You are all totes amazeballs!

Last week Joe told me I was too old to say “totally cray.”
I asked him if he thought I was to old to say “asshole.”

When I posted the above on Facebook, my friend Sylvia sent me this article from the Huffington Post.
I think I will unfriend Sylvia. Cause she is totes cray-cray.
(Not really Sylvia. I don’t have friends to spare. But you are cray-cray—in the best possible way.)

Here is the breakdown of things you should not say if you are over 30.
(Again, according to Huff Po.)
1. Totes
2. I know, right??
3. Amazeballs
4. Cray (Or Cray-Cray )
5. I Will Cut You. [Really? Who is cray enough to say that?]
6. Adorbs
7. Feels

I am well over 30 and have used all those terms except “amazeballs” and “I will cut you.”
Now I am determined to find the perfect time to say “amazeballs.”
During a meeting at work would be good.
“Oh my gosh! You won an award for that terrific article?! You are totes amazeballs!”

I work with writers, editors and super smart techy web people—all of whom have extensive vocabularies.
They know mine is pedestrian at best.
So if I throw out “amazeballs” during our next production meeting, they will kindly ignore me—then ask each other later if my meds are being adjusted again.

Sometimes I have to write down a word they say in a meeting, then google it when I get back to my desk.
The first time I heard the word largesse, I swear I heard “large ass!”
“Because of Kim’s large ass, we will be able to purchase new computers.”

Huff Po forgot to include “Epic fail.”
My teen has told me not to say epic fail.
I am an epic fail at not saying epic fail.

Y’all have a great weekend. Subscribe or I will cut you!
JK! (Needed to get that one in before I hit 50, and I don’t think it would go over well at work!)

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Clark Gable Kent Banished to the Short Bus

Sunday afternoon Joe and I took Clark Gable Kent for a walk.
This is what CGK looks like when he knows he is going for a walk.



He is a handsome devil. Unfortunately, we recently learned CGK inherited a dose of my mental instability. The vet did not phrase it that way. Probably because the vet does not know I have mental instability. However, after two failed attempts to get our handsome pup to cooperate for his annual check up, the Doc declared Clark needs “remedial behavior training.”  It is not like Clark ate a vet tech or anything. He just does not want anyone messing with him. For the third attempt, CGK will be given doggy sedatives. Acepromazine. I wonder how that compares to Xanax.

Anywho, now I am searching for a trainer (or doggy psychiatrist) to teach Clark that it is okay to let people poke their fingers in his mouth and look at his teeth. I have a desperate e-mail in to Dogboy’s Dog Ranch.

I will keep ya’ll posted. And for the record, CGK is not a complete nincompoop. He can sit, shake, chill (lay down) and roll over. But apparently, those are unimpressive and will not keep him off the short bus.

Here is a picture of our older, less aggressive dog, Millie.
AKA Millie Mojesha Paranica
Mojesha is a character from The Powerpuff Girls and Piranica because she bit like a piranha when she was a pup.
(Blame my daughters for that diminutive.)


“Look at ME! Love ME!” —MMP

‘Grandma’ is a monicker Millie earned over the past couple of years.
See the gray?

Millie loves to go to the vet. She loves to have people poke around in her ears and pull her gums up to look at her teeth. She does not even mind having a stick put up her butt for a fecal sample. If you ask me, she REALLY has mental problems. Anyway, in ATX, Millie does not count as a REAL dog. That is because we purchased her from a breeder. If you want to be a respected dog owner in this town, you darn well better rescue your dog from a shelter. If you go prancing your $800 un-nuetered Entlebucher Mountain Dog around the trail at Lady Bird Lake, be prepared to get the ojo.
Just sayin.’
(You’re safe if you have a thoroughbred Greyhound. Everyone assumes you rescued it from a horrid life of running around in circles.)

And for fear of jealous retalation from el gato, here is a recent pic of Penelope.
AKA Stupid Cat, AKA Pennilicious


“Oh, please. Stupid Humans.
And that Clark totally needs to be on the shortest of short buses.”

To prove Penelope is the spawn of Satan, here is another pic:


Yep. That is red duct tape ya’ll.
On a chair destroyed by Stupid Cat.
That is how we roll.

All those studies that prove owning a pet relieves stress…
yeah, those PhDs have not been to this house.

Because you all are so amazingly amazing, Here is a bonus!
This is a sweet toy we purchased for Clark.
(Discounted—because who buys a reindeer in January?
Cheap people who use duct tape, that’s who!)


So cute right?!

Here is the same toy after Clark had it for 22.8 seconds:


How sad.
And hilarious.
I know you are laughing.

Stay warm ya’ll! A dog or cat could help you out with that!
Don’t you want an excuse to put colored duct tape on your furniture?!
Peace. See you soon!

Postscript: Shout out to my friend, Meg!
She is a REAL writer.
And wise beyond her years.
And super cute to boot.
Meg writes weekly for the Colorado State newspaper.
Click here to read an awesome article she wrote about human sex trafficking.

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For this post, I need a little participation.

A little assistance please:
Raise your hand if you have ever been to a grocery store that was so busy, law enforcement had to be hired to direct traffic.
Thanks. Put your hands down.
Now raise your hand if you have ever been to a market that encourages you to drink while you shop. 
Got it. Thanks. 
From what I counted, looks like several of you have been to the lovely new Whole Foods at the Domain in ATX.
Congratulations on making it out alive.
Joe and I took an expedition to this organic, gluten free, vegan-loving Mecca last weekend. 
Here is a picture of what what greeted us.
Walkin’ Around Beers. 
Disappointingly, the beers do not actually walk around
The owner’s intention is for the shopper to take the beer, walk, and shop—
They are not Standin’ Around Beers.
Really they need another sign that says “No Loiterin’ Around Our Upscale Salmon.” 
My thought is this: 
If you are going to pay $39 for a 12oz. bag of powdered Superfood, or $40 for a bottle of shampoo formulated with 70% organic content and no parabens,* you must have had SEVERAL Walkin’ Around Beers!
(Even if the stylish shampoo bottle is made from 50% post consumer resin.)
*prices MAY have been exaggerated
Joe and I opted to stay sober, so we left the store empty handed. 
Here is a pic I took on the way out.
Organic JOLLY beans. 
No artificial colors, dyes, flavors. No preservatives, no hydrogenated oil.
No jelly. Just jolly. Sigh.
I cannot come up with a clever ending to this post.
Most likely it is because I am full of too many preservatives.
Stay healthy ya’ll! See you soon!
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Hot Wings and the Holy Spirit

Hannah and I were witnessed to in the HEB parking lot.
I didn’t know this until we got in the car and she told me.

After insisting on helping us out with our groceries, the bag boy held my eldest and I hostage while spinning tales of the Holy Spirit’s presence in HEB. We also I learned church leaders had prayed over the store and all it’s employees. (I hoped they thought to pray for the customers too. Lord knows if I need prayers, it is while grocery shopping on a Saturday afternoon!)

Trying to be polite (new year’s resolution #14b), I listened to this devoted believer patiently. However, the day was warm and my mint chocolate chip Blue Bell was melting. The dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets my 19-year-old insisted on buying were getting mushy.*

My mind began to wander.
I tried to picture what Christ would pick up to read from the magazine rack while waiting in line to purchase his hot wings.
(I think Christ would love hot wings.)

Christ might read Texas Monthly.
He would find The Texanist quite amusing.

Jesus probably wishes more couples would read The Knot.
I am confident Jesus is worn out from the bazillions of times he has seen the unity candle and heard The Lord Bless you and Keep You. Couples need a magazine that provides new ideas so that Christ does not get bored at their nuptuals.

Jesus may read People. Because Christ loves people!
And He forgives people.
Even the people in People!

Back to the witness thing.
Eventually Hannah and I wrapped up our extended parking lot powwow with the bag boy and were on the road home.

Hannah: Mom. We were just witnessed to.
Me: Huh?

I defer to Hannah in these situation. She is the family’s moral, spiritual and religious compass. Apparently, once the bag boy mentioned the Holy Spirit, I should have recognized the conversation had moved beyond chitchat.

Admittedly, when the gentleman mentioned the Holy Spirit coming to him as he entered the store for the first time, I was tempted to ask him if he was sure it was not one of the numerous birds that regularly fly into the store and dive-bomb shoppers.
But I watch Long Island Medium.
Spirit very well may dive bomb.
Maybe that is how desperate Spirit is to get our attention!

Anywho, from now on, I am looking for that particular sacker to help me with my groceries. He has found some happiness and peace that we are all looking for. I want some of that.

*Hannah saw a five-year-old place dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets on the counter at checkout. Her eyes glazed over. I told her to get herself some. Small price to pay when your daughter is approaching 20 and has managed to stay off the pole.

Added bonus because you are all such good sports:
photoThis photo has nothing to do with the above post. Other than it was taken at HEB.
If I could reach out and give you all a Texas-shaped chunk of cheese, I would!

Happy Weekend Ya’ll!
See you soon!

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College Expenses, Mary Karr’s Cherry and the US Economy

I decided not to make any New Year’s Resolutions. The word resolution itself implies commitment and willpower. The later of which I have none. However, 2012 is going to be a year of changes for our family, so I decided to give myself what I am calling General Guidelines.

UNTHannah will be starting college this fall, so one of the guidelines is to find creative ways to save money. Joe and I have always been conservative with our spending, so discovering additional ways to cut costs is not easy. Then one day in early January, I went to Target and spent $32 on two books. That is when it hit me. I would get a library card and potentially save hundreds of dollars over the course of a year!

To many of you this may not seem like a big deal—but to me reading is like crack. Except after I finish the crack, I like to display the little piece of foil the crack came in—as a reminder of the world the drug transported me to.

I hoard books like fine wine. (Who am I kidding, if wine is in the house, I drink it.) I rarely loan out a book—knowing that most likely if it is ever returned, the spine will be cracked and pages stained with caffeine. If I have ever loaned you a book, it is because I know how to hunt you down. Once I loaned out a book of Hannah’s in a gesture of friendship. Neither the gesture of friendship nor the book was returned. (Hope you have enjoyed my daughter’s copy of The Host for the last two years.)

However, now I have college costs to motivate me into unchartered waters of frugality. So, off I went to get the first public library card I had since I was a nine.

The library I choose is located conveniently between home and work, in a pleasant middle class neighborhood. I arrived optimistic and walked anxiously toward the front door. The first indication things had changed since 1975, was the large sign leaning against the front entrance.
It read: “No Shades, No Backpacks, No Hoodies.”
Weird, but okay.
Luckily I had left my shades in the car, was carrying a small purse, and had choose that morning to go with a black turtleneck. The doors parted like the red sea and I stepped inside.

Well, not completely inside, because at this point I was welcomed by a large, dome shaped, airport-like security device. I glanced around curiously, wondering if I needed to take my shoes off and place them in a plastic bin to be scanned. When no one approached, I proceeded unnoticed through the security tunnel.

While a friendly staff member assisted me in applying for a card, I had a few moments to take in my surroundings. I glanced around the shelves expecting to see helpful signs throughout the library guiding me to fiction, self-help, psychology, theology and the like. I quickly realized no signs existed.
I was far from the wonderful world of Barnes and Noble.
I was at the mercy of ye ‘ol Dewy Decimal system—created in 1876.
Disappointed, but undeterred, I took a deep breath and reached for my bright green library card.

I placed the card in my purse and proceeded to walk a few steps toward the center of the library—but I was stopped.
Not physically stopped.
Psychologically stopped—by a woman with physical intensity of Nurse Ratched and the demonic eyes of Bellatrix Lestrange. I realized she was there to monitor computer usage. She scowled at me, using her spell of visual intimidation to force me to offer up any device that could destroy a hard drive. I had nothing.
The Death Eaters remained at bay as I bowed my head and left what felt like the computer lab of a mental hospital.

Browsing through the books, I started having strange thoughts. I wondered where had these books been? Who had borrowed them and what had they done with them while they had them? Some smelled like cigarettes, some like cheap perfume and others like a diaper bag.
Turning a corner to search another aisle, I came face-to-face with Barney Fife.
When did THAT happen?
When did libraries become places that required security personnel?
I was no longer checking out books from a library.
I was checking out books from a library, within a mental institution, within a prison.
I was trapped in Shawshank Redemption.

That was the final crease that broke the book’s binding.

Then I thought of the eager staff member who kindly handed me my card. He had been absolutely joyful at the prospect of a new inmate client. I could not bare the thought of his heart sinking as I ran from the asylum empty handed. I could not leave without a book.

I found three books, one a memoir by Mary Karr titled Cherry. I thought that appropriate for the occasion, since, well, this was my first time.

I checked out and made my escape. I thought of returning the books the next day and cutting my card to shreds. Instead, I placed the books on top of a towel to soak up an accident my dog had on the carpet. (The books were not harmed, I just needed the weight—but you see my point about not knowing where these books have been.)

Yesterday I started reading Cherry. I am enjoying it—which means I do not see myself checking additional books out of the library. After I finish reading this honest, laugh-out-loud biography, I will have to return it. There will be no little piece of burnt tin foil to remind me of young Mary Karr—her delicate french kiss with John Cleary or her heartbreak when her best friend dumped her to become a candystriper,

I think I will try to find other areas to cut costs. After all, aren’t I helping the economy by purchasing new books?
(And they smell so much better!)

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Christmas Confession, or Stupid Cat, Oh Stupid Cat, What Are They Feeding You?

December is approaching and it is time to start Christmas shopping. Not my favorite thing. Fa la la la blah!
I loathe shopping—and not just during the holidays. I am a member of the small segment of the female population that would rather give birth without an epidural than shop. 

Fortunately all the kids in my extended family are now older and there is no need to battle the masses on Black Friday—teenagers and college students want cash. I love them for making my December shopping as simple as a trip to the ATM.

However, I still have to shop for my two teens. It seems wrong just hand them cash Christmas morning.

For the past 8 years, Olivia has provided Joe and I with a detailed wish-list by the beginning of November. When she was in elementary school, she would write, as well as draw, a picture of her Christmas morning desires. In middle school, she began creating the list in a Word document that included embedded photos. Now a freshman in high school, she sent me an e-mail—along with links to the websites I could go to in order to purchase the items. Brilliant.

Then there is Hannah.
Not only has she never bothered with a list, she has never, to my recollection, verbally mentioned anything she has wanted for Christmas. Well, there was the one time she asked for a camera—but was not clear on what kind of camera—so of course that gift was a fail. I love that my eldest does not get caught up in the latest trends, but it makes buying her gifts a Herculean task.

Last year all Hannah would say is she wanted was a kitten.
That was not going to happen.
And she knew it.
Joe and I are not cat people. We did not understand why anyone would want a pet that pooped inside—even if it was in a litter box.
And the hair! Why purchase a pet that requires you to constantly carry around a lint brush?
And the scratching—a cat would destroy our furniture. In addition, we had two dogs—one of which would eat a kitten.
A cat.
No way.

Then I had a breakdown.
I realized Hannah would be leaving for college in two years.
She was a great kid. She had been working hard in school, struggling to stay in the top 10 percent of her class—a junior in high school with college on the brain. Hannah was the most spiritually strong member of our immediate family—and she upheld her values while surrounded by close friends with extremely different views on religion. At sixteen, she did not drink, smoke, curse or do drugs. She had never asked me about birth control and found my wine habit disgusting.
The least we could do was get her a kitten!

A few days before Christmas, we told Hannah there was a gift she would need to open early. The gift was a cat toy. After opening it, she gave us a blank look. She subsequently stared at the toy for several minutes, then looked up at us and said, “Wait. Are you serous? I am getting a kitten!?”

We drove her and Olivia to the pet store for the adoption. Hannah walked past several cages, checking out each of the innocent creatures. She eventually stopped in front of a cage and asked the volunteer to open the door. Immediately one of the two imprisoned kittens flew into her arms.
It was love at first scratch.

After much thought, Hannah christened the cat ‘Penelope.’
Most of the time I do not call the cat Penelope. I call her Satan, Stupid Cat, Dumb Cat, Spawn of Satan, La Reyna, Nina de Diablo and on occasion, a name I will not post to this blog.

In the year that Stupid Cat has been with us, she has destroyed one phone charger, one computer charger, two sets of curtains, one set of blinds, one chair, one ottoman, several window screens, and is in the process of destroying a couch. She uses the dogs as pommel horses—then vaults off of them to spiral headfirst into the wall—always bouncing back unharmed. Stupid Cat eats her food and the dog’s food. She has claimed the island in the kitchen as her pedestal and rules the house with sublime authority.

Confession: I love Stupid Cat.
I cannot help myself. Hannah has discussed taking the cat to live with her once she is able to get an apartment. I think not! This is my grandchild we are talking about. I cannot take a chance that sweet Pennilicious (I call her that on good days) will be exposed to college debauchery!

This morning, as I was leaving for work, Penelope ran to the front window to watch me drive away. She appeared from behind the shears that she has ripped to shreds. With her hind legs firmly placed on the table, she stretched her paws to reach the center of the window. With her sweet little head angled toward me, she bid me farewell. Once I was out of the driveway, she jumped down and disappeared behind what remains of our curtains.
Maybe she is not so stupid after all.

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The Goodwill Incident

A tribute to costume shopping: Halloween, 2010
(This is also for Cheryl, who sweetly asked, “What happened to your blog?) 

October 31st of every year, our church hosts a Fall Festival. Complete with train-rides, moonwalks, face painting, hot dogs, games, popcorn… you get the picture.

Joe and I sign up for trunk-or-treat—meaning we dress up in costume and decorate the hatch of our CRV. The evening of the festival, the trunk-or-treat cars are lined up in a row and bright-eyed, costumed children walk by each car and get their treat. If your decorations are super cool, you get hugs from tot-sized princesses and high-fives from tiny super heroes. So, I go for super cool. This may be a church event— but I am competitive. I want the coolest car.

The first year I decorated our hatch to look like a Macy’s Christmas window display (I can say Christmas without offending anyone because this is my blog.) I used quilt batting as snow, placed brightly wrapped packages in and around decorative trees, and attached beaded garland and snowflake shaped ornaments to the ceiling. Flashing holiday lights framed the display.
I dressed as an elf.
Christmas on Halloween!
I think this confused some of the kids.

The next year Joe joined in and the theme was America’s Team. Joe and I wore Dallas Cowboy attire and painted our faces. My Aikman jersey showed my age.
Silver and blue balloons, tied to the luggage rack, waved in the wind. The bottom of the hatch was lined with faux astro turf and decorated with all things Cowboy. The centerpiece was Joe’s encased football—autographed by Emmitt Smith.
Small Ninja Turtles and mini Buzz Lightyears dropped their candy in awe.

Fall of 2010, the plan was to decorate the hatch as a wedding reception and Joe and I would be… the bride and groom! Thanks to Hobby Lobby, I was able to find Joe an inexpensive tuxedo shirt and bow tie. Unable to fit into my original dress (shocking, I know), I began my search for an inexpensive gown.
First stop would be Goodwill.

Hannah and Olivia wanted to look for costumes as well so they agreed to go with me. Hannah was learning to drive so I handed the keys over to her. Turns out she was having an off day. We reached our destination, but as soon as Hannah turned into the parking lot, I saw it coming…
It was too late.
She plowed into it at full speed.
The problem was, it did not bother her.

Hannah: I cannot see on that side of the car.
Hannah: [sigh] Whatever.

Hannah parked (badly), I got out of the car, slammed the passenger door, and walked ahead of Hannah and Olivia into Goodwill. I looked at the costumes and at wedding dresses. I looked for Hannah and Olivia.
There were not there.

I returned to the car to find there had been a mutiny. In retaliation to my (rather emotional) remarks concerning her driving, Hannah had decided to just sit in the car. Not wanting to break forces with her older sister, Olivia casually relaxed in the back seat, texting. At that point, I cannot remember the exact words that spewed from my mouth. I took their phones away and told them to get into the store.

I continued looking for costumes, and then I looked throughout the store for the girls. They were missing.

My thought was they had wondered off in rebellion. I could have called their cells, but, alas, I had their phones.
I started the search at Starbucks a few doors down. Nothing.
Then hit Chipotle. Nada.
I went into the Hong Kong Market next door—which might have been helpful if I spoke Mandarin. Méi shén.

I returned and looked through Goodwill again. I had Hannah and Olivia paged. No response. I had officially lost the kids. Time to break the news to their dad.

In a complete panic, I called Joe. It seemed to take him hours to arrive at the strip mall. When he pulled up, I could barely speak. Joe remained in total cop mode. Between sobs I was able to blubber out curb, yelled, angry, teenage attitude, and “the tires are out of alignment.”

Joe parked and we checked the CRV. It was still locked. No one had driven my babies off into a world of drugs and child prostitution. Joe told me to go back into the Goodwill and ask the clerk if she had seen the girls. He was going to start at Starbucks before calling his brothers in blue.

Barely able to walk I pulled it together and went into Goodwill for the third time. I approached the cashier and asked her if she had seen two teenage girls. She flatly stated, “They are looking at books.” Seriously? No. Way.

Trying not to appear too eager, I walked over to the bookshelves. There they sat.
My two lost coins.
I frantically told them what had happened.
They looked at me like I was an idiot.
Complete apathy.
Repelled by my attempt to hug them and ignoring my tear-streaked face, they launched into nonstop dialogue about all the great reads they had found.

They paid for the books and drove home with Joe. I took the long way back to our humble abode, chewed a Xanax, crawled into bed, and coiled into a fetal position for a nap.

A few days later, I returned to the scene of the crime and purchased a $16 wedding gown. Despite the drama … the Fall Fest had to go on.

Joe and I arguably had the coolest car. 

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