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Walk Up, Not Out Backlash

March 16, 2018

The internet wouldn’t be the internet if people (mostly white, suburban moms) didn’t find something to get completely and utterly worked up about. This week the outrage is in response to the Walk Up, Not Out movement.

This past Wednesday, kids all over the world held a walkout in their schools for 17 minutes in honor of the students and staff who were killed in the most recent school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. 

In response to that, a 6th grade teacher in Virginia, Jodie Katsetos, offered an alternative to the walkout. It was not meant to take the place of the walkout, it was simply an option and could be done alternatively or it could coincide with the walkout. In other words, the two actions were not mutually exclusive.

Of course, the internet doesn’t understand that (remember all the fuss about the Black Lives Matter signs and hashtags?). No, the internet needs to have a clear enemy and this week it was a 6th grade teacher who suggested that maybe kids try to be more inclusive and nicer to each other. 

Many women equated the message to victim blaming and then used examples of abused children being kinder to their abusive parents; domestic abuse victims being kinder to their abusers; rape victims being kinder to their rapists… etc, etc, you get the message. 

The problem with that analogy is that until Nikolas Cruz started shooting, the kids were not abuse victims. To my knowledge, he had not been abusing the students prior to the shooting. 

That’s splitting hairs of course.

My daughter participated in the walkout at her school, with my encouragement, even though I hold no expectations that it will make a difference. We’ll also be walking at the Capitol on March 24th. Again, not because I think it will make a difference – there will be more school shootings, but because I want to encourage my daughter to participate in civic matters that are important to her. 

I’m not against gun reform, I think we can do a lot to tighten up the laws we have about buying guns. We could enforce a lot of the laws we already have, raise the age to buy a gun to 21 and do all kinds of other things that probably won’t make a bit of difference. If a person is hell-bent on shooting up a school, they’re going to get their hands on a gun or 20. 

You could make owning a gun illegal and there will still be school shootings. 

Let’s take it a step further… Imagine we’ve managed to round-up all the guns, that they simply no longer existed in the United States, a guy hellbent on killing students can still rent a Ryder truck and fill it up with ammonium nitrate like Timothy McVeigh did in Oklahoma. He didn’t kill 17 people, he killed 168.

All without a gun.

We need to figure out what happens to these kids that makes them want to kill. 

It’s probably naive to think being kinder to someone could prevent such a thing, but it’s a start. Cruz was a kid who had nothing left to lose. He had fallen through the cracks a long time ago and I suspect when his mother died he lost it. 

That doesn’t justify his actions in any way. 

We have a mental health problem that is a major part of our school shooting problem. Gun laws might make it harder to get a gun to do the deed, but someone who is mentally deranged enough to want to kill multiple people will find another way to do what they want to do.

We need to address both issues. Criticizing those who offer alternative discussions or ideas isn’t going further the discussion, it’s going to shut it down… again.

Walkout, and walk up. 


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

Real Life Birth Control

February 13, 2018
Real Life Birth Control

I don’t know why they don’t teach this real life birth control in schools, but I promise if they explain to kids of having-sex-for-the-first-time age that this is the shit you’ll have to deal with in another 11-15 years they probably will abstain or at least make sure they actually use birth control.

Nothing is worse that waking up, turning on the coffee maker and not HAVING A FUCKING MUG to drink it from.

I had to go down to the basement to grab a mug that had graduated from the upstairs kitchen to the downstairs kitchen (because you can’t throw away or donate the mugs that your kids give you from camp, Wisconsin Dells or any of the other travels they make in life, even though they are too small for coffee), to use for my coffee because the only other option was a fucking soup bowl. 

Real Life Birth Control

That’s right, I almost poured coffee into a mug with a dead spider and what looks like some tiny critter’s poop. 

I don’t need coffee anymore because I am wide awake.

Real Life Birth Control

I have a gazillion coffee mugs. In fact, when they are all clean there isn’t enough room for them. There was one in the dishwasher along with the soup mugs. There were no mugs in the cabinet which means all the mugs are upstairs, probably filled with dried milk, mold or some such other grossness that there isn’t time to soak before I have coffee.

This and the empty toilet paper roll will be the death of me. These things will be the things that finally make me snap. The neighbors will be all like “Yeah, she was nice, quiet, we talked over the fence. I never would have guessed she’d lose it like this. I mean don’t all teenagers bring plates and dishes into their room?”

My neighbor doesn’t get it.

So, as you can imagine, yelling ensued at 6:30 this morning. 

Bring down all the mugs and other dishes. I actually didn’t yell, but I was yelling in my head. In fact, in my head I was screaming “bring down all the mutherfucking coffee mugs, bowls, and whatever else the fuck you have up there!!”.

I’d been asking for a week for her to bring the shit down. I knew it was getting out of hand, but honestly, I was afraid to go up there and see that she finds comfort and solace in a room where she allows these sorts of science experiments to take place.

This isn’t all of it, and you can’t see the worst. There’s been a trending story lately of a woman who had some worms in her eyes. I can’t even click on it because it sounds so horrible, but this shit takes a close second to eye worms.

If I’d known about this when I was getting married and having kids, I’d have gotten a puppy instead. Instead of making high school kids drag an egg or a sack of flour around for a week, they should have to wash dishes that have pasta that has dried out and is clinging to the side of the bowl for dear life. They should have to scrape spinach (god, I hope it was spinach) off the bowl because no amount of soaking will make it move. They should have the pleasure of opening an enclosed water bottle that has had 2% milk in it for the last three weeks. 

Parenthood, it’s not for the weak.


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

This Is Us and that Damn Crock-Pot

January 26, 2018
This is Us and that Damn Crock-Pot

First of all — Spoilers!!! If you haven’t seen or heard about This is Us and that Damn Crock-Pot yet then just move on to another post. You might want to try my Reuben Balls Recipe, it’s pretty awesome and you don’t need a Crock-Pot to make. 

If you’re like most people and you’ve seen the most recent episode of This Is Us, then you’ve already thrown out your Crock-Pot and maybe even your Instant Pot. That’s what (mostly) women around the United States have been doing since it was revealed that it was a faulty Crock-Pot that started the fire that probably kills dad Jack, though we won’t know for sure until after the Super Bowl when it will finally be revealed – for sure this time.

I have to admit, when I saw the show last Tuesday night my first reaction was that sales of Crock-Pots were gonna tank. I even posted that thought on Facebook, and even got a little heat for revealing the ending. I don’t think I did, but people get pretty upset about such things so who knows. 

Anyway, I don’t think the folks at NBC put a lot of thought into the Crock-Pot plot twist. Clearly they did not anticipate that women all over the country would be afraid to use these time saving devices.

Crock-Pot has even had to make a statement ensuring that their devices are safe to use.

Of course, it is safe to use. The trick is to unplug the damn thing when you’re finished with it. 

Listen, I am the first person to blow this sort of thing way out of proportion. After my son was born I was sure the house was going to catch on fire or blow up. I wasn’t sure how but I made sure to check that the coffee maker was off and unplugged along with every other appliance in the kitchen and made regular trips to the basement to see if I could smell gas. I could, and even had the plumbing and heating folks come out to check it. Hey, I can’t help it if my nose is more sensitive than their gas detecting equipment. 

Thankfully my ex and I got a divorce and I could move out of that ticking time bomb that is still standing as beautifully as ever. Also, thankfully, I had my thyroid tested and got my medication adjusted so I am not nearly as obsessed with these things anymore.

Anyway, I get wanting to throw out the Crock-Pot, but here’s the thing… It’s fiction. It was also at least 17 years old. Who uses any kitchen appliance for 17 years? No one, they had their kitchen remodeled and yet they still used a used Crock-Pot that they knew had a faulty switch?

See, I don’t buy that. Rebecca, the mom, who is just as high strung as any mom I have met would have never allowed something like a broken Crock-Pot into her house with three infants. It just wouldn’t happen.

And what kind of neighbors give a mom-to-be a broken Crock-Pot? Horrible neighbors, that’s who.

Also, Rebecca just left it on in the kitchen and went to bed. Not only that, she left the mess from the Super Bowl party down there. Mom’s don’t do that unless they’ve been shooting some heroin or drank a box of wine. Moms, especially the moms like Rebecca, clean up the kitchen before going to bed. It’s scientifically impossible for her to go to bed with a mess downstairs.

And then Jack cleaned it up. I know there are men who do stuff like that, I just haven’t ever met one. Of course, they had to have Jack do the clean up so he could leave the Crock-Pot plugged in. Because – Rebecca wouldn’t have left the damn thing plugged in.

I have a love/hate relationship with this show, so many elements are just wrong. Or, maybe I just can’t relate to them, I don’t know. Even when the characters are horribly broken, life is still pretty good for them. I’ve started that posts numerous times, but frankly the show is so beloved, I don’t want to be shunned for not towing the line. So, I’ve kept my mouth shut. This might be the proverbial straw – not unlike the TWD episode where Glenn ended up under a dumpster for a few weeks.

I don’t know if I will watch the episode after the Super-Bowl. Not because I am worried about it being a gut punch or getting my heart broken. I’ve known since last season that Jack dies, it was just a matter of when and how. Frankly, I’d like them to just move on. 

Jack is fine, but he’s just a guy. And a dead guy at that.

Anyway, if you haven’t already, don’t throw out your Crock-Pots, they are perfectly safe. Just turn them off and unplug them when you aren’t in the house. 

Seriously, does anyone actually fire up the Crock-Pot and leave for work? There’s no way I’d ever do that, even before seeing This Is Us. 


Blogging Dumb Shit I Do Kids Minnesota Pets Things that piss me off WTF?

There’s a Mouse in my Car!!!!

January 24, 2018
There's a mouse in my car

There’s a mouse in my car!!! WTF!?!?!? I haven’t actually seen the mouse, but I can hear it and it’s terrifying. A few months ago I was driving my daughter to school because the bus never came. As we were getting on the practice freeway (35E for those of you who aren’t from the Twin Cities, but for those of you coming here for the Super Bowl, it’s a stretch of highway that nearly wasn’t built back in the early 70s because neighbors didn’t want the noise in their backyard. Because the freeway was closed for most of my childhood, we sled down what is now 35E. If finally opened once the state or whoever makes these decisions compromised with the neighborhood and reduced the speed to 45 mph and why it is called the Practice Freeway. 

Anyway, we were getting on the freeway, on the entrance ramp, when a mouse suddenly appeared on the windshield of the car. It was on the outside of the car, thankfully, but it still scared the crap out of me and my daughter. It quickly crawled back into where it came from when it noticed the trees and other outside things zipping by at speeds more than 45mph. 

While I did not want it to die I also did not want it in my car and hoped it would fall off or get blown off or would get the hell out of my car when we parked.

I haven’t seen or thought of that little guy since that day. 

Until this past Saturday. 

There’s a Mouse in my Car!!!!

I got in the car to go to the gym and heard some rustling in the glove compartment area. I hadn’t yet started the car so it wasn’t the radio or something in the air vent (like a piece of paper that got sucked into it – it’s happened). 

It’s a critter. There is no rhyme or reason to the rustling so I don’t think it’s the car making the noise. It’s something alive.

I have not actually seen the mouse, but because I can hear it I am sure it is going to appear at any moment – like the one that appeared on my windshield – and scare the bejeebus out of me. Because I can hear the rustling in the glove compartment area I am sure the critter is inside the car this time.

I like driving. In fact, I love it. Driving is the only time I get to be truly alone and can rock out or think depending on my mood. Driving is my me time and something I look forward to. 

Until now. Now it sucks. Now all I think about is how this little animal is going to cause my death and probably a bunch of other people’s deaths too. I imagine it will crawl up my pant leg causing me to freak the fuck out and drive into oncoming traffic. If it can’t get up my pant leg, because now I’m tucking my jeans into my boots, it will crawl up the back of my seat and into my hair. I imagine it will grab onto my cheek for some reason and stay there until I can swat it away. Of course, I won’t be able to until it has scratched out my eye. 

Now when I drive all I do is think about the ways this tiny little animal is going to kill me. What used to be a relaxing and enjoyable activity has now become an anxiety-filled excursion.

Even worse, I can’t tell my daughter. The damn thing is somewhere near her seat so if I tell her she will never get back in the car again. So far she has not heard the rustling and I’m really hoping the damn thing will leave before she figures it out. 

I know this mouse is a metaphor for my life. It’s this small thing that I have blown way out of proportion and yet I don’t know how to reign it back in. How does one get a small rodent out of their vehicle? I’ve considered vacuuming it but I’d have to locate it first and I don’t want to feel around the dark parts of my car so I can get bit or scratched. 

I really don’t want to have rabies shots in my stomach for weeks on end.

(Is that a real thing or like the bubble gum myth of childhood?)

I’ve thought about putting the cat in the car and letting her do her thing but I still have to drive and I don’t know how long it will take for her do the job. I don’t even know if she is a mouser. Dini was the mouser in the family and she passed away last summer.

Also, what is the mouse living on? There’s been a broken Cheez-it on the floor for months now, I would think it has to eat and what would be better than a floor Cheez-it? Can it come and go for water? There are several half empty bottles of water in the car but none show any signs of being unscrewed. If he is getting the water out of the bottle he’s screwing the cap back on. 

Can I put D-Con in the car? That seems like a bad idea, though I am not sure why. Should I just get a new car? 

What the hell should I do? How do I get this thing out of my car?!?!?!?



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When the Bough Breaks

January 11, 2018
when the bough breaks

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

Rock-a-bye baby, on the treetop

Who the hell puts their baby, along with the cradle, in a fucking tree?

They don’t. It’s a metaphor. For mother (or father, primary caregiver – just so I don’t offend anyone reading this who isn’t a mother, but who is the primary caregiver – hey, we’re all, metaphorically, in this together, right?).

Did you see what I just did there?  I just fucking apologized to someone who might or might not be offended that I assumed the nursery rhyme was about mom and not dad. 

That’s how overwhelmed I am.

When the wind blows, the cradle will rock

I am breaking. 

I am a single mom, I am always in a state of overwhelm, but lately I have not been able to get any respite.

Between trying to chase down an IEP for my daughter who was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD and Anxiety; fighting my ex husband in court, via text message and through his porn-star named attorney (I am sure she is nice and probably a decent attorney, but she really should consider changing her name); and work full time… I just don’t have any energy left.

My house is a shambles. I have laundry in the washing machine (not the dryer, but the washing machine) from before Christmas, and there’s some weird shit growing in my fridge. 

I cannot keep all the balls in the air right now.

When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall

I know I am not the only single mom who doesn’t have any support. In fact, it is so common we should form a club and make t-shirts. The problem is, we’re all too overwhelmed to meet up.

I suspect that’s a big part of what is wrong with society right now. Aside from the explosion in single people raising little people, we’re also really disconnected. Sure, we communicate with one another on social media, but that’s usually just so we can flaunt our moral superiority. It rarely is about lifting anyone up or offering sincere support – though I am sure it happens, it doesn’t happen enough. 

We’re disconnected from family. At least I am. There was a wedding in my extended family not too long ago. I’d been hearing about the preparation for the last year so I knew it was coming up and expected to be invited. I was not. I was informed “we really didn’t think you’d want to go.” How considerate. No, I’d never want to connect with family I haven’t seen in a few years. I really enjoy not going out and seeing people. I much prefer to stay home. Of course, god knows I have plenty to do at home (see above) so maybe it really was a blessing that I wasn’t invited. I’m not even sure I would have wanted, but I am sure I would have liked to be invited. 

And down will come baby, cradle and all

I’ll get over this, I will get my footing back and I will get my shit together. I will get the IEP, I will get the school to accomodate my daughter and I will manage the next four years of dealing with the ex somehow. I do. I always do. And, I’ll do it alone.

Actually, I am not alone, I do have support, it just comes from the oddest and most unexpected places. My first ex husband’s wife has been wonderful. She always has been. I recently connected with a high school classmate, through Facebook, and he helped fix my leaky drain. He was most gracious, happy to help. It was not like it was some horrible chore to him (like it was when I used to ask my brother for help) and that was wonderfully refreshing and fucking weird at the same time. 

There is no point to this, I just needed to vent. So, thanks for listening.

Dumb Shit I Do Sex Things that piss me off WTF?

Why I Deleted My #MeToo Status Update

October 17, 2017

Unless you’re living under a rock, you’ve seen the hastag #MeToo all over social media. Legend has it Alyssa Milano started the trend on Twitter (though it appears she got the idea from a friend of a friend on Facebook so it would seem someone else who isn’t a celebrity actually started the trend…). The idea was that if all women/(people) respond to her tweet with the hashtag #metoo then everyone would know how wide spread sexual harassment and sexual assault is.

And it took off like motherfucking wildfire. 

That was Sunday night. I saw it trending on Sunday and while I rarely join in these sort of movements I decided this one was different. I copied and pasted the Facebook status update:

Me too.
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste.

I started writing all of the different ways I have been sexually harassed and assaulted in my lifetime and then deleted all of it and just posted the generic version. Even that was difficult to post. 

Not because I am ashamed to admit that I — like every other woman alive — have been harassed or assaulted, I’m not. I was for a long time, but have recently started talking about it with friends and family I felt worthy of sharing the information. It’s a difficult thing to share because it doesn’t come up in everyday conversation. You have to throw it out there when no one is expecting it and that tends to throw people off balance. They do not know how to respond and would prefer to keep it that way. So they don’t. They leave you hanging.

The response from the few family members or friends I shared it with has been less than supportive so my fear of posting the update was due to the fear of the deafening silence that comes with this kind of admission. And I get it. I really do. People do not know what to say so they say nothing. Luckily, I received plenty of support in the form of Likes and Hearts and other Facebook emojis from people I have never met before and I am thankful for their love and concern. It wasn’t the case for everyone posting #MeToo as their status update.

It might be because I am getting older or because I have just seen so much of this shit in the last few years, but these uprisings or movements or whatever the fuck you want to call them – don’t change anything. Or maybe they do, but because the change is so slow it’s difficult to notice the shift. I don’t know. 

I do know that what always seems to happen with these movements happened rather quickly in the #MeToo movement. It became a popularity contest and we turned on each other. 

Like we ALWAYS do.

Women started listing the ways they had been sexually assaulted or harassed… long lists of the way they had been treated horribly by men and even some women. Not just a passing wink or even being exposed to on the street (OMG this happens so fucking frequently I don’t even register it anymore, it’s like someone picking their nose or spitting) but reports of being raped, threatened with the loss of a job if they didn’t suck a dick or flash their breasts or whatever weird shit the Harvey Weinsteins of the world are into on that day. 

Within hours or maybe minutes the lists were scrutinized by both men and women – judging the merit of their claims.

“Oh, he cat-called you? Pfft! That’s annoying, sure, but it’s hardly assault.”

Women who had been raped by family members garnered more sympathy than those who had been raped by strangers, significant others or acquaintances. Get pregnant from the rape and choose to keep the baby? You win.

And the infighting and exclusion and unfriending began.

And then Mayim Bialik wrote a piece about how she wasn’t raped because she had a big nose and dressed modestly. That isn’t what she wrote, but like the childhood game of Telephone, that’s how it evolved. I’m not sure what the point of her OpEd was, much like I am not sure what the point of this one is. 

I guess it’s that I am pissed off. Certainly at the people who sexually harass and assault other people (and it’s not just men doing it and they are not doing it to just women), but also I’m pissed because sides get drawn so swiftly and so concretely online.

Men tried to chime in with support and they were shot down so fast my head spun. 

“It’s not their time to speak.”

Just as swiftly, men were lambasted and ridiculed for not offering support. 

Fuckin’ A they are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. 

Gay men started sharing their stories of being harassed and were shut down.

“Nope…this isn’t about you, this is about the women right now.”

That’s why I deleted my #MeToo status update. I don’t want to be part of a movement that starts excluding anyone. And they always end up excluding people

The internet turns on itself so fast. What starts out as a positive turns so quickly into something that is competitive and only for the popular. We’re still acting like we did in high school and until that shit ends, the harassment and assault isn’t likely to. 

If you really want to make a difference start treating everyone as though they are worthy of respect. Everyone. 

Everyone. Even the people with whom you don’t agree or whose time it isn’t just yet. 

Treat each other with kindness and respect. It’s actually pretty easy, but if that isn’t something you are capable of doing then just don’t say anything.

If someone shares with you that they have been hurt, then listen to them and offer them support. You don’t have to fix it, in fact, you can’t fix it. But you can listen, and that can make all the difference in the world. 

Oh, and stop sexually harassing and assaulting women/people to get your rocks off. 




Advice Kids People Things that piss me off WTF?

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

July 18, 2017
What is the Blue Whale Challenge

What is the Blue Whale Challenge? If you’re a parent of a young child, tween or teen you’re going to need to learn about this chilling online game that has been causing young people to commit suicide. 

The Blue Whale Challenge is an internet game with 50 tasks assigned to those who want to play, the final task is that the player commit suicide. Each task leading up to the final task is a means of manipulating, controlling and eventually goading the player to commit suicide. Tasks include variations of self harm, sleep deprivation, risk taking, and watching hours and hours of horror movies – each getting progressively worse until a susceptible child can be enticed to commit suicide.

What is the Blue Whale Challenge?

The Blue Whale Challenge was created by a 21 year old Russian named Philipp Budeikin who says the reason he created the game is to cleanse society. Philipp Budeikin has been arrested and has plead guilty to inciting at least 16 girls to commit suicide. 

There are reports of children all around the world who have attempted or committed suicide after playing this game. In the US two suicides have been attributed to this ‘game’.

Ultimately this is a game of peer pressure. For kids who want to fit in, they may be more likely to play this sort of game. Talk to your kids about peer pressure, about these online games and about suicide.

It can be difficult for kids to go against the crowd and refuse to play, even when they know they shouldn’t. Help your kids to stand up for themselves and teach them how to say no to peer pressure. 

I can’t imagine the pressure today’s kids are under to participate in these horrendous games. And I can’t imagine the sick fuck who came up with a game like this, but I have talked to my kids about it. It’s opened a dialog about these very difficult topics and for that I am thankful. My heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one because of these sorts of online games. 

Here are some resources about the game and how you can help your children avoid playing it:

How to Talk to your Kids about Suicide

Blue Whale Suicide Game on CNN

Blue Whale Challenge Tasks

The Cyber 7 Tips for Online Safety

Help Kids Resist Peer Pressure

Helping Kids Handle Peer Pressure


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

Can’t Muster Anymore Outrage

June 5, 2017

Between all the many terrorist attacks, stupid things President Trump tweets or what stupid thing a washed up celebrity has said, I just can’t muster anymore outrage. 

I want to be upset, I do. I mean the fact that Kathy Griffin hired an attorney because she believes the Trumps are going after her and dooming her career – because she hired a photographer to take images of her holding a bloodied head of Trump – is pretty fucking amazing. That’s something to get outraged about. Not so much what she did, but that she was so insulated that she thought it wouldn’t piss people off.

Can’t Muster Anymore Outrage

Or Bill Maher, again, says something really offensive, racist, stupid, and just plain out of touch. Oh, and fucking arrogant as all get out. But he apologized so it’s all good.

I’ve used the word ‘fuck’ twice, maybe I am outraged.

What the fuck is wrong with people (three times)?

Why are we all so mean to one another? When did society come to believe that the only way to make change was to be an asshole?

Whatever happened to attracting more bees with honey instead of vinegar?

I have so many questions.

I am outraged, but not at the right things. I’m tired of people being jackasses. I’m tired of people not thinking about how their actions affect (or is effect, fuck I can never remember) other people. And I’m outraged that people don’t understand there are consequences for their behavior. 

I’m tired, getting worked up doesn’t do anyone any good. No one is listening anyway so there’s no point in trying to have a discussion. 

Everything I learned in kindergarten really was the most important stuff, because the whole fucking world is like kindergarten now. We all need to grow up. 

You know what else needs to happen?

Auto play videos on websites have to stop. These are the most annoying things ever and yet they are everywhere. 


Dumb Shit I Do Reviews Things that piss me off

RAH’MN Review – The Ramen Place on Snelling

May 2, 2017
RAH'MN Review - The Ramen Place on Snelling

This is my RAH’MN review. This is not a sponsored post, all views are mine. All my Twin City peeps, I know you’ve been seeing these ramen places popping up all over town in the last year. You’re probably wondering is it really worth $7 for 25¢ worth of ramen? I’m here to tell you – probably not.

RAH’MN Review – The Ramen Place on Snelling

RAH’MN opened up in Saint Paul on Snelling Avenue about a month ago. It was packed the first night – crowds in line around the corner – so I figured we’d wait a bit. We’d gone to the Mac’s take out place two doors down, which had also just opened, and were disappointed. I wanted to give the new restaurant some time to get it’s sea legs since they are close and convenient and who doesn’t like ramen?

The daughter asked if we could give it a try, so I said sure. I went to look up the menu online, to get an idea of cost (because it’s ramen, for cryin’ out loud) and was frustrated that I had to place an order to see what was offered and what things cost. RAH’MN does not have a menu on their website, although it looks like they are trying to get one up quickly. That they tout their meats are gluten free had me laughing but irritated. 

The daughter is picky and she has food allergies, it’s always nice to be prepared when trying a new place. So, already I was frustrated. I asked some friends on Facebook about their experience and they said it was “solid”. I took that as a positive and headed on over.

Right away the ordering process was confusing. Or maybe that was just the way the door was positioned. No one seemed to know where the line began. The place was pretty busy and it smelled nice so I continued on. When I got to the counter I had a difficult time talking to the nice young man who was dishing up the ramen. The sneeze guard was too high, or he and I were both too short. I had to stand on my tippy toes to shout my questions at him. He responded with a smile, but I couldn’t hear a damn thing he said over the sneeze guard or the loud music and din of people talking to one another over the loud music. 

It’s a build your own ramen bowl, just like at Chipotle. Chipotle is stressful, it’s not as bad as ordering coffee, but it’s up there. I have been ordering Chipotle for at least a decade now and I always get the same thing for fear of holding up the line to avoid the kind of stress I endured last night.

I had no idea what my daughter wanted, but she likes all things Asian inspired so I started building her ramen.  I threw in some tufo, some bok choi and some tomatoes – all things she likes and figured I was safe. 

I wasn’t sure about the meat so I texted her a picture of the RAH’MN menu and one of all the add-ons, including 4 or 6 choices of broth.

RAH'MN menu

“No vegetables” was what she texted back.

Thanks, that helps, a lot. 

All the while the couple next to me is pushing me to the right, even though the friendly guy behind the sneeze guard hadn’t started on my order yet. In fact, he only had one bowl going. 

This caused a fair amount of anxiety because now the one he just put together for my daughter was going to become mine even though I am not supposed to eat tofu and tomatoes in ramen sounds disgusting to me. I didn’t really want pork either, which is what the kid wanted. 

Lawd knows, as a Minnesotan, there was no way I was going to ask them to start over again. 

I got pushed in front of the cashier and explained to him that there was another bowl that needed to be prepared – plain. Just ramen and broth. 

We stood there, awkwardly waiting for the guy to produce the bowl of $7.95 ramen and then he asked if I was paying for the people next to me. 

Um, no.

He bagged up my ramen bowls, cautioned me not to swing the bag around, and I was on my way.

I took a deep breath when I got outside and told myself I would not cry.

(probably more hormone related than ramen related)

A few minutes later I’m home with a dripping bag of $20 worth of ramen.

When I asked what the daughter though of it, if she liked it, her response was:


She’s 14. Everything is “meh”. She did eat most of it.

Mine on the other hand wasn’t what I wanted, but if it had been something I would have ordered I am sure it would have been ok.

It was ramen, it was way too salty and the noodles were soggy. I was disappointed, mostly because of the experience, but the cost of something that is pennies to make at home also irritated me. That’s not their fault, I walked in there willingly. I guess I figured ramen could be delicious, especially starting at $7.95 per bowl. 

It’s not.

I couldn’t finish it. The dogs like it, though I didn’t give them the broth since it was so salty.

I’d like to say we’ll give them another try, but probably not. The daughter will want to, but she’s going to have to do that on her own.

The place was clean, the staff was friendly, though not as helpful as I would have liked. The place was too loud and the food was overpriced. But other than that, it was great!

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Let’s Talk about 13 Reasons Why

April 28, 2017
Let's talk about 13 reasons why

By now you’ve heard all the hype about the Netflix series, so let’s talk about 13 Reasons Why, shall we? This is about my 5th attempt at writing about the show, and it probably won’t be my last. 

Before we go any further **** Major Spoiler Alert**** don’t read anymore if you haven’t seen it and don’t want to know what happens.

13 Reasons Why is a Netflix series based on the Jay Asher book of the same name. It covers the themes most high schoolers, and many middle schoolers face every day – including bullying, rape and suicide. It’s graphic and the internet is losing its collective shit over it. Schools are sending notes home about it, every single newscast has covered it and you can’t surf the web without finding blog posts just like this one defending it or criticizing it. Paris Jackson is one of many people telling people not to watch it. I’m here to tell you, if you have kids, you should definitely watch it if for no other reason to understand what kids go through on a regular basis. 

While I have some issues with the series, I think it is always a good thing to talk about the stuff that scares us. Bullying, rape and suicide as well as teen drug and alcohol use, is scary stuff, but if we want to help kids navigate these complicated thing we’re going to need to have a dialog. 13 Reasons Why gets that dialog started.

Suicide is Never Painless

You can read a much better synopsis here, but in a nutshell the story is about a Clay Jensen, a shy high schooler who is given a shoebox of numbered cassette tapes created by Hannah Baker, a friend of Clay’s who recently killed herself. Each tape details one of the 13 reasons why she killed herself and those responsible have listened to the tapes and have been instructed to pass them along to the next person on the tape, which is why Clay has them. According to Hannah, he is partly responsible for her suicide.

Clay is responsible for her death in that he didn’t come out and tell her how he felt about her. His is one of the lesser reasons why she killed herself, though it torments Clay that he didn’t do more. Other people on the tape have teased her, bullied her, humiliated her, stabbed her in the back, and finally raped her. She even includes her guidance counselor who suggests she move on after she tells him about the rape, instead of going to the authorities and having the little snot arrested. 

It is then – when the counselor lets her down – that she comes up with the plan to create the tapes and then kill herself by getting into the bathtub and slitting her wrists – depicted rather graphically in the show.

I should mention, I have not read the book. I understand it has a different flavor to it, and I suspect it doesn’t come off as flippantly as it does in the series. I loved them, but the series felt like a too long After School Special. 

Aside from how it ends – with Hannah killing herself – there is nothing in this series that I, and many of my friends, didn’t experience at that age. What happened to Jessica – raped while passed out drunk, and Hannah – overpowered and raped, is actually quite common. Now we call it date rape, but when I was growing up it was called being in the wrong place at the wrong time or asking for it. We’ve come a long way, because we’ve been willing to talk about it. So let’s keep talking about it because clearly it’s still happening.

Teenage Wasteland

I thought the depiction of teenage life was incredibly accurate. Kids drink, they take drugs, they have sex, and they do a lot of stupid things – all while parents and teachers look the other way because they don’t want to dig too deep. My book, Minnesota Nice, is about all of these issues (I’m working on publishing soon, stay tuned for more info about that).

I also thought the depiction of the aftermath of her death – how her parents react and how the kids deal with it – was pretty well done. I didn’t see any glorifying of suicide. 

My issue is with Hannah’s storyline. She’s depressed and yet she is still motivated enough to create these 13 tapes. I get that they’re a device to move the plot along, it just seemed heavy handed to me. Plenty of teenagers kill themselves each day, most do so quietly because they already feel as though they don’t matter and that no one cares. Hannah obviously thought enough people would care to listen to the tapes. Hers was the sort of suicide most teens have fantasized about – getting even, even if it means getting dead. 

Trigger Warning

Since the show has come out, many teens, teachers and parents are worried that the show is triggering and therefore shouldn’t have been made. I can’t even begin to understand that kind of reasoning. If something is triggering then it absolutely needs to be discussed. Possibly with a professional, but certainly with a parent or trusted teacher. 

I lost three friends to suicide when I was a teenager. It’s an absolutely horrible thing to experience. And yes, cluster suicides are a thing, which is why we need to bring suicide out into the light. Thinking about suicide shouldn’t be taboo – because I promise you every single teenager (and more and more middle schoolers) have thought about their own suicide. I would hazard a guess that every human that lives and breathes has at one time or another contemplated taking their own life. And yet, we make the thought of it something to be ashamed of. 

When asked on most pediatrician questionnaires if they’ve considered suicide before, most teens will lie because they fear being pushed into therapy or the psych ward for thinking about something that is actually pretty normal. I know I have. 

It Gets Better, Promise

Life is scary, people are mean, and bad things happen, but that doesn’t mean it won’t get better. It usually always gets better. And that’s the point of the series, to show how wasteful suicide is. Hannah was a smart, funny, caring, and loving young woman. She had everything to look forward to in her future, she just couldn’t see past what she was experiencing to believe it would ever get better. We need to impress upon our kids that the pressure cooker that is middle school and high school gets better. If they can just hang in there (with professional help) they will be okay. Life is always a struggle, and for some it is much worse than for others. Life is not fair, but it does get better. The more we talk about these things the less damage they can do. 

I grew up reading books like The Bell Jar, Go Ask Alice and other rather dark tales about teens descent into the abyss. Teenage years can suck for a lot of people, they did for me and many of my friends. Having those books, seeing the After School Specials, helped me feel less alone. Because if people are writing about these topics and they’re making movies and TV shows about these heavy subjects, it means someone else has experienced these shitty things and managed to not only survive, but somehow thrive.

Let’s keep talking about Thirteen Reasons Why.



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What I Learned on My Facebook Vacation

February 2, 2017
What I Learned on My Facebook Vacation

Recently I took a little break from social media, and this is what I learned on my Facebook Vacation. I needed a break from social media, but mostly I needed to get off of Facebook. Facebook is where I do most of my socializing. 

Don’t judge, you probably do too, or maybe you’re fond of Pinterest, or you hang out with the folks on Instagram. Doesn’t matter, they’re all the same. None of us actually get out anymore. And that’s too bad because there’s a whole big world of people doing things and NOT arguing about politics or calling each other Nazis or Libtards.

What I Learned on My Facebook Vacation

In my week of self induced banning from Facebook I learned that people in the real world don’t commence a conversation with friends by demanding they unfriend each other because one of them may or may not approve of the other’s opinion – which is really just one of them trying to show all the other people in her timeline that she is bold, brash, right (though not “right” or “alt-right”) and mostly virtuous.

I learned that people can go out together and have fun. They can shop, walk, talk, share a meal, laugh, sing, dance and never, ever mention politics, or mock Steve Bannon’s or Kellyanne Conway’s looks.

We used to be a melting pot but now – thanks to identity politics – we’re black, white, hispanics, women, men, lesbians, gays, transgender, cis something or other, religious freaks, atheists, republicans, democrats (republicants, libtards, republikkkans, fascists, Nazis), white males, white women of privilege (which is apparently not only a joke, but also a huge redundancy). We are every group there is out there, we are different. OMG we are nothing but our differences. 

Except we’re not. We used to be Americans. Those who were immigrating here – they were known as people who wanted to become Americans. 

And in the real world, we’re just people trying to get through this crazy ass amusement park ride together. We’re human. We make mistakes, we dust ourselves off, get back up and try all over again. 

I love Facebook, I’ve met some great people there, but I prefer the real world — where we have to look each other in the eye while we discuss the issues of the day, where the nuances of conversations are not surrendered to emojis and 140 characters. Where we actually care about each other. 

And especially where we aren’t just trying to tear each other down so we can build ourselves up for the approval, or “likes”, from those who have more followers than us.

But mostly what I learned on my Facebook vacation is that we aren’t all assholes (in real life). Some of us, most of us, are actually decent people. Even the ones with whom we disagree (go fucking figure!).