Subourbon Mom


Birds, Cats Help Beat COVID Fatigue
March 2, 2021, 9:56 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , , ,

Many of us are suffering from various forms of COVID Fatigue. For a lot of us, part of COVID Fatigue is “Zoom Fatigue,” or being tired after a day of zoom calls because our brains aren’t wired to see only part of the person to whom we are speaking. There are a zillion tiny body cues that we miss on zoom calls because we can only see the person’s face, leaving our brains working overtime trying to fill in the blanks.

One of my methods for dealing COVID Fatigue it is by watching TikTok – before bed, waiting for my lunch to cook, sometimes in the bathtub. TikTok, for some reason, has decided I need more cat videos in my life. (By the way, if you haven’t seen the video of the lawyer who accidentally used a cat filter and couldn’t remove it, I have provided this gem of cinematography below).

I don’t even like cats, but TikTok lets me belly laugh at cats falling off stuff, being given baths and otherwise being generally being humiliated.

Apparently, cats can get COVID Fatigue and need to relax, too.

For a while it was cute having my 17-year-old cat Izzy constantly jumping in my lap and trying to do all the things I do. My co-workers didn’t seem to mind seeing her tail wave back and forth on video.

Why don’t you just lock the door to your office, you ask? Because she sits outside and HOWLS, or sticks her little orange paw under the door, grabs hold and shakes it. It’s like living with a toddler all over again.

Enter cat videos and the BIRD BONANZA. Some people (yes, on TikTok) have solved the cat attention problem by setting up an old computer or iPad and playing bird videos for their cat. The theory is that if the cat wants to do what you’re doing, let them. I decided to give it a try.

When you Google videos for cats, there are A LOT of them. I had no idea there were so many bird voyeurs. The video I use is called BIRD BONANZA, and it’s 8 hours long. (You have to say BIRD BONANZA in your best, super loud and deep announcer voice because anything with the word BONANZA deserves it). The video consists of a variety of birds landing, feeding and flying away from this one particular woodland stump. So, I set up an old computer on the file cabinet next to my desk, hit “Play” and placed Izzy in front of it.

The first time Izzy watched it, she amazed. I was amazed.

It’s cat porn.

For over an hour Izzy sat and watched birds flitting about and chirping, trying to figure out where they went when they flew off screen. She made weird, gutteral noises and purred, and looked very happy.

All of that made me uncomfortable.

But even cats get Zoom Fatigue, I guess. Eventually her little brain got tired of only hearing half the bird conversations and seeing them fly off…to nowhere. It was time to take a cat nap.

The sad thing is….I couldn’t turn it off. That video is weirdly soothing, and now I have it on all the time, whether Izzy’s in the room or not. The only down side is that sometimes I have to explain that the occasional loud chirp is my BIRD BONANZA.

I used to be annoyed at the algorithms that put all those stupid cat videos in my TikTok feed, but without those videos I wouldn’t have laughed until I cried watching the lawyer cat video and I wouldn’t have discovered the soothing sounds of birds on a stump. Relief can come from surprising places.

What do you do to relax that you never saw coming?



On Turning 50 – It’s Halftime
February 11, 2021, 6:36 pm
Filed under: Posts | Tags: , ,

This week I turn 50 and like a lot of people do, I’m looking back going Girl, you played a sloppy first half.  Sure, there were a few touchdowns (marrying Hubby, having Daughters 1 & 2, making lifetime friendships), a lot of first downs (meaningful jobs, having my first story published) and even some ejections/rejections.  But that’s the game, isn’t it?

Just as Patrick Mahomes can’t dwell on the ridiculous number of penalties called during the Superbowl, and The Weekend can’t erase from everyone’s minds the jockstrap halftime show, you can’t dwell on the penalties you accumulate during your lifetime. 

I’m pretty sure most of mine were Personal Fouls, like ugly breakups, hurt feelings, and walking away from things I shouldn’t have. There was also some Encroachment, usually on the girls’ side of the line, but sometimes being up in somebody’s business is just a sign that you care. No regrets there. I don’t think anyone would accuse me of Holding (omg please don’t hug me….), unless it’s to say I sometimes hold a grudge.

But whatever the penalties, like any good team you have to learn from them.  So, here’s to hoping our second halves are filled with new plays, fewer penalties, more scores and downs, and lots and lots of cheering fans.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, my halftime show won’t have a jockstrap or wardrobe malfunction, unless it’s because I’ve outgrown another pair of jeans. It will involve high-end bourbon, a fireplace, and hopefully the Fam and friends in whatever way we can be together. That’s the best beginning of a second half I could have.

Well, I gotta run to the fridge…the whistle just blew and it’s time to go back in and play!



Metamorphosis: Morning Me to Monster Me
February 6, 2021, 7:00 am
Filed under: Food/Drink, Middle Age, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , , ,

Morning Me (and by morning, I mean 6:00am) is half-asleep, full of optimism, lists and plans to eat fruits and vegetables all day.  I’ve scheduled my water and stretching breaks from the computer.  Sometimes I even decide to skip a shower so I can have some extra time to write my stories before the real world starts intruding.  In my mind, I’m sitting by the window, calmly sipping a cup of coffee, musing about what my latest characters are doing, or what the next blog topic will be.

I’m also feeling pretty superior to, well, everyone because I have control of my life.  I’m ready for anything.

And then one or all of these things happen:

  1. I realize it’s winter, and I still have the upstairs thermometer set to FRIGID because I’m 50.  I know I’ll have to sprint to the bathroom to take a shower to warm up, or put on my new Comfy (a Snuggie on steroids) that I got for Christmas and hope I don’t have any zoom calls later. I am not molting back into human form once the Comfy is on.
  2. I make the mistake of reading the news on my phone. Then, because I’m disgusted by the partisan slant, I read the BBC news to get a more balanced view. This is followed by a quick check of what’s new on FaceBook Marketplace, because who doesn’t love thrifting from their bed?  Suddenly it’s 8:00 and there’s no way I’m taking a shower now because… I’m adulting.
  3. I step out of bed and realize I didn’t do my stretches the day before and my feet are acting up again. There’s no way I’m going for that early morning walk. Now I have to take a shower to loosen up my feet and leg muscles, but by the time I’m done with the shower, I’ve already had two freak-outs about work or something else in my life, and that picture of coffee sipping by the window isn’t even a distant memory anymore.   

Afternoon Me, or Monster Me, is like Dr. Jekyll to my morning Mr. Hyde (or is it the other way around?).  Afternoon Me has changed into sweats. Afternoon Me’s styled morning hair has been yanked back into a ponytail with a scrunchy from 1988, because I realized on a video call that I need a haircut and a dye job. There are three half-empty cups of coffee on the windowsill and zero glasses of water. I’ve eaten a bologna sandwich at my desk with a side of cookies. Afternoon Me has gone from planning to sip coffee by the window to planning to drink a (large) glass of wine and declare it’s Cereal Night.  Again. 

I don’t know about you, but despite Afternoon Me’s ragged appearance and snarky mood, I still have hope. All is not lost because, if it was, I wouldn’t be Morning Me at all.

So, here’s to all the Morning Me’s out there and all they represent for us. May your Morning Me always be there for you.



Playing Opossum (Beware: sensitive content)
January 28, 2021, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Country Living, Misc. Humor | Tags: , , ,
Peaceful, country living….what I thought it would be all the time.

Some of you may remember my old blog post about trying to humanely euthanize a chipmunk.  Well, apparently that’s a life lesson that I’m not getting right because it keeps happening. First it was a baby rabbit, then the chipmunk, and now an opossum.

But first let me tell you, my city-dwelling and suburban friends, there are a few things you have to get used to when you move out to the country:

  1. The number of guns casually (or purposefully) left by front and back doors
  2. The volume of sound that woodland insects and frogs produce from March to November; whoever called it “night music” clearly never tried to sleep with their windows open
  3. The number of leaves that drop in the fall – sometimes it can be mesmerizing, like falling, brown snow; then you remember you have to shove them all back into the woods where they belong, like the arborial warrior you are.
  4. Snuffling and coughing from those pesky Virginia allergies because you simply must enjoy hours of amazing bonfires (and because some HOA said we couldn’t have them for 15 years so, dammit, we’re burning every weekend)
  5. The number of critters that don’t care that you would prefer that they stay away from your precious piece of land: bugs, “nope-ropes,” (snakes), mice, trash pandas and coyotes, just to name a few.

Which brings me back to numbers one and five in the list, and the opossum.

One day this fall, I was watching the dogs bark at something in the woodpile.  I figured it was a nope-rope because Lily the Terrified has been bitten at least four times. Honestly, I was just happy she was outside. For weeks she and her sister Holly, Opener of Packages, had been staying inside because Lily was scared of falling acorns. 

Back to the woodpile.  

An hour later, I was pulling the car out of the garage when I noticed something lying in our gravel driveway.  It was an adult opossum. The poor thing had been eviscerated but was still breathing. This was beyond just “playing possum” – the end was obviously near.  

After I got done cussing the dogs out, who were standing by waiting for praise after their conquest, I ran through my options:

  1. Go back inside and make dinner without using butter or anything else from my list (not an option – I would never be able to leave an animal suffering out there like that);
  2. Run over the poor beastie with the car (not a chance – it was facing the wrong way, and that would have been even more cruel);
  3. Put it in the freezer like I did with the chipmunk and let it pass away quietly, but who knows how long that would take and I didn’t want Hubby making fake opossum calls to me saying it’s “C-c-cold” again; or,
  4. Whack it with the shovel and throw the body in the woods.  

I opted for the shovel.

I’ll spare you the details, but it took more than one whack for the job to be over.  I’m the world’s worst executioner.  For the record, I said a prayer, apologized and told the opossum I was just trying to make things end faster.  

Later, I called a friend who lives a few miles down the road and told her the story.  She asked, “Did you shoot it?”

Um, no…. because I don’t own a gun.  Even if I did, with my luck I’m pretty sure the bullet would ricochet off the gravel and into me.

Talk about roadkill.

So there you have it folks – before you make the brave move out into the wilderness, life will be different. But for so many reasons, and not just for critter problems, buy a shovel. There are days when you’re going to have to dig your way out of whatever adventure came that day.

*Note: I purposefully didn’t post any cute pictures of opossums because it would make the story so much worse.   



It’s A Recipe, Not A Memoir
January 23, 2021, 9:15 am
Filed under: Food/Drink | Tags: , , ,

First, thanks to everyone for stopping and reading this when there is so much other stuff to read and watch, like TikToks and memes of Bernie Sanders at the inauguration.  I know it’s been a while, but apparently, I’ve been storing up a few rants over the last few months.

 One of my resolutions this year, in addition to just trying to be nicer to people, is to try some new recipes and stop making Hubby eat the same five things every week, plus pizza or cereal night.  Sounds pretty basic, right? Well, who knew that the most challenging part of this would be getting to the actual recipes online!  

When I finally find a recipe that has less than 10 ingredients, doesn’t call for some weird spice (like celery salt) that I’ll only ever use once, and doesn’t contain anything resembling fish oil, I have to keep it together long enough to scroll

down,

down,

down,

through the author’s family history, passion for turning said recipe leftovers into a gross smoothie afterward, and tips for cleaning my house while I stand on my head and cook.

To the people who post recipes online: No one gives a crap about how your grandmother used to clean her oven or that your 5th cousin is from Bulgaria and that’s where the recipe came from. We just need the damn ingredient list. We’re tired from being at work all day and we don’t want to touch anything more in Kroger than we have to, so stop making us scroll with grocery store-COVID fingers.  We just want to cook without ads popping up that we have to close with raw, chicken covered-fingers.

So please, for the love of all things cookery, STOP giving us your life story and just post the damn thing with a picture of the finished product so I can see where I messed up!




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