Do Something

Stop!  Please don’t scroll past this post in your news feed.

I have something important to say, and I am hoping you will read beyond the headline and look past the picture attached to the post. This is a message to Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those of us who fall somewhere in between.  It is not meant to single out those who don’t agree with me.

img_0254If you know me personally or have read my blog over the years, you should not be surprised to see the Women’s March postcards ready to go in tomorrow’s mail as part of the 10 Actions/100 Days campaign. You already know I am passionate about women’s rights, that I want my daughter to feel empowered, and that I want my son to serve a country for which he is proud.

I understand your opinions and priorities may not match mine.  All I have to do is launch the Facebook app on my phone to understand that everyone is concerned about something and that everyone has an opinion. We are experiencing a turbulent time in American history, and it is being played out on social media, often at the expense of hurt feelings and lost friendships–both real and virtual.

The anonymous nature of social media gives its users a level of bravery they wouldn’t otherwise feel. Freedom of speech is accessible these days, and everyone, it seems, is exercising his and her right. Once the applause has died on that profound statement, I want to ask everyone who shares a meme or tweets a hashtag, to take your words and turn them to action.

One of the most impactful lessons I took from college was the opening and parting words of my professor for the Women and Minorities in the Media course I took as a mass communications major. She opened the course and closed it 15 months later with the same message: you cannot complain about something if you are not willing to do something to change the situation.

She was talking first and foremost about voting and making sure your voice is heard on Election Day. Your actions, however, should not stop once your ballot is cast.

Few of us are lucky enough to be close personal friends with our elected officials. I’m not Facebook friends with my senators. My congressman doesn’t follow me on Twitter or Instagram, and I’m fairly confident none of them read my blog. Unless I specifically tell them I am concerned about how little the presidential cabinet looks like me, they won’t know.

Today, I don’t care if you are pro-life or pro-choice, in favor of gun control or an advocate for the Second Amendment; in favor of immigrant rights or the building of a wall. My bi-partisan plea to everyone is to do something about it. Write to your senators, march in a rally, carry a catch phrase-filled sign, start a viral movement, make a donation. Do something to affect change.

I am choosing to write letters and joining a movement in which I believe.  Although, this will be new for my Ohio representatives, it is not new for me. While a Kentucky resident, I frequently contacted my Senators and Congressman about IBD research and legislation as well as funding for our troops.

After I addressed and stamped my latest letters to my new senators, I read them to my daughter and explained to her what they meant and why I was putting them in the mail.

She actually paused Netflix as she listened, and then she asked with what I think was awe, “You can do that?”

“Yes,” I told her firmly. It is my right to tell my elected representatives what I want. It is my right to tell them my opinions.  If we want change, we have to do something.

So before you log back into Facebook and Twitter to fill my feeds with angry words and stress-inducing sentiments, Do Something. After that, you can post as many memes and hashtags as you want.

The Time Lottery

I won the lottery!

No, not the billion dollar Powerball (though not for lack of trying), but it could quite possibly feel very similar to finding that mythical matching ticket.  I feel light. I have a bounce to my step, and I’m smiling a Mona Lisa-style grin that has other people wondering at my secret. 

Luckily for you, I’ve decided to share because I am so excited, I can’t keep it in any longer…

I have won a minimum of 52 hours a year…FOR. LIFE!

As of this weekend, I have more time than I thought I had when the week started, and if all goes well, this will be the start of a trend that will last as long as I do. 

I have discovered that my friendly neighborhood Kroger offers ClickList!

  
Yes! 

Finally, someone has created a grocery shopping alternative for the busy (and not-so-busy) mommas (and probably some daddies) who have a strong dislike for (aka hate with a burning passion) having to spend precious hours pushing a heavy cart through crowded aisles week after endless week when they’d rather be at home trolling the Internet for shoe sales. 

I just add items to my cart on the big K’s website or app, select a pick up time, click submit and go back to Zappos.com. Meanwhile, a Kroger worker bee fills a real cart with the items in my virtual cart.  I go to the Young One’s soccer game, cheer like a good momma should, and stop at Kroger on the way home like I do any other weekend. 

GroceriesInstead of going into the craziness of the store though, I now drive around to a designated spot, hand over my credit card (yeah, that part doesn’t go away), and supervise another worker bee who loads my wholesome goodness into the back of my car. 

Then I head home…at least an hour earlier than I did before. Yes, I still have to lug it all into the house and put it away, but afterward, I have extra time to read with the Young One, kill some zombies with the Hubs, talk with the Older One or spend some quality time with the blog. 

*sigh*

*smile*

I am a happy momma…a happy momma with more of the most valuable thing there is–time. 

**Today’s post was brought to you by Five Minute Friday and the very appropriate word “time”. 

The Twelve Day of Christmas Shopping

I consider myself a semi-professional shopper. My day job keeps me from attaining full professional status, unfortunately.

I live for a day at the mall and a spur-of-the-moment outlet shopping spree, but I really dislike what traditional Christmas shopping has become…too many people, lines that take forever to get to the front of, and doors that open well before I’ve had my first cup of coffee.

Christmas Shopping

Picture Source: Eric Mueller (cc by 2.0)

So today, while I monitor my email for the best Cyber Monday deals, I’ve decided to pen a little tribute this most wonderful time of the year….

On the first day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
A newspaper full of great deals.

On the second day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the third day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the fourth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the fifth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the sixth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the seventh day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Seven cards a-maxing,
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the eighth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Eight crowds amassing,
Seven cards a-maxing,
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the ninth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Nine shoppers fighting,
Eight crowds amassing,
Seven cards a-maxing,
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the tenth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Ten blisters swelling,
Nine shoppers fighting,
Eight crowds amassing,
Seven cards a-maxing,
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the eleventh day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Eleven mommas swearing,
Ten blisters swelling,
Nine shoppers fighting,
Eight crowds amassing,
Seven cards a-maxing,
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals.

On the twelfth day of Christmas shopping,
My true love gave to me
Twelve wrappers wrapping,
Eleven mommas swearing,
Ten blisters swelling,
Nine shoppers fighting,
Eight crowds amassing,
Seven cards a-maxing,
Six doors a-busting,
Five promo codes,
Four shopping carts,
Three-hour checkouts,
Two per person limits
And a newspaper full of great deals!!!!

Red Cups and Date Rape Marketing

I am weary of the Red Cup controversy. I am cringing as I type because I have avoided the topic all week. Now that I’m faced with the writing prompt “weary”, though, I have realized that I’m not tired about much except how much time the media has spent on a cup that will find itself in a trash can or recycling bin an hour or less after its purchase.

I really think we have bigger things to worry about this holiday season than what graphics are or are not on a paper coffee cup. Let’s talk about ISIS or global warming or politics (but please not about Donald Trump or his opinions on the cup).

Kudos, though, to Starbucks for a non-marketing strategy that got people talking about their over-priced coffee. I say that with the utmost affection since (full disclosure ahead) my gold-level status is something of which I am quite proud. Now, let’s all agree to draw our own depiction of the holidays on our cups and move on.

I’m more offended by this stellar piece of marketing from the hopefully fired marketing director at Bloomingdales. 

   

While Bloomindales has apologized for the ad that appeared in their holiday catalog, they have not offered an explanation for how this endorsement of date rape got through the approval process. I am hopeful we’ll find out it was the case of an over-worked marketing executive who scrolled too quickly through the proofs and didn’t take the time to read every word or examine every picture.

That is not an excuse to be taken lightly, but the alternatives are disheartening. Either someone at Bloomingdales believes drugging your female friend is the key to a happy holiday or someone at Bloomingdales was affected by the scenario depicted here and finds that combatting rape culture is a lost cause. Both are frightening and cause me great concern for the world my daughter will step into when she is a teenager.

On the bright side, should I ever grow weary of marketing my current employer’s products, I may have to send my resume to both Starbucks and Bloomingdales, especially if I am looking to dial down my marketing efforts. At one, you don’t have to put much thought into marketing concepts. At the other you don’t have to think at all.

***Today’s post was brought to you today by Five Minute Friday and the word “weary”.  

Say It Like You Mean It: Learn

LearnMalala Yousafzai  was only 11 years old when she began using a pseudonym to blog about her right to learn–a right the Taliban threatened repeatedly to take away.  In October 2012,  a Taliban gunman boarded her school bus, asked for her by name and fired three shots at her head–one struck its target. Malala survived the assassination attempt, and last month, at the age of 17, she was named co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education. She is the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

And Now for the Main Event…Election Returns!

I VotedI voted! The ballot seemed to go on forever…senator, mayor, sheriff, county clerk and more than 20 judges. It took me a full five minutes, but I made sure I filled in every oval with the little number two pencil tied to the cubicle.

Now, I think I’ll pop some popcorn, pour a glass of wine and watch the election returns.

Next to actually participating in the Democratic process, watching the news anchors guess the outcomes of the races has always been my favorite part of election night.

Not long after I cast my first ballot at the age of 18, I scored an internship at my local newspaper. That spring I fulfilled my dream of being a political reporter.

My first assignment was to cover the election returns for the Presidential primary (among other local races) at the county courthouse.  My editor either had great faith in my journalistic ability or he couldn’t find anyone else on the small paper’s staff who wanted to stay up past midnight on a Tuesday night. I choose to believe he saw my future as a White House press correspondent before anyone else did.

All the local reporters from the county–me and another guy from the paper representing the county seat–crowded into a room filled with election officials and a blackboard. Some of the election officials counted and others wrote the results on the blackboard.

I didn’t make any outlandish predictions. I just added up the numbers and copied them into my brand new reporter’s notebook.

Around 11:59 p.m., someone declared the handwritten numbers on the blackboard official. A few phone calls were made to notify the candidates, and at about 12:07 a.m. everyone went home.

Democracy in a small town in the pre-digital age…it sure wasn’t the political scene from Scandal, but I like to think that for that one night, at the idealistic age of 18, I was a gladiator in a suit!

The polls close in 15 minutes! I need to go pop that popcorn!

Wine or Zombies? Such a Tough Decision

Before things get too crazy I need to switch from wine to tea.

malbec

Malbec! Malbec! Malbec!

Fortunately, I indulged in a very expensive two ounces of white chocolate peppermint tea yesterday. It is worth every penny of the $10 I spent, and it is brewing as I type. If I disappear for a few moments, it is only because the timer marking the moments to the perfect cup of minty sweetness has told me Nirvana is ready and waiting in a pretty red ceramic mug.

Excuse me while I indulge….

Mmmm…much better.

That bold and spicy Malbec has it’s strong points, but the subtly of creamy candy and mint has a soothing quality grapes can never match.

It’s Sunday evening. Time to get back to reality. Monday morning is on the other side of the moon, and all too soon, my life will be dominated by lunch packing, homework monitoring and bedtime rituals. Add into that a review of upcoming meetings, tasks left incomplete on a gotta-get-outta-here-kinda Friday afternoon, and you have a recipe of doom and gloom sure to send anyone to the bottle.

But I’m sticking with tea. White chocolate peppermint tea….Soothing…calming…relaxing…tea…

But there’s still a quarter of a bottle of Malbec calling my name and a 7 a.m. commute with the worst people on earth on the horizon. Monday morning drivers are the worst. They’re all hungover and half asleep. Surely a wimpy cup of tea can’t combat that.

Malbec…Malbec…Malbec!

Wait!  What’s that?

The newest grisly episode of The Walking Dead starts in an hour?

I need all my faculties sharp! My favorite character might get eaten tonight! I can’t be incoherent for that!

Somebody! Quick! Fire up the Keurig!

The Zombies are coming!

**I spend my Sunday nights drinking wine/tea and watching zombies devour fearless survivors.  How do you cope with the impending MONDAY?

A Dear Joe Letter

My Dearest Café Caffe,

I know I’ve seemed distant lately. I walk past you with a longing look and a sigh on my lips, but in all fairness to you I have to tell you the truth…I cannot begin my day like this anymore.

Coffee

Cafe Caffe just isn’t doing it for me anymore.

We’ve only been together for a few months, but taking a break from you while I was with my family on vacation has made me realize that making you a part of my life has been like pouring acid down my throat. Your darkness is too much for me right now. Just being with you leaves a foul taste in my mouth, and the more time I spend with you, the more my stomach churns and burns with the havoc you wreak.

Our relationship lacks the freshness I crave, and quite honestly, you’ve been cold lately. No sooner are we together than I feel a chill creep in that makes me rush through those precious mid-morning encounters, and I find myself longing for the heat we used to share.

Please don’t take this personally. I put all the blame on me. I never should have started this. I know I need something lighter in my life, something a little smoother and sweeter.

French Press

My new love is French (pressed)!

And yes, the rumors are true. I’ve found someone new, and he is all the things I have been longing for. I love his richness and his gentle warmth. His splash of energy has made my days so much more enjoyable.

Please don’t be bitter. You will be fine without me. You are never at a loss for companionship. You are always included in conversations and road trips with the guys.

You will move on, just not with me. Our office romance is over. I have a new coffee now, and it’s time to begin a new day.

Love always,

Stiletto Momma

Five Minute Friday**Today’s post was brought to you by Five Minute Friday and the word “begin”.

Not Without My Groceries

Sunday has turned into chore and errand day. I’d like to say that is a result of my  scheduling mastery, but it really has more to do with procrastination than planning.  Why spend prime evening and weekend hours doing mundane things that are necessity more than enjoyment?

So, that is how I found myself in my neighborhood Kroger this morning, dragging around yet another grocery cart loaded with things that mean more chores later in the day (dinner to cook, lunches to pack). Of all the things I have to do on my Sunday, grocery shopping is my least favorite…aisles of decisions to make and just the first step in a longer list of things to do.

fire truck

A grocery “non-emergency” that brought out the fire department!

But every once in a while, even the mundane provides a shot of adrenaline, such as it did today when the alarms sounded just as I entered the intersection of household cleaners and dairy products.

Err! Err! Err!

I jumped at the first blare and stopped with my fellow shoppers to look around for the source of the piercing sound. Lights suspended from the ceiling flashed in rhythm with the ear splitting pulses, giving us the answer.

Err! Err! Err!

A bewildered grocery-getter to my left wondered out loud, “What do we do?”

The stock boy conveniently replenishing the Greek yogurt nearby
answered, “Oh, don’t worry. Somebody just bumped something. It’ll stop soon.”

Err! Err! Err!

The thought crossed my mind that this low-level employee might not actually have the authority to give the all-clear, but my need to restock my own shelves spurred me on through dairy, frozen food and pharmacy at a near sprint. On my way, I passed countless children with hands ear-muffed over little ears, making me glad I’d left the Young One home for this morning’s adventure.

Err! Err! Err!

After ten minutes of ear-splitting wails, management finally took to the intercom to assure shoppers all was well.  The looks of agony on the faces of the shoppers told me otherwise, and the blaring continued.

Err! Err! Err!

As I moved to the far end of the store to the check out lanes, I said I quick thank you to the neuro-medicine gods who had granted me a reprieve from a recent bout of cluster headaches. Everything the internet says about these headaches being the worst of all migraines is true–pain that feels like ice picks jabbing into temples, hot pokers boring into eye sockets, brain freeze without the benefit of tasty ice cream. I truly had no desire to set off another six week cluster, but on this Sunday morning, I had an even greater need that moved me. If I abandoned this cart now, I’d have to come back and do my least favorite of chores all over again. I could not let that happen!

Even as I had the thought, I felt the first jab of the ice pick over my left eye.

Err!  Err!  Err!

Self-checkout beckoned me like a lighthouse in the fog. There I could move at my speed, no waiting on a cashier with little sense of urgency. I maneuvered to the last open scanner.

Err! Err! Err!

All the years of weekly shopping paid off this morning. My hands moved with speed and confidence. Bar code, scan, bag. Bar code, scan, bag.

The adrenaline flowed.

The ice pick jabbed again, and I ignored the firefighters standing by the door.

Err! Err! Err!

“These are my groceries,” I repeated to myself. “I will not leave without them.”

Bar code, scan, bag.

More firefighters to the left.

Err! Err! Err!

Jab!

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err!  Err! Err!

Jab!

“Attention Kroger shoppers…”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!

Jaaab!

“Although, there is no emergency at this time…”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!

Jaaaaaab!

“The fire department would like us all to evacuate the building.”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!

Jaaaaaaaaaab and twist!

“No,” I say through clenched teeth.

I glance at my cart–only six items left.

“Not without my groceries!”

Bar code, scan, bag.

Err! Err! Err!

I am determined. I am shaking. I am crazed by this blaring in my head and this chore that I dread more than the monster of all headaches. I glare at the cashier manning self-checkout and dare him to make me stop.

Err! Err! Err!

Finally, I scan the last loaf of bread and swipe my credit card. I throw the bags in my cart and stride past the cashier, the manager and the fire fighters.

groceries

Safe at last!

At the door, I see half-loaded carts parked haphazardly and a line of moms staring longingly at my bagged purchases, their admiration plain on their faces.

I nod knowingly. I am not empty carted.

I will not be back this weekend.

I did not let Kroger defeat me.

I raise my fist in victory, and shout the war cry of harried mom everywhere…

“NOT WITHOUT MY GROCERIES!”