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Showing posts from July, 2016

The Baxter® Family Newsletter

Hello fellow Glastonbury Neighborhood families!

As we finish with summer, I wanted to update you on the Baxter® family fortunes through our monthly newsletter. Since we'll be spending the next two weeks getting ready for back to school, we've been so thankful that the Baxter® Beacon™ has let us keep everyone up to date with our goings-on.

Before we get into the meat of the newsletter — or tofu protein patties, for my vegan pals — I'd like to ask a little favor. I notice several people driving rather fast through the neighborhood. I know the posted speed limit says 20, but "dears" live here, so it would be great if you could keep it well below 15. It's hard to see all the kids as they dart out from between the cars parked on the street as they play on the driveways. Remember, slow equals safe for this protective momma bear!

There have been several local crime stories in the news lately. I know we're safe up here in our little suburban enclave, and that mo…

Motivational Quotes: Inspiration for the Uninspired

I'm not an easy person to motivate.

That doesn't mean I lack motivation. It means you won't inspire me to do my best by bombarding me with clever slogans and aphorisms. I find my own inspiration and motivate myself without any clever quotes to guide me.

"Just do it" never did it for me. It was just a catchy t-shirt slogan that people bought for $30 so they could shill for Nike.

"No pain, no gain?" No thanks. I don't have to "eat lightning and crap thunder," as Mickey so delicately put it in Rocky II.

I get credo after credo in my Twitter feed, exhorting me to do my best, to never give up, to ignore failure, to never sleep, to get hungry, to ignore the hunger, to seize the day, sweat blood, ignore the pain, seize the tiger's tail, grab the bull by its horns, and take no bullshit.

And they keep coming. Life coaches and people who are annoyingly upbeat in the morning share so many gym poster philosophies, I wonder if they actually have ti…

The Growing Trend of Living Tiny

Move over, giant sprawling houses. Tiny house living is the Next Big Thing. After the Great Recession, people realized they didn't need — and shouldn't have gotten — 4,000 square foot McMansions anymore.

They started dumping all their useless crap, and began to simplify their lives. They started buying smaller and smaller homes, until it blossomed into a new trend: tricked-out garden sheds on small trailers, and every home and garden network airing tiny house programs six times a day.

Some shows focus on the building techniques and technology of the garden shed. Others are more of the hunting type, where — surprise, surprise! — two spoiled and picky people try to buy a tiny home that will suit their crunchy-organic-hug-Mother-Earth lifestyle, but are still surprised at how small the homes are. They want something they can entertain friends in, but still leave them all behind in an instant when they move across country on a whim.

Yet, for all their talk of being mobile, we all …

Sharks and Piranhas and Bears, Oh My

Growing up in Indiana, the one thing we didn't have were bears. I was always fascinated by bears. I admired them for their strength and single-mindedness in searching for pic-a-nic baskets. Bears were also far away animals, and I never worried about one of them eating me.

Not like sharks. I saw "Jaws" on HBO in 1976, and that has kept me out of the ocean for the last 40 years. I tried swimming in the ocean once, three feet deep, just to see if I could. All I could think of was a great white shark swimming beneath me, waiting for me to open my eyes, before it attacked. That was the first and last time I tried ocean swimming.

Then I saw "Piranha" a few years later, and that has kept me out of the Amazon River, plus all of South America.

Horror movies have taught me important survival skills. I know not to work as a winter caretaker in an isolated hotel in the mountains. I know not to visit small farm towns populated only by children. And I know better than to own…

Exercise and Technology Don't Mix

"Hello, I am Lily, your wearable fitness device. You can wear me on your wrist, and I will monitor your physical activity, and sync it all to your mobile phone or laptop computer so you can monitor your progress. Please state your name, so I know what to call you."

Hi, Lily, I'm Erik.

"Hello, 'Hi, Lily.'"

No, I'm not 'Hi, Lily.' I'm Erik. Where's the reset button?

"If you would like to reset anything, please consult the manual."

Where's the manual?

"Please consult the manual for the location of the manual."

*Six hours later*

"Hello, Erik. Please enter your age."

*Sigh* I'm nearly f---ing fifty.

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite understand that."

I said, I'm nearly f---ing fifty!

"Please state your age in a proper and reasonable number, like 25 or 28. Or, holy Logan's Run, 30."

I'm 49. My birthday was yesterday. That's the only reason I even have you, you know. …