Are You There Childhood? It’s Me, Carol…

I took a little walk down Nostalgia Lane last night, and went to see the big screen adaptation of the adolescent girl’s bible, “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret.” After 50+ years, they made it into a movie. It was truly must read stuff back in my pre-teen days. I think every girl I knew read it, and I think most of us kept from our mothers that we did. I seem to recall sitting in my best friend Chrissie’s room hiding out with it, we did not want her mom to know what we were up to. With talk of periods, training bras, boys and religion, it was some pretty scary stuff to parents of young girls.

The movie was sweet, and it kept pretty well to the book. Judy Blume was a producer, so she surely wanted to keep it real with the book. I think I was 10, or barely just 11 when I read it, at the age when things are starting to happen for a lot of young girls. I was an early developer, and I got my period just before my 12th birthday. So it was like a handbook for me. I remember reading it and not understanding at all about her religious struggles, particularly the Jewish aspect of her family. And she went to Radio City Music Hall to see the Rockettes, which sounded like the most magical thing in the world, even if I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. They did a great job in the movie of matching all of it to my memories, it was how I had pictured it when I read it forty some years ago.

I giggled during the scenes where the girls are so concerned about their lack of growth in their chest regions. The “We Must, We Must, We Must Increase Our Bust!” was just hysterical to me. How funny to think that all girls really go through this kind of angst. I remember us doing that, and I must have overdone it, given how things turned out, cleavage wise, for me. But it hit it pretty well on the head, because we did hope for a blessing there.

I don’t recall the hoping for my period to come the way they do in the movie and book. I think it is a huge deal, but I remember reading about it in the book, and dreading that it would ever really happen to me. Then it did, at a sleepover, which is like a nightmare. The whole passage into “womanhood” might be a good thing if you had a mom like the one Margaret had, but most of us were not that lucky, and here I am forty one years later still hating it. I think it sucks that a few days a month dominate your life the way it does, for most of your life. That’s a whole other trauma for a whole other post. But it’s a big deal to the girls in the book, and I think the movie did a good job of that too.

Going to the movie last night was a real treat. That book was just the best thing ever for girls at that age, when I was that age. I don’t know if young girls still read it, but I hope they do. It kind of gives the struggle of that adolescent a voice, a place to be understood. If your mom is an open and accessible source for you, it can be a great conversation starter for a young girl hitting that time. That spot where you are still a kid, but changing, but not yet a young woman. The awkward spot. It really gave me a sad smile, because that time for me was rough, as my mom couldn’t quite be what a young girl needs at that moment in life. It put me in that place for a couple of hours, where I was sad about that time, but at the same moment made me smile that I made it through. That’s nostalgia, isn’t it? Looking back and saying, I made it through that time, and here I am now, a better person for it. For me, it is.

I would say “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret” is a sweet little movie. It likely won’t stay in the theaters long, there are no super heroes in it, or Mario and Luigi, or explosions. But it’s spot in the universe for me was just wonderful. A little escape to a time in the late 70s or early 80s that was my life, at that awful, awkward time before you are who you are going to become. When you first discover not all boys are stupid, that getting your period will not happen at a convenient time, and your life is a mess, but so is everyone else’s too. I left the theater, came back to my adult life, and had a little smile for young Carol, who is still here, but with a mortgage, a job, a dog and a pretty good life. Still a little awkward too, but that is a whole other blog.

An Absolute Drag

People sure are getting riled up about Drag Queens lately. I myself can’t quite figure it out. It seems that people haven’t had enough exposure to them to appreciate what they are about. I am all about freedom of expression, and that at its base is what Drag is about. They just dress a little better than the rest of us.

First, how do you know if someone is into drag, if they are not currently dressed in drag? You don’t. Because they are just normal, everyday people when they aren’t performing. I have worked with and know a few people who perform in drag. They weren’t fancy or spectacular in their normal clothes, except that they were spectacular at their day to day lives, just not in a shiny way. It’s funny how people are going on about what perverts they are, or how they are just looking to condition our children into being depraved sickos. I would bet good money you have either met or been in contact with someone who performs in drag but never knew it because they weren’t wearing false eyelashes at the moment.

Have you ever been to a drag show? They are incredibly entertaining! My friend Amy and I went to one when we were in Key West a couple of years ago. It was great! They are true performers! They dance, there are costume changes, they interact with the audience, and from what I could tell, they make some good cash while working! They are talented, and quite outgoing while they make their way around the room. I had a great time, and marveled at their costumes and make-up, and how they have no tell-tale signs of their true gender while they are performing. After the show they are good about answering questions, and you can really appreciate what they are doing, and the time and money they put into their stage personas. Artists, they are artists.

There is one thing I don’t like about Drag Queens, however. They are far better at hair and makeup than I am. I cannot get my makeup to look like I want most days, and I have the natural curly hair that does what it wants, not what I want. Now, they take more time than I do getting ready, which I get, because they are seeing and entertaining more people than I do most days. They also take far better care of their outfits than I do. They can walk and dance in big high heels, I fail miserably at that. They have to look good, and they do, in my opinion.

Now, there is also a big difference between Drag and Transgender. Most people that perform in drag don’t really want to transition, they just love to perform, and this is their medium. And what if they did want to transition? It doesn’t affect me one way or the other. I cannot wrap my head around all of this hate and misunderstanding about people that do drag, or are in transition. What does it matter to me how these individuals are living their lives? It does not change my day to day existence. I would hope that if someone I loved came to me and said they were not comfortable as they are, and are thinking of transitioning, that I could be open minded enough to be supportive. I haven’t had that happen, but I do know people that are going through that with loved ones. It’s so complicated, and there is a lot to it all, and until I have walked in any of their shoes, I cannot comment on how they handle it. I just hope they can, and not lose a person they love along the way.

There are lessons to learn about all of this as we go along. I see so much going wrong right now with how people are acting about all of this stuff. The Bud Light cans that people are talking about, and now they won’t drink it, or Travis Tritt is taking it off his concert riders? Who cares? Why is it such a big deal? Travis Tritt is a skirt away from cross-dressing as it is! Throughout the years, we have been entertained by men dressing as women! There’s Mrs. Doubtfire, Tootsie. Patrick Swayze dressing in drag with Wesley Snipes and John Leguizamo. Tony Curtis and Jack Lemon. Gene Hackman in “The Birdcage.” If a man, dressed as a woman, reading to children is so awful in your mind, go volunteer and read to those children instead! You won’t, because complaining about it is easier and supports your agenda better.

I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of different people in my life. I was in the service industry for over 30 years, and that is a place where many people, a lot who can be considered “misfits’ land because it is place where everyone kind of fits. It’s there that I have met gay people, people from other countries, different religious beliefs, rich people, poor people, drug addicts and drunks. A lot of broken individuals who had nowhere else they felt they could work. If there is one thing I picked up there, it is that we are all far more similar that not, and that all of our dreams are not so different. We want acceptance and love. People fill those wants in different ways. I am lucky I have been exposed to so many different individuals. The people that would condemn someone because they love differently, dress differently or feel differently than I do are not the people I want to be around. I want a wild and varied group of people in my circle, and I have that. I am blessed beyond words as a result of the varied persons I know. That very much includes my LGBTQ friends, and if your opinion of me is less because of that, your opinion me was not accurate to start with, and I am sorry you did not know I am supportive to all types, not just your type. When you are ready to grow as a person, let me know and I will happily introduce you to some of my friends, and maybe we can catch a drag show together.


It’s been a hot minute since I wrote anything. I should stop letting so much time pass between posts, because my mind is just scattered when I do take a moment to sit and do this stuff. So HI!! Here I am again. Enjoy that!

It’s Wednesday, and I have the day off. Yep, in the middle of the week, just like the good old days! I am working at a home show/expo thing this weekend, so I need to take a day or two off during the week. I always liked days off during the week, it’s just a little more fun to run errands and things. Fewer people are out in the stores, and it feels like playing hooky, even as a grown-up, middle aged woman.

My big plans for the day that I am procrastinating by writing? Groceries, a Costco run, and I am going to start shopping for a new mattress. Have I mentioned how expensive days off can be? If I can stay out of the mall, and not spend too much time at Costco I may be alright. Wish me luck. Self-control and discipline are not qualities I list on my resume. It’s just not fun, so why bother?

I believe Zelda is mostly happy to have me home this morning. She let me crawl back in bed and snuggled with me when I got home from the gym. That disrupts her routine of acting betrayed when I get ready for work in the morning, so I am thankful for her flexibility in the matter. Now for fun, I am watching her bark at every little thing happening outside the house. There are some guys working in the street. She has them on notice. At the same time, some guy walked by with a dog. Can you believe the nerve of some people? Yep, she lost her shit for sure. I love her! She is just entertaining in her weird quirks and her guard dog ways. It’s good to know she has this on lockdown on days I am working.

I am going to try to purge the closet this week too, while I am home. The weather is overall improving now that we have had our Spring Equinox, but it’s kind of cloudy and rainy this morning. The clothing purge is always hard. I buy too much stuff is the issue. Then I get nostalgic about clothing I wore on a trip, or bought on vacation. I can’t get rid of this, or that. I end up folding a ton of clothes, and moving their pile into the spare room and shutting the door. The only reason I mention any of this here, is to try to convince myself that since I put it out in the universe it has to happen. It will be fun around 7:00 tonight and I didn’t do it at all. I will be mad at myself for a minute and tell myself I can do it tomorrow, as I also have off. Fun little game to play!

Our days off belong to us. They are a blessing, and so very necessary. So many people do not stop and relax like they should. That’s why I am not feeling bad about not being out there in the world tackling my to-do list yet this morning. I have the day, and I want to enjoy it. I have started working a second job on weekends, part time, at Solea. So my time off is not as plentiful as it was. I spent 2 years figuring out how to spend my weekends off. I filled it by doing what I used to do: working. But I do get time off as I want or need it, and it has been mostly fun bartending again. What I don’t like to see is the people who don’t take the down time they need. They fill every minute with something. I worry about them, the ones that can’t stop, won’t stop. Some will say that’s a trauma response, and I can see it. People don’t always want to be alone with their own thoughts. Or just be alone. I used to hate being home, especially home alone. Now it’s the goal! Well, not the goal but certainly the place I can rest, and recharge for the next thing.

Whatever it is this Wednesday brings you, I hope you are able to get some of the day for yourself. Take your lunch break, don’t run right home to overwork yourself there too. Stop for a moment, and give that moment to yourself. As for me, I have to run along or I may not get my second nap in on schedule!! From me, and Zelda, have a great day, just don’t have that great day near my yard, apparently. (She’s still barking at the entire neighborhood!)


Traveling is great, it’s fun, it’s hard, and it’s a pain in the ass. But mostly it’s awesome, it just depends on things you can or can’t control. I have traveled alone, with one or with many people. How it goes is all a part of the adventure. This post today is to sing the praises of an airline, and a person I will likely never see again, on the day my company took us to Sint Maarten!

Wednesday January 11th, a whole bunch of us from work got on some airplanes, to meet in Atlanta to get the rest of the way to an island together. Except we didn’t. I still don’t really know what happened, I just know the explanation of what went on. The majority of our large group flew out of Appleton’s airport, at 5:30 in the morning. We are flying along when all of a sudden the announcement comes on that we have to divert our flight, because the Atlanta airport doesn’t have a place for our plane. What? That is a pretty big airport, are you sure? So they diverted us to Louisville. We had to land, they told us. Without much explanation, we are on the ground, but in the plane, until we hear we can go again.

My cousin Lisa works at the Appleton airport, and she messages me to ask if we got out. I told her yes, but we got sent to Louisville. She said we were lucky to get out, as the other 2 flights that morning got delayed, by a ground stop ordered by the FAA. Now, that was the first kind of explanation I got, but we didn’t know why. In a post 9/11 world, you don’t take the “land the plane now” orders lightly. Thankfully, nothing bad had happened, just a computer glitch. We all said China had hacked our vacation. Never heard what really went down, but after about an hour in lovely Kentucky, we were off to Atlanta once again. The other 2 flights that had our group on board made it to Atlanta, and they were getting to the connecting flight, a smidge late but not a big deal.

We arrive in Atlanta late, and to the news that the flight to Sint Maarten had left. Without us. The majority of our group. NO!!!! Yep, it’s true. What now? We were flying Delta, and they have one flight headed there per day. We may be stuck in Atlanta until Thursday, or maybe even Friday. We have more than 50 people in our group, including Our Fearless Leader, the Boss, Shannon. He wasn’t super happy, but kept his cool, and the Delta folks said they will see what options there are. They called the supervisor person a Red Jacket, and she was an angel in the form of Carmen. I don’t know much in the world, but she was a star!

Carmen, the Delta Goddess, was not showing her hand too much. She wasn’t going to over-promise anything. She came and went several times, updating us with what she could, but never giving us any false hope, and each time she appeared, things seemed less dire, and maybe we would be on an island that day, or we may be in some hotels near the crappy Atlanta strip clubs near the airport. She wasn’t sure, but she was working for us! But the hope was, that she would find us a plane and a crew to get us out that day, late, but better late than Friday!

The last time I saw Carmen, the Shining Light of Delta Airlines, she was telling us to head to a gate in the international terminal, as we would be boarding a flight to our destination! They had got a plane, a crew, and FAA approval for a special flight to Sint Maarten! It would be a few hours, but we were going to be on our way! We cheered her, and begged her to come along with us! We wanted her in our group, on our plane and drinking fruity drinks on a beach!! She was our Hero!!!

I don’t know who or what was done to get us going, but let me tell you this: Delta came through for us. When we got to the gate, we had to wait a couple of hours. That’s no problem when you were looking at spending your tropical vacation in Atlanta for 2 days that was during a cold snap for the area. As a bonus, the Atlanta PD was doing training with their K9 officers, so we got to watch dogs for the couple hours of our wait.

Delta also got us a snack cart, with fruit snacks, chips, popcorns of different flavors, while we waited. They even got our logo printed off and on the cart. They treated us so very well, and that flight only had a couple of random people on it that were not a part of our group, so in essence, it was a private flight, sort of. We arrived about 6 hours after our original schedule, but when we got there it was a chorus of cheers and a lot of relief! Things could have not worked out, they may not have been able to get us there, but we aren’t thinking about that.

We got to our resort, checked in, and found the rest of our group and commenced having a great time for 4 days. It’s a lovely place, if you ever get the chance to go. But fly Delta there, if you do. They really went the extra mile to make sure our trip was not a bust.

I was always a person that didn’t think much about airlines, until a few years back. I know there are cheaper airlines that can get you from point A to B with no frills, and that price is big factor for many when they travel. The holidays taught us about the structure of certain airlines, and how quickly things can fall apart. The trip I was just on taught me that you may be just a passenger to a lot of companies, and maybe if I had been traveling alone, or just a couple of us in a missed flight situation, things might not have been so awesome. But somebody made a mistake by having that flight leave without more than 50 people, we only missed it by a half hour or so, and given the FAA had messed us so many flights, they could have held it. Delta did the best they could for us, and that was pretty great. They won me over for that, and in the future when I am flying somewhere, they will be top of my list to get a ticket.

If you ever find yourself in the Atlanta airport, and you see the Lovely Carmen in the Red Jacket, tell her the Roofers from Wisconsin say hi!! I know she didn’t single-handedly fix our situation, but she was the messenger, and she is an Angel of Vacation Hope, in my eyes and the minds of our traveling group of Security Luebke Roofing!!

Welcome, 2023!!

We just cranked up a new year, a few days back. Welcome and let’s get some stuff straight: We are looking for some good stuff this time around, 2023, so just play along and all will be well. I am not complaining too much about 2022, for myself at least, as I had a pretty good year. But a bunch of people I know did not, and I would like things to get better for them, if it’s not too much trouble. Thanks, I will check back frequently.

My year was more good than not. I got to travel to Mexico for the first time, I went on an Alaskan cruise, and my Mile of Music happened, the Brewers played all season, and even my Packers picked up a crummy season at the end of the year. I got to a few concerts and survived a major hail storm while working in the roofing industry. Things are A-OK for Coco at the moment.

As for the beginning of this year, things are starting well. In 4 days, not that I am counting, I am headed to St. Maarten with the Roofers, for our company trip. The pasty white Wisconsinites are on their way to another January adventure! This is one of those things that my company does that makes me so thankful to have found this place and these people. I am bringing my sister as my guest again this year. She works for the State of Wisconsin, and she has a good gig, she is an attorney and she has great benefits and stuff. But they don’t take her out of the country and give her champagne when she gets there. I am so happy we can do this together, we can be our silly sister selves, and my co-workers think we are a hoot! It’s only a few days, so we are out before they catch on to what nerds we are.

I am sure I have other good things on the horizon, but this trip early in the year blocks my ability to think too far ahead. I think we will try to hammer out a Spring Training trip to Arizona, but that is a discussion for the beaches of St. Maarten for me and the sister. See what we can come up with.

The other events of the year will come along. I won’t worry too much because fun stuff happens all year, I just have to find what appeals to me, and I will. I don’t worry too much about that, good things come to those who like good things. Or something like that.

With the new year, a new age came along for me late in December as well. I turned 53. I am noticing things changing, and some are good things, and some are definitely aging things. I still do my gym workouts, and still walk Zelda all over the ‘hood. But when something twinges, as they will, the recovery is not as quick. I need to make an eye appointment, things are fuzzy or the print is getting smaller, as people about my age will tell me. It’s funny, because my brain doesn’t acknowledge the aging too much, but the body is getting quick to remind me, just in case I wasn’t paying attention. I continue to welcome the years that pile up, it beats the alternative, as they say. I don’t want to turn into an old clunk, so I don’t entertain old people thoughts too much, but I am paying attention, I promise. I think my AARP card is still valid, after all.

To welcome the new year, I saw it arrive, and promptly crawled into bed. I sure don’t keep ‘er moving like I used to, and I don’t feel the need to anymore. That’s been an entertaining conversation at work this week. We have large age range there, and most of us in the middle of life admitted to pulling the plug early, while the younger bunch might just still be awake from New Year’s Eve. God bless them, they will get tired soon enough. I love hearing their stories though, it makes me wonder how I ever made it this far, and thankful I have! I thank those young adults for being in my world, they keep me laughing and that is the secret to aging. Laugh, and the world will keep giving you reasons to smile.

I hope for lots of wonderful things for this new year, for you and for me. We are still in a recovery from all the things we missed over the previous couple of years. It’s weird to think of all the things we could not do for a short stretch, and what I hope it that we all appreciate what we can do now as a result. I hate thinking about it in a negative way, so many people do, and I get it. But instead of focusing on what we didn’t get, or what was missed, look ahead of all that we are able to do now. We just found out we don’t need to Covid test for our trip- that’s a win. It’s a sign that we are coming out, even though we need to still be a little cautious, we can relax enough to enjoy our lives. I hope we do enjoy our lives, as they are short. It won’t be long before I have to write 2024 on stuff, so enjoy what you have today, and tomorrow, or in four days when I step off a plane. Life is for living, let’s go do it, 2023!!

53, So Far

I had a birthday earlier this month, the 53rd installment of My Life! I always tell people, I don’t mind getting older. It’s true. I think my dad dying at 57 gave me some perspective about life. It can be short, you don’t know what will happen in the number of years you get, or how many, so appreciate them. It also goes by quick. I can’t believe it is already my 53rd crack at this!! I keep it going, I have some fun. You all know that.

Things are going pretty well, so far. I have some fun stuff coming up to look forward to, like our company trip in January, and hopefully a triumphant return to Spring Training in Arizona. Life gives some opportunities, I hope to take them. Plus there are always things that just pop up and happen, and often those end up more fun than things you plan months and months for, and that is the charm of living life.

I won’t lie about this: getting older is hard! This is by far not high medical drama, and to be fair it started while I was still 52. I had a weird infection along my jaw. It started like a swollen gland type of thing, thanks to Google doctoring, I took it in stride, and didn’t worry too much. But about mid-November, it started getting red, angry and quite painful. I went to the doctor, like a responsible grown-up would do. Now, I wasn’t worried, but this thing took on a life of its own! I had some tests, a CT scan of it, and it wasn’t really anything we could put a finger on. It wasn’t dental, it wasn’t really glandular as far as we could tell. It was like the spirit of an angry old man had decided to possess my jaw. I named him Walter.

Ok, Walter, not that I don’t love an old man but I don’t want to host you the rest of my life. I would have gotten married if I wanted that! You gotta go, man. So we tried some antibiotics, and steroids to treat it. He pulled back a smidge, but wouldn’t quite give up the possession of my face. He got pretty pissed, for sure. He did not care at all for the eviction notice. He got more angry, really red, and looked like a giant zit waiting to be popped. After he really acted up, my regular doctor tapped out, and sent me to an ENT.

I have never had the easy things, medically speaking. Lost some toes, got bit by a brown recluse spider and had a nasty infection in my knee, had a random seizure, and kidney stones and an ovarian cyst that was angry like Walter. This whole adventure was just regular Coco, as far as things go. But Walter was one stubborn bastard! The nice ENT doctor was a little dry on my first visit. Not my best audience, and he was all business! Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate him taking Walter seriously, but dude was no fun. He took a good look at Walter, and opened him up, squeezed out what I assume was nasty goo- it smelled like nasty fart! I thankfully didn’t see it, although I did have a morbid curiosity, and he packed it with some drain tube gauze stuff. Gave me some more antibiotics, and sent me away, to return in about 5 days. I had to keep Walter covered, safe and dry for my birthday weekend. Antibiotics kept me from too many birthday beverages, but that was ok. I went back to see the Dull Doctor, and this time he was a little more relaxed, and borderline cordial. But Walter wasn’t ready to give up, and I had to keep the tube in. Come back in 5 more days.

Five days later, I am back! And now the Doc and I have a rapport, we are laughing and I tell him Walter’s name. But, he wouldn’t budge on Walter’s tube. 5 more days, by the way, let’s add another course of antibiotics. After a month, I am antibiotics. We are one. I did finally on the next visit get to have the drain out, thankfully! Walter doesn’t really live here anymore! I feel kind of normal, for me! I still have a few more days of the antibiotics to finish up, but I will have a Walter Free Christmas!

I am thankful that I have gotten this under control, finally. It didn’t feel like a month and a half adventure when it started, but it sure turned into that! I have had some conversations with people about all of this, and most will agree, it’s kind of an age thing. More junk will pop up as you get older, and very rarely are they normal things. Neat. I can’t wait for the next thing. But I do have a fantastic job that makes sure I have fantastic insurance, so I ain’t scared moving forward. But it just stinks that your body does this to you, betrays you in weird ways. We don’t know what exactly brought Walter into my life, and we may never know. But he got kicked to the curb, and I will always have the memories.

While Walter and his demise has been the main focus of my time lately, I did also get a pretty fantastic surprise early in the month too, and I would hate to not bring it up, again. I was awarded Employee of the Month at my job! Anyone who has ever worked with me knows how much I joke about being the Employee of the Month. Most jobs I worked had no such award, a shame really, since I was always asking to be it! Anyway, I am truly honored by this award. People ask me what I got for it, and I got a sweet travel mug thing, a shiny pin, and the Employee of the Month Parking Spot, which nobody ever uses because it isn’t a great spot, ironically. Now that my face is back to normal, I will also get my picture taken and put on the Wall of Fame, or whatever we call it. All previous E of the M are enshrined there. But the one thing you get, that nobody really celebrates, is no end of grief from my fellow co-workers! The comments are awesome, and constant, and I even have a few people who bow every time they see me! Of course I eat that shit right up! I love it!

All in all, being 53 has been pretty awesome. I am only a few weeks in, and medical crap aside, I enjoy the life. There is no reason not to, as long as I am able. Don’t focus on the bad things too much, they will always be around, but if you only see that stuff, you are likely to miss out on something great. I am looking forward to the adventures that are out there. Life is a gift, open it and use it! Bye Walter!!

What’s Up?

I haven’t been very active here for a while. Mostly because being a grown-up is too time consuming and my laptop acts up and won’t play along with my shenanigans. Makes for some big gaps, but it doesn’t mean my random thoughts haven’t been cranking. They are, and I may share a few here now.

It’s been a strange but good couple of months. I think. The time just flies by, and I am looking at another birthday in a week. I turn 53 next week, and I don’t even know how that has happened. It’s all good, I will always maintain that I would rather keep adding a few years than the alternative. It would seem that this year has started the process of reaching menopause, which may I say is about damn time. I am not looking for all the crap that goes with it, just the end of the monthly bill coming due. I have started having little hot flashes here and there. That’s fun, I get them at night more than any other time. If it gets interesting, I will write more about it, but I think that’s likely enough of that for the moment. We don’t need too many horror stories on a Saturday morning.

Birthdays tend to bring some nostalgia along with them. I get to thinking about people I have known over the years, and particularly the ones I miss the most. I have been incredibly blessed to meet many people over the years, and a large number of them are quite the characters. I did get to have dinner last night with one of my dearest and most favorite people in the world, my friend Lance, and his parents. He was my first love, my first boyfriend that was really a boyfriend, back in high school. We had a fabulous friendship, and we went out for a while in school, but it was better as a friendship for sure, but he will always be that nostalgic dreamboat for me. I love getting together with him, we laugh, we share our current lives, and after a few hours, return to our real lives. He is a touchstone person for me, and I like to think I am for him too, and even if we only see each other once or twice a year, it is like coming home each time we have that time. I know how lucky I am to have a person like that in my life, and as I am about to hit 53, I hope we carry on like this for many more years. We should all have someone that makes our soul smile.

It’s the get ready for holidays and winter time around here. I have the love/hate of this time of year. We have to cycle through it, but I don’t have to embrace it, you know? I like the holidays, but it goes quick and you can’t catch everything and everyone you want to, so a little feeling of disappointment comes along with it each year. I also hate the high expectations that people place on themselves this time of year, I just think it’s mentally unhealthy to try to make everything perfect. Don’t do that to yourself this year, if you tend to do it, because the people you love, love you regardless if everything is merry and bright or not. Remember to stop and enjoy the moments, they go quick and you can miss it if you are worried about the one ornament that slipped off the perfect spot on the tree.

It’s been quite a year, for me. I traveled this year, to Mexico and Alaska, and it seems I will be doing a little traveling this coming year as well. My fantastic employer is taking a bunch of us to Sint Maarten this coming January. Have I mentioned how lucky I am? Maybe blessed is a better word for it, but luck and blessings often travel together. I look back at the chain of events that got me to this place, and as awful as the pandemic was for people, it is only because of it that I stumbled upon this path. I see the connection between relationships and opportunities, but this is so much more than just that. I have really liked the word symmetry lately, because when you are watching and learning in life, you see many places where a symmetry must exist. It goes back to what I said before about luck and blessings hanging out together. Whatever it is, I am incredibly thankful for these chances I have been given. There are times I still feel like I am struggling, but I feel like there is a safety net at this point, which is an incredible feeling if you have never felt it before.

We are on the tail end of Thanksgiving weekend. I guess that is what I am doing today, being thankful for the life I have. There are many times I have not had a plan. Most of the time, really. I have always found a way through things, but I will be damned if I know how. I have had to have a lot of faith, in myself and God, to string it together. I try not to let worry cloud things too much, because as Tom Petty said once, most of the things I worry about never happen anyway. I see the glass half full more often than not, which is not a bad place to be, really. I spend too much time seeing people and their self-doubts on social media, and in life. I don’t want to be that way, and when I can count the blessings, that stack is much taller anyways. As we wind up the Thanksgiving part of our fall, look at the abundances you have in life, because they are many. I have more than I could have ever thought possible, and I did all of it. I have gotten here, and as I look to close my 52nd year here, I feel good, and I know there is much love, and so much more life ahead that will be great.

I will try to post again soon, laptop willing, and I hope all of the holidays and stuff coming along soon fill you with joy, not anxiety or stress. It is a time to reflect and build for the next year coming, not count regrets or have self-doubt. Build on the dreams, don’t worry about things you cannot control. You will do great, I just know it.

Triumphant Return

There are things we do, supposedly with some regularity, that are good for us. Doctor visits should be among them, but for a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, they are not. Fear is one thing, and a lack of insurance is another, and time moving by at warp speed is another. Sometimes you just don’t realize how long it has actually been since you had a check up. I am pretty good about getting to the doctor, annual physicals, mammograms, female things, stuff like that. Having good insurance helps that. I was on Obamacare for a number of years, but now I have a good plan through my employer, so going has been easy and a part of my routine for a long time now. The dentist? Eh… not so much.

We just changed insurance carriers at work. We are now self-insured as a company, and what we pay for rates is dictated a little by being pro-active about our health. Regular screenings for age related things, physicals, and now dental check-ups. So I am as cheap as the next person when it comes to insurance, so I went, for the first time in many, many years, to the dentist.

They asked me why it had been so long when I went in, not in a judging way, but for some knowledge and insight into what’s happening in my mouth. Truly, lack of insurance was the biggest factor. Money can be very motivating, and dental work is not cheap. I have always heard there are ways around the expense if you are willing to have students work on you, or free clinics. But if you end up with a problem, it can get expensive, fast. So that was the main factor.

Less than awesome experiences as a kid also kept me away for a long time too. I won’t say fear, but hesitance. They were always yelling at us for not brushing, flossing, etc. Our dentist was a golf buddy of our dad, and he just did not give me a good vibe at all. Conversations as we got older confirmed that he was also a bit of a groper. I didn’t really recognize it as such at the time, but he was. He is long gone, he passed away a long time ago. But it just added to the overall dislike of the dentist chair.

Time. It flies, as every cliche tells you. I turned around one day, and all of a sudden it was decades since I had been to the dentist. I have had minimal issues, according to my own diagnosis, and so I put it off, and off, and off a little longer. I finally bit the bullet, as it were, and made that appointment, to be in compliance with our insurance recommendations at work.

I went 2 weeks ago for the first appointment, x-rays and an exam. The dentist and his assistant were very nice, non-judging, and not horrified by what was going on in my cake-hole. He even said “you’re not a cavity kid” which absolutely contradicted my childhood dentist visits. I have a small one that I am going in for tomorrow. Huh, who knew? I did have a big build up of tarter, which I had an appointment for last week. So as of tomorrow, I will have been to the dentist 3 times in a month, after years of driving by not making eye contact with a dental office.

They were great, really. Kept any anxiety I may have felt at bay, and just treated me like a person who had skipped a couple of cleanings, not a lifetime avoider. I thanked them for making it easy for me. I have some things ahead, my mouth is far from perfect, but they seem optimistic about getting me back on track. So I am optimistic too. The lady that helped me schedule appointments was a hoot. She had an opening at 2:30 in the afternoon for my visit tomorrow. I said, well, I have to take that spot, it’s the perfect time for a dental visit. She was like, it is? I said yeah, Tooth Hurty, and we laughed and laughed. It was truly a sign. I found the right place.

Have you been putting off any health related visit? So many people do, and it often is the “I just don’t want to know” type of thing. Doctors and dentists are not as scary as they once were. They don’t really outright yell at you anymore. At least that has been my experience as of late, and believe me, I give them a few reasons to holler. But being pro-active about your health can have lots of benefits, and living a life of not knowing what you might need some help with can be scarier than making a plan to treat things.

Call the office, and make the appointment. Get a baseline for your health. It may not be so bad, and if you do have some things to work on, you can get a plan going. If you need a little help, encouragement or anything, reach out to me, and I can help you. If I can adult my way through this, pretty much anyone can. I just want you all to live as healthy a life as possible. You don’t have to give up everything to have a little more health and well-being on your side. Good health, and good wishes on a Sunday morning!!

Check In

How are we doing? Are things ok? After Pandemic induced life changes, I wonder how all of my people are doing. It all seems surreal now, you know. More than two years since all of it started, and so much has changed. Trying to continue towards normal, whatever that may be these days. I don’t walk around worrying about catching whatever variant is rolling around now, but since I know a few people still getting sick, it’s on my mind a little.

The time is what is messing with me the most. In general, we all lost two years of our lives. Yes and no. Like for me, I never was truly locked in or shut down. I continued to work, the short gig at Costco and now more than two years at roofing company. But all the things that weren’t going on are what I missed, the screwed up sports seasons, lack of concerts and summer festivals. Just like that, 2 years passed by and here we are. Still having different strains or variants lurking around, but getting on with things. A lot of things changed for a lot of people. I just hope you have all adapted and are doing well.

How is your “back to normal” going? Mine is ok. I miss a lot of people, seriously. I go through the Facebook, and see what a lot of my past co-workers and guests I became friend with are up to. It makes me happy to see everyone doing their things, but I miss them. My situation changed a lot, and my hours are not super conducive to the party life I once lived. I drink a lot less than I did, I go out a lot less, and I am comfortable with it. I have become one of those people that stays home, but will go out, but wants to be back home when I am out. Conversations with some people have shown me that has been the case for a lot of people I know. As much as we hated being forced to stay at home, we sure do like being there more than we thought we would. Don’t get me wrong, Mile of Music is coming, and I will be out. That is an exception to the rule.

All the things going on this particular weekend, events and festivals and stuff, gives me some hope that we are indeed getting our lives back. The EAA starts up, that is a big international deal here, and we have Packers training camp, the Mile of Music, and State Fair, all the things that make summer so much fun around here so great. The tourism money is a welcome thing, for sure. The summers we love, are thankfully back.

I still hope everyone is being safer and cautious when it comes to their health. When I went on vacation in June, it struck me how many people still wore masks in the airports and public places. I have not been wearing them, unless a place requires them. I had a sinus infection a couple of weeks ago, and had to wear one at the clinic I went to, and it struck me as how normal it seems in some places. I know the different views of people, and those that think it is a joke. I always believed that even if it only helps a little, it is worth it for me if it means someone going home to a loved one with a weak or compromised immune system feels a little better. My short term discomfort is no big deal if someone else feels better as a result. I can’t worry about other people, only my own actions. But I can adapt my actions in situations where it is needed.

In general, life is good. I am still not a millionaire, I have not found or invented anything life changing. It’s just me and Zelda, living our days with smiles on our faces and hoping more snacks find us. So that means I am good. I have come through the pandemic, mostly, healthy and a little more compassionate than I started it. We all have our things, and I hope we are all doing our best to look out for each other after the ordeal. Be well, do well and love your life, no matter how exciting or dull it seems to those around you.


It occurs to me, that with all of the stuff happening lately that I have neglected to share anything about my Alaskan Cruise I went on last month. Shame on me! My fantastic voyage, as it were.

About last October or so, my bestie Amy asked me if I would be interested in going with her and her sister on a cruise to Alaska. Would I? Heck yeah! Seems like a no brainer, get offered a vacation, take it! So I said yes, paid a deposit somewhere along the line and a little planning, and I am going cruising! I had previously been on one cruise, to Bermuda and Grand Turk. I like the cruising, it’s fun. But to me, planning a vacation as far ahead as we did is weird. That was October, and our cruise was in June. It seems like forever to wait. It makes it seem like it isn’t real, until all of a sudden it is.

June finally came along and away we went! Amy and I flew out of Green Bay to Seattle, and Ellen, Amy’s sister, met us out there, as she lives in South Dakota. Traveling during this pandemic time adds a few extra challenges, which I appreciate, but it’s dumb too. Hoops to jump through present themselves, and I just am not a fan of jumping. And there was this whole app that we needed to go into Canada, which presented some challenges as well. For a 4-5 hour stop in Canada, it wasn’t worth it. But we got through it and got on our ship, the Norwegian Bliss. Set sail, and off on our adventure we went!

Ellen and I had both cruised before, but this was Amy’s first time. I think she had a really good time. You never know, cruises are fun but they aren’t for everyone. When you are new to it, it can be a little overwhelming too, those ships are huge and there is a lot of food, drink and things going on pretty much all the time. It is hard to know where to start sometimes. We started with mojitos. Good call. The staff on these ships are primarily from other countries, and a lot of our bartenders and service people were from the Philippines and Indonesia. They were so fantastic, and funny and alcohol-wise a little mean. (wink) We spent a lot of time in the brew house bar, and those guys really had our number down there. We had a great time with them, and my Miller Lite drinking friend Amy even expanded her horizons and drank many different weird beers. I was so proud of her! That is a huge deal for her, and she even got her name on a display board for a drinking challenge to try as many different beers as possible during the 7 day cruise.

Alright, back to the destination. I think that a lot people think about trying to visit all 50 of the United States, if they can. The two tough ones are Hawaii and Alaska. They just aren’t easy to get to, especially if you aren’t a good flight person. I can say Alaska was a hoped for destination, but I am not overly outdoorsy and it is a big destination for hikers, campers, fisherman and the like. That’s not me. And on a cruise, you aren’t going up to the big main area of Alaska, you are going on the inside passage. Still, it’s Alaska and it still counts. Our ports of call were Sitka, Juneau, Icy Straight Point, Ketchikan and then Victoria, British Columbia. You spend a few hours in each place, and back on the boat to the next place.

I would say my favorite ports were Juneau and Ketchican. I had king crab legs in Juneau that nearly brought a tear to my eye, they were soooo good. I like Ketchican because it seemed like it would be a good spot to visit again. We weren’t in port there long enough to see the things I wanted to, and a few more hours there would have been awesome. But that is the way it goes on a cruise, and if I get a chance to go again to Alaska, that is a spot I would like to visit.

We went on a whale and marine life excursion in Icy Strait Point, and that was cool. We did see quite a few whales, but just their tails, none really breached. Still, they were amazing to see! We saw some otters, sea lions and so very many eagles everywhere we went. Sitka had a lot of eagles, they were amazing. It’s a big deal to see one around here, up there they are in big groups, hanging out in trees, circling above in big groups, and just hanging out by the docks, looking for some big old salmon or something to catch and chomp on. We met a group of 3 people who has gone on an excursion in Ketchikan, and they had some amazing photos of some killer whales breaching. It was fantastic!

We also went through a glacier area, where there were icebergs fields. We couldn’t go all the way in, as ships vs icebergs don’t always end well for the ship. But it was cool, we got to go out on the front deck of the ship, which was actually just below our stateroom, and see the icebergs up close and personal. They were not huge like you think of on Titanic or something, but they were beautiful, they have this kind of bluish-turquoise color to them, and we were moving through slowly, so it was very peaceful and just a very moving experience. I won’t soon forget it.

We ate too much, drank too much, walked around a lot and had a fantastic voyage, truly. Canada was a bit underwhelming as a result of all of the beauty we had seen in Alaska. It was Friday evening when we came into port, and it was disappointing how many places were closed. There were 3 ships in at the same time, and not a lot going on, which was really weird. We walked around, but didn’t really do anything while we were there. Nobody even looked at our passports, so it didn’t get stamped so it is like we weren’t even there! For all the nonsense with downloading the Canada app and stuff, it really was the biggest waste of time on our trip. We did see a big rainbow and a lovely sunset, but as far as it goes, I could have stayed onboard and caught those on the ship.

Overall, it was a great trip. We had so much fun and saw some pretty fantastic sights. If you have a chance to travel to Alaska, take the opportunity, and a cruise is a nice way to go if that is your thing. There aren’t many states left on my list now that I have been there. Just a few. The big one I really want to go to is of course Hawaii. I think I will have to make that one more of a priority now. I feel very fortunate to have been able to go on the trips I have been on this year, Mexico and Alaska within 6 months of each other. There are many places to see in this world, and many places I would love to see. Take the time to see the places you long to go to, if you are healthy enough to travel, take the time to go. There is a lot to see, and we don’t always have a ton of time to see all of it. And if you get to Alaska, try the crab legs!