Browsing Category

Dumb Shit I Do

Dumb Shit I Do Food Recipes Things I Really Like

The Best Instant Pot Chili Recipe

January 29, 2017
The Best Instant Pot Chili Recipe

If you’re looking for the best Instant Pot Chili recipe, then you’ve come to the right place. Disclaimer – this is not an authentic chili, this a chili recipe that your kids, and picky mother, will eat. If you throw it on top of some spaghetti noodles you’d have a pretty decent Cincinnati chili, but that’s weird so…  

I make a killer authentic chili too, but that takes a bit more planning and specific ingredients like a nice cut of beef instead of ground beef. This chili, the best Instant Pot Chili, is something you can make with whatever is in your pantry. It is an incredibly forgiving recipe. I used ground beef but you could use ground turkey, ground chicken, diced chicken or skip the meat completely and make it vegetarian. Whatever floats your boat!

I’m listing amounts of ingredients for posterity, use however much you prefer. I love celery and I throw a ton of it in this recipe (it gives the daughter something to do since she has to pick it all out), I also like a lot of garlic and cumin. I eyeball things, rarely measure, and I suspect most of you do the same. 

If you don’t have an Instant Pot yet you can get one here. Seriously, what are you waiting for, get your shit together and get one of these incredible time saving devices! I have the Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W which is about $105, but they make a less expensive version too. The standard Instant Pot IP-LUX60 V3 Programmable Electric Pressure Cooker, 6Qt, 1000W (updated model) is only $79. The only difference between the two is the one I have makes yogurt. The other difference is that the $79 version is back ordered for 2-3 months while the 7 in 1 version is in stock. Wow.

The Best Instant Pot Chili Recipe

What you will need:

1 lb ground beef

3 cups chopped celery

2/3rd cups diced onion (I prefer white onion, but I only had yellow on hand)

4 cans beans (or more or less. I used mild chili beans, kidney beans and pinto beans because that’s what was in the pantry)

2 cans tomato sauce

1 can diced tomato

1 can sweet corn (drained)

Cumin, salt and pepper, chili powder to taste 

5 Hershey’s Kisses (or a small handful of chocolate chips or whatever you have on hand)

Brown the onions and ground beef in the Instant Pot on sauté. Drain fat and return to Instant Pot. Or just use the glass lid for the Instant Pot
to cover and drain. 

Dump all your ingredients into the Instant Pot, give it a stir and set the pressure cooker to Chili, or set it manually for 30 minutes at high pressure. 

Make sure the pressure valve is closed. I really can’t stress how important it is that this is closed. If you leave it open the Instant Pot will not pressurize and you will have just wasted a good 30 minutes, and will need to start over. Don’t ask how I know this.

 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do How Did We Survive? Minnesota Things I Really Like Writing

A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

January 28, 2017
A little song a little dance a little seltzer down your pants

This past week Mary Tyler Moore passed away. The first thing that popped into my head, upon learning of her passing, was “A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants”. That was the phrase from the eulogy of Chuckles the Clown that got Mary giggling during his funeral. If you’ve never seen it, you can see the scene here, it’s hilarious even without the context.

A Little Song, A Little Dance, A Little Seltzer Down Your Pants

I grew up watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Maude, Rhoda, Carol Burnett and all those other fantastic shows of the 70s. I was young, 9 or 10 but I knew instinctively that the writing on all of these shows was phenomenal. It never occurred to me that I could write for a sitcom, but I learned a lot about timing and telling a joke from these shows.

The Mary Tyler Moore Show was a show my whole family watched together. Do families even do that anymore? With so many ways to consume television I think the experience has been lost.

When I was a kid the TV was commonly referred to as the Boob Tube. Parents, teachers, scholars, doctors, etc… all believed it was rotting the minds of our children. And it probably was. I know I spent a fair amount of time watching TV. From After School Specials, Saturday morning cartoons, and finally the Saturday night lineup on CBS, I probably clocked in a good 25 to 30 hours a week. I’d have logged more if we had another TV. 

Mary as a trail blazing woman didn’t impact me much. Most of the shows back then had strong female characters who didn’t take any bullshit. They were smart and self sufficient and didn’t expect anyone to take care of them. For me, that’s just the way women were. 

I was more impacted by Mary as a Minnesotan and made the trek to the IDS Center when I was about 14. A couple of friends and I took the bus to Minneapolis to hang out and ride the infamous escalator. Yeah, at 14 we just got on a bus to visit another city – unaccompanied by an adult. Do kids do that today?

Because my mother was pretty much confined to the living room couch, or what we eventually called “The Judy Room”, most of my family memories took place in front of the TV. The characters on these shows were family. 

Mary, Mr Grant, Ted, Murray, Rhoda, Bob, Carol, Maude, Archie, Edith, George and Weezie – all of them had an impact on my upbringing, but it was sitting around with my family, sharing the experience of these shows, that will stay with me forever and fondly.

So thank you Mary, and everyone else, for being part of my family.

A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants!

 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do People politics WTF?

The Definitive Trump Gift Buying Guide

January 27, 2017
Definitive Trump Buying Guide

For the next four years we’ve got a Trump presidency. We can either embrace the humor of it, or cower in a corner pretending it didn’t really happen while we drown in vodka or whiskey. However you choose to manage the next four years, this is the definitive Trump Gift Buying Guide. Doesn’t matter if you love him or hate him, there’s something for everyone on this list. 

The Definitive Trump Gift Buying Guide 

1. Gerber Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit

This has everything you need to survive the apocalypse after he blows everything up. Kit includes which Gator Machete, Camp Axe II, Gator Machete Pro, Parang Machete, LMF II Infantry Fix Blade Knife, DMF Folding Tanto Blade Knife, Epic Drop Point Fixed Blade Knife, two machetes, one parang, and a hatchet all enclosed in a super durable canvas carrying case with reinforced stitching, the kit is compact and packable.

2. 10 in 1 Professional Survival Kit

Here’s another great kit to help you survive when civilization goes to shit. For those of you on the left survival is a new thing. If you can’t bring yourself to get a conceal carry permit, let alone a gun, this might be the place to start. 

3. Trump Toilet Paper

Trump Toilet Paper for sale

Of course if you’re out in the wilderness surviving, you’re going to need something to wipe your ass with. 

4. Trump Success Eau de Toilette Spray for Men, 3.4 Fluid Ounce

Ever wondered what success smells like? 

About the Product
  • This product is made of high quality material
  • It is recommended for romantic wear
  • This Product Is Manufactured In USA

Sounds like Trump wrote the ad copy for this. 

5. Fuck Trump Herb Grinder

Trump Herb Grinder

To get through the next four years, especially if the apocalypse doesn’t happen, you’ll need something to grind your herb, this one seems fitting.

6. The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen

The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen

Don’t despair. Don’t retreat. Fight back.

Before we can successfully engage, we need to be clear about the battles ahead. Stone outlines political and social concepts—including such issues as Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, the Environment, Obamacare, International relations, and LGBTQ Rights—providing a brief history of each, a refresher on Obama’s policies, and an analysis of what Trump’s administration might do. Stone then provides an invaluable guide for fighting back—referring to organizations, people, sites, and countless other resources that support positive and possible goals.

While marches and social media are important forms of protest, concrete actions achieve real change. Positive and reinforcing, The Trump Survival Guide presents the essential information we need to effectively make our voices heard and our power felt.

7. Dump-a-Trump Pen Holder

donald trump pen holder

For those of you who would prefer a less active role in the revolution, but still want to register your disgust – there is this lovely Donald Trump Pen Holder. 

8. A Child’s First Book of Trump

The Trump is a curious creature, very often spotted in the wild, but confounding to our youngest citizens. A business mogul, reality TV host, and now…political candidate? Kids (and let’s be honest many adults) might have difficulty discerning just what this thing that’s been dominating news coverage this election cycle is. Could he actually be real? Are those…words coming out of his mouth? Why are his hands so tiny? And perhaps most importantly, what on earth do you do when you encounter an American Trump?

With his signature wit and a classic picture book style, comedian Michael Ian Black introduces those unfamiliar with the Americus Trumpus to his distinguishing features and his mystifying campaign for world domination…sorry…President of the United States.

9. Donald Trump Life Size Cardboard Standup

Donald Trump cardboard cutout

Honestly, I can think of a million uses for a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump. This is from the description: Perfect For Children’s Birthday Parties, Special Events, School, Corporate Events, Awards Programs, Fairs, Festivals, Galas, Fundraisers And Green/Eco Events… Um, really?

10. Donald Trump Toilet Roll Talker

Trump talking toilet paper roll

FILL YOUR BATHROOM WITH DONALD TRUMP’S VOICE – Prank friends and family with this ingenious Donald Trump toilet paper roll holder that makes your regular toilet paper talk! Just insert it into any roll of toilet paper and PREPARE FOR SOME SERIOUS LAUGHS!

You cannot make this shit up. And it’s in his real voice! How’d they manage that? 

Bonus!!

11.Chia Donald Trump Freedom of Choice Pottery Planter

Donald Trump Chia Pet

It’s not real until they make a Chia Pet out of you. At least his hair looks better. 

Blogging Dumb Shit I Do

Stuff I Haven’t Posted to Facebook

January 26, 2017
Cat sleeping

As some of you may know, I’m taking a break from social media. Specifically Facebook because that’s where I waste most of my time. It’s only been 3 days, but it feels like forever.

I miss everyone and yet I’m really happy staying away. I have had to pop back in for work and have regretted it as soon as I even begin to scroll. I miss you all, I do, but I’m a helluva lot less anxious and I’ve been ass kicking with regard to productivity. I have been getting shit done!

You can take the girl out of Facebook, but you can’t take Facebook out of the girl. 

Or something like that. I’m still thinking in terms of pithy little updates and have started keeping a list of all the things I wanted to post but couldn’t. 

Stuff I Haven’t Posted to Facebook, but Wanted to

Does anyone actually enjoy the go?

I’ve wanted to ask this for a long time, mostly every time I see the damn commercial with the bears. Ugh, I don’t know if it is a brilliant ad campaign or not. Here we are talking about it so I guess it is.

OMG there is a huge fucking spider in my kitchen!!!!

I saw him there last night, though he was much smaller (or possibly there are two), and didn’t think it was necessary to kill it. I was wrong! Now the little bugger is hanging from the middle of the kitchen right where my head goes. Thank God I saw him before walking into him. Why are spiders always male? Yeah, I killed him. I also screamed like a little girl.

Cat feet*

I wrote down “cat feet”, but have no idea why. They’re cute, that’s for sure.

Grilled Cheese 

I had a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. 

The Wall

Is anyone watching The Wall on NBC? I only watch it because I miss The Walking Dead and Talking Dead (Chris Hardwick hosts Talking Dead for you non TWD fans). I don’t really pay attention to the show, I’m not sure of the rules, but every now and then Chris will tell the contestants to “drop it”. I presume he is talking about the ball. Oh, The Wall is basically a huge Plinko game, you drop a ball in and it works its way into one of the slots at the bottom worth anywhere from $1 to $1million. Anyway, every time he says “drop it” my dog drops whatever is in her mouth. I also have an urge to drop whatever I am doing because he says it with such gusto, and generally speaking you don’t hear people say that phrase to anyone other than dogs, toddlers, and bad guys. 

How to End a Call

OMG people need to learn how to end a phone call. I have spent more time trying to say goodbye today than any of the actual calls. Here’s a hint, after I say “goodbye” you can hang up, don’t drag it on by telling me to have a good afternoon, or to take care or any of those other niceties. 

Ruby Does Not Like Egg Whites

I’ve always given her the yolks, never the whites of hard boiled eggs. The face she makes as she lets it fall out of her mouth is pretty hilarious. Oh, wait, she’s eating it off the floor. Still doesn’t like it, but doesn’t want anyone else to get it.

I get most of my US news from British Websites

I’m not sure how I feel about this. For the most part the articles are more polite, more concise, just don’t start clicking on the sidebar links – that’s a rabbit hole you’ll never crawl out of.

*I think I figured out what Cat Feet was all about it. It’s in the image above. If you can’t make it out, here’s a different point of view. 

Stuff I Haven't Posted to Facebook

Advice Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Events People politics Send Jen on a Vacation Things that piss me off WTF?

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.

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 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 Books Dumb Shit I Do Events Food Kids Minnesota Minnesota Nice People Pets politics Recipes Reviews Things I Really Like Things that piss me off Writing

Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

December 31, 2016
Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup

For your reading pleasure I’ve put together my sometimes annual Redhead Ranting 2016 Roundup. Every other media outlet does a roundup so I thought, what the heck, I’ll do one too!

I’m actually surprised I wrote enough this year for a roundup. In fact, I actually wrote and published 60 posts this year, which is my third time high since I started blogging in 2007. It’s twice as much as I wrote last year.

There were basically 4 categories this year, the election, my mother, recipes, and Prince, and an outlier about Dini the cat. It’s a long post, and most didn’t bother to read it, but it’s one that harkens back to my early days of blogging, when I just told a story and enjoyed the journey.

No One Ever Said There Would Be This Much Cat Vomit

Blog Posts about the Election

I really didn’t think he’d win, and I might watch too much Walking Dead.

How to Survive the Trumpacolypse

How to Prepare for the Post Election Apocalypse

OMG Stop Unfriending Each Other!

Blog Posts about my Relationship with My Mother

My relationship with my mother is difficult at best, but it isn’t unique. I also posted a story from my book, Minnesota Nice. 

Life Isn’t Fair

I Made my Mother Cry… Again

Do You Know your ACE Score?

Recipes

I cook a lot this year, mostly because I got an Instant Pot – the most awesome thing ever!

Shrimp Alfredo in 7 Minutes

Cheesy Smoked Sausage Hot Dish Instant Pot Recipe

Authentic Minnesota Tater Tot Hot Dish Recipe – Seriously, if you try a new dish in 2017, make it the MN Tater Tot Hotdish, you won’t be sorry. 

Best and Worst in Books and Movies and Blogs

I saw and reviewed several movies this year, they aren’t worth sharing here except for one exceptionally horrible movie I really hoped would be awesome. It wasn’t.

Independence Day Resurgence Review

Life Changing Books

Bloggers who Blog

Prince and Jacob

2016 was a year of loss, but these two are still difficult for me to reckon with. 

Summer in Minnesota 2016: We Lost Prince and Found Jacob

On the Passing of Prince, from a Minnesotan

#NaBloPoMo Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Reviews Things I Really Like

The Murder Mystery Company: Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

November 22, 2016
Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

I was recently invited to a production of The Murder Mystery Company Totally 80s Totally Murder to review . The show took place at a Stillwater Knights of Columbus and people came from as far as Hastings, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Crystal and Hopkins. If you’re not from around the Twin Cities, that’s quite a hike for a Minnesotan to make on a Saturday in November. The place was packed, since the show had been sold out. I went with Leigh, my partner in most crimes, and even though she was on time I was late. Sadly, we skipped the offer of getting our picture taken when we walked in. It was my fault, I turned down the offer, and I really regret that I did. It would have been a lot of fun to have a picture of Leigh and myself dressed up in our best 80s outfits.

Let me back up a bit. The show we saw was Totally 80s Totally Murder. In a nutshell the show was about some of our favorite 80s icons. The audience was encouraged to dress in their best 80s fashion and OMG that was fun.

For me it was easy, I came of age in the 80s. I wore every fad fashion that came along during that glorious time. From headbands, crimped hair, bangles, bandanas tied around my ankle, to pink and purple make up, and especially Big Hair, I did it all. I lived in a ripped sweatshirt turned inside out and let’s not forget about the leg warmers and shoulder pads. I had it all. And because I like to hang on to things I will never wear again I still had most of it.

Leigh on the other hand, was born in the 80s so she had to fake it for the most part. She looked more like Madonna than Madonna ever did in the 80s. And she managed to crimp her hair without a hair crimper!

Totally 80s Totally Murder Review

As I said, we got there a little late. The tickets clearly state to arrive 20 minutes before the show starts, we got there about 10 minutes after the show started. I suspect we missed some directions. We were immediately seated with an incredibly enthusiastic table of women ranging in age from 28 to 60. Everyone was super excited, pumped up and dressed in their best 80s outfits.

I have to say, getting ready for this event was more fun than I have had in ages. I can’t remember the last time I wore so much makeup, and it was awesome!

If you follow me on Facebook, you can see all of my tweets with pictures as I was getting ready.

We were seated as a couple of the actors were talking to each other in the front of the room, they were arguing about something though I am not sure what it was. Coming into it a little late it was still possible to catch up. There were a few main characters – Poison – a rocker and our host who has an unnecessary almost cockney accent, Pat Minotaur – a rocker who only wants to rock and roll all night (and who has an amazing voice), Cindy – you know the kind, she just wants to have fun, Johnny – the victim and Detective P Nes. In addition to these main characters, participants from the audience played along too.

At our table the participant was Trish Hughes, a super model from the 80s who also happened to be the love interest of some of the 80s. Of course it was the 80s and everyone was sleeping with everyone else. Sadly the person who was chosen to play the super model quit about 10 minutes in which sort of confused the members of the audience who were supposed to ask her questions for clues to solve the mystery.

I’ve never been to one of these murder mystery dinner theaters before but those at my table had and they all said it was done a little differently here. That there was much more audience involvement at this version.

We were given a book with some basic info about the character at our table, she did not know if she was the murderer. Neither did the other participants. We were also given a wad of fake money with some questions written on them. The idea that we were supposed to go from table to table asking questions of the other participants (who did not know if they were the murdered) and actors. It was a bit confusing and most people didn’t bother asking questions. Instead they talked about how crazy everyone looked in their great get ups. Oh, and they went to the bar for drinks.

I forgot to mention, this was all happening over a three course meal, which was surprisingly good for a Knights of Columbus.

Each table was to submit their best educated guess about who murdered Johnny and why. Our table came in dead last, which was pretty hilarious. Our guess? In the kitchen with the rope by Ms Scarlet.

I’m not usually one for participating in anything, but this was a lot of fun. It was something completely different to do on a Saturday night and it was a great way to meet a ton of new people. People who all have a great sense of humor in their mullets, spandex and hair spray.

Even if participatory dinner theater isn’t your thing, you really should give this a try, it was such a fun experience and so much better than going to the movies or hanging out at the neighborhood bar.

#NaBloPoMo Dumb Shit I Do politics Things that piss me off

Post Election Pledge

November 9, 2016

Now that the Great Presidential Campaign of 2016 is over (even if we don’t know the results yet) can we all make this post election pledge to get along with one another?

Post Election Pledge:

I promise to treat everyone with kindness, consideration and respect, no matter who they voted for this election.

I will not hold it against them if they voted for someone other than the person for whom I voted. 

I will let it go and do my best to mend friendships that have been torn asunder by this presidential race. 

I will no longer unfriend people for having a different opinion than my own.

This election has done more to divide our nation than anything I can think of. On the one side you have the people who worship the most seasoned politician (and not in a good way) ever, someone who is corrupt, reckless and more of an insider than anyone who has ever held office. Why they believe she is going to do anything different than the status quo is beyond me. On the other side you have all the deplorables who support a candidate who is vile, temperamental and so unfit to be President of the United States it isn’t even funny. It’s not. I know I’ve made all kinds of jokes about him not being fit, but it really isn’t funny when you think how close he came to being president.

Is it even possible to bridge this gap between left and right, red and blue, liberal and conservative, deplorable and corrupt?

What worries me most is that no matter who wins, this divide will remain.

I was looking forward to the end of the election because I want social media to be the fun place it used to be some 15 months ago. I’m tired of labels like racist, misogynist, xenophobe being thrown around so casually that they really have no meaning left. I’m tired of the words email, server, FBI, Foundation, Benghazi, pneumonia. More than anything I am tired of the hypocrisy and blind support from both sides.

I won’t lecture you that just because you support a candidate, you support their behavior. No, it’s much more likely you’re supporting their policies because you believe they will do more to make this country of ours a better place.

As it should be.

I’ve had enough. I’ve kept my mouth shut (for the most part) when people post misleading memes, articles and quotes attributed to the other’s candidate. I’m tired of the populace reposting anything that coincides with their belief without bothering to check if it’s actually accurate or true. I’m tired of the hatred, vitriol and downright stupidity on both sides of this coin.

The reality is they’re both horrible candidates. And I get why people talk them up and put the other down. It’s about winning the election. However, the election is over and now it’s time to get on with life.

Thankfully, we live in a country that has checks and balances. Our country will survive no matter who wins the election. I’m not sure we, the people, can survive if we don’t do something to actively stop this divided hatred.

Can we all promise that on Wednesday, after all the votes have been counted and a clear winner has been chosen, that we all do our best to put this horrible election behind us and get along with our fellow American? No matter who you voted for, can you promise to treat everyone with kindness, consideration and respect? Is it possible to stop judging others because they voted for a candidate who was not yours?

I know, I know, what was I thinking.

 

74 Days of Positivity Dumb Shit I Do Minnesota Nice Things I Really Like Winter Writing

74 Days of Positivity

October 19, 2016
74 Days of Positivity

It’s almost Halloween which means it’s almost winter here in Minnesota so I’ve decided to have 74 days of positivity. If you’re missing the obvious connection, that’s okay. I’ll explain. When the days start to get shorter I start to get this overwhelming urge to hibernate. I don’t necessarily want to sleep, I just don’t want to do anything. I tend to get down. I won’t use the word depressed, because I don’t think that’s what it is. I tend to get negative, especially around the holidays. It seems to set in earlier and earlier each year. By the time How the Grinch Stole Christmas is on TV (usually before Thanksgiving) I’m so sick of all the heart warming bullshit I could just puke.

The holidays tend to suck.

I’m overworked, I’m tired, I’m crabby, etc… Every year I tell myself I’m not going to get all worked up about the holidays, I’m going to delegate some of the work, I’m going to chill the hell out and just enjoy everyone. I tell myself that, right around this time of year, and then as soon as Halloween is over I fall down the rabbit hole and don’t emerge until after Valentine’s Day.

I become more snarky during the holidays, and I’m sick of it.

74 Days of Positivity

I want to enjoy the holidays and all that this beautiful time of year has to offer. I love winter, but I hate the snow. The truth is, I don’t even hate the snow, I hate shoveling the snow.

I can do something about that. I have a child who is able, I can certainly teach her to use the shovel or the snow blower. Sure, I’ll have to endure all kinds of eye rolling, but I’m getting the eye rolling now. May as well make it worth her while. Or mine, as the case may be.

Truth be told, I haven’t fully examined why I hate this time of year so much. It could be that my family is severely fractured. I don’t like it, but I don’t want to fix it either. And, while I think I have let that go, it’s still bothering me so clearly I haven’t. It could be that I’m used to being broke during the holidays. While this has been true in the past, and might be this year too, the reality is I’m doing ok.

I think there are a lot of ghosts of Christmas Pasts that I just assume will make a show even though I have complete control over who shows up and who doesn’t.

It could also be that since I turned 50 I’ve been making a lot of big changes in my life and this is one I need to make.

I’m generally a pretty happy person. Sure, I have my moments and I tend to worry about things that are generally outside of my control, but for the most part I can laugh through much of it. Even if there’s a fair amount of anger underlying my laughter.

I’m tired of being angry. It hasn’t served me very well.

So, for the next 74 days, until the end of the year, I’ll be practicing more positivity.

It could take the form of yoga, going out with the girls (after I meet some girls to hang out with or wrangle the ones I used to hang out with before I isolated myself), it could mean taking time to read instead of doing the same old thing each night of watching TV and hanging out on Facebook.

I’m not really sure how this is going to work, I just know that I’m open to anything that comes along in the next 74 days and plan to look at any and all opportunities as just that – opportunities.

I’m going to actively enjoy life, dammit, instead of just letting it pass me by.

I also expect to piss a few people off while I do this. I’m not sure why, but isn’t that how it always seems? You do something good for yourself and it upsets the applecart?