Four documentaries that will restore your faith in humanity

While my husband and I are physically capable of sitting down and watching whathaveyou together, I tend to opt for an 8PM bedtime while he watches ESPN until his eyeballs fly out.

He also hates to watch my “stories”. Hate is a strong word; my taste in television “bums him out”. Between Trump’s freakish rise in popularity to the collective obsession with Making a Murderer, Mr. Swirley claims he’s emotionally tapped out. He wants unicorns and churros and stupid ESPN mascot commercials. Fine, those ads are usually pretty funny,

Anyway, in the spirit of compromise and covertly-rolled-eyes-while-I-smile-and-nod, I am actively dampening my innate killjoy instinct to instead ID less offensive shows.  If you want to join the club, check out some suggestions from the most thoughtful person ever, AKA me!

1. Mortified Nation. If you are OK with watching television through splayed fingers,  ADD THIS TO YOUR NETFLIX QUEUE. People read some of the most embarrassing passages from their teenage diaries (think exploring inner gangsta’ rap personas or incredibly unrequited love). IT IS GENIUS and your stomach will hurt from laughing.

Most exciting is that your city might be hosting live performances of brave fools willing to bare it all for your entertainment. Check their site for an updated schedule.

videogamesmovie2. Video Games: The Movie.  While I’m not big fan of the ole video games, I now better understand the history of the gaming industry and why people spent all of 1997 play Bond. No, that’s a lie; I still don’t understand why people love(d) that stupid game. But the movie is interesting.

3. To Be Takai. The d0c not only features a review of George Takai’s long cinematic career but chronicles his early life in a Japanese American internment camp thru his evolution into an international icon. So much Takai time only makes me want more. Call me, George.

tiny_flat4. Tiny: A Story About Living Small. Our little group of friends often discusses retirement because, well, working sort of sucks. Specifically, we plan on shacking up in some sort of freaky compound to better share costs and complaints. Enter the tiny house movement where folks are learning to “live small” in order to enjoy fuller lives. It’s an interesting concept that alot of people are most definitely embracing.

Who knows, a corrugated tin roof just might be in our future, however, I put my foot down at a lofted bed. These Diet Coke-filled bones will be hollow long before I enter retirement.

No one ever accused me of being rational. Follow Swirleytime on twitter @swirleytime and Facebook for interesting stories, links and a lot of self-deprecating humor.

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A Valentine’s Day story: I gave a guy the wrong number and then we got married

Today marks the fourteen-year and 364 day anniversary of poor Mr. Swirley enduring my rendition of John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane”. No wonder his ears routinely bleed.

I met Old Man Swirley in the fall of 2000. After chatting at a party where he broke a couch, I decided the most subtle thing I could do was draw a heart on a whiteboard and slap his name in its center. Hush up, I was 21.

A few weeks later, we hung out in a kitchen so dingy that it would even impress fellow Big 10ers. We stuffed our mouths with Smarties in an attempt to flirt while not actually having to talk to one another and then …crickets.

giphy (1)In November, we met up at a birthday dinner of a mutual friend, where I attempted to give him my phone number (WHO AM IT?), but failed miserably. How? I accidently wrote the wrong number on the back of a friend’s receipt. You would think he would see this as a red flag…

Months went on and I saw that that medium-built guy who seemed to love wearing size large shirts all over the place: basketball games, a comedy show, eating chili anywhere it was sold.

Once I saw him in the student union where he was late for a talk given by Oscar Wilde’s grandson. After he was out of ear-shot, I leaned over and told my girlfriend, “I’m going to marry that man”. Turns out that Wilde thing was an assignment.

Still nothing…until second semester rolled around and my two roommates and I vowed to seek out a date or forever be ashamed of our lameness. Luckily my lady friends reminded me of my nerdy heartthrob crush.

So I called Mr. Swirley [GULP] and asked him to go snowshoeing. I don’t do winter, like at all. So this was what I was willing to do for a bet a Goddamn leap of faith. And then the snow started to melt. Obviously. Because why would Wisconsin be covered in snow in February? I prayed hard for a dusting of some white, devil powder on that fateful night of February 11.

The next day, Mr. Swirley picked me up in his old beater of a car with the ceiling fabric draped low enough to graze the top of my head. We drove to a nearby lake where we sort of snowshoed. I’m pretty sure he also bought some really ugly basketball shoes and then dropped me home at 4:00 PM. Awesome.

Fast-forward to stupid Valentine’s Day when I came home to a bouquet of handmade paper flowers in our mailbox. Given my roommate’s LONG list of  sensitive, ponytail-sporting admirers, I assumed they were for her. Hussey.

flowersThen I nosily looked at the card. STOP.THE.PRESSES! Our engineer friend, Mr. Swirley, has an artistic side. More importantly, the early conclusion to our date didn’t mean he thought I was a total dirtball.

So I rang him up and we went out to dinner. He ordered an open-faced Thanksgiving sandwich and I paid

Now we have a kindergartner, a war with the squirrels and so much shared excitement about our new front door. Even if he wasn’t going to that Wilde thing out of his own volition, he’s still alright with me.

And I know where we’re going for our anniversary dinner; Chili dogs outside  Tastee Freezes just might be the key to keeping love alive.

No one ever accused me of being rational. Follow Swirleytime on twitter @swirleytime and Facebook for interesting stories, links and a lot of self-deprecating humor.

Don’t rely on fickle Facebook for updates. Subscribe to Swirleytime below for more stories of screw-ups, caregiving and weird observations. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Caregiving Chronicles: Difficult decisions and bad hospital TV

I’m sitting in a dimly lit hospital room next to a sleeping mom (Ho-Ho). She’s just been transferred from the neuro unit of one hospital to the acute rehab unit of another.

It’s like Groundhog Day ’round these parts; two lesions in four months. ER to rehab to home…and back.

Multiple Sclerosis is an asshole.

Read more at ChicagoNow.

No one ever accused me of being rational. Follow Swirleytime on twitter @swirleytime and Facebook for interesting stories, links and a lot of self-deprecating humor.

Don’t rely on fickle Facebook for updates. Subscribe to Swirleytime below for more stories of screw-ups, caregiving and weird observations. Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Type your email address in the box and click the “create subscription” button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.

Caregiving Chronicles: Easy gifts to help caregivers survive

The holidays may be over, however, you can help out caregivers year-round with thoughtful gifts that will ease their minds and help pass the time.

1. Sundries. Stuff like dry shampoo and chapstick are often overlooked when you’re rushing to the ER. What happens after you sit in a waiting room for eight hours? You can’t tell the difference between the patient and caretaker. Travel-sized sundries stay in a bag and there when you need them most.

You know I write my name & number in ALL CAPS the second we make it to a room

All markers are mysteriously missing

Also, a set of white-board markers is surprisingly useful. Nurses can be stingy and caregivers have to be pushy when it comes to staying in the loop (i.e., writing your name and phone number in ALL CAPS on that bad boy).

Read more at ChicagoNow.

The first three weeks of Kindergarten: What fresh Hell is this?

You know when you (or your partner) is pregnant and everyone asks you about your birth plan? Someone inevitably follows up with, “women have been doing it for thousands of years,” as a (usually well-intentioned) reminder that you pushing that giant watermelon of a fetus out of your body isn’t totally bananas.

The thing is, it is. It’s a miracle or a horror show or somewhere in between depending on your perspective. But it’s your shitshow and it’s raw and emotional and wonderful and terrifying. And most of all you have no idea what in God’s name you’re doing.

Read more at ChicagoNow.

Awkward TV: Sometimes it’s Fun to Cringe

I’m definitely growing weirder as I age. Like a lot weirder. A few weeks ago a nurse asked, “how are you doing?”, to whit I responded, “I’m overbearing.” Yikes.

Luckily people seem to like weirdos (at least on television), which gives me a sliver of hope.

1. Mortified Nation. My childhood diary consisted of some snarky girl comments, the chronicling of a string of unrequited crushes and the story of that one time I got caught stealing my neighbors flowers.

Read more at ChicagoNow.

There’s A New Spin On #likeagirl And I LOVE IT

I recently saw Always’ new #LikeAGirl “Unstoppable” PSA and, whatever their motivation, found it extremely compelling. It reminded me that I always need to question how I communicate with kids. Yes, I generally suffer from an untreatable case of “foot in mouth disease”, but I do try to maintain a reasonable level of self-awareness when… Read more »

Stayton the Obvious: Questions about the Overboard remake

Dear Eugenio, Is it too forward to call you Eugenio? Mr. D? Dean? Anyway, I’ve been thinking about your new project over the past few weeks? What project, you ask? The Overboard reboot, obviously. You’ve taken on quite a responsibility and I admire your gusto. As a rabid passionate fan of the original, I have… Read more »

My kid is heading to kindergarten and I’m feeling all the feels

Well, it’s happened. Like every other kid, mine has gone ahead and grown up. I mean, he isn’t sprouting a dirty ‘stache or anything, but he’s old enough to head off to school. And with this realization comes a whole lot of freak outs on mom’s part. Let’s run through a list of these (sometimes unreasonable)… Read more »