humor, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Kvetching, PSAs

An Udder Fail

Go Jules Go An Udder Fail Title Graphic_9APR19

It’s mud season in rural Maine.

I know this because, despite being a New Jersey native, I’m spending most of April in one of my favorite states.

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I mean come on. This doesn’t even have a filter.

I can do this because I quit my job and now my life is filled with rampant lawlessness.

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Did someone say “lawlessness”?

When I arrived in rural Maine, intending to volunteer on a friend’s farm sanctuary for two weeks, I didn’t immediately realize my cell signal had given out. A half hour earlier.

I diligently followed my friend’s instructions to “look for the next driveway after the sanctuary’s entrance,” where my cabin was located. Instead I saw train tracks and a sign that read, “Pavement ends.”

pavement-ends-sign
Say whaaa…?

Being from what you might call a New York City suburb, I interpreted that to mean, “TURN YOUR CAKE ASS AROUND, JERSEY.” I did so happily, heading back towards the sanctuary’s driveway instead.

Big mistake.

Farm Sanctuary driveway Go Jules Go
What I should have done, and soon learned to do: Park at the foot of the driveway and make the mile-long, uphill walk by foot.

“Mud season” wasn’t just a cute saying. My non-all wheel drive sedan squealed for mercy as I attempted to haul her up the hill.

“Oh my GAWD are you f*@#&$ kidding me?” I imagined her saying. “I am sooooo going to need a pedicure after this.”

I had gotten AAA before the trip, though, and felt cavalier mildly confident. (Until later, when I realized I wouldn’t have even been able to call AAA if I HAD gotten stuck.)

Once I made it to the sanctuary, the owner looked confused. I explained that I couldn’t find the cabin. Apparently I was supposed to charge past the “Pavement ends” warning and go another mile or so to “the next driveway.” I felt silly explaining that in Jersey terms, “the next driveway” is usually measured in feet. Sometimes inches. I kept quiet and accepted her gracious offer to lead me there – something I knew she didn’t have time for.

Running a farm sanctuary is No. Joke.

“Thank you so much. Just a warning that I’m going to keep a safe distance from you going downhill.”

She smiled knowingly, casting a glance at my mud-spattered pansy car.

We soon reached the small cabin, which was clean and well lit, warm from gas heat and equipped with the basics. Except internet. Which, I quickly began to realize, was going to throw a wrench into this whoooole plan. I checked my phone; still no service whatsoever.

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Hello…? Is anyone out there…?

“This mayyyy be a problem,” I said, feeling the panic start to rise in my throat, the extent of my remote location settling in.

Let me just text… No.

Let me just look up the nearest… No.

Let me just check the weather for tomorrow and… No.

I waited until she left to execute what would come to be the first of many, many strategies to try to make the next couple of weeks work out.

I’m just going to drive towards a town, and see when my service picks up. I didn’t even bother unpacking, just loaded Uncle Jesse (the dog) back in the car. As I made the first turn, my stomach flip-flopped, trying to memorize my surroundings. Holy god I miss Google maps. The sun would set in less than an hour, so after just a few minutes, I decided to give up and turn around in a church parking lot. The last thing I wanted to do was make the situation worse by getting lost.

As I did a U-turn, I noticed the church’s sign.

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Who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor?

I decided to go back to the sanctuary -walking from the bottom of the driveway this time- and borrow someone’s phone to let my family know I had arrived safely. A volunteer was sorting vegetables and happy to offer her phone, so after I successfully texted Babs (mom), I helped sort produce for the next couple of hours, chatting and feeding Uncle Jesse stray bits of cauliflower.

Go Jules Go farm sanctuary sorting vegetables
One for the bin, one for Uncle Jesse, one for the bi-Uncle Jesse…

Thankfully, my phone still worked as a flashlight, and we made it back to the car and our cabin. It was pitch black. As I unpacked the car, I caught a glimpse of the stars twinkling brightly – the way they only could when not overpowered by street lamps and cramped houses. I stood still, and for the first time in hours, took a deep breath.

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Maybe this will all work out…

I finished unpacking, popped some potatoes in the little oven for Uncle Jesse, and cracked open a bottle of wine, deciding to make the most of my off-grid night. I’d sort out my phone issues in the morning.

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Microsoft Word and random downloaded iTunes songs from 2016: entertaining spoiled New Jerseyians since…I don’t know when, because my phone doesn’t work and I can’t look anything up.

Fast forward two days, and my phone -even with a new, more expensive carrier- still wasn’t working. Nor were my pseudo, DSW-purchased “muck boots,” which I managed to puncture by repeatedly tripping on a sharp rock while cleaning the rabbit houses.

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Thankfully, my $900 paperweight phone’s camera still pulled through.

Every two minutes, I thought of some reason I needed to use my phone, or get online. Upcoming bills I had to pay, friends with momentous events I had planned to check in on, ASMR videos on YouTube I needed to watch, travel plans I’d yet to make…

Shame washed over me in endless, sickening waves. I am so fu@*#^% soft. Here I thought, with my tiny living and frugal spending, I’d become so flexible! So strong! So adaptable! But 48 hours without a phone broke me, and after Sunday’s full work day, I fled back to my comfort zone, checking into a pet-friendly motel 90 minutes south, in one of my favorite parts of Maine.

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And near one of my favorite people, Darla from She’s A Maineiac.

“Does the dial go all the way up to ‘donkey’?” I asked Darla when I stopped by the next day to do laundry.

Laundry donkey setting Go Jules Go

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How would you fare if you were unexpectedly off-grid?

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humor, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Kvetching, Project Management, PSAs

The Career You Should Pursue if You Hate Being Happy

gojulesgo_the-career-you-should-pursue_title-graphic_30jan19

I love my coworkers and get to do a lot of cool things at my job. Last week, however, involved the kind of work you should only do if you hate joy.

Event management.

Now, I’ve done a lot of event planning in my day, and it can be hugely rewarding. But even in those cases, it’s filled with chaos and unpredictability. No matter how much you plan pray, anticipate, pray and prepare pray, nothing ever goes 100% smoothly. You just have to hope no one else notices.

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Kind of like this.

When I got to the event location last week, my stomach dropped. Not enough chairs. I had requested more chairs the night before, but it still wasn’t enough; people were filtering in late and filling the aisles, disrupting the meeting. In four years, we’d never had such a turn-out. A great problem to have, but once again, experience and pre-planning did diddly-squat, resulting in me looking like an incompetent asshat.

I stood against the wall trying to tell myself it wasn’t a big deal, my stomach knotting as I begun to realize there was no way we were going to have enough time to transition from the current meeting set-up to the one beginning 15 minutes later.

And I was going to have 100+ people, including The Big Boss, there to witness me not making things happen.

I braced myself like Michael Richards circa 2006.

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“Sooo, 13 years later and you still can’t go out in public? Impressive.” Photo credit

When the dreaded 15 minute transition period hit, the A/V crew ran around plugging and pulling things from the podium while I frantically tried to set up my laptop and connect to the new audio conference line.

go jules go event planning
Six minutes ’til showtime.

“Is the speaker here?” Big Boss asked.

I smiled serenely. “He is! [Coworker] just went to get him!”

I returned my gaze to the computer screen, checking to see if I had the updated presentation materials that had come in minutes before. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I thought, knowing pretty soon my screen would be projected in front of 100 people so I’d better get the hell out of my inbox.

Okay, download new slides to desktop, close Outlook, sound off, Instant messenger off, PowerPoint slides open for each of the speakers, oh crap you need the webcast link from the email, open Outlook, get link, dial in, is screen working yet, where is the new A/V team, why can’t I hear anything on the line, do we have enough lavalier mics, where is the handheld, holy crap it’s loud in here and I can’t hear the operator, this is never going to work, oh my god, why did we think this was going to work, is the speaker here, is he mic’d, oookay now everyone is seeing a picture of my dog (just kidding I totally wanted that to happen), does Big Boss have her intro notes

go jules go desktop uncle jesse
You’re welcome.

Okay. Okay. We have lift off! Holy sh*t what is that box on the screen and how do I get rid of it? Okay, okay, we can just slide it over here in the corner… okay, we’re fine, we’re fine…Oh my GOD that’s the wrong slide deck, say hi to Uncle Jesse again everyone…okay, we’re moving along now…oh for the LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY his mic isn’t turned on…

Once the main speaker took the stage, the next 45 minutes went by in a blur, my only thought being, Please please please let that be the updated version of his slides WITHOUT ANY EMBEDDED VIDEOS DEAR GOD PLEASE and let everyone on the line actually be able to hear. The speaker was a pro and fielded questions from a lively, engaged audience, allowing me to convince myself that in the end, the entire thing was a smashing success.

As soon as it ended, I grabbed my lap top, made a beeline for the parking lot, and wept into my ice cold coffee.

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A *gulp* smashing *sob* success.

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To event planners everywhere: I bow down to you (which you probably can’t see because you’re too busy wiping snot off your travel mug). …Can you please share your secrets?

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Blogging, Family Ties, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now

What I’ve Learned from My Past Lives (yes, I did just say that)

Often when time passes, feelings fade, memories go fuzzy, and lessons learned take a backseat to everyday demands. One of the many curious things about undergoing a “past life regression” hypnosis session last month (yup, that’s totally a thing!) was finding that the very opposite occurred. The thoughts, smells, sights and sounds that I experienced during hypnosis have become hyperreal, and I’ve spent many long walks trying to squeeze every ounce of insight that I can from them.

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Wanna hear what I’ve got so far? Oh good. I knew I had a blog for a reason.

Go-Jules-Go-title-graphic_What I've Learned from My Past Lives

LESSON 1 (of 3): It’s Okay to Want Less

In many ways, the two past lives I witnessed couldn’t have been more different. In one life, I was a woman, the other, a man. In one I was wealthy, the other poor. I hated my job one time, enjoyed it the next.

None of this mattered.

As both a wealthy Victorian woman visiting her grandmother in the English countryside and a poor-as-dirt laborer in rural Maine in the mid-20th century, the only thing that mattered to me was this: Being with my family, surrounded by nature. I longed for nothing more than the sight of those rolling hills and the water – except maybe a cup of tea and some James Joyce! No part of me was vying for a 4.0 GPA or learning yoga or reading self-help books. And I felt zero guilt about it. The pursuit of peace and pleasure was enough.

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Ahhhhh, that’s better.

This was a powerful lesson. All I truly desire today is exactly the same – except now it feels devilishly indulgent. A simple life with fewer responsibilities? How dare I! This experience was a much-needed reminder to take a breath and remember that all of the accomplishments in the world are meaningless if I can’t enjoy what matters most. I don’t need to adorn this life with the trappings of success to have a successful life.

LESSON 2 (of 3): Why I REALLY Struggle with My Weight

I thought, between decades of dieting and multiple therapists, that I’d covered every possible reason I struggled with weight.

It wasn’t until I heard my “Higher Self” speak during hypnosis that a new idea took form: My weight was the physical manifestation of carrying others’ burdens. I had never allowed this theory to surface because I thought it made me sound like a self-righteous martyr.

“She tries to be like a mussel. Clean the water. It doesn’t work,” my higher self had said, speaking in third person. “She just wants everyone to be happy. She doesn’t have to be responsible for anyone [else’s happiness].”

How might I approach my relationship with food if I looked at it through this new lens? Would I speak up, set boundaries, and share more of my authentic self? The short answer? YES. It’s already happening! But I’ll confess: I haven’t changed overnight. The road ahead still looks pretty curvy (pun soooo intended). Nevertheless, I’m more optimistic than ever before that I’m dissolving a toxic pattern.

MORE VEGAN FOOD HACKS
It’s especially tough when you crush it in the kitchen like I do.

LESSON 3 (of 3): “If You’re Happy, You Will Save the World”

This is something else my higher self relayed midway through the session, and it strikes me as almost heartbreaking in its innocence. Wasn’t there some wise old (wo)man somewhere who said we can recognize the truth by its simplicity?

I’ve often heard people say that we’re on this earth to experience joy, and despite how things may appear on this blog, I often do a sh*tty job of it. Which links back perfectly to #1 on this list: It doesn’t take much to be happy (and THAT’S OKAY)!

Perhaps instead of living life like one giant checklist, I’d make a bigger, brighter impact on the planet I love so much by doing things daily that delight me (like using alliteration…check!).

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And photoshopping myself next to Darren Criss, of course.

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Do these lessons resonate with you? Do you struggle with them like I do?

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Animals, Food, humor, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Uncle Jesse

That Time I Ate Dog Food

DISCLAIMER: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission if you purchase the linked product, at no additional cost to you. I only ever link to products that I truly love. Like this.

Guess what? Today is Uncle Jesse’s 8th birthday!

And I thought, “What better way to honor him than to steal his food?”

As luck would have it, our latest shipment of V-Dog plant-based kibble just arrived!

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30 lbs. Also the exact amount of weight I’ve gained since entering grad school.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that this was one of my favorite vegan food hacks, albeit one enjoyed by my fur baby and not so much me.

Uncle-jesse-eating
Until (spoiler alert) NOW!

I was keenly aware of the bag’s poundage, and my own, as I lugged it up two long flights of stairs and into the tiny apartment.

In a recent post, I said that this plant-based kibble smelled so “decent,” and Uncle Jesse loves it so much, that I might actually try it myself. And that if I did, I would, of course, blog about it.

Because why stop at peeing on houses when you can still sink a little lower?

pee-cottage

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry.

…If this goes viral, I’m not sure how I’ll feel about it.

If you’d like to celebrate how much we love our furry families, and every kind of love, I hope you’ll consider doing what I just did and buy a copy of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s new children’s book, “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo.” Proceeds go to The Trevor Project and AIDS United. (And if you really want to geek out, check out the line-up on the audio version!)

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Blonde Moments, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now

Nailed it.

Once upon a time, I fancied myself quite the crafter.

GotC-bacon
I literally couldn’t find any examples of my crafts that didn’t involve bacon.

I even got two of my closest friends on board for an annual Kristmas Krafty Korner. Or at least that’s what we called it until we realized we were holding yearly KKK meetings.

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That’s the house where we gather to burn the books!

This year, I thought I’d combine my crafting and planet-saving endeavors to make soy wax candles out of recycled wine bottles.

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I mean how hard could it be?

I’d seen this amazing glass-cutting trick involving yarn, nail polish remover, and fire, which I think we can all agree sounds like a good time. My mom, Babs, and I diligently emptied wine bottle after wine bottle all week, until we had enough to get going.

We wrapped those bottles in nail polish remover-covered yarn, lit them on fire, and…

Nothing.

I checked the YouTube videos again. And again. We tried a different nail polish remover. A different yarn. Heck, we even tried 90 proof booze. Nothing was burning through these babies. Finally, I sucked it up and bought a glass cutter from Michael’s, which looked like a cross between a guillotine and a giant protractor.

And that was great. Except for the part where that didn’t work either.

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A cruise ship bathroom door makes cuts better than this. (If you didn’t get that, I insist you drop everything and read this post.)

Here’s where you probably think I gave up. But nay! Babs had mason jars.

And at last:

nailed-it-mason-jar-candles-blog

Any other holiday miracles happening out there?

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Giveaway Junkie, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now

Are Polygamist Pumpkins Legal?

Whew, I’m exhausted from sorting through all of the entries to my Halloween contest! I barely had time to dust off my slutty chipmunk costume.

Ha ha ha. Just kidding.

There were only two entries.

And I loved them all both. Almost as much as I love my sister wife and our 47 children.

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My real-life sister and I took things to the next level this Halloween.

In fact, I loved your entries so much that I tossed them into my cauldron and brewed up a batch of winning for everyone!  That’s right. For the first time in Go Jules Go Halloween contest history, I’ve combined your entries into a single jack-o-lantern carving!

Congratulations Lone Grey Squirrel and Peg-o-Legs Ramblings! You WON!

In response to my question, How would the world look if YOU were in charge?, you submitted the following gems:

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halloween-2016-peg-o-leg

Now that we have our winners, it’s time to get down to carving business. As usual, I was filled with self-doubt. Could I come up with a design worthy of Peg-o-Leg and Lone Grey Squirrel’s submissions? My fears compounded after visiting Rise of the Jack-o-Lanterns.

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Babs (mom) isn’t sure I can hack it.
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Most of the carvings were a YUUGE hit. This one was just a six.

Based on Peg-o-Leg’s comment that if she ruled the world all IRS employees would have to wear the same uniform, the Julesie Crest Ensemble, I began my design.

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Next, the design transfer.

And lastly, the expert carving.

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If only you could see what my floor looked like at this moment.

Okay, so maybe you’re not impressed. Just wait until you hear what this REALLY is. A hacked up gourd? Oh, no, no, no.

In homage to Lone Grey Squirrel’s entry, this pumpkin is THE ultimate teaching tool for any Cat Sensitivity Training program – the only program of its kind aimed at reducing squirrel and chipmunk anxiety. If the felines fail to pay attention, all you need to do is turn out the lights, fire up a match, and BAM!

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A chipmunk crest will be forever emblazoned in their vision, turning them immediately vegetarian.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Don’t let #47 stay up too late eating candy.

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Giveaway Junkie, I'm Going To Chop My Ear Off Any Day Now, Vlogalicious

EPIC POST ALERT: This Year’s Custom JACK-o-Lantern Winner Is…

SQUEE! It’s time! It’s finally time!

For this year’s Custom Jack-o-Lantern Giveaway Contest, I asked you to describe a FrankenFood – some odd food combo that you invented or sampled. Your submissions were spooktacular. Thank you!

It was a friiiiightfully difficult choice, but the winner is:

Marta from Oh My, Marta!

Marta’s entry:

Marta-gravatarI so have this! I invented the best thing ever (still need to get in contact with someone about marketing this) when I was perhaps not low but ____. What you do is take two nacho cheese Doritos, the crumbs are the best for this, and then take a somewhat stale (staleness dependent on preference) chocolate raisin and sandwich it in between the Doritos. Pop it in your mouth and experience heaven. Seriously.

I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Could it possibly be good? I liked Raisinets, and I loved Doritos, but together?

Photo credit: http://1funny.com
Photo credit: http://1funny.com

I had to know. I called for reinforcements:

Has there ever been a more polarizing FrankenFood? The overall verdict: WIN! You are my hero, Marta. But I already knew you had impeccable taste, given our shared love of Leonardo DiCaprio.Titanic-pumpkin-gourdThus, I present your prize – a custom jack-o-lantern:

STEP 1: DESIGN OVERLY AMBITIOUS PATTERN

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STEP 2: RIP GUTS OUT OF PERFECT PUMPKIN

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Step 3: Tape Design On Pumpkin While Palms Begin to Sweat

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Step 4: transfer design And question everythingTitanic-Pumpkin-4

Step 5: Tell Yourself, “There’s No Turning Back Now” over and over while shoving Raisinitos in your face

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Step 6: Begin to Realize Self-Worth

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Step 7: Marvel

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Congratulations, Marta! (And seriously. Get on this Raisinito thing, pronto.)

Oodles of thanks to She’s A Maineiac, Rachel’s Table, Accidental Stepmom, Cal-Hockley-titanic-3032768-720-540PEPPERMEISTER!, my family, and Magical Neighbor Jeff for your bravery. You are my double rainbow, the wind beneath my wings, the helpless little girl to my Cal Hockley.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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