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The pandemic may have ruined many summer traditions, which for some might actually be viewed as a blessing in disguise. Take the family BBQ as an example. That’s the one that is attended by the equivalent of a small third world country – siblings, nephews, nieces, first cousins, second cousins, cousins once removed, cousins twice removed, family friends, aunts, and that one racist, misogynist, opinionated, irascible uncle who hasn’t met a bottle of vodka he didn’t like. He’s the family miscreant, wildly inappropriate and when he goes into his alcohol-induced rant about how wrong everyone is about opinions they haven’t shared yet, even the pet hamster rolls his eyes. Whaddaya gonna do? You can’t pick your family, amarite?

You can pick your friends, generally a convivial group of like-minded individuals with shared hobbies and/or affinities. Unless they are Facebook Friends: A group of people some of which you’ve never really met and don’t really know but they sent you a “friend request” back in 2014 because you share five mutual friends and you were committed to acquire more friends than your cousin JoJo because you two have a legendary unexplained rivalry resulting in a competitive relationship and how bad could this person be anyway if you have five mutual friends!  

Fast forward to 2020 and a polarized world where everyone has a philosophy that cannot be fully expressed with a video of puppies in a box. This creates a conundrum for some folks who grapple with the potentiality of unfriending a friend after six years of shared links, life hacks and pictures of what you ate for supper. Other social media platforms make it easier. On LinkedIn, one simply “removes connection.” It’s a business decision. One click…bye-bye. On Twitter and Instagram you “unfollow,” which sounds more agreeable. It’s like “I won’t follow you” as in “I won’t stalk you.” I think even William Shakespeare would have written about the struggle of unfriending if Facebook existed then. Hamlet’s soliloquy may have gone something like this:

To Friend or not to Friend,
that is the question:
Whether ‘tis nobler
in the mind to suffer
the posts and comments
of outrageous politics
or to take arms against a
sea of memes
and by opposing share them.

Fret not dear Prince of Denmark for you may not have to undergo “the insolence of office and the spurns” of deciding to unfriend a “friend.” There are other options. Facebook, in its most infinite wisdom, has added a few more features that can help rid you of those moments that might culminate in a simple disappointed shake of the head. These functions allow you to delete a comment, hide a post, or unfollow an individual whose point of view you find particularly offensive. Of course, if what that person is touting causes your head to explode in an all-out apoplectic seizure, then it may be wise to go ahead and unfriend altogether both for you and the person. You must save yourself from shouting at your computer screen.

To help you decide which option would be best I created a scientific guide you can refer to. See below.

It had rained all morning and I thought it would be the right opportunity to tackle Costco before the zombies emerged. It was day 6,532 of the lockdown and provisions were low, even for a single person sheltering in place in a one-bedroom apartment. There were only a few people braving the trip, but because of social distancing, the line extended into the next area code. I was still standing in 718 but prayed we would reach 914 before sunset.

I was prepared for my mission. I wore cargo pants and filled each pocket with several packets of alcohol wipes to sanitize every surface I’d encounter and a couple of extra pairs of latex gloves to switch out after touching products other shoppers had already manhandled, because even in a pandemic, one has to read the fine print on the nutrition label of a two-year supply of tomato sauce. In anticipation of a long wait, I downloaded a book an erudite friend of mine highly recommended to pass the time but proceeded to read social media posts instead. Before my rubber thumbs could type my sixteenth LOL and twentieth WTF, we were already inside.

I breezed through the aisles and jam-packed my cart in record time because, as a consummate organizer I had a written list of the few things I needed to buy, and also a penchant for buying more things I did not ever need to buy…ever.

On the checkout line, I glanced up from my phone contemplating a pithy remark to a friend’s Facebook meme featuring dancing kittens and that’s when I saw him. He was standing on another line across four purposefully empty lanes. His silky salt-and-pepper hair reached the nape of his neck longing for the skillful snippers of a stylist. The wavy locks straddled between “disheveled” and “sexily-tousled.” His mask was black, contoured under the chin and a nose guard with a double stitch on the edges. There was an embroidered design of a phoenix in the front, or was it an owl? I could not tell as my glasses were fogged. He had on a periwinkle blue polo shirt and a pair of khakis with carefully pressed pleats. In his cart were the obligatory megastore pack of toilet paper, and then a bag of kale and other vegetables, some organic cleaning supplies, and an air fryer. I felt conflicted. I mean, on the one hand who does he think he is looking so good during a pandemic? On the other hand, that is one fine dapper middle-aged Quarancutie right there. It is obvious that I have been single way too long.  

I began to evaluate my purchases and made a frantic attempt to hide the two cases of Miller Lite and gigantic box of Oreos by draping them with the set of flannel “living room” pajamas I thought would be suitable to change into from my “bedroom pajamas” for my work-related video conference meetings. On my face was an old sock I converted into a homemade mask, a little hack I learned from a YouTube video posted by some lady with a very thick accent. Wait, did I get the sock out of the sock draw or was it from the hamper? A quick sniff of lavender and I was very relieved to conclude the sock was, in fact, recently laundered.

The store clerks began scanning our items around the same time. He packed his purchases in various tote bags he brought with him. They had logos on them – Whole Foods Market, NPR, NY Public Library, Oprah’s Book Club. I brought two bags of my own but the only logo they had was that of the printing company whose business is to put logos on tote bags. The rest of my items were haphazardly thrown into an empty Tampax crate box I grabbed from the dump pile.  

As destiny would have it, we walked out of the store together and headed toward the same direction. A light wind had replaced the afternoon rain and his hair danced with the breeze. I got a whiff of expensive cologne. I still had bedhead even at 6pm and tried to remember if I had showered yesterday or was it last week.

He turned his gaze in my direction and our eyes locked. His were blue, or were they green? No, I think probably hazel or brown. I could not tell because he was six feet away and my glasses were fogged up again. I saw this as a sign to make a move. “So, you shop here often?” I asked. He replied “what?” He could not hear me because my sock mask was muffling my voice. I lifted the bottom part slightly away from my chin and he leaned in about 1/8 of an inch closer violating the six-feet rule and I thought ooh. A bad boy. Scandalous. I repeated my question and he told me he only does the Costco run every other month or so. We continued the walk to our cars exchanging pleasantries. I asked him if he was isolating with anyone and he mentioned he had a dog named Gigi. I like dogs. I do not like yappy dogs, though. Gigi sounded like an appropriate name for a yappy dog.

Our cars were parked close enough to continue the conversation. He opened his empty trunk and put his bags in effortlessly and I thought “who does that?” There were no unused bike racks or boxes of old clothes that should have been brought to Good Will months ago, and no stack of logo-less tote bags in the way. I just threw my items in the back seat of my Corolla.

We were about ready to drive off to our respective homes and I thought, what if he is the ONE? Fate may have brought us here to this very moment in time and if I don’t act now, I may never see him again. “Soooo,” I said, my voice cracking a little too much on the last o, “maybe we can Google Hangout sometime.” Then I recalled I was getting together with some friends after work for drinks on Friday night and didn’t have a date. I invited him to stop by if he was free. “It’s pretty caj, just show up to Zoom ID 387 458 9341 6732 45 any time after 8. The password ZW3Q51, I can text you the link.”

He looked at me a little sheepishly and said, “I don’t really do any of those Skypie or What’s Up Inter Gram things. I just learned how to use the FaceTime button on this,” he replied as he held up his iPhone 7. My hopes came crashing down all around me. I showed him my Samsung S20 and without another word spoken, we both knew it was over before it ever got started. We waved goodbye and drove in opposite directions.

Life is too short for incompatible operating systems during the apocalypse.

The Group Text Vortex

I am an aspiring devout optimist, but even I have to admit that it is becoming more difficult to find the positive in this ongoing saga the world is living through. We try to see the “upside” of being cooped up at home. Like…it’s a good time to read those books that are collecting dust on the shelves waiting for when there was enough free time for reading. Well, guess what? Now there’s enough free time for reading. Or maybe this is the perfect opportunity to learn a new language, like Italian, French or Rotokas. Or one can also binge-watch every season of every show ever broadcasted by Netflix, Hulu, or Prime, even the obscure shows produced in Papua New Guinea. And if you took the time to learn Rotokas, you won’t have to bother with the subtitles.

We can also appreciate those things we dislike that are not happening at the moment, like trying to decide where to go for lunch, or splitting the check six ways equally when all you had to drink was one club soda, or alternate side of the street parking.

I’ve chosen to take this opportunity to celebrate the decline of the Group Text invitation. You know what I’m talking about…the one that starts innocently enough with a sincere invitation and then, like the virus, soars to unmanageably epic proportions.

Now, generally I like getting a text. It’s a quick reminder that someone, somewhere out there is thinking of you at that very second. I even chose a nice little pleasant chime sound notification for when this happens. As soon as I hear the little chime, I know…I just know I am getting a little “hey. What’s up?” greeting to which I shall respond with a cute emoji or witty acronym like “NM. U?”

But then there are those group texts. The one that begins with one friend or family member calling all sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends, friend’s family, co-workers and Jorge. Who the heck is Jorge? Who knows? He got invited to the barbecue in 1994 and has been part of the family gatherings ever since.

I hear the first chime and take a look…

Chime [COUSIN 1] Hey, I’m having a potluck this Saturday. Come over

I am ready to respond with a “count me in” accompanied by an adorable Winnie the Pooh meme doing the hungry dance while sitting at a table with a fork and knife when, to my dismay, I notice the text was sent to “20 recipients” and as quickly as I can say “oh for the love of…” it begins.

Chime – [COUSIN 2] “Sounds great. What should I bring?”

A few seconds go by as I brace myself for the inevitable.

Chime – [AUNT] What time?

Chime – [COUSIN 1] Whatever you want. No wait. Can you bring the chips and dip?

Chime – [UNCLE (who lives with AUNT)] What time?

The game of matching the answer to the question posed several screens ago begins.

Chime – [FRIEND 1] Cant. Have to go to a coworker’s daughter wedding.

Chime – [COUSIN 1] 3pm? Does that work?

Chime – [FRIEND 2] I’ll be there.

Chime – [FRIEND 3] I’ll be there.

Chime – [JORGE] I’ll be there.

Chime – [COUSIN 1] Dave’s daughter? the guy from accounting, is marrying that jerk? No way!!!

Chime – [STRANGE NUMBER I DON’T RECOGNIZE] Hey, did everyone hear about what happened to Franky? Hilarious LOL

Chime – [COUSIN 2] Can I bring a date?

Suddenly my very pleasant sweet chime notification begins to sound like a howling banshee being boiled in a cauldron of molten lava, and I begin yelling at my phone “STOP! STOP! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL HUMANITY PLEASE STOP!”

But it doesn’t.

Chime – [AUNT] I will make a lasgna

Chime – [AUNT] langia

Chime – [FRIEND 1] No not Dave’s kid, Joe from marketing. His daughter getting married

Chime – [UNCLE] You bringing a date? Who are you dating?

Chime – [FRANKY] Wait, what happened to me? What’s hilarious?

Chime – [AUNT] Lasagna!

Chime – [JORGE] I bring beer

Chime – [FRIEND 3] Wait, Franky’s not coming right? After what happened…

Chime – [AUNT (who lives with UNCLE] You bringing a date? Who are you dating?

Chime – [FRANKY] PEOPLE! I’M RIGHT HERE!!!!!!

This goes on for what seems to be an eternity and to make matters worse, after over 6,000 responses, queries, photos, news stories, recipe links, and bible scriptures are exchanged, no one finds out what the Franky story was all about.

In a few hours it ends as quickly as it started and then…silence. Every dish has been agreed upon, snack and beverage duty assigned. Now it’s time to rest.

Exhaustion takes over and I slowly enter the non-REM stage of sleep, lulled by the darkness of night, and then…

Chime [FRIEND 4] Sorry. Just saw this. Was at a movie with the phone off. I’ll be there. What should I bring?

Uh oh.

Chime [AUNT] How nice. What movie did you see? Was it good? I actually want to see Cats. Does anyone know if it’s still in the theaters?

 

It’s Day 5 of self-isolation.

All is quiet. Even the robocalls have stopped. Especially that Chinese lady who I had originally thought was offering lower interest rates or to inform me that my car warranty had expired. It turns out she was warning me to buy massive amounts of toilet paper and hand sanitizer all along. But how was I supposed to know? I don’t speak Cantonese. Now because I wasn’t open-minded enough to learn a new language, I am stuck with only ten rolls of toilet paper and a draw filled with tiny fancy soap I got as Christmas gifts.

Some people advise us to take this time to read a book. But all I want to read is Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I don’t think “Love in the Time of the Cholera” or “One Hundred Years of Solitude” will help at all. Another suggestion is to take this time to clean the house, so I dusted, polished, mopped, and organized the living room area within the range of sight of my webcam. Now when I use Facebook Video, Skype, Zoom or GoToMeeting, my house looks clean. So that’s good.

Last week I came home from a hard day’s work and whipped up a delicious seared salmon with a rosemary butter sauce made in a white wine reduction and a side of black bean quinoa with tomato and paired the meal with a nice Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. But last night, after being home all day with enough time to plan and prep a gourmet feast, my dinner consisted of a can of Progresso Vegetable soup served with a side of Lays Potato Chips. What’s up with that?

Today I decide it’s time to venture outside to feel the sun on my face, and to get more wine. Okay, mostly to get more wine. I opt to walk and not drive the ½ mile to the liquor store. I wish I could say it’s because I want the exercise, but the truth is, I had a great parking spot and didn’t want to lose it.

As I saunter past my building, I see the lady in apartment 1M nervously peeking through the curtains of her first-floor window. We wave longing for the days where we can take walks together high fiving a good joke or political commentary we agree on. Then I realize, we hardly ever speak, we’ve never walked together before, and she has an ugly yappy dog. I hate that lady. Screw her.

I head south on the eerily quiet avenue. On a good day the community is teeming with neighbors doing their groceries or walking their dogs and the local drug dealer engaging in commerce right from his 2004 Toyota Corolla, the loud boom boom music blaring from an audio system that costs more than the car.

Not today. No neighbors strolling. No boom boom music. Just an empty street.

Halfway down the street I notice a scruffy looking guy walking toward me. He was wearing a hoodie and sagging jeans revealing to me, whether I was interested or not, his preference for boxers over briefs. He looks ominous. Our eyes lock, I clutch my bag. When we are about seven feet apart, he quickly puts on a face mask and scurries across the street. Social distancing may have saved me from a mugging.

At the ATM I wonder when was the last time they disinfected the screen? If I press my PIN real fast, do the germs not have enough time to attach themselves to my fingertips? Do I want an unsanitized paper receipt or the safer email receipt of my transaction? What about the cash? Was it Febrezed before being placed in the machine’s till? The store’s cashier wore latex gloves. Maybe I should buy latex gloves. But the store didn’t have any more latex gloves. In fact, the shelves were empty reminding me of when I was a kid in the projects. My uncle owned a “candy store” that only had one melted Snickers bar and dusty bag of Gummy Bears. But somehow the store made a lot of money. Go figure.

It’s difficult coming back to the bunker, I mean apartment. I have developed an unusual fear of doorknobs, elevator buttons and stairwell bannisters. And keys. They say the virus can live on metal surfaces for hours. So now I have to sanitize my house key, office key, car key and that strange key I’ve had since 1992 in case someday I finally remember what it is supposed to open.

Well, that is it for Day 5. They say this may go on for a couple of weeks. All I can say is, I wish I would have listened to that Chinese lady and stocked up on toilet paper.

When you are as tethered to technology as I am, you know that losing Internet service, even for a few minutes, can feel like the start of the zombie apocalypse.

So when I got a “lost signal” alert while working on my laptop, I started to break out in a cold sweat and immediately called my cable service provider, which is usually about as much fun as going to your sister-in-law’s cousin’s nephew’s six-year-old’s violin recital.

I got a woman who proceeded to ask a series of confirmation questions to verify I was me. I suppose it’s common for criminals involved in home invasions to Skype with their nanas using their victim’s WiFi so one can never be too careful about tech support verification.

I can hear her tap tap tap on her keyboard to pull up all the account information and once it is established that I am, in fact, me, she proceeds to ask what lights are flashing on the router.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t keep all my electronics on top of my desk. The CPU, wireless router, external hard drive, and multiple spaghetti-like chargers for all my mobile devices (the office Blackberry phone, my personal Android-powered phone, and my Apple iPad), are all hidden underneath furniture. I do this to minimize the unattractive clutter of electronics while maximizing surfaces for other important matter like the three months of unopened mail, post-it notes containing tidbits for the next great American novel, and two years worth of receipts that I will get to the accountant someday. Soon.

After locating a small flashlight I keep in the junk drawer for emergencies I get on all fours and begin reporting to the tech lady which lights are flashing while making a mental note that I truly must vacuum more often underneath things. The light labeled “Internet” is not on and neither is the WAN coax light. “WAN or LAN?” she asks. “WAN” I respond. “LAN?” she asks again. “No. WAN! W…A…N!” I respond.

W…A…N. She tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Okay. Now she instructs me to turn off the router and disconnect the coax cable. This requires me to reach behind the router, feel around for the switch, and then using both hands locate the coax cable to unscrew it. Done.

She tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Now locate the splitter and unscrew the coax cable from there, she commands. I follow the cable to the splitter and find it in another room above the door. So I grab my ladder from the closet and begin climbing. As I am midway I inform the lady what I am doing to which she responds that there is no need, because if the splitter is that high up, chances are nothing bit through the cable there. Nothing bit through the cable. She was looking to see if something might have bit the cable. She might have shared this little tidbit with me earlier before I stuck my hand behind things blindly feeling my way around.

I carefully reconnect everything and turn on the router. It’s a no go. The WAN (W…A…N) coax light is still not on, and neither is the Internet.

She tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Now she asks if my VOD is working. I go to the television, turn it on and discover I cannot access Video on Demand either. Turn off the set top box to reset, she informs while she tap tap taps on her keyboard.

Still nothing.

So after about 45 minutes of this, she announces she is going to try something. She tap tap taps. Clicks her mouse. Tap tap taps some more and VOILA! All the lights go on. I suddenly have access to VOD. My iPad can access the web. All is right with the world. Tragedy has been averted.

I ask what I did so that if I encounter this problem again, I know how to fix it. She says nothing. The problem was on their end.

The obvious question? Why would you have me crawling, climbing, disconnecting and reconnecting, if at the end of it all, you just needed to tap tap tap on the keyboard to resolve the issue? Well, she says, the procedure calls for the customer to troubleshoot the problem first.

Is it me?

I Am a Warrior Queen

Super Babe to the rescue

Okay, so I was never much of a damsel-in-distress-waiting- for-a-knight-in-shining-armor kinda gal. Even as a child I was more interested in fighting for justice than I was dressing my dolly. And though, as an adult, I consider myself a pacifist, my idea of a “chick flick” is, in fact, an action/suspense/thriller film where the protagonist is a sassy and buff babe specially trained to do nothing more than kick some serious bad guy booty. I almost feel a kinship with the characters as I often consider myself a warrior queen battling the forces of evil on a daily basis. As I watch a television show where a female agent gets all Krav Maga on some gangbanger’s butt, I can relate. Sometimes I feel like I’m blocking punches all day long. And how about the movie where a fictional character from a popular video game escapes the claws of really big hairy monsters by doing slow motion somersaults followed by a back flip all the while protecting a sacred artifact from a ruthless and greedy ego-maniac fixated on stealing it for personal gain.

Can Malibu Barbie do that? I don’t think so.

Ooh! Ooh! And the new recently released feature film (that will most probably be available on DVD next week) where a real mixed martial arts maven plays a black ops super soldier who is double-crossed and, apparently, must be eliminated to ensure some nasty government mucky-muck doesn’t get indicted for treason. Yeah. I feel like I occasionally have to do leg sweeps to overpower those big bad guys who mistake my small stature and soft demeanor for weakness.  Do not be fooled. I am a bad-ass; a force to be reckoned with.

Then one day I realized there was a mouse in my house. I let out a blood-curdling shriek and landed on the couch where I remained in a fetal position for a very long time.

A warrior queen reserves the right to live a contradiction.

Strong winds brought down trees in the East Coast.

So it is just about the end of another year. And what a year it was, wasn’t it? Mother Nature certainly gave us a one-two punch in the catastrophe department, what with devastating earthquakes, debilitating rain storms and freak blizzards followed by unseasonably mild temperatures. It’s no wonder everyone is giving all this doomsday chatter a lot more credence than it probably should get. I mean, really, the end of days was predicted to take place on a very specific date and at a very specific time. People scattered like Chicken Little, spent their life savings and left their families because they were so convinced. Even the skeptics chuckled with a touch of doubt. Admit it, on May 21st at exactly 6:15pm (EST) you, too, closed your eyes, held your breath and stuck your fingers in your ears didn’t you? And at exactly 6:16pm you opened one eye and scanned the room only to discover people were staring at you. Oh yes, I bet you sure did that. Well, okay. Maybe it was just me.

But as we enter into 2012 in a few weeks, all this apocalyptic talk is making me apoplectic. You see, it will be the last year until 2101 when all the numbers align on one date: 12/12/12. In fact some scholars posit that because 12/21/12 is the end of the Mayan calendar, that civilization as we know it will cease to exist on that very day, and all I keep thinking is, darnit! I haven’t finished my bucket list! I mean, I have done some pretty cool stuff, like I jumped out of a plane at 13,500 feet (see video or read blog);

That's me in the glow-in-the-dark jumpsuit.

Flying through the Continental Divide

I’ve zip-lined through clouds, and I’ve even climbed to the top of a pyramid.  But I haven’t driven a stick shift; travelled to Santorini, the Galapagos, nor Chilean wine country. I want to be an extra in a movie, have a dress designed especially for me, play a percussion instrument, and learn Portuguese. And now, thanks to those pesky Mayans, I may only have 365 days within which to accomplish all of these things. Well, I gotta go. I’ve got a lot of work to do and trips to plan.

Tchau! Feliz Natal e feliz ano novo.

 

Happy UNThanksgiving Day!

Sandra is one of my very best friends. We get mani/pedis together or go food shopping and trade recipes. You know, the girly girl girly things girls do because, though we are both super-duper go-getter professional women, we can still be, well…girls. We talk to each other often. Not every single day, but almost. Like when we need to wile the time away while doing dishes or sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Generally our conversations are filled with mutual admiration and affirmations. (We both are, after all, blessed with an added dosage of awesomeness.) At other times, invariably, one of us is offering a pep talk to the other after some stressful family or work-related incident. And on rare occasions, we find ourselves unusually melancholic at the very same time and in dire need of unadulterated commiseration.

Such was the case yesterday – the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. The holidays are traditionally hard for the both of us for various legitimate reasons I won’t go into. Suffice to say, life is inextricably difficult. So we each allowed each other several moments to kvetch about how we had been wronged at some point in our lives. I was reminded of a quote from one of my favorite philosophers Khalil Gibran: “I have learned silence from the talkative, tolerance from the intolerant, kindness from the unkind; yet, strangely, I am ungrateful to these teachers.” I took this as an okay to, at least for one day, become a naysayer and tell the Universe “well, thank YOU very much!” in a slight, yet noticeable sarcastic tone.

So, as we worked ourselves into a grumpy, whiny, grousing frenzy, we concluded it was healthy to give in to the dark side for one day only, and thus declared Tuesday before Thanksgiving officially UNThanksgiving Day. It’s kind of like going on a gratitude diet before turkey day when you’ll undoubtedly gorge yourself with second helpings of blessings. Sandra says it’s kind of like an “appreciation laxative.” Yeah, I know. She’s so cool and wickedly funny.

We soft-launched our new campaign by testing it to a very select target audience – our Facebook friends. At first, there were some love-peace-and-granola type reassurances, like “oh, but life is good” or “some people have it much worse”… yeah, yeah. Yadda…yadda…yadda. We were determined to have a fulfilling UNThanksgiving day and no one was going to ruin it for us. Once we’ve gotten it out of the way, then and ONLY then, we will resume being thankful.

Some of the responses were comical, and others understandably somber. But ALL were truthful. Here are a few:

I am ungrateful for people who deliberately do things to make themselves unlikeable and then demand that you love them.

I am ungrateful for hot flashes, Congress and reality television.

I am ungrateful for alternate side of the street parking.

I am ungrateful for subway and postal rate hikes.

I am ungrateful for the idiots who drive in the fast lane during rush hour only to come to a complete halt as they cut off the other two lanes while merging into the George Washington Bridge entrance ramp. PUTZ!

I am ungrateful for people who claim to be your best friend, then throw you to the wolves when it suits them.

I am ungrateful for the illnesses of my loved ones.

I am ungrateful for knowing what the above feels like.

I am ungrateful for Cancer.

I am ungrateful for the upstairs neighbor who seems to be teaching Zumba classes 24/7.

I am ungrateful for lactose.

Share your UNThanksgiving thoughts with us.

Movement gaining momentum throughout the country

Toddlers protest the letters X, Y, and Z in the Occupy Sesame Street Movement.

In an unprecedented move, a horde of toddlers, pre-schoolers and kindergartners descended upon a neighborhood famous for its sunny days where the air is sweet. The growing movement, now known as Occupy Sesame Street (OSS), has attracted a diverse group of protesters objecting to the letters X, Y and Z.

The movement‘s biggest opposition came from the Tea Party, whose spokesperson, Malibu Barbie stated “It’s irresponsible for them to do this is alls I’m sayin’,” adding that her arms don’t bend and no one was available to pour the pretend brew into the pretend teacups.

Thus far demonstrations have been relatively peaceful according to long-time residents Bert and Ernie. However, everything was not A-OK as tensions rose when an unidentified demonstrator unwittingly went potty in what he thought was an average garbage can. The can’s occupant, Mr. Oscar the Grouch allegedly called the demonstrator a “doo-doo head” prompting the child to respond with “Am not”. According to witnesses near the scene the hairy curmudgeon replied “Are too” and the heated exchange continued for a while. It ended with Mr. the Grouch yelling “I know you are but what am I?” which caused the befuddled toddler to run away whimpering “I want my mommy.” OSS organizers filed a formal complaint citing that the incident could have been avoided had the city supplied the appropriate provisions like Porta Pottys and changing stations. Mr. the Grouch could not be reached for comment.

Each new season is a time for new beginnings. As the season changes colors, we change our wardrobe, and maybe our hair style to accommodate the latest fashion trend for cooler weather. Some change is welcomed, and others not so much because getting accustomed just takes way too much time. I’m not talking about the move from flip flops to leather boots. I’m talking about the propensity for social media sites to change their home screens without a heads up. I mean, it’s like someone sneaking into your house in the middle of the night and rearranging your furniture. You want to place your glass of soda on a table that was just there yesterday, but is not today and now your floor is sopping wet with caffeine and corn syrup. So you go searching for the mop that used to be in the broom closet, but the broom closet is now a pantry, where, of course, you discover the can of SpaghettiOs you were looking for two weeks ago and realize you are very hungry. So you decide to heat the SpaghettiOs, but where’s the can opener? It used to be in the utility draw, which is now the sock draw, which reminds you that the laundry still needs to be done. So now you go to what used to be your laundry room, but it’s now the garage so you decide to hop in your car and go to the movies because figuring out where everything is causes way too much stress.