4 Better or 4 Worse

Where does the time go?

Today marks Comically Quirky’s 4th anniversary!

Which is certainly reason to celebrate.

But I’m not going to lie-

This has been one of the most challenging years of my entire life.

And unfortunately, my writing has suffered immensely for it.

The frustrating disparity of needing to write for clarity and peace…

But lacking the clarity and peace to write…

It’s not a pretty cycle.

Thoughts and ideas constantly swirl around in my mind…

Yet refuse to come together to form anything remotely eloquent or coherent.

Let alone witty and humorous.

It’s aggravating.

And disheartening.

Especially when the words always used to flow so easily.

Somewhere along the way, this blog unexpectedly transitioned to a full-scale Dog Blog.

And so my gratitude goes out to The Bigly Bestest Doggie for single-handedly (or would that be single-pawedly?) keeping Comically Quirky afloat in the interim as I strive to get back on track.

But I’m especially grateful to all of you for sticking with me.

You’re the best.

I will get back on track…

One of these days.

And that is a promise.

~Thank you all for sticking with me and cheering on The Bigly Bestest Doggie as he’s temporarily taken center stage on Comically Quirky. If you’re feeling adventurous and need some quirky humor to brighten your day, I invite you to check out my very first post, The Journey to No Man’s Land. For anyone who might be dealing with tough times and feeling like they’re endlessly treading water just to stay afloat- Hang in there. Things will get better. Always have faith that no matter how fierce the storm, the sun will one day shine again.~

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Bigly Bestest Random Act of Kindness

@thebiglybestestdoggie:  Found this sweet little gem while walking through the neighborhood with Momma. Guess we all need a reminder to slow down and take the time to truly notice and appreciate the small joys that are right there in front of us. So stop and smell the roses… and the rocks, too!

Even the tiniest token of kindness can brighten someone’s day, so don’t forget to pay it forward every chance you get!

~Happy Tuesday, friends! And in case you were wondering, Jett did, in fact, consider eating that precious rock. Guess he thought it was ‘sweet’ in all the right ways. Haha!~

Bigly Bestest Boredest Doggie

@thebiglybestestdoggie: This summer heat is just not motivating. I don’t want to play fetch. I don’t want to chase birds. I don’t even want to thrash around the yard like a beached whale. And I usually love thrashing around! It’s gonna be a long summer…

Summer heat… Bleh.

~Happy Tuesday, everyone! Hope you’re managing  to stay cool… or warm, for all our friends in the southern hemisphere.~

Bigly Bestest Summer Daze

@thebiglybestestdoggie: School’s out for the summer. Crazy kids are home and eating everything in sight. Worried they’ll soon run out of their own food and start eating mine. And to think, summer break has only just begun…

Whoever said animals eat a lot obviously didn't have teenagers.

Whoever said animals eat a lot obviously didn’t have teenagers.

~Happy Tuesday, friends! And to all of you with kids already on summer break… have fun, and good luck!~

Bigly Bestest Self-Service

@thebiglybestestdoggie: Apparently, nobody around here can take a hint. Don’t know how much more obvious I could possibly be. For crying out loud, I’m standing right in front of the door! With my leash on! At this rate, I’ll be taking myself for a walk… 

Geez, people! Do I have to do everything around here myself?!?

Geez, people! Do I have to do everything around here myself?!?

~Happy Tuesday, friends! Fear not; Jett did get his much-anticipated walk. Haha! ~

A Tribute to My Mom

I never wanted to have to write this post.

And I’m struggling to do so now.

It was the first cloudless, bright sunny day after nearly a week of rain.

It was also the day my mom took her last breath.

Paradoxical as it may sound, it was still a beautiful day.

In a strange way.

Because it meant my mom was no longer in pain.

No longer spending every waking moment in agony.

No more excruciating daily struggles.

No more endless doctor appointments.

No more countless scans and blood work.

No more urgent trips to the hospital.

No more useless pills to try to mask the pain.

She is finally at peace.

Finally free of cancer.

Once and for all.

My heart aches with sadness.

But her suffering is over, and that’s what truly matters.

She is a survivor of war.

A recipient of miracles.

And the strongest, most determined, bravest person I had ever had the honor of knowing.

On December 10, 2018, heaven gained a new angel.

This is not the ending to the story that we’d hoped for.

But, in my heart, I know it isn’t truly “the end”.

Because love lives forever.

Hope lives on.

And nothing can ever take that away.

We Get Only Today
By Souad “Sue” Battista
(a.k.a. Tink the Belle)
From Playing by My Own Rules

I

won’t run away from  a challenge

I

Will move towards it

I

Will not let fear blind me

I

Will Face it

I

Will not hide from the truth

I

Will Learn from it

I

Search in the darkness

I

Seek the light

I

Won’t see an end

I

Find a new beginning

I

Will not turn away from myself

But

Back to myself

Fly high, Mom. I will always love you, and I will miss you forever.

Fly high, Mom. I will always love you, and I will miss you forever.

~I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, with blogging and life as a whole. My posts will likely be sporadic for a while until everything settles, but I’d like to take a moment to thank you all for your kindness and support, and to wish you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, in case I’m not up to speed before then.~

Friday Night Fumble

Is it over yet?

I mean…

Go team!!!

Yeah!!!

High school football.

It’s quite the production in The Lone Star State.

Even people without kids religiously attend every Friday night.

It’s that big a thing out here.

Hell, there’s even a 10 billion member marching band at every single game.

And the marching band is typically more fun to watch than the actual football game itself.

Sort of like the halftime show during The Super Bowl.

At eight dollars a ticket for the privilege of sitting on rock-hard metal bleachers for three to four hours, watching the clock move in slower motion than logically possible…

How could it be anything but exciting?

Right?

I personally pass the time alternately playing on my phone, staring in disbelief at my watch, and glancing at the score board.

But I’m sure some people are actually watching the game.

Probably.

What better way to spend a Friday night?

I mean, besides sleeping.

Never mind the fact that I have to get up at 3 am the next morning for work.

If I’m having such a blast, why do I keep going to these games, you might wonder?

Well, to support my amazing mascot, of course!

But at eight dollars a ticket…

I could go see a movie for that price.

Or at buy a great cocktail.

Especially after sitting on those sadistic ass-numbing, back-breaking bleachers.

Sure, it’d be more cost-effective to stay home in my pajamas, watching reruns on Netflix.

But I suppose it beats sitting at home.

Sometimes, at least.

Especially when things get really exciting.

Between evacuations, stampedes, and near-electrocutions, it has been a fairly exciting season so far.

Almost every home game has kicked off with a lightning evacuation.

During the very first quarter.

Which is especially thrilling when lightning menacingly illuminates the sky and rain comes pouring down in an attempt to recreate Noah’s Ark, right there in the middle of the football field.

The bleachers are at full capacity.

Of course.

Because everyone in town is at the game.

Did I mention the bleachers are metal?

And metal conducts electricity.

Which is ever-so-slightly concerning.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy high school football games enough to risk electrocution.

And so the stampedes begin.

Which is a rather refreshing break from some of those obnoxious, screeching, know-it-all fans.

Yeesh.

Perhaps this is why I never bothered to attend any games when I was in high school.

Nothing against school sports and all the good qualities they help foster.

But sometimes I wonder why I pay to get hit in the head with rogue balls at games where excessively vocal away team fans conduct themselves as though the home team had the audacity to cross into Oakland Raiders territory.

Yikes.

The things we do for our children.

We support our kids.

Even when it risks our last remaining thread of sanity.

Because our kids will always remember that we were there for them.

Especially if we embarrass the hell out of them with our mere presence.

Because embarrassment and support apparently go hand in hand.

Go team, go!

Woooo!!!

~Happy Friday, friends! Have a great weekend!~

It's Friday night! Um, yay?

It’s Friday night! Um, yay?

Motivation for Turbulent Times

Some days, we just need an extra dose of humor to compensate for life’s crappy challenges.

Some days..

Some weeks…

Hell, even some months…

Yeah.

So here’s a bit of humorous inspiration for anyone who could use a little boost right about now.

(Have you ever seen a sad Cookie Monster? Case in point. Now go eat a cookie and cheer up.)

(If you believe passionately enough, you might soar higher than you ever thought possible! But you might want to put on a cape first, just to be on the safe side…)

(Much like the brain, utilizing one’s entire ass is twice as impactful as using half of it. It’s gotta be all ass or no ass. There’s no in between. Speaking of asses…)

(Butt prints are sooo unflattering. So get up and make amazing things happen!)

(If you do nothing else today, do this one little thing. Talk about an adrenalizing mood booster!)

(They say you can’t keep doing things the exact same way and expect different results. Right? I mean, left…?)

(I’ll be the first to admit, I hate to lose. Hate, hate, hate it. This is where having a warped sense of humor comes in handy.)

(To quote the great Homer Simpson, “Shut up brain, or I’ll stab you with a Q-tip!”)

(But seriously, it can kill you if you’re not careful. So be smart and use your brain. You know, the same one you just stabbed with a Q-tip. Whoops!)

(Plants need sunlight to thrive and grow. So do human beings. Without sunlight, we wither like shriveled prunes. So step outside and get your daily dose of mood boosting vitamin D.)

(Amen to that.)

(If all else fails, always remember this one thing: you’re awesome. Because I said so. Enough said.)

~Have a great weekend, friends! Smile, laugh, and always look for that elusive silver lining.~

Driving Mr. Mascot, Part 2

Slow down.

Slow down!!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, SLOW THE @&*% DOWN!!!

With 30 minutes to spare after dropping my younger child off at his guitar lesson…

It was the perfect opportunity to continue working with my older son (a.k.a. Mascot Boy) on his driving skills.

And so he took the wheel.

Figuring it was only three miles from the music school to our house, it wouldn’t necessarily be an unreasonable walk for my younger one if scary driver Mascot Boy and I didn’t make it back alive from driving practice.

Unfortunately, the fact that it’s been unseasonably hot out made it a less than optimal scenario.

But it’s always good to have a plan, right?

Mr. Mascot decided he’d like to practice in a shopping parking lot that day.

Did you know different rules apply in parking lots?

Namely, there are no rules .

Especially in a Walmart parking lot.

Between vehicles blindly pulling out in front of other traffic with no regard to right of way, and overall mayhem in general…

The very notion of safe driving seems to go right down the toilet.

All I knew is that I sure as hell didn’t want to die in the Walmart parking lot.

I’d rather get eaten by my dog.

Not that my precious Jett would ever eat me.

But still.

Dying at Walmart/in the Walmart parking lot is definitely not the way I’d like to go.

Especially with a 16-year-old driver behind the wheel.

And not only does this 16-year-old believe he already knows everything there is possibly to know about driving…

I’ve somehow recently ended up with two backseat drivers whenever I’m driving.

Because even though my 13-year-old hasn’t had any formal driving instruction, he too  believes he now magically knows everything there is to know about driving.

Specifically, that he and his brother know everything.

And I, the driver with two decades of experience, know nothing.

As if I suddenly need coaching on how to safely maneuver a vehicle.

That didn’t feel like a complete stop.

You forgot your turn signal! Right in front of that cop over there!

I’m pretty sure even I have better judgement than you!

Meanwhile, Mr. Mascot has taken a liking to barreling full-speed toward red lights.

I’m starting to think I ought to be wearing a blindfold when I’m in the passenger seat.

He attempted to park next to the only car in the back row of the parking lot.

Which happened to be a BMW vaguely resembling The Batmobile.

Which happened to be one that we really can’t afford to gently nudge from behind or do a drive-by mirror sideswipe on.

After one unsuccessful attempt of parking straight in between the lines, I strongly encouraged him to find a different spot.

Away from other cars.

All other cars.

After surviving the Walmart parking lot, we headed back to the music school to pick up child number two.

We arrived safely.

The parking lot was under heavy construction.

So we soared over a massive mud bump, Dukes of Hazzard style.

But ultimately, we didn’t get pulled over by any cops.

And even more importantly, we survived.

So it’s a win.

I’ve come to realize that my son’s learning to drive comes at a price.

The expense of fuel.

And the expense of my sanity.

Which has long been precariously dangling by a thin thread.

Oh, but at least I’m getting a break from driving, right?

If your idea of a break is anxiety, panic, or a heart attack, then yes.

Thanks to me, my dear child, you are gaining experience.

Thanks to you, my dear child, I seem to be losing experience.

Or my sanity.

One of the two.

Or both.

~Happy Saturday, friends! Click here if you’d like to read Part 1 of our exciting driving experiences. Have a great weekend, and watch out for nervous Student  Drivers and their equally terrified parents! Haha!~

The Danger Zone... it's a real thing.

The Danger Zone… it’s a real thing.

The Baddest Apple

I swear, eating while distracted is every bit as hazardous as driving in your sleep.

You know those little preservative packets in packages of food?

They’re called desiccant packets.

But I’ve always called them Do Not Eat packets.

Have you ever wondered what happens if you consume a Do Not Eat packet?

It’s not really something I ever gave much thought to, personally.

Until recently.

The thing is, I may have accidentally eaten one.

You’re probably wondering how that’s even possible.

Either you ate it or you didn’t, right?

Oh, I’m still scratching my head on this one, too.

It all started innocently enough.

I was ravenous, so I bought a bag of freeze-dried Fuji apples to devour on my drive home from work.

Shoveling handfuls of apples into my mouth, I found myself backed up in traffic about 10 minutes into my drive.

Figuring I had time to pass while waiting at a red light, I turned over the bag to read the nutrition facts.

Yeah, I’m weird like that.

It was a single serving bag.

Which was great, because the thing was dangerously close to empty already.

At least the ingredients were simple enough:

Freeze dried apples, ascorbic acid, and citric acid.

Not bad at all.

And 220% of vitamin C per serving.

Whew!

More than enough to ward off any threat of scurvy.

More importantly, it was made in the USA.

Because if I wanted to eat a toxic Chinese import, I’d chow down a box of so-called “non-toxic” crayons.

Or one of those questionable McDonald’s Happy Meal toys with 500 microscopic parts.

On second thought, those toxic little toys could also lead to asphyxiation.

Disturbingly enough, they aren’t not the only things that could present a safety hazard.

Further down on the apple bag was a warning.

Just some nonsense about a desiccant packet.

Yada yada yada.

Hey, wait a minute…

Holy crap!

The Do Not Eat packet!

Where the hell was the Do Not Eat packet?!?

Still sitting in an endless line of traffic, I dared a frantic peek into the bag.

There was hardly anything left in it.

Mostly crumbs, really.

And no sign of the packet.

Maybe they had forgotten to put one in this package?

Or…

Could I seriously have just eaten the stupid thing?

I mean, really?

How would I have missed that?

Even among generous fistfuls of apples, surely I’d have noticed a difference in texture or flavor.

Especially once biting into the packet and unleashing sand-like particles.

Were my senses that off?

Were my standards that low?

And I may very well have reached a new low with this dilemma.

You might think I’d have been more concerned for my safety.

After all, I could have ingested a potentially hazardous substance, for all I knew.

Yet, I found the whole thing mildly amusing.

Did this kind of stuff actually happen to other people?

Or was it truly just me?

By this point, I’m pretty well convinced it’s just me.

When I arrived home 20 minutes later, I Googled “accidental ingestion of desiccant packet”.

Which immediately directed me to the poison control website.

The information was surprisingly reassuring.

Apparently, one can safely scarf down the equivalent of an entire shoebox-worth of those packets and likely only experience stomach discomfort.

I can (almost) understand accidentally wolfing down one of those suckers…

But who would unknowingly devour a whole box of that crap?

A dog, maybe?

One with lower standards than me, perhaps?

Continuing on with my online self-diagnostics, I grabbed a couple of mini blueberry muffins.

Still needing a little more reassurance, I decided to test out a theory.

Leaving the wrapper intact, I made a simulated attempt at eating a muffin.

Would I notice when I bit into a chunk of the thin paper?

Would I?

I was genuinely intrigued now.

I immediately noticed the texture difference between the yummy moist muffin and the grainy paper.

But then, I also wasn’t distracted the same way I had been while driving.

I still wasn’t convinced.

A tray of sugar packets caught my eye a few days later at a restaurant.

I swiped one and shoved it in my purse.

To test something out a little later, just for kicks.

Let’s just say I didn’t get too far with that one.

The paper had the consistency of notebook paper, and the sugar felt like grains of sand.

But there was no mistaking a foreign substance’s assault on my palate.

Even so, a Do Not Eat packet was still smaller and not as grainy as a packet of sugar.

Whether I did or did not eat a desiccant packet still remains a mystery.

But the fact of the matter is, I’m more or less okay after maybe or maybe not having eaten one.

I think.

~Happy Friday, friends! Have a great weekend!~

Do not eat? A little late for that, don't you think?

Do not eat? A little late for that, don’t you think?

(The Baddest Apple originally appeared on Comically Quirky on 09/17/15.)