Blogging, Books, Favorite Things, Humor, Life, Nonsense, Summer, Tater Tots, Writing

Screw It, I’m Eating Tater Tots- Episode 42

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


In May, I planted sunflower seeds near my peony bushes.

Last fall, we moved peony bushes from our front side yard to our backyard because we never enjoyed them in the front due to their location. They didn’t bloom this year, but we think it’s because they’re still recovering from the move. I’m hoping they’ll bloom next spring.

However, these beautiful flowers make up for it.

I’m not much of a gardener. I lack patience and get hot easily, so spending time outside in the middle of summer tending to a garden is not something I can manage. I enjoy nature and all of its rewards, but the time and effort required to maintain a large garden is overwhelming to me.

A bird dropped a sunflower seed among the zinnias. This makes me extremely happy.

These blooms this summer have made me feel like a skilled gardener despite the fact that all I did was rip open a seed packet and scatter them into the ground.

All of the ranunculas I grew from seed last spring died in the ground. They didn’t make it even after following implicit instructions. I transplanted them to the peony/sunflower garden in the hopes that they will survive here next year.

But for the time being, these charming ladies are making me and the bees very happy.

We moved the bird feeder to the front yard because…


In the last two months, we’ve had a skunk spray our dogs twice. We’ve been here since 2005 and hadn’t seen a skunk until this summer. In two months, though, we’ve had a skunk scale a six-foot fence surrounded on four sides by other fences and houses in a densely populated suburban Chicago neighborhood to come onto our postage stamp-sized plot of land and allegedly stalk our dogs.

We discovered after much investigation that it must be the bird seed that our beloved (but messy eating) birds leave all over the backyard that attracts the skunk(s).

Have you ever smelled skunk in your home? You can TASTE the smell. Please keep in mind that this skunk aroma is NOT the same as marijuana aroma. Much more oniony and much less herbal. Zero stars, do not recommend.

I don’t want to have to deal with that again, so we had to do the unimaginable and remove the feeder.

I’d already had a rough week when a bird flew into the window where the feeder used to be, as if to say, WHERE IS LUNCH, LADY?

That’s when my mom suggested moving the feeder to the front yard window.

Oh yeah. Duh.

The birds are gradually catching on…

Photo by SHVETS production on
I typed “blog” into the Pexels search bar and this image appeared…


*If you aren’t a blogger, please forgive me if I use some blogspeak.

I used to read a lot of blogs on Bloglovin, an aggregator, which is a fancy word for a website where I could read all of my blogs in one place. It hasn’t been dependable in recent months, and I believe it’s on its way out.

Courtesy of Pexels
Seriously, what is going on here?

In place of this, I’ve been using the WordPress Reader to visit my blogs. But some of the blogs can’t be read with that reader. So, if you’ve noticed that I’ve been leaving fewer comments, this is why.

Courtesy Pexels
Crisis is right. Someone help that woman.

It is also worth noting that if you do not include an alternative method of following you on your blog, such as a mail subscription option, your readers will miss out on receiving your posts. 


I’ve been getting the impression that life is increasingly like a computer game. Whether I’m at my daughter’s orthodontic appointment, the grocery store, or simply watching other cars drive by. Other people are going about their lives all around me, and I had never considered life in this way.

Courtesy Wii Sports Fandom

Is life…just a giant video game?

Soon after, I began hearing the Wii music in my brain, which became amusing to me as I watched people in my neighborhood walk their dogs.

Insert Wii music.

As people yelled at each other in traffic.

Insert Wii music.

When customers became disgruntled with their Starbucks order.

Insert Wii music.

Lines at the supermarket.

Insert Wii music.

This will be entirely lost on you if you’ve never played Wii before.

Courtesy YouTube

But for those of you who enjoy video games of any kind, particularly the Wii, it has made life less stressful and more enjoyable.

If you’re having a stressful day, here’s a 10-hour loop to listen to:

What I’m reading

Healing the Shame that Binds You by John Bradshaw

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker

What I’ve been watching

Small Town Wisconsin (Amazon Prime)

Only Murders in the Building Season Two (Hulu)

I Just Killed My Dad (Netflix)

Trainwreck: Woodstock 99 (Netflix)

The Dropout (Hulu)

Candy (Hulu)

Gilmore Girls with Ella. I’ve re-watched this a multitude of times. (Netflix)

Courtesy YouTube (Valerie June performing at Pickathon in Oregon) I just love her so…

What I’m listening to

Cosmic Dancer by Valerie June

Never Tear Us Apart by The Teskey Brothers

Feel It All Around by Washed Out

Cardinal by Mt. Joy

Stay by Alicia Keys

Nothing Compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor

My kind of home decor inspiration (second article from the top)

What I’m clicking on

This is so sweet

This house makes me happy

Life changing books? Sign me up.

One of my emotional triggers is betrayal. I didn’t realize it could be traumatic until recently..

I can’t imagine Joy flying back into my life after all these years….

A healthy discussion on dying.

I love this art installation.

I feel like all of my emotions are trapped in my head…

I would definitely make the drive to Philadelphia to experience this.

If you want to watch (or rewatch) Gilmore Girls, these are some of the best episodes to begin with.

What I’m quoting

“‘Supposing a tree fell down, Pooh, when we were underneath it?’

‘Supposing it didn’t,’ said Pooh after careful thought.

Piglet was comforted by this.” -A.A. Milne

“To live in the dungeon of toxic shame is to live in the past of the anxious, catastrophic future. It is to be so defended and guarded that we cannot see what is going on around us. We look but we don’t see. In so many ways, toxic shame is a living hell, a kind of living death. And we can go to our deaths never knowing who we are. When death finds you, hope it finds you alive.” -John Bradshaw

“Our greatest enemies are ultimately not our political adversaries but entropy, evolution (in the form of pestilence and the flaws in human nature), and most of all ignorance- a shortfall of knowledge of how best to solve our problems.” -Steven Pinker

John and Joan Cusack’s mother died a few months ago, and thanks to my husband, I came across her obituary. She had such a lovely life that I felt compelled to share it with all of you.

Here’s to September…

63 thoughts on “Screw It, I’m Eating Tater Tots- Episode 42”

  1. The entire post sounds like a John Hughes film. Joan Cousack could play the voice of the skunk and John could play Buddy! Lots of adventure and chases through backyards leaping over giant sunflowers all to the playing of Wii music! 🤷🤦😜

    Liked by 2 people

      1. 😂

        Thank you so much! I encourage everyone to get seed packets and sprinkle them around their properties next spring. Even if you live in an apartment, scatter them along the roadside. I’m not going to tattle…


      1. Ugh no mine didn’t come up this year either but THEN I learned a trick to try this autumn. The funny thing about ranunculus are that they love the cold but not too much cold. So you really should have a cover for them or pots or a greenhouse. Something to keep them out but keep the dirt from freezing. They also need to be soaking before you sew them for 4-8 hours prior and this part is key here- they thrive better if you plant them in autumn ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

      2. This is extremely useful information. It saddens me more than anything that I squandered good plant life. I feel so bad for them. Let us hope that they take root in some way. I’m hesitant to buy any more since I don’t want to kill any more plants. 😶


      3. They are more tricky than most that’s for sure and you kinda need to be dedicated to get them to be happy and bloom but since I want to contact selling cut flowers… It’s really important to me so I’m going to try again and I’m probably ordering about 100 corms this month because I’ll need them come spring


      4. I was gonna say, I thought you already were following me but either way its not us, it’s just WordPress having issues. For a while I was getting hardly any comments from people and I’m guessing it’s because of the glitches

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘Allegedly’ stalking your dog . . . That cracked me up! We have tried to grow sunflowers, but they get eaten before they have a chance to grow. Unsure if it’s chipmunks, squirrels, or deer.

    So many issues with blog commenting recently and it seems as though it’s every platform. I recently figured out that when my iPad downloaded an iOS update, my simple NO to ‘allow cross site tracking’ prevented me from commenting on my own blog. Uber frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just cut my first “crop” of sunflowers for a friend and for our table today. I still have a lot of blooms and more on the way. 💕

      I’m hearing a lot of issues with blog comments. Suz’s (Busy Bee) blog has stopped appearing in my Word Press Reader. GAH. As a result, I missed all of her posts.


  3. I use Feedly as my reader and have for a few years now if you’re looking for a new one.

    Your Wii music comment made me chuckle. I use the Stardew Valley playlist on Spotify whenever I’m in “task” mode and it makes me so much happier. (My brother actually just got me a Stardew Valley cross-stitch pattern book and it might be my favorite gift, EVER. Definitely in the top 5.)

    I was FASCINATED by Trainwreck: Woodstock 99. I remember hearing about it. Tell me about Small Town Wisconsin, please!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Is it required to pay for a subscription? When I saw “pricing” on the home page, it scared me.

      I just added Stardew Valley to my playlist. I’m already in love.

      We discovered Small Town Wisconsin while scrolling and liked the trailer. It was great. Very touching, and WISCONSIN, of course. I think you will enjoy it as well. ❤️


  4. Your sunflowers are amazing!! I love flowers and would love fresh veggies and fruits too but I have zero patients with gardening and heat and bugs and dirt. My flower gardens look great until mid-June and then they get taken over by whatever wants to grow there. I like to see nature but not so much get it all over me… I loved that mother in law planted a garden this year and shared her veggies with us though. I’m all in for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Peonies are so fussy; I think that they don’t bloom for 1-2 years after being moved. I guess they are homebodies! I don’t think of life as a video game but I did really feel moved by the definition in the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows about realizing how we are all stars in our own movies, and everyone else is a side character. I think of that a lot.

    My friend is an urban beekeeper and they have had lots of trouble with skunks, who apparently eat bees.

    As for the blog reading, I use The Old Reader, which isn’t perfect – sometimes it’s slow to show a new post – but it’s pretty good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand what it means to be a homebody. 🙂

      I forgot to say something about the fact that you read Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. It’s one of my favorite books. 

      Skunks eat bees?? Just one more reason why I don’t like them.

      I just added everyone to Feedly, and so far I like it a lot. By the way, you have a lot of people who follow you on there. ❤️


  6. You already know that I LOVE your sunflowers and zinnias, but I’m making that love public. 🙂

    Quickly checked out a few of your links…don’t you love Cup of Jo website, in general? Great content.

    Going to check out your book and music links later this evening.


    Liked by 1 person

  7. I think your peonies will make a comeback; provided they have the proper amount of sun and also a little extra love (gentle watering) this season.

    Based on what was done to this yard by previous owners, I think the biggest mistakes are not planting things as recommended (shade? full sun? etc.) and not realizing how big some things will get and planting them too close together or to close to the house, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I sincerely hope so, Gigi. They are a stunning dark pink color.

      I agree. The previous owners had planted a birch tree in the front yard, right next to the house. It eventually died, most likely because the roots were too close to the foundation of the home.


    1. Sunflowers were a favorite flower of a friend who died this year. I purchased the seed packages before I learned she was dying. As a result, this became a small garden devoted to her. She is undoubtedly presenting me with sunflowers. ❤️

      I love that you do yoga to Valerie June. She is so lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ll have to see what all the tater tot hubbub is about. I will say, for not being much of a gardener, you have a beautiful backyard. My wife would be super envious!

    That cute face almost makes up for the horrible smell.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Oh, man. Just fell down a Gilmore rabbit hole. Which has kept me from going out to water my flowers. 🙂 I have enjoyed gardening this summer more than any other time in my life. Somehow, the grotesquely hot weather made me appreciate getting outside more. I loved getting up and going out first thing to water and prune and weed. It was the only time of day that I could really enjoy being out there.

    So many good things here, but I especially loved Catherine Newman’s house. That’s the kind of house I think we should all aspire to. It just feels so warm and comfortable. And now I think I need a kitchen couch. To go with my kitchen reading chairs. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had not seen Gilmore Girls in years. Ella, thankfully, came to my rescue. ❤️

      I really like how you enjoyed your summer in the garden. It has a really healing effect on me.

      Isn’t her house wonderful? That article is something I go back and read at least once a week.


  10. What an odd comparison of skunk to weed…to me they both are unpleasant smells. Nancy Cusak was definitely a cool woman. That Philly museum of illusions looks very cool. As for gardening, at least you can grow things. We live on a second apartment with a balcony that never gets any sun…so trying to grow anything has not been successful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Seeing your flowers outside and your plants inside give me all the best feels. Really.
    Sorry about the ranunculus; that’s a bummer. There are some plants I just can’t make work at all.

    I’ve never had a dog sprayed by a skunk, but I imagine it’s like a nightmare trying to eliminate the smell. hopefully moving the feeder will do the trick.

    Mama Cusack lived a great life.

    Now I’m off to listen to 10 hours of WII music while I live mine. 😜😳

    Liked by 1 person

  12. What happened to me . . . I read this just before toddler pick up yesterday, and then I FELT like I commented. I thought about my comment, but alas – I didn’t actually type it out. I sit for 9 on Tuesdays, so by pick up time I am lucky if I know my own name.

    I read the obit for Cusack mom. I didn’t know she passed away. She was an interesting lady. That family, because they are from our town, are so interesting to me.

    I plant nothing, so you are a better gardener than me. The skunk smell is the worst. For awhile our home was getting sprayed – like the foundation and the whole house smelled bad for days. Ick. I did laugh at the confused bird running into the window.

    That Sinead O’Connor song reminds me SO much of m freshman year of college.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s possible that my blog ate it. It has been known to do so on occasion. 😂

      They’re quite interesting. The Murray brothers are as well (Bill Murray, etc)…

      I love how it reminds you of your freshman year. Especially now that Mini is starting her freshman year. ❤️


  13. Wow Sinead O’Connor throw back! I first heard her as a preteen – her Lion & the Cobra album (I think?) at a new friend’s house. New friend was from *Hawaii* and basically embodied everything cool in the way that only people from somewhere else can. And then New Friend played One More Drink Before the War and my mind exploded. The joy of being a preteen and discovering music to scream to. 🙂

    I can still remember being in a car with my friends and everyone scream-singing that song.

    Your fingers are *filled* with garden green! Look at those beauties! Nurtured and loved. Ranunculus are fussy fussburts. It was prob too wet of a year or too cold or too warm or too hot or they didn’t want to sit through the opening credits. Not you. You are golden.

    The good news about skunks is… I don’t think they live so long. Hopefully they will move on… one way or the other.

    Omg I get that eerie life is a video game thing all the time. Sometimes it is a good feeling & sometimes it is deeply saddening. Hopefully you’re seeing this as a good thing right now. Love the Wiiiiiiii music memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. MADDIE!!! When I tell you I yelled your name throughout my house…  I have been missed you. 

      You are so lucky to have had a cool new friend from Hawaii. I love that you had that experience. 

      Scream singing in the car with friends is such a vibe. I may have to make a playlist for that…

      I do believe that the proper name for the Ranunculus genus is fussy fussburts. 

      That makes me feel much better about skunks. 

      During the summer, I was getting completely too deep. I was adrift in thoughts about the afterlife and the meaning of life, and I needed them to stop. There is such a thing as getting too close to comprehending what it all means. I longed to return to the carefree person I used to be. I even said out loud to the Universe Sunday morning: UNIVERSE. I HAVE TO TAKE A BREAK RIGHT NOW. IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME.  I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND. LOVE, ME The Wii music is my attempt at being deep while also being oblivious. 

      I so needed your comment this week. It’s almost as though the Universe was listening. ❤️


      1. I so needed your reply this week. The universe *is* listening

        I’m a big believer in a scream singing playlist and also a shout singing playlist bc when you Shout! Shout! (You) let it all out! 😉

        Your summer was my summer. I can totally relate. Sometimes I have to remind myself to embrace frivolity.

        Missed you too. I’d write more (and more coherently) but this firkin migraine…. Sending light-hearted frivolity vibes to you….

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Somehow I’m not getting your posts in a timely manner. I don’t use Bloglovin’ because, like you, I think it’s on the way out, but I do use Feedly which is usually reliable. Anyway, this is my way of saying I’m catching up with you today.

    Getting to a point, I like your sunflowers. I’ve tried to grow them from seed and had zero luck. Either they never sprout or the bunnies and chipmunks eat the shoots.

    “Piglet was comforted by this.” Oh I do love a good Pooh quote– and wish I could channel more Poohness into my life. Makes sense?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m happy you’re catching up! I only started using Feedly this week, but I’m already loving it.

      You probably have trouble because of the woods behind your house. I don’t have a rabbit issue. I do, however, have chipmunks and squirrels. But, when they aren’t chasing skunks, my dogs are really good at keeping them out of the yard.

      More Poohness. I’m going to quote you on that. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

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