Squirrel Trends

The squirrels don’t know it, but they are on trend right now. Or at least it feels like they’re trendy because ads for tiny picnic tables keep popping up in all my social media feeds. Even @chunk_the_groundhog now has a tiny picnic table. (He also has a family of 3 babies!)

Adventure Buddy’s husband decided he could craft tiny picnic tables rather than buy them from Lowes, and was nice enough to gift me with one. It took my squirrelly crew two days to find the table, but they are now nibbling at it one kernel at a time, then freaking out and leaping away.

It reminds me of this video that a friend shared with me. Yes, it’s 21 minutes long; but if you are fascinated by squirrels’ antics and leaping abilities, it’s worth the watch. Clearly this guy used his quarantine time much more productively than I did.

Do You Need New Voices in Your Head?

I’m a late comer to the podcast party. I’ve enjoyed audiobooks since the Bush years when listening to the news while driving to work was a daily exercise in rage at environmental destruction and human rights violations. Thank goodness for audiobooks now!

However I did not invest in a podcast until my team decided to use season one of Serial for a class unit. We used the case of Adnan Syed to discuss research, bias, and who done it! HBO promptly released a documentary allegedly revealing more evidence. This happens every time we try something new. Taught The Help for one year, movie released.

The book to podcast to HBO special and tour was already well established with the first podcast to really draw me in: My Dad Wrote a Porno. Yes, that pretty much lays out the premise. Basically the narrator’s senior citizen father whose nom de plume is Rocky Flintstone wrote and self-published “erotic literature”(say that in your best British accent as all involved are British which makes it even better) called Belinda Blinks. You can absolutely buy it on Amazon, but you’re much better off with the podcast.

Every episode, Jamie, the put-upon son, reads a chapter from his dad’s books (Rocky cranked out 5 very quickly) while pausing for commentary and analysis of Rocky’s sentence structure, plot lines, and sexual prowess from companions James and Alice. It becomes clear from chapter one that Rocky’s grasp of grammar and knowledge of anatomy are highly suspect.

It’s all incredibly inappropriate and hilarious. My cupcake lady’s husband (everyone should have a cupcake lady) recommended the podcast so I would go back to him for discussion. I determined that part of the reason I enjoyed this podcast so much was that everyone on it seemed deliriously happy to be a part of it, constantly joking and giggling. Who knew the cervix was so funny? Unfortunately, I listened to all 5 seasons and the group was on tour with no season 6 in sight. Because cupcake lady’s husband was an avid listener of many podcasts, I walked away one day with cupcakes and a post-it note of recommendations just in time for the world to come to a screeching halt.

This is a lot of text! To break it up, here’s some sourdough bread I made during the stay-at-home most likely while listening to a podcast. Podcasts are great for cooking and also good for putting away folded laundry, and changing sheets on the bed.

During the Stay-At-Home order podcasts became a part of my daily routine more than usual. I started with one of his new recommendations Beach Too Sandy, Water Too Wet. A brother and sister duo Alex and Christine dramatically read one star reviews of products and places. Each show has a focusing theme like “Dunkin Donuts in Concord, New Hampshire.” Each episode ends with a challenge from one sibling to the other along the lines of things like find a 5 star review of a BBQ restaurant from a vegan. The trend in my listening is still people who seem happy to be broadcasting, and ridiculous but humorous scenarios.

Beach too Sandy led me to the And That’s Why We Drink podcast because Christine kept mentioning her murder podcast and friends Em and Allyson during Beach Too Sandy. During each episode of And That’s Why We Drink, Em who was once a paranormal investigator covers a ghost story or story of a haunted location, followed by Christine telling a true crime story. In between gruesome acts and possessions there’s a lot of interaction with Gio the dog, consuming of wine, and general commentary on their lives. They’re my current favorite possibly because the supernatural and true crime or mysteries are where my reading tastes trend. I’ve tried to like My Favorite Murder another true crime podcast which my seniors recommended one year and which Christine mentions frequently. However I’ve only made it through the first couple of episodes because the narrators sounded like the senior girls who recommended the podcast. At the time, my senior class seemed to be populated by the main cast of Mean Girls and several John Hughes standards. I often described them by saying if anyone needed to cast a teen movie, I had their stereotypes.

Also on the post-it note was How Did This Get Made?. This one sort of analyzes bad movies, sort of makes fun of them in the process, and sort of gives some behind the scenes info. I’ve found that I like it more when it’s discussing a movie that I’m familiar with, but the narrators are prone to getting really loud and screamy really quickly.

You’ve made it this far! Enjoy Sookie’s belly floof! One more to go.

Finally, my absolute enjoyable go-to is The Office Ladies podcast. I was not a fan of The Office when it was out, but have grown to appreciate it much more via Netflix and re-runs. I often find Michael Scott’s behavior to be reprehensible and cringe worthy, but that may be because I feel like I’ve worked for the evil version of him. Additionally, my students think that they have been the first ones to discover the wonders of shows like The Office and Friends via Netflix so best to know what’s going on.

Pam and Angela or Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey host the show. It’s the only podcast on the list that I feel “current” with as they only started broadcasting in October of 2019. Frenemies on TV, friends in real life. Each episode gives a run-down of the plot, commentary from the two actresses about their experiences, the occasional special guest from the cast and crew, and tons of behind the scenes “how’d they do that?” information. For example, I had no idea how many of the cast members were actually also staff writers. Toby (Paul Lieberstein), for example, is strategically kicked out of meetings or forbade to attend events in episodes because he needed to be in the writer’s room. Again, both women seem happy to be talking to each other and reliving their experiences.

You’ve read a lot of paragraphs! Here’s your reward.

In an Office related twist, Some Good News with John Krasinski came out of the quarantine. I might have gotten a little verklempt when I watched an episode that a colleague shared, but I was REALLY on edge with e-learning at the time. Enjoy!

Have a Nice Poop!

Staying at home has made me pretty susceptible to online shopping especially in the beginning weeks. There is great joy in receiving something fun in the mail. Additionally, I determined early on that I was not feeling crafty enough to make masks so I’ve been buying them online from the locals.

The Craftin’ Outlaws show zeroed in on my online weakness. Their show which would normally have been at the art museum during my spring break (week 2 of stay at home) was cancelled. They scrambled their collective know how and organized an online show. There was a daily takeover of crafters by category (example: clothing) complete with photos and links to their sites for purchasing.

It was definitely something to look forward to everyday. They’ve always been good about promoting the makers involved in their shows. However I did learn that no matter how fun a candle’s scent description is, you probably shouldn’t buy it unless you already know that candle. Lesson learned, crafter supported.

Craftin’ Outlaws is amazing if you need a pop culture reference, something made out of bones, or other outside the mainstream designs. I found the birthday present the EVERYONE needs at Awesomeby Jenna during the home wares category. My friends and I are of an age where we cannot underestimate the benefits of a nice poop.

Jenna’s work in its new home.

In the description she offers to customize colors, so I messaged her a picture to illustrate my friend’s retro pink bathroom tiles. She matched the color!

At my house, I can have all the nice bathroom trips I want, I just can’t have them alone. Since being home 24/7, Birdie has updated the bathroom routine. As soon as I’m on the toilet, she makes a mad dash into the bathroom and demands that I turn the faucet on as it is conveniently within my reach. This is so she can get two sips and then run away as if her butt is on fire.

Have a nice poop!

Let’s Talk Turkey

“What did you do this weekend?”

“Oh, my friend and I toyed with the fragile emotions of a wild turkey. You?”

Adventure Buddy and I tried a new park this weekend. It basically does a 2 mile loop over meadow lands and a ridge. We were on the wooded ridge when Adventure Buddy gasped, “TURKEYS!”

I was in mid rant about something, so I thought it was someone yelling. That’s how loud it was. We stood and waited. He called again, and again. Tromping through what was probably poison ivy, we went over a little mound and spotted him in the trees just below us.

He was standing on a log, all alone; we assumed he was looking for love. So, of course, we catfished him.

From previous adventures, Adventure Buddy has a turkey call app. She found some hen clucks and sent him a few, “Hey sexy boyfriend” calls.

You can hear her giggling in the background.

He was very responsive and started to walk a little closer while puffing up a bit.

We did not get a full display until she played what we think is a fighting purr. We left this poor turkey not knowing if someone was going to fuck him or fight him. Sorry, Tom.

We could still hear him calling as we made it down the ridge.

Turkey hunters, please don’t yell at me if we got the calls and the body language wrong. I don’t hunt and really only eat these guys once a year!

Check on your friends

I got a text from a friend today: “Hey, you doing okay? I miss the cat posts.”

Translation: “Are you dead or trapped somewhere? Your Insta game has been weak.”

It’s fine. MomBert employs the same technique when a day or two has gone by without me sending her a cat picture of her furry grandchildren.

Admittedly, my usual stream of cat pictures has dried up recently since Ohio is shutting everything down step by step and my brain melted from the stress of living the first chapters of a dystopian novel’s back story. ***Seriously though, I love this idea of those beginning chapters. I apologize now if I end up repeatedly using that phrase again. There is a reason dystopian literature exists. Go read Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

To uplift both our spirits and confirm that I was alive, I captured Olivia Wigglebothum’s standard greeting when I get home. Getting to the shelf seems very important to her.

MomBert Makes Me Pretty Things: Part 3

The very first time I went to goat yoga at the farm, I was fascinated by the bone pit. It was just a leftover concrete foundation of some previous structure or maybe a filled in well, but it was full of bones and skulls! Glorious intact skulls with horns!

MomBert and every Adventure Buddy who has accompanied me since, has assertively whispered under their breath, “You need to take a skull.”

I can’t just climb into the bone pit and take a skull at goat yoga! That feels like all kinds of bad etiquette. Finally during a June visit last year, Adventure Buddy initiated a conversation about purchasing the skulls because I wasn’t about to do it. (I was also cupping a tiny baby bunny at the time, and chose to be really focused on that.)

It turns out that people buy the skulls all the damn time! The farm owner Katherine had three on hand that had been appropriately cleaned and dried because artists buy them frequently. In response, I rambled on about MomBert’s deer skull creations. So for $15, I bought a goat skull.

MomBert was not pleased.

I was sincerely surprised. Previously, she had created two really beautiful skull pieces with stained glass and then with costume jewelry. Her reticence came not from the idea of a skull but from a GOAT’s skull. She said that it made her think of all the Satanic associations. Meanwhile, brat that I am, I was like “I spent all of $15 on this and I want skull art!”

She found a way to make it work. Deciding on a bug theme, she started collecting bug themed costume jewelry. We made some choices together at an extravaganza flea market. There’s repeat vendor whose entire booth is layer upon layer of bejeweled costume jewelry. She has it sorted by holidays, animals, shapes etc…. Whatever you need! We had no trouble choosing a variety of inexpensive creatures from her. (I am eternally jealous of her personal jewelry. She usually has turquoise, Western style rings on every finger and drapes herself in squash blossom necklaces.)

Goat in the Flower Garden emerged at Christmas because it’s not Christmas until somebody gets a head in a box.

I think she could have gotten away with just the painting because the underlying flowers are so pretty. However I also love all the creatures we chose, especially the spider complete with thread and the tiny frog.