What’s in your genes?

Last week my son’s Ancestry DNA results came back.

It wasn’t what I was expecting at all. In fact, I don’t think he is my son.

Well, that might be taking it a little far…

My son is only 7% German. According to my genealogy records, I should be at least 75% German. In fact, just last week someone commented to me out of the blue how German I look. My husband even said that he doesn’t know anyone that looks more German than I do. That was before my son got his results back. Now I’m not so sure anymore..

My son is 27% Polish which definitely comes from Paul. He is also 10% Italian which was also a bit of a shocker. I am going to say that Paul is Italian. Both Alex and Paul look a little Italian to me. Plus Paul loves Italian food, music, and wine. My records do not indicate that I am Italian.

Of course, my curiosity got the better of me and I ordered 4 more Ancestry DNA tests for each member of my family. It was the only online shopping I did while trapped inside 3 days during the blizzard. You should be proud of me! Lol. I was tempted to order the ‘how to speak German’ kit and buy plane tickets, but hey maybe I’m not even German.

Now here is the big kicker…My son is almost 50% British. I didn’t know that my husband was British. My genealogy records indicate a small percentage of British blood.

Last year Paul’s mother passed away. He never knew who his father was. His mother told him some very limited details about the identity of his real father. One thing she said was that his dad’s last name was Wilson. The Ancestry DNA results matched my son up with an unknown 2nd cousin with the last name Wilson.

I’ve opened Pandora’s box. Should I reach out and contact this unknown cousin? I asked Paul what his thoughts were. He doesn’t care either way. Is there more to gain or to lose?? I honestly don’t know. What are your thoughts?? I have been tossing this around in my brain a lot lately…especially since soon this Wilson guy is going to be seeing 3 more close relatives that he probably had no idea existed.

I started digging around in my family tree to try to find my British link. I found 2 separate lines going back to England both with the last name of Wilson. Then it hit me. Oh my gosh, could my husband and I be related?? Is that why my son is so British?? What have I gotten myself into now??

I can tell you one thing, this has really renewed my interest in genealogy.

 

 

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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Thank you Lana Cole for nominating me for the sunshine blogger award. Maybe you thought with all of the spring snow we have received lately that I might need a little sunshine in my life. Check out Lana’s blog at https://colecampfireblog.com. She has a warm and welcoming family blog, plus she is vegan. She is very adventurous, fun, and posts some awesome photos too.

Here are the rules for being nominated…

  • Thank the blogger that nominated you in the post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you
  • Nominate 8-11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award Logo on your post and/or in your blog

Here are the answers to the questions I was asked:

1. Twizzlers or Red Vines?  I’m not sure if I ever had Red Vines before. I had to Google what it was…But as far as licorice goes, I like red licorice but am not a fan of black licorice.

2. Favorite super hero?  I had to ask my husband about this one. I like the whole super hero idea, but can’t say I have a favorite. My husband jokingly said that he is my super hero. Awww…sappy, I know. But I’m going to go with that.

3. If you could live inside a book or game which one would it be and why?
I would live inside of a book. It has to be a super good book, like a bestseller…but one that I don’t know the ending to so I don’t get bored. A psychological thriller would be fun. Maybe I could be a serial killer profiler. But I would not want to be killed or have anyone I know be a victim in this story.

4. If you could travel in time, would you go to the future or the past and why?
One thing I discovered about myself through blogging is that I really enjoy history, specifically family history. That being said, I would go back in time and get to know my ancestors. I’ve always longed for more than just names and dates.

5. Who is your favorite comedian?  This one was tough too. I recently found a comedian I like out of our state by the name of Charlie Berens. He takes our culture to the extreme so it is rather funny.

6. You are a huge success as a song writer… What type of music do you write songs for?  Unfortunately, I would probably be a song writer for country music.

7. If you were in the 2020 summer Olympics what event would you medal in?
Realistically, I probably wouldn’t medal in anything. It sure would be fun to be a really fast runner though.

8. If you could only drink one type of beverage for the rest of your life, what would it be? (NO Ryan, you can’t switch from a light beer in the morning to a full strength beer in the afternoon…)    It would probably be water. But if I didn’t need it to survive, I would probably pick beer.

9. What is your favorite board game?   Loaded Questions. In the game, you are asked questions similar to these and then you have to figure out who wrote down what response.

10. If you were going to stumble on to a wild animal, what animal would you be most afraid of encountering?   I would really be afraid to encounter a polar bear. First, those things are huge. Second, I would really be worried if arctic animals moved into Wisconsin with the weather we have been having recently.

11. What is your favorite blog post you have written and why?   I can’t choose a favorite post, it’s almost like picking a favorite child. I’ve been blogging for almost 3 years now…so this is really hard. Maybe you can help me out with this one by telling me your favorite topics that I write about…or subjects you want to hear more about..

Here are the blogs I nominate…

jeffrab.com

Here are my questions for you…

1. What is your favorite topic to blog about?

2. Do you prefer salty or sweet?

3. Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

4. Where is your number one place you would like to visit?

5. Where is the most beautiful place you have ever traveled to?

6. If you were forced to pick one…Are you beauty, brawn, or brains?

7. What is your birth order?

8. What book/movie closely resembles the story of your life?

9. What is the temperature outside right now?

10. What is the last thing you ate?

11. What is your favorite hobby?

Thanks for participating. I look forward to hearing your answers.

Keep writing!

 

The wrath of Evelyn?

I wasn’t going to write about this, but maybe it’s a sign.

I am rather confused on how to read it.

Maybe it’s just a coincidence.

I’m not a very superstitious person.

Ah, who am I kidding?? I get all bent out of shape from a bad fortune wrapped in a crappy tasting cookie.

It started last week on the evening of the first snowstorm in April. We scheduled an appointment for our realtor to come out to get some pricing together on our house. A distant cousin of mine is interested in buying our house before we put it on the market.

The snowstorm prevented the realtor from coming out on the scheduled night.  

I jokingly said to my husband that maybe we weren’t meant to sell the house to my cousin.

After the realtor came out, we scheduled a meeting with my cousin for this past weekend.

This past weekend we got hit by Blizzard Evelyn, the biggest snowstorm our area has seen in over 100 years.

Now Evelyn was my grandma’s sister and my distant cousin’s grandmother.

Another sign, perhaps?

I was fairly close to my Aunt Evelyn. When my kids were little, I often visited her with my grandma.

I felt like I had a lot in common with Evelyn. She was a thin wispy woman that always seemed to worry. Her house was always clean. She had a hard time sitting still. She loved visiting with the kids. Sometimes when we were ready to leave, she would open up the door to a side room with a waiting 10 course homemade meal. She was a lonely widow. How could we say no?

I miss my visits with my grandma and her sister. They have both been gone a long time now. I have remembrances of both around my house. My grandma helped plant the trees in my backyard and I have my aunt’s paintings on my walls. It was soothing to think that maybe a relative would buy our house and the memories of these sweet ladies would live on.

I always envied my cousin. She was the only child born to her parents after over a decade of infertility. She was a miracle baby, a beautiful princess. Her parents spoiled her rotten.

As a child, I wanted her life. I would’ve given anything to be her.

Looking back, I’m glad that my hardest years in life were my childhood. It gave me strength, made me tough, and built my character. If the best years of your life are your childhood, everything else is downhill. How can you be happy when you’ve had it so much better before?? But, of course, I want my children to have a great childhood unlike my own. What is disservice!

I don’t want my cousin’s life anymore. Maybe now she wants my life.

She got married and started a family a couple of years after I did. But, unlike me, she left her husband and children behind for another man. Her family was devastated. Since then several years passed. She is now living with a much older man who just left his wife of many years.

My cousin’s story is not all that much of a rarity anymore. Staying married for a long time to the same person is.

My grandma and her sister married young and stayed with their husbands until death. It seems easy, ideal actually, to have that one true love that you stay with through thick and thin.

No one I know really wants their children to marry young. Finish college first. Then be out on your own for awhile. I am guilty of wanting the same thing for my children. Yet we want them to find that one true love that they stay with for their whole entire life like our grandparents did. It’s not practical.

Last week, Paul and I ran into an acquaintance who told us she just got divorced after over 20 years of marriage. Right now I can think of only one other couple we are close friends with that are on their first marriage and have been married longer than us. That is sad.

Something is broken in our society and I don’t know how to fix it. The only thing I can do is be a good example of marriage.

But sometimes I feel like my marital bliss is smacking the faces of those who failed.

Ha ha, I finished the marathon but you dropped out of the 5K. Is that how they view us??

It’s hard to get good marriage advice. It’s just as tough as getting good parenting advice. Sometimes I feel like people are giving me marriage advice similar to parenting advice…they tell me how to raise toddlers when I have teenagers. I am beyond those years now. I want something meatier than just make time for each other or communication is important. I’ve searched, but haven’t found. Good luck, you’re off the charts now. After 20 years, how do you take it to the next level??

My cousin wants to move into my house to be closer to her children. How can that be a bad thing?

But then the biggest blizzard ever recorded in over 100 years hit the weekend we were supposed to show my cousin our house…BLIZZARD EVELYN!!

Is this some sort of sign?? Did we invoke the wrath of Evelyn?? Is someone else supposed to buy our house?

Evelyn, I don’t care if I sell my house to a bunch of satanists as long as I sell my house!! Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit. But weren’t you when you dumped all of that snow on us?

Now if we get another snowstorm this weekend when we rescheduled the visit with my cousin, I am really going to start worrying.

Maybe the whole thing is a coincidence, but it all seems rather bizarre.

Or maybe I’m reading it all wrong.

Maybe it’s a sign that we should move to Florida.

Wine versus exercise in the long run…

Most of you know me as a thoughtful, serious, worried, borderline depressed individual that has had a difficult past. You would be correct. But I’d like to think I have a sense of humor that balances everything out.

It is the weather, people. Yesterday I ventured out and several random strangers stopped me and asked me when spring is coming. Did they think that I know?? I haven’t had any birds trying to nest in my blonde straw like hair yet, so it might be awhile. I didn’t mention my bad grade in the 8 AM college meteorology class though.

I just looked at the weather forecast for this weekend. We are expecting another foot of snow/ice. I’m going to jump off of a cliff. I had to say that out loud and my cliff diving son gave me suggestions of where to go.

Anyway…I saw a funny plaque a few weeks back that I bought for the bar (remember I live in WI) in my new house. It read and I quote…

Exercise makes you look better naked. So does alcohol. Your choice.

Nice, huh? I was thinking of hanging it up next to my medal display. But, wouldn’t that be tacky??

I’ve seen some debate online lately about exercise and wine drinking for longevity.

A new study says that drinking wine is better for longevity than exercise. Of course I had to make a comment…We’ll see who lives longer. Wait! How will you know I am right?

I didn’t bother reading the stupid article. But my question is this…Where do you draw the line??

How much exercise? How much wine??

Last month I went to a party and my best friend asked a doctor friend if running a marathon was healthy. She said that the jury was still out on that one. Talk about safe answer! As most of you know, I signed up for my 4th marathon. I said I would quit after the first one.

Wait! Does that sound like a problem??

How much wine? A glass a day…a bottle a day?? I know people that do both. Again, where is the line?

I have friends that run marathons and are alcoholics. Will they live forever??

Sometimes I wonder if I should say something about their drinking. Now maybe I should say something about their running too. Honey, the exercise is going to kill you long before the drinking ever will.

I think that most people my age (40’s) truly know almost everything there is to know about themselves. They have had enough time to contemplate their lives. At this stage in the game, I am well aware of my strengths and weaknesses. Most of my friends are probably aware that they drink (or exercise) too much. Is it my place to remind them of that every time I see them? What a buzz kill I would be at the post marathon party.

One of my biggest weaknesses (and strengths) is my critical eye. I love to solve problems. I want to fix things that are broken, i.e. people. I want to be in control over the domain beyond my person. I have a natural tendency to nag, complain, and nit pick. I have no problem providing that service to the people closest to me in my life. But most of the time I find myself biting my tongue. Who am I to play God??

Think about it, you probably don’t need me telling you what you suck at. You probably already know.

I know that some of you think I am crazy for running hours at a time. But running actually makes me feel less crazy.. If you’ve never run a marathon, I don’t think I could explain it to you. If you have, you know. Sometimes physical pain provides a release for emotional pain. It clears the troubled mind.

I have nothing against drinking in moderation (because that is what I do). But I don’t exercise in moderation. I’m even thinking of doing an ultra race which is longer than a marathon.

Is that healthy? Or is it a problem??

We’ll see who lives longer.

 

 

Sprinter

Judging by the title, you might be tempted to think this post is about running. But I hate sprinting almost as much as I hate this sprinter.

I’ve heard this spring is referred to now as sprinter because winter has been hanging around too long at the end.

Last week we got over a foot of snow. We had one massive snowfall and very brief periods of heavy snow on a couple of other days. It’s been so cold and windy that I was tempted to cut down a Christmas tree for Easter.

I heard we broke a record for snowfall amounts in April. We also broke a couple of records older than me for record low high temps. On some days our high temperatures should’ve been our low temps for this time of year. So far we are expecting a 6 inch winter mix this next weekend. Seriously, we already broke the sprinter record. Why not call it quits? The only med(t)al you are going to get will be from the back of my shovel.

My car got stuck in the driveway at work. The snow was up to the bottom of my car. There was no way I was going to be able to drive through it. My husband said that my car was not made for Wisconsin winters. I agreed. I think I need a car for every season. I could have a 4WD Jeep for winter. In the summer, I would have a convertible. In the fall, I would buy an old VW robin egg blue hippie van for road tripping. I picture myself wearing vintage 60’s clothing as I am checking out the fall colors on Route 66…My husband said that probably won’t be happening anytime soon..Oh well.

The weather has brought about other repercussions. Our kids ran out of allotted snow days at school. Now they have to go to school 10 minutes earlier for the rest of the school year. It was that or have a week off for summer break. We’d also have to hope the week they had off was actually summer like. Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit…but I do remember a time where we had 6 inches of snow in the middle of May.

I spent sleepless nights wondering if the school bus would be 10 minutes early. Would my daughter roll out of bed right as the bus showed up? How will I get them out of bed earlier? I think my son was late for school today. He is always late. I told him last week that he would probably be late for his own funeral. Personally, I don’t care when he dies as long as he has given me many opportunities to roll over in my grave before he joins me at the pearly gates.

On days that school is off, my autistic brother Matt does not go to his workshop for the disabled. Apparently, however, he got picked up from his group home and was dropped off at the workshop. All of the doors were locked and he was left out all alone in the cold blustery snow. He wandered around for awhile outside in the cold until he found a business that was open. He went inside and told the lady at the front desk that he needed help.

Thankfully, he ended up being okay. It could’ve turned out worse. He could’ve froze to death out in the cutting cold north wind and blowing snow. I felt angry at the incompetence of my brother’s caregivers. What a bunch of idiots.

How can you feel good about dropping off a disabled person at a place where there aren’t any cars and the lights are all out during a snowstorm?? I’ll dump this guy off in the snow bank and be home in time to watch Family Feud. My brother doesn’t have a cell phone and has a hard time communicating with the people he knows.

Maybe something good will come out of it. Maybe the drivers will be required to make sure their disabled passengers get inside wherever they are going.

This past weekend I helped my uncle transplant at his greenhouse. I wasn’t allowed to touch the plants because I have been known to kill them. Instead I stuck labels in front of the plants like a tombstone in the cold dirt. The flowers smelled so nice and the greenhouse was so warm and sunny, like summer. I didn’t even mind all of the sneezing! For a few brief moments, I almost felt happy.

I hope this sprinter will morph into a full on marathon of summer.

Soon, I hope! I can’t keep going at this pace much longer..

Fine!

It happened after midnight early Saturday morning on a dark country road near his friend’s house.

I didn’t find out about it right away.

I found out a couple of days before the fine was due.

Operating left of the center line. It sounds pretty petty, but it cost over $200 and 4 points.

Were you sober? Yes

Were you wearing your seat belt? Yes

Were you going the speed limit? Yes

I was a pretty happy mom.

I don’t know what I did wrong.

You need to fight it in court. They were probably scouting the back roads for drunk drivers and found you instead. Lucky you! The fine is steep and you will be losing a lot of points for a minor offense.

The court date was the same date and time as the ACT test.

The fine was due. It was too late.

I paid the fine online. The site asked if I wanted to sign up for an account. What? No! This will never happen again. Then I remembered the fine from the previous month when my son was caught doing donuts in the parking lot.

Are these minor traffic offenses building me up for something bigger that I need to get a future account for?? Do hardened criminals start out with minor traffic offenses? Is it the gateway crime? My heart fluttered in fear. Is this where it all begins?

The irrational part of my mind calmed the butterflies stirring in my heart. I’m sure everything will be fine. MY child would never do something like that.

Dark doors

The other day my son asked me why he is so dark.

Immediately I said that it was a part of his personality. Maybe it is something that you could work on. Oh my, did he get that from me??

Then he said, “Not my personality mom, my skin.”

That was a few days after he took the Ancestry DNA test. I told him that we would find out soon. I also heard that the test could match you up with long lost relatives or maybe famous people.

Famous people? Then I got to thinking some more.

Why are my oldest two kids freakishly talented at music? This past weekend my son made it to state as a junior for his graduate level solo and ensemble piece along with 2 other pieces. My daughter was involved in a big singing competition, made it to a difficult level, and earned the opportunity to sing for a big opera star. She was invited to compete at an event in Boston. So far they are the only sibling duo to receive perfect scores at state for music in their high school.

There aren’t any professional musicians in the family. No one had a garage band. Not even one music teacher. Just a haphazard bunch that played an instrument for awhile or sang in the church choir.

Was it because of the early childhood piano lessons? The family involvement in community theater?

This got me thinking some more…

Maybe Paul’s real father is Jim Morrison from The Doors. It makes sense. It was the 60’s and Morrison was alive back then. So it has some face validity. Talking about his face, my son does resemble him a little. They have the exact same scowl.

But, if Paul’s dad is a rock star…why did his mother fail to mention that? This is where my theory gets a little tricky.

I guess we’ll have to wait for the Ancestry DNA results to come back.

What if we find out who Paul’s father is? What do we do with that information? Maybe Paul has siblings? Or a hefty inheritance that no one has claimed?

Or maybe we are cracking open the door to Pandora’s box.

 

Personality strengths

A couple of months back, my daughter Angel was reading a book about personality strengths. I hinted that the book would make a wonderful Christmas gift idea for you know who. I was happy when I saw the CliftonStrengths book wrapped up under the tree for me.

My daughter has some amazing strengths…Woo, Communication, and Positivity to name a few of her top strengths..Compared to her, my top strengths probably make me seem like I am serial killer material.

I took the test online. It asked questions like..Do you focus more on your strengths or your weaknesses? Do you calm or excite people? Hmmm, interesting. It took a lot of thought, but you weren’t given a lot of time to answer the questions.

Here are my top 5 strengths:

  1. Restorative
  2. Achiever
  3. Deliberative
  4. Analytical
  5. Intellection

Restorative is the desire to take things apart, find the problems, and fix them. Problem solving…I am a fixer. I love giving advice. It drives my family insane. I am not a big listener. If someone comes up to me with a problem, I immediately start to work on solving it for them. Sometimes I help people, sometimes I annoy them.

I am very deliberative. It usually takes a long time to make a decision. I look at everything from all angles and can see forward into the if and then of the decision making process. I am very analytical in recognizing when patterns change or are off in any way. I can see all of the minute little details.

When I was younger, I wanted to be a counselor. It was big on my heart to fix broken people. I learned over time that I couldn’t fix people. The problems with people were glaring to me. I felt critical…if only you would change your path…if only you would stop hurting yourself. I just wanted to fix all of the broken people and take away their problems. It is probably a good thing that I didn’t end up being a counselor.

I am a big time achiever. I have to feel like I accomplished something every single day. I am not calm. I cannot relax. I cannot sleep in. I can’t take a day off to do nothing. I want to be a calm person. I fantasize about living a carefree life. But the drum of the taskmaster beats steadily in my head and I live with it. I get shit done. I am happy that way.

I am an intellectual. This strength for me also includes a lot of time spent in introspection. I think, think, think all of the time. The gears in my head always keep grinding.

I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. People don’t flock to me like I am the next best thing to whatever their best thing is. I am okay with that. I don’t need to be liked or even to feel popular for my well being. I don’t give a hoot about what people think of me. I would rather have deep conversations than talk to you about superficial fluff any day.

Let’s be honest…I am happy to be me.

A smashing idea…

Lately my technology has been going out more than I have.

This month has been a total technology fail for me. Here is the list of things that went out this month alone:

  • My computer at work
  • My printer
  • My monitor
  • My cell phone

Last month my daughter convinced me to upgrade my iPhone 5 at a Black Friday sale. I was hesitant. I hate updates and upgrades. It makes me feel like an idiot. Just when things work perfectly fine, there is another update that I have to spend 3 hours learning. I had the phone over 3 years and just figured out how to use it. Not to mention that it has been almost impossible getting another phone case for my running belt…Knowing my luck, the phone would probably fall out when I am running breaking my new phone and my leg in the process using the old case.

But my phone was starting to glitch out on me. Sometime it would freeze. The worst thing was that I no longer received my WP notifications…Blogging just wasn’t the same without the WP ping. It made me feel like I was writing on paper with a sore inky south paw hand.

On Black Friday, I upgraded to an iPhone 7. I didn’t spend the extra money on the insurance plan for myself, but did for my kids. Seriously, like adults need to worry about cracked screens or smashed phones??

Last week I smashed my new phone.

I was in a hurry like I always am…running late. I grabbed my phone as I ran out the door. My husband was waiting for me in the truck. As I lifted my leg to get into the truck, my phone must have slipped out of my jacket pocket. Once we got to our destination, I couldn’t find my phone. I thought I must have forgotten it at home. It was kind of like a ‘did I turn off the oven’ back burner thought to me. I thought I took it with but second guessed my memory in the rush to get out the door.

I couldn’t find my phone when I got home. Finally my husband found it frozen in the driveway. It looked fine on the outside. I wrapped it in my arms to warm up. But it was too late. It was dead. I took it in to get fixed. Once they opened it up, it was smashed inside.

I had to buy another phone. I also got a new computer, printer, and monitor at work. Now I even have two monitors so I can read your posts when I am sitting half the day on hold at work. I won’t even mention the internet, software, or phone problems at work…just this month. It’s insane!

I spent so much time this month irritated by technology. I even had the opportunity to hear our IT guy swear for hours on end as I sat helplessly watching. What a waste of time!

I want to take all of these items that failed me into a dark room with a baseball bat. I want to bash the monitor…crack my cell phone…smash the computer to bits…and pummel my printer to paper pulp. I might need a padded room. Not for myself! I don’t want to chip the walls.

I can almost hear the glass shatter in my mind. I love the sound of it.

It is so hard to be gentle towards our fragile devices that cause so much rage.

I’ve always had the fantasy of smashing computers…almost like having the car seat burning party I talked about but never had once I was done with all of that.

It sounds like a smashing idea, doesn’t it??

Getting malled

This morning…like really early this morning before I woke up…I received 2 emails from a large online company saying that they had a technical error and couldn’t send me an item I ordered on cyber Monday. I try to avoid the mall if at all possible. I’ve never even been black Friday shopping. Maybe I should go next year if I can’t run a marathon…it might give me the same feeling…waiting in line and then running as fast as you can towards the prize. Although I probably wouldn’t get the ‘free’ banana. I’ll have to rethink that..

Anyway…as I was saying, this company couldn’t complete my order but they didn’t tell me what item(s) out of the 25,000 that I ordered they weren’t sending…I tried to contact customer service, but didn’t see the option to choose that I received an email saying they couldn’t fulfill my order. I got a reply right away when I emailed them under the category of fraudulent email. It didn’t seem legit to me anyway. Two emails sent in the middle of the night with an order number and no product description. They sent a quick reply stating that they couldn’t send me an immersible blender. (Although I do still see it for sale on their website at 4 times the price I paid).

The immersible blender is the one item that my mom said that she wanted from me for Christmas. An immersible blender?? What??

This weekend I will be heading to the mall with half the population of Wisconsin to try to find an immersible blender. Did I mention that I HATE SHOPPING!! But before you start to picture me in your mind limping around…there is hope. I will go to the mall during the Packer game. Hopefully the mall will be packed only with pissed off sales clerks that will be missing the game. Fingers crossed on that one!

I feel really blessed to live around a large population of Packer fans when I don’t care about football. Please don’t let the word get out…I get a little nervous if I accidentally wear the opposing team’s colors to church as I am surround by people in Packer jerseys. It is almost like a cult.

Wish me luck on finding an immersible blender without getting mauled by a zillion Christmas shopping mall goers this weekend..

Yeah, good luck with that! I’ll let you know how it goes..