage of past presidents and the scandals that plagued them. Kinda ironic, I guess. Obama’s scandal is Benghazi – interesting. 8:08 AM CST Today Show is talking about who will be in attendance and what a thrill it is to be there. Barely mention the 65 Democrats who are boycotting the event.

Dumb Shit I Do Events How Did We Survive? People politics Things that piss me off WTF?

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

January 18, 2017
it's the end of the world as we know it

If you’re like a good chunk of the US population, and probably a large percentage of the rest of the world, you probably think that come Friday, it’s the end of the world as we know it.

Or maybe it will be the end of the world? Who knows, maybe shortly after Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th president of the United States, he’ll make a grab for the football and set off the nukes. 

Unless you’re living under a rock you can’t help but notice that people are losing their shit about the inauguration. Joe Biden is worried about the fracture of the “liberal world order” due to Putin, Glen Beck has seen the light and is now holding hands with Samantha Bee, Marc Lamont Hill is saying some of the most foul things and still no one is really covering it – let alone outraged by it (so I guess in that regard nothing has changed), and some dude actually lit himself on fire in protest of Trump

What the ever loving f*ck?

And it’s only Wednesday. I would imagine things are just getting started with regard to crazy and overly dramatic.

I don’t know if it’s the end of the world as we know it. It probably is. I mean, isn’t it always? Something comes along and changes the trajectory of things – whatever they may be – and things change accordingly. The same could have been said if Hillary was the person being sworn in on Friday. Things would be different. Though, probably not as different as they are with Trump win. 

Of course, that’s also why he won. 

But what about the Russians?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they hacked us, and we are rightly outraged and are doing everything possible to make sure it doesn’t happen again, but there has been no evidence that anything they did actually changed the outcome of the election. So…..

I’m sorry, I got distracted by the auto arguments.

People wanted change, that’s why Trump won the election. Now, it might not be the change you wanted, but that’s why we have elections. We don’t let just one person, or one group, choose who the next president will be. Sorry, Rosie, not even you get to choose for all of us

My Facebook feed is filled with people so anxious about the peaceful change of power that they literally have “taken to bed”. 

I would love to take to bed, but I have to work. I’m super thrilled however, that we live in such a wealthy nation that people have that option. I mean think about it… we have so much wealth in this nation that someone can “take to bed” for a day or more because they are simply upset about who won the presidency. They either don’t have any responsibility, or they are so well off that they have others to pick up the slack while they “take to bed”. 

What isn’t there to love about that? What a wonderful country we have that we have so much flexibility. Talk about first world problems.

Seriously, I am getting away from myself.

And I don’t even like Trump!

The thing is, I’ve seen this all before. That’s one of the great things about hitting the mid century mark, there’s not much you haven’t seen. I came of age during the Reagan years and I remember everyone freaking out that he was going to accidentally nuke Russia or some other unfortunate country. It didn’t happen then and it isn’t likely to now.

Will he make changes?

Yeah, duh. That’s why he’s getting sworn in and Hillary is not. I said that already, I guess.

He’s probably going to make a lot of changes, and all of them will be attributed to his sense of greed and desire for power, same goes for all the republicans. It’s going to be a long 4 years, possibly 8. 

To be continued….

Blogging Link Share

Get Out of Your Bubble Link Share

January 14, 2017
Get Out of Your Bubble Link Share

It’s time to get out of your bubble and see what other people are talking about. This week I’m hosting a Get Out of Your Bubble Link Share for everyone who is tired of fake news. We all have opinions but often they aren’t articulated well in 140 characters or an angry rant on social media platforms. If you’ve got a blog post you’d like to share, I’d love for you to share it here (free backlinks, bitches!!). 

You’re post doesn’t have to be about politics or current events. In fact, if you have some great InstantPot recipes I would love it if you shared them here. Same goes for any product you sell or craft you’ve made. There are no rules here. Well, no porn please.

If you leave a link (or 3 or more) I would appreciate it if you visited some of the other links that have been submitted. Blog karma is a wonderful thing so spend a little time visiting other bloggers, you might make a new friend. You don’t have to share your work only, if you’ve seen an article, blog post or webpage that has some great information that you think others would appreciate feel free to share it here. Kitten and puppy posts are always welcome, too.

I hope you all had a wonderful week, next week looks to be a little stressful so let’s take the time this weekend and enjoy each other’s company.

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People politics Sex Things that piss me off WTF?

On Trump and Golden Showers

January 11, 2017
On Trump and Golden Showers

Here are my thoughts on Trump and Golden Showers, but first I should mention I did not bother to read the Buzzfeed article, the dossier that was apparently handed over from John McCain to the FBI or maybe it was the CIA or possible the NSA, TSA, FCC, JCC or AARP, and I didn’t see any of the press conference Donald Trump gave today, either.

I have however, seen about eleventy billion Facebook posts about golden showers today. 

On Trump and Golden Showers

While I might lean to the right politically, I am pretty liberal when it comes to the stuff you do in the privacy of your own home, or hotel room as the case may be. Personally, I think golden showers are icky, but some people get into that stuff. It’s none of my business. Just like it’s none of my business if someone wants to put a cigar in someone’s vag, muff, honey pot, pussy, lady bits, cooch, twat, cooter, or whatever we’re calling it these days. 

Whatever Floats your Boat

I don’t care, I just really don’t want to hear about it. 

I don’t know who did what, who leaked it or if any of it is true. I do know that we’re all getting played.

Maybe it’s the Russians who are playing us? Or Putin, the media, Hillary Clinton, John McCain, any of the republican candidates from the primary, Obama, several former and current Miss Americas, Bill Cosby, Bernie Sanders, or possibly Joe Biden. 

Joe Biden Meme under where

We’re Being Played

I don’t know who it is playing us, but we’re all falling for it. We’re all acting like crazy people with absolutely nothing better to do than gossip, speculate and actually act as if we know know some kind of truth about all of this. 

We don’t. We don’t know the truth about any of this and yet many of us are acting like super sleuths trying to figure things out. 

If it hadn’t been for those crazy kids and their dog….

Chill Out

The thing is, when Buzzfeed and other reputable news sources (I’m not really including Buzzfeed in the reputable category, they’re more the clickbait category) post unsubstantiated, unverified, unproven, possibly false, possibly (even likely) faked, dossiers about someone we shouldn’t get our collective panties in a bunch about it.

We already thought he was the worst thing ever, why is this business about golden showers so newsworthy? Haven’t we had enough?

I’m not trying to make light of the Russian hacking, if that’s what this is about then we need to put a stop to it. Full Stop. Sanctions, whatever it takes to punish them. I’m all for that. 

This Seems to be Something Else

I don’t like Trump, I think he is vile, deplorable, vulgar and I would prefer he was not going to be president of the United States, but I don’t think a golden shower is going to get anyone impeached. And while it is true that douchebaggery is hard to cure, it’s not illegal.

Seriously, I’m not defending him. 

I just don’t want to hear about any of this anymore. Haven’t we got better things with which to get worked up?

I don’t know much about this, but I do know that someone is making money because of it.

And we’re buying.

*Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Food Minnesota Minnesota Nice Recipes Things I Really Like Winter

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

January 10, 2017
Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

This recipe, Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto, is a variation of the Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish. Like all great flukes it happened because I didn’t read the recipe carefully and ended up with way too much liquid so I had to find a way to make it less soggy. I had a bag of Alessi Risotto with Mushrooms so I quickly cooked it up and added it to the mixture. 

You’ll notice I said mixture. Oops. Another mistake. I mixed all of the ingredients instead of layering them. 

Even though I am an authentic Minnesotan, I did not grow up on Tater Tot Hot Dish. I did date a guy whose mom made it (and he raved about) but that was as close to it as I got until I made it last year.

OMG it is delicious! And it’s perfect for cold weather. I have not tried it in the InstantPot because I just don’t think the Tater Tots would do well in it. They really need to get crisped up in the oven.

You can see the original recipe here.

Tater Tot Hot Dish with Mushroom Risotto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

1 lb ground beef, browned

2 can Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

2 can vegetables (I used corn and peas because I didn’t have two cans of either one of them)

1 packaged prepared Alessi risotto with mushrooms, or any packaged rice with mushrooms

While the oven is preheating, brown the ground beef (seasoning to taste as you cook) and drain off the grease.

In a mixing bowl combine soup, ground beef, drained vegetables and risotto. Mix well. Place mixture in baking dish or casserole.

Arrange tater tots on top of mixture.

Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

Top with your favorite variety of shredded cheese as you serve.

That’s it! This is a great hot dish for a winter day when you have to go out and shovel snow. Goes well with any boxed white wine.

Advice Minnesota People Things that piss me off Winter

How to Drive in Snow

January 9, 2017
How to drive in snow

Now more than ever it’s important to learn how to drive in snow. This past weekend a good chunk of the nation received several inches, if not feet, of snow. In fact, 49 of 5o states have been affected by this massive storm. Not every state is covered in snow, but there are many places that don’t normally see snow who are now forced to navigate it. As a Minnesotan, and a blogger, I am happy to share with you my tips for how to drive in snow.

How to Drive in Snow

Go Slow – Whether it’s an inch or a foot of the white stuff it doesn’t matter – traffic is going to grind to a halt. You aren’t going to get there fast so embrace the snow and go slowly. Driving in snow isn’t that difficult, it’s the ice underneath it that makes it so challenging and dangerous. Take your time and give the car in front of you plenty of space. 

Stay Back – I’ll say it again, the ice under the snow is the issue. Give the car in front of you plenty of space. If they slam on the brakes and you’re riding their ass guess who’s going to be at fault? You are. You could also be dead or cause their death. Don’t risk it. Stay back and stay alive. Same goes for staying back behind snow plows. 

Brush off your Vehicle – This should go without saying, but people just don’t seem to get this. Don’t just brush off your windshield, brush off the roof of your vehicle as well. There’s nothing more terrifying than driving behind a car or SUV when all of the sudden a sheet of snow and ice flies off the roof of their car and lands on yours. Be courteous and brush off your whole vehicle.

Parking – Don’t block the sidewalk! This should be obvious, if you park in front of the sidewalk you force those who use the sidewalk to walk on the grass or the snow covered grass. My neighbor has lived in Minnesota her whole life and yet she always parks in front of my sidewalk. I don’t get it, but it’s one of those things that infuriates people so don’t do it. Park between the sidewalks that lead to the street. 

Emergency Kit – Be sure to keep a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include a blanket, matches, flares, some extra clothing, hand warmers, granola bars, and a flashlight with fresh batteries. Make sure you have plenty of gas and windshield washer fluid. 

Pedestrians – If you’re walking in snowy conditions please don’t dash out into traffic to cross the street. Yes, this is a thing. In my area pedestrians like to prove that they have the right of way by running out into traffic causing drivers to slam on the brakes if they see them. Sadly, they don’t always see pedestrians soon enough and hit them. Even when they do see the pedestrians, it can be really difficult to stop due to ice and snow on the road – and the fact that most vehicles weigh a lot more than pedestrians. Yes, you have the right of way, but that doesn’t matter that much when you’re dead.

Blogging Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like Winter

Ice Castles in Stillwater

January 6, 2017
Ice Castles in Stillwater

One of the greatest thing about being a Minnesota Blogger is that I get invited to some pretty cool events. Last night I was lucky enough to attend a preview of Ice Castles in Stillwater, MN. It was a beautifully clear night out because it was -1°F, the windchill was -24°F. Trust me when I say it was cold. It might not be on your list of things to do in Minnesota – to visit a giant ice sculpture when it’s that cold, but that’s what I did.  

And you should too. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Ice Castles in Stillwater

The Ice Castles in Stillwater are made with a combination of hand placed icicles and running water. The people who build these magical ice structures place around 15,000 icicles by hand as they grow the ice around them using running water.

I believe this is the first year Ice Castles has been in Stillwater, MN. It’s been at the Mall of America in Bloomington before and Eden Prairie before this. Stillwater is a great place for Ice Castles. Not only is there ample free parking, but it’s such a picturesque town, something special like Ice Castles fits right in.

Controversy

You’d think something as lovely and beautiful as these ice sculptures wouldn’t have any controversy around them but you’d be wrong. Evidently there are some people who are upset that the ice structures are named Ice Castles, they argue they should be called Ice Stalagmites and Stalactites because of the way they are created. That may be so, but it’s silly to get worked up over something so petty. 

However, Ice Castles are not to be confused with the ice castles created for the St. Paul Winter Carnival. Those structure are build out of blocks of ice, not grown using running water. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

They’re Beautiful

It doesn’t really matter how Ice Castles was formed, they’re beautiful. I toured the structure at night so the various ice walls and fountains were lit up in a stunning display of blue, red, orange, and green. I would have loved to have stayed longer to really get a good look at the way the ice was formed, it was really cool. It was also really cold and difficult to stay for too long. 

Things to Know

The floor of the Ice Castle is chopped ice/snow. This is not wheelchair or stroller accessible. Walking in the inches deep ice/snow was slightly challenging in big old lunky boots. Pets are not allowed. It is cold inside the structure, it might even be colder than outside – you know, because you’re inside a ice. There might be some science about it one way or the other but at -24°F windchill, it really doesn’t matter. 

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Dress Warm

I wore fleece tights under jeans and my legs still felt as if they had frozen. I wore boots rated to -30° and my feet were just fine. Tennies or any other kind of shoe is not going to be comfortable or easy to navigate through the ice/snow floor. Wear warm boots that have some grip to them. Mittens, hat, ear muffs and a scarf or ski mask to cover your face is completely appropriate. 

Tickets

Buy your tickets online, you’ll save a ton of cash. Click here to purchase tickets. And click here to learn more about the ice structures and how they’re made.

Ice Castles in Stillwater

Make a Day of it

Stillwater is a lovely town. If you plan on visiting Ice Castles make a day of it and have yourself an adventure. There are whimsical shops to visit and some great restaurants all within walking distance of Ice Castles. 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Nice

No Mom, You Didn’t Cause My Eating Disorder

January 5, 2017
No Mom, you didn't cause my eating disorder

I actually said this to my mother today: “No Mom, you didn’t cause my eating disorder”, really, she didn’t. Last week, I made the mistake of telling my mother I was bulimic when I was younger. I didn’t mean to tell her. I knew if I did, it would turn out just like it did. And yet, when it happened, I was unable to stop myself.

A Little Backstory

For those of you who are new here, my mother is in a nursing home, she has been for 10 years. She experienced cerebral hypoxia when I was 4 years old, due to pneumonia. It resulted in severe brain damage with memory loss and physical disabilities. She has a horrible short term memory – think Dory in Finding Nemo, except not as funny. It actually can be funny at times, but mostly it’s just aggravating. Growing up my mother asked what time it was every five minutes, or she’d ask if I had done a chore that I’d completed when I got home from school, over and over again. In addition to the memory issues she also had physical disabilities – mainly difficulty walking, grasping things and anything having to do with coordination. You can read more about my mother’s disabilities here – My Mother has Dementia and it Sucks, and I Made My Mother Cry…Again

I Am Not Carrie Fisher

Every since Carrie Fisher and her mother, Debbie Reynolds, died, my mother has been obsessing on my book. Again for those of you who are new here, I wrote a book, a memoir actually, called Minnesota Nice. I have not published it yet, for a variety of reasons. The main one being that my mother asked me to wait until she had passed away before I publish. My father asked me the same thing except when he asked me I hadn’t written it yet. Anyway, my mother now confabulates our mother/daughter relationship with Carrie and Debbie’s. There are surprisingly many similarities between the two. Regardless, she has decided that I must publish my book so I can capitalize on the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds. Mom would have been an awesome blogger if she could type faster than two words a minute. 

It is Confusing

I know, it’s confusing. What does my book have to do with my eating disorder? My memoir is about growing up in a fucked up home. My mom had her disabilities and my dad was gay, but shoved so far back in the closet only the family knew about it and we weren’t talking about it. Well, except my mother was, to me, when I was way to0 young to understand any of it. She mostly drank Manhattans, smoked Benson and Hedges cigarettes and cried to me how my father was out banging all the cabana boys at the gay bar. In addition to those concerns, I was a below average student in a school for above average children. Oh, and I was fat. 

Dementia Sucks

Even though my mother says she wants me to publish the book now, I don’t believe her. She has changed her mind about this for the last five years, or as long as she has known it existed. For the longest time she was convinced she wrote it and that Merv Griffin was going to turn it into a movie. According to my mother, Merv was a resident in her nursing home. For the record, he was not, he died in 2007, and as far as I know, never lived in Minnesota. Wow, this all sounds crazy! Anyway, she goes back and forth about me publishing it so I figure since I won’t be able to put the genie back in the bottle I’ll wait. 

More Backstory

The reason I want to wait, is because there are a few things about my younger years that she doesn’t know about. The eating disorder was one of them, the very least troubling of them. She thinks I want to protect her from sharing the story of my parent’s marriage so publicly. I don’t, it was messed up, but there was a deep connection between them. And besides, it turns out everyone knew about my dad. Turns out he wasn’t very good at hiding things.

I was. I was very good at hiding my bulimia. So when my mother challenged me the other week – when she said she knew everything there was to know about me – I threw out my eating disorder to test the waters, so to speak.

I knew it was a mistake right away. I could see the words hanging there in front of me, practically, and yet I couldn’t pull them back.

Of course, her first response was that yes, she did know about it. 

And suddenly I was 14 years old again and ready to go to battle with my mother.

“What do you mean you knew about it?” I asked, “why didn’t you do anything?”

She didn’t know, I know she didn’t know, but there I was ready to fight. My blood pressure rising and my fists clenching at my sides.

My mother would often cop to knowing something she did not know. Partly because of her memory loss. She couldn’t remember what she couldn’t remember so she often confabulated or just outright lied. It was about pride more than anything. She hated to admit she had any disability and she was needed to be in control of things. 

That was last week. The visit ended and I didn’t think much of it, I just hoped she’d forget about it in a few minutes like most things.

Of course the big things she shoves into her long term memory as quickly as possible. 

When I arrived this week all she wanted to do was talk about it.

Sigh.

It’s really old history to me. I haven’t been bulimic since the mid 90s. I don’t want to go down that memory lane. And yet, I opened this can of worms – so there I was.

No Mom, You Didn’t Cause My Eating Disorder

Mom had decided that she was the cause of my bulimia. She wasn’t, I don’t know how she made that leap, but she was sure it was her fault because she “ruined my life”, her words, not mine. I tried to convince my mother that she hadn’t caused my eating disorder and that she had in fact, not ruined my life. We have a very complicated mother/daughter relationship and a difficult history, but, I tried to explain, it was character building. 

“If we didn’t have such a screwed up home, I wouldn’t have a book” I told her. “If you want to blame anyone for my eating disorder blame the school I went to, it was a pressure cooker and I wasn’t the only one there with an eating disorder, in fact it was quite common.”

She laughed at that, at first, and then she started crying again because she sent me to that “god awful” school, her words, not mine. 

I didn’t want to tell my mother about my eating disorder because I didn’t want her to feel responsible – she wasn’t, but also because as a mother myself, I know how difficult it is to hear about your child’s pain and be unable to do anything about it. I’ve changed history for her in a really shitty way. She’s helpless to help because it isn’t an issue anymore. 

As I left, she was smiling. 

“Say hi to Carrie for me,” she said.

 

 

Blogging Events Minnesota Minnesota Nice People

Movies You’ll Want To See: 20th Century Women

January 4, 2017
Movies You'll Want To See: 20th Century Women

File this under Movies You’ll Want To See: 20th Century Women. As a Minnesota blogger and influencer (yeah, I cringed just a little when I typed that last word) I get advance screening tickets to some pretty great movies including Moana, that last Star Wars movie and now 20th Century Women.

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t heard of this movie before I got the invite and I was hesitant pass on the info because the title doesn’t really do much for me. It doesn’t give me enough info about the movie which makes me suspect it’s trying to hide something.

That’s silly on my part because it has Annette Bening in it. 20th Century Women also has Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig, Lucas Jade Zumann and Billy Crudup in it. Also, it takes place in 1979 which is when my story, Minnesota Nice, begins. 

As a single mom to a son, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to relate to this story. The few minutes I saw of the trailer made it clear this is one of those movies that gets under your skin and stays with you for a while. I’m looking forward to seeing it next week.

If you’re in the Twin Cities and would like to attend an advance screening of 20TH CENTURY WOMEN  starring Annette Benning, Greta Gerwig & Elle Fanning  on Thursday, January 12 at 7pm at Landmark Lagoon, then download a FREE pair of passes by clicking on the link below (while supplies last). Please be advised that this screening is overbooked to ensure a full house. Seating is first come, first served, so arrive early to guarantee a seat!

Link to download passes: http://www.gofobo.com/qbVrn81486