photo: Christian Peterson/Getty
photo: Christian Peterson/Getty

Did you feel that? It was subtle, so maybe you missed it. The ground shook a little and the skies cracked open. Swear jars and chore charts toppled off of the shelves of suburban track homes all across the country. There was a collective gasp from young children, their eyes assaulted. Parents everywhere rushed to shield their children’s eyes from the horror, sloshing their Lite Beers in the process. Salsa was spilled while furious Tweeters and FaceBookers took to the social media airways to express their disgust and admonishments. What was responsible for this onslaught of carpet stains and sticky phones?

Boobs.

Nuclear families all across our great land had settled in to watch a game of skull crashing, mind pulverizing, wholesome fun. It was the College National Championship game. What should have been a time to bond as a family and celebrate good old fashioned Americana was sullied. Because boobs.

Ciara sang the National Anthem wearing a lovely rhinestoned dress and cape that would have had Liberachi drooling in his bedazzled goblet. She was pristine in her white sparkliness. Her hair pulled back in an elegant chignon. She stood regally, mid field, and sang the most sacred song of our nation. The one that makes every good American pause, hand over heart, one single tear slowly trickling down their cheek. Except the eyes were dry on this good night. The patriotic moment overshadowed by her classless display of body parts.

“It’s a family event!” the people cried. “Cover up!” “Not appropriate!”

There were Tweets from ESPN reporters, the arbiters of decency and propriety.

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The pearl clutching was in full effect. It was a little too much for a nation still in recovery from the yoga pants episodes of 2015. You know, the one where women and girls were shamed and scolded for wearing yoga pants as… err… pants? The wound is too fresh on our delicate sensibilities to now have to contend with breasts.

It was reckless and selfish of Ciara. Being all… there. With her body. Who the hell does she think she is, trying to draw attention to herself on national tv? Because of her, the fans of the SEC and ACC were distracted from the game. They could only half-heartedly scream profanities at their tv screens when coaches called the wrong plays. Their FaceBook updates -that the public at large relies on for game updates and sideline coaching- were lackluster. Their hearts weren’t in it knowing that their children would never be the same.

Breasts have no place on tv. If you have them, it is your duty, nay your responsibility,  to make sure they are covered at all times. It doesn’t matter if you are 13 and headed off to middle school or 25 and headed to the gym. Breasts have no business being seen. Throw on that turtle neck and get thee to a baked goods sale, ladies!

It’s a slippery slope for our youth. They see breasts when their young brains are still supple and growing. The next thing you know, they’re snorting meth off the stomach of a stripper at the Lucky Penny. Breasts are the gateway drug for debauchery and a lifetime of Hooters Happy Hours eating bad wings and drinking stale beer. No one wants this for the youth of our country. Our kids deserve better.

And please, spare me the arguments. I’ve heard them all: “breasts are natural, they shouldn’t be sexualized” “I just want to feed my baby without being banished to a smelly public restroom” and “other cultures aren’t afraid of breasts.” Pffftt. I scoff a these pleas that are trotted out to try to instill some common sense and civility. In our country we like our breasts hidden from view, modestly hidden from sight. Until we want to see them. And then you can wear that v-neck shirt that’s been gathering dust in the back of your closet. Then you can proudly strap on your Victorias Secret Miracle Bra with pride. But only when we want to see them. It’s up to every single one of you to figure out the difference. Getting it wrong can have dire effects so tread carefully. Public shaming or assumptions about your character will be doled out based on the status of your breasts. It’s best to think of your boobs as weapons. Unless you have an open carry permit, you best keep ’em wrapped up tight.

I tried to stay strong through this whole ordeal. I tried to not get upset at the awful display that came across my tv screen. But then I saw this:

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Ciara. Women everywhere. Next time you’re getting dressed to sing the National Anthem,  or getting dressed to go to the grocery store or to go anywhere for that matter, think of Coop. What would Coop say? Coop and all the other innocent children out there. Can we spare them this kind of inappropriateness? Coop hasn’t even grown into her Vineyard Vines Shep Shirt yet and already she’s had her poor little mind tainted.

It’s incumbent upon all of us, those of the ever present breasts, to consider the ramifications of the clothes we wear. To speculate upon the effects our OOTD may have on the people who cross our paths. And, most importantly, to think of the legacy we are leaving the children.

 

 

 

 

 

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Can we not suck the fun out of Halloween?

Can we have one day? One day where it’s just about having fun and there are no guidelines or parameters or judgement or rules?

I’ve been hearing plenty of grumbling on both mainstream and social media. Things that annoy people about Halloween. “Rules” for trick or treating.

There’s been an abundance of people who seem to have a stick up their candy bowl.

They have been lamenting the kids who trample their grass, don’t ask politely for candy. The ones who take the candy and don’t say thank you. People who wonder at the wisdom of giving candy when more kids are overweight. Remember the lady who handed out fat shaming letters to trick or treaters? And there are people who think it’s their job to determine how old is too old for trick or treating.

As a public service and as a person who loves this holiday, I am going to share some thoughts.

Halloween is supposed to be the bad-ass holiday. It’s about being scary. It’s about being scared. It’s about running around in the dark. It’s about playing pranks, having fun. It’s supposed to be harmless mayhem. I don’t want to see Halloween morph into some nauseating Elf On the Shelf type of watered-down cuteness. I don’t want the pre-planned manufactured fun borne of Martha Stewart and Pinterest. Let’s not ruin Halloween.

On behalf of those who like this holiday and aren’t mean fun-sucking candy haters, I’d like to share a few of my “rules.”

1. Turn Off the Lights This one’s really simple, you don’t have to participate. You can turn off your porch light. In fact, if kids and their seeking of candy really bother you, I’m going to ask that you turn off your lights, close your blinds and go to bed because it sounds like you could really use a good night’s sleep.

2. This Ain’t No Disco. And It Ain’t No Country Club. And it’s not a dog and pony show. This is not an exhibition in which kids curtsy and look cute and act proper and display their good grooming and well-appointed manners. It’s not a test in ettiquete or in ANYTHING. Even the most well-disciplined well mannered kids will possibly- nay probably- forget a “Thank you” in their haste and excitement to run off to the next house. Don’t take it personally. Really, it’s not about you. They’re just excited, mkay?

3. You Can’t Guess No One’s Age So Don’t Even Try. Don’t be coy. You know what I’m talking about. The big kids. You know, the ones with a five o’clock shadow and awkward gangly limbs? They travel in packs. They mumble. They look at the ground when talking to you. They look like they might be too old for such childish antics. I’m going to try to appeal to your sympathies as someone who once went through this yourself. Please understand that the kid with the mustache might only be 13. The girl with the curves may only be 12. Kids this age are impossible to identify by age. I dare you to go to any middle school or high school and try.

They are going through the most confusing and awkward period of adolescence. Their brains are sucked dry by hormones that are running roughshod over their whole existence. They are uncomfortable in their own skin and they probably debated about even going trick or treating. They are at that stage where they still want to be a kid and have fun, but know it might not be cool. So don’t make them feel completely uncool by sneering or asking their age or refusing them candy. Even if they’re not dressed up. They may not have planned on going trick or treating. They may have had their friends knock on their door at the last minute pulling them out of the house. Let them have this. That kid that looks like he could be changing the oil on your car may be still watching Sponge Bob and cuddling on the couch with his parents. Don’t make him think he’s too old for any of it.

4. Kids From Other Neighborhoods ARE Allowed. I honestly can’t believe I have to even say this….

But we cannot segregate Halloween and trick or treating by class or by race or by neighborhood.

If you are bothered by “others” encroaching on your precious ‘hood, then I am going to politely point out that you might be an asshole.

And by this I mean that your head is so far up your McMansion that you may need to seek professional help.

I live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and houses close together. Around our ‘hood? It’s largely rural. We have carloads and vans that drop their kids off to trick or treat. From (gasp!) other neighborhoods. We have to buy insane amounts of candy to give out. I’ve heard grumbles from some. But those grumbles are drowned out by the rest of us. By most of us. You know, the ones having fun. The ones who don’t care where a kid is from. Those elitist whiners are muffled by the all of the houses that put on interactive displays in their front yards. By the neighbors that go to a lot of trouble and time and expense to put on haunted houses in their garages. By the parents that sit at the end of their driveway and chat with the adults passing by. Sometimes handing a cold beer to a weary parent. By the people that want others to enjoy the holiday, no matter where they’re from. If all of this welcoming and camaraderie is disturbing to you, please see Rule # 1.

5. There Are No Rules. Yes. There are no rules. Other than the basic rules of conduct. Like no vandalism or stealing. Rules that don’t even need to be stated because they should be an intrinsic part of being a decent human being. Rules like don’t judge parents or kids based on where they’re from and if they belong on your doorstep. Rules like don’t be mean to a growing kid. Basic civility and decorum. Try it. Try having no expectations and just go with it. Have fun. Laugh with the kids. Laugh and chat with the adults. You may find yourself enjoying Halloween more than ever.

Me? I love Halloween. I’ll be painting my kids’ faces, helping them with their costumes. I’ll be managing a sleepover of 4 teen age boys who want to play video games and watch horror movies. And I’ll be scrambling to help them piece together last minute costumes when they decide to go out to “just a few houses.” I’ll be lecturing them about being respectful and letting the little ones go first. I’ll be holding my breath hoping that ALL of my kids, younger and older, listen to their Mama and do right.

I’ll be enjoying all of the adorable kids, younger and older, who end up on my doorstep. I’ll visit a few of the haunted houses in my ‘hood. At some point I’ll put a giant bowl of candy on my porch with a little sign asking the kids to take just two. And I’ll do this knowing that some kid is going to dump the whole bowl in their bag. That’s ok. I’m not gonna sweat it.

I’ll be down at my neighbor’s. I heard they’re passing out cold beers.

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C’mon. You know you want to hop on over to the SisterWives and see what I’ve cooked up!

I love the inter webs. The new vocabulary, the memes, the judgement cast about in passive aggressive terms. It’s a wild world of anything goes and sometimes it makes for great blog fodder. And sometimes we have a little fun with it. Come read all about RDF and the issue confronting all men. Even if they never realized it.

Click on this link: Your “Resting Dick Face” Is A Problem and I’ll see you there!

Hello lovelies. Today I’m over at my other home, The Sisterwives. On Monday Briton, aka Punk Rock Papa, wrote a hilarious post about inappropriate humor. Today, it’s my turn. I’m not the funniest person in the room, never will be. But I’m a real good side kick. I can run with your jokes and play off of them and I can laugh until I’m wheezing like the Marlboro man.

Join me, will you? Come read all about my neurotic tendencies and my love for dark humor and my fear of cursing. It may offend you. If so, well… I’m sorry. Wait, no I’m not. Well, kind of. Oh, hell, just go read it. (I love you guys, srsly.)

I’m Offended That You’re Offended…. (warning: may offend)

It's like looking in a mirror...
It’s like looking in a mirror…

 

I like to think I’m a pretty good parent. I love those three kids more than anything in the world. I have spent the better part of 14 years doing all the things for them. You know, all the mom things. They are pretty lucky little shits if you ask me.

And I tell them that all the time. They are damn lucky to have me. I’m a pretty cool mom. And all the cool moms announce their coolness to their kids all the time, right? I’m pretty laid back. I really don’t sweat the little things. I don’t run my house like a Drill Instructor during Hell Week. We keep it simple. Do the basics, get good grades, work hard, do your chores, be nice. That’s it. Pretty cool, right?

But sometimes I screw up. Sometimes I do all the wrong things. Sometimes I feel bad about it. Not always, but sometimes. Because I like to keep it real with you guys, I’m going to peel back the curtain of this seemingly perfect little life I have and show you the real seedy underbelly that is MomsIsALittleCrayCray.

1. F Bombs and other awful things little ears shouldn’t hear. I say them.  Not ALL the time. But I don’t really practice self-editing. I’m not a complete potty mouth or anything, but let’s face it, there are frequent and varied occasions where the words just fly out of your mouth. When you run into a doorway. When you back into your husband’s car. When you show up just in time for the game and realize you’re at the wrong ball field. And your kid is starting pitcher. And it’s rush hour. Anyways, the point is I’m human and such situations elicit some choice verbiage. But they know the rules. I can curse, they can’t. I also exhibit tact and class and don’t curse in front of strangers or other children (at least not on purpose). I’m just saying that they’ve been exposed and some of their fist words were “Shit” and “Dammit.”

2. I have favorites. And I tell them. I will loudly whisper to one of my kids when the others are acting up “You know you’re my favorite.” I do this fairly and evenly. They each get a turn being mom’s angel. I like to keep them guessing and vying for favorite status. Nah, not really…  I’m simply trying to entertain myself with their expressions when they hear me say it to their sibling. It’s pretty damn funny. If you’ve never tried it with your kids I totally recommend it. It usually squashes whatever beef the other kids were fighting over and they become united in their hatred of you. In the meantime, the current favorite is giving you all kinds of cuddles with a smug look on their face and that makes you feel like an awesome mom.

3. I lie to them. Just on occasion. Usually just for fun. Sometimes for totally acceptable practical reasons (ex: “we’re all out of chocolate” as you hide a package of Reese’s cups in the freezer.) But I have a few on-going lies I tell my kids. One is that I used to be a famous pop star in Europe before they were born. I have embellished this one over the years to include my appearance on Top of the Pops and being hounded by the paparazzi. Recently, as I was belting out Rosanna (Toto, circa 1982) in the car, I responded to my daughter’s eye roll with “People used to pay good money to hear me sing!” I tell them I gave it all up to get married and have kids (a little martyrdom is always useful in parenting). The best part of this lie is that I have the worst singing voice ever. Like, my babies have cried when I would sing them lullabies. My husband has threatened to divorce me when I sing in the car. But they all kind of bought in to the lie at some point. You know how kids believe everything their parents tell them? I was just having a little bit of fun with that power.

4. They look like homeless kids. I try. I really do. But I don’t put a ton of emphasis on what they look like. I could care less if my kids look like they just walked off of a GapKids ad. But it would be nice if they didn’t look like they lived in a hovel. My teen wears basketball shorts and a pullover hoodie every day. He doesn’t take the hoodie off, so I’m sure his teachers think he has one shirt. Just yesterday I insisted that he wear jeans to school since it was like -80 degrees outside. (Kidding. I live in the SouthEast, it was more like 35 degrees. But still, soooo cold.) It was a battle but I won. He ended up going to school in jeans that were two inches too short. Oops. I just bought them a month ago and he grew out of them. Sorry kid. A little bullying about your high-waters will just build character.

Also, yesterday my five year old decided to pull out her hair bow in carpool line because she wanted to “fixth it and make it pretty.” My daughter wakes up every day with hair like Nick Nolte’s mug shot. It takes a lot of work to tame it. Guess who she went to school looking like yesterday? I don’t think it was “Dress Up Like Washed Up Druggie Actor” Day, so… yeah.

***

So, before you all start clamoring for me to write a book on the art of parenting, I’ll run down a quick list of other not completely awful but not exactly June Cleaver moments: I refuse to do the whole Elf on the Shelf thing, I don’t go eat lunch with them at school (when did this become a thing? I eat every other meal with them!), I let them play video games, I introduced them to the classic Schweddyy Balls bit on SNL, we have watched this over and over, I force them to adopt a British cockney accent when they want something from me, I have forced them to follow up a request with “Please beautiful Mommy” and I frequently and lovingly refer to them as “little shits.”

And because I feel the need to counter all these flaws, lest you think I’m Mommy Dearest, let me assure you my kids are loved and are ridiculously showered with affection. Some might say they are a little spoiled. My husband and I are hard on them when it comes to the important stuff like school and respect and hard work. But other than that? We try to have fun with our kids. We laugh a lot. They seem to want to be around us all the time. (Seriously, aren’t kids supposed to want to be far, far away from their parents? Stay tuned for a future post about Helicopter Kids…)

What I’m saying is we’re not perfect, but who wants perfect parents? Kids need something to complain about. I’m doing them a favor by embracing my flaws and allowing some imperfection to creep into what is otherwise pretty stellar parenting. You’re welcome, kids. I can’t wait to rock this tee this Mother’s Day…

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Are you an awesome parent too? What mean/crazy/silly things do you to your kids? Are you totally singing Rosanna to yourself right now? Should I be saving for their future therapy? Tell me what you REALLY think…

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“You feelin’ alright

I’m not feelin’ too good myself”

-Joe Cocker, Feelin’ Alright

I don’t want to be an alarmist. And there’s already enough hysteria floating around like airborne microbes through a misting fan. But you guys- it was bad. Fever. Puking. Other stuff that polite southern women don’t talk about.

Four out of five Kelly’s were sick. No, it wasn’t Ebola. But I feel like I kind of understand it, from both ends. And no, I’m not being coy, I mean I was both patient and nurse. Because I’m a mom.

Patient # 1: It all started with the little one. So innocent and cute. She didn’t understand what was happening. She peppered me with questions in between yakking. She didn’t understand that correct protocol does not involve breathing directly into my face after emptying the contents of her stomach all over the bed.

Patient # 2: My son. Thirteen years old. Vibrant, strong boy. Which means that he gives new meaning to the word “projectile” as the contents of that night’s dinner make a second appearance. The victim: his bedroom rug. This is when things get really ugly. This is when you realize you failed at containing the virus. This is when it’s time to get serious. Luckily for you, I’ve been through it and I’ve come out on the other side to help you. Hopefully you won’t be affected or infected, but in case you are, take heed.

  • First, you must maintain composure. As you turn for help and see your husband’s retreating back, you realize you’re in this alone. You’ll want to panic. But you can’t. This is it. This is no time to lose your shizzm. The faster you act the better. Don’t allow time to think or smell. Paper towels and trash bags are your friend. Do the best you can with these tools. You will likely realize that you have held your breath and squealed and sympathy-vomited through this stage of cleanup only to realize you’ve barely scratched the barf covered surface. Time to improvise. Grab the oldest towels you can and cover that rank. If you can’t see it it’s not there. Truth.
  • Second, employ those killers of the environment, the plastic grocery bag. Yes, you feel guilty that you have an entire closet in your laundry room stuffed with them. You tried reusable grocery bags and you really liked them, but your husband “accidentally” threw them out and you’ve been too lazy to buy more. Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah. Dealing with children who’ve suddenly turned into Linda Blair from The Exorcist. So yeah, those pesky little bags you’ve been hoarding can now be “recycled.” Line the trash can that you put by your kid’s bed with a triple layer of these. Just like lining a roasting pan with foil. Clean up will be easy.

Except it’s not. Your methods are necessary but clean up will be treacherous at best. The worst part is the nausea you feel just from seeing and smelling things that can’t be unseen or un.. er… not smelled. But you must forge ahead. The rest of the family is counting on you to keep them safe. Especially your husband who’s snoring from the bedroom. It’s time to disinfect.

  • Before this step you must protect yourself. You have to keep yourself well or things will really fall apart. You know, take oxygen before you assist fellow passengers. I don’t make these things up. You’ll want a face mask. Surely you have these on hand for the impending pandemics that crop up yearly, right? Good. You’ll need rubber or latex gloves. And an old shirt – or your husband’s favorite t shirt – whatever’s handy. If wretching is still in progress (how much did those kids eat today?) you may want a hat or scarf to cover your hair.
  • Now you will need a bucket and bleach. You will need to coat all door handles, light switches, faucets, toilet handles. All of it. Don’t listen to that crap about 2 teaspoons of bleach per gallon of water. You want to show this virus who’s boss, right? We ain’t playin’ around. So you go halfsies. Your eyes will burn and your house will smell like  an indoor kiddie pool with poor ventilation, but that’s ok. The bonus here is that your nose will be incapable of smelling the foul smells that emanate from those towels on your son’s carpet.
  • The next step is laundry. While still suited up in your homemade hazmat suit, grab the comforter your son managed to soil as well as any washcloths and towels that may have been contaminated. But NOT the towels on the floor! DO NOT move those! You will want to shove as many of the offending linens into your washer as humanly possible. Put in extra soap. Lots of it. Wash on highest heat, sanitary setting. Side note: anything that needs rinsing before putting in the washer needs to be thrown out. I don’t care if it’s wasteful. There’s nothing that is so special that can’t be replaced. Seriously, I don’t care if your grandmother’s wedding dress got caught in the cross fire, there are limits to what one should be expected to do. Throw that shizzle away.
  • Sometimes your methods are met with a little hiccup. A little stumble if you will. In my case it was water seeping from under the washing machine. It’s ok. Freaking out about what curse has been placed upon your pure heart is not going to help. Take a deep breath. Backup plans are in place for such breaches. Take all remaining contaminated laundry that has not been stuffed into your washing machine like a Paula Deen pork chop and dump it on to the floor of your garage. It is out of the house, technically, which is the important thing. Until the washing machine gets fixed, your family can practice holding their breath as they dash through the garage to the car. This is a healthy exercise that will only save them from possible drowning one day.

Congratulate yourself on a sanitized and clean environment in which your family can safely ride out this harrowing ordeal. Rest easy as you drift off to sleep with the comfort that you’ve protected the people you love with your knowledge and fortitude in the face of utter grossness. Drift off to sleep with the last few precious hours left before daylight.

Except you can’t. Because you realize that the nausea you’d been feeling wasn’t imaginary. You’ve been infected. As you race to the bathroom to take your turn at the hurling olympics, grab a towel. That tile’s cold and you’ll be laying on it until this passes.

Eventually the fever wears off and the nausea calms to a quiet roar. You emerge from your oddly comforting enclave curled up next to the toilet, to realize that no one realized you were gone. As your son recovers from the worst of it upstairs, your five year old seems remarkably well and full of all kinds of fun energy. The family went about their business in the few hours since you cleaned and painstakingly disinfected. You try not to be irritated that it looks like John Belushi just hosted a toga party in your kitchen. Because look at them. Healthy. Blissfully unaware. This is why you do it. Then you see your husband. He’s looking a little green…

Just turn around and go back to bed. You’ve done your part. It’s every man and child for himself now.

Do stomach bugs freak you out? Have you been traumatized by cleaning up your kid’s puke? What are your tips for surviving an outbreak?

 Walk-Together-

One of my best friends summed up friendship like this: You have the friends that will come to your wedding, the friends that will show up at your funeral and then you have the friends who will be there to pluck your chin hairs and wax your lip if you’re in a coma.

Yep.

Chances are we all have or have had those friends.

Wedding friends 

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They may be the ones who want to celebrate a special day with you because they love you and are happy for you. These are the people that have walked through life and past relationships with you and are truly happy to see you enter a new phase. But in addition to these guys, there are the fun time friends. These are the people that are fun to party with, that know how to have a good time. They will be the first on the dance floor and the ones making the funniest toasts.

Funeral friends

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These are the friends who loved us dearly and are devastated at our demise. But this also includes a sub-group of “friends.” The ones that want to be able to say they were your friend. Even if they really weren’t. Everyone wants to say they were close to the dead guy. I don’t know why, but death seems to bring out a weird element of not wanting to miss out on the grief and glorifying the dead. Some people feed on this and revel in latching on to the grief. They want to be able to whisper about the loss and shake their head in sadness at the next cocktail party. They want to be able to impart details about the accident or illness that not everyone else is privy to. Their motivation? Who knows? Possibly to seem well connected? A dead guy can’t call you out on the true nature of your “friendship.”

The I’ll Visit You While You’re In A Coma Friends

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These are the true friends. These are the ones who will come see you long after all the others have moved on and forgotten you. These are the friends that truly know you. They know you wouldn’t want the doctors or the nurses or your family members to watch you waste away in a hospital bed with a hairy lip. They are the ones who know what kind of stuff makes you laugh and they will sit there telling you jokes and funny stories just hoping you’re laughing somewhere inside your coma world. They know your quirks and eccentricities and will make sure the hospital gives you the type of pillow you like and will make you playlists of your favorite music to listen to in coma land. If you have friends like this, hold on to them. They are few and they are precious.

Then there’s the WTF friends

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You know. The crazy stalker friends. Or the frenemies. Or the jealous of every good thing that happens to you friends. Or the “I’m going to blurt out something private and embarrassing about you at a social gathering” friend. These are all too strange and unique in their own twisted ways to get their own categories so I’m just lumping them all together. But I do have a few juicy examples to share with you….

WTF friend: I’m going to get really upset with you for breaking up with your boyfriend. I’m going to tell you how great you guys were together and you are meant for each other. I’m even going to get a little pissed when you move on and start dating someone else. And then, about a day later, I’m going to have sex with your ex boyfriend. The one I was just mad at you for leaving. Then I’m going to tell you about it with a sheepish “Sorry?” True story. I don’t know if this was a passive aggressive move or just… who the hell knows? But the problem with this story is not the sleeping with the guy part, it’s the guilt trip that proceeded the carnal deed.

WTF friend: I’m going to be your BEST friend. There for you no matter WHAT. Except for when you fall in love and get engaged. Then I’m going to be pissed. And on the night that you tell all of your friends in hopes of celebrating said engagement, I’m going to pout and not speak to you the whole night. I’m going to suck all of the air out of the room until you decide to leave early and drown your sorrows in late night Waffle House grease with your betrothed. True story.

WTF friend: When you’re, oh, about four months pregnant with your third child, I’m going to have a little chat with you. I’m going to wait until you just had an ultrasound and found out you’re having a little girl. I’m going to listen as you tell me how relieved you are that everything looked ok and the baby seems perfectly healthy. And as soon as I’m done exclaiming in glee over your news I’m going to tell you that I want you to come to my house and watch an abortion video with me. Because I’m a good friend like that. I’m going to say these very words to you: “I couldn’t let you abort that baby any more than you could let me put a gun to (insert 8 year old son’s name here) head and shoot him.” W.T. ‘effin F???? This is a true story. I know. Bat shit, right?

Yes, I had all three of these WTF friends. And yes, I dumped them after each scenario played out. I can put up with a lot. I can be really forgiving. I have a large tolerance for annoying behaviors and mistakes. I’ve actually been told on many occasions by many different people that I am too forgiving. But with me there’s always a line. It may be way down the line from where others would draw it, but I have one. And once you cross it we are done. Cause, seriously, WTF?

And thank god I have the other friends. I have the wedding friends who laughed at these WTF stories and made them hilarious in a “You have to laugh because it’s so messed up” kind of way. The friends who can drop a dry one-liner in reference to this craziness that has you laughing so hard you are almost grateful for the WTF’s, if just for the humor value. And I have the friends that will come see me if I’m ever in a coma. True, genuine friends. These friendships don’t dabble in judgement or jealousy or pettiness. These are the friends that will celebrate your successes and cry with your misfortunes. They are the ones that can make you laugh, the one’s who can finish your sentence. The ones who when you see them after a long absence it’s like you’re transported right back to your dorm room and the four of you never missed a beat. The ones you can tell anything to. The friends who nourish your soul and seeing them is like going home.

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Happy International Friendship Day! Do you have friends that have helped you keep your sanity? What are your crazy WTF? friend stories?

makeup-tools

“To be yourself is all that you can do, yeah

to be yourself is all that you can do”

-Audioslave, Be Yourself

Take off all your makeup. Right now. Seriously, stop reading, get out your makeup remover (that you surely have with you at this very moment) and remove all of your makeup. What… you don’t want to? Why? You got a problem with natural? Are you insecure with how you look? C’mon, it’s 2014, you’re an adult. Surely you possess enough self-confidence to be able to forgo these products marketed to women by large, greedy corporations. Surely you don’t buy into the pressure from media and society to conform to beauty standards? What’s that? You don’t want to bare it all?

Coward.

That is me being sarcastic. What, you may ask, has me posing a paragraph full of smart ass questions? It’s the makeup free trend that appears to be taking hold. I don’t get it. Maybe I’m twisted and vain. Maybe I’m too insecure. But the whole thing kinda rubs me the wrong way. It’s not that I have a problem with makeup free, I have a problem with it becoming a campaign, a movement. I know that some of the efforts to go make-up free, like the Dove Beauty campaign, have goals of empowering women. I’m all for that. “Yay!” for empowerment. But it’s starting to evolve into something that feels more like pressure. Everyone’s doing it. Like, everyone. Teens, moms, young singles, celebs, news anchors. They’re posting it on social media with #nomakeupselfie. It’s the cool thing to do. And if you’re really confident, if you’re really secure in yourself, you’ll do it too… right?

Yeah, not me. I won’t be posting any barefaced pics on the interwebs. I love the natural look. I think it’s beautiful. But that “natural” look is harder to achieve than a Guns N Roses reunion. There are makeup lines marketed as “The Natural Look”, there are tutorials on YouTube on how to achieve that glowy dewy skin one has after having sex or working out.

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That’s all there is to it…

I like makeup. I don’t wear a ton of it, but what I do wear I’ve grown real attached to. I need concealer. Without it my eyes look like that creepy dude from Lord of the Rings.

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You’ll never be able to un-see this…

And I like to wear eye makeup, I’m addicted to mascara. This is not to say that I won’t leave the house without makeup. I do carpool line, run to the store, etc,  without makeup. Hell, I was even interviewed on the local news sans makeup as I was leaving the grocery store. But I’m not making a statement with my pale, jaundiced looking face. I’m doing it out of convenience or laziness- it depends on the day. I don’t really want to think that anything I do with my clothes, my hair or my makeup is in any way making any kind of statement. I want to do what feels comfortable to me, what fits my mood.

There has been a rash of women taking off their makeup live on tv or in front of live audiences. There’s a whole thing called Makeup Free Monday. In February the cast of the Today Show went on air without makeup. After one segment, the entire cast put all their makeup back on. Local news anchors have been taking their makeup off. Last week Mika Brzezinski took her makeup off on stage during the Women In The World Conference. She said that makeup shouldn’t own you as she spent 20 minutes wiping off her carefully applied makeup.

Not awkward at all
Not awkward at all

I’m not disagreeing with the ideas or the intentions behind these “acts”. I definitely don’t think makeup should “own” anyone. I’m just not sure where this message is taking us, where it’s landing and what it’s supposed to do. Seeing the pictures and watching these makeup free stunts on t.v., they just illustrate how uncomfortable this act is. Anyone under the spotlights is going to feel vulnerable without makeup on. Watching the bare-faced on-air personalities squirm uncomfortably is supposed to convey a positive message. But it seems to demonstrate a level of self consciousness that makes me want to look away. It certainly doesn’t have me reaching for my makeup remover and camera.

And the selfies. I’ve got nothing against selfies. Sexy selfies, makeup free selfies, go for it. Do what makes you feel good, do what you want to do. Flaunt your awesomeness all over social media. But let’s not start pressuring women to post makeup free selfies. Let’s not pressure women to do anything. Beyonce posted a beautiful makeup free selfie. Gwyneth, Cameron, Bethany Frankel. All makeup free on Twitter and Instagram. That’s totally cool. But when campaigns are started to show how “brave” women are to go makeup free, isn’t that somewhat contradictory? If makeup shouldn’t be that important, can we all agree that going makeup free doesn’t count as brave? Going makeup free should be a choice, like which shoes to wear today. Not an act of bravery or freedom or an act of anything.

Some people apparently feel “owned” by their makeup, feel true anxiety about going makeup free. If that’s the case, then maybe this is something that could empower them. But I know a lot of women. And every single one of them goes without makeup from time to time. At the gym, at the playground. I know some women who never wear makeup. I know some women who wear it more often than not. But I think I can safely say that I have seen every single one of my friends and neighbors without makeup on a fairly regular basis. I think this is the norm. Let’s not create an issue where there is none. We don’t all have to do a Kardashian smokey eye to leave the house, but there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your makeup, with liking the way eyeliner accentuates your eyes or lipsticks make your lips stand out. If it makes you feel good DO IT.

I’m not against raising money for good causes, starting conversations about empowerment. Those are all noble things. I just have a problem with pressuring women to do something. I mean, if we’re really going to break free of all the shackles of beauty that society imposes, why stop at going makeup free? We could stop shaving. Our legs, our armpits, everywhere.  Let’s all stop washing our hair. And let’s throw away those tweezers. Lets bring back the Frida Kahlo look. Let’s stop plucking errant chin hairs. No more waxing our lips. I mean, c’mon ladies, let’s be brave here. Not wearing makeup? Pffftt… that’s no biggie. But when I see Beyonce sporting some hairy pits on her yacht or Diane Sawyer joining the No Poo movement or Gwyneth Paltrow stroking her ‘stache on Instagram, then I’ll sit up and take notice.

(photo: thedailymustache.com)
(photo: thedailymustache.com)

Head in Hands

 “Pick up my guitar and play,

Just like yesterday,

Then I’ll get on my knees and pray

We don’t get fooled again.”

-The Who, Won’t Get Fooled Again

April Fool’s Day is a holiday I can get behind. There’s no pressure to get the perfect romantic card and chocolates or flowers (ahem, Valentine’s Day). There’s no expectation of gifts and candy for the kids (I’m looking at you Christmas and Easter). There’s no need to go out and buy green shirts that my kids will wear once (St. Patrick’s Day is for drinking beer, right? Why are the kids even involved?). There’s no Pinterest frenzy of crafts, creations, recipes and hoopla to make you feel inept and inadequate (Pretty much every holiday other than April Fools Day. Seriously- enough, Pinterest.). No, April Fools Day is low-key. It’s all about creativity and having fun at other’s expense. It’s perfect.

I love April Fool’s Day. My personal experience with this holiday goes back to when I was a sweet, naive 12 year old innocent child. I had finished up my homework and was watching the local evening news. The news reporter was interviewing a farmer who was concerned that his crops were suffering from an excessively rainy winter. The farmer was distraught. He was worried about how he was going to feed his family. He and the reporter walked through his fields, through rows of trees. He plucked something off of one of the branches, put it in his mouth and spit it onto the ground, grimacing. The camera zoomed in on the trees, bearing what looks like white fruit. The reporter said there may actually be a marshmallow shortage in the fall because of the damaged crops.

I stared at the t.v. dumbfounded. Huh? Marshmallows? I slowly made my way into my Mom’s room. “Mom? Do marshmallows grow on trees?”. She looked at me with one eyebrow raised. “I mean, I always thought they were made, like in a candy factory. But the news just said that the marshmallow trees are damaged from all the rain.” My mom started laughing. When she saw the genuinely confused look on my face she tried to compose herself. With amusement in her eyes she explained that it was an April Fool’s joke. I was indignant. You’re supposed to be able to trust the news! Why would they play a joke on their viewers! That’s just not right, don’t they have more important things to do?

Thus began a long-running joke in my family. I was teased relentlessly for being so gullible. This story was told to every friend I brought home. Family friends, neighbors, anyone who would listen was regaled with the story of my flaky air-headedness. Any opportunity to bring it up and give me a hard time was not missed. It has been roughly 29 years since that perplexing and vexing April. And still, the joke lives on. Just a few months ago, on my birthday, my nephew had a small tree branch with marshmallows taped to it that he proudly presented to me. They will never tire of this joke. My kids have now taken up the cause to make Mom feel stupid and will gladly carry on the tradition as well.

And there’s more. When I was older, I apparently felt the need to break up with boyfriends on April Fool’s Day. I’m not sure why. I never was aware that I did this. But I broke up with my high school boyfriend and two different college boyfriends on this day. Each time, the guy thought I was pulling a prank on him. Ooops. My family also took to warning guys about this. They told my husband when they first met him that if he made it past April 1st, then he was o.k.

So, me and April Fool’s Day, we have a history. I feel connected to this holiday and it’s spirit of absurdity. I have always wanted to pull off the perfect April Fool’s hoax. I have ideas, I think about it months ahead of time. But every year, the day sneaks up on me. I tell myself next year will be the year. I’ll plan ahead. It will be awesome. If I can execute the perfect deception, the most clever trick, then maybe I’ll have some peace. If I can leave people befuddled and shocked, them maybe I can finally shed the stigma of that long ago spring day of mischief.

And one final note to my family, my friends, my husband. All of those people who have relished the teasing and the taunting for all these years. I’m not alone. I am not the first person to be duped by a news show. In April 1, 1957 the BBC aired a segment on a false spaghetti harvest in Switzerland. This prank resulted in hundreds of inquiries as to how people could grow their own spaghetti trees.

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First, let’s make a few rules. News stations, news reporters, you are not allowed to take part in the shenanigans. Your job is to fixate on one issue to the exclusion of all other news or to drum up partisan political scandals. You stick to your hyper vigilant obsessive reporting and leave the funny stuff to the funny guys. It’s already hard enough to believe what’s being reported without your throwing in silly little pranks.

Second, as for the spaghetti trees… Maybe it’s just me, but marshmallows growing on trees seems much more plausible than spaghetti trees. Those silly Brits.  Imagine, thinking spaghetti grows on trees! Ha!

And third, I just checked and Pinterest is in fact trying to ruin April Fools Day. Dear Pinterest, Just. Stop.

 

 

“You can’t always get what you want,

But if you try sometimes, You just might find,

You get what you need.”

-The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want

Parents hear it all the time, “That’s so unfair!” If you’re like me you respond with something like “Yeah, yeah kid. Life’s not fair. Get over it.” It’s the circle of life, the cycle of parenting (or any other round shaped metaphor). We said it to our parents, our kids say it to us and one day their kids will be saying it to them. The reason for this is because life isn’t fair. There was no guarantee upon birth that your life would be even-keeled and full of justice. No one made any of us promises of an entire lifetime of things going our way. And that’s a good thing. There are times when it sucks. There are times when it is tragic and beyond comprehension. I’m not talking about the unfair tragedies in life. I’m talking about your every day, run of the mill inequities.

Some of these things are good for us to experience. Often there’s some kind of lesson to be learned from life’s unfairness. Following are some things that most of us experienced at some point in our youth. And we probably whined and threw a fit about them. But really? Many times these things serve to teach us a lesson. We just may not realize it until 20 years later.

1. Bad teachers: Now, I’m not talking about teachers that are predators. Obviously that is beyond the category of unfair. I’m talking about mean teachers. They are miserable. They don’t really seem to like kids. They don’t really seem to like teaching. Maybe they have a personality disorder. They are rude, they make snide comments about you. Maybe they single you out in front of the class. As long as they are not crossing the line into verbal abuse, get over it. I’m talking about older grades here. Once a kid is hitting the pre-teen/teen years they should be able to deal with a teacher who’s a little rough around the edges. There are a lot of great teachers out there, but every once in a while you’re going to get a teacher that’s just an ass. Guess what? One day you’ll have a college professor who’s an ass. One day you’ll have a boss who’s an ass. Assholes exist in all walks of life and all professions, so you may as well learn how to deal with them at a young age.

Sorry kids, they ain't all Morgan Freeman
Sorry kids, they can’t all be Morgan Freeman

2. Not making the team. Yes, this will feel a little harsh too. You had your heart set on wearing the cute volleyball uniform and you had even experimented with different hair styles that would both be flattering and keep the hair out of your face as you spiked the ball over the net. Except you can’t even figure out how to serve the ball and you tend to run into the net when trying to assist. So, you don’t make the team, but you learned a valuable lesson. Playing sports is hard work. It takes dedication and practice. And just because you and your best friend had already picked out your Maverick and Iceman nicknames doesn’t mean you were fully prepared for tryouts. Come back next year, tiger, and show ’em what you’re made of.

That’s right Ice… Man. I’m dangerous.

3. Not getting the “stuff” other kids get. Some kids get all the coolest newest stuff. The cool toys, the cool clothes, the cool shoes. And for every kid that gets these hot ticket items, there’s at least a few who don’t. Who bug their parents for said item. Who compare the parents of said spoiled child to you. Well guess what kid, I am not and never will be that parent that runs out and gets you the latest and greatest just because every one else has it. You may get it eventually, on an appropriate gift giving occasion. But chances are I’ll find a bargain version of that big ticket item and it will be almost as good as the one your friend has. But getting everything you want, when you want it, just sets you up to be sorely disappointed when real life doesn’t work out that way. Or it sets you up to be an entitled asshole. Either way, learning to delay gratification at a young age definitely serves most kids better and sets them up for reasonable expectations as adults.

Brooke was all like, "Nothing gets between me and my Calvins…"
Brooke was all, “Nothing gets between me and my Calvins…”

And I was like:

Mom Jeans

4. Not getting invited to every social event. This can sting a little. Sometimes you may be left out. You may get your feelings hurt if a group of friends is doing something without you. This one takes some savvy analyzing to deal with properly. Are your friends excluding you in a hurtful way? Or is it based in practicality (there’s only so many kids that can attend a sleep over before it turns into Animal House and John Belushi is sleeping on the floor in your living room.)

 “Over? Did you say 'over'? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! ”
“Over? Did you say ‘over’? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no! ”

You see kids, you won’t get invited to everything when you’re an adult. You may have to miss out on a neighbor’s cook-out or maybe you won’t be on the invite list for your coworker’s Christmas party. Maybe they only had so much food to serve. Maybe they forgot to invite you. It’s fine, really. It’s not a big deal. Because you worked through these types of issues when you were younger and learned to not take it personally. You didn’t really want to go anyways. You don’t really like hanging out with those people that much. I mean, they are kind of annoying and obnoxious with all their socializing and stuff…   O.K. -maybe you’re still not over this one.

5. That long awkward phase. There’s no positive spin on this one. It’s rough. The worst part is you know you’re totally awkward. You’re hair is full of cowlicks and a bad perm. Your teeth are too big for your face.

Almost this bad
That awkward moment when you realize the Awkward Brian meme is eerily similar to your school picture…

You’re clumsy. You drop your tray in the cafeteria in front of everyone. You stutter and stammer. You try to sound cool but it just doesn’t work. You try to be funny but no one laughs. This is a tough time. There’s nothing you can do but wait out this phase. It will pass eventually. You will grow into your teeth, you will learn to laugh at yourself when you do trip and fall (because that will never change). Eventually you will look back at these years and cringe and try to burn all the pictures and evidence so that your future husband doesn’t have to carry the mental picture around in his head of your “Greg Brady Phase”. You will wonder why your older sister never went through this phase and why all of your friends seemed to grow out of it much sooner. You may carry the scars with you forever and still picture yourself as the dorky 13 year old even when you have your own 13 year old to parent.

But, hey, that phase was good for you, right? You learned something from it, I’m sure. Right? Oh, @*$#  it! There was no bright side to this! This sucked! There’s no lesson to learn here, no sunshine to be blown up the arse about this one. This one has no reason. I see no need for kids to go through this “feeling uncomfortable in your own skin” kind of stage. This is a chapter in life that could be completely left out and we’d all be better off for it. It’s even worse when some people seem to breeze through these years unscathed- gleaming teeth, shiny hair that is always perfectly styled, graceful and confident and popular. While some of us feel like this:

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It’s just. Not. Fair.