That Time David Hasselhoff Brought Me a Present

...Okay, so maybe you don't think much of a shiny acorn, but I happen to love it. 

And okay, so maybe David Hasshelhoff walks on four leg and shits in a litter box, but he's my David Hasselhoff and that's what matters, people. 

Before I go on, let me stop to thank Jen Hajer of The Next Martha for my Neko Atsume obsession. I actually mean that in a non-smartass way. ADHD means I get hyper-focused and obsessed, so I tend to avoid most games since so many require a commitment. The fact that I can check my cats as often - or as little - as I wish, is phenomenal. So far, I have hooked my kid on the Neko world, and we were both a little let down and a little excited to learn the waitress we were going to try and convert last week already had the app on her phone. Seeing as how The Husband hates cats because of allergies, this is as close to the real thing we will be having in the house ever, so I'm living it up with my Neko cats.

Which, obviously, have all been renamed. Here, I share with you my top ten favorites. 

My favorite online friend I have yet to meet is a woman I first met on twitter with Peach Flambee as a hashtag. Her avatar was an animated goldfish. the glorious WTFuckery about the whole thing instantly made me love her in probably a very unhealthy way, seeing as how I am now naming animated cats after her animated goldfish and refuse to call her by her real name. 

Stop looking at me all weird, will ya?

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Some of these weren't exactly rocket science. 

WHUT? 

Get it? Do you? Personality = Crafty/ Name = CHICA! 

I know. I know. This one is probably my all-time favorite. Brilliant, right?

Hipster Neko Kai KLR brought me a cicada skin once as a memento. Because he loves me like that. 

Let me now when you get it....

Almost...

Not quite...

Maybe...

OMG YES! And you can thank my kid for this one. She is way smarter than I am.

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Shut up. Don't you dare ruin this for me.

Kevin's a crazy one! 

 

Oh look! The Hoff just brought me a pink glow bracelet! Yeah, he's a keeper.

 

Pass the Boxed Wine, Please: Moments in Parenting

I deserve a cookie. Or wine. 

Okay, forget the cookie. My friend Issa told me that a glass of red wine is now proven to be as effective as an hour at the gym, so... fuck the cookie. I deserve to put on a pair of yoga pants, crack open a new box of wine, and sit my classy ass on the couch with my new favorite work out. That's what you do when you make it, straight-faced, through the following conversations with my offspring.

Conversation Numero Uno:

Me: (on the way to church): Dammit! I forgot to put on my rings. 

Her: Your marriage rings, mama?

Me: Yes. I left them sitting on my nightstand. I'm not turning around though. Oh well.

Her: Well, it's okay. If someone asks you today while we are out, just tell them you're not available. 

Me: I'm sorry...WHUT?

Her: You know, if someone asks you to marry them today, just kindly tell them that you are already engaged and married and you left your rings at home. But thank them for asking you because it's nice of them to ask.

 

Conversation Number Dos

We are sitting in church for Sunday mass. We happen to be sitting front and center because of course that is where we would be sitting on a day like today. Father's homily is about the visitation of Mary to her cousin, while they were both pregnant with Jesus and John the Baptist, respectively. 

(Note to self: Tell the Husband when we get home how I just know my dad would be laughing his ass off if I could call him right now to ask him if John started calling Jesus Chui when they were both babies.)

Father: Blah Blah Important Religious Message Blah Blah Blah and so a child was to be born of Mary, a peasant girl who had not had relations with a man; the miracle of a child born of a virgin.

Congregation: (Reverent silence)

My kid: WHAT'S A VIRGIN!?!!?!?

Me: (Choking)

Father: (Eyebrow twitches)

Congregation: (Reverent Silence is broken by muffled snickering)

Friend sitting one pew behind us: PEASANT. It means Mary was a peasant!

Me: (No words. It's not possible to speak when your face is contorted from the physical pain resulting in trying to not burst out in hysterical laughter.)

 

It's a Slow Day on the Internet

Okay so not really. I have about 47-Eleventy-nine and a half bazillion photos to sort through and still edit from both BlogHer15 and BloggerBash NYC and #BabyFat is so close to being an Actual Book I can almost FEEL IT. And then I got a #Dimelo question for my Latina magazine advice column asking if it's okay for married men to go to strip clubs with their single friends. 

I'll tell you the story about the time I worked in a strip club once, but it's gonna have to wait until I have five minutes AT THE SAME TIME, so that's totally not right now. Keep your shorts on, people, I was as a fully-clothed waitress with a penchant for losing $300 in tips in my cleavage until I got home and took off my bra. But I can't tell you THAT story until after I tell you about the boob reduction I had at age 24 to take me from somehwere north of 38GGG and land me right in DDD territory AND time to tell you about why I really don't give a shit when The Husband happens to be pegged for DD duty when a buddy wants to go out because you can't just lose that kind of cash in a training bra. (FYI for the new kids in class - the first group of D's is my boobs. The second is for Designated Driver. You're *Welcome*). Strippers are in it for the cash. It's a job. My husband is a cheap-ass, so the fact that he's ridiculous on the Good-Looking-O-Meter really doesn't give him any ground to stand on next to the nerdiest, goofiest looking buck-toothed bald man with a wad of singles in his hand. 

Basically, I got more play at the gay bar with my GBF in college than The Husband EVER will in a strip club. Also? Thanks to Kelly Wickham for my new and forever answer whenever I get this question sent my way again. 

Ladies? Should you let your husband off his leash to go see naked ladies dancing in tiny G-strings? Ummm... depends on how interesting you find this video tutorial on how to get the perfect sloppy hair bun.

Pra quem me pediu muito, mais coque no cabelo. Dá pra aprender, né?!Sigam no Snap: ricocarmoInstagram: @ricocarmo

Posted by Rico Carmo on Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Any questions?

A Thanksgiving Transcription

An Open Letter to My Facebook Friends List:

I wanted to thank you all for helping me sort out the Cooking of the Turkey in the Roaster Thingy that goes on the Counter minus the Rack Thingy I couldn't find. You are all geniuses and I wanted to let you know our little dinner turned out wonderfully.

Or not.

Actually, the tutkey turned out okay. The pre-dinner conversation was fucking fabulous. I'm a writer, so obviously, the evening was a total WIN.

Keep in mind that the following transcription is mostly true because totally true would mean I KNEW it was going to be this good and I'd have had my phone on record and that would mean I'm psychic and why would I be bloging FOR FREE THEN? So, let's jump on to the convo, shall we?

The sweet potato casserole I made that never made it onto instragram. I must be slipping.

The Scene: Thanksgiving, Somewhere in Maine with Lots of Snow and a few Moose, 2014. The Husband has returned from work and dinner is *not* ready to go as he'd hoped.

Him: turkey smells great. How long till we eat?

Me: 2 hours later than you are hoping.

Him: Why?

Me: Because I got it going 2 hours later than you told me to.  Obviously.

Him: What the hell, woman? Can we start with the pie, then? I only ate half my lunch to save room.

Me: No pie. I was too busy asking FB if could cook the turkey in the Roaster Thingy that goes on the Counter minus the Rack Thingy I couldn't find. Don't worry, 27 friends liked my confusion and 19 commented, which is the only reason you aren't giving thanks for peanut butter and jelly right now.

Him: Twenty-seven, huh?

Me: Or five. Whatever. The Queen of Spain says I'm good. That's all anyone needs to know.

Him (checking the turkey): UPSIDE DOWN? You put the turkey in Upside Down? Who DOES that? And what does Facebook have to do with my lack of Pie?

Me: I had to wait for people to COMMENT, yo. You know how the Internet works, right? And what the hell? Upside down? What are you talking about?

Him (speaking deliberately and now enunciating every.single.syllable lest he scare the jumper off the bridge):  Wait. The Queen of What? Pauline, look at the turkey. Can you tell me where the breast went ?

Me (indignant): I went to high school with royalty. Jealous?

Him: Not really. Just hungry. The breast? Show me. (Calm down, people. He was pointing to the turkey.)

Me: (Looking. Processing. Y'all might wanna thank The Husband for not making you wait ... ): Ummmm...

Him (reaching into flip the bird over): It's RIGHT HERE, babe. (And yes. He pointed. Multiple times. As he turned the bird "right side up", his eyes saw something else apparently even the manliest of men already know, and when he picked his jaw up from the floor, he said...) and so is the plastic. (Dramatic pause) ...and all the bits normal people pull out of the Turkey before stuffing it.

Me (meeting his raised eyebrow with my own): We agreed we weren't stuffing the Turkey.

Him: That's all ya got?

Me: Is it edible?

Him: Yes, thank God.

Me: Exactly. And now that we've acknowledged the true meaning of today, do me a favor.

Him (grinning): Yes?

Me: Shut up, sit down over there, and give your little girl a kiss. I've got a conversation to transcribe before we eat.

END SCENE

Prologue: I didn't finish baking till 9. They had a few store bought cookies for dessert. and yes, the upside down turkey was delicious

 

The Hastags Explained: #Latism14 & #TopBlogueras

  topbloguera

I'm not on a plane right now on the way to an event I've been looking forward to since last year. Turns out that sometimes it actually is just too hard to get from Point A to anywhere involving a plane when Point A is smack in the middle of nowhere.

#MexicaninMaine. That's me, remember? I am defined by the hashtags I have created to suit me.

#Dimelo. For the name of my Latina Magazine advice column.

#ChingonaFest. For my growing community and podcast supporting the spirit of the Latina women and our desire to raise the next generation to always celebrate their voices and their spirit.

#BitchRedefined. For the non-Latinas finding themselves drawn to the ChingonaFest community. I get it. I'm hyphenated and usually straddling the tightrope between both halves of my identity, never quite standing still long enough on either side to catch my balance. My Spanish is too choppy to be considered fluent and my English spoken in the same rapid-fire rhythm of the language I once didn't realize I thought in. My skin brown enough to arouse curiosity because What Are You seems to be considered an appropriate question to ask a perfect stranger while checking out the asparagus. My hair kinky curly enough for the person asking to step back, grin, and tell me that I do not fit their perception of who and what I claim to be. No way, they say. You're mixed, right?

I used to not know how to answer that question. Of course not, I'd think. I'm Mexican. That's what I'd want to say, but it felt like I was denying the unknown. I see my hair. I see my body. I know that when I tell people which area of Mexico my maternal grandfather was from, the asker will sometimes nod knowingly because they've now matched my appearance to the other side of the tracks in their minds' eye. Now, I just raise an eyebrow in silent warning to step away from the line in the sand. I may raise it higher and ad an eye-roll if the asker misses the first hint. Should they miss both, I feel justified in responding with many words considered inappropriate for mothers shopping with their little girls to be using. I'm not worried. My daughter is brilliant and is perfectly aware of the words Mommy uses verbally and in my writing and -- yes, I am bragging here -- she even knows which ones she is not allowed to repeat until she's paying her own rent.

I am mixed. Every Mexican is. And I live in Maine. Not every Mexican does that. In fact, I'm pretty damned sure I am the the first ever in my family to own a pair of snowshoes. That makes Eliana the second. Paths are being forged, my friends. We are pretty fucking fabulous at falling. That means we are even better at picking ourselves up.

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#SheSePuede. Because I can. Because I believe she can. Because we all can. Because I have to remind myself of my strength and pull myself up from the dark places that never have enough chocolate just as often as you do and because I know I always will. Don't be fooled by my resume. I will never have the five steps to unfailing happiness and self-acceptance because I am my history and my history is the Spanglish version of My So-Called Life. What I do have is a stubborn streak. I am bull-headed. I am determined. I am a realist. And a dreamer. I know I will fall again. I know I will pick myself back up. I share that because this is where we connect and relate and why it won't seem strange when we meet in person and squee and hug like we have known each other forever and really, in a way, we sort of have. So it's okay.

I'll be missing many hugs and Spanglish-lovin' this week as many of my friends and colleagues travel to Anaheim, CA. for the #Latism14 conference. I already am missing the party before the party I still can't believe I was invited to when I was named a Top Bloguera. I am honored and humbled and in need of a thesaurus, and I truly wish the four hours between me and the airport weren't an issue. The extra plane ticket I would have needed to buy for my daughter that just wasn't in the budget didn't help matters. One door opens. Maybe it closes. Another appears. I wish but I'm not. I am not but I was. And the sun will rise again. 1 of 100 selected of 400 applications. I suck at math an am easily impressed, but I still like what I see here.

I'll still be a badass. You'll still be a badass. And my daughter will still be working on my last nerve and saving my sanity at the last minute with a giggle and a smile. Thank you, Ana Roca-Castro. Thank you for today's reason to smile when you reminded us all that even if not at the retreat, the title is still ours to hold on to.

#TopBloguera. This is the one for which I thank you, my dear friends and readers. Because you read and you support and you share the words I write because we did that relating thing. Thank you. Let's do more of that, okay?

The Canadian GoldFish & the Dead Cat

I'm friends with Canadian fish who thinks she's a peach-flavored desert. Despite her incredibly amusing identity crisis, she's pretty much my favorite imaginary friend with access to wifi and a Facebook account. Peach Flambee (that's her name and it' perfect) keeps me around, I think, because she finds me --  and my penchant for amusing word tangent in response to her Facebook updates -- as endearing as I am easily distracted. Personally, I think it's unfair to bait the woman incapable of one word responses without first checking if:

A) I'm on deadline

B) what were we talking about aga...

C) I've got any adderall still working in my system whilst being tagged.

Because what's happening here is a perfect example of why Peach could probably live quite happily without cable.

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Peach got downright philosophical in response to Piccard voicing the very thing most of us are thinking when someone else says something like this after our cats get run over on the very same day we seem to have run out of chocolate. I was just going to paraphrase, but I went with a straight up cut & paste because I'm already losing interest here.

The meaning of what we say is determined by denotation, connotation, and context.

"Everything happens for a reason." Denotatively, this is self- evident, so why say it?

Consider the context: Something unfortunate has happened to someone you care about, typically involving a loss: life, mobility, job, functionality, home ...

Some well meaning folks respond with "Everything happens for a reason." What is the connotation of this? Somewhere, somehow, a benefit will come from this loss, so really, you don't need to feel so bad.

Excuse me??

That's right, you shouldn't feel so bad.

This is invalidation of normal, healthy grief and anger. And why? Can this person tell us what the elusive benefit is?

Uhhhh ... no. Well, sort of. Maybe. It might be guesswork, But no, not really.

Who feels better for this? The person suffering the loss? Let's see: The loss is still suffered, and in some way that he can't quite put his finger on, he now gets the sense that the way he feels is somehow wrong, or inappropriate or demanding ... but no one told him that, so *that* perception must also be wrong ...

How about the well- meaning person? With one platitude, he's spread a positive thought to a suffering person, and without any real effort on his part. He's been thoughtful and it was so easy ... and now he can stop feeling awkward because he has had something pleasant to say and something helpful to do.

We feel uncomfortable when the people we care about are suffering. This encourages us to say or do the first thing that will alleviate our own discomfort, often without thinking, because this is what we have learned to do by watching other people. We're not alone in this so it must be the correct thing to do, right?

When you're on the receiving end of the platitudes, they great, but you're conditioned to believe that you're just grumpy because you're suffering. All the same, you find yourself feeling that you want to push away the people who care about you, and that makes things worse. Around and around it goes.

Sometimes there really is no useful advice you can give to a loved one. So don't. Just offer to be there and not judge. Accept the sufferer's feelings. Give him space if he needs it.

I adore how Boggle the Owl presents advice for these situations. I suggest giving Boggle a read

(Tagging Pauline, as the resident expert )

 

I know what you're thinking...that's one smart goldfish. But stick with me here, because one of us need to stay focused and we both know I'm pointing at you when I say that.

My response?

The Reasons that Everything keeps happening include ( but are not limited to): - life's a bitch - karma has probably *always* a bitch - no, seriously. Have you EVER heard someone say "Wow, that Karma...sweet as pie, that one... No?! -EXACTLY.

* you like pounding your head, repeatedly, on a hard surface.

* don't lie and try to cover it up. "Namaste" is nowhere nearly as effective a mental picture as *HEADDESK* when trying illustrate frustration over The Everythings & The reasons the Everythings don't take a fucking coffee break

* your mother called

* his mother called

* you didn't forward that chain letter meme to 667 people before mercury went into to retrograde, DID you?

* you IDIOT

* You got out of bed this morning

* You cut the tag off of your pillow just to see what would happen

* It seemed like a good idea at the time

* You didn't bother aiming and crossed the wires, thereby angering Zuel and inspiring over-achieving Pinterest users to make your s'more look like the unoriginal schlopp is really is

* You wore white after Labor Day

* The damned chicken just wanted to get to the other side, okaaaay?

* Well you see, Susie, when a Mommy and a Daddy like each other, they share a special hug...

* You poked the bear. Stop poking the fucking bear, will you?

This list could very probably never become suddenly outdated because there will always be stupid people in the world who say stupid (but well-meaning) things like Everything Happens for a Reason when the best response is usually none at all.

It's either that, or Ben & Jerry's better get to mixing new flavor combinations and slap Sorry About You Cat on the label. Because that's really the only acceptable alternative allowed.

-- Signed,

The Resident Expert

F-Bombs & 51 Things

Watch your back, Cinderella.

  1. I hate spiders.
  2. If all the Disney Princesses tried to take out Wonder Woman in a fight, I’d put money on Wonder Woman. Hands down.
  3. Real shredded coconut “tastes” like paper to me. Shut. Up.
  4. When I am out in public here in Maine and make eye contact with another minority, they give me the Nod of Acknowledgment.
  5. I always nod back.
  6.  Strangers can read anything I write. I’m not afraid of you judging me.
  7.  It took me a long time to get comfortable on my own blog to drop an F bomb. And look at you still reading, you naughty, naughty person, you….
  8. It was liberating as hell when it finally happened.
  9. Sometimes I have to pretend temporary amnesia when I write here & my column because now that my family knows what I do, the pressure is on, y’all.
  10.  I swear like a sailor but blush when people say that P word that rhymes with hussy (Hint: smartasses who try leaving comments containing that word will be deleted. Me and my virgin eyes can’t handle it, so don’t try it.)
  11. I'll be starting a podcst/Google Hangout session pretty soon.
  12.   I never got  pregnancy/labor amnesia. So we got a new puppy. Since my ovaries hate me I guess I don’t have to worry, anyway.
  13. Related? Only people without kids can say that raising a puppy is like having a child. We used to say it all the time. Then we had a child. All I’m saying is rubbing your kid’s nose in their pee spot on the carpet might not work out so well for you, so I’d advise against being stupid.
  14. I was 5’1? when I was 8 years old. My mother is 5,1?, which means I was wearing her pants in the third grade. Which also means I have only grown 5-inches in 27 years. Wow, that’s depressing.
  15. My mother brought me home from the hospital in a Christmas stocking.
  16. There’s a reason I prayed for a summer baby, y’all.
  17. I was left standing on my porch, dressed for the senior year Homecoming dance, with mascara-stained tear tracks in my blush, when I realized the high school friends who had invited me to “go stag” with them never showed to pick me up.
  18. I had my first kiss with my first boyfriend at 16 years old.
  19. I speak really good Spanish when I’m drunk.
  20. I never have time to get drunk.
  21. My Spanish usually sucks.
  22. My mother dressed me as a clown for Halloween one year and combed my Mexifro out into an afro and sprayed it to look like a wig. She must have done a really good job. I spent the entire Girl Scout party beating Brownies off my head as they all tried to yank my wig off so they could try it on themselves.
  23. I hate clowns.
  24. I had a reverse boob job when I was 24. The Husband looked like a proud new father when he told his friends that his wife’s former GG’s were now cute and perky DD’s.
  25. Eliana fit in one of my old bikini cups when she was born. (Like you wouldn’t have tried?)
  26.  You know that scene in the original Blade movie where the vampires are in the underground club dancing in wild abandon as the sprinkler system showers them in blood? Yeah…that’s the song The Husband and I were introduced to at our wedding reception.
  27. #26 was my idea. The Husband is still grateful.
  28.  I didn’t know MTV existed until I was 14. i also didn’t realize that our car radio played anything other than Mexican music or oldies stations. My social life? Sucked.
  29. I’m the oldest of five girls. The youngest two are 10 and 11 years younger than me, and Mom used to make me wake with the crying babies at night and still go to school the next morning.
  30. My mother is an evil genius.
  31. I hate it when people refer to how big my daughter is. She’s tall, assholes, not big. Can we talk about how big you are now? Oh right, that’s not polite.
  32. Milk makes me sneeze. A lot. Which makes me miss ice cream.
  33. Bananas also make me sneeze. Which just makes me weird.
  34. This is my third blog. The first two were me trying to write what I thought other people wanted to read.
  35. Are you still reading?
  36. My goal in life is to make it onto Graham Norton’s couch & the Top Gear track. I’ve got a think for BBC.
  37. I typo. A lot. Deal with it.
  38. I have ADHD and wish people knew that the condition doesn’t just mean I’m forgetful.
  39.  I homeschool and wish people didn’t assume that means my child is locked in a closet all day. We at least let her out for five minutes of sunlight every day. Twice on Sundays.
  40. I once yelled at my sister for closing the car windows with my fingers in them after I told her to close the window and left my hand there.
  41. I met The Husband online when online dating was still something to whisper about.
  42. I was the Mexican Princess Searching for her Prince.
  43. Chuck it up, people. Chuck it up.
  44. I queried 45 agents before I got signed.
  45.  My agent never saw my query.
  46. I'm single again and looking for a new agent.
  47. I’m Latina Magazine’s advice columnist only because I didn’t think I was going to get the job. Think about that one.
  48. I write first and think about sharing later.
  49. I never self-censor words that need to be written. I decide if they should be shared after. But I always write them.
  50. I choked on water once. In a cup. Sitting at the kitchen table. Yes, I am that talented.
  51. The End

The Pinterest Complex (Revisited)

I've had one hell of a week and it's only Wednesday so I'm taking the easy way out today by reposting something I wrote in January.

Fine Print: Yes, The Husband is completely aware of the fact that I used the words "Sex", "Penis", and "Pinterest" in the same blog post. He even snickered and said I may need to consider therapy after reading it. See you soon for #ChingonaFest Fridays!

What does one buy her husband to make up for the general craziness of the writing/blogging/freelancing life putting the sex life on the back burner when Important Things Are Happening that Must Be Attended to Right This Minute? I’m thinking the man-equivalent to Something Shiny and Sparkly.

Don’t say a Ferrari. I’m freelancing. That Writer-Speak for “Looks Good On Paper Only” with “Fucking Broke” understood to be the most accepted translation. Besides, it’s not like I came home smelling like another man’s cologne or something. That, my friends, would require what normal people tend to refer to as “Free Time”.  I have been told this “Free Time” is something one can only find outside of The Internet and requires the separation, if only temporary, mind you, of self and laptop. Always interesting, this learning about the habits of the Non-Writer.

The other night, after a frantic nod to, um, Quality Time, (and a “Was That Good For You? Yes? Good!,” exchange as I bolted out of the room and into my email to reply to a revision request from my editor, I realized I’m married to a saint. I mean, I knew that before Oh Husband Whom I Know is Reading These Words, but sometimes, the little Aha! Moments tend to jump out and say You Have No Idea How Difficult You Are to Live With Sometimes and Why is Pinterest Giving His Penis a Complex?

Let’s discuss, shall we? Or would it be easier to just get a calendar and a Sharpie and circle the other days of the month indicating:

  • Deadlines
  • Twitter parties
  • Sherlock
  • That blog post I REALLY need to write about that thing that just went viral that I’ll go to my grave swearing a tiny part of me wasn’t convinced my brilliant response would go viral, too
  • General stabbiness because ten different bloggers TOLD me I’m a much better writer than that two-bit hack that went viral only because she got lucky (after I asked them, of course)
  • My fictional characters in that novel I’m writing just acted out the next scene inside my head I have to write RIGHT now or I lose it all
  • The kid drove me nuts all day
  • PINTEREST
  • Live-tweeting Downton Abby
  • I got in a phone fight with his mom
  • I got in a phone fight with my mom
  • We’re out of chocolate
  • We’re out of wine
  • We’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The hours I need to comb through blog archives in search of THE PERFECT PIECE of literary wit to submit to –
  • A) Listen To Your Mother
  • B) Blogher Voices of the Year
  • That Facebook quiz I need to take to figure out what character I’m most like in Harry Potter, which leads me to the one about what kind of French cheese I am
  • The dishes in the sink that aren’t gonna do themselves
  • The fifteenth online book launch party this month for yet another friend I can’t let down
  • The twitter argument I have to finish with this idiot who has no fucking clue who they’re messing with
  • The planets are out of alignment
  • Mercury is in retrograde …. Again
  • File another invoice while secretly cursing the chick with the 300 Sandwiches and the book deal
  • I’m busy buying 19 more URL’s for ideas I’ll never get to…just in case
  • Frantic text conversations with the online friends I’ve yet to meet in person discussing Important Things like how many pairs of shoes to pack for that conference none of us have actually purchased tickets for yet
  • My 1,000 word goal for the day is still 989 words short
  • The NEED to Google my blog Alexa rank RIGHT NOW even though I still have no idea what it means
  • Which, obviously, is to be followed up by checking my Klout score
  • *Googling “Does Klout Matter to People who don’t think in 140?
  • I haven’t yet taken 30 selfies from different angles, narrowed it down to the perfect one, and thought up a witty caption for that #365feministselfie thing and posted it EVERYWHERE before I even THINK of getting naked
  • That important email I’m waiting for that will show up right now if I keep hitting refresh
  • The conference call I’m waiting on in east coast time with everybody else in west coast time
  • The kid drove me nuts all day & we’re out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The writing and scheduling of next week’s blog posts
  • When I was frisky while he was at work and I was home alone and I took care of it myself already because I was being proactive and really should be congratulated for thinking ahead to free up my night to …
  • Pick any of the above

Damn. Poor guy puts up with a lot, doesn’t he?

We writers are a special bunch. And the people who are nuts enough to love us deserve their own reality shows, I think. Because when we make it big? That’s when we make it up to them and they can proudly tell the world they knew marrying the crazy lady would totally pay off in the end.

Just let me finish up this chapter so I can write this blog post and hit Publish because dammit, this one’s gonna go viral.

I just know it.

 

The Finger Monkey, the Kilt-Daddy, & the Sandwich that Sprained my Ankle

 

Sometimes I like to look up the search terms that lead people to Aspiring Mama. Usually this happens after a random conversation I have with a real person like The Husband or my kid or the one neighbor who's house I can see from the end of my drive (as opposed to the pretend people that live inside of my iPhone).

Today's foray into RandomSearchTermLandia was spurred on by Monday's blog post showcasing my girl and her daddy in their kilts and The Husband muttering something about his legs being all over the internet again. When I called him Kilt Daddy and told him to show me his Irish, he totally thought he was getting lucky later and, sadly, I had to tell him that was gonna have to wait for me to finish writing for the day. It took him a minute before he was all Who is this Kilt Daddy?

So I showed him. Since publishing the original post two years ago, that very term has been one of the most popular internet searches leading readers directly to Aspiring Mama. Other winners include

*Advice Columns of Satire

* Funny Stories About Maine

* Pictures of Finger Monkeys

* Do Cats Blink

* Multiple Women Naked Bodies

* How Much is a Baby Finger Monkey?

*Autosucking

and

* Broken Legs or Sprain Ankles of Famous Persons

 

Just remember, y'all, while Google may be telling you the truth when it shows you The Husband's sexy legs when you ask it for the Kilt Daddy, Google is a damned liar about the finger monkey expert thing. That, my friends, was one blog post from way back when that was the first thing ever pinned by a reader and how I learned Pinterest had been invented.

Oh, and that one about the broken ankle? In my defense, there was a lot of meat on that sandwich.

 

 

The Pinterest Complex

What does one buy her husband to make up for the general craziness of the writing/blogging/freelancing life putting the sex life on the back burner when Important Things Are Happening that Must Be Attended to Right This Minute? I'm thinking the man-equivalent to Something Shiny and Sparkly. Don't say a Ferrari. I'm freelancing. That Writer-Speak for "Looks Good On Paper Only" with "Fucking Broke" understood to be the most accepted translation. Besides, it's not like I came home smelling like another man's cologne or something. That, my friends, would require what normal people tend to refer to as "Free Time".  I have been told this "Free Time" is something one can only find outside of The Internet and requires the separation, if only temporary, mind you, of self and laptop. Always interesting, this learning about the habits of the Non-Writer.

The other night, after a frantic nod to, um, Quality Time, (and a "Was That Good For You? Yes? Good!," exchange as I bolted out of the room and into my email to reply to a revision request from my editor, I realized I'm married to a saint. I mean, I knew that before Oh Husband Whom I Know is Reading These Words, but sometimes, the little Aha! Moments tend to jump out and say You Have No Idea How Difficult You Are to Live With Sometimes and Why is Pinterest Giving His Penis a Complex?

Let's discuss, shall we? Or would it be easier to just get a calendar and a Sharpie and circle the other days of the month indicating:

  • Deadlines
  • Twitter parties
  • Sherlock
  • That blog post I REALLY need to write about that thing that just went viral that I'll go to my grave swearing a tiny part of me wasn't convinced my brilliant response would go viral, too
  • General stabbiness because ten different bloggers TOLD me I'm a much better writer than that two-bit hack that went viral only because she got lucky (after I asked them, of course)
  • My fictional characters in that novel I'm writing just acted out the next scene inside my head I have to write RIGHT now or I lose it all
  • The kid drove me nuts all day
  • PINTEREST
  • Live-tweeting Downton Abby
  • I got in a phone fight with his mom
  • I got in a phone fight with my mom
  • We're out of chocolate
  • We're out of wine
  • We're out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The hours I need to comb through blog archives in search of THE PERFECT PIECE of literary wit to submit to --
  • A) Listen To Your Mother
  • B) Blogher Voices of the Year
  • That Facebook quiz I need to take to figure out what character I'm most like in Harry Potter, which leads me to the one about what kind of French cheese I am
  • The dishes in the sink that aren't gonna do themselves
  • The fifteenth online book launch party this month for yet another friend I can't let down
  • The twitter argument I have to finish with this idiot who has no fucking clue who they're messing with
  • The planets are out of alignment
  • Mercury is in retrograde .... Again
  • File another invoice while secretly cursing the chick with the 300 Sandwiches and the book deal
  • I'm busy buying 19 more URL's for ideas I'll never get to...just in case
  • Frantic text conversations with the online friends I've yet to meet in person discussing Important Things like how many pairs of shoes to pack for that conference none of us have actually purchased tickets for yet
  • My 1,000 word goal for the day is still 989 words short
  • The NEED to Google my blog Alexa rank RIGHT NOW even though I still have no idea what it means
  • Which, obviously, is to be followed up by checking my Klout score
  • *Googling "Does Klout Matter to People who don't think in 140?
  • I haven't yet taken 30 selfies from different angles, narrowed it down to the perfect one, and thought up a witty caption for that #365feministselfie thing and posted it EVERYWHERE before I even THINK of getting naked
  • That important email I'm waiting for that will show up right now if I keep hitting refresh
  • The conference call I'm waiting on in east coast time with everybody else in west coast time
  • The kid drove me nuts all day & we're out of chocolate-flavored wine
  • The writing and scheduling of next week's blog posts
  • When I was frisky while he was at work and I was home alone and I took care of it myself already because I was being proactive and really should be congratulated for thinking ahead to free up my night to ...
  • Pick any of the above

Damn. Poor guy puts up with a lot, doesn't he?

We writers are a special bunch. And the people who are nuts enough to love us deserve their own reality shows, I think. Because when we make it big? That's when we make it up to them and they can proudly tell the world they knew marrying the crazy lady would totally pay off in the end.

Just let me finish up this chapter so I can write this blog post and hit Publish because dammit, this one's gonna go viral.

I just know it.

 

Awkward on Purpose

I was feeling pretty proud of the fact that The Husband and I managed to get a family photo shoot scheduled in time for Christmas cards (and even prouder that I made up for never getting a first grade pic of Eliana by throwing a few chalkboards with 2nd grade into a few random shots of our child). But then friends who are much cooler than we are posted theirs on Facebook. We can discuss the fact that I'm too technically stupid to figure out how to show our pictures to you yet, seeing as how the images are higher resolution than the typical iPhone instagram you see on here. For now, we are going to revel in the genius that is my favorite Family Christmas session in the history of awkward family memes. Ironically, the pictures you are about to see aren't mine, but my friend Brittani and her husband Scott obviously have no shame because they told me to have fun when I whimpered about how utterly bloggable their pictures are.

Probably because they haven't seen my blog before, but I'm running with it.

Note the goth child, the naked baby doll being held by the little cherub in the classy flip flops, and Mom's 80's cheese smile, the requisite ugly sweater, and side pony tail.

I know these people. And I can vouch for Dad. For the record, he does not own a white van with painted over windows.

Please note that the Goth Child stayed in character the entire photo shoot. Mostly because she was thrilled at having been allowed to wear lipstick. She didn't really give a damn (or notice) that it was black.

And my favorite. I can't look this vapid on purpose (although I seem to pull it off fabulously when I can't remember if I took my Adderall or not).

Merry Awkward Almost Christmas, y'all.

 

Hashtag: Forgiven

The funny thing about blogging everyday  vs. blogging when Something Big Brewed Itself Into a Blog Post is that the second version requires far less thought. Maybe I dropped 1,200 words in 30 minutes on whatever soapbox I had climbed on that particular day, but they were 1,200 coherent and dedicated words that freed my brain to concentrate on Everything Else for an extended period of time. Since my work responsibilities have increased I've had a few months where blogging once a week was an accomplishment, but that also meant that I only thought about my blog four times in 30 days.

I may have missed some of the fun stuff, but it was also liberating as hell to not be mentally married to Hitting Publish every day.

Because of NaBloPoMo I'm back on the daily What Do I Write About Today bandwagon and I'll be honest...I like it just about as much as I hate it. I'm capturing bits and pieces of myself on the blog like I used to but I'm also missing out on other things...like sleep. I haven't been able to stick to my exercise routine for the life of me, either. And I apologize if you happen to think I have time to talk on the phone. That number is for texting only, people. Who has time to talk???

There's the job and homeschooling and extra-curricular activities and then sometimes The Husband wants to have sex and instead I'm waving him off because #NaBloPoMo means 30 days of blogging and I Just Need to Link This Post Up Here and Tweet that there and then do a rain dance to increase my chance of comments over here... And before you know it I'm eyes glazed over on Pinterest (because all portals of the Internet lead to Pinterest) and he's asleep and I owe him a lot of sex right now...

You guys? What's the hashtag for December? Because if it's #NaBloBlowMo, he may just forgive me for November.

 

How Not to Plan a Surprise Party

Never plan a surprise party without making sure you've taken your Adderall first. Or do it, and make sure you tweet, Facebook, and instagram the hell out of that bitch because it's all blog post fodder and you know you won't remember any of it otherwise.

The Husband turned 40 last week and I dropped the ball big time on party planning. He picked me up from the airport from my Blogher13 trip the day before his birthday and I didn't realize I was probably going to have to make up for the lack of Big Birthday Gifty-ness with a blowjob or two until long after he fell asleep that night. The I Heart Chicago sweatshirt I got him wasn't getting me off the hook -- not for a milestone birthday. So I figured I'd redeem myself by using my Ninja with ADHD Skills to plan a surprise birthday party for him, instead.

I was going to Make This Happen and it was Going to be Epic. And by Epic, I mean a full menu that eventually got scaled back to pizza, two-liters of pop, bags of chips, and cupcakes from a box. A far cry from our normal paleo plan, but when shit starts to hit the fan, the Kale in Coconut Oil Sauteed with Asapragus is the easiest thing to cut from the list in the name of sanity and reason.

The Husband's parents arrived a few days ago for a 10-day visit and I figured I'd be sneaky and not let them in on the Big Secret until the last minute. There was bound to be conversation bounced around about the party when he wasn't around and Eliana was, I figured, and Eliana is six and her idea of not letting the cat out of the bag is by telling the cat that he's Totally Just Imagining There's a Bag to Begin With. Not very subtle, I'm afraid, which is why she is officially grounded from ever playing poker.

So I continued with my Super Secret Plans with a trusted friend who's husband was going to serve as The Distractor on the party day. The plan was simple:

  •  Choose the party date and time
  •  Invite the guests
  •  Get The Husband out of the house
  •  Alert The Inlaws after the coast is clear
  •  Revel in the glory of success

That was the plan. Here's what actually happened.

Choose Party Date and Time

I scheduled the party for Thursday night and got the word out. Then I learned that I was supposed to have had it Friday because my friend's husband was working until 6 p.m. on Thursday. I figured this out on Wednesday.

Invite the Guests

That happened easy enough. Except now I had to find a new Distraction. Let's ignore the fact that I forgot to invite one family altogether. It's okay. They don't know what the internet is.

Get The Husband Out of the House

My new Distraction became my Father in Law. But instead of getting The Husband out of the house, he got him into the garage to work on the riding mower with the blown engine. Things kinda went to hell in a hand basket pretty fast from here.

Alert the Inlaws When the Coast is Clear

Do I really have to spell this one out? I did manage to slip The Mother-in-law a handwritten note spilling the beans while she watched TV with my kid, but the coast was fucking foggy and clear was a forgotten dream. I thought All Was Saved when the grease-covered guys walked into the kitchen to grab something to eat before heading out to look for new motors, but that was a short-lived little ray of sunshine, my friends.

My phone told me I had a text message as The Husband was reaching for his keys. It was one of his friends telling me he was parking his car at the neighbor's place and heading over. This was obviously a major hiccup. He was three hours early and lives over an hour away, so I said fuck it and told The Husband the text was from the neighbor telling us she had homemade jam for him to pick up, thinking The Husband could laugh at the surprise being blown but still look like a genius for my mad planning skills.

Except The Husband "forgot" and blew past the neighbors place, leaving his friend wondering what the hell was happening. That's when I threw up the white flag of defeat, called The Husband, and told him to get his ass back to the neighbors because the jam was actually his friend and that he had better fucking pretend to be surprised when he got back here to see the party he wasn't supposed to know about in full swing because THAT'S WHAT GOOD HUSBANDS DO.

Revel in the Glory of Success

Funny, right? Because after The Husband and The Father-in-Law picked up the early party guest and headed back out to go to Manly Things, The Mother-in-law went outside to get the party snacks and drinks we had bought and hidden in the back of my truck. Which The Husband had taken without telling me.

I did what anyone would do in that situation: I texted his friend to tell him The Husband needed to come home NOW because he had hijacked my shit.

But wait...it gets better.

They guys figured they'd give up on trying to leave the premises again. I called for pizza, which we never get for us because of our gluten free and paleo diet, and sent The Husband and crew off to pick it up about 30 minutes before the guests were to arrive. The Husband texted me just as cars started making their way up our driveway to ask me why the pizza place didn't have my order.

Because I forgot to take my Adderall today and called the store 3 hours away from our house.

This is when I told the laughing Mother-in-law that there's a reason I write non-fiction.

The Husband placed an order for four pizzas and two order of bread-sticks totaling $65 because apparently pizza is quite the commodity up here in northern Maine. He triumphantly returned with the World's Most Expensive cardboard boxes Not Lined in Gold and a merry time was had by all.

That's when I sat back, smug and relaxed, mentally transcribing the day's events for the blog post that just wrote itself.

The Tooth Fairy & The Cheese Puff

The cheese puffs won.

Eliana has been trying her damnedest to get the loose tooth out and ready for the Tooth Fairy with apples and taffy and bread slices and carrots. I've got a garbage can full of food she asked for and then discarded, disappointed, after digging in and realizing her tooth was still attached.

Today, while driving around Maine to show the visiting Nana and Papa the sights, some of which are also new to us, my girl swallowed her tooth while shoveling handfuls of her gluten-free cheese puffs into her mouth.

Can you say Irony?

All is well, though. She's only six, but she's a Tooth Fairy pro. She lost her first tooth the day after she turned three and because she was too young to get the whole concept, that tooth was swallowed, too. The Tooth Fairy still came, though. Because she's kind of kick-ass.

Between then and now, Eliana has lost so many teeth I have actually lost track. I'm guessing when I say she may have 6 adult teeth already and I actually had to think back to remind myself that she wasn't actually losing an adult tooth because I'm a horrible mother. Like I said, it's a crapshoot, but I think I'm in the clear.

The Tooth Fairy left $6 for my sleeping girl last night in the little pillow we hang on her door so the fairy doesn't have to try and fly under the door. She's tiny enough, we've discussed. But it can't be easy carrying coins and bills and all those teeth. So the Tooth Fairy pillow is just Something Nice for the little magical being who gives my girl a reason to look forward to letting go and celebrate growing up...

Just a tiny bit more.

 

Housekeeping! (A List in Accented English)

* Yes, I did in fact say that in my head with an exaggerated Spanish-accented English voice. * Because I can.

* If you don't laugh, you're actually hurting my feelings.

* Things are insane.

* Hence, the list.

* Turns out you guys are all Made of Awesome.

* Why, you ask?

* Because 418 of you signed my Change.org petition to get Disney to drop the sex kitten crap with Merida.

* It's too late.

* Maybe.

* She's been crowned & the new image is available on a variety of Crap We'll Buy Our Kids Because We're Giant Suckers.

* And because even if she's been sexed up, the movie is still amazing.

* Oh right.

* Because if we tell our children it's the message that matters and not the size of her waistline, we done good.

* We have no choice, really, since Disney contradicted the very message behind Brave with this whole debacle.

* You know, the one about family, independence, and finding the strength to find out own fates within us?

* Yeah, that one.

* The happy asides?

* A Mighty Girl has a petition with over 18,000 signatures.

* Brave's director is a bit pissed off about the animated plastic surgery job, too.

* So high five on that, y'all.

* New subject.

* Keep up with me, will you?

* I've got an updated version of my Mind Over Medicine review on Girl Body Pride.

* You'll want to stop by.

* Gigi Ross from Kludgey Mom needs some love.

* And Lissa Rankin has written a book I promise you'll want to read.

* Trust me on this one.

* Also? I've got a winner for the Aspiring Mama giveaway of Mind Over Medicine.

* Tanessa Knoll? Buttercup just said Comment Number Two is my winner.

* So ... you're welcome.

* Email me your address, will ya?

* Twitter works, too.

* New subject.

* Yes.

* AGAIN.

* Buttercup is about to follow in Mama's footsteps.

* Little girl has been granted permission by The Mama (me) & The Daddy (The Husband) for a pretty cool gig.

* Girlfriend is going to be a regular contributor to Holly Fulger's Speaking of Beauty blogging team.

* Which also happens to include me.

* I know, right?

* The girl can read at a fourth grade level but has the typing skills of a 5-year-old.

* Probably because she is five.

* So I can't knock her for that.

* Instead, I'll be transcribing my baby's words and views on what beauty means to her.

* I promise not to edit what she says.

* I hope like hell I've done right by her and taught her that beauty is everywhere.

* That the only size that matters when it comes to beauty is the size of our hearts.

* And that society is full of assholes who will try & knock her down a peg or two but that they don't matter.

* I'll know I've succeeded in about 10 years.

* If the child is self-assured enough to wear this when she's 15 because it makes her happy without giving a damn what you think?

 

* I win at motherhood.

* Whiplash warning.

* New subject.

* I really need to take my Xanax.

* That wasn't the subject change.

* Just proof that I need the fucking Xanax.

* This is the subject change...

* Dammit.

* I forgot.

* No, wait.

* GOT IT!

* Girl Body Pride has new team members!

* Congrats to Heidi Zalamar and Margaret Elysia Garcia.

* You guys kick major ass.

* I promise to add your bios to the writer page sometime before 2014 hits.

* Was that all?

* No, seriously.

* I was asking you if I needed to cover anything else before I chase that Xanax with an instant espresso.

* Shut up.

* It works for me.

* Last subject.

* I'm still sitting in a secret.

* And it's a Big One.

* Oh...

* And The Husband just warned me to be on the lookout for the family of moose in the area when I let the dogs out.

* Drops Mic & Saunters Offstage.

 

This Week's List

 

Things I've done this week:

* Confused a gopher for a beaver

*Packed up and moved from one rental to another

* Photographed a caterpillar

* Slept only when my eyelids gave up

* Decided that anyone who moves and is able to unpack within a week is probably using magic from fairies who owe them favors

* Got published on Latina.com

* Watched The Husband get the moving truck stuck in 4 feet of swamp

* Laughed while a front loader towed both both The Husband and The Husband's friend out of the swamp

* Explained to Buttercup that The Husband wasn't pissed off at her while he swore like a sailor after getting the moving truck because he's a man and that's what they do when they colossally fuck up and they have to call for back up

* Said this sentence to my child, "Daddy isn't mad at you, baby. He's mad at the world. We just happen to be in it."

* Kept a secret still a secret (I know, I'm impressed, too)

* Watched the moon follow us home

 

If Neil Kramer Were a Woman...

I love Neil Kramer. It's Facebook updates like these (along with his brilliant iPhone pics on his instagram feed) that just make me want to high five him for cutting through the bullshit and just saying or showing us what is.

In this case, it's a brilliant case of Funny Because It's True. In fact, it's so funny, my sides are getting stitches from laughing, which makes this also fall into The Truth Hurts category.

Let's look at a few examples in my feed from today alone:

 

I love A Beautiful Mess. They speak to the body/self-acceptance crowd working to embrace their crazy and imperfections. It's the same message, but usually with more swear words, I try to share on Girl Body Pride.

 

Mighty girls.

Attitude is everything.

Enough said.

 

Now we're getting somewhere. I can hear my Complex bitching, so we must be close.

 

Dr. Oz. made me cry again. Well, it was him or the companies using his image (with or without his permission) to sell the idea that FASTER, THINNER, BETTER, BEST is and always will be the only way to find happiness within. And there we are. The punchline. Love yourself and tell your children to do the same, but just make sure you work on that belly fat before having the audacity to believe you are anything other than perfectly beautiful and worthy of your own love and efforts just the way you are.

Neil? Yes. Facebook fucks with me. So does going grocery shopping, the headlines on the glossies while checking out with my kale and coconut milk because I'm allergic to almost every food on the planet, and my own brain when pity parties involving food that tastes good but makes me feel horrible sound like a brilliant idea.

How do I handle it? By hitting "Publish."

Why I Write NonFiction

My child is driving me batty. The Husband doesn't understand this, of course, but he also didn't understand why I started crying when the ultrasound tech told me I was having a girl, either. The bottom line was, quite frankly, that raising me almost broke my mother and I was feeling preemptively sorry for myself.

I love my girl. With a fierceness that explains all that Mama Bear protecting her cub stuff. Think Merida and Queen Elinor in Brave. Think of your own girl and how you love her and are drove to banging your head into a wall in what probably equates to an even 50/50 split.

Think of all of the parenting milestones that no one ever tells you about. Like how one day your sweet little girl, bedecked in bows and too much pink, will suddenly (and without warning) outgrow crabby into bratty then boom--bratty morphs into bitchy and you're left wondering how in hell you're going to survive when the child who is five realizes she has hormones and starts trying to negotiate for a later curfew and the keys to the car.

The Husband is clueless. The child is pouting and pissy and arguing everything you say for the sake of arguing before she realizes she's totally against no TV for a week, no iPad for two, and has no interest in that pony you were going to buy her tomorrow just because and then you have to try not to laugh because it was funny even if she's now pissed off even more that you are the meanest mom ever because you won't buy her a fucking pony.

So you open up your browser, log into Facebook, and tell perfect strangers who sometimes get it more than those that know you ever will how your day is going. And this is what it looks like.

The End.