Tag Archives: Humor

Name Your Pest…Then Throw A Party In Its Honor

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Two amorous specimens on the side of my house the other day…

For the past couple of weeks, I, along with the rest of my fellow Central Floridians, have been living with our yearly visitors—Love Bugs. They are so named because they stay…er…”coupled” for days at a time. They even fly around that way, walk around that way, and if you see a single one flying or walking around, it’s likely because he just hatched, or maybe he’s just doomed, like a lot of people, to be unlucky in love.

Love Bugs are more or less harmless, and kinda cute. That is, unless they are in a large swarm around your car on the interstate—literally to the point that they obscure vision and make driving dangerous. That happens quite a bit here in Florida, because the little critters are also attracted to car exhaust so they swarm around the major highways and byways. In droves, they tend to last about 3 weeks, then they mysteriously disappear. Although sometimes they do come back for round two sometime during the summer…

As you can see, the little darlings can make quite a mess…oh, and here’s a tip: if you don’t wash them off right away, their tiny corpses will eat your paint right off!

When I was growing up, I lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Our pest was the infamous Kudzu. This vine like plant was introduced from its native Asia, into the southeastern U.S. to be used as ground cover. HA! The joke was on us, because it proceeded to cover the ground—everywhere, and take over small cities, such as Chattanooga.

See what I mean?

We’re a hearty lot, however, with twisted, bawdy senses of humor for the most part, so Chattanoogans celebrated this pesty plant each year with the annual Kudzu Ball, held on the same night that Chattanooga’s social elite hold the Cotton Ball. It was a chance to display that tenacity that keeps all Southerners going through the best of times, and the worst of times…”If you can’t beat ‘em, make a party theme around them.” Oh, and the opportunity to mock our snooty “betters” is just a bonus…

Since I moved away from Chattanooga in my 20’s, I have lived all over…I mean ALL over. And you know what I noticed? Each region of the country, each city and townlet usually has some sort of unique pest to call their own.

For example, in Central and Northern California, you often get smelly and slimy, not to mention loud sea lion invasions….

Southern Oregon, specifically Klamath Falls, has these little guys—neon green Midges, which swarm around during the warmer months, much like our Love Bugs…

Wherever you live, you probably have your own special pest. It annoys you to no end when you live there, but you know what? If you really think hard about it, it (whatever it is) adds character to an area and you sorta miss it when you move away.

Wonder what my current neighbors would think of organizing a Love Bug Ball? Maybe with a Valentine’s Day tie in…hmmm….

If You Need Me, I’ll Be On My Farm…

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I donned my detective costume for this writing assignment…

When I’m stressed, or overworked, or overwhelmed (one or more of these happens at least once a day), I escape to a little place known around these parts as L.M. Farm. There, after about 20 minutes of planting, harvesting, petting the animals, giving and receiving gifts with my neighbors, all is right with the world again. That’s because I am one of the estimated 75 million folks each month who love to play Farmville, which is now the top Zynga game on Facebook.

What makes Farmville so popular? Well, according to one article I pulled up this morning, people love Farmville because it is a tangled web of social obligations. This has to do with people looking for engagement with others, I guess, but at arm’s length and from the comfort of their own living room. It can, in some cases, become an added stressor rather than a stress reliever, if those self imposed obligations to give and receive, harvest and plow, become yet another chore on the overloaded to-do list. And, if you have a truly addictive personality, you can get into real trouble because Zynga offers “Farm Bucks” for a fee, if only you’ll click that button after you input your handy dandy credit card number. My advice? Don’t even go down that road. This is a free game, and when it ceases to be free, then it ceases to be fun.

What do I love MOST about my Farm? All the pretty colors!

Interestingly, typical Farmville players buck general gamer trends and are in fact NOT young and male, but 40-something women! According to Good Morning America, Zynga originally developed the game to appeal to teens, but they seem to be just about the only demographic that doesn’t play. I’ve noticed that some Facebook users have an especially virulent hatred of Farmville, hence the popularity of several Facebook Groups entitled “I don’t care about your Farm…”, which prompted a counter Group,  “I don’t care that you don’t care about my Farm”, and the counter counter group I saw today, “I don’t care that you don’t care, that I don’t care about your Farm”.

Yes, those ARE my initials, fashioned from pink and purple hay bales. Clever, no? 😉

I posted the following question on my Facebook Wall:

ATTN: FARMVILLE PLAYERS! I just had a burst of brain activity which sometimes leads to a future Blog. 😉 But, I need your help…Tell me, briefly, and as a comment to this status line, Why Do You Play Farmville? Why do you like it more than other online games?

My dogs, Snickers and Scarlett, post treat!

Not surprisingly, most of my Friends didn’t answer (they’re probably members of one of those “I don’t care about your Farm” groups), but the two who did are the very two who I can always count on to provide me with nails and boards for whatever nutball project I’m “working hard on” for my Farm. Well, make that farm(s), as I’ve recently been suckered into adding yet another Farm in the English countryside…Oy Vey! These two Friends are also within the core demographic of typical Farmville users too—40-something, fabulous females whose Farms are many, many levels above mine…

So what did my Friends have to say about why they love Farmville?

I heard this from Farmer Ivy, who compiled a list of the Top Ten Reasons She Loves Farmville, a la Letterman:

  1. Requires no serious thought, relaxes brain.
  2. Makes me feel like I am really working while in my pj’s in my bed… Therefore I am not really lazy.
  3. I just have to stay ahead of {my friend} Claudia and can’t let up one minute.
  4. I think I am getting a six pack from all that plowing. Hum, well, I did buy one yesterday.
  5. Keeps my mind off of sex, men and inpure thoughts.
  6. Gives me a sense of self worth since Obama put us in the toilet.
  7. Keeps me from going to Walmart and the gas station.
  8. Cheaper than going to Walmart and especially the gas station.
  9. Since I don’t have grandchildren, the little pigs and sheep gives me a granny fix.
  10. Fantasy land…Although there are others I like more. 🙂

Farmer Kim said:

“Mindless entertainment, I guess. I prefer FV to other FB games because I can play as little or as much as I like. I don’t need to worry about falling behind like I do on some of the other games, but at the same time there is always something I can do on my farm if I have time to waste”.

To which she added a few minutes later….

“Actually, another burst of brain activity on my end tells me that I am horribly addicted to the silly game and I don’t think I actually even know why”.

And finally, a middle aged Male Farmer, who we’ll call Farmer X has said on multiple occasions…

“I love my Farm. I have everything just the way I want it. I wish I could live there…maybe when I retire.”

No kidding…Farmer X has IT ALL! An Enchanted Forest, a Family Cemetery, etc. See for yourself…

Thanks for your input, Farmers Ivy, Kim, and X—I’ll just say ditto. Keep sending those boards and nails! I’ve got an English sheep pen to finish…

Now it’s your turn. Do you love Farmville? Hate it? Love it, but need a 12 Step Program because of it? Comment below!

In Praise of Saturday Morning Cartoons

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Now THOSE were effective dramatizations of multiculturalism, folks! Thanks for ruining this one for me Will Ferrell…you suck…

Way back when…way before Richard Hatch ever flashed a butt cheek on the first Survivor, even before Ross and Rachel took a break (or not) on Friends, cartoons existed between the hours of 8 and 12 on a Saturday morning, and they were special because of it. For many, many years now, kids have been spoiled with several cable cartoon channels, running all the cartoons anyone could handle, 24/7. I guess this is considered progress and improvement for kids, but cartoons’ ho-hum availability has also robbed my children of the excitement of Saturday morning that I remember so well…

Where the criminals ALWAYS would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for you kids!

When I was growing up, I waited all week for Saturday morning. It was comforting to get up and eat my breakfast in front of the television, staying in my pajamas till noon for just that one special day. There, I communed with my favs….HR Pufnstuf, Isis, The Land of the Lost, The Jetsons, Lidsville, Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats, and more. Now, most of these aren’t considered “cartoons”, I guess, due to their lack of animation, and use of actors, puppets, etc. I still think of them as cartoons, because these were the quintessential 70’s cartoons to me. This also seems to be somewhat of a lost art in children’s programming today, as the pendulum has swung back to all animation.

I don’t know what Sid and Marty were smoking in the 70’s, but the manifestations of their acid trips made for some great t.v.!

And every Saturday, my weekly cartoon event always wrapped up with The Bill Cosby Show, the perfect hybrid of real people and animation, with entertainment provided by Fat Albert and the gang, followed by life lessons from the eternally cool Bill Cosby. And throughout Saturday morning cartoon viewing, we kids were treated to mini animated educational spots in between our cartoons, courtesy of SchoolHouse Rock. Those were the BEST! How do kids learn how a Bill becomes a Law nowadays, anyway?

We should put up a big screen on the Beltway and make them all watch this one looping while they are sitting in gridlock. They seem to have forgotten how it’s all supposed to work…

Oh, and a trip down cartoon memory lane would not be complete without a mention of the annual Superbowl of my childhood—the Fall Sneak Peek that each of the networks did on a Friday night, about the time school started. This always preceded premiere Saturday of the new Saturday Morning Cartoon season, with all the new and exciting shows the networks had in store for us kids. I remember this being a huge deal for me every year…rather like my current yearly Oscar Red Carpet fashion snark-fest, held each and every February on my Facebook Wall for me and all my snarky Friends.

Back when cartoons were special, it also seemed that kids spent more time watching “family programming” with their parents…shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie, and the like. These types of shows were designed to appeal to a wide audience, and gave kids and adults talking points as well, in a 70’s touchy feely, socially progressive sort of way. And really, if you were a kid back then, you had no other choices in television viewing during primetime, because with the exception of the aforementioned Fall Sneak Peek Special once a year, these shows were all she wrote during the week. Now the one exception to that rule was, of course, the infamous After School Specials, which melodramatically chronicled the kid and teen social disaster du jour, and were also designed to get parents and kids talking.

I guess it’s probably not PC to call Albert by his full given name anymore–Fat Albert…Na, Na, Na, gonna have a good time…Hey, Hey, HEY

Time marches on…fads come and go….and trends like the one I’ve described here, come along and change everything permanently. I embrace that, because hanging on to outdated ways of doing things, or clinging to bygone days is generally not good for people. But that being said, I miss the days when Saturday Morning–and Cartoons, were special. No apologies.

Until Next Time…

A WittyBizGal Authentic Winner E-terview; Author and Motivational Speaker Mary Foley

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I met Mary Foley a few months ago when she traveled here to Florida to deliver the keynote speech for my organization’s Independence Program graduation ceremony. Our purpose is to empower women in our community to work toward their own independence—financial, and otherwise. Many of our graduates had fought tough battles over the nine months they were with us in order to reach that amazing day when they could stand up assert to all of us in the audience that they had made impressive strides, and were well on their way to being strong, independent women who were now prepared to support themselves and give back to the community.

These gals deserved something special—or should I say someone really special, and Mary Foley did not disappoint! She made the graduates and all of us in the audience laugh and cry and feel great about being women. Then she inspired each of us to look inside and first figure out what we (not our mothers, our husbands, our sisters, or our kids) wanted out of this life we’ve been given—and told us to go out there and get it!

So, for this fifth and final in my series of Authentic Winner E-terviews, I am so honored that Mary graciously agreed to share with us a little bit about who she is, what she found out that she wanted out of life, and how she got it. I know you’ll love Mary Foley as much as I do, and will be inspired to get out there and live your own dreams, whether you’re a man or a woman.

WBG: Mary, you jumpstarted your career at a little company called America Online, back when it really was little. What was the one most important thing you learned during your time at AOL about being a successful working woman?

Mary Foley: When I was 23 years old with a newly earned industrial engineering degree, the only thing I knew was what I didn’t want for my career. I didn’t want to be an engineer!  I truly wished that someone would have waved a magic wand to tell me what I should do, where I should direct myself. There wasn’t anyone. It was up to me to decide, so I decided to move to a metropolitan area with lots of jobs and get started in something, anything, to pay the bills. From there, I could evaluate and make more choices.

I learned a lot of lessons during my AOL career, but the biggest one I learned is that you are in charge of your career. You are ultimately the only one responsible for your career (and life for that matter). And the first hurdle to success is between your ears. You have to determine where you want to take your career. There’s no waiting for someone to tell you, there’s no pre-determined path. So, learn all you can from mentors. Utilize all the career development opportunities that are offered by your employer and otherwise. But, the final direction and decisions regarding your career are up to you.

WBG: These days you travel all around the country teaching women how to “increase their sanity, confidence, and fun” and talk to women about women’s issues on your “Girlfriend We Gotta Talk” radio show when you’re back home in Virginia. I bet you’ve learned a lot about women! What are three things we all have in common, no matter what our walk of life, income level, or educational & career background?

Mary Foley: We are so much more alike than we are different!  We all want to feel good about who we are, we all want to feel confident in being able to handle life, and there’s not a woman yet that I’ve met that doesn’t want to laugh more often and more easily. The good news is that since so many women want the same thing, we can share what works and be there to support one another!

WBG: Who is the most interesting guest you’ve ever interviewed and featured on your radio show, and why?

Mary Foley: We’ve had so many great guests that it’s hard to pick just one.  However, a person who jumps to mind as exceptional is Marci Shimoff, New York Times bestselling author, featured speaker on The Secret, and transformational expert. She’s so good that she is one of the very few guests we’ve had on our show twice!  What makes her stand out is that she so effectively pierces through emotional and mental clutter with her straightforward concepts and poignant stories. The research findings she shared about being “happy for no reason” or experiencing “love for no reason” spoke to my head and her real stories spoke to my heart. I even got unexpectedly choked up on-air, which is very unusual for me!  I won’t forget that anytime soon…

WBG: If I decided to branch out and start a WittyBizGal cosmetics company, I would want to include a nail color line. I want to name 3 nail polishes; one for you, one for your mother, and one for your radio co-host. What would I call those three polishes, and what colors would they be?

Mary Foley: I would say I have 3 fabulous colors that I’ve already created that are perfect for you!

  • “Perfection is SOOO Over-rated” is my cappuccino nail color that I like wearing myself that’s a perfect reminder for my driver personality to just chill.
  • “Little Miss Smarty Pants” is a fun medium purple color that was created to honor my mom who would teasingly use the phrase to describe me and my sisters. I always smile when I say this nail color name!
  • “Laughter is My Face Lift” perfectly describes my friend and “Girlfriend We Gotta Talk!” radio show co-host Susie Galvez.  We share lots of laughs, even when we’re talking about serious subjects. And, the fact that she’s a beauty expert just tops it off!

Good luck on your WittyBizCal cosmetics line! ;D

WBG: Your book, Live Like Your Nail Color, along with its related speaking engagements and parties has been wildly popular and successful in getting busy women like me to sit down and think about who we really are & what we want out of life, all while taking a much needed break while our nail color dries. Can you give us a hint about what we can expect next from Mary Foley?

Mary Foley: Given these challenging times, women want more ideas on creating sanity for their lives and confidence for their careers. So, I’m redesigning my website maryfoley.com and creating a Facebook page to share more ideas to help. In addition, I’ve created some new live, in-person programs including about thriving on change and tapping into the secrets of successful women. I look forward to a continued conversation – we’re all in this together!

WBG: Mary, I couldn’t have said it better myself! And I think I can speak for women everywhere when I say that with an advocate like you on our side, our potential for #AuthenticWinning will know no limits! Thanks for allowing us a little peek inside Mary Foley’s World. 🙂

Mary’s Latest Book, Live Like Your Nail Color, is Available on Amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/eyOFu2

To Plan Your Very Own “Live Like Your Nail Color” Party, or to Arrange for Mary Foley to Speak at Your Next Event, Please Visit Her Professional Website at: www.maryfoley.com

To Listen to Recorded Full Radio Broadcasts of Girlfriends Mary Foley & Susie Galvez, Visit Girlfriend We Gotta Talk’s Website: http://www.girlfriendwegottatalk.com/

To Follow Mary on Twitter: @BodaciousMary

Lost Loves Chronicles; Ode to Trader Joe’s

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Photo Credit: Paloma Vazquez http://bit.ly/cgAd9F

When I said my final farewell to the West to head back toward where I came from, the Southeast, I bid goodbye to my favorite place to shop for groceries—Trader Joe’s. Granted, when I lost my primary supplier of gourmet hippie foodstuffs, I gained back my Krystal burgers and the ever popular, genteel yet snide “Bless Your Heart”. Life is about tradeoffs, I guess. When I become nostalgic for my life in the West, I miss not the beautiful Monterey Bay where I lived for three years, or even the infamous Lake Tahoe that was in my backyard for a time, but my weekly trip to Trader Joe’s, no matter where I happened to be living at the time.

There’s just something about that place, and it’s hard to adequately describe. They have all of these little gourmet food items that no other stores have, and for CHEAP too. I mean, so affordable that I don’t know how they pull it off, other than the fact that a lot of the things they sell are their own Trader Joe’s store brand. But, unlike WalMart store brand items, they look, feel, and taste exclusive and expensive. Like the lavender and lemon handmade soaps I always bought and can’t find here…And flowers—oh the flowers! Every week, I had fresh cut flowers in my living room thanks to the huge, gorgeous bunches of them stocked at the front of Trader Joe’s for around $5 each. I felt like Kate Middleton meets Anais Nin or something…I was cooler when I shopped at my Trader Joe’s on the corner. This guy knows exactly what I mean too:

Trader Joe’s, I’m watching you! I see on your website that you are slowly creeping into the land of magnolias, bass fishing, and 100% humidity.

But, this neck of the woods needs to be alerted to the extent of your yummy coolness and clamor for your presence every 40 miles off the Interstate—like these guys:

Photo Credit: Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cracker_Barrel

I know I might sound a little stalkery, but I promise I’m not a bunny boiler, TJ! I just miss you terribly…Maybe you’d like your own Facebook “I Want My Trader Joe’s” Fan Page? Or perhaps a petition signed by 1,000 or so of my fellow Southerners? Maybe a poem…..

The Art and Pathology of Pessimistic Optimism; Confessions of a Middle Aged Beauty Contestant

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If you’re ever asked to deliver my eulogy, you can tell your audience that I was pessimistically optimistic. Now, of course, they’ll all be too prostrate with grief to stop bawling long enough to stare at you like you’re crazy, but in case anybody asks, you can tell them that you say that about me because I never thought I was going to win anything, yet I kept acting as if I would. This is a major theme of my life, actually, definitely worth exploring on a good therapist’s couch someday, but if I spent as much time “exploring” in that way as I probably need to, I’d likely not get off the couch long enough to tend to my blog. This dichotomy of personality is what leads me to enter contests every now and then—contests that, truth be told, I probably don’t have a snowball’s chance of surviving a Florida summer of winning.


A few months ago, I entered the QVC/Bare Minerals “Women of B.E.” contest, in which the grand prize was a trip to the QVC studios, a Women of B.E. eyeshadow kit, and a chance to meet the company’s CEO of Swirl, Tap, and Buff, Ms. Leslie Blodgett. I really do love their makeup, and I like Leslie enough to follow her Tweets and her Facebook Fan Page. I’ve even interacted with her briefly on there, and it’s always fun when a well known person acknowledges your communication and talks back to you. But, as I knew I wouldn’t, but thought I might, I didn’t win that one—didn’t even make it to the top 10. Part of the problem is that in the case of most of these types of contests, the powers that be narrow down the competition to a manageable number by forcing participants to obtain a certain number of “Like” clicks on the internet before the actual judging begins. I don’t have as many close friends as a lot of women do, and am not willing to jeopardize the friendships I do have by nagging people nonstop to keep visiting my entry and clicking on it. I ask once, and that’s pretty much it. Nor am I willing to create 25 different Gmail accounts so that I can be my own best friend and click myself 25 extra times each day until the click voting ends. So, even though I know I’m never going to make it past the first cut, I am convinced that this time, I’m gonna go all the way, baby!

I’m at it again, this time with More Magazine’s annual “Beauty Search”. I resisted this one last year because, frankly, a middle aged beauty contest seemed just a shade past too silly, even for me. More is a great magazine for women who are no longer 25—sort of like Cosmo, Glamour, Vogue & Shape,  all rolled into one and directed at the over 40 female. But, as always with these things, that $10,000 grand prize and a chance to fly to New York and be photographed for the pages of More had my name on it! So, I wrote up my contest entry in about 5 minutes and pasted in that same picture from my blog that I took of myself into the little box, and impulsively became an aging beauty contestant. I might have increased my odds of winning if I’d put some more thought into what I wrote about “Why I Feel More Beautiful Than Ever”, or if I’d had some sort of professional photo taken of myself that didn’t involve saying cheese to the camera in my outstretched arm, but that’s just not how I roll. After all, I’m not going to win anyway, even though I will…


I did all of this in about an hour one morning, the picture’s not half bad, and I actually really meant all the things I said about beauty in my allotted 1500 characters or less. There is some stiff competition though…I never read the fine print in anything until after the fact, but in the last couple of days I was surprised to learn that the contest is open to women who will turn 35 by April, and up. So, there are some young hotties to contend with (I spotted more than one bikini clad rockin’ bod), as well as some ladies who are clearly professional models, or cancer survivors, or women who have triumphed over domestic violence, are running their own successful businesses, are doctors, lawyers, etc. Anyway, you get the picture. And then there’s me—this year’s winner. Be sure to look for me on the pages of More this summer, right after you read this Freshly Pressed blog on the WordPress Homepage…