Fingers Crossed…

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Fingers Crossed…

Muthafuckah. Got some not great news today…for my regulars you may recall a post from last week when I waxed poetic about my crappy health insurance. I begged my doctor’s office for a script for an MRI but they declined because my insurance (sucks) needed me to go through more hoops first because they’re assholes.

I figured an x-ray would be useless because the pain I have seems nerve related. Pins and needles, like when your foot falls asleep. The foot thing usually passes after a few minutes, the situation I’m dealing with is 24/7.  The pain ranges from a 3 to an 8, it’s never gone completely. I’ve had about six weeks of this now and I’m starting to get cranky. However, the insurance company needs a checklist ticked off before it will pay for an MRI so basically we ALL work for the insurance company now – the doctors, medical billers, patients, hospitals, labs – they own us.

Anyway the planets aligned and I got the referrals, made the appointment, and saw the doctor. The appointment was with a non-surgical Orthopedic at the Rothman Institute. The office ran like a well-oiled machine. They even took an x-ray of my neck for $20. which is the best deal I’ve gotten since well, ever. My PCP wouldn’t send me for an X-Ray because she’s scared of my insurance.

The x-ray didn’t show much (shocking) so I got my script for the MRI. The RI office staff managed to get an authorization code from my cheap ass (yet freakishly expensive) insurance company so I got my MRI a few days ago. This morning I got a call around 9:15am from an unknown number so I let it go to voicemail. It was the Orthopedic doctor. Well, that was unexpected. I called the office told them I would be available after 12:30. I got another call from the doctor at 12:32, this is highly unusual. Doctors calling as soon as they get the results to discuss it with you…

Doc: Hello, I wanted to let you know I got the MRI and it isn’t terrible.

Me: (nervous laughter) Great, not terrible is good, maybe.

Doc: We compared this MRI to the one you had in 2010 and the same area is involved (cervical).

Me: I’m glad you were able to hunt that down.

Doc: I’m recommending that you see a surgeon.

Me: Oh.

Doc: There’s some compression around the spine and some fluid. (barely audible) Myelomalacia

Me: Mya-what?

Doc: Myelomalacia, don’t Google it.

Me: Of course I’m going to Google it, you just told me not to.

He then proceeded to name some doctors that are spinal surgeons. I got off the phone and promptly cried for 45 seconds. Then I started Googling, then I took a walk because I can’t do anything else. He told me to hold off on physical therapy until I see the surgeon. Oddly enough I had a physical therapy consult scheduled for this afternoon.

I talked to my husband, I talked to a friend, I talked to God and my dog. I made the appointment for Monday which is a miracle in itself. Hopefully, I’ll have more information and the start of a game plan this time next week.

I put my gym membership on hold. That was when it hit me, shit got real. Exercise has been a physical and mental release for me for 30 years. Now I have restricted exercise (walking) and constant pain, it’s not an ideal combination. I’m trying to not think about it too much until my next appointment, easier said than done. Fingers crossed…

 

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Red, White & Blue (privilege)

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Red, White & Blue (privilege)

Red, White and Blue, the colors of Old Glory. America is such a mess right now. It takes determined concentration to not get sucked into the propaganda on either side. My country has turned into a dysfunctional family gathering where some guests have clearly been over-served and the quiet relations are hiding in the corner trying to remain invisible. Meanwhile the host is getting dinner on the table three hours late lamenting about the state of the world and how things would be so much better if we turned back the clock to 1957. Better for whom?

Precious few are willing to listen to people with a different political view because they believe their side is morally superior. There are sides now, definitive lines in the sand, us versus them, red against blue. We need to be one country again. Country before party and all that. What scares me the most though, is that this type of divisive ideology is simultaneously happening all over the world.

The colors of America’s flag represent different ideas to me now. Please know this is my version of stereotypes of extremists on each end. I know that there are rational, compassionate Republicans and Democrats. I still believe we have a lot of overlapping common ground we just need to commit to finding it.

Red (privilege) – The ability to actively and passionately care for an unborn fetus while simultaneously being OK with brown kids getting separated from their families for an undefined amount of time at border crossings. God-loving Christians who would rather spend money beefing up the military then covering entitlement programs like WIC, Welfare or Food Stamps. Who will financially support those fetuses that grow into children that need food, clothing, shelter and a stable home? While hand-wringing over the unborn, the reds turn a callous eye away from the epidemic of gun violence that claim thousands of lives each year (approximately 11,000 in 2017 according to the BBC). WWJD indeed?

White (privilege) – Imagine if President Obama made public statements encouraging Russia, Ukraine and China to dig up dirt on a political rival during a campaign. Oh what’s that, you can’t imagine a world where that’s possible. OK then, imagine if Obama was accused of a dozen or so variations of sexual assault. Better yet, switch out Obama for Trump in the infamous Access Hollywood tape and then imagine him getting elected after that…would never happen. Yes my friends that is (rich) white privilege.

Blue (privilege) – You claim to be the party of compassion, pro choice and ultimate Democracy yet you stop talking to people if they disagree with your political views. You want to rid the world of bullies and tyrants yet you go full on beast mode if someone questions your vaccination choices. Live and let live unless someone is living in a way that you find offensive. You need to give people a chance to catch up with each new iteration of socially acceptable behavior – the rules change daily. Better yet, allow space for people to have a different belief. Some religions don’t support homosexual life styles. Yeah, it’s sad. I’m here to tell you that I can eat some Chick-fil-A without being a LGBTQ hater. As Freud once said, sometimes a nugget is just a nugget, not a political statement. I can’t pull up a manifesto for each corporate conglomerate before I order lunch. Everyone is a bully if they aren’t your brand of “woke”. Full stop.

The point is there are extremists on both sides – two wings on the same bird. The bird flies better if the wings are working together. If the wings are constantly flapping in opposite directions it’s a death spiral. I’m dizzy from the constant, chaotic circling and that hard crash landing is getting closer.

I hope we can get back to a place where we place country over party. Where morals matter all the time, not just when it fits a specific narrative. I want decent, compassionate, intelligent leadership. I want well thought out policies, not impulse driven, reactionary decisions via Twitter promulgated by a constant stream of political pundits shouting over each other on red and blue networks. The people, you and me, we are the only ones that can fix this mess. The politicians sold us out decades ago, it’s all on us now.

It’s All About the Money Honey

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It’s All About the Money Honey

This week has been a painful reminder of how incredibly messed up healthcare is in America. I’ve had an annoying issue that’s been shadowing me for about a month – near constant tingling/numbness in my right arm. I waited a couple of weeks to see a doctor because I thought it might resolve on it’s own, it hasn’t. So I made an appointment and saw my doc – she put me on steroids to see if inflammation was the cause.

I was a little freaked out to take the steroids because I’ve heard some rough stuff but it was a low dose for six days so I tried it. Nothing miraculous happened, the pain and numbness were dulled a bit but not gone. A day after my last dose I had extreme pain so I called the doctors office asking for next steps. No one called me back. I called the next day and got Honied and Sweetied by the nurse.

Nurse: Hold on hon, let me check….(hears keyboard clicking…)

Me: The pain is fairly significant and it’s constant, can we possibly streamline this process?

Nurse: Well Sweetie your doctor is giving you a referral to the Rothman Institute.

Me: OK, will I have a diagnostic test done before then to pin point the problem?

Nurse: No Honey. Go to the Orthopedic doctor first.

So I call the Orthopedic doctor. I’m fortunate they have a cancellation so I don’t have to wait a month or more to get in. The intake person tells me I will see a non-surgical doctor and asks me if I have had any x-rays or an MRI. I call back my doctor’s office…

Me: Can I get an MRI or some other diagnostic testing prior to the Orthopedic appointment so it is a more productive appointment?

Nurse: Pffffft. I doubt it.

Me: Can you ask?

Nurse: (Clearly annoyed) This is what your doctor has suggested.

Me: Yes, I understand that. I’m just in a lot of discomfort and I want to streamline the process if at all possible.

Nurse: (sighs loudly) I’ll put a note in for the doctor.

Next day…nurse calls we play phone tag 4 times before we connect then the call gets disconnected….

Nurse: Doctor says your other option is 4 to 8 weeks of physical therapy, then reconsider MRI, otherwise, insurance likely won’t cover.

Me: So physical therapy for a problem that hasn’t been properly diagnosed yet because an accurate diagnostic test hasn’t been done because the insurance won’t pay….I’ll stick with the Orthopedic referral, thanks.

Once again the death of common sense has been verified. I am nothing but a walking widget to these people…another name in the computer that stumbled off the factory floor and had the nerve to ask relevant questions. I’m sure this nurse started her career with the sincere desire to help people, now she is relegated to towing the corporate line for a variety of insurance companies. The doctor may sign her paychecks but they all work for the insurers now and it’s been that way a long time. This is the insurance we pay $20K in premiums for each year because my husband and I are both self-employed.

In other news, I went for a consultation for a cosmetic procedure today – blepharoplasty (under eye bags). Met with the doctor, scheduled the procedure and poof have an appointment for early November. Easy Peasy!

What’s the difference here folks, cash. The almighty dollar y’all so if you are willing to pay cash you can get your tummy tucked, boobs/eyes/ass lifted, nipped, tucked and fat sucked with barely any questions asked.  GAWD forbid you have a real problem then you will jump through hoops of fire to get the coverage you actually paid for, healthcare in America, it’s just swell.

 

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Actual photo of me trying to get the healthcare coverage I already bought. (Pssst, not really I got the image form Pinterest)

 

 

Berlin

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Berlin

Berlin, Germany is an odd place to visit for a few hours. It’s not nearly enough time to get past the painful palpable past and reconcile that with the vibrant metropolis it is now. It was an ambitious excursion from our Baltic Sea Cruise. Once again I went with Alla Tours to be our guide.

The trip required us to be on a bus just past 7am to embark on a 3 hour ride. We stopped once for a bathroom/snack run as we made our way on the autobahn toward Germany’s capitol. Our tour guide was named – wow, I can’t remember his name. If I’m honest, I wasn’t a huge fan. He tried to be witty but the sarcasm was too heavy (even for me) and it didn’t play out well with the devastating history we were unfolding.

Our guide let’s call him, Hans, pointed out various buildings and the shopping district. There was some disappointment that most stores were closed because it was a Sunday. I didn’t mind since we wouldn’t have time to shop, plus it lightened the traffic a bit. One fun fact that Hans mentioned is that the public trees in Berlin are numbered, that way if there is an issue the person in charge of trees knows which tree to attend to. I would’ve thought Hans was joking if I didn’t see numbered placards on trees throughout the day.

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Our first stop in Berlin was to see the Berlin Wall Monument which included a Topography of Terror Exhibit. So much for getting your feet wet, dive right into the genocide of millions of innocent people. We only had 20 minutes here, 20 minutes to read how more than ten million people were exterminated and killed at war (spoiler: lots of people died in horrific ways). Twenty minutes to get a glimpse into the horrors that Poland went through and the bravery with which her citizens resisted the Nazis and the Soviet invasion. It’s a somber place.

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About five years ago I visited a woman on hospice. I was there as a volunteer, we sat for a few hours and she told me about herself, I just listened. Jadwiga was born in Poland in the 1930’s and she had a sister. She and her sister lived with their parents until they were all relocated to a camp when she was nine years old. They spent at least two years in that camp, only she and her mother survived. Her father and sister died of starvation which was sadly not uncommon in the camps. Here’s the twist that I didn’t expect, her family was Catholic. The people of Poland had Germany attacking from the east and Soviets invading from the west. Many civilians were killed immediately, many more were sent to camps or relocated to remote locations including Siberia.

Sometimes I’m stunned by how much I didn’t learn in school. Hitler viewed Polish people as inferior. His plan for Poland was to colonize it leaving some Poles to do manual labor and assist with the war effort. In an attempt to reduce the chances of a rebellion, Polish people that were seen as intellectuals or having the ability to persuade an uprising were killed – teachers, priests and members of the “leadership” class. Oops, our twenty minutes are up, time to get back on the bus. I bought a pretzel from a street vendor and we moved along. If you want to learn more here’s a link – Polish Victims of Nazi Germany

The next stop was Checkpoint Charlie. Checkpoint Charlie was the most famous border crossing along the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to slow the defection of Eastern Germans to Western Germany. At the time, Eastern Germany was struggling under communist rule and Western Germany had much more robust economy.

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The separation of Berlin began after the collapse of Germany in 1945 when the country was divided into four zones. Each zone was headed by a superpower – American, British, French and Soviet. In 1946 the allies of the Western Zones (American, British & French) came together during a break down in reparation agreements, leaving the Soviets in the Eastern Zone. The allies wanted to build a new economy in Western Berlin, Eastern Berlin was under communism. This all played out during the Cold War (1947 – 1991).

So we basically got let out of the bus near Checkpoint Charlie and were told to be back on the bus in half an hour. It was lunchtime so we went to a cafe to find some food, we wound up at Coffee Fellows. I’m just going to out myself as someone who previously believed the stereotype that German workers are efficient, this place cured me of that. We spend 22 of our 30 minutes waiting for a smoothie and a sandwich, that left us 8 minutes to explore.

In that 8 minutes we browsed souvenir shops and street vendors who were all selling gas masks in various shapes and sizes. There was also the image of two men kissing, that image was everywhere – mugs, bags, posters, pins, magnets, t-shirts, any standard souvenir item you can conjure. Naturally I had to find out who these two men were and what the significance was…

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In October of 1979 Regis Bossu took the famous photo of Leonid Brehzhnev and Erich Honecker. Apparently the men got excited over a ten year agreement of mutual support which involved ships, machinery, fuel, along with chemical and nuclear equipment. Explosive stuff no doubt. The “Fraternal Kiss” photo inspired a painting titled – My God, Help Me to Survive this Deadly Love – by Dmitri Vrubel (1990). His painting remained on a section of the Berlin Wall until it deteriorated and was repainted in 2009.

Time’s up back on the bus. Hans kept pointing out buildings and making snide remarks about Angela Merkel. I was getting tired of the bus and my daughter was sick. We got out a few more times, once in what used to be East Berlin and then back to the western side to wander near the museums and visit a street market. Did I mention that it was a thousand degrees that day?

About 6 hours in we went to the Memorial of the Murdered Jews of Europe. Hans explained that Hitler’s bunker was in that general area, he was not keen on pointing it out or directing foot traffic in that direction. The prevailing thought is that Germans did not want to commemorate or lend public space to Hitler so the bunker is inaccessible. I opted to spend my time at the Memorial and as was the case all day, there was not enough time for this sacred place.

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Back on the bus this time we were let out near the Brandenburg Gate where Ronald Reagan made his famous “Berlin Wall” speech. The gate was under significant repair so I didn’t get a decent photo. There is a placard where President Reagan stood for that famous speech. It’s also close to the German Parliament building which features a glass dome. Hans also pointed out the Victory Column, affectionately called – Chick on a Stick.

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We started making our way back to the autobahn which would lead us back to port in a mere three hours. It was an exhausting day. Berlin deserves at least a week to explore, I would have liked to get to know her better. Her history is so heavy yet I saw glimpses of whimsy and chic within the city, I hope to visit again.

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Bananas

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Bananas

Sweet Geezus the bananas are out of control…AGAIN. Those pesky peels are showing up everywhere. Real damage is being done, people are dying slipping on those damn peels. Even the schools are not safe. Teachers who went into their chosen field to educate and enrich the lives of their students have to carve out time to teach students what to do in the event of a banana peel emergency. And an emergency is bound to happen, they always do. We’ve already had a handful of banana peel incidents this year and it’s only February.

Great minds have been debating this banana peel issue for decades and still no solution for the problem. Some people say that all bananas should be removed from circulation. Others argue for more restrictive banana rights. Others say “hey leave my bananas alone, our founding fathers fought so I could have a right to my bananas.” Maybe some people can’t handle the power of the banana, maybe not everyone needs one. Perhaps there should be a consistent test to determine if someone is within the right frame of mind to carry a banana?

We could make public places safer to avoid unwanted banana entry. Schools should probably be built more like prisons to keep the bad bananas out. That makes sense right? Really high fences – 20 feet high with barbed wire, a few guards at the entrance a banana pat down on the way in, maybe a retinal scan, we have the technology. Sure schools are going bankrupt paying for pension funds and a push to redistribute property taxes. Put all that aside for a moment…I’m sure Congress will loosen up the purse strings so we can keep our bananas AND make schools safer. We do after all value the safety and well being of our children as well as a free and accessible public school system.

There is a lot of speculation as to why the banana problem exists: poor family values, antidepressants, a lack of love & God, mental illness, video games, the pro-banana board which spends gobs of money keeping bananas accessible. At one point Australia had a banana problem and they just said “turn in your f*cking bananas.” Apparently that’s working for them. That couldn’t possibly work here. The UK, Japan and Germany also have a low tolerance for bananas. Shocking as that is, those countries have fewer banana fatalities than we experience in the USA. What could it be? We need our bananas we aren’t like those other countries.

I don’t know what the answer is…I mean I guess you just have to say a prayer and hope your kids don’t slip on any peels when you send them to school. That seems to be working out just swell…as long as it isn’t your kid slipping on the peel.

 

This was originally posted on a sister site in February of 2018 after the Parkland mass shooting. It’s September now, that time of year when parents wonder if the bullet resistant backpacks will hold up, teachers try to anticipate which kids will have panic attacks during the “active shooter drills” (the new fire drill except this “fire” mimics when a maniac comes into your kid’s school with an assault rifle) and teachers mentally calculate how many more months they have to deal with this insanity before they can retire.

Sadly, the post is still relevant. Thank you teachers everywhere for still showing up under these obscene conditions. Kids I don’t know what to tell you, I’m so sorry we haven’t collectively done better. You deserve a safe place to learn, all of you.

Fellow Americans do you remember when drunk driving was a HUGE issue in this country? In the 80’s grass roots organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) got fed up and pressured the government to do something…the legal drinking age was changed to 21 across the nation. Drunk driving laws were tightened and strictly enforced and the public’s behavior changed. People still have a cocktail with dinner, they just plan for the drive home with more caution now.

Why can’t we use a similar common sense approach to guns? Thorough, consistent background checks, close the purchasing loopholes, be a little more selective about who can purchase a weapon. I have to show ID to purchase allergy medicine can’t we have at least that much scrutiny for a military grade weapon? Or shall we just continue to traumatize the generation we’re supposed to protect? Is that better because that sounds bananas to me.

Noga Yoga

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Noga Yoga

The yoga people are getting carried away. In the past six months I’ve received approximately 1,395 spam emails trying tempt me to go to yoga. They have gotten creative in their class offerings, including:

Goat Yoga – Yoga with goats – Yay! For $40. a class, you can do an activity you hate with an animal you like that may or may not kick you or butt you with their little goat head. Petting zoos are way cheaper and they have more goats, skip the yogi middle-man.

Dog Yoga – Yoga with dogs – Yay! For $40. you can take yoga with dogs that may or may not annoy you in ways that vary from how your own dog annoys you at home. Whenever anyone dances or hugs in my house our dog rushes in like a Bouncer in club who just witnessed a client get too handsy with the club owner’s girlfriend. It keeps public displays of affection to a minimum.

Bunny Bliss Yoga – Yoga with Bunnies – Yay! Oh FFS how many animals must we go through for the yogis of the world to realize that not everyone likes yoga. Pssst…if you can put together a baby hedgehog yoga, I’ll convert.

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Rage Yoga – Apparently there is a yoga class where you can swear and drink bear…I can swear for free at home and I don’t drink beer, pass.

There’s also destination yoga. Because you should go on the road with an activity you loathe –

Beach Yoga – Get sand in places you couldn’t reach when you were 4.

Farm Yoga – Stretching with cows mooing and the pungent scent of manure as you breathe deep.

Yoga, Yoga, Yoga!!! – You watch the Her Sister’s Shadow episode of the Brady Bunch on repeat but instead of saying – “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!!!” you say “Yoga, Yoga, Yoga!!!” 70’s inspired workout wear is optional, Cindy Brady pigtails are mandatory (even the goats must comply)

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I will not yoga in a barn

I will not yoga on a farm

I will not yoga on the beach

and stretch for places that I can’t reach

I will not yoga with goat

I will not yoga on a boat

I will not yoga when I swear

I will not yoga anywhere

Stop spamming me yoga fans

I will always have other plans

So keep your goats, bunnies and dogs

I’ll only yoga with hedgehogs

 

 

Cheeky

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Cheeky

Parenting is hard…you have to keep inventing new ways to troll your teens. A few weeks ago my DD begged for some jeans. Having just spent our budget on the back to school wardrobe, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. She was relentless (she really needs to become a lawyer she digs in and will not let go). Anyhow after two hours of bantering (alright 10 minutes but it FELT like 2 hours)…I decided to barter.

DD: MooooooHoooohm, please, PLEASE, PLEASE, I really need some more jeans.

Me: You do not need new jeans we just went shopping, you want new jeans.

DD: OK, I REALLY want these jeans AND they’re on sale buy 1, get 1.

Me: Yeah, that’s how they hook you make it seem like you are getting a bargain by charging $60. for one pair of jeans and get a second pair for free. Where are the $30. buy one get one jeans, I’d be down with that.

DD: Nobody sells $30. jeans it’s 2019.

Me: Alright you want the jeans you need to weed – 6 hours of weeding $10./hour.

DD: Ugh, I hate weeding.

Me: Same. Pinky promise?

…and with that a pinky promise was made and jeans were ordered. This past weekend the jeans arrived and I left the package unopened on the back bench. DD snagged the package and placed the jeans in the wash.

I am now holding the jeans hostage until the weeding is done as agreed. I text DD pictures of the jeans she begged for with notes that say “Save Me” and “Pull The Damn Weeds Already!”. The jeans happen to be called “Cheeky” well, I too can be Cheeky.

Artisanal Cough Drops

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Artisanal Cough Drops

Man Cold Log, Day 9 –

Provisions are starting to become scarce. An order for more cough drops has just been placed. Not that CVS generic stuff. No we need artisanal, organic, real honey infused magic drops.

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Where shall I fetch this mystical concoction you speak of? From the real honey made by bees whose names begin only with the letter “V” (he’s kidding, right).

What’s that, they’re located in Vermont? Sure I’ll drive to Vermont (I see we’re sticking with the V theme) so I can purchase cough drops that cost more than a line of cocaine at Studio 54 in 1985.

What’s that…I need to get them from Virgil’s Honey Farm where all the B’s are V’s. Sure that’s reasonable. I’ll shake hands with Van, the proprietor (pronounced Vahn, spelled using only hieroglyphics)…the guy with the beard and man bun who drives a vintage VW Bus (wth happened to Virgil?).

He bakes them out of his cellar. (Looking at website) Judging by the discarded pita chip bags and plume of smoke, that’s not the only thing he’s baking down there. I’ll go and be sure to fist bump Vera, Vicky, Victor and Vinny (worker bees, keep up) in the hopes they will regurgitate nectar into that sweet bee vomit sticky mess that you so crave.

How do bees make honey? (spoiler: It’s gross) Bee Vomit

Leaves for 2 days, returns with this…

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*Relax no bees were fist bumped in the writing of this completely (coughs into fist) fictional, not a spec of truth to it, post (maybe).

“See” Day

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“See” Day

After Tallin, Estonia we had a sea day…in my case it was a “see” day because that evening was the last of the four Princess Production Shows – Born to Dance! For those that are just jumping onboard, this post is part of a series about an 11-day Baltic Sea Cruise I took in August. My niece, Peanut, and her boyfriend, Special K, are entertainers on the ship. Peanut sings and Special K dances, it’s kind of amazing to watch them. And yes those are nicknames because this is still an anonymous blog, kind of…I’m keeping the pen name.

This day started with a behind the scenes stage tour open to all of the passengers. Special K was assigned to work this event. Peanut joined me and mingled with the other guests and answered questions. The most frequently asked question was about their makeup – as in who does it? Spoiler – the cast does their own. Except when Special K is a Sorcerer, then Peanut does his eyeliner but it isn’t in her contract.

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It was great to hear from the production crew and go back stage. The backstage is like a gigantic theater version of Tetris. They have gotten very creative with storage out of necessity. It’s not as if they can move stuff to Joey’s garage if things get tight, they have the space they have and that’s it. After the tour I had a greater appreciation for the behind the scenes choreography that happens with each show. Unlike the dancers on the stage, their dance is supposed to be seamless and invisible to the audience – they do a phenomenal job.

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In-between stage tours, long walks with Peanut and smoothies, I was hustling back and forth to the cabin. Sadly my daughter was getting sick so I was fetching her tea and ham croissants every couple of hours. I purchased DayQuil at the rate of $1.25 pill which seemed steep for something you wouldn’t take at a Rave (yes, I’m old). My girl rested most of the day as I coated myself in hand sanitizer and blew air kisses her way.

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That night we went to watch Born to Dance, a nod to many of the most beloved Broadway Shows, the emphasis on dancing. Here’s a clip that Princess created for the show – Born to Dance

This was an incredible show and the entire cast really nailed it! I watched both the 8pm & 10pm shows as I didn’t want to miss a minute of them on stage. I’m grateful my own kids aren’t into theater because I would be the most outrageous stage mom on the planet.

Naturally I posted an obscene amount of photos when I got home. Most of Peanut and Special K’s family and friends won’t get to see these shows so they were happy to see the posts. The next day my daughter and I were scheduled to tour Berlin.

Stay tuned…

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Estone-a-what?

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Estone-a-what?

After two action packed days in St Petersburgh, Russia we were ready for a slower pace. My niece took my daughter and me into the Old Town section of Tallin. Her boyfriend had drill duty on the ship that morning and planned to meet us later. The walk from port to town was easy to navigate.

Tallin is the capital of Estonia. Estone-a-what? you ask….Estonia, a small country which borders the Baltic Sea with Russia on it’s right and Latvia on it’s left. It went by the German name of Reval from the 13th century through the first half of the 20th century. They’re pretty keen on changing city names in that part of the world (St Petersburgh to Leningrad – back to St Petersburgh). It was also known by it’s Russian name of Revel and a few other names. Such a pretty country, strategically located, many larger more powerful countries were eager to take over the place.

After being passed around like a party platter between the Danish, Finnish, Swedish, and plenty of guys named Vlad, Estonia gained her independence in 1918. Independence was short-lived as Estonia was occupied by the Red Army, then the German Nazis at various times during World War II. Despite the occupation, Tallinn was never razed or pillaged and as a result has kept her Old Town charm. Unlike many of the sites we visited in St Petersburgh Tallinn did not experience significant war repair renovations to it’s Old Town. Estonia reclaimed it’s independence in 1991 and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Enough with the history lesson, what did we do in Tallinn…we ate and shopped and it was divine. We started with mini pancakes dolloped with Nutella and a shocking amount of confectioners sugar. Peanut (niece) went with raspberry preserves and condensed milk (OMFG are you kidding me???!). I sampled both as was my duty as the eldest adult. I proclaimed Nutella the winner but the condensed milk did cause me to hesitate (actually it caused my heart to stop momentarily, defibrillator anyone?)IMG_9239

After stuffing our faces with mini pancakes we walked around a bit to fight the carb coma that threatened our ability to stay upright. We wandered around the open air market where we looked at knits, Christmas ornaments, hats and other odds and ends. We found a side alley which featured a couple of cat statues….ON THE CEILING (paw prints and all). I stopped to buy a postcard for Rob & Laura and entrusted the store clerk to mail it for me after I purchased the postage.

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Me after consuming mini pancakes.

Then we decided to pour some caffeine on the morning and headed to a favorite cafe. Peanut and Special K have a favorite cafe in every port along the Baltic Sea. I’ve yet to be disappointed in their selection. This place in particular had fantastic Chai Tea and something I really appreciate, a sense of humor as noted on the sign.

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After Special K (niece’s BF) joined us we headed to The Museum of Medieval Torture Instruments, because that’s what my kid is into (makes sign of the cross, says silent prayer). It was a predictable assortment of horrific devices used to inflict as much pain as possible in creative ways – explanations and diagrams were provided. Then it was time for lunch because who doesn’t get hungry after a morning of mini pancakes, cats on ceilings and torture devices.

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We walked a bit more after lunch to the scenic overlook and passed through one beautiful street after another. The weather cooperated fully with blue skies and a just right air temperature. Cleaner than an Epcot Country it seemed like something out of Shrek (inspiration for Duloc?). Thanks for the memories Estonia.

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