Chicago, Humor, John Hughes, Summer

Screw It, I’m Eating Tater Tots- Episode 28

If you’re new to my blog, welcome! Here is an explanation of the tater tot post.

John Hughes tour

Mike and I organized our first John Hughes tour a few weekends ago. It was eight hours of laughter, quotes, 80s new wave music, food, and fun. It was exactly what I didn’t realize I needed after the year we’d had.

Cool children’s programming

When Biz Markie died, I played one of his songs for Ella on the way from our neighborhood bakery one morning. She said, “Oh, I know who he is! He was on Yo Gabba Gabba.”

Yo Gabba Gabba was an obscure children’s show that was popular in the early 2000’s. Ella used to watch it for hours at a time when she was younger, to the point that I would sing the songs even when it wasn’t on the TV. I have to say, it was quite addictive. But I’m glad she knew who Biz Markie was.

What makes a vacation?

I took a few days in the middle of July to travel to central Illinois to be with Anna at her apartment in her college town. I helped her in cleaning, organizing closets, grocery shopping, and getting ready for her senior year. Because of COVID, I didn’t get to help her with anything at college last year. In fact, I didn’t even get to see her apartment last year because of the restrictions. So I was happy not only to be able to help her but also to spend time alone with her.

We went to her favorite pub and had several cocktails, we went out to dinner alone, then we took a drive to go to a favorite lunch restaurant we hadn’t visited since my parents lived in Chattanooga. It was lovely. I’m enjoying having an adult relationship with my daughter. This was my summer vacation.

On the two-and-a-half-hour drive down to see her, I had time to think. What makes a vacation?

My idea of a vacation changed after the pandemic. I don’t need to go to a resort to feel like I’ve traveled. Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling. I have a travel bucket list of places I want to visit someday.

But have you ever been in a grocery store in a strange city?

A change of scenery, eating dinner at a friend’s house, having a lively conversation with a parent, buying yourself something at a store you love, and finally being able to drink a Starbucks latte while shopping in Target.

All of those things can also seem like a vacation too.

What I’ve been reading

The Artist’s Way

Still Here: Embracing Aging, Changing, and Dying by Ram Dass

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

Write a Poem, Save Your Life: A Guide for Teens, Teachers, and Writers of All Ages

What I’ve been watching


Mystic River

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

This Changes Everything

What I’m quoting

What I’ve been listening to

What I’ve been clicking on

What It Really Means to Be There and “Hold Space” for Someone Else

Moira Rose’s Accent On ‘Schitt’s Creek’ Explained By An Expert

Autistic Hoya — A blog by Lydia X. Z. Brown: Ableism/Language

You Are Defective: Our Journey to Unschooling • Lifewhack

Ladybugs Or Lady Beetles: What’s The Difference? – Dave’s Garden

Meet The Friendliest Man In Oceanside – Stab Mag

What Great Listeners Actually Do

What Is The Bechdel Test, And Why Are Films Still Not Passing It? | British Vogue

August is my parent’s anniversary month, Mike’s birthday month, and my Mom’s birthday month. There’s a lot to celebrate.

I hope you’re able to celebrate the big and little moments this month.

36 thoughts on “Screw It, I’m Eating Tater Tots- Episode 28”

  1. Where/what was included in the John Hughes tour?

    There’s a YoGabbaGabba channel now (reruns, I assume). I’ve never seen it but think Mark Motherbaugh, if DEVO, wrote the theme song or something.

    As a teen, my family spent a month traveling by car/trailer every year. I’ve been to many grocery stores in strange cities! As a adult, I visited Manhattan with a friend who worked at a grocery store in SoCal. We went to a Red Apple grocery store every single day solely to enjoy how rude the staff was!!


    1. I wrote a post titled, Walking in John Hughes Footsteps. If you search for it on my blog, it will show you most of where we went that day.

      He did, indeed! He also appeared frequently on the show. I read in an article recently that he almost died of COVID this year. Thankfully, he’s recovered.

      I think visiting different grocery stores would be fun. I used to enjoy doing that as a child. I wonder if other kids liked to do that too?


      1. I knew thought about grocery stores and only 1 made an impression in my teens. I don’t know where it was… must have been extreme NorCal or Oregon. I don’t actually remember the store. I remember leaving with tons of Ball jars so my mother could can fruit.. blackberries.. in the trailer. After that, I remember sitting at a picnic bench at our campsite, hand-feeding blackberries to squirrels (or maybe chipmucks) while my mother canned.


  2. Can I believe in you? Needed to hear that this morning. As for the Bechdel Test I apply it to what I watch, but it can make me sad to realize that something I think is funny doesn’t pass the test. This creates cognitive dissonance and that bugs me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love John Green, and your tater tot posts. I will need to come back and spend a longer time with all these treats. Need to get out in the yard before the temps approach the 90s. (Going to be 93 today. Ugh.)

    There’s more I want to look at/think about, but I did spend time with “You Are Defective.” I love this metaphor. I will never forget my son telling me that he was never going to homework again because he spent all day in a place he hated, doing things he hated, and he was not going to do more of it when he came home. When I said something about how we all have to do things we don’t like, he told me that wasn’t true; if I had a job I hated as much as he hated school, I’d change jobs. I realized he was right. I’ve given my adult life to public education, but I will be the first to tell you that it just doesn’t work for some kids. It’s toxic to them. I’m not sure what the solutions are. I wasn’t in an economic place where unschooling or homeschooling was an option, and I also think that wouldn’t have been the best solution for my son. I have so many thoughts/feelings on this topic! Maybe I’ll begin to sort them in the coming months. Maybe I’ll be better able to do that with some distance from it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love John Green as well. His brother Hank, too. I follow Hank on TikTok, and he’s a treasure. John Green is partially responsible for homeschooling Ella, not even joking. It gives me great satisfaction saying this.

      I cannot believe the summer you’re having out there. Actually, I can believe it because I believe in global warming. I’m sorry.

      So that blog article was written by my friend Jeanette. We have a lengthy blogging history…we shared a glue stick at our first blog conference experience and so forth. She is good people. Anyhoo, she has struggled with public schooling for her youngest, but her oldest did just fine in public school. Similar to my situation.

      To each their own is how I feel. Just get them to college (assuming that’s what they want for themselves), however that path needs to be paved. But I’d love to have a more in-depth discussion about this with you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep. Some kids are fine (or mostly). Others just aren’t. You need to take a vacation out here! I promise it’s better than I’m probably making it look. 🙂 I think adult beverages are a good part of any vacation.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. It was the relationship with her dead husband that confused me…I thought they underplayed it, and it wasn’t really with her character

        Liked by 1 person

  4. When I had my quarter-life crises my mom handed me a blank journal and some books – including her copy of The Artist’s Way. She told me to sit every day, read & write. Eventually I’d find my path. Reading your soul homework journey has reminded me of that time in my life. I especially get a kick out of seeing mentions of The Artist’s Way. Even though it didn’t speak to me at that time in my life, it is wonderful that the book has helped so many for *decades*. ( I should prob reread it considering I remember nothing about it. *laughs*)

    Whoa. Your book page quote image hits home. Yesterday I said to my husband that we’re living in a ridiculous time. Ridiculous for so many reasons. I’m not sure the internet is entirely to blame. Fire hose delivery of anything (except, you know, water for fires) seems to result in problems (see pre-internet cable TV). But yes to three stars. I really hope I live to see a world where we’ve figured out balance.

    Your vacation sounds perfect to me. And happy birthdays/anniversary to your peeps! I totally don’t believe in astrology but also Leos are hella fun yo! 🙂


    1. Funny story, when I wrote about my soul homework I was told to read The Artist’s Way. Well, I ended up reading only the Morning Pages journal. I had no idea there was a companion book that went along with it. So I’m reading the book and completing the REAL homework now, and it’s just what I’ve needed. I think everyone can benefit from this book. We are all artists in some way or another.

      I mean, this blog is a product of the internet and I think John Green is generous in his review of it. There are many good things about the internet and just as many bad things. But our lives are now so intertwined with the internet that I believe some individuals can’t remember where they begin and where it ends.

      That vacation was exactly what I needed. I think about it on a daily basis. 🙂

      Leo’s ARE hella fun! My friend Kristen is also a Leo. Lots of beautiful people are being celebrated this month!


  5. I keep forgetting to tell you how much I love your new profile pic! SO CUTE.

    I agree with you Vacation has a different meaning and for me, just a change of scenery will do it. I’m glad you had a nice time with Anna.

    OMG, My girls MADE me watch the Bill Burham special a few weeks ago. What a weirdo. I mean, he’s a genius, but a weirdo genius. HA. I laughed a lot!
    I love the vibe of Fleet Foxes; their music is kind of hypnotic to me…if that makes sense.

    Going to check out several of your links now.
    Yay for August celebrations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, my friend! I’m not sure whether you have an Instagram account, but I shared that photo there this summer. It was taken while we were having a bonfire, and I felt so amazing. I mentioned in an earlier post that I wasn’t sitting around the firepit last summer due to migraines, so I wanted to capture me feeling well, and this was the result. It seemed appropriate to use it as my new profile picture. 🙂

      I’m glad we got some much-needed perspective last year to appreciate that change of scenery. I’m looking forward to doing more traveling in the future. Until then, I’ll keep adding to my bucket list. That is actually an idea I have for an upcoming post. I’m looking for destinations to add to my bucket list. I’m always interested in hearing about new places to visit.

      It’s so funny that you mention Bo Burnham. So a few months ago, my friend told me to watch his show. I tried to watch it with Mike, but we weren’t feeling it. Once I got on TikTok, I noticed many of his songs were being used there. So I told my friend that I felt that maybe I need to watch his show again, but this time alone. I tried again (only for five minutes), but again, wasn’t feeling it. Then yesterday, a girl shared a TikTok video of herself in emotional tears after watching his show.

      I’m like, WHAT AM I MISSING?

      My friend told me to give it another shot. So Ella agreed to watch it with me. The song I shared speaks to my anxiety and what we went through with Ella a few years ago when we pulled her from public school, so I believe she will “get” him. Wish us luck. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He’s very unusual and I believe he’s highly intelligent; that’s why my girls enjoy his humor so much it maybe why I don’t get it. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that your finding moments of joy and little vacations this summer! We watched Nomadland awhile ago and loved it even though it was a little depressing at times.

    Add to your August celebration list…moi! lol My bday is the 10th. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I enjoy seeing your excursions around our area on Instagram! I’m constantly inspired by the day trips you and Brian take.

      It was a pretty depressing movie. Is there any film Frances McDormand is in that isn’t? Sincere question.

      YES! I love that I know so many great friends who have August celebrations! 🙂


  7. I love Cat Stevens. My roomies and I listened to him a lot the year we lived in Ireland. Sweet memories.

    The John Hughes tour happened . . . awesome. Who did you go with? Is this a paying gig or something you do with your friends?

    Oh vacation. Most vacations we do include me still doing meals and organizing ‘stuff’ so I guess a vacation for me would mean NO FOOD PREP by me. Like no packing snacks and crock pots and full meals. Me dragging food along is one part BUDGET and one part GF. Maybe someday. Dare to dream.

    Looking forward to checking out the links you shared. Life is a tad hectic right now. Making all the food for Tank’s grad party Sat. Then Sunday we go to MI for 3 days (and I’m bringing our food). Then home Wed. Pack Tank for college on Thursday and drive him to Omaha on Friday. Cannot tell you how many times I thought I’d sit down and read blogs . . . so behind, but in good news I feel I’m prepared for this party. And it’s not even the 11th hour. Yet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love that you and your roommates listened to Cat Stevens.

      No one paid because it was just our friends, but they did buy our meals, which was unexpected but really appreciated. We’ll continue to offer it as a fun side gig in the future. We don’t charge anything, just gas money. It’s fun to bring joy in an otherwise bleak situation.

      It astounds me that you vacation with six kids in such an organized fashion. I give you a lot of credit for doing it!

      It’s a very exciting time. Enjoy!


  8. I watched Nomadland a few months ago but I was actually disappointed in it as the books was SO much better! Your John Hughes tour sounds like so much fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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