humor

Letting Your Guard Rails Down

Go Jules Go Title Graphic Letting Your Guard Rails Down_13NOV2019

Not as nice as Bend, not as nice as Bend…

Sights whirred past as I tried my damndest not to go over 80 MPH. A giant, snow-capped mountain greeted me in the distance.

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Not bad. Not as nice as the Cascades…

When I reached my destination, the little mountain town of Mt. Shasta, California, I parked the car and let Uncle Jesse stretch his legs.

Every passerby -not that there were many- smiled and said hello. While my new home in Bend, Oregon seemed to have ruined me for any other town, there was one consistent theme along the west coast thus far.

The people.

Also the hats. A lot of hats out here.

“I’m Georgie, by the way!” the adorable receptionist-slash-barista said as she extended a slender hand. By now I was checking out of my hip Mt. Shasta motel and we’d spent the past ten minutes chit-chatting.

“If you and your husband are ever in Bend, you have my name and I have a second bedroom!” I said as I waved goodbye.

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Assuming you don’t mind sharing a bed.

Earlier in the week, I had decided to tick a few more west coast cities off my bucket list, and was pleasantly surprised when I found I could greet strangers like old friends as I wound my way from central Oregon to northern California. This whole…trusting…thing was kinda…nice.

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Almost as nice as the tap water.

During a recent trip back to New Jersey, my home state, I was startled to realize just how far I’d already let my guard down. After only four months in Bend, I’d forgotten how to avoid eye contact. To jump to the worst possible conclusion. To regard every kind act with suspicion.

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Oh, the landlord planted flowers? OVER WHOSE DEAD BODY?

I used to wear my cynicism, like most east coasters, as a badge of honor. You’re handing me a flier? Asking me how my day is? Hah! Go scratch, pal! I’ve got things to do! Places to be! Scowls to perfect!

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Vodka to drink!

But after just one week in Bend, I’d made a dozen friends and felt the reassuring hand of something I never knew I’d been missing: Community. Suddenly, I wasn’t afraid to ask for -or offer- help. A ride to the airport, some extra boxes, paint supplies, you name it. My new hometown’s selfless generosity was infectious.

Here I am getting free metalsmithing lessons from the one and only Jim Dailing!
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Oh! And here’s a recent haul of free groceries from friends who just streamlined their diet! (Not pictured: The free wine some other friends dropped off just days before. …Yes, my reputation as the unhealthiest most fun vegan in Oregon precedes me.)

And sure, you’re gonna have to steal my sarcasm and pizza standards from my cold, dead hands (which I hope are buried under some beautiful flowers), but this whole neighborly love thing?

Bring it on.

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Did you grow up in a don’t-make-eye-contact kind of environment, or a here’s-a-cup-of-sugar-you-didn’t-even-ask for place? Do you prefer one over the other?

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Food, Just For Fun, Uncategorized

Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

"It had to be you..."

For a supposed guilty pleasure blogger, I don’t think I talk nearly enough about one of the most mind-frenchingly awesome pairings the world has ever known. No no, not Brad Pitt and Gwyneth Paltrow Angelina Jolie Jennifer Aniston. I’m talking:

Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

The master of this holy union, the mother of this ship, the queen bee to this hive, is, of course, none other than the:

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup

Let us have a moment of silence to pay our respects to dairy farmer H.B. Reese (who invented this wonder in 1923), shall we?

Finders keepers, bee-atch. Photo credit: forumsextreme.com

…Much obliged. So, if you’re like me, you probably can’t recall the first time you tasted a Reese’s peanut butter cup, but they’ve always been your Numero Uno. Remember Halloween? What would it take to trade one of your Reese’s cups? That’s right. It would take nothing. Because ain’t nobody laying a finger on your Butterfinger Reese’s.

There’s a noticeable passion associated with Reese’s peanut butter cups. We don’t just like them. We love them. We don’t just nibble on a mini one and call it a day. Even those so-called ‘gourmet’ peanut butter cups never seem to stack up to the original.

When bigger is better. So, so, so much better.

Reese’s peanut butter cups are an intrinsic part of American culture. They’ve come up with plenty of variations over the last 20 years, and there’s a cup for what seems like every holiday. (Whether or not you just celebrated Easter, I hope you picked up some Reese’s eggs – it’s the perfect chocolate to peanut butter ratio.) There are t-shirts, magnets, even peanut butter cup-flavored lip balm stamped with the iconic Reese’s logo.

An internet search on Reese’s peanut butter cups brings up the corporate

A little slice of heaven. No. Seriously. This is my heaven. Photo credit: http://blogchef.net.

website, and then hundreds of recipes. To me this is a simple sign that peanut butter and chocolate are welcome in any home, for any occasion. If that Reese’s pie didn’t win over your girlfriend’s parents? Heck, you didn’t want to be a part of that family anyway.

The evolution of the Reese’s peanut butter cup slogan is also indicative of their influence – and I can’t argue with any of them:

1970s-1980s: Two great tastes that taste great together.

1990s: There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s.

2000s: Perfect.

Photo credit: pittnews.com

This year Reese’s peanut butter cups were the sponsor of NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament. They’ve already been an official sponsor of the NCAA for 4 years running. You couldn’t get me to watch 2 minutes of the college basketball that was on a continuous loop in my house last month, but even I noticed the giant Reese’s logo on the court floor (and subsequently started salivating). I wondered how the players kept focus. Or maybe it was the perfect motivator.

Outta my way, fool! Photo Credit (before extremely necessary annotation): http://cdn.gunaxin.com

Do you have a favorite Reese’s memory? A favorite kind of cup? Do you not like Reese’s peanut butter cups? (If not, what’s wrong with you why not?)

P.S. – When I did a Google image search for “reese’s chipmunk” (you never know! That squirrel got its paws on one!), a picture of me under the “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” marquee was the first picture to come up! That has to mean something. Something very, very good.

***TODAY’S SPECIAL***

On this historic day, otherwise known as Wednesday, 19 of your favorite humor bloggers are staging a WordPress coup. We have banded together to address the important topic, Better Living Through Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

Yes, you read that right. Your eyes are fine. Well, they may not be fine – I really don’t know. But it does say “19 of your favorite humor bloggers” (or who SHOULD be your favorite bloggers). We are all presenting the same topic, each from his or her particularly unique perspective.

Why this topic? Why now?

Why not?

Click on the bloggers’ links below to gobble up the entire, yummy bag of 19 posts.

Bon Appetite!

The Big Sheep Blog

Childhood Relived

Go Guilty Pleasures

Fifty Four and A Half

Fix It Or Deal

k8edid

Lenore’s Thoughts Exactly

Life In The Boomer Lane

Peg-o-Leg’s Ramblings

Play 101

Refrigerator Magnate

Running From Hell With El

She’s A Maineiac

The Byronic Man

The Good Greatsby

The Monster In Your Closet

The Ramblings

Thoughts Appear’s Blog

Unlikely Explanations