I feel the need

I feel the need

Friday, July 13, 2018

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all!

What do you want to be when you grow up?

That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why.  What does a 5 year old know about anything?  What kind of job hunting experience do fourth graders have?

Yet in our society we insist on asking children what they want to be. And the list is short at first: " I want to be like my dad or mom.  I want to be a fireman.  I want to be a teacher."  Because life experience is short.

As kids get older, the list is a little more varied:  "I want to play for the Packers." "I want to be a model." "I want to be a baker."  "I want to write a best selling novel, something bigger than "Gone with the Wind"  and spend my days doing nothing but book signings and public readings for the rest of my life."

That last one was just for me.  Because that exact thing is what I've wanted to be since I read "Gone with the Wind" in seventh grade.

Sure, I have a list of stuff I wanted to be when I grew up. Who didn't?  And no, I've never been a paramedic, a rescue dog (yes, in 3rd grade I was convinced I was a dog), a librarian, or a jockey.   (Other than being an author, that's literally the list of stuff I wanted to be as a kid.)

I have been a waitress, a teacher, a nursing assistant in a CBRF, a 3rd shift retail stocker, a janitor, a telemarketer, a newspaper girl, a hotel maid, a cook in a CBRF, a babysitter, a receptionist, a janitorial supervisor, a 3rd shift  gas station attendant,  a sales person, a cashier, a data entry clerk, an office manager, and the person in charge of collecting plumbing permits for a bath remodeling company.  Right now I'm an employment analyst, and I would explain what that is, but it would take too long.

My point is that when we're kids we dream of great stuff we want to be from a very short list of what I like to call first level jobs.  Fireman, police, teacher...the obvious ones.

But reality, when it comes to jobs, is far more...detailed.  I was already too fat in 8th grade to be a jockey...my mother talked me out of being a paramedic and a librarian, and I'm obviously not a dog.  And, since at my ripe age I've yet to write anything better than "Gone with the Wind" (I'm still working on that one) it's clear I'm probably not going to be any of my childhood dream jobs. 

Which is okay, because the jobs I've had in my life have been colorful. But, let's be honest,  no little girl dreams of the day she's a data entry clerk for the quality control department of a medical equipment manufacturer.  Joe versus the Volcano anyone?

However, there's one dream I've had my whole life, only a very, very few people actually know about it, that I recently had to let go of forever.

I'm never going to be a rock star.

You heard me.

Since the day I bought my first curling iron (Girls from the 80's will understand that) I've held this dream that I would one day sing onstage with thousands of people screaming my name. The closest I ever came was playing "Eeyore" in my high school children's theater production of Winnie the Pooh. The only person screaming my name then was the director. She really didn't like me much but it was a small high school and I kept signing up for parts so she had to give me something.

My official relationship with my singing voice has long been disappointing. In high school and college I tried out for all kinds of select choirs, but didn't make them because...well...I'm not good.  In fact, in high school I only got to go on choir tour with my high school swing choir because some other kid got into trouble and wasn't allowed to go.  Not exactly a ringing endorsement of my talents.  I even had a choir director tell me once after a try out, "I thought your voice would be better."  Turns
out, he knew some of my extended family, all of whom are great church singers.

A friend of mine and I even formed a band in college and called it "Generic."  Why?  Because I'm old enough that when there were non national brand items in a grocery store they had black and white labels and were called "generic" products. My friend, Todd, and I thought that would be awesome for a band. We'd always wear black and white and people would love us for are amazing lyrics and killer vocals.

Full disclosure, Todd and I realized, thanks to a recording booth at an amusement park, that we probably were not meant to sing duets together.   Yes, the tape exists.  No, I will not share it with you.

Me with friends from college acting like rock stars.
Note my drumsticks. Not sure what I was thinking with the
sailor hat.
By the time I graduated from college, I'd come to accept my limitations as a singer and I stuck myself in church choirs.  But that never stopped the dream.  That didn't stop me from using my curling iron as a microphone.  That didn't stop me from hanging colored Christmas lights in my room and pretending I was on a dimly lit stage.  That didn't stop me from singing in my car, thinking I was AWESOME!
Me with some college friends,
pretending we're a rock band.
 Note my headband and drumsticks.

No, the rock star dream died only recently, months after I'd hit the mid century mark for an age.  It died not because I realized I have no talent. I think we all know that's not a roadblock that troubles me.  No, it died because every year for the last several years I get a terrible cold that doesn't act like a cold. I'm not congested, I just cough, HARD, for several days, lose my voice, and then get over it.  Happens a couple of times a year sometimes. 

Back in June I got such a serious cough I started hacking up blood. This was new for me so I went to the doctor and he gave me a name. Bronchitis.  Yep...looking back I figure I've had bronchitis at least fifteen times and every time I get it, I lose another singing note off the top of my register.  I used to be able to wail on a High A.  Probably why a lot of choir directors kept me around. I could read music and I could hit a high A.  Also, I was always in NO CUT choirs. 

Now, I've lost almost an entire octave to bronchitis.  I've gone from a soprano in a no cut choir to an alto in a no cut choir and there are days I don't have the vocal strength for that. 

Which makes me really begin to doubt my plan to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a performer.

Thanks to this last round of bronchitis, there are times when I attempt to sing in my car, the place where I ROCK THE HARDEST, and no sound comes out. Nothing.  I know the notes and I'm forcing air over my vocal chords, but nothing comes out.

So, this past week I figured I would reveal this childhood dream, the last of mine to die, now that it's gone.  I'm never going to be a rock star. I'm never going to perform at Red Rocks or the Hollywood Bowl or on Sunset Strip.  I might even have to quit my church choir because no sound is coming out of my face. 

I still have a curling iron, though. It's actually the same one I used in college.

Hope springs eternal.

Monday, July 2, 2018

Soccer, Summerfest, and Ben Franklin's Sex Life: Reasons why I feel old.

It is no secret that I enjoy the music of Rick Springfield and Pat Benatar.  I've documented my trips to Rick concerts many times in this blog, and last summer I was able to see Pat Benatar in concert for
the first time and had a blast.

So, when the world's largest music festival opened its doors last week (That's SUMMERFEST in Milwaukee, for those of you not in the know) you can bet I was going to go see one or both of them. Unfortunately, due to TERRIBLE scheduling on the part of the Summerfest planners, both 80's icons were playing on the same night at the same time...but on stages on opposite ends of the park from each other.


What to do, what to do?

Well, Father's Day rolled around a couple weeks ago and Hubby is not super easy to shop for.  He really doesn't collect much, unless you count records, and I haven't a CLUE what he doesn't have or what he wants. He reads a lot, and I've gotten him books, but he can only read so much and his "to read" shelf is overflowing.  He doesn't collect movies like I do.  So, I did what every good wife would do:  I got him Pat Benatar tickets. 

See, he's a bigger fan of hers than he is of Rick.  And, I had to purchase actual tickets because the stage she was playing actually had a reserved seating fee for only some of their acts. (Generally, if you pay the admission fee at the gate, any act playing on any stage is then free.  Seriously, if you haven't been to Summerfest, it's AMAZING.)  Since I didn't want to just leave it to chance that we'd get a seat I bought some.  But, in what I can only assume was a spasm of old age, I also bought ticket insurance.  You know...outdoor venues in Wisconsin are subject to Mother Nature's whims.

The concert was last night.  How was it, you might ask.

No idea.

We didn't go.

See, I did the Waukesha Farmer's Market on Saturday, selling my books and meeting readers in person. (LOVE doing that!)  Wisconsin has been trapped in some sort of Hell-inspired heat bubble since Thursday of last week. We can handle cold. But when it's 95 with a heat index of well over 100, we Wisconsin folk hide in our basements.  That's what I should have done on Saturday instead of working the Market because I got home and pretty much dealt with heat exhaustion the rest of the day.  (Fluffy girls don't do well in extreme heat.)

Yesterday Hubby and I got up, did brunch at the The Gingerbread House and church and then went home.  Looking at the weather predictions we were not just looking at hot and humid for the day...we were looking at some seriously stormy, tornado-y type weather.

And that's when Hubby turned to me and said, "So...how does that ticket insurance work?"

Yes, friends, Hubby and I bailed on seeing a favorite act because it was hot and the weather guys said it was going to storm. AND we had ticket insurance to cover us in case we didn't make the concert.

We are either getting OLD or we've developed common sense and I'm not sure I'm loving either of
those choices.

I mean, who wants to be known as a person with a lot of common sense?  Besides Benjamin Franklin, I mean.  (And he balanced common sense out with a ridiculously not-at-all-sensible sex life over in France.)  Everyone wants to be remembered as a free spirit who lived life to the fullest and moved
around the world on his or her own terms.

No one is going to remember you if you stayed home and didn't lose any money on the thing because you bought ticket insurance.

Everyone is going to think you're AWESOME (or stupid but still cool) if you brave the storm and ROCK OUT to some great 80's music while trees are being uprooted and cars are swirling around you in a cloud of dirt and wind.

Instead...Hubby and I took naps, watched some FIFA world cup, and then at night we saw "Twister" which was on TV.  This was all some time after all the worst of the weather passed over us.   Yep, we watched soccer and a movie that was on TV, not even one from my collection or one on a streaming service.
We watched an "edited for time and content" movie on TV like...OLD PEOPLE!

I mean, I make fun of my mother for stuff like this. Next thing you know I'll be calling the kids to come up and fix "the Netflix."

Although...Netflix hasn't been working well on my living room blu-ray player lately.


Tuesday, June 12, 2018

At Least the Creative Spark isn't Dead.

Good day.

So for a little more than a week I've been battling my usual summer cough that turns into a sore throat.  Every year I get this and every year I lose a little more of my singing voice, but other than that I'm good to go after a week.

Not so this year.

This year the cough and sore throat reached a level I've never experienced before.  I've dropped down several steps on the sexy scale (not like it was a long fall, you know) to the point where I allowed Hubby to drive me to the doctor's office yesterday and I wasn't wearing eyeliner. And I didn't care.

You stop caring about stuff like eyeliner,  combed hair, body odor, and other stuff the minute you cough up blood.

It should be noted, however, I did manage to get earrings in. I mean, I am a lady after all.

After going through the humiliation of having to sit in the waiting room wearing a mask  (It should be noted I was coughing not one bit harder than the nurse at the desk who demanded I wear a mask. Where was her mask?) and explaining that yes, my weight is on an upward trend lately (why does that have anything to do with the fact that I have no voice and I'm coughing up blood?) the doctor told me what started as a virus got worse.

(I found out later, after reading my appointment notes, that I have bronchitis.  Doc didn't mention that...and people wonder why I think going to the doctor is insulting.)

Anyway, that little bit about the virus getting worse sparked a creative thing in my brain that hasn't been around in a couple decades.  It made me rewrite a pop song.

I used to do this a lot, I'm a huge fan of Weird Al Yankovic but I'd forgotten about it.  My best was probably was "Let's Play Basketball" to the tune of Olivia Newton John's "Physical," followed closely by "I wanna be a Teacher" done to the tune of "I wanna be A Cowboy" by Boys don't Cry.  But it's been a long time since I've done that.

Until today.

Today...yes, to the tune of REO Speedwagon's "I can't Fight this Feeling"  I give you this:

(Sung to "I Can't Fight This Feeling" by REO Speedwagon)
I can't fight this sore throat anymore. 
The cough and gagging really have to go. 
What started as a virus has grown stronger. 
So it's off to urgent care I have to go. 
It feels like I've been this sick forever.
The Doc says there's no reason for my fear.
He prescribes some pills when we're together.
They'll knock out the infection, they'll make my lungs so clear.
But even as I take them, I know I have to fight.
The side effects are icky and they keep me up all night.
And I'm feeling grosser than I ever thought I might.....

So there you have it my friends. I'm missing my company's annual gathering today and tomorrow, thanks to this little illness of mine.  But at least my creative spark hasn't died!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

See, Sir, you're at Sam's Club, so...no.

Once again, standing in line at the pharmacy does not disappoint.

This week was med refill week, and of COURSE given all the prescriptions we have here, at least one of them will always get delayed (unbeknownst to us) and thus I'm required to do two trips. Fortunately, I'm also bad at grocery shopping, so making two trips to Sam's Club in two days isn't the as big a problem as one might think. Gives me push to actually leave the house and get the bag of coffee I forgot to pick up the first time around.  (How could Sarah forget COFFEE?????  Well, it happens.)

Anyway, yesterday I showed up at the pharmacy at 2 PM sharp. This is key because the pharmacy at Sam's is closed from 1:30 to 2 every day.  So if I can't get there to pick up before 1:30 it's important to get there at 2 before the line gets too long.

Yesterday I should have gotten there at 1:55.  Seriously. I got there as they were opening the service window and there was already a fairly long line. 


However, as I said, standing in line wound up not being a waste of time because I was able to witness and record the following:

A gentleman edged between the pharmacy line and the shelves of heartburn products.  He spent some quality time picking up the two pack bottles of TUMS, looking at it, then putting it back on the shelf.  He must have done this three or four times before I moved up in line enough to stand next to him.

I guess I just have one of those faces, because it was then that he decided to start asking random people (in this case, me) questions.

Man:  so...do you think this is all they have for TUMS?

Me: I think so. I mean, if they had other brands, they would probably put them next to the TUMS.

Man:  Oh, I don't need a different brand. I need a smaller bottle.

Me: (no response.  It's Sam's Club.  You're going to buy in bulk. That's the point.)

Man: This one is a two pack and there are 250 tablets in each.

Me:  Yes.  (I, too, can read.)

Man:  Well, that's way too many.  I don't need that many.

Me: (because I've bought that same two pack and run through it in a matter of months) Well, it's a really good price for that many.  (Because it is. That same number of tablets at Target would be double the price.)

Man:  It is, but I just don't need 500 tablets.  I wonder if they have a smaller bottle.

Me: I don't think so.  Besides, it's a good price, plus, with that many, you're set for a year.  (See?  I'm polite, logical, and helpful.)

Man: But I don't need that many. (stepping in front of me)  I'm just going to ask this lady if they have smaller bottles.


Well, I can't really repeat what I said because 1) I didn't say it out loud and 2) I can't print that many four letter Anglo-Saxon isms.   (Kids read this blog.)  I mean, did he not see that this was a LINE?  There were six or seven people in LINE for the PHARMACY and he just hopped ahead OF ME to ask the lady if there were smaller bottles of TUMS somewhere.

Oh sure. Sam's Club hides the tiny bottles of EVERYTHING in a big room far away from customers just so they have to find an employee and ask.


First of all, does he not get the rules of standing in line?  I don't care if you have "a quick question" there's a LINE.  If you don't want to stand in the line and wait your turn, then maybe find someone, anyone, in a blue vest that says "happy to help" and ask them.  OR...hey...ask that Soma Care guy who insists on jumping unsuspecting people racing to pick up meds.

Second of all...DO YOU NOT GET THIS IS SAM'S CLUB?  It's all about buying in bulk.  Look around.  Everything is a two pack, four pack, club pack, super sized!  If you want a little bottle of anything, go to Kwik Trip or Target or Walmart or LITERALLY ANY OTHER STORE IN THE WORLD.

But no, of course I didn't say anything, and I didn't point out his breach of etiquette. I didn't make a sound as he stepped in front of me and asked the pharmacy lady (who watched my face the whole time because she knows me and knew I was dying a thousand deaths in that moment) and asked her possibly the dumbest question anyone has ever asked anyone in a Sam's Club.

And she gave him her answer which was, of course, NO.  It took great restraint on her part, I'm sure, to keep a straight face and yes, as he walked away, she and I shared a giggle and then a sigh of exasperation.

The good news is we're set for meds again for the next month. Which is good.  Because my tongue needs to heal from all the biting I did.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Reposting a Favorite: Sarah's Letter to High School Grads.

Good evening!

I don't give a lot of advice. I mean, if you read this blog, you know my life is one disaster after another.  I have a couple bits of advice I hand out to my Sunday School kids, although none of them have ever actually taken my advice. Maybe someday they will. Believe me, the few bits of advice I do hand out are solid, proven bits of wisdom.  Here's the list:

1)  Everyone learn to play the tuba.  Colleges always need a tuba player.

2)  Ladies, date low brass players. They try harder than trumpet players do.

3)  Ladies, learn to love football.

4)  Gentlemen, yes, there are differences between all the pairs of black shoes your lady owns. Learn what they are.

That's it. Or so it has been it for the longest time.  But now, as I watch another newly minted class of high school graduates dip a toe into the "real world"  (and if you're going to a four year college, no, that's not the real world. The real world doesn't come with a meal plan or a class schedule you can ignore half the time.) and I feel I have to share a bit more advice.

So I'm writing this letter, and this is for anyone who is starting out in life and isn't quite sure which way to go.

Dear High School Graduate:

Congrats, you've completed high school..  You've survived the bullying, name calling, cliques, break ups, and horrors of high school and you are now not only an adult, according to the state, but now it's time to make a decision. What are you going to do for the rest of your life? 

Most of you are 17 or 18 and I know when I was that age I did NOT want the focus of my professional life to be jobs in which the biggest two skills I needed was the ability to type and a working knowledge of the alphabet.  I wanted to be a radio DJ  (Yep, did demo tapes on my parents stereo, which had a microphone.  I was awesome, reading dedications, breaking news, playing all the summer hits from back in the day.  Those tapes still exist.  And anyone who cares to clean my basement may have them.) I wanted to be a paramedic.  I wanted to be a rock star, a best selling novelist, a movie critic, and an Olympic gymnast.

So of course I went to school to become a teacher.  And I got the teaching degree.  I taught.  Then I worked in an office where all they cared about was that I could type and I knew the alphabet.  Then I had babies. Then I figured out that my magical power was my phone voice and since then I've worked, for the last ten years one way or another, on the phone bending people's will to my own. And then I learned Quick books.

I am an author, you can check out proof of that by clicking here  or by clicking here  or by clicking here or even by clicking here.  But other than that, I'm none of the above things I honestly believed I would be.  Life sort of decided for me.  And the funnier thing is I spent four years learning to be a teacher and I taught for one and since then I've held jobs that honestly did not require more skill than to be able to type, know the alphabet, and talk on the phone.  It taken me several years since high school, but I finally landed a job doing something that wasn't even a thing when I was in high school. I didn't know it then, but this is my dream job  (you know besides being a DJ, a rock star, a movie critic or a world famous best selling author).

So, new grads, what are you going to do with the rest of your life?  People want to know NOW!

If you're already enrolled in college and you've got a scholarship and you're going to study hard math and science and become a doctor or an engineer, then okay, I'm not talking to you.

I'm talking to the other 98% of you out there.

I'm an employment analyst. I spend my work day calling all over the country to find out who is hiring, what they're paying, and what skills they want. Believe me, I know what I'm talking about when I say if you have a high school diploma or a GED, congrats, you're already ahead of the game.

If you don't have these things, get them.  There aren't that many jobs out there for people who don't have that minimum piece of paper. Sure, you might find a job and it might pay well.  But what if you get hurt, have to move, or that company goes out of business?  And there you sit, no education, no job, and no way to get a job because you don't have that piece of paper.

Now, for those of you who have a high school diploma, but don't care to go on to college, never fear, there are plenty of places all over that will hire you and you can make good money doing these jobs.
Most of them are in food service or manual labor of some kind and all of them require good physical condition.  But if you're willing to put in the hard work and the long hours, you can make a nice living.

If you want a little more of a guarantee of good money no matter where you live and no matter what the economy is, then here is my big giant piece of advice: Go to your local tech school.  Train to be in the trades: Carpentry, plumbing, electricity, car repair (Mechanic and body tech), sheet metal worker, and welder. These are skills that don't take eons of time or money to get, but once you have them you can continue to build on your skill, thereby building on your value in the job market. Yeah, the work is physical, and yeah, you're going to work long hours, but the payoff and job stability is awesome. 

Don't believe me?  Close your eyes and picture a world without plumbers. Computers haven't figured out a way yet to unclog a drain system that has been taken over by tree roots....or toys your baby thought would look funny being flushed down.  Yes, and that is why, children, you pay the plumber $200 for a service call after 5 Pm because you can't live without the toilet and he's the only one willing to get that village of Fisher Price guys out of your pipes.

By now I'm hoping most of you are gone off to find a job or to get enrolled at your local tech college.  But I'm sure there are still a few of you waiting for me to tell you that the magic to life involves winning a lottery ticket.

I'm not going to tell you that.  If it did, do you think I'd be blogging at my desk right now? No.  I'd be sipping something blue and alcoholic and blue  (I love those blue drinks) and being fanned by a very fit young man named...I don't eve care what his name is. He's going to be tall, he's going to be tanned, and he's going to have that perfect mix of a swimmers/gymnast's body.  And he's going to be able to get sand out of my laptop because once I'm settled on my private beach located on my private island I won't be moving until I have the next book done.

But life isn't like that.  So for the rest of you still waiting for me to give you the great advice, you've missed it. I already did.  And you ignored it because you want to go to college and major in something other than teaching or science or engineering or doctoring.

So for you I'm going to now tell you some of the things employers, you know the people who pay you money to do things at their businesses, are NOT looking for.  College is expensive...do NOT waste your parents' money and your time on the following courses, (These are real courses taught at real colleges and parents if your kid is taking one of these, then you would be better served actually burning the stacks of cash you're using to pay for his/her education) because employers are not going to care. They are going to mock you for taking these classes when you could have been learning welding, or math, or anything else.

Study me, learn me, LIVE ME!
1)  The Sociology of Miley Cyrus.

What's the final?  Twerking while singing the "Hannah Montana" theme song?

2) How to watch Television.

(I've know how to do this since I was five and I've logged so many hours I probably have a PhD in it, but seriously...someone's taking money to teach this class.  And people are paying for it.)

3)  Zombies in popular media.

I know. The zombies are coming and we should know how to fight them. But this isn't a fighting class. This is a bunch of kids sitting under a tree with the world's biggest "Walking Dead" fan.

4) What if Harry Potter is real?

Let's go to the source. Hey, J.K., is Harry Potter real?  No?  You made him up?
Class dismissed.

5) How Does it feel to dance?

You don't need a college class for this. Just go to a couple weddings this summer and ask people of varying shapes, ages and sizes.  The fat guy in his 50's is going to say he needs a drink. The five year old girl in the flower girl dress is going to yell, "GOOD!" throw up on your shoes because she drank too much free soda at the reception , and then go dance more.

6)  Learning from YouTube.
It's true. My husband uses YouTube like his own personal technical school.  Gotta tie a bow tie?  YouTube.  Gotta give an IV to a cat?  YouTube.  But see, he does that, and he doesn't pay $400 a credit to do it.

Okay, hey anyone can have a no brainer class, and it's fine. But how about, if one of you takes your parents' $160K for a four year degree and really blows it on something stupid that is never going to translate into any sort of student loan repayment ability?

These are real majors, people graduate with degrees in this stuff all the time, but I'm here to tell you that in this world in this economy...in any economy, these are degrees that, at best, will land you a job that starts at $9 an hour for 20 hours a week.  Basically, when the zombies come, the people who have these degrees are going to be the first eaten.  Maybe even before me.

1)  Art history. 

I love art history. I love art. I love history.  But a full on degree in art history so I can be the only one at my job who can tell the difference between a Monet and a Manet  (and I can thanks to one semester of art history, not a whole degree.)  There are no jobs for this.  You want to study art and art history?  It's called a library. There are a million books on art there and it's free.

2)  Communications

So many jokes have been made about this I don't have to add to them.  Stop skipping class and take some business courses.  Learn Quick books.

3)  Philosophy

I love a good debate.  I can start one in my living room with my family with no more than these four words:  Trump might be okay.

My husband and I have an ongoing philosophical debate about whether or not trees communicate with each other.  Thanks to JRR Tolkien, I'm winning that debate.   

My point is, the people who are hiring right now are not hiring people who had discuss whether or not we are all made of color or if a butterfly poops on a tree in Bolivia, does it rain in the Hamptons?  You want to read the great philosophers? You want to discuss philosophy with someone else?  Great, fine.  Again, library. Free.  Won't cost a thing, no student loans to pay back while you're making a living cashiering at the local mini mart  (they are always hiring and the wages for those jobs are going up.)

Ultimately, you're going to do what you're going to do. We all have a romantic streak. We all want to write poetry and live in Paris and sip coffee and debate (in French, Russian, or Italian) pretty much everything.  And why not, when you're not yet 25?  It seems perfectly reasonable to believe you can live in a 700 square foot flat in Rome with three roommates and a cat you've named Kierkegaard, but call Kirk because it's easier and you like Star Trek.  

Listen to Auntie Sarah. 

You can't do that. By the time you get out of college you want to be a grown up, or very close to it. You'll want your own place, your own bathroom.  You're going to want clothes that aren't t-shirts you won at some eating contest.  You are going to need a job.  That pays money.

And guess what?  A degree in Russian Poetry or French history is not going to help you unless you live in Russia and they are hiring poets (I don't think they are) or you live in France and they need another historian (and I doubt they're going to hire an American to fill that job.)

Love art, love poetry, love history?  GO TO THE LIBRARY.  Go to a museum.  Maybe they're hiring. Maybe not.  But they are open and you don't need to spend $90K in tuition to enjoy them.

Oh, and don't get a degree in creative writing.  You can't teach creativity and if you want to write you're going to write you don't need a piece of paper to tell you to write.  This I know for certain.

Now if you want to be a writer, and an author, or a poet, it's good idea to take classes, take publishing classes, take grammar classes. Look for these at local tech schools, at your local park and rec department, or in the phone book. You're going to find a writers' group or studio where you can write and learn about writing without using your uber expensive college time to do it.  


Learn to type. Learn the alphabet.  Learn to put a sentence together.

Oh yeah, and learn Quick books.  Everyone should learn Quickbooks.

Now, if after all this you realize you're not ready to decide your whole life just yet, that's fine.  There's no rush. The state may say you're an adult, but we parents know you're just a kid and kids probably shouldn't be making decisions like what career they're going to have for the next 50 years.  Take some time. Work for a while. Serve in the military.  Go abroad, see how other countries, other cultures, live. Join the Peace Corps. Build a well someplace that needs good water...like my old hometown of Flint, Michigan.

Just don't get a degree in the Societal Effects of The Hunger Games on Emerging African Economies and then wonder why no one will hire you.

All my love, 


Friday, May 25, 2018

Fun Fact Friday: Why Sarah Hates Baseball

Happy Friday All!

So it's Memorial Day weekend here, a weekend when most Americans will travel to see family, cook meat outdoors, and save ton of money on the purchase of a car or mattress.

Memorial Day is supposed to remind us of all the service people who gave their lives in the various wars our country has fought.  I've seen memes going around telling us not to thank a Veteran for their service on Memorial Day because that's what Veteran's Day is for, and Memorial Day is for those who are dead. Well, um, bite me.  I'm going to thank a Veteran on Memorial Day, July 4, and next Tuesday if I see one because I don't believe it's ever wrong to thank a veteran.

Rant over.

Baseball is considered America's pastime, just like apple pie is considered America's pie. I don't like either.  Apple pie was literally the only pie my mother made and I think I was 10 before I realized you could put other fruits in pies.  So..yeah, I'm done with apple pie.

Meanwhile, baseball. How could I be a sports fan (LOVE American Football and hockey...learning to love rugby and all things Olympics) and NOT love baseball.

When you hear my story, you may understand.

It started when I was six. Please hang in there...I have to give you some back story for you to fully understand:

From kindergarten to fourth grade I attended a two room grade school. My father was the upper grades teacher, the principal, and the gym teacher.  Given the limited amount of time he had, teaching four grades and heading up discipline and administration, he developed something of a genius gym class. He divided the entire school into three teams, with kids from all grades 1-8 on all teams.  Then he made use of the space we had (no gym, but plenty of outdoor land) and came up with sports and games that were definitely outside the box.  (I was very good at chess, scrabble, and quoits.  ((Don't know what quoits is?  Look it up.))  I was also pretty decent at shuffleboard.  And, I guess, at tug of war.  But that's another story for another day.)

Softball was a cornerstone sport, because it involved everyone.  Due to time constraints (gym class was held during recess.  For team sports, two of the three teams would play while the other team would be free to do whatever they wanted. For individual sports, you just knew when you had, say, a tether ball match and you got over to the tether ball pole in time.)  my dad devised "one pitch softball." 

It's exactly what you think it is.  Each batter got one pitch.  That was it.  Hit the ball and get on base, get a ball and get on base,  or get a strike and you're out.

Well, when I was six, let's just say I wasn't real bright about the nature of people.  So it never occurred to me that the CATCHER didn't have my best interests in mind when he/she "coached" me when I was up to bat.

Every time I got up, the catcher would tell me when to swing.  And wouldn't you know it, I would swing and miss the ball.  And I'd be out.

Every. Single. Time.

I don't know how long this went on.  When you grow up in the Great Lakes area, you know outdoor sports have a short season, so I'm sure I didn't remember from one season to another that the catcher was playing for the other team, and while I was probably an easy out anyway, he/she was always cementing that bet by telling me when to swing.

It wasn't until I shared my frustration with my mom that I realized the problem.  Once she was done laughing at me, she explained that the catcher wanted me to be out. 

This was also the time when I realized that my dad was my dad but when we were at school there were NO favorites and he even believed he had to treat me tougher than the other kids just to prove I wasn't a favorite.  Wouldn't have been so bad if he hadn't been on the staff of my school EVERY SINGLE YEAR OF MY LIFE through high school (except my freshman year of high school, my favorite year.) Everyone thought I was his favorite and I had to work twice as hard to get grades from him because he was tougher on me.  Sure, that didn't damage me at all.

Anyway, back to baseball.

So my grade school experience shaped my opinion of baseball and softball through my high school and college years (didn't watch it, didn't play it if I could help, spoke out against it).  Then I grew up, got married, and had a chance to join a church softball team.

I don't know how much you know about church sports teams, but the truth of it is that these perfectly lovely church folks turn into competitive maniacs when they start playing. 

This I did not know.

I just thought this team would be a fun group of women coached by a fun guy to go have fun.  I mean, my hubby was on a work team and they had a blast. 

I lasted two practises.

The first practice was lovely. It was a sunny evening, everyone was cheerful, and we were practicing fielding balls. Turns out, I'm pretty good at catching stuff.  I felt I'd put my baseball woes behind me.

The second practice was batting practice.

Everyone got three, maybe four pitches, while the coach looked on. Then it was my turn. 

One whiff. Two whiffs. Three whiffs. Four whiffs.

I am not good at batting.

However, the coach was distracted by something else, and I was the last in line, so he told the pitcher to give me a few more.

Five minutes later (It felt longer, but I'm sure it was only five minutes)  I'd swung that bat 40 times (I counted) and had missed all of them. The coach looked up from what he was doing and said, "Are  you still swinging?  Give someone else a turn."

I was 24.  I was also crippled for the next few days, unable to lift my arms.

That ended my career in the bat and ball arts.

Since then, I don't play it, I generally don't watch it, and I've been known to mock people who do. Like my friend Sandy who takes me to Milwaukee Brewer games from time to time.  As I've aged, I've learned to appreciate seeing a game in person or maybe listening to it on the radio, but it's still at the bottom of the list when it comes to sports for me.

And yes, I own a bat.  But it's for personal protection only.  And I haven't had to swing it in more than 20 years.

So, now you know!

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

My mom attends the Bon Jovi concert. What could possibly happen?

Good morning!

So a couple weeks ago, I'm sitting in my customary living room chair, watching something on Netflix, when I get a text from my mother.

Mom Text:  Is Bon Jovi a band or one guy?

Sarah Text:  Both.  Why?

Mom Text:  What songs do they sing?

Sarah Text:  Dead or Alive, It's My Life, You Give Love a Bad Name, Livin' on a Prayer. I could go on. WHY?

In her maddening way, (a habit she excuses as being not technologically inclined, but I think she just pretends not to know how to operate her phone so she can ignore me sometimes), she doesn't answer my question for several minutes.

Thinking this might have something to do with my brother, who, knowing his overall good luck in life, he got tickets to see Bon Jovi perform the final concert ever at the BMO Harris Bradley Center (THE go to arena in Milwaukee for more than 30 years) and Mom wanted to find out who he was seeing.

That's something that's been going on since we were teens. Jay would get tickets to see a band, or buy a CD or something like that and Mom would have me explain who the group was and what they sang.  I stopped playing that game the day Jay had me pick up the Sugarcubes' "Life's Too Good" album which had questionable words on the song titles.

I digress.

So imagine my surprise when, an hour later, Mom sent another text.

Mom Text:  Terry's son got two tickets to see Bon Jovi and he can't use them.

Sarah text:  And???????  (Here I'm clearly thinking that Terry, a friend of my mom's and a big fan of my work, is going to hand over two tickets to ME!)

Mom Text: And I told her I'd go with her if she could name a song they sang.

And this is how a blog is born.

Now I knew my mom going to a Bon Jovi concert would be funny.  But when I got a text from her early Monday morning, April 30, I realize I had something great to share with you all.

Mom Text:  Concert  it felt like i went through a war or i saw a little bit of hell.

I'm sure that's exactly what Bon Jovi was going for.  (By the way I had numerous friends and family members who went to the same concert and came up with a far more favorable review.)

So I had to know what could possibly have happened to make my very religious 76 year old mom equate a concert with hell.

And now I'll tell it in her own words, with minimal commentary on my part:

So Terry picked me up and first we had to go to Shorewood to pick up the tickets.  We had to get the tickets off the front porch, they were stuck between two chair cushions.

(Mom, you stole Bon Jovi tickets from some guy.)

Then we got downtown and do you know parking is really expensive?  They wanted $30 to park right at the Bradley Center, so we drove around for a while and found a lot four blocks away that charged $20. Terry has a handicapped placard, so we got a really good parking spot in the ramp.

(Wait, she's got a handicapped placard and she turned down parking in the ramp next to the Bradley Center because it was too expensive, but she got a handicapped spot in a ramp four blocks away?)

She's got that bad back.

(I guess that makes sense...)

So I paid for that.  Then we got to the Bradley Center and we were hungry, so Terry went up and ordered chicken and a coke and they said they weren't selling that. So she ordered a burger, and they said they weren't selling that.

(Um yeah, it was the LAST NIGHT EVER for the Bradley Center. They're tearing it down soon.  The last thing they wanted after that concert was a pile of left over concessions.)

So Terry asked what they had and they said hot dogs. So she ordered two hot dogs a diet Coke and a bottle of water and it was $29. Can you believe that?

(Having purchased food at sporting arenas, yes, yes I can.)

Terry said that was too expensive, and they told her it was because that price included a commemorative cup for $3.  Terry said she didn't want the cup.  They told her she didn't have a choice, they were putting all the drinks in this cup. BUT if she wanted her money back she could get it back, all she had to do is find the guy in the green shirt and he'd give her back her money.

(Am I the only one who thinks this sounds shady?)

Then Terry and I went to our seats which were way up in the rafters.  The 400 section, row J.  Those steps are steep! There was a man with a walker making his way up those steps, I don't know how he did it.

(Well he probably paid the extra $10 for parking so he wasn't exhausted from walking four blocks.)

The concert was supposed to start at 8, but there was an opening act.

(Who was the opening act?)

I don't know who it was. It was four guitars, a drum set, and guy who screamed into the microphone.  Do you know people don't come to see the opening act?  We were almost the only ones there!  The placed filled in and then Bon Jovi came out and there were all these women just standing there bobbing their heads up and down.

(Maybe like they were keeping time with the music?)

Of course Terry and I wore earplugs.  Then about 90 minutes in to Bon Jovi, Terry was done with her Diet Coke so it was time to go find the guy in the green shirt and get that $3 back.

(Which put me in mind of one of my favorite John Cusack movies...)

So of course, no one on the 3rd level knew anything, so we went down to the second level and no one knew anything there, so then we found a lady in a green shirt who was sweeping and she said she didn't know anything, but we should follow her.  

(Which of course you did...what could possibly go wrong with that?)

And that lady got us to a guy at a card table.  We asked for our $3 and he said he couldn't give it to us because he didn't have any money. He was at the right table, and there was a sign there that said we could get the money back, but he didn't have any money. We had to wait for the guy with the fanny pack to come around.

That guy finally got there, and he wasn't wearing a green shirt, and we got the money back. We decided we didn't want to climb all the stairs back to our seats, so we just walked in on the second level.

(And how often were you kicked out of the second level?)

Oh we got kicked out three or four times. They kept asking us if we belonged in that section and we said no, and they kicked us out. 

(I'm shocked that you didn't enjoy the concert more, given how much attention you paid to it.)

So then after four or five encores, we figured the concert was over and we were already out of our seats so we got back to the car quickly, ahead of everyone else.

(And also having that great parking spot in your ramp didn't hurt, I'm sure.)

We got into Terry's car and the low fuel gauge started ringing. She drives this big SUV. I asked how many miles she got once the alarm starting dinging and she thought maybe 15 miles. It's midnight, and there's nothing open downtown and we've got about 50 blocks to drive before we two senior ladies felt safe stopping, so I was praying we'd get to a gas station quickly.

The only place old ladies feel safe stopping
at after a night of rocking out.

We found one near where Jay used to live and it was well lit so I told Terry to stop there. She looked at the price and said there was no way she was paying $2.89 for a gallon of gas.  I said fine, there's a Kwik Trip on 124th St.  She said that was past my house and I told her that was fine because she wasn't going to make it home unless she filled up.  

(By my way of counting the mileage from the Bradley Center, I can't believe she made it to the Kwik Trip. It didn't take much to imagine the two of them trying to push Terry's beast of an SUV.)

So we got to Kwik Trip, she filled up and got me home. I was just useless the next day because my head hurt from the noise and I was so tired.

Well there it is, then. My mother and her friend went to the Bon Jovi concert, and really didn't enjoy it at all.  I did get a four minute phone message from Terry's phone. She apparently thought I would like hearing one of the songs. Of course, all I hear on that message is a crowd screaming and Terry yelling something unintelligible to my mom.

According to my cousin, Lana, who was in the fifth row center for the same show, it was a great night, a lot of fun, and she didn't get roped into the commemorative cup scam.  She had her own issues getting home, but that's another story for another person to tell.

I am a little salty, however, that no one dumped a drink on her.  I mean...come on!

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all! What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why....