Category Archives: Real Life

How To Be on Facebook

Here is my non-exhaustive list of things to remember about being on Facebook. I’m trying something new by including gifs to help illustrate my points.  Dad, I will explain what a “gif” is later over the phone.  And, yes, this is heavy on the Liz Lemon/Tina Fey gifs. Thanks for noticing!

1) First, remember that you made a choice to be on Facebook. No one put a gun to your head and told you that you would have no identity unless you joined.  There are people who happily make the choice to not belong. True that the rest of us roll our eyes at them, but they don’t know because they’re not on Facebook and they don’t see everyone being jerks to them.  They live in blissful ignorance. You could be one of them. Remember that every time you complain.  No one is making you see the ridiculous things that your “friends” post.   Also, you accepted the friend request. You brought this on yourself.


2) But I know what you’re thinking, complaining is half the fun.  And I’m with you because there’s a lot to complain about. Let’s just try to keep some perspective though, shall we?

3) Remember that everyone is guilty of posting things that make someone else gag/eye roll/scream in rage.   I know that you are perfect and all of your real life friends tell you that what you post is totally fine, but I promise that some where in your list of 456 friends, there is an outlier that gossips about you with someone else you used to know. They hate you and they are looking for reasons to hate you more and your Facebook feed ensures they will find them.   You may think that “liking” a TV show or posting your happy news about your engagement is harmless, but you would be wrong.

4) Free speech gives you the right to post anything you want about politics, religion, and college football.  You can also choose to engage with someone who posts something with which you disagree. You can engage and engage and engage, as it turns out.  You can engage with people that you’ve never met and say things you would never say in person.  You can get extremely mad and huffy and watch your blood pressure spike and find out that you didn’t change anyone’s mind and all you did was spread discord.   You can think that you like one of your acquaintances just fine and then find out THEY ARE WRONG ABOUT EVERYTHING and you can’t even look at them anymore.  So before you hit “reply” or change your status update, consider asking yourself, “Am I inviting in negative energy?  Does the world really need to know that I think Obama is the worst human being alive and is ruining the country, even more so than those crazy people from the conservative church who picket the funerals of war heroes because of something to do with being gay?  By posting that, am I adding anything of value or am I rallying contempt?  What purpose is this serving me?  Do I think I’m going to convert someone who disagrees to my side?”

Actually, you can just ask yourself, “Am I being a douche noodle?” and that should suffice.

5) If you insist on posting about a hot button issue, remember you can always customize who sees your posts.  You can prevent that friend of a friend from shooting daggers at you at the next BBQ and just talk nicely with them about how great the landscaping is. We can all just be polite. Remember that some people have met you once and they know you mostly by your Facebook posts. They don’t know how lovable you are in person and may be strongly judging you on things you wrote pretty carelessly. Like maybe you think that hating on Edward Cullen is funny, but that quiet girl from your office is taking it as a personal insult.

6)  If you’re exceptionally annoyed with someone for posting something with which you don’t agree, you don’t have to reply.  Revolutionary, I know. You don’t even have to look at it! You see that arrow on the right side? You can click it and choose “hide all posts.”  You never have to know that your co-worker thinks gay marriage is a gateway to people marrying trees! You never have to suffer rage blackouts because your college roommate’s ex-boyfriend with whom you were basically friendly is posting that women can’t be funny! You can take great pleasure in cackling as you hit the hide button and go on with your stress free afternoon.

7)  But you still want to see his funny status updates!  You don’t want to hide them forever!  Look, hiding someone who posts  awful things doesn’t mean you can’t see their page or later un-hide them.  Have a crazy liberal friend who you positively hate until mid-November but otherwise adore? Unhide on December 1st!  It’s so easy! You don’t have to be mad!

8)  And now we come to the greatest conflict of our time: the people with babies vs the people without babies. You both have valid complaints.  Yes, non-baby havers, seeing the picture of the inside of your friend’s uterus that was  taken by a camera stuck up her lady parts is completely awful.  Yes, baby-havers, they don’t get that you are happier than you ever thought possible and that having children really does change everything.  Yes, non-baby havers, it is pretty boring and a total overshare  to hear constant potty training updates.  Yes, baby-havers, I agree that a dog is nothing like a real human baby and it’s ridiculous that they think so.  And I know THEY  post way too many pictures of the kid doing stupid and uninteresting things, and I know  THEY are way too invested in stupid and uninteresting things and come off as really shallow. You guys, this is so easy…. hide each other. HIDE EACH OTHER.  And also, accept the critique, because you are both right. We can all be friends with a little peace and understanding. And moderate posting of babies and dogs.


9) If you’re going to post 20 times a day, just get on Twitter because that’s basically what it’s for.


10) High schoolers: the rest of us are not interested in your endless self portraits or your misspelled text speak posts, and you’re probably going to be embarrassed about this later. It’s probably in your best interests to block all of your adult friends/relatives from seeing anything other than your prom pictures. The ones you took before you got drunk.   Adults: you’re the one who accepted a friend request from a high schooler. Also, you’re the adult here.  Have a sense of humor about it or HIDE THEM.

11) The posts we all like the most are the funny ones.  So, try to be funny. If you can’t be funny, post interesting links or cool pictures. If you can’t be interesting or funny or artistic, I’ve probably hidden you from my feed so you should feel free to post anything you like.

12) If you don’t want to talk about it, don’t post it on Facebook. Posting sad song lyrics or ambiguous updates  like, “I can’t believe this is happening to me,” are going to draw out some concern from soft-hearted souls and disdain from the rest of us.  If it’s that bad, call an actual friend. Otherwise, you’re just fishing for sympathy.

13) It’s totally fine to post about big milestones in your life: getting engaged, having a baby, getting married, graduating from college, winning some big award, and so on.  There are always going to be people who hate this and complain about it, but the point of Facebook is to stay connected and your life events are appropriate uses of the medium. Just be aware: Try to change it up some or you’re going to look like a braggart. If everything you post is about how awesome you are and how amazing your life is or about your wonderful, amazing significant other or your brilliant and fascinating children or how you are constantly meeting famous people at your enviable job, you’re bragging. Shut up.

14)  Easy on the caps lock, there, Slugger.

15)  If you’re annoyed about someone posting a milestone, ask yourself why you are annoyed. Are you jealous? Are they really being jerks?  Are you the kind of person that just likes to be upset all the time? Are you taking this too seriously? Do you need therapy?  Do you need to come find me so we can have a glass of wine and talk about how everyone other than us is the WORST? Also, HIDE THAT PERSON.

16) Don’t post daily pictures of your dog or baby unless you literally just got it/had it.  You get a week, maybe two, of excessive schmoopiness and then you need to simmer down and return to a reasonable posting level.  Just trust me on that.

17)  Don’t worry– those posts that show up in your feed that say you’re heartless if you don’t ‘like” a post within two seconds or you don’t really care about breast cancer if you don’t repost a status on your own page… they’re all BS. They’re trying to emotionally blackmail you and you don’t have to give in. The people who propagate that nonsense are the same ones that used to start chain letters, and you don’t have to play their game.  You’re still a good person if you don’t immediately like a picture of a wounded Marine carrying a dog from a burning house while an apparition of the Holy Trinity looks on from the clouds.  I PROMISE NOTHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN TO YOU AND YOU ARE NOT GOING TO HELL.

18) Before I put anything online, whether it be Facebook or this blog or any where else, I ask myself if  I would want my dad to see it. If that thought makes me uncomfortable in any way,  I don’t post it.  This is a good way to stay congenial and appropriate online. I respect my dad and I think he’s an honorable person and we have different political beliefs that I don’t like discussing with him. If you want to be friendly and pleasant online, find a similar person in your life and do the same.

19) Oh my sweet St Christopher, do not ask me to help you with your fake online farm or your mafia war or whatever.  Unless someone has directly expressed interest, assume that nobody wants to help you collect fruit for the castle.

20)  I can’t emphasize this enough: hide people that bother you.  HIDE THEM, HIDE THEM, HIDE THEM.  You can even unfriend them; they may not even notice.  There’s no reason to get yourself worked up over a social networking tool that originally started so that college kids could stalk each other and figure out who is hooking up with who.   Just follow the people you like and don’t worry about the people you don’t.


That concludes today Facebook etiquette rant.  You see how I have not taken my own advice,  and I have, in fact, gotten all excitable.  Social media is complicated. Just don’t do it.

Things My Grandma Says

You know who is a total treat this Halloween season? My grandmother, better known as Grandma. Today she turns 93, and this blog’s for her.

Grandma and her daughters. Can you tell which one produced me?

Imagine it’s World War II. You’re a good looking gal in your early 20s and you live on Long Island and work in the City. You’re engaged to a young guy who went away to war, and you grew up in a Catholic German family.  The logical thing for you to do is meet a younger Protestant farmer at a gas station and agree to marry him, forcing you to mail your engagement ring back to the mother of the boy away at war.  Then you obviously move to a South Georgia farm within months of that first encounter, and this is where your Yankee ways are observed with raised eyebrows by members of the Glass Menagerie. Then you have five children, help found the Catholic Church in your predominantly Methodist town, and develop a particular taste for Old Grand-Dad whiskey.  In short, you’re a pretty tough broad and a total badass.

As a tribute to Grandma and her long and excellent life, I’m sharing some of my favorite things she says.  In her 93 years of living, she’s developed some verbal tics and I think you’ll agree that most of it is worth stealing.

Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph.  Any good Catholic school kid knows that it’s a sin to say the Lord’s name in vain, and you can get points off your conduct grade at school if you slip and say the most innocent little, “Oh my god!”  Even typing that now as an adult, part of me immediately flinches and silently says, “Sorry, Jesus!” Years ago, Grandma informed me that if you say all three members of the Holy Family, it’s a prayer and not a curse and it’s totally fine. Seeing as my Grandma helped found a Church and says the rosary daily, I feel completely justified in using this exception to the rule. When my devout mother purses her lips at me when I say it, I can always use the Grandma defense and there’s no argument for that.  This expression is best used when something unbelievable is happening, but it can also be uttered under your breath when you want to strangle some one.  For example, tonight I realized that 30 Rock aired a day early but I didn’t have my DVR set up for it because I forgot about the switch, and so I snapped at my TV screen, “Son of a bitch. Jesus-Mary-and-Joseph.”

Jesus-Mary-And-Joseph, that is a great jar of jelly!

Speaking of religious swears, St Christopher! gets slung around quite a bit as well. I suppose it’s not as bad as taking the Lord’s name in vain, but I have a hunch that the nuns at my old high school would frown on this. I’m not totally sure why this particular saint gets special consideration, as he’s mostly known as the patron saint of travelers and Grandma doesn’t much care for traveling these days.  Anyway, this one is most frequently used in place of other expletives when something is not going your way. Maybe this one is used when Grandma doesn’t want to call God’s attention to something but still wants some divine intervention.

Grandma with my pretty big sister and her cool husband.

The Dag Blame Thing.   This is what you say when you want to say, “the Effing (insert noun here)” but you’re too much of an old school proper woman.   I’ll use it in a sentence for you. “I tried to use the clicker to turn off that trashy reality singing show, but the dag blame thing wouldn’t work. So I had to sit there and listen to Miss Tutsi Frutsie sing, and lord-a-mercy was she bad.”

She could be saying it in this picture, but I doubt it because she loves presents.

Big Ole’ Joker Most frequently used in the sentence, “He’s a Big ole’ joker, isn’t he?”  The meaning of this expression changes with tone of voice. It can be used in disdain, with affection, with disgust, and even with delight.  I’m not clear on the origin of this one. I Googled it and didn’t come up with anything, but I suspect it’s slang from years ago.  It’s a good catch-all.  See a darling but mischievous boy? Coo, “He’s a big ole’ joker, isn’t he?”  Hear a politician tell a big whopper? Spit it out with venom.  Spot an enormous roach crawling on your wall? Gasp it out and then smash the thing.  I particularly like using this one in conversation and it never fails to delight.

This is Grandma with nephew Jack, who is, in fact, a Big Ole’ Joker.

Bless her little heart. Most Southerners equate, “bless her/his  heart,” with passive aggressive behavior. It’s like saying, “Oh, I love her to death, she is completely awful.”  You use, “bless her heart,” to excuse whatever horrible thing you will say next or whatever horrible thing you already said. However, when Grandma says it and adds the “little” she really means it. It’s usually what she says when she hears a story about a baby or small child being frustrated in some way. It’s accompanied by a drawn out, “awwwww…..”  It goes something like this, “Awwww… the little angel was up all night screaming her head off and making her parents crazy… bless her little heart.”

Oh, bless his little heart.

Tutsi-frutsie I apologize in advance, Grandma, I have no idea how to spell this.  Grandma is still pretty with it, but her memory isn’t as sharp as it once was.  I have a near legion of younger male cousins with  revolving doors of pretty girlfriends.   My grandmother, wise woman that she is, doesn’t generally bother to learn names anymore unless someone is likely to get engaged.   When face to face with said girlfriends, she sort of plays along. When they’re not around, they’re collectively known as “little tutsi frutsie.” Note to Pretty Girlfriends of Male Cousins: I promise she’s not saying something nasty when she says this. It’s just easier to remember this one expression than remember all of your names. You’re all quite charming and pretty and your hair looks great today. Also, she totally remembers YOUR name. It’s everyone else that gets the nickname.

I’m going to spare the real Tutsi-Frutsies from being labeled as such and just post a picture of myself.

Various terms of endearment:
Doll Baby: General address for female grandchildren. I don’t think the boys get this one, but I’m not sure because I’m not a boy. In fact, I don’t think the boys get anything special. Sorry, boys!
Shugah: Obviously, this is how “sugar” sounds in her combination Yankee/Georgia accent.  You get this one when she’s happy to see you or when she is saying hello.
Huh-ney:  This one is most frequently used with her children or when she’s about to lay down some knowledge. As in, “Now, huh-ney, I wouldn’t worry about your ass. Boys like it.” (Grandma, you did say this, I swear.  It was years ago in your kitchen and you were re-assuring Allyn and me. It’s possible there was some Old Grand-dad involved. It was fantastic.) It’s also a dead giveaway for a forthcoming command. Once you hit 90, you can ask people to do almost anything for you and they can’t complain.  Something to look forward to!
Boopsie Boodle: Exclusively used for babies and always, always said in a baby talk voice. Grandma loves babies more than basically everything and you can’t have an important conversation with her until after she has adequately greeted and fussed over the boopsie boodle.

This is Grandma holding court at her 90th birthday party, dropping Huh-neys and Shugahs like they’re bombs.

And my favorite and perhaps the most lasting legacy in our family:  Make it a good jigger full. I can’t remember any family dinner that didn’t start with cocktail hour. We’re not a bunch of lushes, but we like a good time.  We get a little loose and breezy, sit down to eat, and then lean back in our chairs and talk around the table for hours.  It’s one of my favorite things we do.  Grandma, ever mindful of her health, knows she can have about one or two drinks, and she fully intends to get her money’s worth.   While my mother pleads with my dad to make hers weak, Grandma is no shrinking violet. “Make it a good jigger full, huh-ney,” and then she hands over her flask to the evening’s mixologist. (What? Your grandmother doesn’t carry a flask of her favorite whiskey to make sure she gets to drink what she wants to drink when she gets to the party? Your grandmother doesn’t care what brand you give her?  Too bad for your grandmother.)  It’s a good party philosophy and delightfully old school– “make it a good jigger full” sounds much better than, “I want a good, stiff drink.”

This is Grandma, possibly after a good jigger full.

She’s a wonderful, strong lady and I’m so glad for her sense of humor and her wilfulness   I don’t ever have to wonder where my sense of humor or my love of language originated.  Happy birthday, Grandma! I love you so much.

To many more!

How Not To Have a Cold

(I wrote this a week ago when the first tickles of a cold started. It took me a week to edit because said cold kicked my ass.)

Oh no! You have a cold! Your throat feels like you swallowed a crusty shower loofa and your nose is running like a marathon.

What you should do: Take Zicam or Airbourne at once. That stuff works like magic, but only if you take it immediately upon feeling symptoms. You will already have this stored in your purse/medicine cabinet/desk at work because you are a responsible adult.

I like the chewable ones.

What you actually do:  Feel symptoms about three hours before you can leave work. Curse your general lack of foresight as throat grows increasingly scratchy.

What you should do: Go straight to drug store after work and stock up on soup, cold meds, Kleenex, orange juice, and tea.

What you actually do:  Ponder bad traffic patterns and decide to go home. Convince self that hibernating on sofa with episodes of Gilmore Girls is adequate cold remedy.   Realize too late that you are very wrong.

Emily Gilmore wouldn’t stand for this.

What you should do: Stay home and rest! Don’t contaminate everyone else around you!

What you actually do: Go to work. Save valuable PTO for Christmas break. Wrap self in snuggie and fleece jacket. Whine to bemused co-worker but try to minimize symptoms. Ignore annoyed looks from co-workers when you snot all over desk. Realize mid-afternoon that your computer screen is moving by itself and that you can’t actually read anymore. Sheepishly ask to leave work early.

What you should do:  Go home immediately and curl up in bed with helpful small dog.

Snugglesaurus Rex.

What you actually do: Decide now is the time to go to the drug store, despite the fact that you should probably not be driving.  Buy three different varities of tea despite the fact you are only likely to drink about three cups total.  Stand in juice aisle for a full two minutes before you remember why you are there. Consider calling someone to come get you. Decide this is stupid. Suddenly adopt devil-may-care attitude when caution has always suited you well so far.

What you should do: Take the Mucinex.

What you actually do: Wait, this stuff is called an “expectorant”? Doesn’t that mean it will make you spit? Do not take Mucinex! Do not hock loogies!  Gross!

What you should do: Drink orange juice.

What you actually do: Drink Zing Zang. Convince self okay to add a shot of vodka because it’s too thick without vodka in it.  Anyway, the Zing Zang has Vitamin C too and it will go bad if you don’t drink it  And alcohol kills germs, right?

A bloody from happier times.

What you should do: Eat chicken noodle soup.

What you actually do: Make Campbell’s Cheddar Soup with corn chips. It looked way better on the shelf than the chicken noodle soup, nevermind that it’s probably supposed to be for recipes.  Try to dissolve soup with milk on stove.  Convince self it’s okay if chunks of unmelted condensed soup refuse to melt.   Realize it’s actually pretty disgusting.

What you should do: Make the chicken noodle soup instead.

What you actually do: Eat the corn chips.

It says Family Size. Guess not.

What you should do:  Go to bed really early.

What you actually do:  Stay up to watch the premiere of Mindy Kaling’s new show and then go to bed about thirty minutes earlier than usual.

This is Mindy giving a great wedding toast.


Here’s hoping your cold goes away soon!  Try to get some of that good Sudafed they keep behind the counter that is probably the closest thing you can get to legal drug use and drink lots of non-alcoholic fluids.  Take care! (Also- wash your hands and spray antibacterial every where you go because you do not want what I have, trust me.)

Sunday Detox

After  a whirlwind week of Maid of Honor duties, I’m socially detoxing tonight. Though I love my friends, my natural introversion leaves me mentally numb after a highly social weekend.    Wedding related blog posts are forthcoming this week, but tonight I’m sharing this terribly charming video I found that pretty accurately depicts living with shyness.  Tonight I’m curling up on my sofa with my personal crocodile and we’re taking a break.

The Meg Cabot Experience

This morning, I dragged myself out of my Friday night white wine and pizza hangover to see Meg Cabot speak at the Decatur Book Festival at 10 AM.   Totally worth it. If you ever have the chance to hear her speak, go for it even if you don’t read her books. She’s a natural public speaker– very funny and engaging and responsive to the audience.  She spoke about her books for a few minutes and then opened for questions for the bulk of the session. Though it’s cool to hear authors read their own works, I really prefer this format. You get a better sense about the author and you can learn some things that aren’t in the books.  You can also learn the author is hungover too thanks to some fancy vodka at Cakes & Ale.

(Don’t worry, Dad, I know I just wrote that sappy open letter to her, but this is not turning into the Meg Cabot Fan Club Blog.  Though that’s the kind of job I would OWN.)

She spoke from the altar of a Baptist church because hearing Meg Cabot speak is a religious experience, evidently.


Her dress is great, right? So fun!  It’s not a great picture because I stupidly left my real camera at home. This is the only iPhone shot that wasn’t completely blurry.


Here are the high points:

— She started as an adult romance writer, and some of her earliest and best clients were the nun friends of her grandmother. Dirty nuns!

— She once co-hosted an event with Julie Andrews because of The Princess Diaries connection. Evidently, Julie Andrews swears like a sailor and drops more F-bombs than Do-Re-Mis. This is fantastic news for obvious reasons.

This is not Julie Andrews. But it is a creepy diorama from a Sound of Music souvenir shop in Austria.

— When asked about a memorable book signing experience, she recounted her visit to Brazil and gently suggested that Brazilian teen girls are very dramatic. She likened attending the book convention as an author to being KStew and RPatz at a Twilight premiere– lots of tears and behavior that warrants body guards. Interestingly, the girls stopped crying at once and mugged for the camera when the photographer snapped  photos of them with Meg. CURIOUS.

— She discussed the movie adaptation of The Princess Diaries, and she said the book was circulating in Hollywood before it was actually published. She says many studios rejected it because it didn’t fit the YA conventions of the time: anorexia, pregnancy, and rehab.  Ultimately, Whitney Houston read it and brought it to Disney and the movie went into production before Harper Collins bought it.  (Side note: Though Meg always meant it as a series, Harper Collins didn’t trust that the first book would sell and only started with a one book contract.)

— Meg went on to explain that YA changed significantly after the publication of The Princess Diaries and other series like Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging  (not the kind of title you want to get caught reading on the subway). Before that, most YA books concerned extremely weighty matters, like teen girls who have sex and immediately die.  She then went all faux arrogant and said, “You’re welcome… I’m so tired after changing the entire course of literature.”  She’s great–don’t you want to get seated next to her at a dinner party?

— Right now, she’s reading mysteries because she loves when, “justice prevails.” She especially likes it when two detectives solving the mystery fall in love.

— An audience member asked about her writing process. She got a little sidetracked talking about the Internet, which is fitting. “Sometimes you need to know– was there ever really a unicorn? And then 6 hours later…”

Yes, unicorns exist! And I own one. Isn’t she sweet?


— She’s all in favor of any of her books becoming movies, and she has a flippant attitude about the Hollywood changes.  This is healthy because the first Princess Diaries movie took some liberties and the second one was basically just an excuse for Anne Hathaway to hook up with Chris Pine and had nothing to do with the books (this is my assessment, not hers).  Anyway, she says adaptations never turn out like the book because screenplays are 90 pages and books are closer to 300.  She then said, “The movie version is really nice. The books are the version that are right. But the movies are totally fine.” Essentially, she got paid and she’s psyched that a good movie can drive someone to check out the book and get them reading.

— Books with current interests from movie/TV producers: the Heather Wells mysteries, The Mediator, and Abandon. (On Abandon: “Someone has to usher dead souls into the Underworld, so it’s probably a hot teenage guy, right?”

— Interesting Princess Diaries tidbits: a prison chaplain once wrote her that he shows the movie to all incoming prisoners because it’s so inspiring and positive.  I’m sure this has exactly the effect he thinks it does.   Also, she had a signing in Thailand heavily attended by some army guys. Turns out they use the first Princess Diaries as their English-as-a-second-language book.  Because nothing reflects our spoken word like the diary ramblings of a pop culture obsessed teen girl.

— As a teenager, she wrote Star Wars fanfiction and a ton of space operas, or as she puts it, “sexy stuff in space.”  She specifically mentioned a character named Bhaltazar and butlers who would do *anything* for their female masters. She assured us these stories would never see the light of day, and I think I speak for all of us when I say, “Boooo…. hisssss.”

— Someone asked her which book she most liked writing and she groaned that she hated writing all of them. She says what all writers know– writing a book is like childbirth in that it’s terrible while it’s happening, but then when you have the nice shiny book, you  forget the pain until you start over again.  During this same conversation, she said something about teenagers being horrible and quickly backtracked, “None of the ones in this audience today. You’re all wonderful.”  Before you get offended, she mentioned this in connection with parenting a difficult and defiant teenager.

— Spoiler for future books: There will be another Heather Wells mystery, titled Size 12 is the New Black, out next summer but she hasn’t written it yet.

— Fun story: she warned us to never use a real person’a name when writing in revenge.  Evidently, Lana is an actual person from her high school years, and she didn’t read the books, but she did see the movie (Meg smirked at this). The real Lana wrote Meg a letter, which she expected to be apologetic for her cruel behavior in high school. Instead, she said, “I did not know that you were a princess.” Meg sighed that sometimes people you think are mean are just really not very smart.

After her presentation, they herded us outside to stand in line for autographs. She was very gracious and signed multiple books per person, personalized all of them, and posed for pictures. As I stood in line, I listened to her greet everyone, and she really does make each person in line feel like they are having a special moment.

For my turn, I was ready with my Ron Swanson mug:

Oil based Sharpie, bake 30 mins at 350 degrees

Picking a quote proved tricky. I scoured the Dorothy Parker and Jane Austen archives, but none of them sent a lightning bolt to my head, and then I found a funny one about drinking coffee from Kenneth the Page.  But then I didn’t know if Meg drinks coffee since she’s always talking about soda, so maybe she hates coffee. So I spent some time googling that to see if she ever mentions it in interviews or on her blog, and eventually I had a Ron Swanson moment of my own and was like, “Eff this, I’ve got a white wine and pizza date, and I know she likes Parks and Rec, so this is happening.”

She liked it! Or at least she said she did! I think she had a genuine reaction of delight though, so I assume it went over well. I managed to get out more than just “I love your work, the weather is nice,” and we shared a good couple of moments.  I walked away with a bounce in my step and a new determination to keep at the writing thing.

I didn’t take a picture with her because my iPhone was in my bag and I felt bad holding up the line. I now regret this decision to be polite to people I don’t know.


And she did all this hungover.  Awesome.

And hey, you know what else? “Go to a book convention or workshop of some kind” is Item 26 on my list of 31 things to do this year. One down! Thirty to go! Thanks, Meg!

The Phone. It Rings.

from YouTube user aliaslover123

I miss Gilmore Girls, and I especially miss Michel and his bitchy French attitude.

Don’t worry, we’re not talking about Gilmore Girls today. We could talk about it, and I want to make a Bunheads/Gilmore comparison chart anyway, but that clip just resonates this evening because of a series of unfortunate interactions today at my Real Life job. I won’t go into details, but suffice to say I think it’s reasonable to expect other mental health professionals to know what Autism is. At the very least, it’s not crazy to think they know how to spell the word.  There came a point where Michel’s whiney accent drawled in my ear, “People are particularly stupid today. I can’t talk to any more of them.”

Three Day Weekend, you can get here anytime.




Brain Freeze

Today, work was a shark-eyed monster lurking under the surface of an idyllic weekend, waiting to pounce. Work was like this:

As a result, my brain feels like this:

In case the meaning is lost, that would be my brain feeling small and trying to hide under a chair despite the fact that everyone can see it.

So, tonight I’m drinking some wine and doing this:

Only I will be wearing clothes because I am not a heathen

50 Shades of Navy

No, this is not the post where things get really weird and I unveil my knock-off Twilight erotica. (Note to Dad: “50 Shades of Navy” is a play on the very popular erotica series currently on the bestseller list called 50 Shades of Grey.  It’s kind of based on that vampire series, Twilight. Ask my sister about it, she read it. I would never read it because I’m your sweet, innocent angel. I don’t even understand half of what it’s about.)

This is the post where we discuss bridesmaid dresses. Navy bridesmaid dresses.

One of my best friends, we’ll call her D for now, is getting married next month, and I’m bringing plenty of honor to the Maid of Honor role.   She asked us to pick our own dresses, “Just choose something navy,” she said. This is both awesome and awful. By allowing us to pick our own dresses, she’s giving us the chance to buy dresses we will actually wear again. She’s letting us find something that actually works and sparing us the humiliation of unfortunate cap sleeves and obvious underarm fat. She’s also forcing us to make a decision for ourselves when it would be so much easier to bitch and moan about the terrible dress she picked because she’s a size zero (SERIOUSLY) and doesn’t understand body type.  Now if my dress looks terrible, I can only blame myself. In these photos that we’ll see billions of times on Facebook and in picture frames, my horrible dress is a disaster of my own making. Thanks a lot, D.

Luckily, navy is a universally flattering color, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a dress that looks fantastic, right? Um, you’ll see.  There are not literally 50 dresses. But there are 30.  I’m not kidding.

First up, dresses I already own.

Dress 1: A cotton J Crew Swiss Dot sundress. It’s a beach wedding, so I can go casual. Didn’t feel special enough though. Not very, “celebrate eternal love.”





Dress 2: A J Crew wedding dress with flimsy chiffon layers and a v-neck. The technical term for this is “Mehhhhh.” This is probably what D was trying to avoid.




Dress 3: A swingy knit dress with ruffly layers. Actually, a pretty cute and fun dress, but it felt too casual and I already wore it to the engagement party.




Dress 4:  The really great eyelet dress that really doesn’t fit anymore, hence my sucking-in fish face. If I really focused on diet and exercise, I would look great and could not eat a thing during the wedding weekend. NEXT.




Dress 5: The sweet garden party dress with the white linen under layer.  Not bad, but there’s a noticeable toothpaste stain on the bust. Damn you, teeth whitening bleach! Also, my weird uneven scoliosis hips are obvious, and I don’t love that.





So, from there we move on to the mall and assorted boutiques.

Dress 6: A business casual Rebecca Taylor number. Anything that requires me to tie a square knot after drinking celebratory champagne is probably not a great option.




Dress 7: A sale dress at Nordstrom. Not bad, but I wasn’t sure she would approve of the white accents. And let’s be honest: I need at least a C-cup for this.




Dress 8: A famous Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress. I don’t care how flattering some people say they are; you can see my flanks. I’m like a show pony.  Also, putting this one on required extensive knowledge of the laws of physics, and thanks to a really sub-par senior year science teacher, I have no ability there.




Dress 9: A Jessica Simpson dress. Hence the vacant blonde look. I didn’t want to like this. You see JSimps acting like a dumb blond and you’re like, “Ugh, I don’t want to support her making money by acting stupid.” But then you try on the dress that really does hang right and you’re like, “FINE, Jessica. You win this time.” I kept looking on principle though.




Dress 10: The Cape Dress.  This is obviously the frontrunner.




Dress 11: This is fine, but it just exists.  It’s like The Mentalist of dresses.




Dress 12:  This is only here because I look skinny.





Dress 13: The Mermaid Scales dress.  Give me a talking crab and a fish friend and I could make this “Part of Your World.”



Dress 14: The Hippie Dress. I think the top part is made of hemp.  No, really.




Dress 15: The Ruffle Butt dress.  It photographs well, but I was a pair of boots and a can of hairspray away from getting hired as a back up singer for Taylor Swift, which would not be a bad life, actually.




Dress 16: In this one, I channel a Real Housewife of Whatever.  Maybe Julie Cooper from The OC. 




Dress 17: The dress that tried to choke me.  Otherwise: totally cute.




Dress 18: There’s really not anything wrong with this one. It’s totally acceptable. It’s  just kind of redundant. It’s the Rock Center of dresses.




Dress 19: I call this one “Ren Faire Skank.”







Dress 20: These are starting to look the same, right? Like maybe I should just pick one already? Whatevs. This one  has a belt which I think D won’t like.



Dress 21: Yawn.




Dress 22: At this wedding, we go clubbing. I need some fishnets and some feather earrings and some shoes with goldfish in the bottom.




Dress 23: In this dress, I can channel my inner Stevie Nicks. This is not a small consideration.  I can also store snacks in the sleeves.




Dress 24: Oh! This one is totally cute and fits well and has a good shape and flatters my skin tone.   It’s not navy, but everyone will be drinking, right?






Dress 25:  It’s hard to tell, but the inner shell of this one is covered in sequins.  Party in the front, Miss America pageant in the back.




Dress 26: No, you’re right; this one does look pretty swell and my hair is suddenly fantastic and I should probably just go live in the Banana Republic dressing room because everything just works there.  But it’s so, “She’s got upper middle management written all over her,” you know?




Dress 27:  At least in this one I can eat dessert.




Dress 28: Here’s where I got to Anthropologie and channeled one of those girls with a fashion blog who takes herself really seriously while posting what she wears every day.  Also, I feel like an extra on Mad Men.




Dress 29: This is essentially my First Communion dress, but dyed navy and without a sailor collar.




So what’s the verdict? Some of these are okay, but nothing really gave me that special “zing.”  I think I found a pretty good one, though. I’m saving it for the wedding, so you’ll have to wait.  I’ll give you a hint: it’s navy.

… Hello 31.

From my Dad’s iPhone at the family party last week. He’s snap happy.

Yesterday, I wrote about the list of 30 things I was supposed to do during my 30th year.  I didn’t have much success thanks to my own slacker behavior, but this year I’m committed. I’m posting my list online to make myself accountable to my readership. All 15 of you.  As I finish more interesting items on the list, I’ll post about them here.

Some notes on the list: this is no bucket list. These are things I might realistically accomplish in the next year given schedule and finances.  So you won’t see, “Paraglide over Grand Canyon,” or “Buy couture gown.”  There’s a variety here– big things and small things.  I’m hoping by giving myself some easy wins I’ll be more likely to tackle the more intimidating ones. Big or small, they’re all things I actually want to do. Might as well do them this year.

If you read an item that sounds interesting to you and you want to join me while I attempt it, let me know in the comments. This obviously only applies if you know me in Real Life.

And away we go.

Item 1: Finish stitching the wall hanging for J.  I told her I would do it well over a year ago. This is now ridiculous. It’s not like I don’t want to and it’s not like I don’t have time.

It involves a quote from 30 Rock. I’m really quite happy with it so far.

Item 2: Make French Macarons. They are very challenging and I will beat them.

Item 3: Get back into volunteering– at least a semi-regular gig. Choose something fun. I was doomed from the start with the hospice thing last year.  When your Real Job is to listen to everyone’s worst day ever, you need your volunteer work to be more uplifting.

Item 4: Catch up with my unread book list.  This is probably impossible.

This is not actually the “To Be Read” pile. I just like looking at my bookcase.

Item 5: Read Anna Karenina. It just seems like something I should have read by now. Also- movie this year!

Item 6: Clean out and organize pantry. CONTAINER STORE.  Bring LMac because she’s into that kind of thing.

She’s kind of great, right?

Item 7:  Visit Center for Puppetry Arts. MUPPETS. This is one of the weirdest things about ATL and I can’t believe I still haven’t tried it. All of my friends who grew up here went on field trips in elementary school. Maybe I’ll convince someone to join me for the Halloween puppet show?

Item 8: Finish watching Friday Night Lights. It’s stupid that I’m still working on it.

Item 9: Donate at least  $31 monthly to charity. ($30 if they only take $10 increments)  Readers, I’m open to suggestions! I know it’s not much to give, but everything counts, right?

Item 10: Check on SkyMiles situation. Figure out how to use them. Then I can have more airport Bloody Marys.

The Delta Sky Lounge always puts a splash of red wine in their Bloodies. Fun fact!

Item 11: Back up computer. Suck it up, get it done, get Harrison (Engineering PhD cousin)  to help.

Item 12: Post to this blog 4x weekly. Posts to book blog don’t count, lazy ass.

Item 13: Host game night. You love board games. You have some that you’ve never  even played. Make your friends play them. Some of them might even like it. Don’t worry, CK, I won’t invite you.

Item 14: Keep at least semi-regular journal.

I used to be really good about this.

Item 15: Make Book It t-shirt. I’m never going to the find this shirt in a store. It’s time.

Item 16: Do something really nice for my sister.  Not posting what it is here because she might read this, but I have PLANS. These are her kids. Sooo…. you can see why she might want a break.

I promise they are cheerful sometimes.

Item 17: Make all Christmas presents except books. This is crazy. Try it anyway. Put that Pinterest board to good use.

Item 18: Send Grandma weekly pictures of funny and cute things. Heidi should be featured often.  Grandma just moved to a new place and she’s having some stress and cute pictures of dogs are good for the soul.

Grandma on her way to a luau. You can tell she’s saucy.

Item 19: Meet neighbors. At least the ones on ether side. Maybe the guy on the balcony over mine that talks really loud. At least to tell him to hold his deep philosophical discussions with his cell phone until after 9 AM on Sundays.  Bring cookies to bribe them to like me.

Item 20: Find good reading chair for office. Something cozy and readerly.

Item 21: Go some where on this list: Boston, Europe, Hogwarts (in Florida), Canada. I recognize this is a strange list. I’m keeping my options open.  Do you want to go?

Item 22: Visit Elizabeth in Statesboro. She just moved there and I miss seeing her.

Elizabeth with Heidi, who adores her.

Item 23: Read Volume 1 of Mark Twain’s autobiography. This will be an endurance test, but I did the math and it’s possible to get it done in 2 months if you read 10 pages a day.

Item 24: Take wine tasting class/ go to wine tasting/drink wine in some educational capacity. Bring Melissa… after she has her baby.

Less baby bottles, more wine bottles.

Item 25: See a musical I have not seen. Bonus points if it’s in NYC.

Item 26: Go to a book convention or workshop of some kind.

Item 27: Go to DC and do something really pop culturey with CK, Lennie, and Chris. I’m always jealous when they go to movies together or watch  Community or whatever.   (I know, Chris, “MOVE TO DC, M. NOBODY IN ATL LIKES YOU ANYWAY.”)  I want to pick a good pop culture related activity and go hang out with them. Eric can come too if he’s not too busy being International.

This is from my last birthday. They don’t usually walk around in mesh gloves.

Item 28: Find make-up artist and learn how to make up my face properly now that my skin is clear. It’s time I learned how to use eye liner appropriately.

Item 29: Try that elusive and exclusive Holeman & Finch burger.  Note to non-Atlantans: they only serve 24 of them and they only serve them at 10 PM at night. They are allegedly incredible.

Item 30:  Play Shuffleboard at Twain’s.  Play with Diette if possible. I always put it off because there’s a wait to play and I’m shy about getting in line for things because I’m a terrible, terrible introvert.  Time to make myself have fun, dammit.

This is us dancing. Dancing really well, as you can see.

And the very biggest one:

Item 31: Write novel. Be ready to query agents by next birthday.  This is it. I’m doing it.  No excuses. It’s time to be who I’m supposed to be.


And that’s it.  I’m reserving the right to change the list in the next week if something occurs to me, but I think this is it. Wish me well in the comments.  31 is 13 backward, so this year can only be great, right?



Goodbye 30….

The best part of turning 30 was the resulting 80s party.

Thirty is not a particularly fun birthday. It feels like a turning point even though it’s not like someone hands you a card that says you are old.  There’s no sudden shift in rules or weird restrictions.  You just have this sense that it’s time to get serious and that options are now definitely eliminated.

But you go on. You keep going to work and you laugh with your friends and not much seems to change, even though you’re aware more than ever that you have mortality and what will you do with it?

A year ago tonight on the last night of my 20s, I made a list of 30 things I wanted to accomplish this year.  Unfortunately, I only checked this list once during the year, so I didn’t have much success getting everything done.  I managed 13.5 things on the list. I gave myself a half point for creating the Summer Reading Project because Item 9 was to read all of my unread books. I gave myself partial credit because I’m more than half way through that list. Also, Item 20 was to be something other than a super hero for Halloween, but then I decided that was really stupid because wearing a cape once a year is one of the best things I do. I didn’t give myself credit for that one, but I did lower my list to 29 items.

The tradition lives.

Here are some highlights of things I did manage to cram into the last year.

Item 1: “Leave the country. At least go to Hogwarts (in Florida). “

In May, I went to Germany and Austria.  I blogged about it and went on a Sound of Music tour. Very successful!

Nush. Von. Stine.


Item 4: “Speaking of follow through, post 1-2 times per week on at least one of my two blogs.”

I didn’t manage this very well on this blog, but I was nearly perfect at my book blog. 

Item 10: “Read a classic book I’ve been skipping.”

Read A Confederacy of Dunces. Was not disappointed!

Item 13: “Send actual Christmas cards. Pictures optional.”

DONE. Already planning new ways to exploit my dog for next year.

This was the image on my Christmas card. The inside said something about wishing the holidays are magical.

Item 19: “Try a food I have not tried before.”

I had many strange foods this year.  This one sticks out because it came out of a food stand in Germany. Mustard helped.

This was a weird processed meat in Germany.


Item 24: “Eat at Bacchanalia.”

In case you are not in Atlanta, this is an extremely nice prix fixe restaurant. It’s the kind of place your parents take you, but you could never go alone. Luckily, my mother wanted to go for her birthday.

Fancy cupcake stack for Mom.


Item 26: “Go to a social event that I would usually turn down and find a way to make it good. i.e. don’t be awkward.”

Considering that left to my own devices, I would just stay home and watch Netflix Instant and read books, I’m going to call it a win that I left my house at all this year. I’m sure I stretched my comfort zone at some point.  Maybe when I wore sequins to a Taylor Swift concert?

Heart hands! I am not embarrassed! At all!

Item 27: “See at least half the movies nominated for Best Picture.”

I actually did this! I loved The Artist, and Moneyball was better than I expected. The Help was WAY out of its league and The Descendants was really depressing.

Item 29: “Do something for New Year’s Eve. Do not just sit at home and eat junk food no matter how much you might want to do so.”

You will notice I’m not in this picture, but it’s only because I took it myself. UVA played Auburn in a NYE bowl game in ATL and I went with some friends from here. My friend Dave captured the general spirit, but UVA pants were sadly not the norm.

Go hoos.


Tomorrow: 31 things to accomplish in the next year. This year, I’m keeping the list posted on my wall and I’m super serious about it.

Until then, good-bye, 30. You really weren’t as bad as I heard. In fact, you were basically okay. You have a bad reputation but you’re actually misunderstood. Like Judd Nelson on The Breakfast Club. But with less leather.