Friday, December 13, 2013

Elf on a Shelf: Letting Our Creative Skills Shine

I know that the Elf on a Shelf is all the rage, but I'm one of those slacker parents who refuses to participate.  My reason for this is threefold: 

1.  I try not to do anything that takes away even a few precious minutes of sleep.
2.  I'm not that creative at 11:00 at night.
3.  It seems that many ideas require a mess of some sort and I'm not on board with that.

Yes, my children will be deprived of the whole Elf on a Shelf experience.  But that's okay.  They need something to talk to their therapist about anyway.

I've seen so many pictures from friends and family members, showcasing their creative talents with this little doll who, frankly, creeps me out a little bit.  It's already a little strange that we tell kids, "Don't talk to strangers, but if you happen to see a large fat man dressed in fur in the living room...he's okay."  Now we're telling them, "If you make a mess you'll be punished, but if this little troll in tights comes around and spills cereal all over the place for fun every day for a should be really excited"...that's a little odd to me.

Of course, there will always be someone who takes the merriment a little too far.  Some parent who comes home from Happy Hour with their co-workers and decides to have a little extra fun with the Elf.  Some Mom who has finally hit her limit and had the nervous breakdown she has deserved for a good long while.  And definitely some Dads who decide that just perching some stupid elf up on a shelf just isn't good enough.

My hat's off to  you.

This one had to be a dad.  No way would some mom have one of Santa's elves handling her feminine hygiene products.  The best part is...the joke is on him.  Because if I were her...I'd make my husband explain what those are used for when the kids ask.  And you know they will.

However this was intended, I can tell you right now that I've seen enough Law & Order SVU to know that whatever that elf is about to do to that monkey is not consensual. 

I could see this being a really cute idea.  Until about 3:00 in the morning when one of my three kids goes into the bathroom half asleep and either pees all over the place because they're not paying attention to the fact that the lid is permanently down...or pees all over the place because they can't get the toilet unwrapped.  Either way, it's going to interrupt my sleep.  So I'm going to give this idea a pass.

Ahhhh...yes.  The creepiest combination in the world:  Elf on a Shelf and Miley Cyrus.  Whoever came up with this one needs a little therapy.

Now, this one by far is my favorite.  Ol' JT and DJ Master Elf re-enacting one of the funniest Saturday Night Live skits of all-time.  Whoever thought of this one is a creative genius. (And no, I'm not going to name the skit.  My mom reads this blog.  It has to do with something in a box.  Google it.)

It seems that many of these Elf on a Shelf scenes would not be possible without the help of Barbie.  And as is the case with this unfortunate scene, made by the dad who hopefully took a cab home from wherever he's been, she is not usually cast as the happy homemaker or the properly dressed doctor...but the stripper using what looks like a banana hanger as a pole.  .
Again...funny, but I'd be forced to have a conversation with my kids I'm hoping to avoid during the holiday season.  I'm trying to save the menage a trois discussion for a more appropriate time - like my grandmother's deathbed or just before I drop my kids off at Sunday School.

Don't kid yourselves, people.  Profiling can happen anywhere to anyone.

I swear...there's always one guy in every office....

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Top Ten Worst Holiday Dishes Ever Served

Most of us have been served some sort of Jell-O salad at a holiday feast at some point in our lives.  Or something pickled on the table that we don't quite recognize. But those dishes are nothing compared to the following recipes I hope never find their way to my house:

Let's start with the appetizer.  Nothing says "holiday cheer" like a wreath made out of pigs in a blanket.  And whoever was creative enough to put this dish together, also thought to recycle what looks like the red wrappers off of some Baby Bell Cheese to make a festive bow.  Truly an inspiration that should grace tables across the country this year.

 Is it a dessert?  Is it an appetizer?  Who wouldn't want a little Velveeta Cheesecake on their holiday buffet table this year!  So versatile, and those walnuts add a little crunch for the "nut" in all of us.

After digging into those appetizers, it's time for a little refreshment.  So who wouldn't want a little Turkey and Gravy Soda to get those taste buds warmed up for the main event?  And since we ALL love fruitcake...why shouldn't we liquify and carbonate it?

And now it's time for the main event.  It's true...I'm a girl who loves her bacon.  But this turkey doesn't look like it's going to give me the usual Thanksgiving Day nap that I usually have...more the Thanksgiving Day stroke I'm trying to avoid. 

 Of course, we're not all meat lovers!  Which is why this stuffed tofurkey can come in handy.  And while this looks less healthy to me and more like something that might keep for a few days, I admire those of you who choose this over the hormone injected fat bomb the rest of us are eating.  You've got tofesticles.

Now, what's a little tofurkey without the sides?  Even those health nuts won't be able to resist Paula Deen's Fried Stuffing on a Stick.  Wait.  Did she put corn in there?


 It seems just plain silly to waste time eating each item on your plate separately.  After all...there is football to be watched! While I appreciate what seems to be the efficiency of this meal (putting your entire dinner into layers in one cylinder and then oozing it out), I really don't need this preview of what my intestines will look like while digesting Thanksgiving dinner. 

 Ready for a little something sweet?  Well, we're not!  It's time for Turkey Cake!  Layers of meat combined with stuffing, mashed potatoes, and a sweet potato's like a little slice of heaven.  Bring on the whipped gravy!

 Whoever came up with this little delight must have watched a little too much Steel Magnolias.  Nothing says "yummy dessert" (or a fun salmonella prank) like red frosting on the inside of a turkey cake. I call the drumstick!

 Like its Thanksgiving cousin, the Turducken, the Cherpumple is a whole lot of layered goodness.  A three layered pie/cake with cherry, apple, and pumpkin will be like a little party in your mouth....before you slip into a diabetic coma. 

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Act Your Age

I'll be the first to admit that I don't act my age.  In fact, to the strangers I pass on the street, I probably come across closer to 90 than my actual 37 years.

I know that it's common for most people to try and stay as young as possible for as long as possible and I really don't get it.  Because, frankly, I'm of the opinion that if I can just go ahead and speed up the aging process, each day brings me closer and closer to one of those beds that sits up for you and props your knees at a comfortable angle.


But I know I'm not the norm.  I see the constant search for the fountain of youth everywhere - from my own social circle to the people I stalk in US Weekly.  And the older I get the more I roll my eyes at what people think they can get away with and still look good.

For example:  When I saw 55-year-old Madonna sporting a grill to a red carpet event...I got a headache my eyes rolled so hard.  Very few people can get away with wearing something like that (or, let's be one can), but I'm thinking that a woman who is only 10 years younger than my own mother should, by now, have better sense than Miley Cyrus.  And it made me wonder what her teenage daughter thought of this look.  I know that the Madonna family is probably more progressive than my own, but I'm just wondering how my daughter would react if I pulled into the carpool lane at school and flashed a golden smile.

I'm thinking she might be a tad embarrassed.

The other day I was at the gym (not to turn back the clock, just to work out a little and make sure my
joints are limber enough to handle the adjustable bed I'm dreaming of) and on one of the monitors, they were playing a Jennifer Lopez video.  Now, I'll be the first to admit that I've never been a huge fan of hers, but I can respect how she has climbed her way to the top.  She seems like she works hard and is a pretty decent (if somewhat fickle) person.


The video had her in all of this "gangsta" clothing and the set had buildings spray painted with "Jenny from the Block" all over the place.

Sweetie,  you're 44-years-old and worth an estimated $300 million.  You can now afford a pair of pants that fit and I'm guessing you're not hanging on "da block" without some serious security.  It might be time to hang up your brass knuckles and relax in your gated 'hood.

And then there was Ricky Martin on the Ellen DeGeneres show.  He still looks good, right? Aging well.  But when you're out of breath just watching your back-up dancers and your main topic of conversation with Ellen is about your cholesterol level...I don't know if that vest with all of the zippers and those high-top kicks are all that age-appropriate for you.  You might start considering transitioning over to covers of old classics rather than trying to live la vida loca.  It's time.

You've probably read this whole thing and are wondering, "Who is this woman to pass judgement?"  And you're right.  I'm sitting here in some old worn-out sweats and pretty proud of myself that I managed to get my mascara on this morning (yesterday, as I was putting it on, I sneezed and then spent the day looking like I was wearing spider glasses frames).  I haven't made it to the gym and the only thing I'm wearing that says "young" is the zit on my chin.

But the thing is, every time I see people desperately trying to turn back the hands of time, the first thing I think is, "Grow up."

And then I roll my eyes, sit back in my recliner, pull my cardigan sweater around me because for some reason I feel a draft, reach for my can of Ensure...

...and change the channel.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Why Public Bathrooms Frighten and Confuse Me

I find going to the bathroom confusing.  I thought for sure that wouldn't happen for at least another fifty years or so.  I'm okay at home.  Home, I can handle.  It's when I go out in public...that's when trouble starts. 

But there you have it - I'm a thirty-seven year old woman who worries that every time she goes to the bathroom, she won't know how to do it right.

Actually, I guess age has nothing to do with it because my kids find it confusing, too.  And I've seen women of all ages in the restroom, looking bewildered and frustrated and wondering how all of this is supposed to work.  In fact just the other day, I was standing in the restroom at Red Robin, waiting for my youngest daughter to come out of the stall and watched as a woman around my age stood in front of the faucet and waited impatiently for the water to come on.  And I finally decided to throw her a bone.

"Uh.  You have to use the handle to turn that on."

She looked mortified and then began to laugh as she turned on the water the "old fashioned way" by actually twisting a fixture to make the water flow.  And then she turned cautiously toward the paper towel dispenser and I knew she was thinking, "Now how does this damn thing work?"

I'm a big fan of technology.  Love it.  I want to hug my DVR every night after I put the kids to bed and I can watch the television shows I've saved up all week in uninterrupted silence.  I have about two apps on my iPhone because I can't really figure it out, but I really enjoy being able to get my weather when I want it and read my Facebook newsfeed as I sit in the carpool lane.  Technology is awesome.  But I'm starting to think that it has its place.

And it's not in the bathroom.

The thing's not standard everywhere you go.  Not every bathroom has the same set-up.  When I walk in, I have to silently evaluate everything so that I don't look like a complete fool.

"Okay, motion-activated sink.  Manual paper-towel.  Auto flush.  Got it."

It still amazes me that my children will use public restrooms at all because for a while they were all absolutely terrified to use the toilet.  There they would sit, just doing their business, knowing that one little move would send the automatic toilet into a flush with so much suction, I'm surprised I didn't lose one of them in the mall plumbing. 

Of course, there is the other side of that - the five minute wait for it to flush so that you won't be one of "those people" who leave their toilet unattended.

I can't tell you how much time I've wasted, standing in front of sinks, waving my hands around like a germy mime, only to have the water turn on just as I've given up and started to move to another one.  Then I'll rush back to the original sink, hoping to just catch enough to rinse my hands off, only to have it stop flowing the second my hands aim for the water.

I know this is supposed to be helping our water consumption, but frankly I just don't see it.

And then there's the dance.  You know...the one that we have to do to get something to dry our hands off.  We wave in front of that little red light.  Nothing.  We start moving our entire upper body.  Nope.  Then in desperation, we start doing the tango until one little square pops out and we end up drying our hands on our pants anyway.

Again, I know that this whole automated system is supposed to help the environment.  And I'm all for that kind of stuff.  But the truth is, I'm dehydrated because I'm scared that too much liquid will force me into a bathroom I don't understand.  I feel old, thinking about the time I've wasted waiting for something to flush, run, or pop out.  And I'm worried that we're raising a generation of children that, should they come upon some sort of bathroom fixture with a handle, they won't know what to do.

Oh, well.  I guess they can always Google it.  Gotta love technology.

Friday, August 2, 2013

I'm Too Young to be Old and Too Old to Be Young

I had a hard time getting to sleep last night because I was so excited about this morning.

"This is it," I thought, staring at my ceiling, my body charged with anticipation.  "It's finally going to happen."

I wasn't talking about my birthday.  It's not Christmas.  I wasn't even thinking about a hot date.

My carpets were getting cleaned.

When did I get to this point?  When holidays and vacations meant exhaustion and work and freshly cleaned carpets were something I dreamed about at night with heady anticipation?

I'm not sure, but I think it was mid-way through year 35 when I came home early from a weekend at a five-star hotel because I couldn't wait to get my trees in my backyard trimmed.

Thirty-seven is a weird age because in some ways I feel so old (thus, the steam-cleaning excitement) but still young enough to want my mom's opinion on everything.  I feel too old for dating (or too tired of it is probably more accurate) yet too young to declare myself single for the rest of my life.  I feel completely ready to retire, but don't have the funds for it.

I'm very conflicted.

My kids are getting older and I keep asking myself, "Wait.  When did that happen?  How is possible that my daughter looks like a teenager when I myself am only 19-years-old?"  I'm to the point where a Law & Order marathon on TV has me much more excited than the thought of getting myself together and actually going somewhere (it's just so much work). Several years ago the thought of leaving my house without make-up - even to just go to the grocery store - would have never entered my mind.  Now I look at my make-up bag and think, "I wonder if I still know how to put that stuff on?"

I got together with some elementary school friends this summer and we remembered times past like they were yesterday...and then started comparing age spots.  We talked about who was divorced (which shocked me that we were old enough to be on our second marriages - which is ridiculous considering I could potentially be married a second time thanks to the early departure of my own husband), people who were now educated (and old enough) to be considered experts in whatever field they were in...and then the conversation switched to wondering if we still had it in us to participate in a greased watermelon contest like we did when we were 10.

It reminds me of that part in Fried Green Tomatoes when Kathy Bates says, "I'm too young to be old and I'm too old to be young."

I hear ya, sister.  And there are days that ramming the into the bumper of the younger generation sounds pretty good to me, too.

I played golf with my dad yesterday and when we checked in, the teenager at the counter asked me, "Senior discount?"

I was this close to putting my finger in his face and saying, "Listen you little whipper-snapper...."

Now, I know that I don't look like a senior (however I did want to come home and throw away the new anti-aging cream I've been using), but apparently I've hit that age that to the younger generation, just means old.  And as my dad was paying his green fee - using his senior discount - I started thinking about how he gets discounts for being older and my kids get discounts for being younger.

But I am apparently getting penalized for being 37 by paying full price no matter what I'm doing.


However, on the glass is half-full side, I'm just glad I'm not a 37-year-old guy.

At least I still have ladies night at any age (if I ever decide to go out again).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Real vs. Royal - A Tale of Two Births

I'm not much of a follower of what's going on with the royal family, but you'd have to live under a rock to not know that they are expecting the arrival of the future king or queen.  And while I know that this has everyone all atwitter, I think the person it has affected most has been Kim Kardashian who had the unfortunate luck to be pregnant at the same time as Kate Middleton.

Even though I make it a point not to feel sorry for people who purchase homes for around $11 million, I couldn't help but pity Kim a little for constantly getting compared to the most perfect
pregnant woman in the world.

Of course, I also feel kind of bad for Kate.  As all of us parents know, once we have that little bundle of joy, the focus on us shifts completely over to the said bundle.  And it is obvious that Kate has recently been demoted from gorgeous princess to "that lady who's going to squeeze out the next royal polo player."

Anyway, as I said before, I don't follow the royal family much.  However, I am addicted to US Weekly.  So, I just finished reading about all of the preparations that are underway to get ready for the newest little addition.  And I couldn't help but compare it to my own experiences when I gave birth to three very regular American kids.


Royal:  To quote Us Weekly, "as soon as Kate feels that first contraction, she alerts her private secretary who rings Kate's doctor on his palace-issued mobile phone." 

Real:  When I felt my first contraction, I tried to wake my slumbering husband who was dead asleep, thanks to the large amount of beer he had consumed during the Air Force/CSU football game that day.  I believe he took more pain medication than I did after the birth, thanks to his pounding hangover.


Royal:  180 journalists have been camping out in front of the hospital so they can have a prime baby-viewing spot when the newest royal makes his/her debut and the delivery room has been sanitized since July 1st.  The official family photographer has been banned from drinking as his presence will be required immediately after the birth.

Real:  My dad waited a week after each one was born before making the trip from out of state to see them, ensuring that he would not have to witness anything resembling the messy part of the actual birth.  And while I'm sure the room was properly sanitized, that did not keep my family from sitting there and gulping down large quantities of Good Times while they waited for me to get the show on the road.

I don't think the photographer at Sears had been drinking before he took my kid's picture, but I can't be entirely sure.


Royal:  A sterling silver commemorative penny from the Royal Mint will be given to all of the children born in the UK on the heir's birthday.

Real:  Yeah.  We didn't have that.  The Mint told us that their penny maker was broken that day.


Royal:  "The child will probably have three or four Christian names and they will have to go through certain channels to make sure of the details such as who's previously had the name."

Real:  We just wanted to make sure our kid's name didn't rhyme with booger and that he or she sounded more like a CEO than a felon (but these days, that's pretty much the same thing).


Royal:  William will call his grandmother, the Queen, on an encrypted phone that has been installed in the delivery suite.

Real:  Couldn't he just update his Facebook page like everyone else does?

Royal:  "Royal aides then race to notify the heads of the 54 Commonwealth countries....Within an hour, of Kate giving birth, a bulletin with the heir's gender, weight, and time of birth will be chauffeured in its own car to Buckingham Palace."

Real:  I think we sent an email out to my extended family some time during the month after each kid was born.  I know I sent birth announcements for the first kid, but after that it just seemed like too much work.  As for the countries I run...they still don't know anything for sure.  We're keeping it under wraps until each child begins their reign of terror at the age of 13.


 Royal:  Hundreds of well-wishers are expected to be outside the hospital when the new little royal family leaves.

Real:  I don't know about the rest of you mothers, but leaving the hospital with a newborn was never my finest hour.  No make-up, droopy maternity wear (because you can't fit into pre-pregnancy stuff yet, but you don't have that big bump to hold everything up), my hair frizzy from the hospital shower and the immediate slump back into my bed, and every female part on my body hurting for various reasons...I think if I had to expect hundreds of well-wishers, I'd ask the Queen Mum if there was room in the budget for some sort of stunt double.

So, after reading this article, I thanked my lucky stars that I gave birth to three average children who did not cause the world to constantly watch me until I popped them out.  And while I know my kids didn't get their own pennies and I was unfortunate enough to have to use a regular phone to announce our big news to the mere handful of people who really cared...I'm so grateful that I didn't have the entire world photographing my every move as I gained 50 pounds and had the heads of 54 countries watching me like some royal ticking time bomb.

So, I tip my crown to you, Kate Middleton.

You got jewels, girl.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

From 7 to 37 - What We're Reading This Summer

Me - 37
I started out my summer sitting on my couch getting absolutely nothing done because I had gotten sucked into Caroline Leavitt's Is This TomorrowI have been a fan of Caroline's for years, but I think this one is one of my favorites - it grabbed me from the beginning and wouldn't let go. 

From there I moved on to The Good House by Ann Leary (fabulous) to The Lost Wife by Alyson Richman (sad, but gripping), and now I'm on a Anne Rivers Siddons kick.  I'd read Peachtree Road years ago and happened to pick up Off Season a week ago at the used book store.  I got so hooked that I ran out and bought four more of her books.  They're addictive enough to keep you interested, but you can easily concentrate on them while you're sitting next to the pool.

Haley - 11
My daughter has always been a huge fan of Beverly Cleary (LOVE Ramona!) so when I saw several books by her that looked a little more mature, I snapped them up - First Love, Fifteen, and The Luckiest Girl are sitting on her shelf waiting to be read

But right now, Haley's literary heart belongs to Sarah Dessen.  Her nose was buried in Dreamland during the spring and she constantly carries around Lock and Key so she can read it when she has a spare minute (which, in pre-teenland is rare).

Michael - 9
Like many mothers out there who are parenting young boys, it's hard to make the flutter of pages sound more enticing than the sounds of construction that come from Minecraft.  But I'm determined to win.

Enter the 39 Clues series.

Michael had been a fan of the Magic Treehouse series when he was little, so when another mom at the bookstore told me, "My son loves 39 Clues.  It's like Magic Treehouse for older kids."


Sarah - 7
I don't know if I'm alone on this one, but I was pretty happy to see my daughter's interest in the Junie B. Jones series wane and watch her move on to Ivy & Bean.  Her bookshelf is full of the Beverly Cleary Ramona books that my older daughter has outgrown and, of course, picture books about bugs.

Every once in a while she still asks me to read her a story before bedtime.  This is code for "let's read Dinosaur, Dinosaur together" because we've come up with our own way to rap the story.

Who knew that a picture book could bring out the DJ Mama in me?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Ten of my Favorite Houses on Film

I am my mother's daughter.

I realized that this last weekend when she was staying with me for Mother's Day and we were trying to pick out a movie to doze to for the afternoon.

"Let's watch Pride and Prejudice," she suggested.  And throughout the movie, we not only commented on how good it was...but we pretty much drooled over the house that Elizabeth Bennet lived in, the enormous trees that surrounded it, and all of the amazing colors inside - chipped paint and all.

I've known this about myself for some time - that I will happily sit down and watch a not-so-great movie as long as the characters live in a great house.  I squirm through Legends of the Fall and overlook that it is, in fact, the most depressing movie ever made...mainly because the house that they live in up in Montana was so incredible (at the beginning of the movie before all of the death and liquor-running and stuff).  I will watch some movies over and over again, trying to pinpoint exactly what it is that I like about each house and what draws me to it.  A Southern girl at heart, a good porch is a must...but other than that, my tastes vary.

So here is my list.  I didn't go back as far as Gone with the Wind or The Philadelphia Story - so most of these are relatively recent.  They're not in any particular order and I could no more pick my favorite house than I could my favorite child.  But should I win the Powerball, I plan on buying or constructing replicas of all ten.

And Mom...this one's for you.


Okay, so Bewitched wasn't the best movie ever.  The only things that saved it were Will Ferrell (because he's hilarious in anything), Nicole Kidman's wardrobe, and this house.  I daresay that is it every single woman's dream to live there and not just because of the cute exterior, but for the shabby chic interior as well.  I mean, who would pass up having a glass of wine with their buddies in a room like this? 


I choose to ignore the fact that Steve Martin kind gets kind of screwed over in It's Complicated (I hate it when that happens to the good guys) because this house and I were meant to be together.  It would almost be worth it to put up with Alec Baldwin for a while if it meant that you got this (or the money to help to buy it) in the divorce settlement.  I'd spend a few years with him just to get that swing hanging from the tree.

Way to go, Meryl. 


This one is going to seem random for some of you because it comes from one of my favorite (but seldom seen) movies of all-time.  The house in Crimes of the Heart has porches all over the exterior, a fabulous staircase, and a room big enough to hold three girls as they were growing up.  It's old, looks creaky, and I would take it in a heartbeat.


I was surprised at how much I loved the house in The Holiday - not the cute English cottage, but the more modern place that Cameron Diaz lives in in L.A.  It's probably the kitchen that won me over (that's usually the case), but I'll take the relaxing bedroom with the blackout curtains and the enormous screening room any day.


I'll admit it.  The June Cleaver in me wants this house.  I don't think I'd feel up to hosting a whole wedding there, but the house in Father of the Bride is the quintessential happy family home.  All I keep wondering is if the two older kids are bitter about the "baby suite" Steve Martin and Diane Keaton add on for that third kid in the second movie.  I know I wouldn't have let my parents forget that I grew up in some regular bedroom.


Okay, so I'm widowed.  I've had the nervous breakdown.  What I'm missing is the house that Diane Lane renovates in Under the Tuscan Sun.  Don't we all owe it to ourselves, when the going gets tough, to pack up and move to a gorgeous house in Italy where we can learn how to cook for a few quirky repairmen and ultimately find love with a writer who just happens to be passing through?


This one is an oldie (relatively speaking), but goodie.  Again, the house in Practical Magic got to me because of the kitchen.  But it seems to have so many hidden nooks and crannies that it would be a dream to live in (but not to clean).  Yes, there's all kinds of witchcraft going on in there, but who wouldn't like a potion that you could put in some maple syrup to make people go away???  C'mon, people.  How handy would that be?


This movie depresses the hell out of me, but I stick with it every time because of the house that Susan Sarandon lives in in Stepmom.  I can handle her treating Julia Roberts badly just as long as she takes care of that house....


Any time you mention the movie The Proposal, the first thing that almost anyone says (women and
the men who were forced to go see it with them) is, "Can you believe that house??"  Actually, compound seems more appropriate.  It is enormous and in the movie is set on its own island.  Yes, that would make grocery shopping a pain, but who cares?  You'd have an island!


This is just a great movie in general, but the fact that we have Keanu Reeves and this little vacation home in The Hamptons to drool over doesn't hurt.  Yes, I loved the kitchen again.  And the dining room, bedrooms, all of the living spaces, and every corner of this house.  Now about that Powerball ticket....

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Annoying Online Quotes & Why I'm Turning into my Grandmother

I know that probably no one else in this world notices this except me, but all of those images of quotes online are really annoying.

It's not the quotes themselves - it's the grammar.

Yes, I did just say that.  And now that I think about it...I have a cousin on the East Coast who is probably annoyed with this as well (and looking at my own grammar as he's reading my blog).

I'm turning into my late grandmother, a woman I loved dearly and who always answered my questions in a way I never expected.  As a child I asked why she watched soap operas because she never seemed to enjoy them.  She always sat in her chair, her head shaking in disappointment, watching show after show. And her response was this:

"I watch for the fashion.  And because they never use the correct grammar."

At the time, I thought it was ridiculous that she would sit there and critique the grammar of two people who were in the throes of passion or take anything seriously on a show that used the names Blade or Thunder.  But as I've gotten older...I can understand her frustration.

As a person who often uses quotes as part of her online community of widows and widowers, I struggle to find those images that will say what needs to be said, whether it is inspirational or humorous, and does it in a way that won't completely embarrass me when I put it out there.  And as someone who likes to look for the "funny" in life and that often comes in the form of a well-written quote...I often forget to laugh and instead shake my head like my grandmother used to when someone doesn't know that "outhouse" is one word.

It's getting very time-consuming, editing these images in my head and trying to find at least one that uses correct punctuation or knows the difference between "to" and "too."  If, in your quote, you are having a "hard time catching your breath" - please don't put an "e" on the end of that word.  If you're "trying to breathe" - go ahead and tack it on there.  I know you're dying to.

But perhaps the one thing that gets to me the most is the capitalization.  For all of you out there who are taking the time to put together these little images and send them out into the world, I have this to say to you (and yes, I'm going to type-yell):

It makes You Look Stupid.

This blog will only be funny to a handful of people out there and we will be the first to admit that we are complete nerds.  I mean, for me this would be like someone blogging about some funny math equation that they think everyone should get and all I can think while I'm reading it is, "Huh?"

But then again, I'm not taking the time to put together images of math equations for the world to see.

That would just make me look like an idiot.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Online Dating: Don't You Want To Get With THIS?

"A picture is worth a thousand words" - or so the saying goes.  But I have found that usually the picture can be summed up in five.

"What the hell is that?"

It's always been interesting to me, the pictures that people put up on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkenIn that they think best represents them.  But nothing is more fascinating to me than the pictures people put up when they're looking for romance (or something), introducing themselves in a way that they think says, "Don't you want to get with this?"

Anyone who knows me already knows that I have always found the internet dating world an interesting place.  I'm a people watcher, but I'm also lazy so online dating means that I can make fun
of people without even leaving the house.  I am simultaneously engrossed and grossed out and cannot seem to avert my eyes from the train wreck that comes from people who are wookin' pa nub (a la Eddie Murphy) in all the weird places.

First of all, the background of your picture says a lot about you.  If you're taking a self-portrait in your car, it makes me wonder if you're living in it.  If you're standing on top of a mountain, I'm worried you're going to make me climb it.  If you are taking your own picture in the mirror of your bathroom, clean it up...because I'm sure as hell not going to do it for you.  And if you decide to take your picture in front of the neon Busch Light sign you have hanging in your living room, I am going to give you a pass.

I don't want that shit in my house.

Guys need to be more careful about what they're doing in the picture that they're posting as well.   When you're taking your picture in the mirror and completely block out your face, we wonder if you're wanted by the Feds or just plain stupid.  If you're wearing waders and holding an enormous fish we wonder if you're going to make us clean it (and if you're actually trying to attract a woman or another man).  If your picture indicates that you're in law enforcement, we wonder if we've met you before but just didn't recognize you because all we saw was the back of your head through the grate separating us.  And when you pose in a dark suit with sunglasses on, cigarette in one hand and an automatic rifle in the other...we're not quite sure if you'll be good with kids so you might be out.

And then there is, of course, the username that you came up with - the one that tells us little more about you.  And believe me...I'm grateful for how honest you are because it stops me before I answer that virtual "wink."  And I sincerely apologize to the following men who have not heard back from me:

Dickhead (yes, I'm serious)
KissThiss (with photo of a man who looks like he's smelling something foul)
2sexy4u (with a photo that makes me doubt that that's actually true)

I've heard the phrase "every squirrel finds its nut" when referring to love and I believe that it's true because I've seen it in action.  But there have been many times that I've looked at someone's profile and the witty usernames that go with them and all I can think of is one question.

What kind of a squirrel is going to go out with that nut?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

My Love Affair With Sirius

A couple of months ago, I gave up my old family truckster (a 10 year old minivan) for a new ride and will admit that I was less excited about the functionality of the car and more enthusiastic about having a stereo that actually had an input for my MP3 player.

I am a girl, after all, and we all know that the most important thing to many females is the color of the car and the stereo.  So there you have it.

But my relationship with my new auxiliary input wasn't meant to be.  Because I was enticed by a newer, flashier form of listening pleasure.

Sirius XM radio.

"Wait until you get used to it," my sister said when I told her I had gotten a free three month trial subscription.  "You'll never want to give it up."

Certain that my heart would remain with my own mix of music that I had downloaded over the years, I rolled my eyes at her.  And then it happened.

I cheated on my MP3 player.

It all started with the 80s on 8, a running commercial-free stream of songs from my youth, complete with the old MTV VJs (that's Video Jockey for those of you who are too young to remember what MTV used to be like).  Listening to Nina Blackwood announce a song by Pat Benatar in a voice that sounded like she hasn't taken a breath of clean air in 30 years was like coming home - a big haired, Aqua Netted, ripped jean home.  Every song had a memory from my childhood attached to it and I found myself saying to my kids over and over, "You should have seen the video for this song!  It was bitchin'!"

Okay, I didn't actually say the word "bitchin'" to my kids.  But I was thinking it.

But I knew I had found true love when I tuned into the 90s on 9, songs from middle school, high school, and college that I was surprised to realize I remembered all of the words to.

But not as surprised as I was at the words themselves.

I don't know if I wasn't paying attention or I was just plain naive, but I don't think I really realized what I was dancing to at all of those fraternity parties years ago.  I guess if it had a good beat, I went with it.  But nothing makes you stand up and take notice of these having your small children in the car.

"Hey!  Listen to this!"  I exclaimed when I heard the intro to Salt N Pepa's "Shoop" come on.  "I used to love this song!"

I cranked up the volume and started to sing along.  And I think it was around when I started singing
"lick him like a lollipop should be licked" that I realized that this just might not be all that appropriate for my elementary school-aged children.

Shoot.  I don't even know if I was mature enough to listen to it.

That's when I started having flashbacks.

Come Baby Come.


Just about anything by Alanis Morrisette, the poster girl for bitter females everywhere - all of the lyrics came flooding back to me in one big sex-crazed decade-long musical.  And that's when I realized that my love affair with Sirius might have to either come to an end...or we would have to keep some parts of our relationship under wraps.

This is new territory for me.  I listen to the things that my kids are tuning into...but they aren't quite to the ages where it's completely offensive.  And yes, it did take me a little longer than most to realize that that song about whistling by Flo Rida wasn't actually about whistling and so maybe I should change the channel.

But here's the thing:  I knew that at some point I would get to the age when I would say in that cranky adult voice, "What is wrong with kids today??  What is that garbage that's on the radio??"

I just had no idea that I would get so old that I would come full circle and actually say, "What is this crap I used to listen to???  It's entirely inappropriate!!"

Now that's old.

Or as EMF would's "Unbelievable."