The Female Normal: A Million “Harmless” Messages

“Remember in grade school when the boys would snap your bra strap against your back?” Several of the other ladies looked at me with a knowing glance. Yes, they remembered.

Recently, a friend was talking about how excited her niece was to get her first training bra. My mind immediately transported me back to that awkward time of adolescence when I was half fired up to begin wearing the badge of womanhood and half totally embarrassed. The latter feeling mostly stemmed from the fact that the boys in my class were also noticing this milestone. And their way of letting us girls know they were clued in was to come up from behind, grab and pull back our bra straps, then swiftly let them go so they smacked against our backs as they ran away laughing.

Another friend smirked, “If they had done that to me, I would have turned around and punched them.” Continue reading “The Female Normal: A Million “Harmless” Messages”

Good Times and Good Guys: I’m So Glad That I Got Them To Think Of

“I’m so glad that I got her to think of.”

Ten deceptively simple, monosyllabic words open the song, “She Makes Me Laugh,” the first new single by The Monkees in twenty years. It literally just walked into the internet release party by way of a Rolling Stone article. But I’ve already cornered it, told it I’ve been waiting forever for it to get here, showed it pictures of my kids, and monopolized its mingling time by asking it to start from the beginning over and over again. Someone better just go grab it a drink from the bar and tell it to get comfortable, because I have zero plans of hanging with anyone else for a while. Continue reading “Good Times and Good Guys: I’m So Glad That I Got Them To Think Of”

The Dirty Breakup: The Rams and St. Louis Don’t Belong Together Anyway

“Sick to my stomach.” Four little words, written by my cousin, came across my Facebook feed. At first I thought to myself, it’s not like him to broadcast his ailments on social media. Then I realized. Ohhhhhhh. I had a feeling I knew why he felt sick. Sure enough, Google confirmed my suspicions: “The Rams are Headed Back to L.A.”

Aw, snap. I have a feeling this breakup is about to get dirty.

I want to be completely honest in letting you know that, personally, I did not have a dog in this fight. I’m not a huge fan of football, unless it involves Coach Taylor and a Netflix binge of Friday Night Lights. So, personally, I couldn’t care any more about St. Louis not having a football team than I do about the Kardashians doing, well, anything. Still, I’m sad for my city. I’m bummed for my husband, who looks forward to chilling out and watching the game on the weekends. And truth be told, I’m pretty pissed at Stan Kroenke for the slimy way he went about the whole thing. Like the rest of Rams fans, I’m taking it a little personally. I may not have strong feelings for football, but I do have strong feelings for my hometown. And he crapped all over us. Not in the “my-adorable-little-baby-just-had-a-blowout-and-I’m-covered-in-poop-but-it’s-okay-because-it-comes-with-the-parenthood-territory” kind of way. He crapped on us in the “some-totally-obnoxious-jackleg-got-all-wasted-and-thought-I-was-a-toilet-then-cussed-me-out-when-I-got-angry-about-it” kind of way. You know, the most disrespectful, nonsensical, a-hole way to get crapped on.

But the more I think about it, the more I realize the Rams just don’t belong in St. Louis anymore. Maybe this breakup is a good thing. The organization has come to stand for tenets and practices which, frankly, we would be crazy to want any part of. Because it’s not who we are or who we should want to be.

[clickToTweet tweet=”The Rams just don’t belong in St. Louis anymore. We’d be crazy to want them to stay. #RamsToLA” quote=”The Rams just don’t belong in St. Louis anymore. We’d be crazy to want them to stay.”]

I was reminded of this shortly after learning of the decision to move the Rams back to L.A., as I listened to my daughter recount her day at school:

“Mom, Mrs. R did this thing in class today where she gave everyone a dollar and said we could either use our money to buy an extra recess or the answers to tonight’s math homework. Only five people used their dollar for the homework answers. But then, Mrs. R started writing the answers on the board. Everyone could see them! Even the kids who used their money for recess! So all of us who didn’t pay for the answers started covering our eyes and looking away. You know, because it wouldn’t be fair otherwise. Then Mrs. R said, ‘You guys are too good.’ As a reward, there would be no math homework for ANYONE, because we showed integrity. The whole thing had been a test!”

Even CHILDREN know when to value integrity over the almighty dollar. Even they understand the consequences of going back on your word. I’m glad I still get to live in St. Louis with these kids instead of with Stan Kroenke.

Here’s the thing:  we deserve better than the Rams organization. The Rams and St. Louis have been like that couple where one person is so obviously undeserving of the other. Just the other day I was watching an episode of The Great Food Truck Race, and the competitors found themselves in St. Louis. When one of the food truck teams pulled up to their spot and began preparations to serve customers, a bunch of folks on the street lent a hand, helping them load supplies into their kitchen. Granted, I’m pretty sure the name of the truck was “Let There Be Bacon,” and St. Louisans are generally hard-core fans of cured meats, but a little bubble of pride burst in me as I watched it happen. Guys, we really are a great city. That’s the St. Louis I know, the one I grew up in. So there’s no way bacon-loading Good Samaritans and money-grubbing Stan Kroenke could ever make the perfect couple. Besides, it’s clear that he’s just not that into us – which is fine, as far as I’m concerned. Because Jon Hamm is totally our boyfriend.

Furthermore, all these NFL shenanigans that have been going on surrounding the Rams moving or not moving…it’s not how we do sports here.

Others can poke fun and belittle the whole “Best Fans in Baseball” thing, but we (well, most of us) are the kind of sports fans who rallied behind our biggest rival, the Cubs, after they beat us and went on to the NLCS this past season. (Heads up Bears fans. There may be some St. Louisans joining your ranks now. As a friend of mine pointed out, thanks to the Rams, we do know a thing or two about loyalty in the face of a losing record.)

We are a town who admires and celebrates sports greats like Stan “The Man” Musial, Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, Dan Dierdorf, and Jackie Joyner-Kersee. We value how their talent and integrity go hand-in-hand, and we appreciate their continued commitment and investment in our city even after they have left.

[clickToTweet tweet=”St. Louis knows a good Stan when we see one. Happy to be the home of Musial, not #Kroenke. #Rams” quote=”St. Louis knows a good ‘Stan’ when we see one. Happy to be known as the home of Musial, not Kroenke.”]

We know what we aren’t. We aren’t Los Angeles, New York, Dallas, Chicago or any of the other cities Kroenke feels has a better economic future than St. Louis. (Which, apparently, is ALL of them. Like, even Sneedville, Tennessee. The Sneedville Rams has a nice ring to it.) But most of us love what we are. It’s too bad Kroenke, a Missourian himself, didn’t share that affection, despite the fact that, all things considered, the fans kept on loving a sub-par organization with a loyalty that ended up being unrequited.

Breakups are a bitch.

But after the sting will come the healing. And one day we will come to believe what our mom was probably telling us all along: we were too good for the Rams, and we didn’t belong together anyway.

Besides, did you see how fake L.A.’s boobs are? They are the perfect arm candy to Kroenke’s rug.
st. louis rams

 

St. Louis, how do you plan to recycle your Rams gear? #RecycleRamsGear

 

Oh, and high fives to my favorite Housewives whisperer, Andy Cohen, for letting his St. Louis lunatic loose. You can check out his choice words (and fingers) for Kroenke.

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Drive-Thru Kindness: Now Serving Extra Value Compassion

“That will be $5.66. Please pull around to the first window.”

I slowly coax my van forward in the pouring rain, fumbling in my purse to find cash. As the car moves, I instinctively turn the radio back up to catch the end of “Sister Golden Hair” by America, then almost immediately lower the volume, lest the teenage girl at the drive-thru window gets wind of my song choice and thinks to herself that it’s “typical” driving music for a lame mom in a minivan. It’s a weird phobia I have…of not wanting strangers to know too much about how I exist inside my car. Because the dirty exterior, scraped-up side mirrors, and “This Van Is Stacked” window sticker aren’t somehow as damaging to my cred as blaring “Sister Golden Hair.”

Handing over my cash, I feel raindrops from the top of my car drip onto my arm, soaking through my sleeve and immediately chilling my skin. The cashier gives me my change, and I clumsily drop the two of the coins onto the pavement below, one of them being a quarter. Fantastic. It has been one of those days – the kind of day I know better than to grumble about aloud, because it could be worse. But it certainly hasn’t been great either, and it doesn’t seem to want to let up. Like this rain. I mean, I am semi-voluntarily eating at McDonald’s without kids, if that is any indication of my mood. What mother, when flying solo, elects the home of the Happy Meal as the nourishment that will make her feel good about herself and her choices that day? This usually happens only when few other options exist, as is my case at the moment.

But it turns out, McDonald’s was exactly what I needed that day. Rather, the angel wearing a headset at the second drive-thru window was exactly what I needed. Continue reading “Drive-Thru Kindness: Now Serving Extra Value Compassion”

Goosed By a Minion

Helen of Troy was irresistible to kings, princes, and, rumor has it, a thousand ships. Delilah was so alluring that Samson couldn’t help but divulge the secret of his hair. And me? Well, apparently I am officially a pin-up girl for cartoon characters.

By now, many of you know about my sordid past with Chuck E. Cheese. For those of you who don’t, the story, in a nutshell, is that he once hit on me. If you would like to read exactly how that transpired, because you know you do, check out the post “Chuck E. Cheese Could Have Been Your Father.” Then you can chase that with the sequel, “A Suburban Horror Story: The Return of Chuck E.,” about my run-in with the mouse years later at my son’s birthday party. This is a really proud chapter in my life.

Anyway, capturing the affections of the mascot for a chain restaurant does a lot for the ego. Obviously. So imagine how flattered I was at the closing dance party for the BlogHer ’15: Experts Among Us conference in New York City when I found myself with a new admirer: a minion.

Seriously, folks. WHAT THE HELL?

Continue reading “Goosed By a Minion”

What’s With All the Blogging Rage Over a Diner Owner Yelling at a Toddler?

The internet is exploding about someone yelling at a toddler in a diner. It is the kind of thing that makes me question what it is I do. The blogging, I mean. It makes me feel like I am part of the problem…guilty by association…or maybe just guilty.

Let me explain. I’m not talking about which side I take in the situation. It’s not about whether the diner owner was correct in screaming at someone else’s crying toddler, or if the parents were wrong in letting their child disturb other customers, or if any of the story actually played out in any of the various versions we’ve been told. It’s not even about the larger discussions of whether parents should take small children to restaurants, or if people without kids need to suck it up because everyone has a right to eat in public.

What this IS about is how we pollute the internet arguing about all of the above. Because these things are not worth arguing over. Continue reading “What’s With All the Blogging Rage Over a Diner Owner Yelling at a Toddler?”

Our Summer Mantra: “Is It Worse Than Cholera?”

“They just don’t know how good they really have it.”

That was the consensus among my friends at the pool the other day, as we waded in the shallow end, keeping an eye on our swimming children while chatting. The conversation was one that happens between parents who have hit the wall when it comes to surviving June, July, and August…and whose children may or may not have just made the comment that swimming at the neighborhood pool was boring because it doesn’t have a slide.

We have come to that point in the summer when things start to wear. The novelty of being out of school is over. We’ve already taken our vacation. A moratorium was called on scheduling camps and activities every week when both the family minivan and wallet each made motions that they also get a summer respite. And with me working from home more hours than before, well, things have been a little slow for the children around our house.

When things are slow, my kids seem to fill their free time with finding things to complain about. Like pools with no slides. Really?

Articles about giving your kids a “70’s Summer” are everywhere, encouraging parents to promote more laid back days filled with unstructured play, television, friends, and apparently, Tang.

Don’t get me wrong, I think that sounds fabulous. I mean, that’s pretty much the way I spent all of my childhood summers (except for the Tang. I lived on Hi-C Ecto Cooler, because I was an 80’s kid). And it has pretty much been my general modus operandi as a parent as well (even before it was trendy). But let’s face it, trying to convince my children of how cushy their lives are by starting a sentence with, “When I was a kid…” is futile. Because things were awesome when I was a kid…and still quite cushy.

No, I needed to really drive home the “first-world-problem-ness” of their first world problems if I was going to make it to the start of a new school year with any shred of sanity. Something that would shut down their whining about Disney Channel never running new episodes of their shows, or that I don’t run to the store to immediately restock the bag of chips they just finished a day after I bought them.
Continue reading “Our Summer Mantra: “Is It Worse Than Cholera?””

3 Ways to Show American Spirit Without Pinterest

I don’t know about you, but after the triple threat of Mother’s Day, End of School Year Teacher Gifts, and Father’s Day, I don’t have enough left in my Pinterest Love Tank when 4th of July rolls around. By now, I’m completely invested in my laissez-faire summer mode, so promises of “20 Simple 4th of July Party Ideas” do little to pique my interest. (It could also be that the accompanying images of perfectly sprinkled cake ball sparkler pops and INDIVIDUALLY wrapped and decorated Twizzlers make me doubt the “simplicity.”)

Being patriotic is about more than the perfect red, white, and blue themed party spread. Yes, the ingenuity displayed in pin after pin of creative desserts and decorations is certainly a trademark of the American spirit. But so are Netflix binges and maximizing your pool time. That’s the kind of patriotism I’m all about at this point in the summer. So if you’re on a Pinterest hiatus as well, here are 3 ways you can show your American spirit this 4th of July:

#1 Rank the U.S. Presidents on Hotness Level.  tweet-button(1)blog

The 4th of July is a time to put aside politics and celebrate simply being an American. And what better way to do this than to reduce our commanders-in-chief to their swoon-worthiness? Continue reading “3 Ways to Show American Spirit Without Pinterest”

When Social Media Doesn’t Feel So Social

Truth time: I have been avoiding you all.

I normally sit down on Monday mornings, tap-tap-tapping away at my keys, crafting a new blog post as my cup of tea and bowl of oatmeal turn into a lemon-lime sparkling water and whatever ready-to-eat food can pass for lunch. (In other words, I eat a lot of string cheese and things that come in bags that make loud crinkling noises.) Then I schedule social media posts, browse newsfeeds, interact with blogging groups, read about ways to increase reach and website hits, and try to figure out what in my life is interesting enough to be worthy of sharing.

But considering my life has felt mostly like I’m scheduling social media posts, browsing newsfeeds, interacting with blogging groups, and reading about ways to increase reach and website hits, I come up empty-handed on that last one. So when I sat down on these last two Monday mornings, I actually felt more inspired to put away a load of laundry than do anything else. And that’s just effed up.

Back when I was struggling to breastfeed my first child, I remember thinking that the act of feeding my baby shouldn’t be something I wanted to avoid. But it was. The fact that she seemed to want to eat every two hours made me feel like just when I thought I could breathe, I had already fallen behind. And I usually had very little to offer. But I continued to give, at the expense of the things she REALLY needed, like a happy mother.

Similarly, social media doesn’t feel so social anymore. Continue reading “When Social Media Doesn’t Feel So Social”

Be a Beck: Parenting Advice from The Grammys

Perhaps the hardest part of parenting is figuring out how to ensure your children don’t grow up to be a-holes. Finding a hiding place to scarf down a bag of Cheetos before they sniff you out and ask you to share is a close second, but I digress. In our house, we follow the very simple yet effective motto of “don’t be a jackleg,” born from my father’s term for various plagues on society. We like to point out jackleg moves, then tell the kids to do the opposite: See that lady texting and driving? She’s a jackleg. If you ever do that, you’ll be a big fat jackleg. Don’t do that. So far, it has provided them with a pretty solid set of parameters for how not to act. But I worry we focus on the negative a little too much. My discipline repertoire could really use some positive reinforcement and a model my kids can strive to be, not avoid.

Then Kanye West went and acted like a jerkwad when Beck won Album of the Year at the Grammys. And I thought to myself, this is exactly what I’ve been looking for. Continue reading “Be a Beck: Parenting Advice from The Grammys”