Social Distancing Activities for Fall

Take it Outside

For the last five months, we’ve been locked up with our families for 17 years. Each day is another long, hot trek to bedtime. Parents break their brains thinking up creative ways to entertain their kids during this “summer vacation” that started in March and threatens to continue through fall. The phrase “Families Can Be Together Forever” is now a terrifying prophecy.

Here’s what we’ve learned: Sometimes video games ARE the answer.

Celebrities share Tik Tok videos about being “stranded” in their $6.5 million log cabins where everyone has their own TV, floor, masseuse, trampoline and personal chef. I’m not belittling their suffering, I’m just . . . well, I guess I am.

For common folk, trampolines are as hard to find as Lysol wipes. Puzzles, board games and sidewalk chalk are valuable commodities on the black market (along with livers, since we’ve been day-drinking for months).

Everyone is heading outside to escape.

Extended families stretch the “No large gathering” rules to the max because COVID wouldn’t ruin the annual family reunion, right? Lakes, canyons, national parks and camp sites are packed with people who thought they were the only ones who needed a break from looking at the same dirty carpeting for one more day.

I’ve been on several hikes this summer, sometimes with the puppy, sometimes with the grandkids. Not necessarily relaxing, but at least we take the fight to a different location.

My latest hike was tackling Bell’s Canyon with my daughter and three of my grandkids, including a 3- and 4-year-old. If that sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel, you are correct.

Before we even started up the trail the complaining began. “I’m so hot.” “The trail is too steep.” “The dirt is too dirty.” “I’m so thirsty.”

My daughter told me to shut up and set a better example, but it was too late. The littles were soon echoing my whines at super-high decibel levels. I ended up confiscating water bottles after a good portion was dumped onto the trail to make mud. I explained to the toddlers what happens when you dehydrate. They didn’t care.

It took roughly five days to make our way to the reservoir where the kids splashed in the cool water, tossed wet sand at each other, threw crackers at the ducks, slipped on the rocks and screamed at the dragonflies.

I considered calling in a rescue helicopter, figuring the expense was worth not having to walk back down the trail. Instead, we bribed the kids with McDonald’s, promising processed chicken parts if they’d walk faster than a drugged porcupine. We made it back to the car exhausted, sunburned and grumpy – just like a normal summer hike!

Backyards are also being used to their fullest. Our luxurious backyard pool (a 6’ wading pool from Walmart) is usually a weird shade of green and full of dead bugs, but that doesn’t stop us from soaking in the probably dangerous water, eating popsicles. If I don’t get sick from COVID, malaria might be another option.

The grandkids set up a tent a couple of weeks ago, hoping to have a backyard campout. They roasted marshmallows over the grill and climbed into their sleeping bags only to be shaken awake two hours later by a microburst that threatened to carry them to Oz. Everyone was safe, but traumatized, which seems to be the status quo in these crazy times.

Returning to school is the big debate right now, followed by what should be a strange Halloween and holiday season. Sure makes eternity feel like a really long time.

This column originally appeared in The Davis Clipper

Om is Where the Heart Is

woman-meditating-in-the-outdoors-2908175In a subtle attempt to calm me down, my husband enrolled me in a mediation course. I love meditation, in theory, and had a random practice that included meditating in bed, grocery store lines and during TV commercials, but I didn’t have an actual sit-down meditation practice.

Now I do. Twice a day I sit for 20 minutes and watch the thoughts in my brain battle to the death. According to Instagram, nothing proves how spiritual you are more than sitting quietly with perfectly styled hair and make-up. The longer you sit, the better a person you are. Fact.

So now I’m a super-spiritual Zen person. I make sure I talk about my meditation practice all the time. The more you talk about how you’ve merged with your inner self, the more interested people around you become. They could listen to you talk about your meditation practice for hours.

You also need an expensive meditation cushion. Here’s a conversation I had with my husband, who just couldn’t understand the complexities of meditation.

Husband: Can’t you just sit in a chair?

Me: To be uber-spiritual, I need an $80 meditation cushion so I’m closer to Mother Earth.

Husband: Why don’t you just sit on the floor?

Me: Don’t be crass.

I tried sitting on the ground to meditate. I was in San Luis Obispo at a conference, and I went to the beach early in the morning. I listened to the waves, communed with my inner being and radiated calm as I left the beach to go back to the hotel.

As I ran up the trail from the beach, I tripped on a rock and fell face-first onto a wooden stair, nearly breaking my nose and spending the rest of the weekend with a bruised and swollen face. If I’d been sitting on a beautiful cushion instead of the ground, my inner being wouldn’t have been pissed off and try to kill me. Fact.

Meditation in nature is supposed to be super-relaxing, but right when I close my eyes I feel an ant crawl across my foot and I have to look to make sure it isn’t a spider because then I have to jump up and scream.

The only reason to meditate outside is so people can see you meditate and understand you’re a super-spiritual person.

I’m teaching my puppy to mediate with me, hoping my calm energy will soothe her. After 10 minutes of getting her to settle down, I’ll place my hand on her back, syncing our breath and heart rate. Just as I create an intense connection to her heart chakra, she jumps in my lap to lick my face and ruins everything. She’ll never be as spiritual as me. Fact.

blue-buddha-ceramic-head-figurine-1597017People ask what I do when meditating. First, I sit quietly on my expensive cushion, noticing the thoughts running across my mind. I spend several minutes trying not to notice the thoughts running across my mind. I achieve two seconds of stillness before the thoughts start up again.

Soon I become numb from the waist down. The more numb you feel, the more spiritual you are. I can’t feel my toes and my knees are screaming for help. But that just proves to the Universe that I’m dedicated to my meditation practice. Sometimes I fall asleep and jerk awake before I hit the floor.

I expect I’ll achieve enlightenment any day now since I’m so good at meditating. If there’s one thing I excel at it’s doing absolutely nothing. Fact.

 

Originally published in the Davis Clipper

Tomorrow is Another Day in Quarantine

ScarlettAs soon as COVID-19 hovered in the air we breathe, I went into full-on “Gone With the Wind” Scarlett O’Hara mode, ripping up bedsheets to make toilet paper and stockpiling moonshine for antiseptic. Of course, Scarlett was useless in an emergency. For the majority of the Civil War, she whined and married rich men.

I’m also pretty useless in emergencies. When I knew the shelter-in-place edict was coming, I didn’t stockpile food, I scurried to the library to check out all the books.

After hoarding four months of library books, I told everyone in the house (my husband, my daughter and her two children, ages 3 and 8) to check their 72-hour kits.

They responded, “What 72-hour kits?” Not a good start.

In the shed, I located an emergency essentials bag that looked like it had housed a family of weasels. Along with 10 years of dust, it contained an expired can of roasted almonds, a box of matches, a pair of underwear and a spatula.

We were doomed.

Tossing my hair like Scarlett, I tied on my shopping bonnet and sang out “fiddle-dee-dee” as I headed to the grocery store for provisions. By the time I got there, options were limited, unless I was keen on making a casserole with canned asparagus, creamed squid and buckwheat flour. I figured we’d just be creative with dinner. (Lesson learned: 3-year-old granddaughters don’t like creative dinners.)

Our meals usually consist of some type of egg for breakfast, leftover Easter candy for lunch and something with hamburger or chicken for dinner. Could be spaghetti, could be soup. Hard to tell.

This has been the worst staycation ever. I do not recommend.

Both my husband and I can work from home, so we take turns sharing the home office space. One person works in the office with a comfy chair every other day, while the other person sits on a workout ball at a TV table in the bedroom. It’s . . . complicated. And we’re adjusting to each other’s work behaviors.

Husband: Can you not leave dozens of half-empty water glasses by the computer?

Me: You silly scalawag! Are they half-empty? Or half-full?

Anyway, our attorneys are working out the final details.

My puppy, Jedi, is over-the-moon excited to have me around, LITERALLY sitting on my feet all day. She got even clingier when the earthquake rattled our home (not funny Mother Nature) and she made me carry her 60-pound furry body from room-to-room for the next week.

As life was boiled down to its necessities, I realized how often (in the before-times) I would bored-shop, bored-Starbucks and bored-TV-binge. Since March, I’ve narrowed that list down to bored TV binging. (Between “Better Call Saul” and “Ozark” I definitely know I should avoid the Mexican drug cartel.)

As warmer weather approaches, I miss shopping for new spring clothes. Looking back oncurtains how Scarlett made dresses out of her velvet draperies, I tried channeling her creative spirit again. It was tough to made clothes out of our window coverings since we only have wooden blinds. But I did my best. Pictures not available.

We’re still in lock-down mode. I replenish our milk and produce once a week. We walk the dog a dozen times a day. We work and eat and read and play games and get on each other’s nerves and fight and makeup and write hopeful messages on the sidewalk in colorful chalk.

Like Scarlett, there are lots of things I’ll worry about tomorrow. But if we have books to read, food to eat and our family is safe, I’m very content in my little corner of the world.

Originally published in the Davis Clipper

A Woman’s Place

susanbAs the mother of four daughters, and grandma to several granddaughters, I’m frequently asked (okay, twice) what advice I’d give to young women. Women are stronger than ever before, yet many men try to drag us back to the Victorian Era.

Men keep gettin’ up in our bizness, drafting regulations about our bodies, creating rules about everything from prom wear to breastfeeding, and making sure we’re slut-shamed if we behave out-of-line.

We’re called hysterical. We’re labeled as trouble-makers. We’re branded as unreasonable. We’re given a warm glass of milk, a pat on the head and sent to the kids’ table.

Men have had thousands of years to run the world – and I’m not impressed. Maybe it’s time they step aside and let women do the heavy lifting. (Which we can totally do.)
Here’s what young women (of every age) should know:

Own your voice. Don’t waste time explaining yourself and don’t apologize for being a smart, confident, breath of fresh air. Shout your brilliance from the rooftops and ignore those grumpy old men who slam their windows to block out the noise.

Live an authentic life. Travel. Get educated. Eat what you want. Drink what you want. Wear what you want. If a man’s morals are compromised because he caught a glimpse of your shoulders (or ankles, or earlobes) – not your problem. Instead of adding layers to our wardrobes, how about men get their minds out of the damn gutter?

Raise your standards. Life’s too short to be with someone who doesn’t appreciate your greatness. If your partner is fighting with you instead of for you, time to show them the door.

Think big. Remember that amazing idea you had? Remember how you set it aside because you thought you had to be something else? Dust that idea off. Shower it with love and attention. Don’t be afraid of big ideas. The world needs your creativity.

Plant yourself at the table. We’re tired of being dismissed. We’re sick to death of being talked down to (mansplaining, anyone?). We’re capable, functioning adults and we have something to say. Ladies, don’t back away when you’re described as “shrill” or “harsh” or “bitchy” or any other words men use to slap us down.

Give yourself permission to be human. We’re not robots who smile 24/7, tidy up after meetings and schedule luncheons. Don’t feel self-conscious if your expression isn’t “happy” enough. Look serious. Who cares? Men certainly aren’t smiling, cheerful androids.

Stand your ground. When you’re being pushed aside, refuse to budge. There are generations of women who fought for your right to stand tall, raise your voice and share your truth. They’re cheering you on. You can feel their energy, right?

Embrace your goddess self. The Greek goddess Athena is my go-to deity. She’s not only the goddess of wisdom, but the goddess of war. There are times you need to sit back and listen, and there are times you need to put on your kick-ass shoes and, well, kick ass.

Lift other women. Like a rising tide lifts all boats, a rising woman can lift an entire generation. Don’t gossip, it doesn’t serve you. Don’t be envious, it sinks your success. Link arms with the women around you and march forward celebrating each other’s triumphs. There is strength in numbers and our numbers are vast.

Listen up, men. We’re tired of playing small. Either join with us so we can move forward together, creating a world where our granddaughters and their granddaughters can thrive, or slink back to your Victorian mindset. There is no more middle ground.

 

Originally published in the Davis Clipper and The City Journals.

 

Scent of Mystery

I blame Love’s Baby Soft for destroying my archeological career. Up until I started spritzing the perfume popular with the seventh-grade girls in my class, I’d never given any thought to how I smelled. My mom was lucky to get me to shower, yet, here I was, dousing myself in baby powder-scented toilet water.

luvsThe perfume’s slogan should have been a warning, “Because innocence is sexier than you think.”

Seriously? Who came up with that? Hustler magazine?

My mom saw the signs and tried desperately to distract me. Basketball practice. Dance lessons. Piano lessons. But it was too late. I’d discovered this scent could lure 12-year-old boys to my locker better than a steak sandwich (which I also tried).

But this wasn’t me! I didn’t care about boys! I had planned a life of adventure!

In first grade, I decided to become an author. I read “The Little Princess” until I absorbed the ability to write through osmosis. I spent the day in my room, penning stories and jotting down poems then submitted my siblings to “a reading” where I’d share my work and they’d complain to mom.

Becoming Nancy Drew was my second-grade goal. I was ready to uncover ridiculous clues to break up the den of bank robbers living somewhere in Murray, Utah.

As a third-grader, I checked out library books so I could learn hieroglyphics. When the call came to go dig up tombs in Egypt, I’d be ready. I would trek near the pyramids, wearing khakis and a cute pith helmet, encountering mummies and warding off ancient curses.

Fourth and fifth grades were spent honing my dance skills. Ballet, tap, jazz, hokey-pokey – I did it all. I’d practice every day, secure in the knowledge I’d perform on Broadway. Or at least the Murray Theater.

In sixth grade, I discovered Paul Zindel’s “The Pigman” and my desire to write returned full-force. It was decided. In the future, I would be a writing, dancing, detective archeologist who spent equal time on the stage and the Amazon rainforest.

But seventh grade! Boys! Gah!!

Suddenly, I wanted to smell good. I became obsessed with every pimple, every pore and studied the beautiful girls who made glamour seem effortless.

I read teen magazines. I learned I needed glossy lips and thick eyelashes to attract the opposite sex. (I tried to no avail to create the perfect cat’s eye, which turned out fine because I’m not a cat.) I had bangs so high and hairspray stiff, they were a danger to low-flying birds.

shaun-cassidyI fell in love with Shaun Cassidy, which was crazy because, as a writer, how could I marry someone who sang “Da Doo Ron Ron”? Those aren’t even words!

I earned money for Levi’s 501 button-fly jeans and Converse shoes. I bought Great Lash mascara, with its pink-and-green packaging – and Love’s Baby Soft.

Sure enough, the glossy, smelly trap I’d set began attracting boys who were just as confused as I was. Just last summer we played baseball in the street and now we circled each other like strangers, unsure of what the hell was going on. Hormones raged.

Thanks to the distraction of the opposite sex, I never deciphered hieroglyphics. I never performed under the bright lights of a New York stage. I was never asked to solve the Mystery of the Secret Bracelet.

I blame Love’s Baby Soft. If it hadn’t been for that innocent aroma, I’d be a world-renowned expert on ancient Babylonia, accepting Tony awards for my depiction of Eliza Doolittle.

Seventh grade! Boys! Gah!!

The Prince’s Pride

vizzini

Are we laughing or crying? 

Over the last three years, I’ve often felt like Vizzini from “The Princess Bride” where he constantly says things are “Inconceivable!”

Trump pays off a porn star with no consequences. “Inconceivable!”

Trump ignores requests for stricter gun control laws. “Inconceivable!”

Trump is bringing back coal and destroying EPA regulations. “Inconceivable!”

Trump asks a foreign government to investigate an opponent. “Inconceivable!”

Trump blocked a rule that would cut industrial toxic pollution by 90 percent. “Inconceivable!”

Trump bullies a 16-year-old environmental activist/rockstar. “Inconceivable!”

Trump continues to insult public figures without remorse. “Inconceivable!”

Trump is impeached and Republicans bend over backward to justify his behavior. “Inconceivable!”

Trump has a Rodent of Unusual Size living under his bed. Okay, that’s conceivable.

Tom finally said to me, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

I think he’s right. The inconceivable has become commonplace. Trump’s rants, antics, lies, disrespect and behavior have been normalized. No more are we surprised by the horrible things he says daily.

Just like “The Princess Bride”, good stories need a revenge plot. Trump has it covered. He threatens revenge against anyone and everyone who crosses him. He trolls his Twitter feed calling out the Fake News Media, former staff members and, hopefully, his stylist.

But no one cares. Inconceivable!

Social status is another theme of “The Princess Bride” – and the Trump Administration. In

humper

“I always think everything could be a trap, which is why I’m still alive.” –Trump or Humperdinck

the movie, Prince Humperdinck avoids the “commoners” while raising his status by trying to marry the most beautiful woman in the world. Trump also chooses status over leadership, cutting corporate taxes and avoiding places like Puerto Rico. Appearance is everything. If it’s not shiny, he doesn’t see it.

Nothing happens. No consequences. Inconceivable!

I’m sure he tucks his administration into bed at night with “Good night, staff. Good work. Sleep well. I’ll most likely kill you in the morning.”

The REAL Real Housewives of Salt Lake City

Unless you’ve been living in the Gobi Desert, hiding from the toxic political atmosphere, you’re well aware that Bravo will air the “Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” in 2020. As if 2020 wasn’t going to be terrible enough.

photo-of-woman-wearing-black-dress-beside-horse-2090704

Just a housewife. In a dress. With her horse. They’re so like us.

If you’re not familiar with the intellectual and thought-provoking series, executive producer Andy Cohen flies to town in his invisible helicopter, rounds up glamourous white women, tells them to act like idiots, then throws a diamond necklace into a swimming pool to watch them jump in wearing slinky evening gowns.

It started in 2006 with “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and then spread like the plague through New York, Atlanta, Beverly Hills and other unsuspecting cities. In any given episode, you can expect nanny drama, coiffed eyebrows, white woman problems, plastic surgery cleavage, mean gossip, pouty lips, cats, jewelry for cats, catty behavior and lots of big hair.

But why Utah? Well, the series tends to be overwhelmingly white, so I guess Utah makes sense. And I’ve heard that some women in Utah live glamourous lives in upper-class communities. That rules me out. My glamorous life consists of digging through laundry for a pair of matching socks.

What I want to see is “The REAL Real Housewives of Salt Lake City.”

Episode #1: Judy is late for church. She’s wrangling her seven children into their Sunday best while her husband spends the morning in church meetings. He calls to ask why she’s late again and she throws her phone into the garbage disposal and takes all the kids to Denny’s for breakfast.

Episode #2: Carol has been asked to plan a girl’s camp for a swarm of 12-year-olds. She hates camping. And 12-year-old girls. She reaches out to her friends to create a fun week-long adventure in the Wasatch Mountains. Carol hides a flask of “Holy Water” in her scriptures.

Episode #3: Brittany sewed matching pajamas for her entire family but no one wants to wear them for the family Christmas picture. Brittany locks herself in the bathroom to cry while her husband insists he loves the purple-plaid, footed pajamas that he’ll wear for the photo if she’ll JUST STOP CRYING!

Episode #4: Shelly is a wonderful cook. She makes cinnamon rolls to DIE for. Her best friend asks Shelly for her recipe. Shelly happily obliges, but changes all the measurements so her friend’s cinnamon rolls will taste like s***.

Episode #5: Alexa is in love. At 18 years old, she just wants her returned missionary boyfriend to propose so they can live happily ever after. There’s a lot of seductive hand-holding, late-night scripture reading and even a sleepover, which is actually just a New Year’s Eve party with six other couples playing Skip-Bo and drinking sparkling cider.

Instead of all these genuine Salt Lake City scenarios, the new show will feature your basic Housewives’ dilemmas. Boo. Here’s Stefon from Saturday Night Live to explain what we’ll see during the show (because I miss him and want him to return to SNL so much).

stefon“If you’re watching ‘The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City’ you can expect hysteria at the highest levels. There will be screeching, low cut gowns, pygmy goats directing traffic, Aquanet toothpaste, a jewelry heist, several cans of Pillsbury pizza crust, a lusty affair with a diesel mechanic, Spam, cabana boys with cowboy hats, Golden Retrievers wearing red pumps and a gala at Salt Lake’s newest club, Spork.”

Actually, that might actually make 2020 bearable.

Son of a Nutcracker

shallow-focus-photography-of-wooden-nutcracker-1697234It’s the time of year people pretend “The Nutcracker” ballet is a fun holiday activity. If you’re one of the lucky few who never sat through this weird production involving multi-headed vermin, living toys and one unsettling old man, here’s a recap.

Picture a festive house in the late 1800s with dozens of dancing guests, skipping children and happy servants, basically, it’s the “12 Days of Christmas” come to life. Young Clara and her obnoxious brother, Fritz, are the ballet version of little kids crazy-excited for Christmas. (The ballet version differs from real life because ballet dancers don’t speak, where real children don’t shut up from Thanksgiving to Christmas morning.)

Dr. Drosselmeyer, Clara’s super-creepy godfather, appears at the party dressed like Count Chocula and presents her with a wooden nutcracker. Clara is over-the-top ecstatic, for reasons I’ll never understand. I guess children had a different relationship with nutcrackers in the 19th century.

Clara’s brother is SO jealous of the gift (right??) that he flings the nutcracker across the room, because really, what else can you do with a nutcracker? Clara’s despondent. She wraps his broken wooden body in a sling (like ya do) and falls asleep on the couch, snuggled to her nutcracker.

During the night, the Rat King and his minions sneak into Clara’s home, because why not? She wakes up and freaks out. The nutcracker turns into a handsome soldier and wields his sword to defeat the rodent army.

“Nutcracker! You’re my hero!” screams Clara, if people in a ballet could talk.

“That’s Prince Nutcracker to you, peasant,” he sniffs in pantomime, before taking her to the magical Land of the Sweets ruled by the Sugar Plum Fairy who has an unclear but definite sexual relationship with Prince Nutcracker.

While in the Land of Sweets, Clara watches dancers from Russia, Spain, China and Arabia (?) as they perform in a culturally stereotypical fashion. Prince Nutcracker sits next to Clara cracking walnuts with his jaw like some football jock.

Mother Ginger shows up in drag with a skirt full of tumbling children, then there’s a flower waltz and dancing pipes and tons more pirouetting before the Sugar Plum Fairy takes the stage to make everyone else look clumsy and insipid. It’s all performed to Tchaikovsky’s musical score that stays in your head through January.

In the end, it turns out it was all a dream, as most stories involving young girls and adventure turn out to be.

I told you that story to tell you this story.

group-of-girls-doing-ballet-exercise-1638734When I was a gangly 11-year-old, still full of hope, I auditioned for Ballet West’s “The Nutcracker.” As the audition drew nearer, I practiced every spin and arabesque I’d ever learned. I played the music all day until my dad walked into my room, removed the album from the turntable and smashed it into pieces with his bare hands.

I showed up at the audition with my hair pulled into a bun so tight it closed my eyes. An elegant dancer performed several steps that we practiced for a few minutes, then we performed for the judges. It was over so quickly. As dancers were given roles as soldiers, party goers and mice, I held my breath.

But my number wasn’t called. I was heartbroken.

Maybe decades later I’m insulted that the ballet judges couldn’t see my awkward talent. Or maybe I’ve endured enough versions of this tale to see it’s craziness. And if “The Nutcracker” is your family’s favorite holiday tradition, ignore my opinion. It’s all a dream anyway.

Don’t Forget November

pumpkins-on-a-table-3094075Sandwiched between October and December, November is the bologna of months. Everyone pulls it out, gives it a sniff, then tosses it in the trash. Once Halloween is over, we blast into a frenzy of Christmas shopping and decorating, forgetting all about this beautiful month full of autumn leaves, crisp apples and carb overload.

We need a marketing team to change the perception of November from “Brownish month when we count our blessings” to “A kaleidoscope of excitement. And pie.” Okay, maybe “kaleidoscope” is overkill, and it’s hard to spell, but you get the idea.

Thanksgiving continues its reign as the best holiday between Halloween and Christmas but even the cherished turkey day has its opponents. It’s almost impossible to tell the origin story of Thanksgiving without pissing someone off. Let’s just say people living in America (probably not its original name) in the 1600s created the first Chuck-A-Rama, minus the carrot-filled Jell-O.

In the U.S., any holiday that has the tagline “An Attitude of Gratitude” is doomed from the start but what if we created a terrifying mascot? People like threats and merchandising. What if Gerta the Ghoulishly Grateful Goose (sold as a freakish Beanie Babies stuffed animal) flies into your bedroom on Thanksgiving Eve to make sure you’re being thankful. Not enough gratitude? She pecks your forehead and flies off with your pumpkin pies. Instead of Elf on the Shelf, how about Goose on the Loose? You read it here first, people.

What else happens in November . . . ?

Election Day! The first Tuesday after the first Monday when the moon is full and pythons are mating, is set aside for foreign nations to measure success by screwing up election results with fake social media content. As opposed, to genuine social media content. Consider this year a dry-run for the 2020 Apocalyptic Election to End all Elections.

Black Friday is also in November. What if we protest Black Friday sales and refuse to shop or decorate for Christmas until, call me crazy, December 1? Christmas is sneaky. Once you allow Christmas tree lots to set up in November, it’s an easy slide into year-round Christmas where everyone is miserable and broke. Charles Dickens could (posthumously) pen a story where we learn Ebenezer Scrooge was right all along, perhaps titled, “A Christmas Peril.”

Movember is also a thing where men are encouraged to grow mustaches to raise awareness for the importance of shaving – and men’s health issues. A group of women have also sworn to stop shaving for the month. That group is called Europe.

The first Wednesday in November is Stress Awareness Day, created by parents who realize Christmas is weeks away and their children are reaching frenetic levels of idiocy. Maybe November needs its own alcoholic beverage that we start drinking on this day. How about a mulled cider with a tequila chaser called the No No November?

Veteran’s Day is cool. World Kindness Day is super nice. But let’s tackle the real meaning of November. Pie.

Pie is the reason for November. With harvest foods like apples and pumpkins and close-up-of-tasty-looking-baked-goods-2955816.jpgpeaches and pears and banana cream, pie in November is as necessary as breathing, especially if breathing is slathered in homemade whipped cream or served a la mode.

So instead of treating November like it’s some type of disgusting mystery meat, can we agree it’s at least hamburger, maybe even a sirloin? Who knows, if we keep slapping Christmas back to its own month we might even enjoy the leaves, the apples – and the pie. Always the pie.