My Long Weekend To-Do List: Epic Fail November 26, 2012

Ah, the holidays. A time to spend with family and friends. Perhaps a time to travel. For me, a time to make an unrealistic list of all the things I’m going to accomplish with my extra two days off so I can ignore it and then curse myself on Monday morning. This past weekend was no exception. Let’s just say that Steven Covey would be deeply disappointed.

(And speaking of disappointed, for a split second this weekend I was doing a Charlie Brown victory dance when I saw the Twitter alert that read “Ryan Braun is now following you.” Then I found out that it was really a Twitter account called “Ryan Braun’s Hub”, which is not affiliated with Ryan Braun himself at all. Really upsetting. However, later in the weekend I was followed by someone called “Queen-o-Swagg” which totally made up for it. How could you not get excited by someone who was “Bawn a Philippines, Grown Inna Cali, Bred by Jamaica”? I for one cannot wait to hear what Ms. Swagg has to tweet about.)

Anyway, here’s what really went down on my long Thanksgiving weekend.

List Item: Drop clothes at thrift store, drop jewelry off to be repaired, drop off drycleaning

Actual Result: None of this got done. However, I did manage to shop at Kmart at 10:30 pm on Thanksgiving, followed by the midnight opening at Younkers, topped off by a 1:30 am Wal-Mart visit. Then I slept 3 ½ hours so I could get up for JcPenney and Menards on Black Friday. Why yes, I did get the $8 small appliances and the $5 glass canister set, thank you.


List Item: Finish Twilight: Breaking Dawn so I can go see the movie already.

Actual Result: Read about twenty pages and then read last Sunday’s New York Times that I still had not finished. I was then perhaps a bit too giddy with the prospect of having the house and the television all to myself, so I caught up on the last two Glee episodes. I also may have watched episodes of Revenge, Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother and Desperate Housewives. By my calculations I will be done “catching up on shows I’ve always wanted to watch” in about the year 2036. That’s what happens when you are held hostage by Netflix. And sadly this doesn’t even count the 90 minutes I’ll never get back from watching What to Expect When You’re Expecting.


List Item: Clean up sun porch

Actual Result: Coffee table in sun porch is now full of paper piles I need to sort through, courtesy of my famous “reshuffling” maneuver. That is, I took piles of crap from one room (making it look clean) and moved them to another room. The living room looks fantastic though.


List Item: Put clothes up for sale on Ebay.

Actual Result: The clothes are still sitting there in a pile in the hallway. I got a little distracted by other clutter and ended up listing fourteen decorating books instead.


Sadly, this is not even scratching the surface of my long list. To make matters worse, while going through those decorating books I found some good ideas for organization, so I added them to the list. I now have things to do like “Put bars of soap in glass canisters”.

It’s a good thing I got that canister set at Menard’s.  Boo-yah! Cross it off the list!

P.S. On the plus side, I did work out three times and actually lost weight over Thanksgiving weekend. Woot!


I’m Thankful It’s Not the 70’s Anymore November 21, 2012

I have a lot to be thankful for. There’s my health, my friends, my family, my security…just to name a few of the big things. But mostly I’m happy it’s not the 70’s anymore. Why, you ask? While it’s true this country was subjected to Jimmy Carter, I am referring to something much scarier: Safety standards. And the lack thereof. Frankly, my brother and I are relieved we made it out of that decade alive.

Now somehow my oldest brother lucked out, because the most serious thing that ever happened to him was a flip off the changing table while my mom’s back was turned for a split second. At the time it was pretty freaky since he was only six months old, but this was nothing compared to the 1970’s death-traps my brother Dan and I experienced.

My own safety-lacking experience happened when I was five. I was riding in the back seat of my Aunt Laura’s two-door. I don’t remember the make or model, however I do clearly remember that there was a decal of The Road Runner on the side of the car, as if it were some “special edition”. Kind of like how Ford has a special edition Eddie Bauer Explorer. Well The Road Runner edition car must have been the much poorer and less tasteful predecessor to that.

Anyway, I think my brother Dan (his story later) was in the passenger seat, and we were stopped at a corner. All of a sudden I remember my aunt taking a sharp and fast left onto Main Street, right in front of the local junior high school. And then, with the help of a loose car door, an even looser front seat and non-existent seatbelt laws, I somehow Flew. Out. The. Door. I can literally remember rolling across the street. I rolled and rolled until my momentum gave out and I stopped right at the curb.

Then the Road Runner Mobile simply came to the curb and picked me up.

After the initial shock wore off, I’m pretty sure I started to cry. But if my cries could talk, they probably would have said something like this:

What. The. F*ck. I just catapulted out of your car and rolled across Main Street, and you casually pulled up to the curb like you were picking up a cast-off couch for your college dorm. I could have been seriously hurt here, people! Can you show me some sympathy instead of sitting there trying to figure out how my parents aren’t going to find out about this little episode?

Oddly enough, there was barely a scratch on me.

Now onto my brother Dan, also a victim of 1970’s safety shoddiness.

It was early in the summer of 1970, when my parents lived in a small town called Lena, Wisconsin. At the time they lived right on Highway 441, which was a 55 mph zone in front of their house. My mom was out in the yard hanging clothes and Dan (less than a year old) was being held prisoner in a playpen near her. At some point my mom saw her good friend Jacki across the street/highway and decided she needed to quickly run across to Jacki’s yard and ask her something/borrow something/get the update on The Young and the Restless.

As my mom was talking to her friend, her back turned to the highway, Jacki’s eyes suddenly became as big as saucers. My mom followed her gaze and saw that somehow Dan had escaped the playpen and crawled across the highway.

Now I’m not sure what those 1970’s playpens were made of, but clearly they were not serving their purpose. Oh and by the way, do you believe in guardian angels now?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and remember to be thankful for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


My Really? Seriously? Top Five Moments November 19, 2012

If you are like me, there are many moments in life where you will be struck incredulous. I call them my Really? Seriously? moments, because those are the two questions that usually come out of my mouth. Most of the time this happens when my husband thinks it’s funny to Dutch oven me, or when my stepkids do some half-assed job on a chore. (“Cleaning the kitchen” also includes things like washing dishes, for example.) But mostly these moments happen in everyday life where I run into random clueless people. And so I present to you my Top Five List of Really? Seriously? Moments.

1)      I’m at the Madonna concert where Madge is singing this slow, hideous version of “Like a Virgin.” That leads into a mash-up of some other slow depressing song about a woman done wrong, or something of the sort. Then she proceeds to writhe and roll around on the ground…she may have been portraying a stripper? Who knows, now I know how Guy Ritchie felt when he tried to direct her. Anyway, all of a sudden she yells, “Give me some f*cking money! Come on! I’ve worked so hard!” Finally, some undoubtedly very confused concert-goers throw some dollar bills at her so she would stand up and get on to the next song already.

After spending more money on those concert tickets than my husband did on his first car, I couldn’t help but wonder…Really? Seriously?

2)      I’m at Barney’s Chicago, clearly in a delusional state since I have no business being in that store; seeing all that unaffordable designer deliciousness depresses me. Anyway, as I’m fingering the dresses I’ll never buy, I overhear a woman at the checkout saying to the salesclerk, “I don’t do sales.” She then proceeds to complain about what a hassle they are, especially since you have to wait for certain things. Kind of like how I was waiting for her to take her pretentiousness down like a thousand notches.

So to her I say: Really? Seriously?

3)      Speaking of retail establishments, I once worked at a department store that was taken over (twice) by other department stores. (Hint: It rhymes with “Creightons.”) I was working another full-time job at the time, which, by the way required a great deal of responsibility, organization and communication in Spanish. None of that really mattered here since I was paid minimum wage and treated like a peon. Every night during “recovery time”, the fifteen minutes or so before closing, the managers would march around, point to things out-of-place and bark orders like they were the Andy Garcia character from Ocean’s Eleven. I so wished for my Tess moment where I could call them out on their evilness and then go reunite with George Clooney.

Instead I would purposely focus on the less-important “middle section” during recovery time. Oh I would eventually get to the aisles, but I enjoyed watching them sweat and twitch as they waited for me to straighten a single dangling sweater. Yes, they stood there and watched me, instead of just helping and straightening it themselves.

To those lazy power-mongers I say, Really? Seriously?

4)      I was just in New York when I overheard this conversation:

Mid-Twenties Girl: And I told her nobody blows their nose in public. And then she tells me that she does it all the time! (Gasp!)


Well it’s a good thing this girl never met my family, especially around allergy season. If my brothers had to leave the room every time they had to blow their noses, I wouldn’t have seen them every August from 1973 through 1995.

Gross stuff happens. People have to blow their noses. Never blowing your nose in public, ever? Really? Seriously?

5)      I really shouldn’t get too worked up about reality shows, but I once lived a little bit too vicariously through The Hills and The City. The thing that pissed me off the most about these shows was how the producers would arrange for these uneducated, spoiled twerps to get cushy, glamorous jobs that someone like me would kill for. The interview for the dream job would go something like this.

Interviewer: So, tell me about yourself.

Unqualified-but-cute candidate: Well, I grew up in Orange County and now I’m here in L.A. I’ve never held a job but I really um… like, love fashion and stuff.

Interviewer: Hmmm it sounds like you’re perfect for the job. Can you start Monday? We need someone to help with a huge fashion show with a bunch of A-Listers.

Unqualified-but-cute candidate: Uh sure like that sounds great. Thank you thank you thank you!


Although I know these things are set up so that the “characters” seem to have legitimate jobs (while giving the company some great PR on a TV show), the whole unfairness still made my veins pop.

One particular episode of The Hills made me especially indignant:

Here was Whitney, intern for Teen Vogue, running work errands in Paris. She tells the driver she needs to go to “Ghi-venchy”. Hard G. Soft E. Totally slaughtered it. Thankfully the driver smugly corrected her. But really? You work for Vogue!

And you know what came next. Say it with me.





My Top Movie “Awards”, Extra Snarky Addition November 16, 2012

Since MTV is known for giving out its own unconventional movie awards (Best Kiss, Best Fight, Best On-Screen Dirtbag, etc.) I thought I would come up with my own little movie awards. Although most of these are probably not actual awards but rather my own snarky opinion…but nonetheless if I could bestow my obscure “honors” on certain films, this is what I would say:

Movie I Surprisingly Never FinishedAvatar. Believe me, I’ve tried. I fell asleep both times. But I get the gist of it: Humans are bad, greedy people who always exploit the earth for their own personal gain; blue people are peaceful and noble fairytale-land dwellers. Yawn. No wonder I couldn’t stay awake to finish this. Isn’t that whole storyline getting old? How many more movies can be made about evil humans disrespecting the earth? Does Al Gore own a movie studio I’m not aware of?

Movie Remake I Never Should Have Seen But Did AnywayFootloose. I’ll admit I was warned; nobody should mess with a Kevin Bacon classic, but somebody did…and of course I was disappointed. P.S.: Ren is not from Boston! He is from Chicago!

Movie I Needed to Google for a SummaryTinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Not even hot Colin Firth could save me from zoning out during this one, and that is saying a lot since he is my favorite Brit.

Movie That Left Me Hanging Too MuchMartha Marcy May Marlene. I understand that some of the most brilliant movies need to end with a cliffhanger or a big question mark. After all, how do you neatly wrap up the story of a woman who escapes an abusive cult, especially since she never tells her confused family about her previous life? You can’t. So if you hate movies where the ending leaves you saying, “What the…that’s it? And there’s no sequel?” then stay away from this one.

Non-Horror Movie That Scared the Hell Out of MeMelancholia. You just know that something is not right with Kirsten Dunst. Something tipped me off when she slept with another man on her wedding night. But then you learn that she knows the end of the world is coming, and you can’t blame her for going off the deep end. But unlike other films where Will Smith or Bruce Willis is there to save us, (spoiler alert!) everyone is doomed.

Most Irritating Kristen Stewart Movie Moment. Believe me folks, it was hard to narrow this one down to just one scene, but I have finally decided on the final scene in Snow White and the Huntsmen.

So there is Kristen, aka Snow White, standing among her court as she is once again crowned the rightful queen. You know she is scanning the crowd for the hunky Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth, looking downright meaty). After all he basically saved her ass, and they shared this hot flirtation while fighting off the bad guys.  Then suddenly the Huntsman emerges from the crowd, they lock eyes…and…and…nothing. Kristen just sits there with her mouth slightly open. Would somebody please call Susan Lucci and teach this girl how to play “lustful and regal”? I guess that’s what happens when you are having an affair with the director and he is apparently too jealous to give you any romantic scenes in the entire movie.

Movie I Didn’t Realize Was Bad Until Years LaterXanadu. We were all just coming off the high which was the movie Grease. We didn’t care how crappy the movie, we just wanted more Olivia Newton-John; she could do no wrong. Hence I sat through this disaster as well as the horrible Two of a Kind with John Travolta.

Bad Movie I Will Keep Watching AnywayGrease 2. All of the teenagers were played by 35-year-olds. (And how old was “Crater Face” from the Scorpions, who was still running with a teenage gang, even though he looked about fifty?) But I still can’t tear myself away from the bad (but catchy!) songs and that dreamy Maxwell Caulfield who played British exchange student Michael. Plus those twins from the short-lived TV show “Double Trouble” were in it.

Recent Disappointing MovieMagic Mike.  There were a couple problems here. The first is that what started out as a lighthearted look at the world of male stripping took a really dark turn into a whole drugs and business ethics storyline. Secondly, I understand how you are trying to be all arty, Steven Soderbergh, but shooting the film in that 1970’s gritty style does not give us ladies a clear picture of Channing Tatum’s chiseled abs. Shame on you for placing your artistic integrity above your audience’s shallow desires.


Anne Hathaway Saved Me from a Painful Decision November 1, 2012

I almost choked on my Halloween candy when I heard the news.

Anne Hathaway is scheduled to make an appearance in my own little town of Ripon, Wisconsin, on Thursday! I was stoked! Normally I have to buy a ticket to L.A. or New York in order to stalk celebrities, but here is one that will literally be a mere few blocks from my house! Would it be too much to put “Welcome, Anne” signs in my front yard, much like Linus did for The Great Pumpkin?

But wait. Before I could even plan my outfit and prepare my strategy on how to meet her, I saw that she was coming to town to campaign for Obama.

Cue the universal noise for buzzkill.

Now if you know me, you know that the chances of my attending an Obama rally are about as likely as Leonardo DiCaprio dating anyone who’s not a model. As much as I love my celebrities, it just won’t happen.

The thing is I really like Anne Hathaway. She seems like a nice person, after all. Plus, we both spell our names with an ‘e’ at the end, so we have that bond. (On a side note: If you ever encounter someone named Anne, please ask how she spells it. Most of my life people have omitted the ‘e’.)  And I do understand how she wants to use her celebrity to endorse things she believes in. However, I also think it would be foolish for anyone to base their political opinions on celebrity endorsements.

I realize that there are a kajillion more entertainers that share Ms. Hathaway’s opinions, and therefore this sometimes makes it hard for a pop culture-obsessed person like me not to get a little frustrated. Back in 2008 I attended a Stevie Wonder concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee, where I was treated to Stevie’s gushing support for Obama which even included a musical chant. To say I wanted to stick a fork in my eye was an understatement.

Now I am afraid that I am going to run into the same thing this weekend in St. Paul. I am going to see Madonna in concert, which has basically been on my bucket list since junior high school. I respect Madonna for her work ethic and amazing entertainment abilities; that woman can put on a show. However I also know that she has been very political on her latest tour; and this is something I am dreading. The people of New Orleans recently booed her after she told them they better vote for Obama. I can only hope she learned her lesson and will tone it down a bit, although we’re talking Madonna here. Subtlety is not in her repertoire. However, I paid good money for those tickets and I don’t want the night to be overshadowed by politics.

And so I’ve had to train my brain to separate the performers from their beliefs. Entertainment is such a huge part of my life, that if I didn’t separate them I’d miss out on so many enjoyable, incredible things. My radio would be silent except for Ted Nugent.  It would be 24/7 Clint Eastwood movies. (Hmmm that may not be such a bad thing, but still.) Don’t even get me started on all the musical theater I would miss.

I would need to get a bigger yard sign for Anne Hathaway. I was thinking something along the lines of this:

Welcome, Anne! You are a talented actress and I thought you did a great job hosting the Oscars even though some people thought you were way too hyper. But honestly who wouldn’t look hyper next to a stoned, self-absorbed James Franco? And I totally stuck up for you when people said they hated your short hair. You cut it for your amazing upcoming role in Les Miserables! That is artistic integrity! In any case I think it’s lovely and gamine and you have the bone structure to pull it off. Plus I also liked your wedding headpiece by Mr. Valentino, even though most people hated that as well. I will continue to support your amazing career, but I’m afraid I can’t support your presidential candidate.


Your Fellow Anne

Update on late Wednesday night via Twitter: Apparently Anne Hathaway has cancelled her appearance in Ripon (and in all of Wisconsin, for that matter.) I guess Anne Hathaway saved me from a painful decision…along with a lot of poster board and paint.