Subourbon Mom


How About Romance Novels for Grown-Ups?
July 30, 2022, 3:14 pm
Filed under: Middle Age, Misc. Humor, Posts | Tags: , , , , ,

The other day I was super grumpy and stressed for absolutely no reason. So, I did one of the two things I always do when I’m like that.  Since I didn’t have what I needed to make and eat an entire tray of Rice Krispy treats, I went to the bookstore (yes, I actually bought NEW books at a Barnes and Noble, not used on Amazon) with the sole intention of purchasing a genre I haven’t read in a long time – Romance.

When I say Romance, I don’t mean the plasticky covers with raised lettering and a Scottish pirate or a huge-breasted heroine with Victoria Secret hair stranded in a castle somewhere.  I just wanted something happy and a bit less sugary than Hallmark or Virgin River. Maybe Maeve Binchy with a little sex? Or Outlander, which has just the right amount of sex and plot (but I’ve read and watched all of those).

What did I find?   

About 100 Romance novels for current day 18-40-year-olds, with cartoon looking covers and full of young people who don’t know how to communicate with each other. They’re all going on trips or to weddings or changing tech jobs, which is age appropriate. I’m just not there anymore – at least, not for first weddings.  

I found another large batch of Romances between quirky women who are attracted to supernatural creatures that may or may not kill them in between sexual encounters. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the Twilight Series, True Blood and A Discovery of Witches. I just wasn’t feeling it that day. I wanted to take the edge off, not be edgy.

I also found some Romances with a “Red Room of Pain” theme that can be interesting when you’re in the mood, but again, not feeling edgy that day.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, I saw a bunch of Christian Romances. I suppose they exist in case I was feeling guilty after reading something from the Red Room of Pain section, and needed my inner church to whisper, “Make room for Jesus!” as I was reading. Ummmm…hard no. I was already grumpy – I didn’t need God hanging out on the periphery of my escape making me feel bad.

What I didn’t find was a Romance section geared toward the 45+ crowd that wasn’t Christian, wasn’t syrupy sweet and didn’t come in large print. In fact, anything that appealed wasn’t even in the Romance section – it was in the just plain Fiction section. That should tell you something – publishers clearly don’t believe 45+ people want to read about romance between their peers. After thumbing through a bunch of possibilities (think Kristin Hannah, Erin Hildebrand), I realized that Romance for the 45+ crowd all has the same elements:

  1. 40+-year-old woman is deserted by her husband through cheating, financial ruin, or death
  2. Deserted woman must abandon her old life and return to a place of her childhood and confront some trauma before she can heal
  3. In this process, deserted woman meets the new love of her life but she hates him at first, before he helps her see her real value and accomplish her goals (on her own of course – then they get together after)
  4. Somewhere in between her hating him and accomplishing her goal, they sleep together and can’t communicate afterward so it’s awkward or downright antagonistic. I always want to scream at them, “Just fucking talk already and stop being 13 again.”
  5. The setting is always somewhere we wish we could be – a cute cottage on a coast or in the mountains, a ranch, or a crumbling house that must be rehabbed. Anywhere but Suburbia, USA.  
  6. There is always at least one quiet person who befriends her and tell her when she’s being a twat.  
  7. And if you’re reading Norah Roberts, there’s a murder or assault or stalker that must be dealt with, too.

Full disclosure, one of the novels I’ve written has elements 1, 2, 3, 5 & 6 in it. I get it – it’s a formula that works.

*But I think we need to find a way to work Romance novels for the older(?) set back onto the Romance section bookshelves. How about we talk about trying to look sexy while having a hot flash?  Or the heroine falling in love with a guy whose testosterone might be a little low, and he can’t always get it up? 45+ romance isn’t fiction – it’s real life, albeit just not as glamorous as jet-set 30-year-olds or as prescriptive as the Christian or supernatural romances. Real life romance may not be quite the escape you’re looking for, but it can be romantic and comedic and downright spiritual in its own way, depending on your view.

So, after an hour I bought three fiction novels – none of which have those plot points but look promising.  I’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, please don’t be offended when I don’t answer your emails, texts or calls. I’ll be eating Rice Krispy treats and reading about the circus, a cult and an affair.

*Okay, when I Googled best elderly romance book covers, turns out there is already a section for that, at least on the internet. Here is my favorite cover (I can’t even…):



Y’all, I’ve Become a Christmas Meme
November 16, 2021, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Country Living, Misc. Humor, shopping | Tags: , ,

After watching a Hallmark holiday movie complete with fake snow and a friendly, small town with one bitter man who needs saving, I stealthily crept up into the attic yesterday when Hubby wasn’t home. I was only up there to count how many of those cracker things we have that you put on the table (you know, they look like a wrapped toilet paper tube, and you pull the thingy in the middle and it pops?).  While I was up there I couldn’t help touching all the Christmas boxes, peeking into a few like a chocolate addict who just wants to smell what’s in the bag, but who’s not ready to commit to eating the entire bag until Yellowstone comes on.

It made me happy…and it made me start looking forward to Thanksgiving being over, which is insane because that’s also an awesome holiday for pure gluttony and wallowing in family drama.   

Then I went down an online rabbit hole looking for Bourbon advent calendars (they exist but OMG they’re expensive).  I almost bought more garland, but I realized I have no plan for decorating, and dammit, this year our house is not going to look like I get all my stuff from Goodwill.

Y’all, I’ve become a Christmas meme.   

But I’m not the only one thinking about decorating early. One of my friends decorates her modern-style home with a different theme each year. This year, she was really thinking ahead and decided she would use a lot of amaryllis flowers, and through a delivery fluke ended up with 80 bulbs. For those of you wo aren’t familiar with the amaryllis, they start as a large bulb about 2-5 inches wide. The stalks grow to about 3 feet tall, and they produce one or two beautiful, huge, Easter lily-looking flowers.

SHE HAS 80 OF THEM.

So, she artfully planted them around the house in every container that would work, including a sieve that rests on the sink.  In a few weeks they will be stunning – definitely a statement piece.

Right now, though, they look like containers full of green Shrek penises.  And the best part is that when we do video calls, they are sitting in a pot right next to her. A garden of penises that, once you see it, you can’t unsee it.  I laugh every time I see them because I’m 12 and super immature. 

I don’t have the balls…or bulbs…to make a statement like that.

I did have a Santa face toilet seat cover for a couple of years (thanks Deborah T!) that was a statement piece of sorts, albeit a disturbing one.

Bottom line – I try to remember it’s about who you spend the holidays with, not how the house looks. But if how your house looks brings you happiness, then by all means, do your thing. God bless those of you who can pull it off. I know I will never have an immaculate house with all-white furniture and decorations that will appear on Instagram. I love the tacky, miscellaneous ornaments and decorations we’ve collected over generations, including Hubby’s Romulan bird-of-prey that lights up.  

In light of all this pressure, I think I’ll stick with my theme of “I buy shit I like, fantasize about what it would look like in my fictional home that has no clutter or pets and all white furniture, then take it home and realize I live in a normal house and I’m not a theme person.”



Fuckitol – May Cause Leakage and a Third Eyeball
October 21, 2021, 8:00 am
Filed under: Misc. Humor, shopping | Tags: , , , , ,

We’ve all heard about how big data algorithms use everything you do to determine what ads you’ll see, from the kind of toothpaste you use to the kind of toothpaste your friends use. The purpose is to drive how you shop, travel and communicate. And yes, I turned off the tracker stuff on my phone.

So, if big data can target so specifically, can someone please explain to me why I have to sit through so many commercials for prescription drugs that don’t apply to me? How have mass communications platforms not embraced these algorithms? I don’t have psoriasis, I don’t have diabetes type 1 or 2, or any kind of cancer (knock on wood).  

But here are my real issues with these commercials:

First, they’re depressing and anxiety-inducing, reminding me of all the shitty diseases that I could get, while also preparing me for an amazing list of side effects that I could get from taking these drugs.  

Second, these are PRESCRIPTION drugs – who is the target audience?  If it is consumers so they can go to their doctor and say, “Hey, ugh, I was watching football last night and saw a commercial for Fuckitol – should I be taking that?” Um…if doctors didn’t originally prescribe these meds, but then are prescribing them because their patients are asking for them,  based on a commercial they saw, that is a very large ethical problem. Patients are now marketing to doctors on behalf of the drug industry. 

fuckitol

Also, if I was a doctor and doctors are in fact the target audience, I’d be pissed, seeing that stuff on my TV at night. There’s nothing I would want less than to come home from treating people and then be bombarded by commercials telling my patients to ask me about a drug I didn’t prescribe for them on purpose because it isn’t the right fit.

Third, these commercials contain a lot of Doctor-Speak and acronyms like “if your PGFD546 Cells are less than 40,” and other phrases that don’t mean anything to me because I haven’t recently been to an oncologist for that very specific, rare throat cancer they’re talking about. I suppose if you are the target audience you know what these mean, but for the rest of us it’s like being left out of a conversation, and now we have to go back to WebMD to do some research and lose an hour that we’ll never get back.    

And finally, who was dumb enough to take a prescription drug they know they are allergic to, so these commercials have to say OUT LOUD, “Do not take Fuckitol if you are allergic to Fuckitol or its ingredients?” These people are the reason we need to stop labeling paint cans with “Do Not Eat.”

Now my fingers are tired, I’m anxious and annoyed.  I’m think I’m going to ask my doctor for that Fuckitol prescription I just saw.



Stop Taking Sex Quizzes (You’re Not A Banana Slug)
September 24, 2021, 3:00 pm
Filed under: Misc. Humor | Tags:

I was recently at the bookstore flipping through magazines the other day, and I was startled at how many articles were about how to have a better sex life. Most of them had pretty straightforward titles, like “How to Jump Start Your Sex Life” or “How to Tell Him/Her What You Really Want.” But there were also a few articles that went beyond the usual suggestions, offering meditations and all kinds of exotic positions.  All I could think was, people…relax.

We’re pretty basic, even with all the social complications we’ve added on top of it all, compared to the banana slug.

For starters, all banana slugs have penises, although some appear to be mere stumps, as opposed to growing the length of the slugs body. That’s right – the banana slug’s penis is 6 -8 inches long, the length of its body…so yeah.  If I saw that on a human, I’d run. I know we can do a lot with prosthetics, but….no…just no.

Oh, and did I mention that the penis grows out of its head? So actually, before I ran, I’d probably laugh because that’s just too damn funny not to try and picture on a human, especially someone you don’t like.  

Second, when these slugs with complete genitalia have sex (not the ones with the stumpy penises – we’ll get to that in a second), they both penetrate each other at the same.  I know we’ve made all kinds of toys that can simulate that, but banana slug sex goes on for HOURS. I don’t care how much Sting may brag about his performance (I believe he’s said he and wife Trudy had 7 hours of tantric sex); he’s got nothing on the banana slug. 

And finally, after they’re done, one slug may get it into its “head” that it must chew off the other’s penis.  So much for that moment of bliss. Why would they do that, you ask? I’m sure some women and men can think of some pretty compelling reasons why humans might do it.  Scientists have come up with several theories about why this happens, including that the slugs may feel threatened by something in their environment and need to separate quickly. Can you imagine this happening every time human parents tried to get a quickie in without the kids knowing?  There are other theories too, but I don’t really care. That’s just gross and rude.

So, people, relax about where you fit in the sexual world around you. Stop taking quizzes to see if you measure up – if banana slugs are anything to go by, none of us do.   



Coffee Cooters
September 8, 2021, 5:30 pm
Filed under: Food/Drink, Middle Age, Misc. Humor, shopping | Tags: , , , , , ,

Aaahhh…the end of summer is here. Not that you can tell by the weather, in Virginia, but along with shopping for #2 pencils in the fall comes pumpkin spice everything and what I like to call the Coffee Cooters.

If you dare to venture out and hop into the drive-through line at Starbucks on a weekday morning, you will start seeing this seasonal creature, the Coffee Cooter. The first week of school is the optimal time for viewing them in their natural habitat.

Coffee Cooters usually travel in packs of three or four, but occasionally will be seen with only one other (see the Gotta Go Girl below). They arrive in some version of an SUV, parking at a slight angle due to the high rate of speed at which they slide into the space.  These beasts of prey will spend at least 5 minutes texting inside the car before exiting to begin foraging.

As a pack, there are two hierarchy layers:

  1. The Hunters.  The Hunters are dressed somewhere between going to a club and what their school has decided is acceptable. Often, this means dresses and skirts that barely cover their cooters, hence the name. As they walk, every few steps they must tug on said dress/skirt to ensure it is in fact covering what it is designed to (often it isn’t). Their drink selections vary between the excessively sweet but substituted with non-dairy, soy everything, and what they have decided is a sophisticated order – the Vente Americano. Occasionally they may order the Spotted Unicorn or Oak Tree Tea Leaf with Habenero Spice Extract special that they saw on TikTok. Their prey, in this case the baristas, flinch and jockey for position away from the counter upon their arrival.   
  2. The Gotta Go Girl. The Gotta Go Girls generally dress more conservatively, indicating the seriousness with which they take their responsibility. Just like in a club, the Gotta Go Girl is the pack member who remains vigilant of the time and on the lookout for inappropriate actions taken by the rest of the pack or by their prey. In the morning coffee run, the Gotta Go Girl frequently checks her watch and can sometimes be seen actively pushing the others into the car upon exiting the building. The Gotta Go Girl orders a simple latte because she doesn’t actually like how bitter coffee really is and won’t undermine her authority by showing weakness to the rest of the pack.

If you spot these creatures, do not approach them, or you will be disemboweled by their looks of pity or irritation. As they leave the hunting grounds, give them a wide birth – they are known for their speed and lack of attention to the surrounding area. And finally, trust that these creatures will soon fade into the autumn woodwork again as the money they made over the summer disappears and the weather limitstheir display of plumage.




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