A Side of Rice

Hopefully Humorous (and sometimes R-rated) Musings About Life


Crap…I’m Old Enough for AARP

In the Summer of 2016, I turned the big 5-0. It started in a rather auspicious way – with dragging my sorry ass around in a walking boot.  I had been diagnosed with a severely inflamed Achilles in addition to these sexy bone spurs:

Under Heel

As if the hot mess of new bone growth on the bottom of my heel — described by my doctor as “one of the largest spurs I have seen in a very long time” — wasn’t enough…

Heel only

…there’s this not-very-little-either crescent moon-shaped delight on the back of my heel.

I plodded along in the walking boot for over two months. I had special inserts created for my new multi-tasking work/casual/fancy shoes. Also known as tennis shoes.  Plus, I started Physical Therapy two times a week.

Given all the focus on limping, gimping, rehab, and not being able to drink due to medication (probably the worst side effect of all), I immediately forgot that AARP was doing its best to woo me into membership with direct mail solicitations every week.

In August, I was also reminded by my primary care physician that it was time for my first ever colonoscopy. Which, in an interesting turn of events, includes lots of drinking. But not the kind of drinking that gives you a fantastic buzz. More like the kind of drinking that gives you an intense appreciation for proximity to your own bathroom.

So as I prepped with purchase of enemas, Gatorade and laxatives, the purchase of an AARP membership moved further from my scope of attention. After the procedure, I didn’t give that AARP membership another thought. That’s because I was too busy celebrating the “excellent prep work by patient” notation on my colonoscopy discharge papers. Take that,  haters. I was no longer full of shit.

A few months later – and just about the time I was done with Physical Therapy for my Achilles — I started having some back pain. The pain was similar to what I experienced in 2007, when I had to have back surgery for a degenerative disc. After a visit to urgent care and a week of pain killers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers, I went to the ER because I wasn’t feeling better. In fact, the pain was worse.

So, the meds got stronger, I was sent for an x-ray, and I wished I had saved some of those colonoscopy prep materials. Because those anti-inflammatories and pain killers should be in a pharmaceutical category called clog-you-uppers.

AARP kept sending me reminder mailings about membership, but I was too busy trying to function while being looped out on meds that I didn’t do anything about it. Plus, I was focusing on the letter I had received from my doctor letting me know the x-ray revealed arthritis in my spine and we could chat about that at my next check up.

I was sent for more Physical Therapy to assess and then deal with my back issue. Lucky me – it’s only a bulging disc, pinched sciatic nerve, and severe sciatica. I have no feeling on the left side of my left foot because of the pinched nerve. But I get to keep wearing my tennis shoes with inserts, and at least no one has prescribed orthopedic oxfords.

The cherry on this sundae of “damn, girl, you’re old!”? During my PT treatments for my bulging disc, they put me on a rack, strap me in, and chain it to my body. Then the table separates, which elongates my spine to relieve the pressure of the bulging disc. It’s like 50 Shades of PT. Only, no sex. And no drinking.


So I finally gave in. I signed up online for an AARP membership:


With 50 comes wisdom…and membership benefits. Because if you’re gonna be medicated, poked, prodded — and constipated — you might as well at least get a discount at The Outback for your trouble. Am I right?


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Well, That’s the Pitts

Unless you’ve been living under a rock this week — or have all your entertainment alerts set to ‘Kardashian only’ (shame on you, if that’s the case) — you’ve heard the news that the Jolie-Pitt marriage has finished/ended.

And since they are such a globally aware couple now a pair of ‘normal’, heading-toward-a-nasty-divorce pair of adults, here’s how we say it’s over in any language —

  • Afwerking (Dutch – and so fun to say!)
  • Finir (French – for their neighbors in France, where they have a castle/estate)
  • fini (Haitian Creole – in honor of New Orleans, where they have a $3+ million dollar home)
  • បញ្ចប់ (Khmer – official language of Cambodia, for son Maddox’s fans)
  • hoàn thành (Vietnamese – in honor of son Pax’s fans)
  • Chereshe (Amharic, official language of Ethiopia, for daughter Zahara’s fans)
  • “50/50-ed” (nickname Californians have for how you divvy up the estate)
  • Overflate (Norwegian — which might actually be best for describing their egos)

There has been much speculation about this surprise Hollywood breakup… it’s all because of Angelina’s supposed OCD … it’s definitely Brad’s alleged marijuana use … it’s that their last movie By the Sea sucked something awful … it’s because TMZ needing to goose ratings.

Whatever it actually is, I’ll tell you what this break up/divorce isn’t. It isn’t…

  • shocking that two strong-willed, determined, and professionally-minded people find that they have grown apart
  • going to keep the Kardashians out of the news…unfortunately
  • nearly as newsworthy as Entertainment Tonight, TMZ, Access Hollywood, E!, or The Washington Post have made it out to be
  • brimming with the potential to be as entertaining to watch as the shit show called an election we already have going on in 2016
  • anything Taylor Swift hasn’t already written a thinly-veiled revenge song about
  • the excuse I can use to get out of working my concession stand duty
  • something special that any couple with kids hasn’t already gone through if they have divorced

So … maybe … being no more special than ordinary people who have to deal with this every day with far less fame, money, and access to cut-throat divorce attorneys is the the real reason this situation is the pits for the Jolie-Pitts.

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The Annual Christmas Card Photo-taking Fiasco

For many years, I was the bane of the staff at the JC Penney photo studio’s existence. I would drag my young sons and their equally enthused father to the store on a Saturday in early November, dressed in their finest Sunday best shit with the least amount of stains to get the Holy Grail of photos – the Christmas card insert.

While my kids were easily bribed with milkshakes at Red Robin if they behaved during the shoot, my husband was not as easily snookered. He would Grinch his way through the entire event, from waiting our turn, to getting the kids to sit still long enough for a nice shot (“is it really necessary to have more than one fucking pose?”), to the — in his words — “excruciatingly painful length of time it takes your mother to pick out a photo people are going to toss in the trash.” Ho fucking ho.

The past few years, I’ve taken the pictures myself at home in front of our Christmas tree and had them developed at a local discount store that may or may not rhyme with Halmart. The picture taking process consumes less than 10 minutes and my husband doesn’t have to be involved at all. Well, with the exception of having to haul the Christmas tree up from the basement so I can decorate it on Thanksgiving weekend and take pictures, have them printed, and ready early enough to get the cards out on time. Which leads to even more ho fucking ho.

Even though the process doesn’t take as long as it used to, the posing portion is definitely what takes the most time. There are a number of rejects before we get that perfect shot.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s the proof. First we tried to get the two dogs in the picture. And you see how that worked out:

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We did finally get the money shot:


But not before I got a bunch of crap:

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The worst part was actually the individual pictures. Nick was being especially uncooperative and at one point he started crying because he didn’t know what I meant by normal smile:


Teary-eyed and tired of mom being such a diva photography director

After he calmed down, we took a few more pictures. I told him he could chose the one he wanted to use. And of course he selected the one with the tear drop stains still visible on his sweater.


Don’t see them…look closer…

Tears up close

Mom-induced tear stains. Lovely.

I have been doing this since 2005, with the exception of 2012 when I was laid off and didn’t send 140+ Christmas cards. Perhaps I should give up my quest for a perfect Christmas photo each year?

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Yeah…no way.

Hope your family had a very Merry Christmas — or whatever year-end holiday you celebrate!