Archive of ‘Ultimate Blog Challenge’ category

Patriotic? Maybe Not This Year

Somewhere, I know there is a photo of me taken at a Bicentennial parade looking patriotic in an over-the-top sort of way. I’m wearing red, white, and blue clothing and waving an American flag. My tricycle is decked out in paper streamers, and a sign is taped to the back of my seat that reads  “Happy Birthday, America!” The only thing missing is a bald eagle flying above me in the sky.

I was about five years old, and the times were much simpler.

This year, I wasn’t in the mood for fireworks or singing about the land of the free. I did grill some burgers and dogs for dinner tonight, but that’s because we have to eat. And, I always appreciate a three-day weekend. But, in light of the U.S. Supreme Court rulings this past month, I’m not feeling particularly festive. I’m not going to get into politics here. But, in general, my rights as a Jewish American woman have been infringed upon. This country is supposed to be built on freedom of religion, but the line between church and state – that I count on – has been blurred beyond recognition. And it’s not a good feeling, to say the least.

But, while I’m not feeling patriotic, I am grateful. Grateful to live in a country where there is still freedom of speech so that I can say these things on my blog or in person and not fear punishment. Backlash on social media, maybe…but not punishment.

Maybe there will be something to celebrate next year, but I just can’t get there today. Maybe next year, there will be liberty and justice for all.

Scenes from an Inbox

If you feel like you are being bombarded with advertisements from the moment you wake up until bedtime, you are absolutely right. Whether it is a fancy car commercial in the middle enjoying Stephen Colbert’s monologue on YouTube or a flyer on my windshield for a local arts festival, I cannot escape someone trying to sell me something.

Last week, I asked my husband to add Dove soap to our shopping list, not realizing our house was bugged – or more likely, Alexa was eavesdropping again. That bitch. For the rest of the day, my FB page and Yahoo inbox were inundated with soap and body wash ads.

Speaking of my inbox, here is what I found this morning:

  • My alma mater is soliciting donations to the university by the end of the month so that I can receive my exclusive address labels. Tempting! (NOT!)
  • A cluster of spam emails featuring Fourth of July sales on patio furniture, must-have BBQ tools, and swimming pool accessories. By the way, we don’t have a pool.
  • Oh, look! Starbucks is giving away four chances to win four cars if I sign up for their rewards program today.
  • PA Conference for Women informs me about their brand-new ticketing system (“Just like the one Hamilton uses”) for its upcoming conference.
  • ServicePlus (who?) offers me a free quote for a home warranty.
  • UberEats will help cure my lunchtime cravings with a $25 gift card when purchasing something at one of these fine stores.

As if that weren’t enough, an obnoxious and intrusive pop-up window appeared out of nowhere from Yahoo advertising the benefits of their “premium email service” Apparently, I can enjoy an ad-free experience. It sounded too good to be true. And guess what, it is.

I read the fine print. Paying for this premium service is like putting a useless wet bandaid on Big Brother’s big toe. Even if I decided to pay $60 a year for this service, it is only available for “eligible subscriptions.” Just like when I want to buy a tube of Smashbox Original Photo Finish Smooth and Blur primer with an Ulta coupon and am told at the register that all the brand items are excluded. So, a completely ad-free inbox is what it sounds like – another advertisement.

Big Brother will always find me. Lately, he has been living on my Facebook page disguised as 80s nostalgia clickbait articles (my Kryptonite).

One time, Big Brother followed me into the parking lot outside Nordstroms at the King of Prussia mall after I bought Jenna’s senior prom dress. I specifically remember paying cash and not providing my email at checkout, leaving no breadcrumbs behind. I was smart enough to know that any evidence of being there increased my chances of receiving department store advertisements. It didn’t work. BB scoped out the map coordinates on my cell phone and chased me to my car, armed with coupons via text message for my next visit.

Friends, there is no escape. And if I sound like a bitter, empty nester as I’m writing this, I apologize. As you read in yesterday’s blog post, I have a to-do list a mile long and no time for these distractions. The irony is that email marketing is a big part of my day job as a nonprofit communications professional. But, the emails I send are for interested parties. I don’t buy lists or sell my contact list to other organizations. I appreciate their willingness to give me their email address, and in return, I do my best to be respectful and not fill up their inbox with junk mail. I religiously check my unsubscribe rate and am happy to report that it is low – which means I guess I’m good at my job. 🙂

So, where does Big Brother visit you the most – in your inbox, on your windshield, or someplace else? Inquiring minds want to know.



A July To-Do List

At my age, I’m pretty good at juggling. I have personal and professional goals and a bunch of errands and projects that I need to tackle. There are a lot of balls in the air, and I like to make lists so that nothing drops. And once I make that list, there is nothing better than checking things off it!

So, I thought I’d kick off the Ultimate Blog Challenge with my July to-do list. As you will see, it is chock-full of big-ticket items and things I’ve been putting off but need to deal with soon. So, without further adieu, here is what I’ve got so far:

  • Support my daughter, Jenna, as she begins her senior year of college and thinks about her post-graduation life. As a history major, I’ve been there before. A liberal arts degree is a wonderful thing, but it doesn’t always provide a straight path to success. There are lots of twists and turns and still so much “finding herself” that she has to do. But, there are plenty of options out there, and I know she will find them.
  • Shop and pack up my youngest child and recent high school grad, Andrew, for move-in day at Drexel University
    • Follow-up item: Emotionally prepare for his move-in day and begin to envision my life as an empty nester. Playlist suggestions and helpful mantras are welcome!
  • Plan our upcoming vacation. That’s right, I am about launch two healthy, kind, and intelligent children into the world, and become an empty nester. What am I going to do next? I’m going to Disney World!
    • That reminds me…find a podiatrist and make an appointment to see them about my most recent medical development – plantar fasciitis. Ouch! Also, schedule my 3rd COVID-19 booster and first shingles shot.
  • Catch up on my Goodreads goal. Currently, I am three books behind schedule. Also, make a solemn pledge not to buy any more books until I read through the ones I already have on my bookshelf, Kindle, and Audible account. Then, let out a maniacal laugh, and pick a day to visit my local indie bookseller.
  • Interview candidates to be my new associate at work. Say a little prayer every night that I hire an amazingly qualified person who is a perfect fit for our organization.
  • Research and purchase a new ring light for my home office – preferably one with a built-in filter that makes me look ten years younger.
  • Order a tube of “Fresh Breasts” – a revolutionary product that alleviates sweat and stickiness in the under boob area. Ladies, you know what I’m talking about, right?! It even comes in a fragrance-free, quick-drying formula. It received excellent reviews, but G-d only knows what subsequent recommendations I will receive after I place my order. Oh, and do I want to sign up for their company newsletter? I do not.
  • Reorder supplies for my CPAP machine so the sleep apnea police stop stalking me with endless reminders via email and text. They are annoying and relentless.
  • Finish the list of questions I want to ask my parents for the memoir I’m writing (more on that later). Note to self: Remind mom to book a hotel room for our family trip to Boston next month.
  • Write my daily blog post for the Ultimate Blog Challenge!

For those who don’t know, the Ultimate Blog Challenge is an online community of bloggers participating in a month-long writing challenge. I am not a first-timer, but I’m also not a regular. I’ve only completed this challenge twice in my tenure. Writing 31 consecutive posts in 31 days is definitely a challenge, but I am up to the task! I’ve decided that this month’s theme will focus on the pros and cons of middle age. I’ll also drop in some summer book reviews and random off-topic posts when the mood strikes me.

Anyway, I have plenty of stories to share, and I hope you enjoy them. Also, I LOVE it when people comment on my posts. It lets me know that I’m not just writing for myself or into the endless pit of cyberspace.

Let’s do this!



1 2 3 58

%d bloggers like this: