Category Archives: humor


Hiatus Continued


I am Italian. I cannot keep calm.

I have no goals. 

That’s what I told my husband. I’m Italian. Melodrama runs high.

“You do have goals,” he said. “You wanted to move back to North Carolina and you did.”

“Yes, but now what?”

Good question. You’d think I’d have figured out that detail in advance.

I love blogging, but my husband’s consulting business is growing. He needs me to take on a more public role in the company, at least for the next few months. Officially, I’m a Managing Partner.

So what becomes of the blog and the 50 other business and writing ideas I have rolling around in my head. Lots of women do both, work for pay and blog for free. Can I? Should I?

Blogging carries with it the urgency of social media to publish. Publish. Publish. Post something already. It reminds me of the toddler in the grocery store who must have the grossly overpriced, cartoon themed, neon colored fruit pops. NOW. How would the wise parent respond to said toddler?

In a word: no. In two words: not now. 


frozen foods aisle

Easy advice to give, but following through feels like a huge, scary risk. It’s so stressful that I had to eat NC barbecue twice already this week as comfort food. I’ll be crowned queen of the Lexington Barbecue Festival come October.

What if you say no and the toddler throws a fit on the floor of the frozen foods aisle? What if she holds her breath until she passes out? What if she hates you?

What if she ignores you and you become irrelevant?

So be it. The wise parent remains in control. The smart mom thinks to herself, “That child’s not the boss of me!

The adult in the situation is able to say no, not now. Everyone survives and is usually better off for it.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 NLT

The Zombies Tell Her No.

Have you mastered the art of saying no?

in His time

in His time

FYI: I plan to continue blogging as a monthly contributor for Project Underblog. Please read my August post The What’s Next? Crisis of Blogging.

I also hope to continue to blog here, but I’m not telling you when because I don’t know when. The best way to see the stories I don’t know when I’ll publish is to subscribe for free updates on email. Follow the prompts in the top right sidebar to subscribe. Just do it.

photo credit: Storm Crypt via photopin cc
photo credit: shiilo75 via photopin cc


Filed under blogging, humor, life, writing & reading

Comic Relief

I mustache you to enjoy this emoticon moment on Twitter with blogger Jenny Dewey and her fiancé Mark.

happy mustache emoticon

happy mustache emoticon

Twitter does have some redeeming qualities. 


A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 NLT

And now it’s time for a silly song with Larry… Love me some VeggieTales.

What’s your favorite emoticon?
Please demonstrate in the comments.


Filed under humor

10 Things I Learned on My Spring Blogging Break

Hi. How you been?

solution focused

solution focused

My spring blogging break lasted longer than expected. Lots to tell you. Where to start?

Amy at Using Our Words writes a regular column of 10 things she’s learned each week. She’s the boss of this format, which I am not—and she’s funny, which I am occasionally. In homage to Amy, here’s my list of 10 things I learned while I wasn’t blogging.

  1. “Vacation” doesn’t capture the magic of a trip to Disney World. “Triathlon” would be closer.
  2. Sometimes the answer is as simple as giving the dog a new toy.
  3. There are a lot of mean people on the internet.
  4. Two and a half hours is a looong way to drive to the nearest Loft.
  5. Moms don’t exist until they’re on the phone, applying their makeup, or sneaking a nap at which time they’re indispensable and needed right away.
  6. When your stress level reaches a certain point, you can actually feel your axons and dendrites ache.
  7. Writing takes time. Writing well takes time and editing.
  8. Opportunity costs stink.
  9. Skype rocks.
  10. A good pair of khaki shorts never die.
still kicking

still kicking

Carry on.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT

Something good this way comes.

Guess what? (No spoilers if you know what.)


Filed under blogging, humor, life

Championship Shopping

SHOPPING IS NOT A HOBBY,” read the pretentious bumper sticker.

up to 40% off

up to 40% off

That’s true. Shopping is not a hobby. It’s a sport.

Like the Olympics, there are many categories and events. Shoppers with higher incomes excel in Brands, Early Adoption (buy it before it hits the racks), Boutique, Custom, and Couture. Creative divas and penny pinchers make out like bandits in events like I-Got-This-At-Walmart-But-You-Can’t-Tell-Can-You?, DIY, Consignment, Thrift, and Yard Sale.

Me? I specialize in Bargain Hunting New Merchandise, with major wins in the Women’s and Children’s Clothing divisions.

Once I bought a floor-length Ralph Lauren evening gown for $9. Set a personal record. Wore it to my brother’s wedding. Alas, the victory was bittersweet since I got it at Lord & Taylor’s closing sale.

that's me in the $9 evening gown

that’s me in the $9 evening gown

Then there was the time I paid $5 for a wool pea coat for my son. A darling post-season triumph he wore with panache the next winter.

Before the big snow fell this year in Wichitawesome, I snagged a pair of leather and calf-hair, zebra-print gloves at Ann Taylor for $12.

Anything animal print counts as Big Game and earns extra points.

My aptitude is genetic, geographic, and circumstantial. My mother was a Bargainista before Bargainista was cool. I grew up in a textile manufacturing town. We didn’t have a lot of money to spend on clothes. Trained by example, opportunity, and necessity, I have the makings of one of Gladwell’s Outliers.

store full of bargains

store full of bargains

Mom was a pro. At true factory outlets—the kind located in tiny, dimly-lit rooms inside actually factories—she fished out overstocked nightgowns from big cardboard boxes for pennies per pound. She bought me a pair of pants with a small tear at the ankle for $2. Roll up those preppy chinos and no one knows the difference. She waded through piles of Esprit and Liz Claiborne 80 percent off at Dillard’s Clearance.

Full-court bargain shopping may be beneath some women, but that’s where champions are made. Take the Smith & Hawken store in Chicago. Had to reach for it. Bottom of the box. Linen sundress. $16. Nothing but net.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way. Impulse buys that were just not right. Like the time I bought a candy pink sweatshirt with “PRINCESS” emblazoned in large, white letters across the front. It cost me less than $10, but I was 34.

“My daughter would love your shirt!” said a neighbor as I pushed my son past her in the stroller on our way to the park. That Sunday I promptly wrapped the sweatshirt in a nondescript, brown paper bag and slipped it to a man at church between praise songs.

“It’s for your 15-year-old,” I whispered. “I hope she enjoys it.”

I brake for designer fashion

I brake for designer fashion

The older I get, the more likely I am to pay full-price for a basic wardrobe piece of superior quality, fit, style, and color. Do the math. A bargain is only a bargain if you wear it. A $100 dress worn 20 times costs less per wear than a $10 dress worn once.

My husband reminds me the cost of my time also needs to figure into the equation. Shopping for sport, especially Bargain Hunting, burns a lot of hours.

But it’s like I tell him, practice makes perfect.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25 NLT

Madame Onassis got nothing on you.” You Wear It Well by Rod Stewart.

What’s your shopping story?


Filed under humor, women's studies

Deliverables R Us

Ah, Facebook. Relational crucible of the 21st century.

freak out

freak out

Have you read about Julia Angwin, the woman who’s unfriending all of her friends on Facebook? She’s an accomplished journalist, author, and privacy expert who figured out what we all knew already: social media affords very little privacy. She’s created a micro-movement of readers who are kicking their Facebook friends to the curb. Really.

Then I read a post from a woman who disabled her account because she felt her time on Facebook was an indulgent, unhealthy grasp for the approval of others. Now tell us something we don’t know.

Of course who can forget evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar’s assertion that human beings cannot cognitively maintain more than 150 meaningful relationships? As if the nuances of friendship, emotion, and memory are static, quantifiable commodities. Your friend quota is capped at 150—and not one more! Dunbar isn’t on Facebook, by the way.

I’ve been on Facebook for 26 months. Usually it’s fun and silly, not to be taken too seriously. It’s a good place to keep in touch with people and share what I write. As with all things internet, if it’s private, you don’t post it.

Change is the only constant on the social network. 

You’ll remember my unhappiness with the bait-and-switch maneuver played out on Facebook fan pages this past fall. Well, just last week, I stumbled upon the mother lode. A dumping ground in my Facebook Messages called the “Other” box. Comes with a pay-to-stalk offer.

Theoretically, I assume everyone on Facebook has an “Other” box. You can check next time you’re on Facebook. Click on your Messages tab. To the right of the word “Inbox,” you should see it. “Other.” Is it there? Are messages in it? Mine was populated with freaky messages from strange men I don’t know who wanted to be my “friend.”

Here’s how it works: let’s say someone wants to send you a message on Facebook, but they’re not your Facebook friend. No problem. Rather than sending you a friend request, Facebook allows them to send you a message anyway—to your “Other” box.


change is the only constant, photo credit: celeste343

Now if that person who you don’t know wants to send you a message but doesn’t want it to go to the no-man’s land of the “Other” box, Facebook offers a salacious solution. For $1 Facebook will bypass the “Other” box and deliver their message directly into your “Inbox.” So, along with kind, harmless messages from your Aunt Sally, your kindergarten BFF, and your child’s piano teacher, you may see messages from strangers who paid $1 to stalk for access to you.

A single dollar. One hundred pennies. Small change for perverts, stalkers, and bullies bent on terrorizing the common folk.

Facebook, what are you thinking?!

I’m making a lot of assumptions here. But Facebook, in grand Facebook fashion, insists on making adjustments, tweaks, and monumental changes without much consideration for their users, so assumptions are all I have. My husband made the wisest assumption of all.

“Aimee, Facebook doesn’t see us as users or customers,” he said. “For Facebook, we’re deliverables.”

He’s smart, that guy. But he rarely follows my status updates. Figures he knows what’s going on with me already. So at lunch this past Sunday, I’m explaining the “Other” box to him and my son and how there are some people Mom doesn’t want to befriend.

“Here’s what the people in my ‘Other’ box are like,” I said, summoning my scariest, most gravelly voice. “‘Hey! I wanna be your friend!‘ And I’m like, ‘Hey! I don’t even know you!‘”

My son and my husband laughed at my theatrics in the middle of the Chinese restaurant. We role-played, taking turns being the scary “Other” people with the funny voices and the unsuspecting deliverables left to fend them off.

The bill and fortune cookies came too soon. Our table erupted as I read mine.

fortune cookie

The time is right to make new friends.

Hey, Facebook, ever hear of MySpace?

Some friends play at friendship but a true friend sticks closer than one’s nearest kin. Proverbs 18:24 NRSV

The Stranger by Billy Joel.

Do you use social networks like Facebook? How do you protect yourself?

photo credit: celeste343 via photopin cc


Filed under family & friends, humor

Be the Groundhog

Taking a cue from Punxsutawney Phil today.

be a fruit loop

as seen at Trios

Skittish about standing out in a crowd? Remember the groundhog. He isn’t afraid. It’s a new day. Wake up. Make your entrance. Watch life get interesting. 

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT

Good Morning by Mandisa.

Fruit Loops or Cheerios?


Filed under humor, life

Yoga Face Time

Returned to yoga class this week. Took some time off over the holidays. Time to eat turkey, dressing, a dozen chocolate crinkles. You know, that sort of thing.

So did the rest of my class. How do I know? My instructor felt the need to speak this bit of wisdom to us:


There are legitimate reasons to frown. The inability to do ardha chandrasana is not one of them.

Keep on keeping on. We’ll get there soon.

A cheerful heart is a good medicine, but a downcast spirit dries up the bones.
Proverbs 17:22 NRSV

Closer to Love by Mat Kearney.

Enjoy your weekend!



Filed under humor, words to remember


In a few short years, I’ve gone from washing my hair every single day to betting how many days I can go without washing my hair.

bloggess wannabee back

who’s that girl?

I suppose I could call it a matter of health. Most hair stylists agree. It’s not healthy to wash your hair every day. (I’m speaking of women here. Men, wash at will.) Over washing can mean over drying, especially as we get older and our hair loses its natural moisture and shine.

Good grief. That sounds like a shampoo commercial.

What was once a luxurious cleansing ritual now results in tresses crisp as sun-dried straw. Not pretty. Plus it takes so long to blow dry. Once upon a time, I thought nothing of spending hours on hair and makeup. Today it’s different. Pardon me, but I need to wash and go.

You know, I think it all started with that child I have. My hair was voluminous and glowing when I was pregnant with him. A few sleep-deprived months after giving birth, my hair (and the rest of me) looked tired. I barely had a moment to shower, much less dry and style. Besides, who has time for hair when there’s a boy’s childhood to be lived? There are Legos to assemble, imaginary wars to fight, books to read. Alas, I succumbed to the inevitable. I got mommy hair.

I cut it short. Then shorter. Then shorter. Then I saw myself in a photo. Shocked back to my senses, the race was on. A race more grueling than any marathon. Many of you recognize this perilous trek. Cursed is the day you agreed to layers and bangs. Your psyche bears the scars of the race to grow out your hair.

Since crossing the finish line about four years ago, I’ve kept my hair long. Pinterest helps me cope with impulses. When I see a photo that inspires me to cut my hair like hers, I pin it instead. Then I can think about it before I act on it. Maybe I’ll cut my hair short again some day. For now, I’ve relinquished my daily shampoo in order to preserve some semblance of health on my head.

I have to wonder if all this dryness has to do with our environment. No, not global warming. I’m talking about humidity. My hair was raised in Southern humidity. Most of my time in the Midwest has been spent in the drenching, river town seasons of St. Louis. It’s only recently we moved to the arid prairie-land of Kansas. Even the snow is dry here. Surely that must take a toll on my hair.

bloggess wannabee

I am not the bloggess (as if there was any confusion about that)

One of my friends has her hair done at the salon each week. She swears by the blow out. Says she doesn’t have to do a thing between visits. My stylist suggested pricey keratin treatments to make my hair like silk. Moisturized, manageable, lustrous silk.

But I know stress shows up in my skin. Makes sense it would show up in my hair. Forget the humidity, the expensive treatments, the weekly blow outs.

What I need is a vacation.

And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matthew 10:30 NIV

Props to the 90s and Swedish bands. Beautiful Life by Ace of Base.

What do you and your hair need?


Filed under humor, women's studies

Reader’s Choice ’12: Bellies on Vacation

Amy Heinz

Amy Heinz

Amy Heinz is the girl next door… and then some.

Besides having a very cool first name, Amy is a mommy blogger extraordinaire. Her blog Using Our Words was named Best NorCal Mom Blog by Circle of Moms this year and was a finalist in the Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Awards. You can catch Amy’s parenting posts on Disney Baby, too.

I got to know Amy online through a mutual friend, and this year I had the privilege of meeting her in person at the BlogHer Conference in New York. When she saw me sitting in front of her in a session, she texted me. Repeatedly. Only she was texting the wrong number.

Chalk up accidental cyber stalker to her list of accomplishments. Amy and her winning sense of humor have had a big year.

Amy’s Reader’s Choice is:

Bellies on Vacation

bikini belly

click to read Bellies on Vacation

readers choice

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Filed under humor, women's studies

Reader’s Choice ’12: Dear Mr. Zuckerberg

Brooke Clay is having the time of her life.

Brooke Clay

Brooke Clay

Brooke is the travel writer and social media manager for a hopping site called Canvasing Chickasaw Country. That’s Chickasaw as in Oklahoma. And that’s hopping as in more than 22,500 followers on Facebook alone.

Then last week, Brooke got engaged to her Dreamboat in New York’s Central Park.

This may explain Brooke’s selection. It involves someone who can relate to her situation. He’s young and smart, he recently got married, and he commands the largest social media network in the world.

Brooke’s Reader’s Choice is:

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid, creative commons license

click to read Dear Mr. Zuckerberg (photo by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid, creative commons license)

readers choice


Filed under blogging, humor, writing & reading

Color Theory

Carole Jackson is my hero. She wrote Color Me Beautiful

Had I been born a decade earlier, odds are I’d have bounded into the 80s as a spry 20-something yuppie with color swatches tucked safely under my right elbow. I’d have been ready at a moment’s notice to whip out the swatches and illuminate women to their correct seasonal palette.



In case you don’t know, Color Me Beautiful is the most successful of all color typing books. First published in 1980, Color Me Beautiful is to color analysis what The Godfather is to mobster movies. All subsequent books advising women of their best colors owe their existence to Ms. Jackson’s four seasonal palettes. Depending on the combination of your hair and eye colors and your skin tone, you are either a Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall. The colors that make up your seasonal palette are the colors that look best on you.

Modern fashion advisors (Stacy and Clinton) try to buck the system and deviate from Ms. Jackson’s palettes. They say you can wear any color you want as long as you choose the right shade. This is America; you can wear any color you want. Some colors that aren’t in your seasonal palette may even look good on you. But you and I and Ms. Jackson aren’t interested in good; we want best.

We want to wear the colors that look best on us.

As Paula Reed writes in Style Clinic, “Find out what colors light up your face, bring out the color of your eyes, and flatter your hair and wear them—all the time.” Touché!

Ollie Jean Owen

Ollie Jean Owen

Ms. Jackson and I have been together now for years. My mom picked up a first edition Color Me Beautiful book at a garage sale. Mom was a Bargainista before Bargainistas were cool, but that is another post. Prior to my mom, the book belonged to Ollie Jean Owen. I know this because Ollie signed the inside cover. I wonder if she read the book. Maybe color theory didn’t stick with her or she thought she’d mastered it. For whatever reason, Ollie’s copy landed in the garage sale pile. Little did she know she sold a diamond for a dollar that day. If she’s still around, I hope she’s wearing her palette.

Mom color analyzed me, a teenager, as soon as she acquired the book. I was and still am a Winter. Mine is the only palette that includes pure black and white. Orange is dead to me. My yellow is lemon. My browns are limited to chocolate so dark it looks black (also my favorite flavor at Baskin-Robbins).

Although I’ve known for close to three decades what colors I’m supposed to wear, staying within my palette has been a process. Four short years ago my closet was an overflowing mess. Nothing to Wear? by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo initiated the detox. It remains my favorite closet purging book. It’s So You! by Mary Sheehan Warren was a godsend, as was I Don’t Have a Thing to Wear by Julie Taggart and Jackie Walker.

paint swatches

pick your palette

Sheehan Warren offered an updated color chart based on Ms. Jackson’s palettes. So did Garza and Lupo in their 2008 book Life in Color. But you know there ain’t nothing like the real thing.

For wardrobe color correction, I returned to Ms. Jackson’s pages.

Today I love and wear every item in my closet, and every one is in my palette. Well, almost every one. I keep a favorite mistake, purchased on a shopping trip to Chicago with my BFF. She’s a Spring. The blouse spoke to me from the rack with its vibrant reddish-orange, stained-glass design. I HAD to have it. So while my fair-faced friend bought two black dresses meant for a Winter like me, I bought a shirt that should be worn by a Spring like her.

With the exception of that blouse, the rest of my closet sings of navy, true red, fuchsia, blue, indigo, emerald, black, and white. It’s been a good year for jewel tones. Ms. Jackson would be proud, and so would my mom.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet. Proverbs 31:21 NIV

My Yellow is also Coldplay with their strange, mesmerizing song.

What’s your best color to wear?
What’s your favorite mistake?

This post marks our 300th. Thank you for reading!



Filed under family & friends, humor, life, women's studies, writing & reading

Saving Duck

Remember the Duck Index two posts ago? How we’re going to do more of what we want to do and say no without guilt to everything else? Yeah, I talk a big game.

two ducks by Richard Broderick creative commons license

two ducks are better than one, image by Richard Broderick, creative commons license

No sooner did I write those words than the calendar page flipped and tossed me into the most wonderful stressful time of the year.

The time-sucking, sanity-sapping specter of shopping, cards, decorating, overeating, and road trips seized my duck with the sole intent to lop off his head, smoke, and serve him for New Year’s brunch.

I suspect the true target is me. 

The marksman crouches low in the dried cattails along the late autumn shoreline, his quiver full of guilt-tipped arrows. Silently, he pulls back his bow and launches the Dickens three-pronged attack.

Zing! The arrow of Christmas Past hits me in the chest. Memories of years long gone by and loved ones lost steal the air from my lungs. Zip! He hits me again. Christmas Present lodges squarely in my left shoulder. Pain shoots across my back with the knowledge that I can’t possibly do all of the things I’m supposed to do to make this the best. holiday. EVER. Pop! Christmas Future pegs me right between the eyes. My head aches with premonitions of a time when I’ll be too old, alone, and destitute to jingle even the tiniest silver bell.

I’m not dead yet, so the duck slayer gingerly lobs the Martha Stewart arrow. It’s carved of Quaking Aspen wood, finished with Peregrine feathers on one end and a rare, Native American arrowhead chiseled from Yellowstone Obsidian on the other. It slices through the skin on my right arm like a whalebone-handled table knife acquired at a tag sale in Connecticut slices through artisanal butter. I bleed enough to ruin the linens of an otherwise perfect holiday table setting, but the injury’s not fatal.

Korean Arrows by garryknight, creative commons license

Korean Arrows, image by garryknight, creative commons license

The archer selects the Good Christian Men arrow in an attempt to finish me off. This arrow screams as it flies at me, “Rejoice already! What’s wrong with you? Rejoice! Rejoice! It’s what good Christians do!”

I’m drowning in guilt when here it comes, the mother lode. The hunter lets fly the I’ll Be Home for Christmas arrow. True, I’ll be in someone’s home for Christmas. My home now? My home back then? The home of my relatives or in-laws? Could home be an illusion that exists if only in my dreams? Perhaps I should pitch a tent along the interstate. Set up camp under the Eads Bridge on the banks of the Mississippi.

The archer is ready with more ammunition. There’s the You Busted Your Holiday Budget and It’s Not Even December Yet arrow. The You’re Going Out to Eat on Christmas Instead of Cooking a Meatless, Organic Feast of Locally-Sourced Winter Vegetables? arrow. And new this year, the special edition red, white, and blue Happy New Year’s Dive Off the Fiscal Cliff arrow.

I shudder, quite sure my punctured carcass will be thrown onto Frosty’s compost pile to melt into oblivion. When what with my wondering ears do I hear?


Oh, sweet horn of Gideon.

“Ree, ree, ree, ree. Quack!”

My duck is safe and hungry. He chatters at me to get up. 

I leave the hunter and his arrows behind to follow this simple, ingenious, waddling creature. I watch as he steps into the water and floats. Can you do that?

He glides along the surface, his body the motor, rudder, and hull. He scoops up the bread crumbs I toss. He inverts and dives. He shakes off droplets, tucks his head, and rests. He flaps his wings and flies.

Surely He will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His feathers,
and under His wings you will find refuge;
His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. Psalm 91:3-4 NIV

The Duck Song by Bryant Oden.

How will you save duck this holiday season?


Filed under humor, life, women's studies