Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Support Education, Go Trick-or Treating!

It is officially the spookiest time of year . . . election season. Oops! Wrong column. Ok, so Halloween is coming up. I know that a lot of folks don’t celebrate for various reasons: childhood obesity, safety concerns, the problems with hooligans, etc. But are these good reasons to end a time-honored American past-time steeped in tradition?

It is no coincidence that Halloween takes place at the same time of year as political campaigning. Going door-to-door, begging for handouts is the childhood precursor to political campaign financing. Trick-or-treating is very similar to running for office. For instance, there is a special time to go (Halloween night), things you have to say even if they are not true (thank you for the raisins), you have to deal with lobbyists (dentists) and special interest groups (vegans and UNICEF) and there is a special code to direct revelers to the right place (a porch light). Halloween teaches children about government.

Ok, so no one really wants to think about politics right now. Well then, think of Halloween as a teaching tool, and each year of trick-or-treating is an educational experience all its own.

One Halloween from my past stands out. Back then, costumes were plastic suits that had to be eased into or they might rip and then would need to be repaired with duct tape. Store-bought costumes came with plastic masks that had one big rubber band and two staples. My brother would come up behind me and snap that rubber band so hard that I thought my eyeballs were going to shoot out of my head. I could never see out of the mask because the eye holes were little slits conveniently located near my ears. I got so sweaty from trick-or-treating that the plastic would act as a giant piece of Saran Wrap. When I took off my costume it was like peeling the lid off of a warm pot-roast as condensation dripped off of the inside of my costume. It was like a sweat lodge for the grammar school set.

The year I turned seven I dressed-up as Wonder Woman. The poly- vinyl over two layers of clothing made me look like a lumpy Linda Carter after a botched liposuction. I was one of six Wonder Women in my neighborhood. I don’t want to brag or anything, but I really was the best one, since only I had the tiara, the bullet-proof bracelets, and the magic lasso of truth--all made out of aluminum foil (see, Halloween teaches us how to accessorize).

My sister used to eat all her candy at once. I used to code mine into two groups, the high end goodies (chocolate) and the lower end stuff (tootsie rolls, suckers, dots, gum, and any type of taffy product), then I could ration out my horde throughout the year and never be without sugar (saving for retirement).

At one point, there was an after-school special that warned against eating anything homemade or items not individually packaged. The hospital in my community started giving free x-rays for candy on Halloween night. The line to get candy inspected was lengthy, I was so hungry that I ate two Almond Joys, a Snicker’s bar, and a York Peppermint patty before my candy got the green light for consumption. It turns out; the only thing in my candy was nougat but as a bonus I got to have my stomach pumped (learning about healthcare).

If you are still not convinced that Halloween is educational, just remember, some of the most important life lessons can be learned from trick-or-treating. For example: Beggars cannot be choosers (you wanted Chick-O-Sticks but got Sixlets, bummer). Your parents are not above stealing from you (where do you think the expression “taking candy from a baby” came from?). You can never be too rich, or too thin, or have too much candy (unless it is those orange circus peanuts, no one wants those). You can become anything you want (as long as the total cost does not exceed $10, does not require actual sewing, is not flammable, or does not have some form of mechanical apparatus—swords and battle axes are ok). And finally, there is a return on investment (time spent running from house to house + size of treat bag = one fun evening).

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

It's Not Me, It's You

You know, I have been on this earth a while now and I have come to a conclusion: people are crazy. I used to think there was something wrong with me but now I realize, it’s not me, it’s you.

That may sound kind of harsh, but sometimes the truth hurts. Listen, if you have a mental deficiency, why is that somehow my problem? What was that saying years ago? “Where’s the beef?” No, not that one. Oh yeah, “Stop the insanity!” That saying needs to make a comeback. No really, Stop. The. Insanity.

The craziness is everywhere! Like my grandmother used to say, “You couldn’t swing a dog without hitting a crazy person.” Or maybe it was you couldn’t swing a dog without being a crazy person? Or, you couldn’t swing a crazy person without a dog? Whatever. My point is you people have a serious problem on your hands.

There is a phenomenon out there called stupidity. It causes people to do things that I think are stupid. There is also a phenomenon called stupidity marketing. It convinces stupid people to purchase products that no one on the planet actually needs. When these two phenomenons combine, it creates a powerful siphoning effect on brain cells. Stupidity and stupidity marketing are single-handedly responsible for skinny jeans, pajama jeans, and Mom jeans. Just imagine the worldwide catastrophic destruction on human dignity.

The other day I saw a story on the news about a woman who became a millionaire from making (drum roll please) dog sweaters! A dog sweater does not make any sense. It is the perfect example of the phenomenon described above because; if you were not aware, dogs have fur. Couldn’t that be considered overkill? What about those people that shave their dogs and THEN put sweaters on them? Save yourself some money, DON'T shave the dog and then they won't NEED a sweater! Oh, hairless dogs you say, they need sweaters. No they don’t. Darwin called it survival of the fittest, if you have an animal that cannot go outside because it will die of exposure then maybe it should stay inside.

Everyone says this political party or that political party is killing America, the economy is killing America, laziness is killing America, crime is killing America, poverty is killing America and on and on. You really want to know what is killing America? Crazy is killing America.

I do not know why people do the stupid, inane, crackpot things they do. Not just doing dumb things, but saying dumb things. Oh the commitment they make to their cerebral shortcomings. They will utter ridiculous drivel and then argue with anyone who tries to point out it is ridiculous drivel. And when they cannot get anyone to listen to them in person, they post these same terrible things on social networking sites. It is either: my woman left me for my probation officer, my baby-Daddy won’t pay child-support, my sister finally got paroled, etc. It is like a country music song without those endearing banjos.

I recently saw one of the most horrible posts of my life the other day on Facebook. A “friend” posted an ad for free zucchini. Now let that sink in for a moment—free zucchini. First of all, nothing in life is free folks and if you accept one zucchini from someone, you may come out to your car after a lovely day at the mall, and find it full of zucchini. And you wouldn’t have anyone to blame but yourself. Second, there is a reason no one pays for zucchini. No one goes to the store and asks to be directed to the ‘zucchini section,’ and starts filling their cart with the giant green pods of doom. Doesn’t happen.

You only get zucchini when you have “friends” who grow zucchini and then offer you some. Why do they grow so much? No one can eat that much zucchini! If you love zucchini, plant one seed, in the fall you will have so much zucchini you could use it to build a city. That is what happens. How do you politely turn away “free zucchini?” There is only one sure-fire way; you have to start growing your own zucchini and then torment people who don’t grow zucchini.

But maybe you are thinking you don’t want to grow your own zucchini. In fact, you don’t want zucchini at all. Well, it is kind of how I feel about craziness in America. And although, it is unfair, that is just tough. Tough bananas. What do I mean by that? I mean it is a matter of invoking the tough banana rule.

The tough banana rule is just how it sounds. Sort of. It is like when you go to buy bananas and all they have are the green ones that you know you will have to leave on the counter for three days to get ripe and by then you won’t be in the mood for bananas. Then the bananas will start to get spotty and next thing you know there are fruit flies zipping around your kitchen. Then you will be torn between just throwing them out, or possibly, making them into a smoothie which, if you were honest with yourself, you don’t really care for. But you cannot throw them out, because they are like sixty-eight cents a pound so you decide, what the heck, and make those suckers into banana bread. And just for the thrill of it, you throw some chocolate chips in there. Cuz lord knows any fruit is better with chocolate on it. Then when your bread is done you think Voila! I saved the day. Because banana bread, unlike plain old bananas, can be frozen and used later. So, long story short, take what you get, roll with it. Do the best you can, don’t get sucked into buying a persimmon just because the bananas are green, you do not know a darn thing about persimmons, all you know is bananas. And no one cries at the grocery store over green bananas and you shouldn’t either, because it is crazy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Welcome to the Neighborhood

My new neighbors are from Japan. You are probably thinking ‘so what?’ Well, my neighborhood has been very homogenized for the past few years, made up mostly of elderly California refugees who have stopped speaking to me, so it is fun to have someone new to visit with. I enjoy getting to meet folks from different cultures and backgrounds and getting to see the world from a different perspective. Some neighbors like to keep a low profile and prefer not to intrude on other people’s privacy; I am not one of those kinds of neighbors.

I like to know what is going on around my street. Where are you from, are you gainfully employed, have you spent any time in prison, that sort of thing. If you are a foreigner I will ask you all about it; what was it like growing up abroad, do you miss it, were you ever incarcerated, every little mundane detail will keep me hanging on your every word.
That is why I like to take my sister around in my culturally diverse community because, in addition to English, she speaks Japanese, some Korean, and a little Spanish. So I like to drag her around from place to place and play a little game I like to call “what are those foreign people saying?” It is a simple game; basically it just requires eavesdropping on non-native speakers.

“Are they Korean?”
“No, Chinese.”
“What are they talking about?”
“I don’t know, I don’t speak Chinese.”
“Oh. Well, what about those people?”
“Which ones?”
“By the potatoes.”
“They are Japanese.”
“What are they talking about?”
“Oh, my goodness, you will never believe it!”
“What!? What?!”
“It is so scandalous, I am not sure I should tell you.”
“Tell me! What is it?!”
“They are talking about . . . potatoes.”

I think that people, and by "people," I mean me, tend to assume that if someone is not speaking my language, they must be doing something wrong. It automatically casts suspicion on their behavior because we, ok I, assume that they are trying to hide something. Like people who park in their garage. What have you got to hide if you have to park your car inside every night? Or people who clean their house all the time, what is wrong with them? I have seen CSI, the houses on that show are always spotless and all the evidence is easy to find. If crime shows are to be believed, then violent criminals usually frequent spotless homes and leave clues in the half empty garbage cans, or in the sparkling shower drain or right in plain view on the mess-free kitchen counter. The evidence is practically screaming to be found. One lone hair on the sofa and a single piece of broken glass on the carpet and BAM!, you have found the killer. I could hide a body in my living room and it would take an entire crew of investigators a year to narrow down the evidence. That is because I am normal.

CSI person #1: “What did you find?”
CSI person #2: “Six Lego’s, a pile of hair and lint the size of a cantaloupe, and what appears to be a petrified coco puff. What about you?”
CSI person #1: “I found three puzzle pieces all from different puzzles, two playing cards, a dirty sock, a broken hot wheels car, and some dehydrated macaroni and cheese.”
CSI person #2: “Well, send it to the lab for processing!”

I think most people are suspicious of things that are foreign to them. The unknown can be scary, but we need to remember that not everyone who is different is a threat to society. Like skinny people who work at Baskin Robbins, maybe they just don’t like ice cream.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do try to keep my eyes peeled for distrustful people. I don’t want to be the neighbor who lived next door to an axe murderer for 20 years and when interviewed on the news only says, “Well they were mostly quiet and kept to themselves.” There are some scary people I avoid, below is a brief list:

People who paint their house number on their garbage cans.
People who have two, or more, matching garbage cans.
People whose blinds are always closed. How am I supposed to spy on them if they close the curtains all the time?
People who write every check in the check register. If you have to pay with cash you are definitely on the run from somebody.
Flaggers on construction crews. They hold signs; stop, slow, stop, slow. If that is not suspicious I don’t know what is.

In closing, I would just like to say we don’t need to be suspicious, just vigilant. We have nothing to fear but fear itself. Blah, blah, blah. And if you see my picture in the post office, please disregard it. Maybe you could even take it down, or at least draw over the face part, one of those little mustaches would be great. Oh, and cross out the name portion, I mean, if it is no trouble.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Pottery Barn is Stalking Me

Why is it, when I go shopping, the cashier will not give me the purchased items until I complete a personal questionnaire? I went to the craft store last week and had two items to buy, but before the clerk would let me leave she peppered me with questions.

“Did you find everything you were looking for?”


“Oh, that is too bad. Well what did you not find?”

“Just a thing for my sister.”

“Would you like me to special order it for you?”


“Ok. Well will this be all then?”


“Cash or charge?”


“Would you like a bag?”


“Can I get your zip code?”

“Um ok.”

“Would you like to be added to our preferred customer list?”


“It will only take a second, you just need to fill out a short form. Are you sure?”

“I really don’t want to.”

“Ok, well would like to be added to our email list? We can send you coupons and sales announcements.”

“No thanks.”

“Have you heard about our facebook page? If you visit our FB page you can get $5 off of your next purchase.”


“Would you like to get one of our credit cards today? If you do you will save 10% on today’s purchase.”

“My total is $4.80 today. I wouldn’t even save two quarters.”

The clerk stares blankly.


“Ok, I guess you are all set then. On your receipt you have a chance to win a $500 gift card just for filling out a survey. Would you like the receipt with you or in the bag?”

“In. The. Bag.”

“And . . .”

“Shhhhhh. No more questions.”

“But . . .”

“Zip it. Now here is how this is gonna go down. I am taking my items and I am leaving the store. And there had better not be anyone following me. Now, hand me the bag nice and slow and no one gets hurt.”

I know, I know, I know, it is their job. All these stores are trying to make money and improve the customer experience. Well how about they just sell stuff I need and let bygones-be-bygones? Why is every purchase tracked and monitored and categorized and analyzed and tallied to death? Just because I buy this item, does not mean I will want the other item you suggested and texted, emailed, couponed, cataloged or otherwise notified me about! I am a complex woman! You cannot predict the future based upon my past purchases . . . I don’t think.

Because of this type of salesmanship I am currently on the lam from Pottery Barn. That is right, Pottery Barn is stalking me. The trouble started with one free gift card from the credit card people, “Based on your shopping habits we thought you would enjoy a gift card to Pottery Barn.”

If you are unfamiliar with Pottery Barn, or PB, let me just say. It is like Crack to middle-aged white women. And no matter how much of it I have, it is never enough. First I bought a bench, which was no big thing because I needed one. Then I bought a lamp which was not a problem, because who wouldn’t need more lamps, right? Next it was a blanket and some decorative throw pillows, which concerned me, but I was still of the mind that I ‘could stop anytime I wanted to.’ But one thing led to another and now, I am a full-fledged addict.

I personally blame PB because they pursued me like a rabid-dog. After my first purchase it was a catalog here, a catalog there. Next thing I know it is PB kids, then PB teen, then PB Dorm, then West Elm and Restoration Hardware and Ballard Designs. The list goes on and on. The catalogs have taken over my life and they know how to pinpoint my interests so well that I can’t just throw them away. Why not IKEA? I can resist IKEA.

PB has their grubby little hands in everything. They are like Oprah, only not gender-specific and not on TV. You get my point. I have tried to warn people about this phenomenon but no one will listen. My husband, AKA: the enabler, even takes me shopping at PB.

Me: Oh, how I love the smell of aged hardwood and fine veneers.
Hubs: It looks old.
Me: It is distressed.
Hubs: Me too, about the price of buying new stuff that looks old.
Me: It is artistic.
Hubs: No, its not.
Me: I can’t talk to you.
Hubs: Ok. I am totally fine with that.

It is not just PB though. Other stores are stalking me too. They gather info about me and they use it against me. But that is not the worst part, the most horrific thing is they “tell specially selected third parties” and next thing you know, it is a consumer firestorm.

Hubs: You cannot “go postal” on clerks at the GAP just for asking for your email address.
Me: Did you see how tenacious they were? I didn’t think we would make it out of their alive. I thought I was gonna have to cut them with my credit card!
Hubs: Um, I guess I missed it.
Me: I know you don’t believe me, but it is a conspiracy.
Hubs: Getting emailed coupons is a conspiracy?
Me: Yes! First it is the GAP, next thing you know it is Old Navy, then Macy’s and Banana Republic and Nordstroms. You do not want me to get coupons for Nordstroms.
Hubs: You lost me at the conspiracy thing.
Me: I get an email from Williams-Sonoma every single day! Taunting me with sales and specials and free shipping. The Pro-flowers people called me last week, twice! I cannot handle the pressure.
Hubs: Have you gotten any coupons from the Prozac people? Those might come in handy.

So, I have decided I am the master of my fate and I am going to take action. I am quitting. That is right. Cold-turkey. Those marketers can try all they want, but I am on to them and their sadistic plot to get me to buy more stuff. I am strong and like that one bumper sticker said, “just because you are paranoid doesn’t mean people aren’t after you.”

“Hey Mom, the mail came.”
“Anything good?”
“Just bills and, like, fifty catalogs.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Say What?!?

The other day I was making muffins with my kids while listening to Lynrd Skynrd. My oldest son said, “This song is okay for old people music.” I let his slap in the face, I mean compliment, go unnoticed. Not killing my offspring is just one more of the services I provide in the school of mom. Showing the children care about them even though they say things that make me want to pile drive them into the carpet is a requirement of motherhood.

I, like a lot of other mothers, spend a significant amount of time and energy trying to be a better parent. I read books, watch videos, talk to other moms and spend a lot of time feeling guilty for just about everything except breathing; sometimes, even that. The hardest part of being a mother is trying to decipher which expert is correct. Is it the TV psychologist with a best-selling book? Is it the psychotherapist with his own syndicated Sirius satellite radio program? Is it the spiritual healer/nutritionist with the sweat lodge and organic hemp t-shirts? That is the thing; everyone says someone else has the answer.

I read magazines written just for my kind of dilemma. Magazines with titles like: Parents, Parenting, Parent Life, Mothers, Mothering, Family Fun, Family Life, Home Life, Home Girl, Home Court Advantage, and the list goes on. Most of them do nothing to help me and I have suffered innumerable paper cuts thanks to those little cards that they stick in between the pages. Even when I am trying to be a better mother I am suffering, babies should come with a warning label that reads: giving birth is just the beginning of your pain, wait until they start to dig through your purse.

Recently, I read the worst article I have come across yet, it was titled: The Six Most Annoying Things Kids Say. It was supposed to be a self-help article on how to deal with those annoying little gems kids blurt out, but instead it was just a waste of electronic file space on some poor server. In a nutshell here is what the article calls the most annoying things kids say and how to deal with them:

Mine—Ignore it
Not Fair—Explain that nothing is fair
You’re Not the Boss of Me—Try to Understand what the child is really trying to express
I want it now—Pretend not to hear it
You never let me do anything—Is something wrong
I don’t like you—That hurts my feelings

All I can figure is this person obviously has no children. If these are their list of the 6 most annoying things, they must be living in a semi-frozen state of consciousness or have been exposed to large amounts of high-octane gas fumes. If all my kids said were the above six things, I wouldn’t have this annoying facial tick and unquenchable craving for gin and tonics. So, here is my list of the top 20 annoying things my kids said to me today:

1. Mom, you wanna hear a song? It is called the song that never ends.
2. Boogers taste yummy.
3. Are we there yet? How about now?
4. Wow, that guy’s back is almost as hairy as dad’s!
5. I need some more money.
6. Your butt is getting bigger and bigger.
7. Can I have 5 friends sleep-over . . . tonight?
8. I need 48 cupcakes for school today.
9. Can you help me with my homework about 2 trains, one is going 35 mph headed South, and one is going 62 mph headed East?
10. Mom, how old do I have to get before I can grow a mustache like yours?
11. The dog ate all the dimes out of my coin collection.
12. Wow, Mom, you have more grey hair than Justin’s grandma!
13. I heard Daddy tell someone you aren’t the boss, you are just bossy.
14. Something got spilled in the bathroom, I am not sure if it is soup, throw-up, diarrhea or my science fair experiment.
15. Can I please be adopted?
16. Daddy’s secretary sure is pretty.
17. Mommy, the police are here . . . again.
18. When I grow up I want to work at McDonalds!
19. Uncle Paul said boys are smarter than girls, you can’t fight genetics.
20. I know you can light farts on fire, I saw it on Mythbusters.
*Bonus Annoying Item* 21. Knock, knock. Mom, you are supposed to say, “Who's there?”

Maybe all us parents should just stop while we are ahead, and never teach the kids to talk in the first place.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

15 Minutes of Fame

Recently, I read a news article about a woman who was angry because she saw a picture of her mother on the people of Wal-Mart dot com. Now I can understand why she would be upset, I have had to deal with seeing my family on milk cartons, flyers at the post office, and episodes of COPS, it is no fun to be left out. Especially, with every Kardashian, from here to eternity, parlaying one scandal after another into a lucrative career of doing nothing; it is hard for a person to get their fair share of the spotlight.

That is why I have created the list below to help you out. For those of you that would like to see your image on a low-budget website, potentially with your face partially obscured, here is what you must do.

Ways to Improve Your Chances for Getting on "the People of Wal-Mart Dot Com"

1. Buy your clothes there.
2. Make sure the clothes that you buy there don’t fit.
3. Gain 600 pounds.
4. Pick a theme for the top half of your body, and a different theme for the bottom. Options include: pirate, zookeeper, plumber, Leprechaun, working girl, chimpanzee, satan worshipper, trapeze artist, village idiot and/or plus-plus-plus-plus-size model.
5. Let a small blind child do your make-up and hair.
6. Stop taking your medication.
7. Bring your pet goat, pig, or armadillo shopping with you.
8. Wear a hospital gown and accentuate it with a nice set of pearls.
9. Celebrate “Dress like you slept in a dumpster day.”
10. Select attire that emphasizes body hair, cellulite, large scars, scaley rashes, and fat rolls.
11. Spend your federal assistance check on discount body piercings.
12. One word: Spandex.
13. Two words: Small spandex.
14. Undergarments should be worn on the outside of clothing.
15. Let your adult diaper peek out the top of your mini-skirt.
16. Show your cleavage: Front and back.
17. Gold teeth paired with a Muumuu can be very sheik.
18. Bring your children with you and go ahead and let them off their leashes.
19. Forget “bringing sexy back,” let’s bring polyester back.
20. Head-to-toe pleather.
21. Think convicted felon meets hillbilly, meets gangster, in a cat suit.
22. Have “Michelin 85 max psi” tattooed on your spare tire, and then show that baby off.
23. Why limit yourself to one toupee? Two are twice as fun.
24. Wear a custom t-shirt that says something witty like: “Still have half the brain cells I started out with” or “I can count to twenty if I take my shoes off.”
25. Take out your teeth and throw on that foxy, leopard-print house coat, you are going out in style now.

Hopefully this list has helped you realize your dream of getting your photo on the internet. Now get out there and grab your chance at fame! Don’t worry I am right behind you, I just need to get my camera.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

March Madness

In honor of Charlie Sheen, and shameless self-promotion, I have decided to run a contest for the month of March. That’s right, I am gonna bribe you. So what is in it for you? Dignity, a pat on the back, a warm fuzzy feeling? No, none of those things. But, I will be giving away a gift bag valued at over $40 in merchandise! Woo hoo!

I know what you are thinking. I am a poor starving artist, suffering for my craft. How can I afford such an expensive give-away? Ha ha! I can’t. But I hit up my sugar-daddy and he agreed to give me some moolah so that I can bribe, I mean entice, you ungrateful, I mean, lovely folks.

Ok, so here is the skinny . . . All you have to do is leave a comment in the “comments section” and please include your email address. For each comment I will give you one (1) entry in the contest. If you put a link to my blog ( on your blog, web-site, facebook page or twitter page--you will get five (5) entries. That is correct, five, like wow, right? Just shoot me an email to make sure I have a way to contact you. You can contact me at: or via facebook at:

So, I won’t disqualify you if you write mean, irate, or nasty comments--but I like nice ones better. A friend of mine, who is a shift supervisor at Jiffy Lube, who has a cousin that is a custodian at the courthouse, knows all the legal lingo and he says we have to make it fair. Oh ya, I almost forgot, if you become a follower, you will also get another (5) entries in the contest. Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you—five! As in golden rings, fingers on each hand, and the money that Lincoln’s face appears on (it is the five dollar bill right?)!

Maybe you are thinking, ‘I don’t want no stinking gift bag.’ Well, my friend, you would be what I like to call--wrong. This thing is packed, with like, cool stuff. It isn’t something I shelled out a handful of pennies for at the dollar store. This stuff is nice, top-of-the line goodies.! The best stuff that money could buy in a small town, without any selection, or self-respect, and with inflation creeping up, the recession smacking us down, and the U.S. dollar reaching pitiful lows. Trust me, you want it.

Before I forget . . . this contest is only open to legal U.S. residents (I really cannot afford to ship this thing out of the country). Some exclusions may apply. For example, anyone involved in the making of the book, or the movie, Twilight, or any of its ridiculous off-shoots, is ineligible, vampires are stupid, seriously. Additionally, I am not responsible for emails or comments lost in cyberspace. This contest will end March 31st. A winner will be selected at random, on or before April 8th, by scooping a wadded-up sheet of paper with names on it, out of a plastic bag, shoebox, or mixing bowl--depending on the number of entrants.

So there you have it. A contest—Yee Haw! Enter now!