Premature Christmas

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 8.14.13 AMIt’s taken a lot of discipline and dedication to make it to this day without giving in or being weak. Oh, how I’ve wanted to not just succumb but to throw myself in with the herd and celebrate being one of “those people.”

But, I can’t. I. Must. Stay. Strong. I’m almost to the finish line. All I need to do is gut it out for 24 more hours and I’ve done it. I’ve achieved my goal, no forget that, it’s not a goal. A goal is something you’re aiming to accomplish. What I’m talking about is so much more important than any goal. It’s about obeying your mother which you don’t approach with a half-hearted, namby pamby “I’ll try.” No, maternal obedience from an adult daughter demands, a “must do” attitude.

This steadfast compliance in the face of overwhelming temptation is why it took everything I had while buying leaf bags at Lowes to not lovingly gaze at a fresh evergreen garland with a sassy overlay of candy canes and a sprinkling of faux snow that screams Santa + Jack Frost = Best Friends Forever. You see, I was raised from a very young age to embrace one of my mother’s most fundamental edicts – thou shalt not decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving.

This used to be one of my mom’s easier rules to obey. Back in the day most folks didn’t even put a tree up until December Uno. It was downright weird to see anyone going full holly jolly before you could actually start opening a flap on your Advent calendar. This was primarily because everyone had “real” Christmas trees. Time travel back to the 1970’s and the fake Frasier Fir was so flammable some counties had outlawed it. Never mind that it looked almost as artificial as the facelift my great Aunt Ethel got in Guadalajara, Mexico circa 1972.

Once faux Christmas trees reached an authenticity level so acute that it could fool even the most discerning of squirrels the last remaining barrier to premature Christmas decor was breached. Now, it’s almost impossible to not I spy at least one neighbor with Christmas lights up in October. The neighbor might not have the lights on but they’re up and if I follow my mother’s rule to the letter that’s still a no, no.

I always admired my mother’s keen passion for keeping Thanksgiving as a separate event and not smooshing it together with the Christmas season so it becomes like a piece of chocolate in a s’more. You know how when you eat a s’more you get a taste of the chocolate, but it’s totally overwhelmed by the gooey, bulky show off that is a charred marshmallow. That’s exactly what she thought happened to Thanksgiving when you’re carving the turkey next to a fully flocked Christmas tree.

Growing up, especially as teenagers, my sister and I would delight in aggravating my mother by pointing out people in town who had Christmas decorations up early and to be truthful early to my mom was anytime before the first weekend in December. When a salacious marital cheating scandal happened to a prominent citizen my mom’s very pious response was, “Well, what did anyone except from that woman. She had Christmas up before you could even buy a Butterball in the grocery store. I’m telling you it speaks to character.”

When I pressed my mother for details about how exactly putting Christmas decorations up before Thanksgiving was a moral defect. She looked at me like I had just asked if writing thank you notes was ever optional and responded, “You don’t skip over Thanksgiving just because something better in the form of Christmas is lurking all bright and shiny around the corner and you don’t skip out of a marriage for exactly that same reason. It would behoove you to remember that young lady.”

Remember it I did. And as much as I have always wanted to get started on putting up Christmas decorations early (because what woman with a holiday To Do list a mile long doesn’t want to start getting stuff done) I lived in fear my mother would find out and have a very dignified, and somewhat reserved, hissy fit. (Think of it as a long, drawn out, sigh of devastating disappointment.)

This year is the first Thanksgiving I’ll celebrate without my mother. She passed away in March. My sister called me and asked if I was going to start decorating early. I told her no way because I believe with all my heart my mom is still with us and she would somehow manage to express her disapproval from the great beyond.

“I feel the same way,” my sister shared. Then we both started laughing. My mother maybe gone but her Thanksgiving spirit or “Holiday Decoration Timeline” is still living large.

Hey, while we’re talking about Christmas do you know what you make a great gift? My Snarky book series. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may cover_1-3-21I gently suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. :)


Tabled Manners

0f41ba2c52be0afcfb0d953850545a84Many a Thanksgiving dinner has been ruined by manners and I don’t mean bad manners. I’m not talking about Uncle Charlie who has the disgusting habit of picking his teeth at the table with the remnants of the turkey wishbone. Yes, the whole caveman dental procedure can turn you right off your sweet potato casserole which is a tragedy because who wants to say no to a vegetable dish that features, maple syrup, a box of gingersnap cookies, corn flakes and mini marshmallows? Not me that’s for sure.

Trust me, dining with a Neanderthal D.D.S. is nothing when compared to breaking bread or a turkey leg with someone who has just graduated from “protocol” school. Basically, it’s a place where you go to get all mannered up and then, if you happen to be vaguely related to me, show off what you’ve learned at Thanksgiving. Can you say best meal of the year ruined?

I knew I was in trouble when the Thanksgiving table was set with enough silverware, goblets and plates that it looked like a Crate and Barrel and Williams Sonoma had mated. No, correction not just mated, but had a wild, passionate, Vegas fling. There were seven forks per place setting! Seven. Who needs seven forks?

When I verbalized this question I got a side eye and then some shade thrown at me by little Miss Protocol. She explained, oh so concededly I might add, that the forks were meat, salad (duh, I’m not a total rube I get that) dessert, shrimp, snail, fruit and pastry. And then there were spoons for days. Did you know there was something called a bouillon spoon?

If you’re right now patting yourself on the back thinking, “Why of course I knew there was a soup spoon, that’s what a bouillon spoon is you backwoods heathen.” Just stop, right now and wipe off that self-congratulatory smile. Apparently a bouillon spoon is different from a soup spoon. The B.S. (that’s my little name for it) is meant for clear broths only.

My first thought is who wants a clear broth as part of their Thanksgiving dinner? I don’t need my palate cleansed. If you do that you’re missing out of the delightful taste of mashed potatoes still hanging out on a back molar and at least one bicuspid mingling with a soupcon (see I’m classy, I just used a French word) of canned cream of mushroom soup and a curly fried onion from the green bean dish. That’s the essential Thanksgiving flavor profile right there. No one should mess that up. It’s, it’s . . . un American! So, if you ask me that bouillon spoon can take a hike right back to whatever freedom hating drawer it crawled out of. U.S.A, U.S.A.!

As for Miss Protocol, by the end of dinner that night I was glad I had a bounty of forks because I wanted to use all of them to go on a stabbing rampage. Primarily, because out of the seven forks taking up space at each place setting only two were used. Yep, the good old meat and salad fork got quite a workout while the other five forks just laid there on the place mat like lonely brides that had gotten stood up at the altar.

I must admit I felt smug that Miss Protocol and her silverware fetish couldn’t rattle me. Yes, yes, I wanted to stab her, but that was for her attitude not because I was in anyway intimidated by the mystery that is the chocolate spoon. (Spoiler alert it’s not made of chocolate. It’s a scoopy looking spoon that you use to eat chocolate. Go figure.) The truth is, and I’m not bragging here just stating fact, that I’m extremely proficient in all things etiquette related.

How could I not be? My mother hailed from the deep south. I was not only a registered member of Cotillion where I learned very important things like a gentleman always carries three handkerchiefs. One for your nose, one for show and one to give away to a lady in need. I was also a Brazos Belle, a Symphony Belle (both requiring you to walk/sway in very large hoop skirts, thank you very much) and while not a debutante would consider myself debutante adjacent. (It’s like you’re a deb, but you’re saving your parents a boatload of cash by not actually making your debut. Okay, I just made the debutante adjacent term up. Hmm, maybe it needs to go on my resume. Yeah, you’re right,  probably not.)  If all that doesn’t say “I know a shrimp fork from an oyster thingamabob than nothing does. Oh and I almost forgot to add that I have had a subscription to Southern Living magazine since the day I got married. That, right there, maybe the most important.

So based on this list of non accomplishments, but reeking of Scarlett O’Hara, I feel very confident in my etiquette knowledge. Make that I did feel very confident until I recently took an etiquette quiz and FAILED. It was a napkin question that took me into deep F territory. I’m so embarrassed that for years I’ve been doing the whole napkin in the lap thing wrong. Did you know that you’re supposed to wait to put your napkin in your lap until your hosts have been seated and they have placed their napkins on their upper thighs? I thought as soon as your hosts sat their backsides in a chair it was go time for the napkin. But no it’s like a napkin waltz and I’ve been messing up the choreography.

Worse, I, being a little braggy, challenged my kids to take the etiquette quiz with me. I thought I had it in the bag because despite my best efforts my children can be remedial in the manners department. (I can’t be the only one who gets a case of the vapors when a child pulls out a cell phone at the dinner table.) Here’s the tragic news. They both bested me! I was stunned and in immediate need of  a gentleman to surrender his  handkerchief so I could dab away my tears.

When I asked them how in the world they scored better than I did my son answered, “We both guessed that the stupidest answer must be the right one.”

“And the napkin question. Is that how you answered that one? You just looked for the most ridiculous answer?”

“No, I knew that one.”

Flabbergasted I asked, “Are you telling me you knew to wait for your hosts to put their napkins in their lap before you do?”

My son smiled and confessed, “Nah, I just wanted to mess with you.”

“That right there mister is bad manners. It’s not polite to mess with your mother.”

“Polite no. Fun yes.” He muttered as he sauntered off leaving me in an etiquette shame spiral.

I rolled my eyes and forced myself to let my napkin humiliation go. Taking a page from the Scarlett O’Hara playbook  I told myself, “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

You know what’s always in good taste? My Snarky book series. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may cover_1-3-21I gently suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. :)


Dear Snarky – We’re Having Thanksgiving at a Relative’s House Who Can’t Cook

Dear Snarky,0db510e857caa82347f72ce8908414c0

Our Thanksgiving is about to be ruined. Every year my family rotates who host the big turkey dinner. This year it’s my brother and sister-in-law’s turn. The problem is neither of them can cook, like at all. The bigger problem is they don’t know it. Five years ago we had the dinner at their house and it was almost inedible.

Now, it’s their turn again. Is there anyway we can avoid this disaster? And please don’t say we should all bring food. We did that last time and my brother said we really hurt my sister-in-laws feelings. Ugh.

Signed, Hungry Family

Dear Hungry Family,

Shame on all of you. In fact, you deserve to eat icky food on Thanksgiving because you’ve waited FIVE years to do anything about this. C’mon you’ve had half a decade to figure this out. That’s plenty of time to have started a new family tradition of everyone bringing the sides and desserts or working on the Thanksgiving rotation so your brother and sister-in-law wouldn’t host until 2050 or something.

So suck it up and since you can’t enjoy the food give thanks for family togetherness

And P.S. I’d still bring at least a pie or something.

Screw You “Handcrafted” Marshmallow

This is the time of year when I 1a1c7fece33977b0f9d70a02bd4a0737usually have to take a break from social media. And no it’s not the gratitude posts causing me to flee the Internet. I usually find those go one of two ways. They’re either heartfelt or a not so humble brag wrapped around a Bible verse.

What’s making me retreat from my digital life is the Thanksgiving themed cooking tips. I was actually feeling like I was letting my family down by not handcrafting marshmallows or cooking a pie where I butchered my own pumpkin. Yeah, that’s right I said butchered and I know what I’m talking about because I shamelessly caved and let myself be the victim of kitchen peer pressure.

Embolden by the experience of watching on-line cooking videos that made it on my Facebook newsfeed I, with gusto, grabbed a handful of dish towels and attempted to embrace a 100% homemade Thanksgiving. Well, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration. It’s more accurate to say I decided to try a few new recipes. This resulted in me (in no particular order) crying, my oven catching on fire and gooey candy sugar doing, at best guess, at least $200 in damages to assorted pots and pans.

It all started with the oh so innocent sugar pumpkin. It’s a cute, little thing that sugar pumpkin. Who knew that cooking it would it would release a demon spirit that would not only slime my kitchen, but make the oven spontaneously combust.

Now, in case you’re wondering why I was cooking for Thanksgiving a week before the big day my answer is simple. It’s because I’m not an amateur. Anyone with a few deep-fried turkeys under their Williams Sonoma holiday botanical print apron knows you don’t try out new recipes the day before or (are you crazy?) Thanksgiving morning. No, you do any experimentation ahead of time.

This explains why I was slaughtering a pumpkin in my kitchen several days ago. The hint that things were going to go terribly, terribly, wrong was when the first line item in the recipe was an ice pick. In fact, thinking back the whole recipe sounded like an inventory for a dungeon. There was the pick, the serrated knife, the cleaver. Was I cooking a pumpkin or time traveling to the 8th century to be part of a murderous Viking rampage?7f62068a-bc33-4619-9233-e9e435bbe49e

The ice pick was used to pierce holes in the pumpkin before it went into the microwave to “soften.” When I took it out after 10 minutes it looked like a before picture for Proactive. All the holes I had poked in the pumpkin were oozing white stuff like plump zits that had just exploded. If that wasn’t bad enough I then had to cleave the thing in half and scoop out it’s guts.

Yes, I know everyone does the scoopy thing when they carve their Halloween jack-o-lantern, but you don’t do it to a hot gourd oozing pumpkin pus. After I had gutted the pumpkin it went into my oven for 30 minutes to continue “softening.”  The softening ritual was cut short when the stem of the pumpkin (Yeah, I left the stem on. So? The recipe didn’t mentioning any de-stemming.) caught fire. This wasn’t just a petite, ladylike blaze easily put out with a delicate sprinkling of baking soda. Oh no, this was an inferno that engulfed the entire oven. The good news I finally got to use the fire extinguisher my husband had purchased five years ago.

Still shaky from almost burning my house down I summoned my inner Martha Stewart and continued cooking. Next up was Martha’s marshmallows that required, thank God, zero oven time.

I would now like to go on the record and say homemade marshmallows are the wb4423781-271c-4e65-9ff4-523433e104a9orst idea ever. The recipe looks easy enough. Loads of sugar, Karo syrup and a gelatin pack or two and you’re good to go. The one thing Martha doesn’t tell you is that the combination of those ingredients might create marshmallows, but it also produces a space age polymer with a bonding quality so advanced it could cement the cracks in the earth’s inner core.

I couldn’t get this goo off of me, my pots and pans, and (sniff, sniff ) my beloved Kitchen Aid mixer. I was like Edward Marshmallow Hand.  I literally was unable to even let my dog in the house because my fingers were stuck together prohibiting me from opening the sliding glass door. Finally after using fingernail polish remover I got my hands clean and then began the harrowing and futile attempt to wash, chisel and otherwise rid my kitchen of sticky marshmallow muck.

Today, I’m still picking marshmallow out of my hair. So please, I beg of you, heed this cautionary tale and realize that somethings, like pumpkin, are best out of a can and that mass-produced marshmallows should be hailed as one of the great culinary feats of the last century.

You know what’s yummy and kitchen disaster free? My Snarky book series. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may cover_1-3-21I gently suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. :)


This Is Getting Old

I’d love to start a new Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.58.59 PMmagazine for women. Yes, I know the print publication business is not exactly what I would call a robust commerce to embrace, but I still think I could fill a niche. I want to do a monthly magazine that doesn’t insult, scare or bully anyone walking around with a uterus.

I was stuck at the Dallas airport last week and while killing time at a Hudson News perused almost every magazine they had up to and including the very traumatic More. More magazine is billed as being for mature females. It’s slogan is “for woman of style and substance” which in marketing parlance translates to “because birthdays happen.”

I try to steer clear of the magazine because in it’s attempt to do the whole “you’re not getting older, you’re getter better” thing it hurts my feelings. Primarily, because “mature” means being one of the 30-year-old actress they put on their covers. What happened to 50 is the new 30? That sentiment lasted for a hot flash minute.

In my head I can visual how these women’s magazines editorial meetings go down. I see a group of well-groomed females, all clutching Starbucks with their manicured talons, and all in need of some sort of solid food sustenance. In the pre-meeting chatter, every single one of them with a body mass index so insignificant that their overly pronounced clavicle could do double duty as a coat rack, is moaning about being fat.

Pardon me for a moment as I abandon my story to do a little public service announcement. Woman who are not fat, stop saying you’re fat. It makes everyone who hears you say this question your intelligence and your mental health. Plus your pathological quest for constant compliments about how you “look amazing” is not only tiring, it’s beyond boring. If you’re old enough to vote than let’s all agree that you should have more going on in your life than complaining about your thigh gap.

Back to the editorial meeting which I’m envisioning as a coven complete with cackling and an organic based eye-of-newt and kale juice cleanse cooking in a Vitamix cauldron. Now cut to witches discussing the best, newest, and most alarming ways to make bearers of two X chromosomes feel bad. I’m sure they even have a life-size target of the female form in their conference room and throw darts to see what body part they’re going to make women weep    over next.

I just know have to be right about this because how else did we become obsessed about elbows and the already mentioned thigh gap. Ladies, how can we not like our elbows? Their nature’s amazing hinge. The elbow is work of art. Who cares if it’s not smooth? Was it ever smooth? I mean it’s hinging all the time so that would preclude a 24/7 smoothness wouldn’t it? As for the  thigh gap that concept is so ridiculous I can’t even go there.

The latest dart thrown must have landed right smack dab in the middle of the metacarpal and phalanges because something called “rhino hands” was in a lot of magazines. First, can I just say I love rhinoceros. Have you ever seen a baby rhino? It’s cuteness quotient is off the charts. Plus rhinos have a thick protective skin full of collagen. Isn’t collagen the holy grail in the anti-aging industry? So, how can rhino hands be a bad thing?

Okay, I’ll grant that the appearance of a rhinoceros’ skin doesn’t scream, “velvety softness,” but I guess rhinos are enjoying a busy, fulfilling life that precludes them from worrying about having a silky epidermis. Sadly, it seems I can’t say this about women magazine editors.

So, while rhinos are out there living large female homosapiens are being told that they are in dire need of a “hand lift.” This is when you inject, yes inject with a big old needle, some chemical filler in your hands to make them “plump and smooth out.”

I don’t know about you, but I just got woozy over the thought of getting freaking needles shoved in my bony hands. I’d rather be out on the African grasslands kicking back and taking a mud bath with a real rhino than subjecting myself to this latest “beautification” ritual.

I’m looking at my hands right now, because you know, I’m typing and while they don’t resemble the adorable chubbiness of a dimpled toddler’s digits they appear to be okay. Better than what they look like is what they do. Hands do all the emotional heavy lifting in life from hugging, to touching, to holding. We are nothing without our hands and I, for one, don’t care if mine are a little “rhino.”

Where’s that story women magazine editors?

Since we’re talking about stories well have I got one for you. Say hello to the latest book in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Trouble in Texas. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may cover_1-3-21I suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. :)


Dear Snarky – I’m Being Stalked By the Grammar Police

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

I work with the most annoying woman in the world. My problem with my co-worker is that she’s always correcting my grammar. Here’s the rub – I’m a college graduate with a minor in English  and my grammar is excellent. What she does is nit pick ridiculous stuff like the use of modern slang such as OMG and when I use contractions. Sorry I said “I didn’t know” instead of “I did not know.” How do I get her to stop? It’s driving me crazy.

Signed, Grammared Out

Dear Grammared,

First, is grammared a word? Okay, okay, I’m sorry. That was a low blow in your time of need. So let’s go with my second comment “Oh no, she did not?” Hm, that doesn’t sound as good without the use of contractions. Seriously, say it out loud. See I’m right. “Oh no, she didn’t” is so much better.

Now on to your co-worker. She sounds like one of those people whose hobby is going online and playing grammar cop and with our very digital society perhaps she’s having problems editing her behavior to fit person-to-person interaction.

What I suggest you do is use humor to not only diffuse the situation, but to oh so subtly let your co-worker know she’s being a bit of an ass. The next time she’s around I would start talking in Shakespearean sonnets and by this I mean really lay on the good old Queen’s English and throw in a lot of “me thinks,” “hath” and “doth” as in: Me thinks you hath better doth your attitude with a more pleasing resembleth.

When she asks what you’re doing gently explain that you know how much she enjoys proper grammar so you thought you would kick it way, way, old school. Hopefully, she gets the hint. If not keep talking in 16th century English. I think it’s cool.

In fact, after I read your letter I started doing it to my daughter. It totally annoyed her. You know what I call that – me winning or “I hath the upper hand on my thou fair child of mine.” (Oh my God, I love this. I may never stop.)

If you have a question for Dear Snarky “21st Century Advice With An Attitude” please email me at or private message me on my Snarky Facebook page.

Complaining About Complainers

I’m scared and itf5e143ec2ce960127bdf80a128a33881’s not because I’ve eaten a whole bag of miniature Kit Kats in less than 24 hours. I know, I know, my lack of willpower is horrifying, but I’m taking solace in the fact that it wasn’t the 220 count “value pack” of Kit Kats. (Just a little FYI – the orange special edition Halloween Kit Kats are not that groovy. They taste a little chalky, not that it slowed me down in my consumption.) What’s got my stomach aching (besides sheer gluttony) is that I fear we have become a nation of chronic complainers.

Complaining is now most people’s go to conversational starter. I can’t be the only that remembers when sucking it up was considered a life skill? Or when we used to just let things go? Not anymore. Maybe it’s because we feel things so much more deeply now and are more attuned with what some psychologists call our “emotional harvest.” Yes, I just wrote that and now I feel dirty like I need be dunked in a tank filled with industrial grade Clorox. Seriously, emotional harvest? Can you buy that at Whole Foods? What a bunch of organic B.S. Why don’t we just call it what it is – whining.

Now, I know some of you maybe thinking I’m not the person to be complaining about complainers. In fact, when I told my husband that complaining was going to be my topic du jour he asked, “So, you’re writing about yourself?” Rest assured he got a look so severe it frightened both of our dogs.

Just for the record I’m not a serial complainer. I consider myself more of a person who illuminates fallacies in societal structures as they pertain to modern humanity with an emphasis on faux suburban utopias. Yep, that’s right. That’s what I am because if some fancy psychologists can call non stop bitching “emotional harvesting” than I can give some long-winded name for what I do. Furthermore, I’m not going to admit in print that I’m a complainer. My husband would use that statement against me for the rest of my life.

Now, as a non complainer, I can link the huge upswing in kvetching to what else but social media? Don’t believe me? All I have to do to prove my point is ask you to go through any of your social media newsfeeds and what to your wondering eyes should appear but a bunch of folks grousing with a whole lot of jeer.

Every single day someone is complaining about stuff that a decade ago we would have just shaken off, quickly forgotten about  and continued on with our life. But no, now if someone takes the space you wanted in the Price Chopper parking lot it’s off to your social media accounts to moan and groan about “what a jerk” complete with a photo of the offending car and license plate. Or if you’re upset because, God forbid you had to wait in line at Kohl’s behind a lovely middle-aged woman with really good hair using “shopping incentive” material making you feel justified taking sad face selfies with the caption “Ugh, a coupon lady. Why me?” (P.S. to the young lady who did that to me – I’m at least 10 years away from being a “coupon lady” and F.Y.I. Kohl’s cash is not a coupon. It’s cash. I mean it’s not legal tender, but it works just like cash. So take a selfie of me saving money and put that on Instagram!)

At some point you would hope that folks would tire, get a little embarrassed or feel some shame in regards to whining about such trivial stuff. Yeah, that’s not happening because not only are people complaining they now want their griping to go viral. How many Facebook posts have you seen where someone writes “Let’s make this go viral! Please share.”  Um, about that. I don’t think the lackluster service you received at a drive thru needs to go viral. It’s not like I don’t feel your pain about getting your Whopper without cheese, but somehow, with prayer and a support group, I think you’ll recover.

Here’s an idea borrowed from all of our parents. You know how back in the day we were all told to think before we speak. How about if we update that to think before we tweet or burden any conversation live or on the Internet with our current whine of the nano second. We should all ask yourselves will I really care about this 60 minutes from now? If the answer is no – then please as my mother would say “put a sock in it.” And as a sidebar issue, but still important, Kohl’s cash is so not a coupon.

*You know what’s a whole lot better than complaining? Reading the Snarky in the Suburbcover_1-3-21s book series. If you haven’t experienced a Snarky book yet may I suggest you give it a try like right now. Yes, my friend just click on one of the links and presto you can get yourself some Snarky for only, wait for it, wait for it, 99 cents!  You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. :)

Confessions of a Football Hater

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.48.06 AMI know a lot about football for a person who grew up loathing anything to do with the sport. Crack back, chop block, coffin corner – terms that might sound alarming to some people – we’re all part of a childhood that I swear was mostly idyllic.

To calm your fears I will use those terms in a sentence my father might have uttered during any fall weekend of my childhood. “The punter wouldn’t have gotten that chop block while kicking the ball into the coffin corner if a teammate had thrown a crack back.”

See, I told you. Nothing to worry about. I was just a Texas girl who was required to not only love football, but to be knowledgeable about the game. My problem is I didn’t love football. I faked it because what child doesn’t want to make her daddy and, let’s be real here, her state happy?

Truth be told I found football beyond boring and a liar. The game is supposed to last an hour. You’ve got four quarters of 15 minutes each, but what football game has ever been only 60 minutes? As a child I would be perched on aluminum bleachers watching Southwest Conference action sizzling like a deep-fried Twinkie in the grease fryer at the State Fair because September in Texas is not none for its autumnal chill and repeatedly look at the scoreboard and time clock checking my math. How did 15 x 4 = taking up most of my weekend?

You would thought once I got into high school I would finally embrace the whole Friday Night Lights of it all. Yeah, that didn’t happen. Think about it, who wants to spend their Friday evening sitting outside like an offering to the chigger and mosquito Gods and watch a bunch of kids a whole lot more popular than you parade around not only on the field, but field adjacent? In Texas once you hit 14 if you’re actually watching the game from the stands that spells one thing: l-o-s-e-r.

Anyone who’s anybody is either playing the game, a cheerleader, on the drill team (wearing some inappropriate, almost thigh high white patent leather go-go boots, I might add) or in the band. I, being a member of the NFL (not as awesome as it sounds because it stand for National Forensic League) and co recording secretary of the International Thespian Society didn’t exactly make the cool kid cut. My allergy to mums also proved to be an issue.

If you’re confused right now about what mums have to do with football you must not hail from a small town where the high school homecoming game is the pinnacle of the social season. For your edification the mum is the official flower of any event associated with football. At homecoming girls would get morbidly obese mum corsages from their dates that were in a word – horrific.

You know the platter you put your Thanksgiving turkey on? That’s how big these mums were and that’s not the worst part. Each mum would have plastic chotskies glued on to them like mini footballs and cheerleader megaphones. Then there were the ribbons. Yards and yards of thick, cheap ribbon was attached to each mum with sayings spelled out in glitter. Usually the ribbons would have the girl and her date’s name on it along with a bible verse because that’s what happens when you live in the buckle of the bible belt. Everything comes with a bible verse. I swear I think most kids first words were “John 3:16.”

Due to my mum allergy I couldn’t wear one. People surmised that my non mum wearing was a sign of anti-American leanings or worse, I wasn’t proud of my school’s football heritage. I was viciously mum shunned. After that there was no turning back. Football was dead to me until I fell in love.

Not just love, but the big LOVE. I’m talking the head over heels, everyday is magical kind of love. My boyfriend was almost perfect except for one flaw. He was obsessed with the Washington Redskins. His mania started in childhood and this meant he had a Redskin helmet, jersey, sheet set (yes he was over 18 with a Redskin sheets. I know this should have a been a deal breaker, but love is blind or at least vision impaired when it comes to decor choices) trading cards and on and on.

A normal, not in love person, would probably just have tolerated the addiction. I, made the ultimate sacrifice and did a Juliet for my Romeo. Yep, I become a Redskin fan. I knew all the words to the fight song. The player roster and could recite the bios of both Joe Theismann and John Riggins. I was all in – for years – because you see I married this crazy Redskin fan.

Say hello to vacations to D.C. planned around going to Redskin games. We were at RFK stadium in 1992 at the NFC Championship game between the Redskins and the Lions and my husband got so excited that the Skins were going to Superbowl he kissed his bleacher mate. No, not me, the other bleacher mate – some strange guy with a hog nose on. (Sigh.)

As much as I tried to quit football it just couldn’t quit me. Seriously, the harder I tried to push it out of my life it just came back with a vengeance even infiltrating my career. As a TV news reporter in Austin, Texas my knowledge of the game meant if someone was sick over in sports I was their go to. I was okay with that, sort of, until the game tried to kill me, yes kill me AND my unborn child.

Dateline: November 4, 1995, Texas Memorial Stadium, 8 p.m. (CST)  The Longhorns were playing Texas Tech. I was five months pregnant and covering the game from the field. The action had moved to the end zone because Texas was about to score. I was bored and hungry. Forget about college football all I could think about nachos. Don’t judge. What pregnant woman when given the choice between football and nachos wouldn’t choose cheesy, greasy, nachos?

As I was in a nacho fog when an almost 200 pound Texas running back comes barreling for the end zone. The problem was he was coming straight towards me! Bigger problem I just stood there like an inert tackling dummy. I remember people screaming at me to move, most especially my husband who was down on the field with me and attempting to pull me to safety.

Finally, it clicked. All the football facts, figures and statistics I had been immersed in my whole life kicked in. I did a roll out curl, then a cut back with a down and out, threw in a little hot dog veer and made it to safety. The crowd went wild. At first, I thought it was for me, but quickly learned it was because the running back scored a touchdown. Oh well. At least I made it on the ESPN highlight reel that night.

I took all this as a sign. It was time to admit I’m a football girl. I guess you can’t escape your destiny which leaves me with one final, profound thought to share. Go Baylor! (Sorry all you other teams out there. This B.U. alum is mighty proud of her Bears.)

* You know what a great thing to do is when you’re done watching football? Why read my latest book of course! Duh. You can purchase both of cover_1-3-21my Snarky books for just 99 cents! Talk about a savings touchdown.  Go ahead and buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read. I hope you like it! :)



Dear Snarky – Is It a Bad Thing I Turn On My Sprinklers During Trick-or-Treat?

c13c24927c3ab6b0bd965c3e1a893661Dear Snarky,

I’m getting some pretty serious attitude from my neighbors for not being “Halloween friendly” all because last year I turned all my sprinklers on during trick-or-treat. I don’t do Halloween and I thought by having my sprinklers going full blast people would get the hint to not come to my house. How is this a bad thing? One neighbor said it was hostile. Am I in the wrong here?

Signed, Not a Witch

Dear Witch,

Let’s look at this from a kid’s perspective. Sprinklers on equal not squandering my precious candy getting time on your house. So let’s call that not  a bad thing.

 As far as your neighbors are concerned I suggest you, in an effort to not be the witch of the cul-de-sac, abandon your sprinkler attack and just go old school – and by that I mean turn off your freaking lights and get over your bad self.  A dark house is the  traditional sign that nobody is home. Plus you won’t be wasting water. Now get off your broom and go eat a Kit Kat. Maybe that will improve your mood.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky – 21st Century Advice with an Attitude – please email me at or private message me on my Snarky in the Suburbs Facebook page.


Halloween What Happened?

9979003Halloween is so misunderstood. How did an evening devoted to kids, costumes and candy turn into something so controversial schools are banning it? Now, that I’ve asked that question I think I know the answer. In fact, I can give you a timeline that will prove adults ruined Halloween.  Well, really it’s two intersecting timelines.

Give me a second I’m getting woozy here. I’m having a flashback to 9th grade geometry and it’s not pretty. Is it just me or did that last sentence just sound like the makings of a geometry word problem? The whole two lines intersect and form a linear pair blah, blah, blah. Deep breaths, deep breaths. Alright now I’m better, still a little light-headed, but I’m going to power through. So, let’s get back to the original topic – Halloween.

Let’s first examine timeline A that I will label Gruesome Grown Ups. This is where adults have taken Halloween and over the years have turned it from a focus on costumed kids collecting assorted Hershey’s miniatures into hoochie fest that today has swelled and festered into to a downright tramp-a-doodle-do. I’m not saying we all need to shop the Duggar costume collection of Biblical characters at Hobby Lobby, but come on if you’re a 45 year-old-mother it might be time to retire the French Maid Costume with white thigh highs. Same for you dads. Some things you can never unsee like your accountant in a “hottie Scottie mini kilt.”

To prove my point all I need to do is suggest you walk into any Halloween super store which is doing double duty as a wholesale club for Frederick’s of Hollywood and the lair for the criminally insane. It could just be me, but I don’t think the Star Wars and toddler Disney Princess costumes should be next to a life-size bloody female torso. And this is just a personal aside, but can we all just get over Zombies?

Timeline B is Halloween Whiners (also known as anti-Halloweeners). This is where some parents have imagined Halloween to be a sinister celebration. (Can you say over thinking trick-or-treat?) Using anecdotal evidence I will now flesh out a series of events that illustrate the disintegration of Halloween.

October 31, 2001 –  My son at that time was five  and his school embraced a full Halloween environment. Lesson plans included a study of spiders and Sam the Skeleton was used to teach about femurs and fibulas. By the time he was seven due to parental concern over a “ritualistic Satan based event” Halloween was replaced with a Fall Festival. This was basically Halloween without using the H word.

Two years later the Fall Festival gets kicked to the curb and it’s a Story Book Spectacular where kids are required to come as a character from their favorite book. Most parents didn’t so much as ignore the edict but sashay around it by explaining that Spiderman was in a book and just a little fun fact here there are more than 35 children’s books that feature candy corn as a character. How do I know this you may ask? Well, I had a kid that wanted to go as a candy corn for Halloween so I made sure it was book related.

By 2006 due to parents not “following the spirit of the guidelines” Halloween became “Great American Day” and kids were instructed to dress up as their favorite historical figure from the good old U.S. of A. This prompted a PTO throw down due to parents complaining that they now had to do two costumes for their child. One for school and one for Halloween. Also, there were problems with some families being confused over just which historical figures are American. Two kids came as Jesus. (I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these children were both from  the same family that always brought “Jesus is the reason for the season” cookies to the Winter party.)

By 2007 the school staff had given up. No matter what they did parents complained so October 31 became just another day of reading, writing and arithmetic. And who can blame them? It’s the educational equivalent of “so this is why we can’t have nice things.” Schools don’t have the time to waste negotiating the emotional and politically correct minefield that is Halloween.

Using my timeline as empirical data I believe we can blame the take down of Halloween on the  intersection of the Gruesome Grownups and the Halloween Whiners. Yes, indeed folks that’s all it took for a kid centered event to go poof and disappear like someone cast an evil spell of childhood disappointment.

cover_1-3-21* While you’re enjoying stuffing yourself with your children’s Halloween bounty add to your pleasure by purchasing the latest Snarky book for just 99 cents! All treat no tricks I promise. You can buy it for your Kindle or in paperback on Amazon.  It’s also available for the Nook or you can get it for your Kobo reader. Click on a link and give it a test read.  I hope you like it! :)