Busted Bracket

Okay, everyone’s bracket is busted. Its a fact. Some fared better than others.

In our house, we each did a bracket (Ross, Scarlett, and myself). In addition, Ross did a bracket that was all cat mascots and its aptly titled “All Cats”.

I lost to all of them. ALL. OF. THEM.

Even my 8 year old daughter who has never filled out a bracket before and who never watches basketball.

Here’s mine.

How did this happen? And of course, Ross blew us all away sitting at 83.3%.

How does this happen every damned year?

Tourny Time!!

Some people love summer. Not me. I hate the heat and I want no part of the sun. Some people love fooball season. Nope. No thank you. Some people are focused on holidays like Halloween, Easter, or new years. These are great but I don’t look forward to any of them. There are only a few times of year that I simply adore.

  1. My birthday and my daughter’s birthday. I always turn these two days into extravaganzas and go waaaay overboard.
  2. The holiday season from the end of Thanksgiving straight through to New Year’s Day. I love all the decorations, the giving, the shopping, baking, and the tradition of it.
  3. March Madness! This is THE best part of spring.

Here’s the thing. I watch the games. I watch the weird games in November that no one cares about. I don’t watch as often as I used to with Scarlett and all the other stuff going on. But I’m the person in the house that actually watches the games. I fill out a bracket every year and I never even come close to winning in our house. Ross doesn’t even start watching basketball until January or February. This whole thing just pisses me off.

On top of that, Ohio State didn’t even get into the tournament this year. They shouldn’t either. Jesus, they hit conference play and collapsed. I had to stop watching the games because they were making me sad.

So, here we are. I’ve filled out my bracket and have Big Ten teams going way too far. I know this. But I can’t help it. I’m a homer and if I can’t have OSU going way too far, then i’m putting Purdue to win it all.

Behold! My horrible bracket that wil be my downfall in my house for this years tournament challenge.

Learning a New Language

This year, I am turning 45 years old.

In celebration of me-because that should happen all the time and not just at my birthday. . . and those who know me, understand that I’m only partally joking with that statement-we’re taking an oversees trip that hasn’t happened since we bought a house almost 15 years ago. Once we bought our first house, all our travel money disappeared into the pit of paying for improvements and general upkeep of a two hundred year old house.

Scarlett is going to 8 years old this month and COVID is manageable at this point so we’re taking this milestone to travel again. We’re going to Belgium for a week and in an attempt to not be a stupid American, I’m attempting to learn French and Ross – bless him – is learning Dutch. We’re both using Babbel and the little snippets of learning are really helping me not get overwhelmed because I always have a lot of crap going through my mind at all times.

However, I have discovered that I do have to go back and do lessons again beause they’re so brief that I’m not sure I’m retaining the intricacies of the language. Also, I’m having a hard time keeping straight which letters/endings are not necessarily pronounced. I spent five years studying Russian in college and you pronounce every damned letter, so dealing with the letters in words that aren’t necessarily pronounced is hard for me to remember.

I’m hoping that I can just slur some of it and maybe they’ll forgive me. Maybe they won’t notice because these lessons are just going to get more complicated and I’m old now, so learning new things is hard.

I remember things visually. When I learned Russian, I had a table that I created with endings across cases and pronouns. I could pull that table up in my brain to find the right ending for what I wanted to say. In fact, if I try, I can still see that table. The endings…yes, the cases along the top…not so much. Its fuzzy, but its still there. Babbel doesn’t have any of that and as the lessons start conjugating verbs, i have a feeling my brain is not going like that very much.

Everyday, there’s a tiny lesson and hopefully I’ll get better by the time we leave in August. Wish me luck!

Random Roundup

I’ve come to the very real conclusion that pants with waistbands are stupid. Its 2023 for crying out loud, why do we still have restrictive waistbands? In addition, why do we have waistbands that curve in against my waist instead of lying flat? Do you know how uncomfortable this shit is for anyone who isn’t a stick. They dig into you and constrict your ability to move freely. Just so, uncomfortable. Those yoga pants that look like dress pants are looking better and better all the time.

We’ve had thousands of years of making clothes, granted – clothing has routinely been pretty painful and uncomfortable for women because, well, dude’s suck-we should know better and have better fitting shit by now. For curved in waistbands alone, the patriarchy must be brought down.

On a completely different level, this is happening…

Why? I ask you why?

Why was it necessary to produce this product?

More importantly, why is the starter kit $45?!? Can’t I just put some lotion or shit on my skin. Why do I need a special serum? I’m not going to use a separate fucking razor for my who-ha than I do on everything else. WTAF Gillette? Also, the 1 star reviews aren’t giving me a good feeling about this product.

However, the commercial is amazing to watch. I give this a good 7 out of 10, just for brazenness alone. Well done marketing people. Well done.

Sometimes, being a woman is uncomfortable, ridiculous, aggrevating, and expensive. Periods, we don’t love those. Bras are evil but a necessity for some of us. Panty hose are the worst. Mysogyny is stupid and short sighted. Unexpected weight gain. Just to name a few.

However, sometimes being a woman can also be fantastic. We’re clearly smarter, on many levels, and that’s all that matters.

Burnout and Mental Health

This week, I started seeing a therapist.

I feel like this was probably a long time coming. I feel burnt-the-fuck-out on several fronts.

First, the toxicity of my job and the environment has worn me down. We have a lot of people in management positions/leadership positions that haven’t had a lot of training on how to manage people. Anyone who has undertaken that role knows that it can suck . . . hard but is critically important to the proper functioning of any workplace. So, when its not done right, it can cause an implosion of shit. Which is what’s happening now.

Second, I feel like I’m struggling to juggle all the balls at home too. I’m responsible for keeping everyone on track, for making sure all the things get done, that scarlett is doing her homework, that the trash gets taken out, that the cats get fed, that scarlett has her lunch made everyday, and the list goes on.

Third, I haven’t been writing. I haven’t even opened the document in months. I just don’t have it in me right now to put words on a page. I’m not sure when it stopped being fun. Maybe it was when COVID hit and I couldn’t interact with my writing group on a regular basis anymore. Maybe it was with the whole RWA racism debacle and I lost the larger group to interact with and meet readers. I don’t know.

I’m physically exhausted, mentally exhausted, and I’m starting to drop the balls I’ve so carefully been juggling high in the air and making mistakes.

Mental health is so important and I noticed that I wasn’t functioning at the level that I’m used to and taking on things that are toxic that suddenly become my problem when they are not.

So, this week was my first appointment with my new therapist. I’m usually so good at compartmentalizing and just getting shit done, that about five minutes into the session, I was sobbing as I told her why I was even there because I couldn’t compartmentalize anymore. We talked about my goals, which to be fair, I’m not sure that what we talked about is right but its some place to start.

The reality is, I can’t get back to the level of juggling that I previously had been functioning at, and I’m not sure I want to either. I can’t fix everyone. People have to be responsible for themselves and their duties. I can’t do everything for them and I don’t want to anymore.

So, here’s the thing. I don’t know if this will help but it can’t hurt either.

Book Hangovers

I’m currently suffering from a book hangover.

If you don’t know what that is, you’ve probably experienced it but didn’t have the words to describe it. This is when you’ve read a book that is so amazing to you that you can’t seem to leave it behind. Days later, your brain is still digging into your favorite bits and the characters are rooting around in your head to stake a permanent place.

I just went back in to Alexis Hall‘s London Calling series that consists of Boyfriend Material and Husband Material. I’ve read them before but they’re so wonderfully delightful, fun, and gut wrenching that sometimes I just get a niggling desire to go back in to revisit Luc and Oliver’s world. Everytime it leaves me in this state of book handover.

There’s just so much that I love about these books.

  1. How wonderfully broken Luc and Oliver are in their own ways.
  2. Their growth and understanding of each other
  3. How the friend groups give each other shit like real friends do.
  4. Luc’s office and coworkers and the asides that happen on the regular in this book
  5. The amount of times Luc says fuck . . . clearly a kindred spirit of mine. I feel seen.
  6. The exasperation Oliver experiences at Luc’s shenanigans . . . again, I feel seen

I kinda want to start all over again and read/listen to them again but I have a TBR (to be read) pile that is currently out of control due to Christmas gifts and my inability to stop buying books. So, there’s that.

There are a few books that leave me like this. When I say books, I mean series because I’m not sure when the last time I read a stand alone book was.

Book Hangover Authors that I recommend:

  1. Ilona Andrews – of course.
  2. Kresley Cole
  3. Alexis Hall
    • London Calling Series

What are your book hangover authors?

Movies, Superheros, and Constructing a Narrative

So, I had a lot of time off over the holidays. Did I get any writing done?

Um, no. That’s going to be a big negative.

What I did do was read some books, do family/holiday stuff, and practice my new trombone. That’s right, I got a trombone for christmas from my very loving and soon to be very sorry husband. I also watched a few movies. Let’s talk about one of those movies in particular.

Prepare yourself, for this epic rant because I didn’t know how angry I was until I started talking about it to Ross that night after I watched Black Adam.

There’s alot going around about how this bombed and how everyone is getting recast to reboot DCEU . . . again.

This movie wasn’t horrible. It was just the same shit DC does with all there live action movies. Its the same problems that all the other movies had – with the exception of Wonder Woman (2017) and Man of Steel (2013). I would like to pay particular homage to Christopher Nolan‘s The Dark Knight Trilogy – a complete character/story arc which is now the exception, rather than te rule. In Black Adam, DCEU treated its audience like they were stupid and that they would consume anything they threw at the masses.

This is incorrect and, quite frankly, insulting.

You have to tell an actual fucking story. You can’t just throw some characters into the movie without backstory, build-up, goals, motivations, or -most importantly- conflicts and think that its going to work. Because it won’t.

You know why Marvel movies/content work so well? Because people sat down and figured out what story they wanted to tell and DID THE FUCKING WORK. They laid the groundwork for new characters, and items, concepts in each subsequent film or show. They built a narrative that drew people in. Even if not every movie or tv show is a hit, they build upon each other. Marvel, under Kevin Feige, built actual storyboards to continue a story through multiple films instead of this disjointed nonsense that the DCEU keeps presenting.

DCEU seems to refuse to do this. They just throw a bunch of shit at you without the cohesion of an actual narrative and bank on the decades of comic book devotion to carry the rest. The reason that there is such devotion to these comics is because of THE STORIES THEY TOLD! If the comics pulled this shit, DC would have collapsed decades ago.

James Gunn can recast anything and everything several times over. Here’s a little secret, though. The problem isn’t the actors. The problem is the story telling. You’re not delivering a product that people want to buy regardless of the packaging. Packaging (aka actors) only get you so far.

Black Adam was the same shit DCEU has been throwing at us for years now.

Here’s another thing that pissed me off.

Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate was a chef’s kiss of casting and DCEU WASTED HIM! Literally wasted him. Wasted the character. Wasted the actor. I can’t even express to you how appaled I was by the end of that movie.

They didn’t even explain Hawkman. They didn’t explain why this dude had giant wings attached to his back and could fly. They didn’t explain why he lived in a palatial english type estate in Lousiana. They did nothing, not in this movie or any other movies to lay the ground work for this. And let’s be honest. The only interesting shit about Hawkman is Hawkgirl and she was no where in site.

They put together a group of people for this world saving mission with no introductions to ANY of them. And somehow, Amanda Waller is involved. . .

Black Adam was just one more shitshow in a long line of lazy shitshows that came from the DCEU. I keep watching these movies in the hopes that they’ll finally get it right. The animated movies are so good! DCEU just can’t seem to translate that animation narrative to the live action movies and that’s sad. They have so much material to work with and they seem to be ignoring it.

And in a Covid world, you have to put out a really good product that has me itching to see it to get me in a theatre. Sorry DCEU, but your movies just don’t rate.

Meetings to Plan other Meetings

Why is this a thing?

I work with someone who wants to sit down and talk about what meetings to have and who to have them with . . . no! Sit down and have a thought about what you want to talk about and set up the actual meeting.

There are a few reasons that this happens, at least, that I can determine.

  1. People either can’t or don’t want to be responsible for making an executive decision about who should be in a meeting. Grow a pair and make a decision. That’s what ends up happeining when you meet with me to talk about a future meeting. I end up making the decision and then I’m pissed about it.
  2. They seriously don’t know who should be in the meeting which is just as freightening.
  3. You don’t have enough to do. If this is the case, I’ll off-load some of my shit onto you. Then you’ll have plenty and these meetings to plan other meetings will stop.
  4. Meetings make you feel important. If that’s the case, nothing I say will help you. That’s some shit you have to deal with on your own.
  5. You need meetings to justify your existence. Again, I can’t help you.
  6. You just love meetings. Nope. I can’t imagine that this person actually exists but I’ll put it in here because if I didn’t, someone would pipe up and make the comment-even though no one EVER comments on my blogs. I’m lonely folks, give us a comment.

What’s the lesson here?

Be mindful of other people’s time. I don’t want to sit in a meeting with the hopes of a meaningful discussion arising organically. THAT. NEVER. HAPPENS. People don’t want to engage with anyone, let along meaningless meetings that don’t accomplish anything.

Make that one of your New Year’s resolutions.

Kickass Women, Saving the World