Please, Make It Stop.

google.com

google.com

*FIRST EBOLA OUTBREAK IN US

*NORTH CAROLINA SCHOOL SHOOTING

*ARKANSAS REALTOR’S BODY FOUND

*UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA STUDENT STILL MISSING

*MYSTERY ILLNESS/POLIO LINK?

*OKLAHOMA BEHEADING

*COP KILLER STILL AT LARGE

*ISIS/ISIL THREAT

*DOOM. DOOM. DOOM. DOOM AND MORE DOOM.

I got a call tonight that my nephew is having emergency surgery for a compound fracture on his ankle.  The ankle he hurt before.  The same leg that endured intensive knee surgery two years ago.  He is 15.  The poor guy!

He is alive and his injuries are not life threatening yet, I was overcome with an overwhelming feeling of doom and gloom.  A tightening in my chest.  A sensation that the ceiling was caving in and that I along with all of humanity, was on the brink of death.  That the world was coming to an end, at last.  It was yet another piece of bad news I had heard throughout the day making it unbearable to take.  The accumulation of negativity got the best of me.

It gets to be paralyzing hearing about the senseless violence and crime happening all around us.  It’s on TV, on our phones, Facebook, Twitter.  You can’t escape it.  

Please, make it stop.

The Spinning Beach Ball Of Death (SBBOD)

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It has taken me 5 hours to write this post.  I kid you not.

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I have been staring at this screen for way too long. 

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Then I tried to read your awesome posts.  It was immediately clear to me that accessing my Reader was not going to happen until the year, infinity.  

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!

There are more photos that should be inserted right here, but after taking a long shower, straightening my curly frizzy hair (you know how long that takes), mowing the lawn and painting the house, they are still uploading…. 

The Spinning Beach Ball of Death is the perfect name for this little f*****.  I have also seen it described as:

*The spinning wait cursor

*The color wheel

*The spinning wheel

This is my contribution to that list: 

*The are you f****** kidding me pinwheel

* The OH GOD NOT NOW wheel

*The I am going to smash your little round rainbow a** if you don’t stop wheel

Whatever you want to call it is fine with me.

I searched SBBOD troubleshooting sites and stumbled upon this message: “The first step of dealing with any SBBOD problems is patience”

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME?????

 I have been so patient I am actually dead right now!

Sigh.

I will be using my iPhone for all my social media needs until I figure out how to DESTROY the SBBOD SOB, for good.

*Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Send The Elevator Back Down: Parent’s Weekend

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This is something Kevin Spacey‘s mentor, the late Jack Lemmon used to tell the young aspiring actor.  Now 55 years of age, it is one piece of advice he has taken to heart. And one he eagerly passed on to 6,000 plus Villanova parents, students and faculty at this year’s Parent’s Weekend event Mr. B and I attended, this past Saturday night.

Send the elevator back down.

Think about that for a minute.

I love it!

True to his younger self as a comedian, Kevin Spacey had us all in stitches with his dry humor and infamous impressions.  Knowing that he was addressing a Catholic University, he was careful to warn us of his tendency to “drop the F-bomb” on one or more occasion.   “I promise not to drop the F-ing F-bomb”, he said to Reverend Peter, the President of Villanova.  He entertained us with his perfectly crafted Johnny Carson impression as well as a flawless, Bill Clinton.

He expanded on the elevator quote by reminding us not to let the number of floors between us and those who are less fortunate, become too large.  He also encouraged the students to take risks and go out of their way to reach their dreams.

My dream was to run on stage and hug Kevin to death but seeing that his two-year crazy stalker woman from Massachusetts just got a maximum sentence for stalking him, I decided not to listen to his advice to take a risk.   I will however, be sending the elevator down always, from now on.  And of course, binge-watch House of Cards episodes.

This could have been me! bigstory.ap.org

This could have been me!
bigstory.ap.org

After driving for 6 hours in Friday traffic through the states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania for Parent’s Weekend,  we arrived at our hotel which was located in the vicinity of the largest Shopping Mall in the United States of America.  I am referring to the well-shopped, King Of Prussia Mall.  It is the King, Queen and the entire royal family of malls.  Wow.  You need to follow a maze of highways and roads to get to the actual mall.

[Speaking of malls, I have a question that has been on my mind since my kids were pre-teens that maybe you can help me out with.  Why on earth do stores like Hollister and Albercombie and Fitch soak their clothing, racks, counter tops, floors and walls with gallons upon gallons of men’s cologne?  For the love of nasal cavities!  Walking into these stores is a hostile assault on our fragile olfactory systems.  Anyone?]

We saw our little girl for about one half hour before jumping in bed from exhaustion.  We were naïve in thinking that she may want to sleep with her mom and dad at the hotel (What?  It could have happened…),so we got a suite.  Hello?  Sure enough, she returned to her dorm with her roommate to do something with some friends.

On Saturday, we took her to a popular place for breakfast and let her talk and talk and talk.  She told us about the things she liked and the things she was still trying to get used to.  She joined the club swimming team and was happy to get back in the water doing her killer butterfly stroke.  She was thrilled to have won a raffle that allows her to go to all the Villanova basketball games without having to enter the game lottery (which apparently is a big deal since the games are always sold out.)

There's that scary Wildcat again. villanova.edu

There’s that scary Wildcat again.
villanova.edu

Next, we were off to the Villanova vs. James Madison football game.  Football does not get the attention basketball does but the stadium was in fact packed with alumni, parents and a lot of freshmen.  Mr. B loves football so he was enjoying the game even though the first half did not go well for the Wildcats.  Our plan was to  stay for the first half and then head over to the mall from hell to get our daughter things she needed.  Mr. B was not thrilled.  Especially after hearing that Villanova beat James Madison and he missed it.

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 After being carried out in a stretcher surviving the mall and feeling like my arthritic feet were walking on a field of golf balls, we went to dinner with my daughter’s roommate and her mom.  Love them both!  We headed back to campus to watch Kevin Spacey speak.  Once that ended, the girls made it clear to us parents once again, that there would be no Kumbaya-ing as a family back at the hotel.  They had plans, once again.

When Sunday came along we noticed that our hugs got tighter and longer in duration.  We took her to the bookstore for some more Villanova apparel she had to have and then to lunch.  When it came time for our final goodbyes, that’s when it hit us all.  I couldn’t let go of her, Mr. B held her hand a little tighter and her eyes got teary (kill me now).

nymetroparents.com

nymetroparents.com

As we drove away, dragging our broken hearts with us, I remembered something I learned two years ago after dropping our son off when he was a freshman.

The end of September and the month of October are times when homesickness is more likely to kick in.  The honeymoon is over in that the excitement and newness of being in college and away from home has subsided to some degree.  Now they begin to realize that they are there to study (not just party) and that they miss the familiar, the known and the comfortable.  Suddenly they discover that they are on their own and that it is all up to them to navigate through the complicated web of “college life”.

They were on top of the world as seniors in high school, and now find themselves at the bottom of the barrel and having to figure out who they are and how they are going to succeed in college.  A daunting task.

Although we know our daughter is happy, there is a difficult adjustment period during freshmen year, that is quite normal.  There is also a pretty difficult adjustment period for the parents that is also, normal.

Painful, but normal nevertheless.

 

Stranger Danger? Blogger Killer?

Would you let a stranger stay at your house overnight?  How about two strangers?

For all you know, they could be mass murderers.  While you lay comfortably sleeping in your bed, they could easily enter your room and stab you with a butcher knife or worse, a knife sharpener!  It could happen.

But it didn’t.

These strangers that I welcomed into my home were far from mass murderers in spite of their excellent theatrical poses you see in the above photo.   The only crime they are guilty of committing, is leaving my home way too soon.

I had anticipated this visit from Queen Andra Atkins, as I referred to her on an earlier post.  She came to Massachusetts from South Carolina on a book tour to discuss her novel, To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey Of Meriwether Lewis as well as her 444 mile walk of the Natchez Trace.  I practically gutted my house and built a new one prior to her arrival, I was so excited to meet her.

andrawatkins.com

andrawatkins.com

To my surprise, another fellow blogger, Lisa Kramer decided to join us and accompany Andra to my home.  Lisa went to college nearby and wanted to re-visit the area.  Since our visit, she has made an exciting announcement on her blog, Lisa Kramer:Woman Wielding Words.  She is publishing her book titled, P.O.W.E.R in December of this year!

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lisaakramer.com

Can you say, threesome?

Without giving Mr. B a choice, I pawned the ladies off to him as soon as they arrived in town so that he could give them a walking tour.  I figured, if they were dangerous, Mr. B would go first.  Thankfully, they all came back to the house safe and sound.

As soon as I met them, I knew we were going to have a fun time.  Like old friends, we ate dinner in my back porch while sipping Sangrias.

I invited some dear friends over for dessert and to meet Andra and Lisa.  I had already told many of them about Andra’s book and some were in the midst of finishing it.

Andra came prepared with her own slide show projector and a most delightful and entertaining  presentation.  She lured her audience in with her charming southern accent and kept them interested with her dry hilarity .  Her lessons about the historical facts she used for her book as well as the insight she gained as a result of her journey, were both captivating and inspiring. 

My friends were pleased to have met them both and could not wait to read Andra’s book.

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Once the crowd left, it was just the three of us sitting in the living room talking, eating, sharing stories and embarrassing Mr. B, once he joined us (if you haven’t already, ask Andra how she came up with her blog name, The Accidental Cootchie Mama.)  Let’s just say that Mr. B left our conversation a bit red-faced.

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The next morning after realizing that I was still alive and not slaughtered in the middle of the night by the strangers staying in my home, we topped our visit with a hearty breakfast.  Cider Donuts, anyone?  Pumpkin Pie?  We took our last photos before they headed out for Andra’s appearance in Boston.

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I do have to add that I was in bed for two days after their visit, resting this aching body of mine.  Damn RA!  But it was worth every single moment!  I was thrilled to have hosted them in my home and to have met them both.

 I feel blessed to call these two wonderful strangers women, my virtual and now very real friends.

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*Here is Andra’s account of her trip up north, Making Love to Yankees

*Also read Lisa’s touching post about what these visits meant to her, Friends, Books, Words and Announcements: A Week of Unexpected Surprises.

Summer Spotlight: Maria aka Brickhousechick

The Wonderful Jill@Pursuing a Passion for Writing invited me to be a guest on her blog today. Check it out and make sure to check out her blog as well! Besos, Jill! 🙂

Jill Weatherholt

 71546_771273103591576898_oMoochas Gracias Jill, for letting me take part in this fun Summer Spotlight Series. Although summer is officially and sadly over, I am happy to be featured during this most delightful autumn month. You have yourself some fascinating and talented followers, Señorita Jill! I have enjoyed reading their bios and learning about their accomplishments and hobbies.

I call myself brickhousechick, not only because of my mighty proportions and dimensions (ahem), but mostly because I have weathered several devastating storms throughout my life and I am still alive and kicking (and kicking some more).

Some of these storms have nearly crushed me to pieces and pulverized me to the ground. Yet somehow, my brick exterior and stubborn demeanor have managed to protect me, thus far. For this, I am quite grateful.

I am the happiest when I am laughing, eating, dancing and drinking Sangria. My favorite song to dance to…

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WARNING: This Post Contains Way TMI!

This post will come down in history as the one I will be the least proud of.

If you are sensitive-ish, skirmish, prudish or just plain sick of people telling you way too much about themselves,  do not read on.

Understanding full well that this is, without a doubt T-too M-much I-information to share with you lovely readers, I am going ahead with it because I just HAVE to.

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someecards.com

Last week, I celebrated my birthday near the coast with my wonderful husband.  We returned from our long weekend and Mr. B went back to work the following day.  That following day was my actual birthday.

I rested all morning then decided to do something fun with just me, myself and I.  Being that I am cheaper older now and always hungry, I grabbed my laptop and searched for, Restaurant freebies on your birthday.  Because food.

To my delight, the list was extensive.  I narrowed it down to establishments in my town and saw the perfect place to get a free lunch.  I rushed over to my printer and printed the flashy freebie coupon.  I then remembered that I would need a dessert after lunch, so I looked up free desserts and printed that coupon as well.  All planets were aligned, the cows hadn’t come home yet and I was salivating.

No Vacas Allowed deporbiotica.com

No Vacas Allowed
deporbiotica.com

I arrived at the Mexican food establishment and ordered my FREE BURRITO (well, you had to order a drink in order to get the burrito, but still.)  There I sat by myself, feeling very content and proud that I had thought of this idea.  I took the obligatory pictures of my food to send to people via phone and bit into my scrumptious hearty burrito.  MMMMMmmmmm it was muy bueno.  Lot’s of guac and even free chips.

thrillist.com

thrillist.com

As I was happily munching away, my son called to wish me a happy birthday.  After learning that I was all alone eating a free burrito, he got concerned and told me that this was a rather, sad situation.  I told him that although it appeared to be a sad scenario, I was happy and having fun.

I finished every single free bite of my burrito and got ready to head to the next restaurant to cash in on my free dessert.  As I stood up to walk to my car…I felt somewhat of a rumbling coming from the direction of my very satisfied tummy.  Gggggrrrrroooooowwwwwwwllllllll! RrrrrrgggggrrrrrrrRRRRR!  GGGrrrrrbbbbsssssggggggfffffff! Brrrrggggggggttttttttmmmmmmfffffffrrrrrr!

Hmm, that’s odd, thought I.

I jumped in my car and OOOOOOOOOO  MMMMMMMMMM GGGGGGGGGG!  It was coming.  Oh my God was it coming.  Holy S*** it was coming!  Madre de Dios it was coming! Holy Guaca-explosion, it was coming!

I stepped on that gas pedal and sped out of the parking lot like there was no mañana.  I took a sharp right and into the Target parking lot.  Thank God for my handicap placard because I found the closest parking spot possible. I  got out of the car and literally sprinted (a no-no when you are handicapped)  to the Target restroom and man did I let them cows come home.

Jesús, María y José.

In the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit,

Amen.

Never, in my life…

God bless the woman in the next stall.

God bless all the women that came in after me.

God bless all women in the world.

I guess you really do get what you pay for.

*Needless to say, I did not cash in on my free birthday ice cream sundae.

Hasta La Vista, 50!

highwaysafetyshop.com

highwaysafetyshop.com

I cannot believe that one year ago,  I was suffering tremendously at the thought of turning 50.  I lost a lot of hair and sleep worrying and anticipating the big 5-0.  I even started a blog to help me cope with this cruel reality.

Truth be told, I had fun celebrating (the parties were non-stop), talking and writing about it.  Was it as bad as I imagined it would be?

 Yes and No.

No, in that I am still here and have enjoyed… oh so thoroughly, not caring as much about what others think of me or what comes out of my mouth.  A stronger sense of freedom has blossomed.

Yes, it was as bad as I imagined it would be, in that a lot more than freedom has blossomed.  My arms have blossomed, my belly has blossomed, my thighs have blossomed as have the brown spots on my face.  In addition, I can see NADA without my readers, my hearing has faded and my breasts have migrated to the deep, deep South, but I digress.

I am more than ready to say goodbye to this eventful (to say the least) year and welcome in new adventures and food  experiences.

Speaking of food, in pure brickhouse fashion, I spent this birthday weekend by the shore with Mr. B, eating some delicious treats.  One being a succulent lobster roll from a very popular harbor café, as well as my favorite deli sandwich made with turkey, swiss cheese, alfalfa sprouts, pesto mayo, tomato and avocado.  Yes, I did.

We also tried a new restaurant which serves the most orgasmic brick oven pizza topped with arugula, prosciutto, pear and a balsamic glaze.  Enough? No. Can I tell you about the juicy pan seared native scallops sautéed with bacon and shallots? Need I say more? I better stop because I am starving, again.

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tablespoon.com

 

They looked like this goodfoodfreshingredients.com

They looked like this
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We also did plenty of walking, laying on the beach, shopping, talking, resting, laughing and planning for the year ahead.

*****A big shout-out to my all-time favorite Washington DC brothers-in-law and of course, BFFs, for the use of their beautiful home.  It was another spectacular birthday getaway in this elegant farmhouse on the coast.*****

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Bring it on, 51!