MacGyver’s Competition: Pete Dominick


Photo from

I remember riding next to my Dad in his old blue Buick with cushy seats and bouncy shocks down the turnpike.  I always thought it seemed so boring listening to his news shows that he liked where people talked on and on in monotone voices. It bored me to tears and seemed like such a grown up, old person thing to listen to nonstop.

Until I became an old person.

Hello my name is LifeonWry and I am officially a news radio addict. The first step is admitting it right?

I can’t remember the last time I listened to actual songs on my car radio. Which sounds sort of sad. But then, addiction always is.

I have one person to blame for my splurge of a subscription to XM radio and his name is Pete Dominick.  And I think I am in love with him.  My heart races a bit just writing his name, like I should start doodling my first name along with his last name…  LifeonWry Dominic …. TLA 4Ever.

MacGyver is aware of my obsession and luckily he just thinks it’s funny.

It all started with a free trial XM Radio subscription and 2008 election coverage.  And Pete Dominic on the POTUS station.  Since that time I have maintained my extravagant subscription and tried to listen to him almost every single weekday. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get out of the car when he’s talking.  I even followed him from POTUS to his new channel Indie Radio which I’m not a fan of except for his show, Standup with Pete Dominick.  All I can figure is that a big pay raise or a more flexible schedule lured him away from POTUS.  But I digress. I have remained a stalker of his loyal listener.

Pete (we’re on a first name basis but he doesn’t know it) has a background as a stand-up comedian and he is smart as hell.  He calls it like it is and is incredibly real, smart,  perfectly sarcastic, open minded, spot-on with human being behavior, and hilarious.  He’s also self deprecating to top it all off. Stop me, I’m swooning.

His show covers topics related to our world, our economy, and our issues and concerns as a society.  The other day I learned from his show that a quarter of humanity, or 1.3 billion people (in addition to the hundreds of millions who face regular blackouts) have no access to electricity and therefore must use dangerous methods like kerosene for light which poses health risks comparable to smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. I also learned that WakaWaka is not only a phrase that Fozzi Bear on the Muppets used to say, but it also the name of an organization that offers low-cost energy solutions for those living off the grid to help them be self-sufficient, sustainable and safe.  Oh, and WakaWaka means ‘Shiner of Light’ in Swahili.  Who knew?

The best part of Pete’s show is that on it the staff has a great time and Pete demands respectful and intelligent debate with his guest and call-in format.  He also asks for facts when callers make wild claims or generalizations, which often produces brief and awkward but wildly entertaining moments of silence.  But he does it in a respectful way, which is a fine line that he has mastered.

Pete says he is not of any political party and that he doesn’t want people to get hung up on labels and spout party lines. He works to have callers and well educated guests from both sides of the aisle.  Potentially irate  or rude callers don’t make it through his screening system (a script which I would love to read). It’s just not that kind of show.  Clearly Pete leans a direction that I am drawn to, but he seems open to all arguments and even questions all sides of each issue to spur conversation.

He is also is a regular guy, with a wife (darn, he’s married but then so am I) and kids that he clearly loves. He also seems to have great compassion for human beings which lurks just below the surface of his bold and pointed humor.

I’ve had the call-in number ready to dial several times on my phone.  I think I even dialed it once, only to abort after becoming flustered and worried that I might sound like a stalker if I actually got to talk to him.

So there you have it.  Pete Dominick is MacGyver’s competition.  But don’t worry.  MacGyver, and Pete’s wife for that matter, have nothing to fear.

I will forever be MacGyver’s sidekick.  And his list of similar qualities makes me swoon all the more.

Plus, MacGyver can fix a carburetor with a paperclip and a toothpick with one hand tied behind his back while reading a book and three magazines, listening to jazz and making me the perfect martini.

Now I just need to get him his own radio show.

On Manners … “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork.” ― Oscar Wilde

etiquetteMy parents worked hard to teach me good manners and for this I feel quite fortunate and grateful.   As always, I am a continuous work in progress and I have far from perfected all forms of manners.  I do however strive to set a good example for my kids when it comes to simple etiquette and common courtesies.

I stand wholeheartedly behind the power of manners and courtesy.  I will take on anyone who rolls their eyes about the importance of  teaching these skills to their children, for they will be sending their offspring out into the world with a severe disadvantage.  I guarantee you that, when it comes to job interviews and promotions and just plain life, simple etiquette and common courtesy will take children much further in life than the guy or gal who knows not of manners.

These skills – learned primarily by example – help children to be more genuinely grateful rather than entitled, to have more friends and meaningful relationships, and to realize that we are all interconnected.  Quite simply, manners help us to be more human.

These are a few of the many skills that children of all ages – and frankly humans of all ages – will do well by understanding and working toward practicing as much as possible:

  • When, how and why to thank someone.
  • How to listen and not interrupt, and to let others speak (I am always trying to improve on this one).
  • Eye contact, eye contact, eye contact.  Why it matters.
  • The importance of introductions and inclusiveness in group settings.
  • How to be thoughtful.
  • How to eat at a formal dinner table and sit still at a restaurant.  Even just the basics will empower kids later in life.
  • The art of being humble rather than boastful and aware of others’ feelings (This one is a peeve of mine.).
  • How to make note (whether electronically or otherwise) of important dates or events for other people and recognize them every once in a while.
  • Respect for elders (No matter how old school they might seem).
  • To politely greet and acknowledge a new person in their home or environment.
  • To hold a door open for a person behind them when they are in close range.
  • How to actually apologize (It’s amazing how many people really don’t understand how to genuinely apologize.  You’re not apologizing if you don’t truly own your actions. See The One Minute Apology.) And no child is too young to learn how to apologize and recognize others’ feelings.
  • Letting someone go ahead of them in a long line every now and then.
  • How to say please and thank you consistently and nicely.
  • How to be compassionate.
  • Helping those less fortunate or ill, whether it be by raking their lawn, shoveling a walk or making a meal.
  • Being helpful at a retail establishment even when it’s not your job (I’m baffled by how shocked grocery checkers are at my local store when they are short-staffed and I roll up my sleeves and start bagging my own groceries instead of standing there watching.  How is this not a given?)
  • Occasionally helping strangers who may have simply dropped something or who may be unable to reach or do something.
  • Why, when and how to say excuse me when you bump into someone or walk in front of them, interrupt them, etc. (Another peeve of mine.)
  • The art of writing a simple thank you note.
  • How to give someone your full attention.
  • When to PUT THE PHONE AWAY.  (When having a conversation or meal with someone, when at a restaurant (get up and take the call outside), when at a social event. Trust me, if it’s important they will call more than once.)
  • How to not be condescending to service people or wait staff no matter how old you are or how important you think you are (I’ve always thought of this as a sure way to really know if I like someone).

Thanks to the gals over at Grown and Flown for their post today which spurred my manners rant post:

What is your biggest manners pet peeve?

The first step is admitting you have a problem.

cart before

I admit it. I like to find things in other people’s trash.  Not deep in the trash under banana peels or dirty diapers or anything, mind you (I am still a germaphobe), but trash that’s visible from my car as I drive by.

I like to think of it as high-end dumpster diving. Or re-purposing of perfectly salvageable items on their way to the dump via the neighborhood trash truck. Items for which it causes me physical pain to think about them being hoisted up and over the back of the garbage truck cab and tossed into that teetering back heap in pieces.

These dumpster dive treasures call my name and wave me down as I drive by, shouting out to me “Hey, hey you…  Here I am… Yes, me! Isn’t this a shame?  You can’t let this happen, can you?”  They wait for me to slowly turn my car around to take a closer look and that’s when if they had a tail it would certainly start wagging … and in the car they go.

This is why my kids and MacGyver don’t even flinch when once every few months they see a new piece of very questionable looking furniture in the garage.  They know the drill.

Maybe I’m a hoarder, It may be genetic.  But I like to think of it as being a rescuer.

So, when I was driving through my neighborhood a couple of weeks ago and saw this old tea cart out on the curb by someone’s trash cans, I had to stop and perform a rescue mission. Yes, I was already cutting it close for my appointment, but I could hear the roar of the trash truck getting closer and her demise was imminent.

She had badly chipped veneer (under a perfectly quaint and in-tact wood framed glass tray) and she was missing wheels (which the owner was kind enough to set out for the likely rescuer) and she was was scratched, crooked and unsteady as hell.  In the back of my 4Runner she went.   

cart wheel

MacGyver grinned and shook his head as I later pleaded this poor little tea cart’s case and asked for his help in attaching the wheels and leveling her out.  ‘She can make it,’ I explained.

And so it was.  Here are the steps of this ‘little cart-that-could’s rebirth:

1. MacGyver reattached the little wheels under the cart. cart level

2. She was still unsteady due to the odd wheel configuration, so MacGyver worked to level her by adding spacers above her smaller wheels.  I was the assisting nurse, keeping watch on her vitals by watching for the little bubble in the little window of the metal level.

3. Then came the spray paint.  Oh, the glorious spray paint.  I can change the world with a few cans of spray paint.

cart paint

4. I taped and sanded her tray and on the front lawn where I still had good sunlight (my neighbors think I’m nuts) I gave it a few shots of a brilliant, deep red to test out the color.  She started to smile instantly.

5. Then the next day after the glue dried on the little wheels, this little cart got a thorough sanding and a coat of all-over red, except for her big, center wheels which I spray painted black as if they were the black patent shoes she needed for her new, red dress.cart red

6. Her makeover was complete.  She turned out so beautiful in the end that we decided to let her live with us on a permanent basis.  She has found a home in my dining room.

Despite her questionable background,  this little tea cart has made a lovely addition to our family and she seems to be working through her abandonment issues.

It turns out that you just never know what you might find on someone else’s curb on trash day.  And what it could become.  And that, my friends, is the fun of it.

Have you ever dumpster-dived?

Moved by Manilow.

barryThis week’s WordPress writing challenge was to write about how music moves me.

Hearing certain songs can bring me back to the exact slices of time in my life as quickly as the sound of a can opener can bring a cat to the kitchen.  These melodies are able to suspend any current moment, often squeezing my heart a little in the process.

Not knowing this challenge was coming, I coincidentally picked up a vinyl record last week while traveling for the kids’ fall break last week in Portland, Oregon.  In keeping with the “Keep Portland Weird” vibe, we seemed to find hat stores or vinyl record stores on every other corner.  On our last night there, I finally made the family stop in one of the vinyl record stores, determined to find an album that would take me back for a little mini-vacation within my vacation. They humored me.

I knew exactly which one I needed to find because I could see the album cover in my head (or maybe I knew subconsciously which one I could easily find without breaking the bank because no one else would want it).  I flipped through the album covers in the small “Pop” section as my kids marveled at the sight of these round, black plastic discs of music throughout the store.  I quickly found the album I was looking for as if it had been right there waiting for me.  The guy at the register didn’t even flinch as I placed the shiny white Barry Manilow album on the counter.  I paid the full $3.60 for it and am now this record’s proud owner.

Here is my list of top time-transporting music,  along with the moments that flash through my mind when I hear it. Good old Barry in his white disco suit and gold chain tops the list.

  • Any Barry Manilow or old Chicago tune –  I can hear the words of  ‘Copa Cabana’ and  ‘Boogie Woogie Woogie’ and  “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?’ as they swirled about our dark wood-paneled family room as my mom and sister and I listened to them on the turntable of our silver stereo with a hard, clear plastic box top that set upon my grandfather’s antique steamer trunk which was nestled in our groovy brown shag carpet.
  • ‘Amazing Grace’ – Sitting next to my grandmother in church and hearing her beautiful voice as I watched tears well up in her eyes as she sang it with all her heart,  Just writing about it makes my own do the same.
  • ‘Jungle Love’ by Steve Miller Band –  Driving my Dad’s jeep one summer while my car was being repaired and playing this song over and over again in the boombox that I had chain-locked to the passenger seat because the jeep didn’t have a stereo.
  • ‘Mercedes Benz’ by Janis Joplin – Cruising on the interstate with my friend Marcy for twelve hours to Connecticut for the summer in my little red car.  I couldn’t stand Janis Joplin when the trip began but Marcy was determined to make me a fan.   It worked.
  • Any Sinead O’Connor tune – Sitting with my junior year college housemate on our rickety rattan love seat in our little old house on Duncan Street that had an old gas stove and windows painted so many times they hardly opened.
  • ‘Sugar Pie Honey Bunch” by the Four Tops – Riding in my dad’s car long ago with this song roaring, watching the music take him back and hearing him whistle along in exact harmony.  I love hearing him whistle.
  • Johnny Cash and other old country songs- Learning to waterski on my friend Kelly’s boat at the lake.  I can hear the boat radio in the background along with the sound of the idling engine as her dad made yet another roundabout to let me try again, and again, and again to get up on those skis.  He was ever so patient and determined to get me up on those skis. And he did.
  • Aretha Franklin’s ‘Dr. Feelgood’ and anything Harry Connick, especially ‘All of Me’ –  So many moments of that fall during my senior year of college when I met MacGyver.
  • Styx “Too Much Time on My Hands” – I can see my college friend’s face making fun of me for how excited I became every time a Styx song came on the radio.
  • ‘Rosana’ by Kool and the Gang – First boyfriend back in high school, riding in his old Camero.
  • REO Speedwagon – Cruising on my tenspeed bicycle with no hands with my Sony Walkman strapped to the center of the handlebars.  Because I was cool.
  • ‘Jagged Little Pill’ by Alanis Morisette – Working at my most fun ad agency job in an old warehouse with a school bus in the middle which served as my colleague’s office.
  • Michael Jackson and Billy Squier tunes – Walking to Skaggs Alpha Beta grocery store in 7th grade with my friend Lisa with two headsets plugged into that same Sony Walkman.  Because we were both cool.
  • Sheryl Crowe’s ‘Soak up the Sun’ – All the bittersweet memories with my dear friend Courtney who lost her battle with cancer years ago.  It was her theme song that last year and it makes me smile.
  • Black Crowe’s Hard to Handle –  Riding in my friend Mel’s little red Nissan Sentra while we air-drummed and air-guitared this song in traffic one night when she drove me home after a very long day at that ad agency.
  • ‘Like a Virgin’ album by Madonna and Prince’s ‘Little Red Corvette’ – Wearing out the cassette deck in my first car listening to these tunes while driving to and from my high school job selling shoes at the mall.
  • ‘Rock Lobster’ by the B52s, and the entire BeeGee’s ‘Saturday Night Fever’ album – Dancing with my sister as she taught me the dance moves to these songs on that same brown shag carpet on that same shiny stereo with the clear, hard plastic top.

Whew, there you have it, a lengthy smattering of songs and their corresponding flashing moments, many close to my heart.

Clearly music moves me.  Along with white disco suits and gold chains.

What songs move you?

Memories of Hallow’s Eve Past

IMG_5122[1]Memories of Hallow’s Eve past:

– Decorating with my Mom (Little Red Riding Hood LOVED to decorate for Halloween – I come by it honestly.  See latest addition this year – my new hanging Nasty Bat.)

– “Mr. Nasty Man” who has enjoyed our various porch benches at various homes for the last 17 years or so (only the mask has changed since the early one melted in the Oklahoma sun long ago).IMG_5115[1]

– The sounds and smells of rustling leaves and the cool breezes that accompany them.IMG_4971[1]

– Trick or  treating with my friend Boogieman.

– Making my own Steve Martin costume one year when I was little (my Mom was so proud that I made it and talked about it for years).

– Getting hit in the head with a flying pumpkin. See older post for background.

-Dressing up my kids for trick or treating year after year (Now they are too cool.  If I had known how much I would miss it, I would have savored it more.).

– The costume birthday parties we used to have for my oldest son each October.


– Receiving a box of little decorations and goodies every year from my Mom in the mail (along with a card that said “Watch out for flying pumpkins!”).

– The beautiful, beautiful colors of fall everywhere I look.

– The squirrels who eat my pumpkins on my sidewalk each year. (See their latest masterpieces.  I don’t have the heart to throw them away — I’m thinking when they bring their buddies at mealtime,  it’s like a trip to the Country Buffet or Western Sizzler).

Although  much has changed over the years, and some things have remained, fall continues to be my all-time favorite season of the year,  And Halllow’s Eve a special favorite.

Happy Halloween!

What memories of your Hallow’s Eve past come to mind?

P.S: Watch out for flying pumpkins!


Self-Check-Out Be Damned.

IMG_4978[1]There I was, with 32 minutes to run into the grocery store for a few items before I had to pick up my son from an appointment. I knew better, but I headed into the nearby Safeway despite my doubts.  It was close, and it has a great floral department (I needed flowers for a friend).

My ‘few items’ soon turned into 20 items.  The fruit tart that I grabbed to take to a friend’s house for my contribution to the evening ‘s dinner was super sticky and kicked off my lovely Safeway experience. All of the tart packages were sticky, but Safeway’s fruit tarts are good, and I needed one, so I grabbed it anyway.  Then the rotisserie baked chicken with the crumpled packaging had me wondering if it would leak all over my car.  But I placed it in my basket anyway and powered on.

After I grabbed some peppers and cantaloupe, the last item I picked up was a small flower arrangement.  Notice anything in common with these items?  For some of us, these would be classified as items that are tricky for the sellf-check-out lane.  No problem, you say?  Just use the human check-out line, you say? This is what I would do at my normal grocery store, staffed with at least two or three human checkers at all times of moderate shopping traffic. Nope, not this store.

This Safeway is consistently staffed with only ONE live human checker, a cobwebbed “Express Lane” and a sea of I-Robot self-check-out stations eager to high-jack your grocery shopping experience at any time.

I was cutting it close on time, and the single live human line was far too long.  (Maybe because there was only ONE CHECKER and it was 5 pm on a Friday.  But I digress.) I took a deep breath and headed over to the self check-out lanes, which send me off the rails with even the smoothest of transactions. I can do this, I told myself.  I can use the self check out without having a blackout rage moment or cursing loudly like a woman with anger management issues.

I pressed start. ‘PLEASE START SCANNING YOUR ITEMS,’ a curt and condescending female voice directed me. I scanned the first few things without a hitch. ‘BEEP, BLIP, BEEP.’ I was on a roll.  This might work.

Then the baked chicken with the sketchy packaging was up. After many attempts… ‘PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE,’ I-Robot chirped. ‘PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE.’  ‘PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE.’ I took a deep breath. Here we go, I thought, as  I looked over at the snarky captain of the I-Robot fleet.  He headed my way.  He proceeded to peel off the greasy sticker wedged into the side of the packaging, then scanned it without a word and began to walk away.

Before he walked away  I picked up my bell pepper and told him I wasn’t sure how to scan vegetables.  (I know …. “Help me, I’m poor.” comes to mind from the Bridesmaid movie.  But I did not have the time to flip through the operations manual). He silently pointed to the tiny sticker with the itsy bitsy, tiny, microscopic (did I say they were small?) numbers on the side of the pepper.  ‘Seriously?’ I chuckled in a creepy way and said,  “Whaaoooh … There is not a chance that I can even read that without my glasses.’  He briskly punched through fifteen screens and found a category to enter the peppers, without another word.

At this point I couldn’t help myself and explained to him that this is precisely why I dread coming to this store, because it is never staffed with enough checkers. I was confused in thinking he might show some concern and maybe call more checkers up front.  Nope, he simply pranced back to his command post with full smirkitude in tact.  I tried to picture my happy place but I may have gotten light-headed at this point; the rage was coming on.

I had five more items and eight minutes to pick up my son.  I looked to my right and saw the insanely long line of  angry, equally hostile looking customers waiting for a self-check-out station.  I knew they were waiting for me to surrender or pass out so they could brush me aside and use my self-check-out station to quicken their own escapes. I thought about aborting the entire mission, but I had so much time invested at this point and I could almost see the end.

“BEEP.”   “BLIP.” “BEEP.”

The last item was a greeting card.  “BEEP.” Suddenly I-Robot started  demanding, ‘PLEASE PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.’  I had already placed it in the bag but she did not believe me.  I took it out and tried again, attempting to please her.  Her rampage continued; she was calling me out like I was stealing the greeting card.  “PLEASE PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.’ ‘PLEASE PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.’ ‘PLEASE PLACE ITEM IN BAGGING AREA.’ My chest was tight as my flight instinct kicked into gear.

Just as I started to black out, I-Robot began her refrain  “PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE.’ ‘ PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE.” PLEASE WAIT FOR ASSISTANCE.’ Oh my god, not the snarky I-Robot captain, I’ll lose it.

At that moment, I lost all self-control and cursed at the machine loudly and crudely. Since that would definitely help matters and certainly prove a point.   I-Robot was not amused, nor was the line of survival-of-the-self-check-out- fittest behind me. Suddenly I felt like the character in the movie Friends with Money played by Frances McDermand who yells at an Old Navy employee for helping a person who cut in line and stomps out of the store only to break her nose on the glass door. (Rent it if you haven’t seen it.)

My head hung low as my blood pressure spiked, but I pressed on.  Snarky self check-out captain pranced over and reset the machine and stepped back up his two plastic steps to stand guard at his command perch.  Thank god this ordeal was almost over.  I frantically pressed any button I could find to facilitate my payment and escape.

As I broke through the doors and into the parking lot the sunlight stung my eyes and I gasped for air. I had made it out.  I looked down to find that the sticky fruit-tart juice had spilled all down my favorite  winter boots.  And I felt confident that the baked chicken juice was ready to douse the cargo area of my car in an equally awesome kind of way.

Will I return to this Safeway, you ask?  Probably.

Why, you ask?  It’s close-by and I am a glutton for punishment.

Am I surprised that in a recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index  study Safeway ranks among the very lowest of retailers and the brand has under-performed in customer satisfaction every year for the past 10 years?


Will I complain?  I already submitted a complaint through the corporate website.

Will that save anyone from a black out rage with sticky boots in the future?

Probably not.

Do I realize that my age may have something to do with my aversion to self-check out lanes and the statistics back that up to a certain degree?

Yes, but I’m guessing I spend way more on groceries than those under age 35.  So there.

Have you ever lost your mind at a self-checkout station?

How my 4Runner humiliated me. (Also why I am a gigantic DORK.)

4runnerflamesThis is almost too embarrassing to share.  But that has never stopped me before, so why stop now?

Warning:  Do not try this at home.

Disclaimer:  Weird things involving injuries and bruises used to happen to my sister when she was alive just as often as they happen to me, so I’m blaming genetics.

Okay, here’s what happened:


Crack of doom

I was running late to a doctor’s appointment yesterday and putting on lipstick at a stoplight (don’t judge) when an eyeliner suddenly slipped out of my purse and into the crack of hell space between my driver’s seat and center console.  ( I know many of you are judging at this moment because I sound like a nightmare to be on the road with – but please note that this took place at a long stop light and I’m telling myself that makes it better.  Stop judging.)

At any rate, retrieving an item from this crack of doom narrow space should be no biggie. Unless you drive Christine my 4Runner.  You see, this body style of comes with a hard plastic carpeted shield in the cracks which helps catch things before they fall into this valley of death crevice.

So… I reached down to try to grab the eyeliner before the light changed.  In most cars this would be no big deal.  It was a tight squeeze, so I took my ring off my right hand. (I know, that should have been a sign right there.  Stop judging)  I reached back further and felt the eyeliner slip deeper into the abyss.  I knew I must abort the mission as the light was about to change.

But my hand was stuck.  I’m not talking a little stuck.  I am talking all-out eye-stabbing-pain STUCK.  The handy shield protector does it’s job so well that it does not let your hand come back up and out after you reach in.  It was stuck and I was unable to move it.  (Insert very loud profanity repetition here which took place at the same time that I was experiencing that feeling you get when a ring gets stuck on your finger and you think someone may have to cut your finger off to get the ring off.)

The light changed.  (Insert more profanity.  Was this really happening?)  I had no choice but to drive left handed while leaning to the right until I could get to a place where I could pull over and retrieve my hand.  I jiggled it and wiggled it and was only rewarded with more eye-stabbing pain, and no sign of it coming loose.  I am not kidding you people.  This really freaking happened.  I could not make this up.

I reached my doctor’s parking lot 5 minutes up the road and started feverishly trying to work my hand out of the vice grip between my seat and the console.  I tried moving the seat forward and backward.  More wincing pain (I was too freaked out to even curse.  What if a fire department was going to have to get involved?)  I thought my hand was going to break off down there.  I am not kidding.  It would have been a bloody mess, but at least I would have made it to my appointment on time and my hand would have been out of there.

Eventually I just had to squint my eyes, go to a happy place, take a deep breath and yank that fucker my arm out of there.  As soon as I did, I felt my heartbeat pulsate from my thumb knuckle all the way up to my elbow.  I thought about how easily I bruise if you even sneeze in my direction.  I could already tell that by the next morning someone would see my arm and report MacGyver for domestic abuse.  I pulled myself out of the car holding my arm like a cat that had just been hit by a car.

I made it into the appointment with my pulsating, bluing arm dragging on the floor behind me, banging from wall to wall down the long hall way because at that point I couldn’t feel it anyway.  Once home, I received minimal sympathy from my boys but luckily later that evening a friend saw the ensuing bruises and swelling (insert her profanity) and made me ice it and take various anti-swelling  medications to help abate the bruising process.


This is only one side.

I am still in pain as I type this.  It even hurts to fold laundry if a t-shirt even grazes my hand or wrist.  Several bruises have appeared – on each side of my hand and on both sides of my arms.  It is super sexy, in a junkie kind of way. A different friend at lunch today saw the bruises up and down my arm and felt too awkward to ask me what happened until I mentioned it.  Yes, that bad.

And that, folks, is how Christine my 4Runner humiliated me.  And why, my friends, I am a gigantic DORK.

What is the stupidest way you’ve ever injured yourself?

Open letter to a Barbecue Lay’s Potato Chip

chipsDear Barbecue Lays Potato Chip,

Tell me why, after all these years, have you found me again?  Now I’m afraid I won’t be able to forget you again for a while.

I have resisted your temptation for a few years now since my boys have become obsessed with you.  I have often stared at your bag in the pantry where you live with all of your relative chips.  Even though I try to store you out of my sight, I still see you.  You have just politely and quietly stared back, almost knowing that you were my forbidden fruit and having mercy on me.

Maybe it was the way that our grocery store has been recently remodeled so  beautifully, making that chip aisle damn near impossible not to stare dreamy-eyed down the aisle of shiny bags, with you now perfectly positioned at eye level upon approach.  I think I heard harps playing in the distance as I pushed my cart down that aisle the other day.

You made me buy a couple of bags of you for the kids.  I didn’t want them to run out, after all.  I brought you home, and tried to position you  in the pantry so that I couldn’t make eye contact.

But then the other night, as I was perfectly perched with my soft blanket and dimmed lights, ready to watch my trashy Sunday night Housewives TV series (that makes my life look ever so simple, which is a good thing), I heard you calling.

Maybe it was Clone’s fault for being so nice and asking me if I wanted him to get me anything after grinning at the TV screen, knowing how awful the TV show was that I was about to spend an hour with.  My household loves to make fun of me for this weekly vice.

Whatever it was, I gave in.  I ate way too many of you.   So many that I might even be able to forget you for a while since I satisfied my craving so sufficiently.  If it weren’t for the orange powdery residue you left under my nails.  That makes it harder to forget you.

You were good.  I thank you for that.

If I smoked I would have had a cigarette afterwards.

Thank you for the great Lays, my friend.

Are you FOMOphobic?

fomoAre you thinking about what you might be missing out on while you’re reading this post?  If so, you may be suffering from the psychological affliction called FOMO, which stands for Fear of Missing Out.

Social media, which has enabled us to know things that we have no need or real desire to know … about every member of our entire social media network… at the exact minute it happens, 24/7  … is fueling this phenomenon at a frenetic pace.

A New York Times article found that we are virtually enabling this to happen by creating a ‘collective compulsion to document our lives and share them online combined with the instant gratification that comes from seeing something you are doing or experiencing get near-immediate approval from your online peers.”

One recent study revealed that 56% of adult social media users suffer from FOMO.  Another revealed that many social media users would rather have a root canal, spend a night in jail, or sit in traffic for four hours while listening to polka music than to give up their social media profile.

What’s more, a study conducted by British psychologist Andrew Przbylski looked at the connections between FOMO and social media and found that people who felt lower levels of autonomy, competence, and connectedness had more severe FOMO and used social media more.

Many believe this is hindering our ability to stay in the present and live fully in the now.  And it’s just getting started.

Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous positives of social media.  I myself like to know what’s going on in pop culture and social media is great for that.  I also like to share sayings and quotes and share an occasional photo. I also truly appreciate social media for helping me stay in touch with those I might not otherwise be able to stay in touch with.  And it’s good for business and for writers.  I get all that.

Yet each time I open Facebook, I have to weigh the odds of reading a post that makes me uneasy at the potential FOMOphobia it may be fueling against the odds of reading a  funny or thought-provoking quote or article posted by a friend.  Or of seeing a sweet post of a moment from a friend’s life.  Or of connecting with a family member. These are the aspects of social media that I love.

Often at social events I’m fascinated by the fact that when someone’s smartphone camera comes out and the word Facebook is mentioned, it’s like a drop of blood has hit the water and suddenly everyone around me has their smart phone out in a frenzy to capture a photo to post on social media to document their attendance.  At what point are we so worried about posting about all the great things that are happening to us that we actually are starting to become absent from our present lives?

Fortunately most of the time, the funny and  semi-personal connecting moments through social media outweigh the occasional quasi-narcissistic outbursts that I can only assume fuel the FOMOphobia epidemic.  Some days it’s a toss up.

But don’t you just have to wonder what will happen if the pace of  technology which is bringing us closer and closer to knowing way too much about each other’s activities at all times one day matches the pace of the rapidly spreading FOMOphobia epidemic?  Will the intersection of these trajectories cause us to combust?  Or to just reboot with the concept of living in the moment a thing of the past?

‘Ignorance is bliss’ never made more sense.

Related articles:

No matter where you go, there you are.

personallyIt’s been a heck of a year or so, and Little Red Riding Hood is now safe and sound in her new digs.  I am starting to breathe a little deeper, despite the periodic pangs of guilt that I work to suppress each time I drive away.

So when an opportunity to tag along with MacGyver on a work trip to Spain came along – during a favorite week of mine and for mere pennies at that – I took it as a sign.  A sign that it was time to shake off the worries of the last few years like a wet dog after a year-long bath.  And figure out how to jump on that plane.

As such, LifeonWry is Madrid-bound, as of this Saturday. I’m hoping to write while there and I’ll try to post on my blog.  I may even try to figure out how to pre-program some posts to appear while I am gone (no promises there).  So please standby if my little ol’ blog experiences any technical difficulties or extended pauses.spain

I am grateful to have such a wonderful travel opportunity present itself and to be able to take advantage of it.  Also grateful that my parents are willing to shake up their life for a week and watch our boys for most of the time while we are gone, while my dear friend, who is like a sister to me,  will stay for a few nights as well.  My friend’s mother, who is an extra mother to me (I’ve been blessed to have a few), will help out with my friend’s son while she is gone so that she can come to Colorado for a few days.

Having people like these in my life is yet another example of why my life is rich beyond measure.  All involved were on a mission to make it possible for me to go on this trip with MacGyver. And they jumped at the opportunity to spend quality time with my boys who are growing up so very office

Traveling and experiencing new and different places is quite possibly as important as education.  I’m convinced that travel..and living in places different from what we are accustomed  to… broadens our minds by knocking down the boundaries set in place by our own experiences.

Too often our minds get boxed in by the familiar and only a change of scenery or culture can wedge them loose.  Perhaps that’s why my Grandmother called me her Gypsy granddaughter, God rest her leopard-shoed soul.

I am grateful that my parents taught me to appreciate travel and other cultures when I was young, and that I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to teach it to our sons.

There are so many quotes about travel that I love.  Twain’s view on travel is perfectly stated.  As is this one by Ralph Crawshaw:

“Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.” -Ralph Crawshaw

I will have a few days on my own in Madrid to get good and lost (for I am She-ra, Queen of the Compass-Challenged).  So I know that I’ll have some interesting stories to tell.  So stay tuned, my friends.  Stay tuned.

What are your thoughts on seeing new places?  What does travel mean to you?

Headline quoted from The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.


Note to self: Shut your mouth.

mouthSo, my sixteen year old son got his first speeding ticket.

Before you judge, know that he was reprimanded sufficiently and that he will be paying the fine.  And that the ticket was reduced to a defective vehicle violation.

He also beat himself up about it more than sufficiently, as he was clearly upset and remorseful. Days later, as his remorse continued, I decided that the best way to make him feel better about the whole thing would be to begin recounting my litany of violations and mistakes with regard to automobiles when I was young.  I was on a roll and my stories kept getting better and better.

As the words rushed out of my mouth at full speed, MacGyver looked at me puzzled, as if wondering why I thought this was a good idea. But I didn’t get the hint.

Then at some point, thank goodness, I realized that I needed to shut my mouth.  But … as it is on many occasions … it was too late.  I have only my lack of caffeine that morning to blame for this lapse in judgement.  Duh.

Ever realized you needed to shut your mouth when it was too late?

Really, it’s not you, it’s me…

snowYes snow, you’re beautiful …  and the way you fall quietly sometimes calms me like no other …  but I’m over you.

These pics are from the last two days, then we got a reprieve most of yesterday, and now it has started again.  And it’s coming down aplenty outside my window right now.

Meanwhile my friends elsewhere are posting wonderful pics of their beautiful Redbud trees and colorful flowers on Facebook which reminds me of how fresh and new Spring  is going to feel.  And even though I think I have really become a Colorado girl at heart,  I’m ready to end this relationship, or at least take a break.

However … if this is my biggest problem today (which is sort of, kind of is … depending on how you look at it) … then I’m doing pretty good.


IMG_3663 IMG_3664 IMG_3654 IMG_3658

Who’s making you crazy today?

openheartI urge you to let it go.

And you should urge me to do the same.  Because sometimes I’m great at giving advice, but horrible at listening to it for myself.

This is something that I’m working on. And it’s a tough one for me.

When people disappoint me, I have to remind myself that:

a) it’s rarely ever personal and who knows what  is going on in the other person’s life that I may not know about,

b) it does no good to waste my energy being disappointed,

c) negative thoughts just attract more negative energy,

d) it takes away from me being present and in the moment, and finally …

e) there is probably something I could learn from it.

So there you have it.

What disappointment or frustration are you going to let go of right now?

Can YOUR dog empty the dishwasher in 5 seconds flat?

monkeydogfeatIt was a usual exciting Saturday morning and I was upstairs folding laundry as I drank my coffee.  Suddenly I heard a commotion so loud that I was sure that all of my kitchen cabinets had fallen from our kitchen walls.

Apparently I left the dishwasher door open while I was upstairs. And Monkey Dog was hungry.

Based on the evidence shown here in Exhibit A, I’m speculating that Monkey Dog decided to crawl into the dishwasher with the dirty dishes (I promise we do feed her).  From there, all I can hypothesize (based on the aftermath) is that perhaps her collar became hooked on a rack which startled her, prompting her to jump back and create enough momentum to launch the wheeled dish rack across the kitchen?

As you can see, the lower dishwasher rack  ended up several feet away from the dishwasher, at an angle no less.

Amazingly, only three plates were broken and I was able to repair the dishwasher rack, since the wheels literally came off. And Monkey Dog was unharmed.

Let the records show that Monkey Dog is not a Great Dane, but rather a “mini” Golden Doodle, weighing just 25 pounds. And, as I’ve written about before, she keeps her retractable, opposable thumbs hidden until we leave her in the kitchen alone. (Which is why we’ve decided it’s time to install a 24/7 Monkey Dog Kitchen Cam.)Piper

Not surprisingly, she was afraid to go near the dishwasher for the rest of the day.

Can your dog unload the dishwasher that fast?

Related posts: