Fancy Coffee Friday: “There’s Nothing Wrong with Being Capable.”

incompetencedemotivatorI learned a lot of skills growing up. I absorbed knowledge like a sponge, ripped through books, devoured encyclopedias and discovered I hammer a nail like the Swedish Chef tosses a salad – shit is going to fly everywhere and someone is going to get hurt – probably me.

Summers were spent caring for animals, cleaning barn, mowing the lawn, gardening, pulling yellow rocket from the hay field, washing dishes, washing laundry and cooking meals – all from a young age.  Of course, this was before the USA became such a “nanny state” and goodness forbid that you have children do any sort of work around the house.  With two parents who worked full-time, everyone had to pull their weight.  I still had plenty of time for being a little heathen-child, riding my pony (and later, horse), running through the woods in my moccasins, finding deer bones and live snakes (and bringing them home) and poking sticks down woodchuck holes just to see if there was something alive down in the depths.

I was twelve when my parents ripped off the back of the house (no, really… hooked a pick-up truck to it and everything) and put on a new addition in its place.  I learned about framing walls, installing windows and doors and hanging drywall.  After the walls had been mudded and sanded, plastered and painted, I learned to hang wallpaper and install trim and molding.  Most of the skills I learned in my life were taught to me by my Mom; everything else came from neighbors, family friends, and my own ingenuity and dogged stubbornness determination to learn how to do something myself.  I was (and still am) smart, full of know-how and was capable of taking care of myself if I had to.


By the time I left for college I knew how to drive an automatic AND manual transmission vehicle (I still prefer manual though I’m terribly frustrated they are so difficult to find), was familiar with all manner of power tools, had a fully-loaded tool box and I could cook, clean and keep myself alive.  All rather important skills.

To quote my Mom after relaying to her yet another story of me teaching some guy in the dorms how to wash their laundry, or lending them something from my toolbox, “Sarah, there is nothing wrong with being capable.”

In college I dated.  I dated a lot.  And for the sake of expediting this post – most of those men didn’t stick around.  Why?

notaprincessYou see, I was not a princess waiting around for my prince.  I didn’t believe in shining knights on white horses (though my horse, at the time… was white) coming around to “rescue” me from my life.  I also didn’t sit around dreaming of my wedding day with a big, frothy dress and an eight-billion tier cake with a rock the size of the Hope Diamond on my hand.

Nope.  That kind of fantasy Candy Land wasn’t for me.  You know what?  It still isn’t.

princecharmingI was, and still am, an “eye roller” (though I’m much better at doing it surreptitiously) when women would launch into their diatribes of their big day.  How they couldn’t wait for a man to come along and take care of them.  How everything would be perfect when Prince Charming came into their lives.  I give a Dr. Sheldon Cooper scoff of derision, usually with a snort, and tell myself that I need to stop doing that because smashing their cute little fantasy they put on the table with a fist of reality is no way to win friends nor influence people.  Besides, it scares people when I do that.

I am proud to say I’m independent, fiercely so.  I don’t like being told what to do, don’t like people stepping in to “help” when I don’t need it and while I do enjoy wearing dresses and I look damn good in white (seriously, it makes my Pillsbury Dough Girl skin look tan… it’s pretty awesome) – I prefer jeans, tank tops, flannel shirts and heavy work boots.

I am, and have been, unafraid to state very matter-of-factly to Mr. Muse in private and before our friends, much to their horror, that I don’t NEED him to take care of me or rescue me.  I’d say it’s Irish stubbornness, but really I’m more German and English, and ultimately it’s because I wanted someone as a partner in life who had skills on par with my own, or that at least complimented the ones I had.  Mr. Muse is one of those people.

So the other day, when I read this post by Janne Robinson, item number three stuck out to me like a sore thumb.  Probably one I’d smashed with a hammer blow when trying to hit a nail.

3. Be the person you want to fall in love with

I decided this year that instead of dating the men who did things I admired that I would learn to do those things myself. As a good friend of mine and relationship coach Mark says, “Make a list of all the things you want in a partner and then be that list yourself.”

I now live in a log cabin in the woods, wear plaid, smell like smoke and taste like the sea. I learned to chop kindling with my teeth, use a chainsaw, caulk a sink, put a paintbrush to canvas and I went after what I love—writing, hard. Next up on my list is learning, “Ain’t no sunshine” on the guitar, learning Spanish, and buying a beginners motorcycle. I may never grow a beard but I figure I will leave something for my future partner to be good at.

Sweep your own ass off your feet. Be an asset to yourself by showing up in this world doing the things you admire and love.

Be mad about you. You’ll attract an even more badass version of yourself by doing so.

By learning skills, increasing my knowledge, and not being a whiny, needy little princess (incidentally… the name “Sarah”, my name, means “Princess” – how’s that for irony), I attracted an even more badass version of myself.  Plus, he has really gorgeous blue eyes and a beard.

He’s told me that the fact that I never needed, but wanted, to be with him is one of the things he loves about me.  We work well together.  We’ve got each others backs and most importantly – we make each other laugh.  Daily.

 So, get out there and do what you need to do to make yourself badass!

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Fancy Coffee Friday: Reminiscing about Cows

The other day I was going through a stack of magazines and came across the Fall 2014 issue of Modern Farmer that I picked up as an impulse buy in the checkout of Willy Street Co-Op.  There is a picture of a Holstein cow on the cover and “HAVE A COW” in bold and black in the corner.  It was their “Pre-Apocalypse” issue and though I’ve written about preppers before here and here, and have have even been called a “prepper” by a coworker (goodness forfend!), I don’t consider myself a prepper.  (Like a Pepper… but less fizzy.  And not everyone wants to be one.)  I do, however, like to be prepared.  Y’all should see the amount of toilet paper and facial tissue I had stored up for the winter that we’re just now getting to the end of!

Back to the magazine.  Cows.

This is a Brown Swiss.  In Switzerland.

This is a Brown Swiss. In Switzerland.

Years ago as a child I loved going to my Great Uncle and Aunt’s dairy farm.  My childhood is filled with memories of baling hay, endless teasing by my older cousins, eating dinner at midnight on hot and sticky summer nights after working all day, strawberry pies, tater tot casserole and cows.  Brown Swiss cows in particular.

It didn’t matter that at my own house I had a pony, horses, goats, rabbits, cats and dogs; cows were a creature I didn’t have a ton of experience with outside of the annual steers we had kept for half a year only to end up in the freezer and be eaten come fall.  (I wasn’t really allowed to handle them as they were too fractious.)  The cows, they were different entirely, handled daily, the Brown Swiss tended to be docile creatures, unlike the uppity Holsteins that were beginning to make their appearance in the barn.

So, as I gazed at the magazine cover and then read the article, the memories that came into my head started with one summer day, heading out to the barn with the guys who were going to milk the cows and I wanted to “help”.  Of course, they let me “help” – which I’m sure meant that I was in the way, but I eagerly put out scoops of corn silage into the feeder in anticipation of the cows making their way into the barn soon.  I had to learn how to not scare the cows in my excited state of being allowed to close the stanchion, letting them put their head in and calmly shoving the mechanism together.  And once it was all done, and I couldn’t help any more, I ran the aisle of the barn with one of the ever-present St. Bernards on the farm or took up a prime viewing spot in front of a cow that seemed particularly patient and calm, No. 1.  As she licked her muzzle, the tip of her tongue reaching all the way up into one of her nostrils, then the other, I attempted to imitate her.  I failed, but I kept trying!

“No. 1″ was surely just a reference to the particular stanchion and not the cow who happened to occupy it, but to me, my memory of her is something of an idolization of “her”.  But, does it matter?  Fond memories of childhood have a way of becoming larger than life.

One winter, as I frolicked out in the barn among the cows who were brought indoors against the frigid temps, I quietly sidled up next to No. 1 who was laying in her spot, placidly chewing her cud.  Gingerly I tip-toed up towards her head, well aware that this thousand-pound animal could easily crush me had she wanted to but I held my mittened hand out to her nose so she could sniff and before I knew it, I had pulled off my mittens and was running my fingers through her thick winter hair, pressing my cheek to her shoulder and absorbing the heat from her.

To my younger self, I was no more intrusive than the barn cats that were curling up to, or on, various cows in the barn.  And, No. 1?  She let me.  She stayed lying in the stall, calmly turning to watch me with an air of aloofness as I wriggled my fingers into her hair.  I’m sure I imagined that I was giving her a good massage – and perhaps I was?  All these years later, if I attend a county fair or the state fair, when I see a Brown Swiss, I want to walk up to it and bury my face into it’s neck, hugging it.

Mr. Muse has a chuckle each time we pass by a farm that raises the breed and I see the cows outside, excitedly announcing how many are out or if there is a particularly pretty one at that moment.   He’s also well aware that if we had more acreage – I’d probably show up with one for the farmstead – my love for the breed runs that deep.

But alas, I don’t, and so I watch for them on my commute and pet them at the fairs and remember what it was like over thirty years ago to bury my fingers into the winter coat of a calm cow and enjoy the sensation and the warmth of her and imagine she enjoyed herself too.  For me, Brown Swiss are the best cows there are.

Do you have an animal around which is centered a, or many, very fond childhood memory?

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Fancy Coffee Friday: Happy Birthday to Me… Belated.

Well, Hello, Dear Readers!  Happy Fancy Coffee Friday to you and a top ‘o the morning as well.

I know, I know… two whole damn weeks since I’ve written.  What the fuck is up with that shit?  Three cuss words in two sentences!  YES!  I feel better now.  Do you?  You better.

(Also, I received an email from a dear friend asking if I was okay as I hadn’t posted to the blog since the 6th.  I figured I better take time out from my busy schedule to write!)

So, what have I been up to?  The elephant in the room is that I turned the big 3-9 on the 12th.  Actually, I don’t really consider it an elephant, at least not a big elephant… more like a cute, baby elephant playing in a tub kind of elephant.  My mother in law asked me over dinner if I was “going to now stay at 39″.  What?  Really?  People actually do that for real and not just in a sitcom joke sort of way?  Yeah…. no.  Age is just a number and while the years keep adding up, I still feel like I’m about 25; my body just makes a few more noises after a day of hard work (or not).

Now, celebration-wise, I went to dinner with Mr. Muse and my in-laws the night before my actual birthday.  An acquaintance asked us out to dinner on my actual birthday for another reason (and I didn’t mention it was my birthday… because, well, need-to-know sort of thing) which was cancelled at the last minute.  Then, a text at the end of the day from a friend who’d been invited out to the same cancelled event asking if we were then going to go out to dinner for my birthday and another text from her husband saying, “Where are we going to dinner… I need a drink,” meant that we threw together a quick plan and went out on my birthday after all.

I made this!

I made this!

The actual plan for my birthday was to have a pizza and ice cream party.  I’m not making that up.

But, Sarah, you’re 39 years old – why do you want to have a kids party?!  So, here’s the thing.  I had a birthday party (outside of family at the kitchen table) once when I was around 12, and like Grumpy Cat, “it was awful”.

It was one of the few times I tried to fit in with the “in crowd”.  I invited the girls I thought I was supposed to be friends with, plus the ones I already was, and we went to Shakey’s Pizza in Green Bay (not there anymore).  I ended up sitting next to my mom while the popular girls all crowded around each other at the opposite end of the table with my friend Jamie trying to split herself between me and them.   I came to a decision early in the night that my attempt to “fit in” was a bad idea, that I’d embarrassed myself enough for one adolescence, and I should never try to “fit in” again.

Thankfully, this attitude has worked out in my favor.  Flash forward 27 years and I’m taking a mulligan on that birthday party debacle all those years ago.  This time, I’m ordering pizza, cupcakes, picking up some frozen custard and getting together at the house of some friends with more friends and acquaintances and a whopping eight of us will be eating, drinking and playing games like Cards Against Humanity.

And not to worry, I celebrated my birthday with my family as well on Pi Day – with a delicious Pecan Pie and frozen custard.

In the meantime, things have been busy!  The farmstead added new layer chicks on the 28th of February.  They lived in an unused bathtub in my bathroom in the house and were put outside after a week as they were already trying to fly.  They had to go to accommodations with higher walls.

Mr. Muse made the decision last year that this spring he’d try making maple syrup and the sap is running!  The fridge and the freezer has been filled, emptied and refilled with gallon jugs and food-grade 5-gallon buckets of sap.  I’ve been forced to roast the first batch of lamb bones for making stock because he needed more room for sap.  Stock is good.  Homemade stock is better.

And then there is work.  Work is good, but work is work (it pays for my vacations… so there is that), and sometimes it gets really busy.  Since I work in social media for part of my job, I was tasked to bring some social media advertising in-house to bring down costs.  I’m happy to say things are working well, but it also means I have had to carve time out to work on marketing and learning about advertising.  It’s been an interesting ride, though, and when I discovered that my ad campaign was working… I think I looked like this:


So, chickens, maple sap and syrup, gardening season is almost upon us (time to plant the peas!) and in May?  Honeybees!  The fun (and work) never ends!

PS – If you haven’t read it yet, my most popular blog post continues to be “I’ve been POISONED” from May 25th of 2012… read the comments.  Really!

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Fancy Coffee Friday: The Cruise – Recaptured.

Now that I’ve been back in the frozen tundra (man, does that sound way too dramatic to anyone else?) of Wisconsin for a couple of weeks, it’s time to give a recap of my cruise to the Caribbean with the fine people of Bare Necessities.

Let me preface my recap with a statement:  I’ve noticed that with each successive trip I venture on, the number of times I take photos with all the camera gear I take, drops exponentially.

Charlie playing in the shells at Shell Beach, Gustavia, St. Barths.

Charlie playing in the shells at Shell Beach, Gustavia, St. Barths.

I took photos with my DSLR on two islands:  Guadeloupe and St. Maarten.  The rest of the time I carried my phone with me and took quickie snaps, mostly of Cedric and Charlie.  There is one phone of Mr. Muse and I aboard the cruise ship all dressed up for dinner one night (yes, even on a nude cruise) – so photographic evidence that we were actually on the cruise ship exists.  Now that I have that little bit of information out there, let’s get on with the rest of the story.

So, Sarah, tell us about the CRUISE!!!

Okay, okay!  The cruise was great.  The End.


Okay, the cruise.  So, for the average cruiser, I’m sure that this cruise ROCKED!  Seriously.

Cedric, contemplating life's mysteries as he gazes out to sea at Shell Beach, Gustavia, St. Barths.

Cedric, contemplating life’s mysteries as he gazes out to sea at Shell Beach, Gustavia, St. Barths.

Mr. Muse and I were “General Staff” for the cruise, our third year being members of the General Staff, and it was a great cruise.  That said, being part of the General Staff, when combined with the work ethic that Mr. Muse and I possess, means that we always feel “on”.  Is there something we should be doing?  Somewhere we should be?  Even the days we had “off”, we felt like we should still be working.

So, Sarah, what does that all mean?  It means we were tired.  It was a great cruise, but we were tired.

Now that I got the “we were tired” out of the way…  We had a great time.  Knowing that I’m pretty much a hermit if left to my own devices, Mr. Muse and I met a lot of really wonderful people that I hope we get to see again-and-again over the years.  We also got to revisit with people we’ve met on past cruises, George and John – if you’re reading this – I think the world of you both!

Island oasis number one was CocoCay in the Bahamas – the private island owned by the Royal Caribbean.  To be honest, if I had to pick between CocoCay and Half Moon Cay (owned by Carnival Corp) – Half Moon all the way!!  CocoCay was okay, but the beach was really rocky.  I also spent most of the day assisting or modeling for photo shoots.

Our second stop was the island of St. Barths, the yachters & celebrity playground.  As I was suffering from a pinched nerve in my hip and my wallet didn’t want to open THAT much, Mr. Muse and I spent most of our brief time on the island at Shell Beach and eating glace (ice cream) and sorbet.

Water Lily pond at Les Jardins de Valombreuse.

Water Lily pond at Les Jardins de Valombreuse.

Stop number three was the island of Guadeloupe.  Guadeloupe is a relatively new cruise port and I recommend taking excursions for now rather than venturing off on your own (unless you hire a cab).  We took a tour of the botanical garden, Les Jardins de Valombrouse and the distillery Domaine de Severin.  The garden was beautiful in spite of the overcast skies and that’s also where we met a wonderful couple, R & S, whom we got to know better throughout the rest of the cruise and who treated us to ice cream when we got back to Fort Lauderdale.  We also got to watch a lot of hummingbirds in the gardens and I was in heaven.

The distillery?  We thought we were getting a tour of the distillery… it was just a drop-off at the store and we could walk the “grounds” (a circuitous walk around the shop) if we chose.  Our tour guide was great, the grounds were interesting, but the rum?  “Rot Gut”.  Mr. Muse and I have had  much, much better rum.



Our fourth and final stop was the island of St. Maarten, where Mr. Muse and I have visited twice before.  I love St. Maarten, and I wrote about our time there and my being Captain Oblivious last week.

I still have a bunch of places to write reviews on at TripAdvisor, but at least all of my laundry has been washed AND put away since then!

Want to know more about a port?  Let me know!

Posted in Fancy Coffee Friday, Musings, Personal, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

The Monday After: “That is one ANGRY butt cheek.”

Many of you have been playing along with this blog at home (or the office) since it’s inception and many of you will recall that I frequent a massage therapist for bodywork.  I go in for relief from TMJ and getting a procedure done called muscle stripping that I was told was excruciating but I find really relaxing.  Typically, when I go in, I mention areas that feel like they need a little more work (shoulders, always the shoulders…) but generally I get the whole body worked over.

Yes, yes it is.

Yes, yes it is.

Normally, I head in for my beating on Friday’s after work, but my CMT is also an athlete and currently my normal massage time is taken over by training and qualification trials for competition.  Since I’m an understanding person and can adjust my schedule, I went in on Saturday to have work done.  Essentially I still started my weekend with a massage so life is good.

Now, I’m continually astounded by just how good a massage can feel, especially when work is being done on areas that a person doesn’t typically consider getting massaged, like the forearms.  My therapist commented the other week, “I can tell you sit and type all day long… your forearms are ropey!  How does that not hurt?”  My face pressed into the cradle, I made some sort of noise to show I didn’t know why they didn’t hurt, but I did know that having my forearms stretched and the muscles worked on felt amazing.  A-MAZE-ING!  Make-me-drool kind of amazing.

Other locations are equally surprising, like between the ribs (not kidding), but areas that aren’t all that surprising are the big muscles: the glutes, quads and hammies.  Every once in a while my therapist will be working on one or more of these muscle groups and he comes across a muscle that is “angry”.  It pops, snaps or makes some other movement beneath his fingers, elbow or forearm and Saturday was was of those days.

While I was on the cruise with Mr. Muse, I started to feel a nerve pinching in my left hip on the second sea day but didn’t think much of it as it was so mild.  That is, until the middle of the night when I woke up in such pain that I could barely move.  The next morning in St. Barths I headed down to the Medical Bay to inquire after a chiropractor (nope) and was told that I could go to the spa and see the acupuncturist.  Instead, I opted to hobble down to the tender, get to Gustavia and get myself to a pharmacy for some drugs.  Plus, the walking was finally helping work things out in the hip.  After I hobbled around Gustavia, I ran into one of the massage therapists who goes on the cruises with Bare Necessities and she showed me some physical therapy moves to “reset” the nerve.  Long story somewhat shortened up – the nerve reset, the French Advil worked great and I stopped hobbling around.

massagepillsWhich brings me back to Saturday where I was once again face down in the cradle on the massage table, having my hammies and glutes worked on when there was a “pop” – on the right side.  My therapist paused a moment and said, “I’ll come back to that”, worked down the leg and came back up, digging in and feeling the muscle fight against his manipulation.  I was practicing my deep-breathing to work through the somewhat-painful-yet-beneficial moment when he uttered, “That is one ANGRY butt cheek.”

Deep-breathing was immediately replaced with a big belly-laugh – at least as big as it can get when face down on a massage table anyway.  He worked the muscle free, it relaxed and he moved on.  Me?  I was still giggling about having an angry butt cheek and thankful that there was nothing else angry in that region.

Posted in Blogging, Musings, Personal, Random Thoughts | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Fancy Coffee Friday: The Adventures of Captain Oblivious!

I may need this on a t-shirt for when I go out.

I may need this on a t-shirt for when I go out.

Years ago, as I made my way through my adolescent and teenage periods, I was “too busy for boys”.  Between school, 4-H, NJHA, and sports, not to mention having farm animals to care for, I was kept busy.  Those fleeting moments that I thought about boys and wondered why they rarely asked me out or to “go with them”, passed quickly in retrospect as I moved onto the next thing that had to be done or meeting I had to attend.

My first real introduction to the opposite sex came in Catholic grade school, specifically in the kitchen of the lunch room as I washed mashed potatoes out of a large pan in a sink with water hot enough to leave my hands red and my pores clear from the steam.   My good friend at the time, Jamie, rushed away from her station in the washing line to me, excitedly announcing that a boy working at the sprayer unit on the far side of the kitchen, whose name now escapes me, wanted to “go with me”.  Go with me?  I finished with the mashed potato pan and moved onto the green pea cauldron, giving Jamie a puzzled look.

“We can’t go anywhere…  we have kitchen duty today.”

Jamie stood in silence, raised an eyebrow, and leaning in she raised its partner to match to emphasize, at least so she thought, “No, Sarah.  He wants TO GO WITH YOU.”

I heaved the green pea cauldron out of the way and reached for the next pan, utterly puzzled at just where this boy wanted to go as we had kitchen duty and then had music class immediately afterwards.  Music class for goodness sake.  So, I shook my head as I scrubbed and looked over my shoulder at Jamie and repeated my “we have kitchen duty today” and punctuated it with “and music class is next”.

Just what was this boy thinking?  Shirking duties assigned by the kitchen ladies and nuns?  I don’t think so!  The school wasn’t that big, no matter where he wanted to go with me, surely we’d get in trouble for leaving our post.

Later that day he kept shooting me hurt looks and eventually asked why I wouldn’t “go with him” – of course, I replied *drum roll please*, “We had kitchen duty.  I couldn’t go anywhere with you.”

Fast forwarding to college and my utter oblivion to the wooing ways of the masculine sex continued.  I dated (finally) a lot of men, and my best friend was Mr. Muse-before-he-was-Mr. Muse.  He got to hear about every botched date, what the guys did right, what they did wrong and he refers to that time as “Reconnaissance”.  But, what I didn’t notice, because I’m Captain Oblivious, is that Mr. Muse wanted “to go with me”.

For the Dr. Who fans out there...

For the Dr. Who fans out there…

Friends started pointing out the second year at college that Mr. Muse “liked me”.  I’d laugh and say matter-of-factly, “Of course he likes me… we’re friends.  Friends like each other.”  I missed the pointed “he likes you” references, that he didn’t just like me, but he LIKED me.  They’d say, “he hugs you all the time” and I’d reply, “but he hugs you guys all the time too.  He’s a huggy person.”  They’d roll their eyes, sigh and on one particularly intense night of Boone’s Farm Fuzzy Navel pass-the-bottle, tried everything in their power to get me to realize that Mr. Muse LIKED me liked me and still, there I was, stuck at that grade school sink on kitchen duty wondering just where he wanted to go.

I know you’re all relieved to know that eventually, after a “Eureka Moment” with Mr. Muse – and my realization that he LIKED me liked me – it all worked out.

And that brings me to my recent adventure once again sailing with Bare Necessities.  One of the ports we stopped in was Philipsburg, Sint Maarten.  Mr. Muse and I had been to the island twice before and we knew that this time our goal was to head to famous, perhaps infamous, Maho Beach to watch the planes land and take-off and see people be stupid.

We’d set ourselves up nicely at the Sunset Bar and Grill, famous on Maho Beach, where from our perch we could watch the people on the beach and the planes coming in to land.  While we didn’t have great views of the planes that were taking off at the end of the runway, we did have a view of the cyclone fence that idiots people-prone-to-risky-behavior-who-ignore-warning-signs attempted to hang onto in the jet-wash of the planes.  It was at the bar, where as I headed back to the table from a trip to the loo, that a man in aviator sunglasses (who’d had his back to me) stopped me with, “Where do I know you from?”

Me, being the polite Midwesterner that I am, shook my head in bewilderment and said that he must have me confused with someone else.  He persisted, “No.  I know I know you; I just can’t think of where.”

I’m a helpful person, so I attempted to jog his memory despite that fact that I was 99% certain I had never met this man in my life.  “Well, are you from Wisconsin?  Are you on the nude cruise in port today?  I’m a model – maybe you’ve seen a photo of me?  I write – perhaps you’ve read my blog?  Twitter?  Facebook fan page?”  He shook his head to all of my suggestions and then I tossed out, “People tell me I look like Dana Delany.”  He agreed that he could see the resemblance in my eyes.  I smiled politely, because that’s what I do, and told him that if he thought of where he knew me from to let me know, handed him my business card and headed back to the table where Mr. Muse was waiting.

I relayed what had just transpired to Mr. Muse who smiled and nodded as he usually does and we continued to watch the planes, people and chat to the group that sat down at our table.  Soon, the man, who I’d found out was a private jet pilot, was at the next table with his coworker (who was frequently on his phone getting updates from mechanics so the story holds up).  We said hello again, we chatted about the planes, considered odds on whether people on the beach were going to go down in the surf or not and he asked me about the nude cruise.

DrinkBarI didn’t think anything of the unusual conversation until seven hours later when suddenly it dawned on me that this man may have been hitting on me.  Mr. Muse and I were making our way down the corridor of the cruise ship by then and in another of my “Eureka Moments” I stopped, turned to Mr. Muse and said, “Wasn’t it weird that the guy kept saying he knew me?  His back was turned to me when I came out of the bathroom…. I mean, maybe he saw me when I headed in there, but…. *dramatic pause as the light bulb over my head begins to glow* Okay, it just occurred to me that maybe he was hitting on me.  Weird!  Do you think he was hitting on me?”  Mr. Muse just smiled and nodded and we proceeded down the corridor.

At dinner, I relayed this story to my fellow staffers, they all laughed with one dear woman I adore declaring, “Goodness child!  He was trying to pick you up!”  I commented that the thought had occurred to me an hour earlier and we all laughed harder that it only took me seven hours to figure that out.  More hearty laughter followed with more questions about how I didn’t figure it out at the time to which I responded, “I choose to believe my not noticing is part of my charm.”  I’m a smart cookie people – but social cues of interest from the opposite sex are NOT my strong suit – I fully admit that.

So, to the pilot who was stranded in Sint Maarten for the second day do to mechanical issues…. I never got your name, but if you’re reading this, now you know the rest of the story.

Just call me Captain Oblivious.

Are there certain social cues that you miss?  What are they?

Entertained by this post?  Let me know.  Just make it obvious. :P

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The Monday After: Why Are Vacations So Exhausting?

Mr. Muse and I finally arrived home early afternoon yesterday after being away a week and a half.  Our flights were uneventful and we plunged into the cold as fuck brisk 7 degree F breeze of Madison with suitcases in tow, Cedric The Roaming Gnome safe in my satchel and Charlie The Traveling Chupacabra securely contained on the back of Mr. Muse’s travel pack.   Our Explorer started right up after sitting in the parking garage at the airport all those many days and with everyone intact and all luggage accounted for we headed off.

Do I need lotion? Perhaps just a little dab.

Do I need lotion? Perhaps just a little dab.

The change from warm and moist tropical air to the dry, frigid air over Wisconsin apparently began to break the magical spell of me having decent-looking hands.  I’ll never be the “after” hand model but at least while on the cruise in the tropics I didn’t have what Mr. Muse calls my “old lady hands” (or what Jeff calls my “hands of a fish wife”).  I took off a glove that I’d put on only a few minutes before in the airport and sighed as I saw how parched the skin appeared.  Just that morning it was looking somewhat youthful.

But, I laughed, restated my demand for “FOOD!” that I’d made on the ATL to MSN leg of the flight as the only thing I’d had to eat since Mr. Muse and I had fallen into exhausted slumber in the mid-evening at the hotel on Saturday, thus bypassing dinner, was a KIND bar and a Grande Peppermint Mocha, non-fat, no-whip from the FLL Starbucks.  Sadly, the baristas must have assumed that since I ordered “non-fat, no-whip” I must also have wanted “sugar free” because the first sip I took had me wrinkling my face in disgust and giving a shiver at the nastiness that is sugar-free anything.

Of course, I still drank it, because it was 5:30 AM EST and since I knew I wasn’t going to get any sleep on an overbooked flight (seriously, Delta, do you HAVE to overbook nearly every flight into and out of Atlanta?) that they were trying to fit eight bumped passengers from the ATL flight that left 20 minutes earlier – I was going to need the caffeine.

Wow.  I went off on a bit of a tangent right there…  Okay, reeling it back in.  Or, I can use the phrase I learned from new friends from the vacation, “Speaking of marriage…”  (There is a story there… you had to be there for it so you’re just going to have to trust me on this.)

Hangry.  It's what's for dinner.

Hangry. It’s what’s for dinner.

Food.  Yeah.  So, I was hungry.  Or ‘hangry’.  And tired.  That’s a dangerous combination and since I knew that we also had to stop at the grocery store to pick up some laundry soap and lunch supplies for the work week – going in hangry was a terrible idea.  Our first thought was the Hubbard Avenue Diner – and as soon as we walked in the door and found out that it was an hour long wait for a table of four (I didn’t ask about a table for two), we turned right back around and headed back to the Explorer to ponder our options.  Taking the lazy route, we headed to Chili’s by the mall, which has a handy-dandy touch screen at the table where I can find gluten free options.  I ordered a margarita (because we were still on vacation, dammit) and a water (which I drank before the margarita) and healthy choices which I fairly well inhaled.  Mr. Muse carb-loaded like usual and with the first actual, full meal in nearly 24 hours we headed off to the grocery store and then to home.

Oh, home.

In my head I envision that the beautiful people of the world arrive back at their homes to perfectly clean abodes, vases of flowers cheerfully greeting them as they walk into the door and they never have to worry about washing the dirty laundry that was artfully packed in their suitcases because they have people to do that for them.

My reality is that Mr. Muse wanted to pull up to the back of the house to schlep all the groceries and baggage inside so as to avoid a multiple-trip, back-and-forth on the narrow walk at the front of the house.  Fair enough, nobody wants to plow snow with a 43# suitcase.  The interior of the house looked as if our cats had exploded, tufts of hair lay all over the carpet, but at least there was only one puke stain on the arm of the chair.  The hard floors were in need of sweeping the debris from the barn, the cat hair and the dead box elder bugs.  While some of the house plants are flowering – mostly all of them were wilting and I can’t say I detected any cheer from them – it was more like “hey asshole, where can a plant get a drink around this joint”.

Mr. Muse set about dumping the laundry we’d crammed into the suitcases onto the kitchen floor and sorting it into piles as I tucked into washing the 12 dozen eggs the chickens laid while we were gone.  The carpet was vacuumed (as was the furniture).  The eggs were washed, sanitized and packed.  The laundry eventually was completed and the plants watered.

At one point, Mr. Muse, who had taken to relaxing on the couch, implored me to “just sit and relax” as I had an exhausting vacation and needed a break before heading into work today.  Two hours later I finally did.  That lasted 90 minutes before I was back up and doing stuff that needed doing, like more laundry.

Vacations are supposed to REcharge your batteries, right?


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