Live, Learn and LOL

There must be something in the air I tell ya. I’m full of stories this week! I promise you, dear readers, I do not make these things up. Sometimes I surprise myself with how fantastical my stories sound but this is my life for you!

My mother is coming to town today and has decided she wants to stay at the ‘El hotel aka our house. Fun fact, me and my husband rhyme. Both our names end in “el” (his with two L’s). We have a lot of nicknames similar to Brangelina unfortunately. Guess that’s what happens when you’ve been together 10 years.

So when mom comes to town you know what that means…

Cleaning. Lots and lots of cleaning.

You see, we both work all day long. By the time we get home, we have other leisurely things on our minds we want to do rather than cleaning. I’m usually trying to dive into a book and he’s looking to play his video games. There’s also feeding the screaming cats, Turtle and ourselves. By the end of the night nobody wants to do any additional cleaning so that stuff usually waits til the weekend.

Obviously it got bumped. The pile of laundry my cats have been making a bed in the last week went in the wash, the kitchen, living room and dining room got cleaned and sheets put on the bed in the spare room.

Earlier in the day my husband went to Wally World (Walmart) to get some food stuffs we didn’t want to get at Sam’s. For those that don’t know Sam’s Club is warehouse shopping. That means you buy things in bulk. Instead of one box of pasta noodles, you buy 6. I wanted red potatoes. Sam has them in a bag of like 30 potatoes where Walmart has a bag of like 10 potatoes. We’re only two people and 2 cats who are obligate carnivores. It’d be a waste to buy 30 potatoes and watch them bad.

Tangents! Sorry. Back to the story.

One of the things he went to Walmart to get was Drain-O. It’s a really strong chemical cleaner that unclogs drains. In our case, we needed it for our bathroom sink. We originally thought the stopper was stuck in the down position and that’s why the drain was backing up. Turns out the stopper is broken and we have a big clog. Since he forgot the Drain-O I decided to consult our buddy Youtube because I remember seeing “natural” drain cleaners.

Youtube led me to a few videos that showed people using baking soda and vinegar and really hot water to unclog their drains of debris. If you ever made a paper machè volcano in grade school, you have an idea of what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. I poured the baking soda down the drain and then followed it with the vinegar and watched the fizzy action. Then we flushed it with hot water.

It didn’t quite work.

So I went and grabbed a butter knife to try and try to break some things up down there. I should mention that we haven’t had any drain clog problems since we moved in last September. I have no idea when the previous owner may have flushed their drains. The butter knife was loosening up some of the stuff buried in there but the knife wasn’t long enough. The light bulb went off in my head that maybe a chopstick would work better cause it’s longer than a butter knife. We keep chopsticks in our house cause we eat a lot of Chinese food and sushi. My husband liked my idea and suggest I tape two together so we had a longer probe to poke the clog with. I went into the kitchen and searched in the drawer of random for some masking tape and taped the two sticks together.

I was poking at the clog and you can hear it making little air pockets. Of course we had a conversation that went something like this:

“Hmm.”
“What’s wrong?”
“I don’t think I’m poking it hard enough”
“Really now?”
“Yeah. Maybe you should try it. You’re better at poking things than I am”
“What does that mean?”
“Exactly what I said.” (With this cheesy grin on my face)

*husband just shakes his head*

Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

After a while we just decided to flush with hot water again and walk away for a few minutes. When we came back it was still clogged. We’re both getting a little frustrated at this point and I start to think maybe we should make another Walmart run and get the Drain-O. My husband didn’t want to do that because it was late in the evening.

“What are we going to do then? I’m not taking the sink apart and I know you don’t want to either.”
“Let’s try the baking soda and vinegar again”
“I think that stuff is part of the clog now.”
“Hmm.”
“I KNOW! Let’s try the plunger!”
“I knew were going to say that.”
“It works for the toilet so logically that force action should work for the sink.”

Suffice to say, the plunger DEFINITELY worked. However, we learned a valuable lesson.

You see that hole? I never really gave that hole a second thought until last night. When I plunged the sink, all the sludge buildup that’s been sitting in that drain for who knows how long came blowing out of that hole. Think of a whale spurting water out of his blowhole but with black sludge all over the bathroom sink and mirror.

We both froze the minute it happened and then I started laughing and laughing and laughing. I had sludge on my face and arms and all I could do was laugh. That was the funniest thing I never expected! I looked down at the drain, ran the water and shouted, “ALL CLEAR!”. My husband was not amused but he couldn’t help but crack a smile because I was hysterically laughing from that moment until the end of us thoroughly disinfecting our bathroom.

Independence Food

Warning: If you are a herbivore and the sight of meat bothers you, it would probably be in your best interests to skip this post because I’m an omnivore and there will be pictures of barbecued goodness.

As a special request from my friends across the pond (whether that be the Atlantic pond or the Pacific pond) I’m making a post about food that I pretty much only eat about once a year. The 4th of July is Independence Day in America. That means that the original 13 colonies were declared their own nation, freed form the British Empire. Most countries have their own special day like this one. Here, it means stars and stripes everywhere and the colors red, white and blue.

However, for my husband and I, it means ribs; specifically the Rib, White and Blue Festival that takes place in downtown Akron. Yes, I said Rib instead of red. It literally means how it sounds. The city closes off main street and different vendors set up with food and drinks.

I’ve mentioned it before but I’ll say it again, I LOVE food. I love eating food so if there is a festival celebrating food, I’m there.

I want to say there’s about 10 different rib vendors there. They have all kinds of cool signs and trophies showing how many food festivals their ribs have one. Akron holds it’s own contest on July 4th between the vendors and the winner gets another trophy as well as prize money.

When we go, we usually try to decide on two rib vendors and get a half slab of ribs from each. It’s a little confusing who won first place for this year and of course the vendors are trying to get you to buy theirs so they may say they won first place without saying which year they won it. We go by the banners above our head and look for ones that have won 1st place in 2017. Besides the ribs, we also get brisket, some sides and grilled corn on the cob.

This year we passed on the corn because the vendor took cash only and we didn’t have any on us. They’ve really upgraded though from previous years thanks to technology. There are these cool fancy card readers that people can hook up on their cellphones which makes check out a breeze.

Can’t go to a festival and not get a funnel cake. For those who don’t know, a funnel cake is basically fried dough topped with powdered sugar. You can also get it with chocolate, caramel and sometimes fruit preserves. Lastly, we absolutely always get Dippin Dots. Dippin Dots is ice cream! It doesn’t look like ice cream but I assure you it is. It’s made using a liquid nitrogen process. Strawberry is my favorite ice cream flavor. My husband got cotton candy.

Besides fireworks later in the day, there’s also a band playing at Lock 3 stadium. They played the Star Spangled Banner but what was really fun was while we were standing in line, they played some Star Wars scores. You also had the rib vendors playing music from their own sound systems. One of the vendors we stood in line for was jamming to Prince and Michael Jackson which means I was jamming to Prince and Michael Jackson because it’s impossible not to (plus I love dancing).

Fireworks didn’t start until 9:45pm and that was just too late for us to stick around. I’ve already ruined my sleep schedule these last four days so I thought it would be best to go home and grab some early shut eye so I could have some semblance of non-zombie behavior at work today.

To my American friends, did you participate in any fun 4th of July festivities? To my non-American friends, do you have special festivals for your Independence Days? Let me know in the comments below!

Passing Through

My mom is throwing a birthday party for my grandma in two weeks. She’s turning 75. The party is going to take place at a shelter inside the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. I went up there today to have a video chat with my mom so she could see the place and have the exact picture in her mind’s eye. She lives out of state, you see, so she was only going based of stock photos from the web.

After I showed her the shelter, I decided to walk to the trails. My husband and I came to visit two weeks back but we didn’t have enough time to walk anything. I noticed a trail called the Overlook and was definitely interested in finding out what I was going to “look over”.

You know, walking through a forest is something else. It made me realize how we’re all passengers in this world; in our lifetime however long it may be. Nature was here before us and it will certainly be here long after we’re gone. Yes, we manipulate it, change it, kill it, but it always finds a way to adapt, survive, and in some cases evolve.

I probably walked about 35 minutes and it was just beautiful. Really brings you down to Earth in a literal, massive way. I don’t know how this place will look a year from now, 10 years from now, 50 years from now, but I enjoyed it today and I’ll enjoy it again each time I go back because every day is always new and different.

How does nature make you feel? Do you agree with what I said? Does this make you want to come to Ohio and explore with me?! Let me know in the comments below!

Size Doesn’t Matter

SHAME!

 

If your mind went straight to the gutter… well so did mine but this is my story so I don’t count.

I can’t deny that when I first read the word prompt, I thought it said ballsy (it’s actually brassy). Similar, no? Well they have the same meaning! The American language I swear…

This story is not in the gutter I promise!

Do you like spicy food? If so, you’ll love this story.

My husband works for a well known company with a lot of, mostly men, with diverse backgrounds. One day, one such friend was telling him a story about his pepper garden. He grew all kinds of hot, chili peppers. The guy told him about his setup — you know placement of peppers, care needs and jarring process for the winter. He then proceeded to to ask my husband if he had ever tried any of these peppers. Some, yes. Some, no.

I want to let you dear readers know that there is a such thing as a hotness scale. It’s called the Scoville scale. It basically measures how hot something is before it burns the tastebuds off your tongue; at least that’s how I’m dubbing it. Why people subject themselves to this kImage result for hot pepper scaleind of torture, I have no idea.

Anyway, one of the peppers he grew in his garden was the habenero. On the Scoville scale, this is rated as 200,000-350,000 heat units. The 5th hottest pepper! The hottest pepper, in heat units, is pure Capsaician with a ridiculous 15 million Scoville heat unit rating.

So this friend gives my husband two to take home and tells him to cook them up with spaghetti sauce or something to get a taste for the heat. A little goes a long way.

Remember that I said this.

I’m shown these peppers when he gets home.

This is right before the fun started. He got this idea into his head that instead of cooking them in a sauce, we should just try them the way they are. They’re tiny so they can’t be that bad right? Me, being the logical woman (keyword woman) that I am, I’m game for this test! So he has one and I have one. I take a tiny little bite. Like right off the tip! Trust me when I say its hot. I was able to tolerate it but I definitely doused my mouth with lots of water (because milk is disgusting) and some bread.

My husband sees my reaction and figures, it can’t be that bad. I try to tell him that what he’s about to do is probably not a good idea. “I’ll be fine.” Yeah, okay Hercules. So you know what he does? He decides to bite half of it. HALF. OF. IT! At first, nothing happened and I thought, okay maybe he can handle this. I mean we’ve been to Quaker Steak and Lube and were able to handle their triple hot wings just fine, especially him.

Yeah, no.

He RUNS to the bathroom and sticks his head under the sink. He then orders me to go to the kitchen to get the whole gallon of milk and the whole loaf of bread. I’m definitely in tears at this point — tears of joy and laughter! I could not stop laughing! He’s over the toilet drowning in a gallon of milk and trying to sponge the heat out of his mouth with a loaf of bread. We were living with his mom at the time and she comes running like, “What’s going on??? Are you OK???” And I can’t even speak cause I’m just sitting and laughing my ass off. In hindsight, I should have recorded it!

It probably took about an hour or so for him to be able to not breathe like dragon at which point the woman (pointing at me here) says, “That’s what you get.”

So you see, the moral of this story is size doesn’t matter matter cause tiny things can punch you in the face and make you cry. Also, when touching hot things, don’t touch your face, you know around the eye area, with said hot stained fingers. You’ll thank me later.

Poem #4

Lilibonelle today.
Stanzaic: Consisting of at least 4 stanzas
Syllabic:  Lines may be of unequal, unspecified length
Refrain:  The nth line of the 1st stanza must be the first line of the nth stanza.
Pretty self explanatory here. The refrain basically means that the second line of the first stanza begins the second stanza, the third line begins the third stanza and the fourth line begins the fourth stanza. I called this one Birth:

 

endurance of pain
to listen to the joyous cry
the touch of fragile fingers
overfilling her heart with love

to listen to the joyous cry
of the first breath of life
screaming to the world
that its finally free

the touch of fragile fingers
whose grip holds
the larger finger of its mother
claiming her as its own

overfilling her heart with love
as she sheds teas of happiness
for the life she brought into this world
to cherish for always and ever

Nostalgia

I follow a lot of poets on here and it got me thinking about a poetry writing class I took back in high school. Back then I wrote poetry because I didn’t have a choice, it was required for the class. I don’t think I’m very talented at all unless it’s being forced upon me. I mean I even took a Shakespeare class and besides reading all the classics, there were a few moments where I had to write a sonnet or two. I look back fondly on this because my mom thought I was really good at it and told me I should look into being a poet full time. At the time that was laughable especially since I had my sights set on being a chef thanks to the Home Economics class I took. You know how you try all these different courses and extra curriculars and decide that that’s going to be your career? I had a lot of those; chef, professional volleyball player, flutist, track star, etc… I tried everything. Anyway, I thought about all those poems I used to write and went and logged into an old email address I don’t use anymore. I saved a lot of things. I noticed I saved my whole poetry portfolio because back then I was trying to get my now husband to like me by sending him my poems..

So I got this idea into my head that maybe it would be cool to share some of these poems. I think I have about 10 or so and see what you all think? For now though I want to end this by sharing this poem my mom gave me when I was a teenager. I’m not sure who authored it but I thought it was pretty cute especially since it spells out my name.

Jolt

No Title Because I Don’t Know What To Call It

You ever have those posts where you can’t just think of a title because you’re not sure where you’re going in your writing yet? Even by the end of this I don’t think it’ll have a title. This is kind of a random rant; fair warning.

I want to start by saying I’m not a religious person. I didn’t grow up with it and never really had a desire to delve into that world. I don’t judge others on their beliefs as long as they don’t judge me on having no beliefs. On Friday I got to witness one of my very best friends on this planet marry his long time boyfriend. I remember years back when he would say if gay marriage was ever legal in Ohio he would marry within two months of it happening. So last year when it actually became reality you can imagine how we all felt. He didn’t stick to the within two months but that’s okay because it did happen. This wedding was the most last minute, thrown together wedding I’ve ever seen but it was bursting with love! I mean, it’s indescribable really but it made me feel some kind of way.

I always think about what I can have. What I mean is, you know how you look at other people’s lives and compare it to yours and always point out something you’re missing or maybe something you want? I used to have those moments. Back when I worked 3 jobs, 65 hours a week, always feeling as if I never had enough money and would always push and try harder to climb that ladder and be other people with their extravagant lives. It was always about the money you know? Money would buy more things and better my life and make me happy even though I’d had my long time boyfriend (now husband) who worked just as hard.

I look back now and just marvel at how silly I was being. I look back and see how I was measuring my happiness against how other people lived their lives. Was I striving for them or for me?

Slowly I began to stop caring. There are always going to be people in your life who judge you for whatever the hell they feel like judging you for. But then you look and you see those friends, those family members who don’t care about your 1998 loud ass car as long as the car gets you to the bookstore so you can spend all your money where it counts. The friends who don’t care that your house is a mess because it looks lived in and that’s all that matters. Those friends who don’t care that you’re broke most of the time because we can throw stuff together in the kitchen and watch YouTube videos all day. The husband who doesn’t care about your wild hair and unshaven legs when you’re lazy because he thinks you’re beautiful no matter what.

Then you really open your eyes and begin to see that you’ve been happy the whole damn time. And you go to the wedding that was thrown together last minute and share the joy of everlasting love in the chaos. You realize you’ve been there since day one and seen the good the bad and the ugly and throughout it all cheered your friends on and will continue to do so forever. That they recognized this in you and is the reason they selected you to experience their special day and the many days to come.

I don’t need to be money wealthy. Money is nice, don’t get me wrong, but it can never buy the connections that truly matter in this world. And for that, I am most grateful.

Now I’m going to go eat cake for breakfast. Have a Happy Sunday. 🙂

Synonymous

Have you ever looked up the synonyms of a word before? There are so many different ways to convey the one meaning using a variety of words.

Today’s daily prompt word is: unravel.

I must admit before I even googled synonyms my first thought was orgasm. I’m sorry but that is the most positive way to unwind which is synonymous to unravel. But then you have the negative connotations such as when you feel your world is falling apart or you’re failing or you’re picking at that loose strand on your shirt and you ruin it because the whole thing unwinds into nothingness so now you have to buy a new shirt. Or me picking at this hangnail even though I know it’s going to unravel into an ugly, bloody mess. Even still you have the investigative meaning; I’m trying to figure out what show I should binge watch next. Too many choices Netflix!

One of the synonyms is twisted or knotted. Then you have the antonym listed as braid or plait. I feel like those are still synonyms and not antonyms. Isn’t a braid a smooth knot?

You can be knotted, failing and puzzled only to turn around and be ironed out, resolved and illuminated all in the same word.

The English language is so complicated.

BlindFold Me

I’ve been on a contemporary romance binge read lately. The series in particular I’ve been devouring is called the I-Team series by Pamela Clare. The “I” stands for investigative reporter team; or at least that’s what I think it stands for. The premise of these stories is you have heroine who is a member of this team who, in one way or another, gets involved in serious political drama from basic research on a story. For example, in one of the stories, the heroine is Navajo American and she reports on environmental issues and the happenings on the Native American reservation. During a religious ceremony where they are purifying themselves for one reason or another, police interrupt them and cite them with violating land laws set by the city. Later we learn its a cover up for nefarious, unlawful digging of important Indian artifacts as well as a burial site for murders. Then the bad guy ends up trying to pin it on the reporter and when that doesn’t work, proceeds to try to have her murdered.

Now, you can’t have a heroine without the hero. Well, you could, depending on the book but this is romance so there has to be a hero. The hero in these stories is usually someone who is either involved with the investigation somehow or stumbles upon the heroine in a time when she needs help. In the case of the story above, the hero is a park ranger who has a love for the environment and has been helping to protect it and keeping the peace with the Native Americans. The author used to be an investigative reporter in real life so a lot of the technical and political jargon she includes in her stories have a kernel of truth to them. In her acknowledgements section, she lists people she thanked for helping her get the information correct like park rangers, U.S. marshals, nurses, etc. It’s pretty neat.

So now you have your investigative reporter heroine with her park ranger hero and circumstances bring two strangers together in a dangerous setting. He takes it upon himself to be her protector and she allows it. Then in like a week or two the woman realizes she loves the man, the man doesn’t want long term commitment but at the same time can’t stay away from her while they’re both being hunted by murderers. That’s a big dose of adrenaline thrown in the mix and they can’t help but fall madly in love with each other right? I love these stories even though I find it hard to believe in instant love. Like how does one stranger blindly trust another stranger with her entire life in one moment? I mean he’s a park ranger, or in the other stories, he’s a senator or an ex-con or undercover federal agent so they have tons of combat and survival training and they’re all males who need love in their life so I guess it’s only natural for the heroine to take on the damsel role (not necessarily in complete distress) and it definitely makes for some juicy reading.

Sometimes you get a surprise and it’s the man who knows before the woman but most of the time women know first. You know now that I think about it, my own relationship wasn’t instant love but he definitely knew long before I did. I didn’t have murderers after me, thank goodness, but when you hear that phrase “love is blind” I wonder if it should actually say “love is seeing” because most of the time one knows and just has to convince the other that they know too.

Healer Class

Have you ever played an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game)?

These group event strategy games always consist of a group of key players when fighting a battle. First you need a tank. A tank has the most HP (hit points) in your party. This means they can take the brunt of the damage being thrown your party’s way. A tank is usually a paladin or a ninja or some other defensive class depending on the game. They have shields or, in the case of the ninja, ninjitsu, that make them hardier to taking damage.  Next, you need DDs. DDs are damage dealers. These are your samurais, archers, monks and warriors. All they do is deal damage (punch, kick, slice, etc) and create combos with one another to deal as much damage as possible.

Now you need your DOTs. These are your damage over time dealers. They usually consist of sorcerers, summoners and puppeteers. Sorcerers deal magic damage using the elements such as fire, ice, wind, earth and lightning damage. They can also cast spells like Poison or Slow that slowly deal damage over time as long as it continues to be cast when it wears off. Summoners and puppeteers can bring out avatars to deal damage with the DDs while they can stand back and stay safe.

Finally you have your healer. This is the most important job. The party cannot function without a healer. The healer is usually your white mage or conjurer and their job is to keep everyone alive. The healer casts protection buffs on the party such as Protect, Shell, and Stoneskin. The healer is responsible for keeping their MP (mana points) up at all times. The healer is responsible for keeping ReRaise on themselves because if they die they have to be able to get back up as quickly as possible and keep healing. They are even responsible for raising party members at the right moments while keeping the rest alive. The healer is the ultimate multitasker and vital to the success of an event. If your healer dies (without proper backup spells in place), you lose.

I hope you enjoyed my random nerd moment. Compliments of my many Final Fantasy XI years. I’d make a terrible healer in real life but I always look back fondly on those years and think to myself that maybe one day I can get back into that wonderful fantasy world again. 🙂