Blonde Moments, humor

Would You Like Fries (and a concussion) With That?

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“My father-in-law and I have this friendly banter going,” my friend, Stacey, explained over dinner the other night. “We like to bust each other’s chops.”

“Wait ’til she tells you about the latest,” her wife, Lauren, added. “My dad decided he wanted a new shed, and being the way he is, he had to get all of the measurements–”

“Like, all of the measurements, including the weight, so he’d know the impact on the grass,” Stacey said. “The whole nine.”

“Technically you need a permit,” Lauren explained.

“Hang on,” I replied. “You need a PERMIT to get a SHED? Just a regular SHED?”

9.-Small-Shed
Reason #1,654,923 I’m glad I sold my house. Photo credit

“Yeah,” Stacey nodded. “But no one does it. Including her dad.”

“Wait for it,” Lauren smirked, raising her eyebrows.

“So,” Stacey grinned. “He got his ‘illegal’ shed a couple of weeks ago. And I decided I’d prepare a little letter from the county zoning office. It took me four hours.”

Go-Jules-Go_prank-zoning-letterI stared between Stacey, Lauren, and this magical document, mouth agape.

“No,” I finally managed.

They explained that they had waited until an evening when they knew both of Lauren’s parents would be home. Lauren’s mom was in on the whole thing. On the chosen night, Lauren’s mom got up from watching the evening news and surreptitiously rang the doorbell, pretending someone was there. She returned to the living room, holding the letter out to her unsuspecting husband.

Needless to say, it was a slam dunk.

None of us could have ever predicted that only moments later I would need to recruit Stacey’s letter writing abilities for myself…

In the midst of discussing the many merits of Lasik eye surgery with my friends at the other end of the table, I leaned forward a couple of inches to take a sip of my drink.

“I’d do it again every year if I had t–”

*BAM*

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Photo credit

Everyone turned and looked to see where the alarming *THUD* had come from. My eyes welled with tears.

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” our waitress exclaimed while I tried to gather my bearings.

What…Huh…?

I blinked.

It took me several seconds to realize our waitress had snuck up, ninja style, on my right, to clear a very, very pointy plate. Our fates collided the moment I decided I was parched, leaning forward a few millimeters…

*CLUNK*

The corner of my right eye nailed the corner of the plate she had just lifted.

Go-Jules-Go_dangerous-plate-ahead

No one knew what to do. I didn’t have enough wits about me to explain that this was the only manner in which I ever got injured. Randomly. Freakishly. Embarrassingly. (I think it runs in the family. …All of the family.)

  • Age 7: Broken crotch: Balance beam or playground torture device? Jury’s still out
  • Age 15: Left butt cheek scar: Courtesy of a jagged bathtub faucet when I bent to get the soap
  • Age 19: Right eyebrow scar: Eyebrow ring + glitter eyeshadow. ‘Nuff said
  • Age 30: Left wrist scar: Pushing a tray of cookies too far into the oven
  • Age 34: Sprained sesamoid (“Turf toe”): Too-small high heels and an over-caffeinated stride

This time, though, there was clearly someone else at fault. (And yes, the above list is but a mere smattering. You’ll just have to wait for my memoirs.)

Stacey immediately began drafting a letter to the restaurant from my “attorney.” While we awaited her final touches, I answered a text from my new bloggerunicorn-vegan retreat friend:

Outdoorsy-NJ-style

~*~*~*~*~*~

Any other freaky accidents happening out there? No? Just me? …Who are you? Where am I?

~*~*~*~*~*~

 

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humor, Uncle Jesse

Caring for My Dog: A Simple 137-Step Guidebook

Dear Reader,

Congratulations! After careful review, you have been selected to oversee my 8-year-old Australian Labradoodle, Uncle Jesse, while I’m away. Given the exceptional taste you’ve demonstrated by reading this blog, I feel marginally concerned certain you’ll be able to accommodate my dog’s daily demands.

Because I’m so confident in your abilities, I’ve attached only the abbreviated version of my 137-step guidebook. If at any time you find yourself doubting your caretaking capacity, please call one of the nineteen numbers I’ve listed in the back of this manual.

Go-Jules-Go-Caring-for-my-dog-guidebook

STEP #1 – HYDRATION

It’s imperative that both you and Uncle Jesse remain hydrated at all times during his stay. This includes, but is not limited to: chilled, Brita-filtered water, refreshed 6-30 times per day, washing and drying the bowl after each rotation. In a pinch, you may provide tap water; we strongly discourage the use of bottled water.

Uncle-Jesse-Fancy-Paws
You will know you’ve misstepped if you’re greeted by this pose.

STEP #2 – NUTRITION

Uncle Jesse insists upon an on-demand supply of V-Dog kibble. If any kibble goes uneaten for more than 12 hours, please sample before deciding whether to discard.

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Regarding the placement of his bowls, please select a warm, well-ventilated, cushioned area of the home where he will feel comfortable dining in his preferred reclined position.

Each time Uncle Jesse reenters your home after his mandatory nature bathings (see Step 3), he will expect a “treat” for his willingness to return to your humble dwelling. Acceptable treats include homecooked, plant-based items, arranged on a ceramic plate as follows:

UJ-plate

Should you question your ability to select a permissable food item, I’ve drafted this reference card:

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STEP #3 – EXERCISE

Uncle Jesse has grown accustomed to 5 miles of brisk walking out-of-doors each day; however, this can be broken into 2+ segments as we understand your employer refused to provide a leave of absence for this visit.

UJ-Maine-hiking
Uncle Jesse prefers the unsullied Maine wilderness, so I’ve emailed you a weekend itinerary that would allow for the 16-hour roundtrip.

As with hydration, stretching is paramount before each session. If you find he is panting for more than three and a half minutes upon returning, please encourage him to lie down and point your fan directly on him:

UJ-with-fan-on

STEP #4 – ELIMINATION

Assuming you’ve strictly followed steps 1-3, you can expect an impressive number of bowel movements per day. These occur in varying volume and composition during the aforementioned 5-mile walk, so carrying an array of multi-sized “poop bags” is prudent.

DistanceHousetoPoop
Please refer to attachment B for a list of defecation coordinates that meet Uncle Jesse’s poop-to-house-distance ratio requirements.

STEP #5 – SLEEP

Uncle Jesse is deeply committed to “total wellness” and therefore insists upon 12+ hours of uninterrupted rest time per day. Please leave your bedroom door ajar at all times. I noticed you had extra pillows on the couch. I suggest moving these to the bed while he adjusts to sleeping in a new location.

Placing towels on the bed to protect your linens will only arouse his rancor.

UJ-bed-no-towel-on-pillows

STEP #6 – PLAY

You’ve probably heard that most dogs enjoy fetch. Being of a highly sensitive nature, Uncle Jesse would rather remain indoors for playtime, with you sitting on the ground and tossing his toys directly into his mouth while he perches on the couch.

If you fail to amuse him, he will notify you by placing the toy between his chin and the pillows that I’m sure you have remembered to return to the couch before beginning this exercise.

UJ-done-playing

STEP #7 – INTERACTION WITH LESSER BEINGS

Uncle Jesse and I are still reviewing the finer points related to the presence of any…well. You know.

Sophie

At this stage in our discussions, we would both prefer if you locked any “Others” in the basement for the week as we believe it will reinforce the natural balance of things and keep all parties safe from psychological harm. We’re just looking out for your well-being here.

STEP #8 – EDUCATION

Uncle Jesse has an ever-expanding repertoire, with evidence of his aptitude appearing at 10 weeks old.

To maintain this intellectual agility, we enjoy practicing shake, stretch, sit, lie down, paw, other paw, little speak, big speak and “Watch the hair, huh!” on a daily basis.

Please also feel free to pass by our local Catholic church at 7:00am, 8:00am, 9:00am, 12:00pm and 6:00pm so that he might work on his pitch.

STEP #9 – GROOMING

Do not, under any circumstances, tamper with his hair, nails, ears, or teeth. If he appears standoffish, remember to say “please” before asking to pet him.

UJ-judgy-part-2
Soooomebody forgot her manners.

STEP #10 – TRAVEL

Should you need to chauffeur Uncle Jesse, please leave the back passenger side seat free (he will not tolerate the other side), and leave the window rolled down fully, provided the speed does not exceed 45 MPH and/or the temperature remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

UJ-rearview-mirror
If you do not excessively stare, he will permit one rearview window photograph per car ride.

And not to worry, dear reader – those new lights in each room are simply CIA-approved surveillance cameras.

~*~*~*~*~*~

humor, Just For Fun

Someone Tried to Steal My Emmy

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“I don’t know how to ‘rate’ how I’m feeling. I don’t even f*@%ing want to be here.”

Seven heads shot up and stared at the redheaded woman in our circle. A few of us giggled nervously.

“You all have these cool projects you’re presenting, and I just don’t know what I’m doing here.”

Alyssa’s eyes watered and inwardly, we all applauded. Finally. An honest answer.

GoJulesGo-PMbootcamp
Usually team-building events go more like this. Or this.

In an uncharacteristically social moment a few months earlier, I had accepted a friend’s invitation to a “Vegan Creatives” 5-day retreat on Cape Cod.

“I want to get a bunch of my vegan artist friends together to talk about our projects and brainstorm,” Shawna, the retreat mastermind, had explained. She and I had met the prior summer at my Masters program residency, where she had graciously overlooked my penchant for public urination.

Much like the cold sweats I experience when interviewing narcissists for school assignments, as the retreat neared, I began to shvitz. What was I thinking? I didn’t know the hostess or anyone going. Sure, I had my thesis project to present, but I was also in the throes of writing said thesis. Could I handle any more stress?

“JUST GO,” I told myself for the 9,000th time. “It’ll be good for you.”

DAY 1

Arrive at guest house. Meet three-legged, one-eyed dog and attractive vegans #1-7. Eat colorful food and receive unicorn name. Grow concerned that I seem to be having…what’s the word…fun. No. That can’t be it.

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DAY 2

Convince Alyssa she too is having, well, whatever these feelings are. Begin stroking each other’s hair. Watch Tracy feed pet bee sugar water. Try to take photo without Dakota wearing a bowl. Unsuccessful.

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DAY 3

Eat more colorful food, voluntarily touch beach garbage, and reevaluate entire existence. Can I vote using new unicorn name?

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DAY 4

Learn that not only do new best friends save animals, sing, write, paint, cook, act, travel, scale mountains, rollerblade with bubbles and have kickass blogs, but the hostess, Allison Argo, has won half a dozen Emmys. Attempt to steal one.

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DAY 5

Say goodbye. Ugly cry.

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Until Alyssa reminds me to snap the f$&@ out of it.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tuck my Emmy into bed.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Dating, humor, PSAs

Can You Get PTSD from Dating?

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Yesterday I had to interview someone for a grad school assignment.

Emphasis on “had” to.

Assignments like this send me, a 36-year-old introvert, into a cold sweat before the semester even begins. Especially when I land an interview with someone who has a very fancy title in a sector with which I am very unfamiliar.

I immediately took to Google. This man and I were from nearby towns and he was, I soon learned, just a few years older. We undoubtedly had acquaintances in common, changing the whole tenor of the interview. I found him on LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube…I suddenly knew way too much about him before even meeting, reminiscent of my prolific dating days.

“Just chill out,” I told myself. “At least it’s not a date!”

Except it totally was. Coffee shop, late afternoon, two people with an agenda…

As soon as my interview subject -let’s call him Ted- arrived, he stuck out his hand and said,

“Hi Jessica, nice to meet you.”

Did he just say Jessica? We’d exchanged at least five emails prior to meeting. Perhaps I should rethink my signature.

Go-Jules-Go-new-email-signatureHe had the Book of Mormon-meets-Quasi-Casual-First-Date look down pat: pressed checkered button-down and perfectly coiffed hair, complemented by fitted slacks with matching belt and shoes.

“You know, I just came from the same coffee shop in [a nearby town],” he said, walking towards the counter. “I was meeting Mr. Mucky Pants from the Board. We had so much to discuss, I didn’t even get to have coffee.”

And thus began a 90-minute, name-drop-laden autobiography in which Ted was the unsung hero.

Beginning in 6th grade.

I managed to ask two of my eight questions.

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And here I was worried I didn’t prepare.

Midway through, he veered -unprovoked- into his personal life, detailing his recent divorce.

“I’m a really happy guy,” he said repeatedly, with a razor sharp edge to his voice. “I played the role of the guy who tried to fix everything. I have a really long fuse, you know. But get this…”

Ted went on to describe his ex-wife’s grievances, and then how wonderfully everything worked out for him, because:

“I’m a really likable guy. I mean, really. I’m so easy to like.”

“Jury’s still out,” I replied before I could stop myself.

He plowed ahead, telling me about the amazing woman he’d met shortly thereafter, and I wondered how I’d ever get us back on track. He leaned across the table, his hands dangerously close to my Central Perk-sized latte. I angled back in my chair, legs crossed, my pen hovering over a small notepad. My heart rate picked up. The flashbacks came in nauseating waves.

…The guy who showed me YouTube clips where he surgically removed his big toenails…

…The guy who wanted to hook up because he and his wife were “on a break”…

…The guy who told me he only dated “German girls”…

…The guy who said his mother made him “scared of sex”…

...The guy who sent me acapella sound clips of Seal songs

…The guy who–

STOP!

STOP!

MAKE IT STOP!!!!!!

“So the next day, Ms. Fancy Drawers called and said she RECOMMENDED me to the Board.”

I snapped back into the moment. Ted was still going.

“This woman has met the president and the pope, you know? Yeah so that was exactly 17 years ago today. That’s right. I was sitting in her office, seeing smoke across the Hudson.”

I nodded and scribbled in my notepad while Ted talked about how hard 9/11 had been for him, personally, on the very day of his esteemed new role.

“Do you have kids?”

Wha…did he just ask ME a question?

“No,” I replied, sitting up straight. “But I do have a d–”

“Well, I have two,” he said. “You need to show kids that THEY’RE IN CONTROL of how they react to everything. You know? Shit happens.”

“Thank you again for your time,” I said when he finally paused to take another sip of his artisan cold brew. I also gave silent thanks to the Merciless Parking Meter Gods who brought this interview date torture to a close.

“I just hope I’m always this accessible,” Ted replied.

I hightailed it to my car, and for the next hour, trembled in the corner of my apartment, staring down the Ghost of First Dates Past.

Jules-meditating-Zac-Efron-spirit-guide
I think I’ll stick to this.

I shuddered as I thought about how Ted embodied every other horrifying first date I’d had over the past few years. The ones where I’d laugh and nod, asking question after question, arriving home exhausted and disappointed, my vocal chords atrophying from lack of use. I’d take off my make-up and high heels, picking peacock feathers off my dress – the same dress I’d second-guessed every day for a week.

I poured myself a pity glass of wine, just like I did back then, and remembered where I was four years ago.

Newly divorced. Like Ted.

Living alone for the first time in my life. Like Ted.

Starting a new job. Like Ted.

Craaap, I thought. Ted is ME. For a split second, it all came rushing back. I had been so scared. Sad. Self-absorbed. God. I wouldn’t pay to go back there.

And the tremors finally subsided.

So.

~*~*~*~*~

Maybe I’ll give him a pass this time. What do you think?

~*~*~*~*~

Dating, humor, TV Junkie

Stranger Danger: The New Dating App Sweeping the Nation!

“So what dating app do you use?”

“Mostly Tinder.”

“How is that going?”

“It’s fine, especially if you’re not looking for anything serious.”

My eyes darted back and forth between two women, a friend and a fellow partygoer, having one of those conversations that went from ‘Nice to meet you’ to ‘I’ve been in therapy for eight years’ in 7.6 seconds.

“What kind of guys are you meeting?”

“A mix. I have a thing for dark-haired guys.”

I opened my mouth and…took a big gulp of bubbly. I was pretty sure my only dating apps had been designed by guys who looked like the dad from 7th Heaven.

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“Now listen up, Mary. Just because I’m a known child molester whose left hand could be headed anywhere doesn’t mean my dating advice blows.”

Frequenting such upstanding apps as eHarmony and Match had resulted in stories like this. And this. Annnnd this.

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Spoiler alert.

“Oh really? You would like the guy I just met a couple of months ago. Caramel skin, dark hair, green eyes…”

“Why didn’t you like him?”

“Too young for me, but he’s perfect for you.”

I watched the conversation between my friend and a complete stranger unfold, wondering if it would outlast the Prosecco supply.

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‘Cause then we might have a problem.

“I’ll see if I can find his number.”

“Okay!”

I blinked. Hang on. What just happened here? A stranger we’d met an hour ago was giving my friend the number of a stranger SHE met three months ago and… My head started to spin, not unlike when my girlfriends plan things.

funny-owl
I want my Mommy.

Then I started to wonder… Was this really any less creepy than swiping your finger across a stranger’s likeness to indicate that you might want to share awkward conversation and unlimited breadsticks? Was this, in fact, a far more appropriate vetting system?

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I know I just met you, Rose, but I’m telling you. Don’t ever let this one go. #titanicpuns Photo credit.

The next morning, the woman from the party called my friend.

“Hey, it’s Stranger Lady from last night! Great news! I found Stranger Guy’s number!”

Without a moment’s hesitation, my friend texted Stranger Guy with a few cute lines and a couple of photos of herself.

What do you think? Should we create an app for this? 

Go-Jules-Go-Stranger-Danger-app

~*~*~*~*~*~

humor

One is Silver and the Other is…Old

“When you’re a kid, age matters a lot,” Babs, my mom, said the other day. We were lounging on her living room sofa killing time before her friends, Dick and Fern, came over for dinner.

Hang on. What’s that? You think I’m lying about their names being Dick and Fern? Would I lie about something like that? Babs even gave me permission to use their real names in this post! (Then again, Babs also gave me permission to paint my aunt’s house as a surprise gift…)

Dick and Fern have been friends with my parents since before bottled water was a thing.

Dick-and-Fern-timeline

“You know. If you’re seven and the neighbors are ten it’s a huge deal,” Babs went on. “Then you get into your 20s and it really doesn’t matter at all.”

She took a gulp of wine.

“Then it starts to matter again.”

She paused and gave me a look.

Hmmm.  Not good.
You know the look.

“Dick and Fern are a few years older than us so they’re in their 70s now,” Babs said. “And just look at this.” She whipped out her phone and showed me the text message that Fern had just sent.

Fern-text

“Late because of rain! At least she finally got a smart phone this year,” Babs went on. “Before that she was doing the texting where you had to hit the number keys over and over!”

I didn’t have the heart to remind Babs how recent her own memorable smart phone purchase was.

“Yeah,” I replied. “It also seems like there’s get-off-my-lawn-seventy and I-AM-JUST-GETTING-STARTED-B*TCH-SEVENTY.”

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This, of course, got me thinking of my own friendships. Had there ever been an age gap that suddenly became too pronounced? Is there ever a “cut off” when you can no longer relate, whether it’s on a surface level with cultural references, or emotionally based on various life stages?

Go-Jules-Go-2018-dream-birthday-Darren-Criss-1
What I’m really trying to ask is: Do I need to stop talking about Darren Criss?

So far, at 36, age has never been an issue in my friendships, though it’s still certainly bittersweet when they fade for other reasons: Distance, difference of opinion, or interests in chipmunks and priorities that no longer align.

My advice to Babs? Might as well stick it out. At least you’ll get to tell your favorite stories over and over.

As long as it’s not raining, that is.

~*~*~*~*~*~

Blogging, humor, Just For Fun, Veganiness

My First Time at a Hippie Commune, I Mean, Omega Institute

“Do you think they’ll have coffee?” my sister asked, peering over the edge of a wide toll bridge that would take us past the Hudson River towards a small town in central New York state.

“I was just thinking the same thing!” I said, slapping the steering wheel. “We’ll have to ask as soon as we check in.”

After a two and a half hour car ride from our hometown in New Jersey, we arrived at Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York on Friday afternoon, leaving plenty of time to have dinner before our weekend workshop began at 8:00pm.

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Omega is a nonprofit, mission-driven, and donor-supported educational organization. For more than 40 years we’ve been a pioneer in holistic studies – helping people and organizations integrate personal growth and social change, moving beyond ‘the way it is’ toward ‘the way it can be.'” –Omega Institute website

We wound through bumpy, forest-lined roads until we pulled into the main driveway. A tan, golden-locked young man greeted us with an easy smile and glazed-over eyes.

“Hey there! Staying here or are you a commuter?”

“Commuter,” I replied.

“Right on. You can go ahead and park in either of these two rows. Have a good one.”

When we’d spot him later that evening, we’d find him still perched at his station, but holding a guitar. We parked the car in the gravel lot and joined a long line in front of a building at the main entrance.

Eventually receiving welcome instructions and a map, we moseyed uphill towards the dining hall.

“I feel like I’m in Dirty Dancing,” I said, gazing at the casually dressed men and women wandering through Omega’s plentiful cabins and gardens. There was something serene about the timeless energy surrounding us. Or maybe it was just the lack of wifi.

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Someone definitely needs to put this in the corner.

As calm and quiet as the campus seemed, the institute was fully booked for the weekend and the food hall was hopping, hundreds of people lined up at the (mostly) vegan buffet.

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Commuters like us (we were staying at an off-campus AirBnB) had to pay a mandatory $110 “commuter fee” on top of the workshop registration fee in order to enjoy the food and campus amenities. (Coffee, the staff assured us at registration, would be available in the morning, along with milks made of everything from hemp to rainbows.)

We filled our plates and fruitlessly searched for the vodka station balanced our cups awkwardly as we tried to find a table outside.

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I think someone forgot to turn on the air conditioning…

All of the tables outside were large enough to accommodate at least eight people; luckily, I’d spotted the phrase “communal dining” in the brochure and had spent the prior two weeks practicing my fake niceties.

“What workshop are you here for?” I asked the man across from me, wondering how many chanterelle mushrooms I could shove into my mouth between questions.

“Psychic Detective,” he replied, spearing a chickpea and giving me the kind of bright-eyed, smiling response usually reserved for preschool teachers and cannibals. “How about you?”

I inhaled dramatically before replying with jazz hands, “Your Spirit Guides Await!”

Omega-spirit-guides-await-registration-letterHe nodded as if I’d just said “the sky is blue” and we went on to cover all of the other usual platitudes for the next hour before finding an excuse to leave. The question he never asked, and that I imagine you’re wondering at this stage:

What the f&@% are you doing here?”

I blame meditation. After just a few short months of daily meditation, my sister and I found ourselves exploring other metaphysical curiosities, from oracle cards to crystals to chakra-balancing. Poking around these avenues ignited a spark in both of us that felt too intriguing to ignore.

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Plus those crystal balls really bring out the crazy in my eyes.

With time to spare before our workshop began, my sister and I made our way down the hill towards the community lake, passing several people lounging in hammocks. We plopped down in two empty chaise lounges by the water and watched a few kayakers drift lazily in the distance. One of the staff members raked the sand in front of the water for a solid fifteen minutes, a concentrated frown on her face.

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The result of her efforts.

“Do you think she misunderstood the term ‘Reiki’?” I asked at one point.

My sister rolled her eyes at my pun and answered, “Do you think people take the kayaks out just to smoke pot?”

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A solid theory.

Neither of our questions were answered because we spent the rest of the weekend sitting barefoot in a small, brightly lit room with one instructor and eighteen strangers, meditating and channeling spirit guides, angels, and for one unlucky classmate not used to a plant-based diet, farts.

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Elizabeth Harper, a walking fairy our instructor, explained in a lilting British accent that we all have one main spirit guide with us throughout our lives, along with one main guardian angel, but you might have other spirit guides with you for specific life events or goals. You can tap into these all-knowing, all-loving energy forces at any time, most especially through meditation. I would tell you more, but apparently I can make a lot of money offering this kind of instruction.

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Photo credit

So, did I receive any meaningful guidance or insight throughout the weekend? Yes.

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My classmate Gale received this channeled message for me from my spirit guides, including the symbol. Obviously, I am destined for superstardom.

Did one of my spirit guides look like Zac Efron? Yes. Did I love not stressing about finding vegan food to eat? Yes. Did I mention the farter every chance I got? Yes. Would I go back?

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Um…YES.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~