Winning the New Year/New You Game

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 12.34.03 PMAck! A new year. Someone hold me I’m scared. There’s just way too much pressure associated with a new beginning. Sure, a fresh year is full of promise and you know all that other good stuff like making goals and realizing or redirecting your infinite potential, but it can also be like walking barefoot on a shag carpet that’s laced with Batman Legos – a big ouch! (You don’t know real pain until you’ve stepped on Batman’s pointy, little Lego ears.)

Take losing weight. Wait, nope, scratch that. Losing weight is so 2015. The 2016 way to classify dropping 20 pounds is now called personal optimization. What it really should be labeled is “The 2fer of Shame.”  Why 2Fer? Because not only do most of us never achieve our goal weight, but then we feel bad about it and spend countless hours beating ourselves up over it as we eat an entire container of discounted holiday Poppycock and watch My 600-lb Life on TLC thinking, “Well, at least I’m not on a TV show starring the morbidly obese.” Okay, that might just be me who does that, but still you get my point. More often than not all that New Year New You jargon results in is the old you feeling like a failure.

That’s why I, in an attempt to kickstart 2016 right in it’s pristine, unsoiled by resolutions that  disappeared at the first sighting of a Krispy Kreme drive thru, posterior started my New Year New You campaign way back in November. Therefore already accomplishing one of my resolutions to be more organized by getting a two month running head start on everyone else. (Can you say genius move?)

 To begin my 2016 self-improvement campaign I did loads of research which means I went to Barnes and Noble and before I could even make it to the self-help area was distracted by an Us Weekly magazine. Now some of you maybe beyond proud that you can do 50 of those burpee things which, come one, are really re-branded squat thrusts that we all did back in middle school P.E. So let’s call them what they are – 7th grade gym exercises that made us cry. I, not being a burpee girl, am all braggy about my ability to read an Us Weekly in under four minutes. 

 My personal best was back in April of 2004 with Jennifer Aniston’s “super sexy secrets revealed” on the cover. I read the entire issue in three minutes thirty-seven seconds. Go ahead be impressed. I welcome your awe. So based on this how could I not stop and time myself as I read an Us? The bad news, I did not break my record. I blame the riveting article (and in US Weekly terminology that would be three sentences) on Khloe Kardashian.

 After I clocked a disappointing 3:58 I continued my journey to self-help and this where I saw the bestseller Year of Yes. The Year of Yes is written by the super talented Shonda Rhimes who created the T.V. shows Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. In her book, or at least the part a read while in the B&N Starbucks line, this amazing woman shares how her entire life changed when she “committed to saying yes to everything for one year.” This got me excited. I could do this. 

 Hello to another resolution and buh bye to my sanity. 

This saying yes thing did even make it a week because besides the predictable things that are going to happen when you say yes like your children thinking they’ve died and gone to heaven is that you get stuck doing things you have avoided, with good reason, all your life. Now, thanks to a scant 72 hours where I said yes I’m now recording secretary on two non-profit boards! 

 I love volunteering, but recording secretary is a position I have always avoided primarily because you have to pay rapt attention the entire board meeting. And If it’s a lunch meeting you can’t even take delicate board size bites of your Panera turkey sandwich because you’re typing away like a 1950’s court reporter in a Perry Mason T.V. procedural. There’s not even time for an eye roll (and were’s the fun it that?) when a know it all board member (and really there’s one on almost every board) begins his or her’s scolding/lecture about how “we’re doing it all wrong.”  Ugh. I don’t know about you, but I think I’m more of a “Year of No” type of person.

 My next resolution was courtesy of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. My take away from this book was that in organizing your life and your surroundings you should only keep things that bring you joy. I tested out this resolution while making the annual spring/summer to fall/winter clothing change over. While going through my clothes I made two stacks. One was a joy pile – clothes that made me happy and the other was a ho-hum pile – clothes that I had little or no feelings about. 

 There was a big, big, problem with my two piles. If I chose to wear only the clothes that made me happy I would most likely be arrested and committed to a long-term mental health facility. This is because in my joy pile were all my “skinny” clothes I kept in the delusional hope that someday I will be able to wear them again, my worn out sweatpants, and my wedding dress. 

 Here’s a fashion statement for you. A very middle-aged woman barely wearing a wedding dress from the 1980’s because it’s so small on her she can’t zip it or I fear duct tape it together with puffy sleeves so large they could do double duty as a landing pad for First Responders and underneath it all she has on sweatpants and a tube top from Port Aransas Spring Break 1984. Now imagine this woman running errands in that “joy” ensemble and raise your hand if don’t think some frightened Target employee wouldn’t dial 911.

This is when I had an epiphany. I was making the wrong resolutions. I needed to think bigger, not be so me focused, so selfish. I should branch out and think global. So, after much thought I have a new list and I’m going to pat myself on the back a little and share it’s going great. I’m really sacrificing and doing what it takes to make sure these resolutions stick. For instance, one of my top five resolutions involves watching more Bravo television in an effort to it’s help it’s parent company NBCUniversal boost their profits therefore ensuring job security for thousands. It means making an extra effort, but I can proudly rejoice that I’ve yet to miss one episode of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. I don’t want to jinx it, but 2016 just maybe the year I finally achieve New Year’s resolution success.

Dear Snarky – Best & Worst of 2015

I get a lot odear_snarky_logof Dear Snarky letters some are mildly cray and others have  scared me, like back away from my computer scared me. So to help wrap up 2015 Dear Snarky style I’m going to break down the best and worst of Dear Snarky.

The absolute worst is basically anything bedroom related. Sex advice is a no can do. I’m not Fifty Shades of Grey. I don’t own a pair of handcuffs, and I’m not, umm, let’s call it a performance therapist. So if the letter strays into that territory I will send back a very polite response saying, “I’m not the help you’re looking for.”

If I’m going to give myself a pat on the back for best advice of the year it’s got to be a letter I got from a 3rd grade teacher who was stuck with the room mom from hell. Instead of helping with class parties and organizing volunteers this mom was offering insight into lesson plans, discipline, spelling tests and even the teacher’s wardrobe. The teacher was also receiving upwards of 10 to 15 emails a day from this mother.

My sage advice was to have the teacher start sharing/whining/moaning to the mom about how much better the other 3rd grade teacher was and how the kids in that class were probably all going to be selected for the gifted and talented program. Before you could say “recess” the mom had her daughter moved into the other class. Problem solved and the mother didn’t even know she had been schooled.

If there is one common theme a lot of my Dear Snarky letters have it’s that family members are driving each other crazy. I have one word of advice for 2016 and it’s BOUNDARIES as in set emotional boundaries. Don’t let things fester for, in some cases, years and then expect an easy fix. Also husbands come on, up your game and actually speak to your mom about her bitchy behavior to your wife.

My last bit of advice as we end the year is that people need to get over themselves. Stop thinking everyone was put on this great big earth of ours to hurt your feelings. Have some self-confidence my friends and swagger walk your way into the New Year.

 

There’s Nothing Wrong With a Lame New Year’s Eve

ecards-auto-238532There’s lame and then there’s New Year’s Eve lame. I’m almost certain I hold the record for the lamest, consecutive New Year’s Eves in the history of modern mankind (and by that I mean starting in the mid 1970’s when Dick Clark began hosting his New Year’s Rockin’ Eve).

Even as a teenager my New Year’s Eves were less than awesome. I didn’t spend it at a party or making out with some guy in his car at the stroke of midnight. No, I spent it at home wearing my flannel Lanz of Salzburg nightgown, spritzed with Love’s Baby Soft cologne, eating what was left of the, now somewhat stale, Christmas cookies, watching my parents and Dick Clark show off their math skills as they counted down from ten.

It didn’t get any better in college. Yes, I was sort of an adult and at that time the drinking age was 18, but I was still home for the holidays and that meant I had to abide by my parent’s house rule which was I had to be home by 10 p.m. because, according to my mother, everyone knows the drunks take over the roads at precisely 10:01 Central Standard Time.

After I became a fully formed grown up I got the grand and glorious idea of throwing my own amazing New Year’s Eve party. Why hadn’t I thought of this sooner? If I couldn’t find a great party to go I should create my own. It was the early 1990’s and Martha Stewart’s Living magazine had just come out. Using Martha as my muse I was hellbent on creating an elegant New Year’s Eve for friends. I had a signature cocktail, an hors d’oeuvres station and a dessert table all set up in my less than 1,000 square feet home. (This meant my hors d’oeuvres station was the kitchen counter and my dessert station was an ottoman, but still I know Martha would have been proud.)

Everything went great. I was the hostess with the mostess until 10 p.m. That’s when not one guest was left at my house. Yep, two hours before the new year everyone had bailed on my party. Unbeknownst to me, there was a “cooler” party with tequila shots, and a hot tub happening. My “friends” had done the old “we’ll swing by this shindig first, get it out-of-the-way and then go to the real party” switcheroo. I rang in the New Year with tears and eating what was left of the Martha Stewart goat cheese with pink peppercorns appetizer.

Thank God for babies because after getting married and having kids no one expects you to do anything on New Year’s Eve until your children are old enough to sleep through the night. (So, in my case it meant when my son turned five.)

It took an exciting New Year’s Eve full of surprises to make grateful for all those years of lameness. I was traveling from Dallas to Reno, Nevada with my then three-year-old daughter and seven-year-old son. We were going to meet my husband who was already in Reno working at his new job.

A snowstorm of biblical proportions hit the Sierra Nevada’s and forced the plane, after hours of circling, to land at the San Jose, California airport at 2 a.m. We were on the last plane to land and we’re told that all the hotel rooms, rental cars, you name it, had already been gobbled up by other stranded passengers. This meant we’d be camping out at the airport, but not in the nice part, the part where you wait for your plane. Oh no, we had to spend the night in baggage claim.

I was on the floor with my daughter sleeping in my lap and my son using my thighs as a pillow. I had taken the straps of my purse and used them to tie my kids to my body because I was afraid I might fall asleep and someone could try to steal my children. I never closed my eyes. I’d like to think it was because I was a good parent assuming a sentry like position over my kids to keep them safe. But to be truthful I know it was the automated, never-ending loop of “do not leave your bags unattended” that kept me from nodding off.

Finally, at noon the next day we made it to Reno. When I got off the plane I said a prayer hoping for all my New Year’s Eve to be lame. Lame isn’t bad. In fact, it gets a bad rap. Sure it can mean boring, but boring usually means you’re okay. All is well. Is there any better way to start a new year than that? I don’t think so.

 

 

Dear Snarky – Why Can’t I Keep a New Year’s Resolution?

10689449_1584183268459927_2100437477738605046_nDear Snarky,
 
Every year I make New Year’s resolutions and then by Valentine’s Day I’ve pretty much forgotten what they even were.  Do you have any advice for making 2015 the year I finally follow through with the promises I have made to myself.
 
Signed, Resolution Slacker

 

Dear Slacker,

My advice is simple. Just say no to any and all New Year’s Resolutions. They’re self-esteem busters.

Seriously, think about it. Who wants to start off a brand new year feeling bad about themselves? Umm, no one. And if you feel you must make a resolution let me help you out here. I’ve got a skill, well really more of a gift, for turning any almost any resolution into an achievable goal. I’m like a New Year’s Resolution Whisperer.

For instance, the whole lose weight thing. Well, what that really means is that you plan to practice loving yourself more and therefore not turning to food for comfort. See, the goal is you accepting your greatness not giving up Oreos.

And I don’t know a mother out there who doesn’t make the resolution to be more patient with her kids. This breaks down to mandating that you need more dedicated, scheduled “alone time” so your kids won’t seem so annoying.

Or how about the most irksome of resolutions, you know the one I’m talking about. Yep, the whole exercise more decree. This one is simple. It’s less about you entering into a long-term relationship with your Fitbit and more about laying down the law that your family picks up some of the slack (chores, cooking etc) so you have a smidgen of time to devote to your health.

It’s all about the Resolution Math. Here’s my winning formula. You are already amazing + Other people being shamed into doing the right thing = You being more amazing.

This friend is how you pull off your New Year’s resolutions.

If you have a question for Dear Snarky email me at snarkyinthesuburbs@gmail.com or private message me on my Snarky Facebook Page.

 

In 2014 I Vow to Continue . . .

recite-10802-1759195985-1d1rrweNew Year’s resolutions are an act of self-flagellation. In my case it doesn’t matter what I resolve to do it will inevitably end up with me gaining at least 15 pounds. The math goes something like this: Resolution to try to be a more patient mother results in me adding on seven pounds due to suppressing my impatience by shoveling snack size Snickers bars in my mouth to keep it shut. The resolution to be more fun adds at least five pounds as I interpret fun to mean me eating more cupcakes. The one thing guaranteed to blow up the scale is, of course, to vow to lose weight. Go ahead and loosen the drawstring in my track pants because I’m going to need some extra room. This is why I urge all of you to right now abandon any resolution you may have made and join me in my anti self-improvement campaign. Instead of trying to change I think we should all celebrate what we did right last year and pledge to carry on that greatness in 2014. Here’s my list of things I plan to continue with vigor in this New Year.

Pursuing a partnership with the National Institute of Health. Some inroads have been made and by that I mean letters of concern have been sent to the NIH. I believe I have discovered the reason for declining fertility rates in suburban American woman. Yoga pants. Think about it. The current trend of women wearing overly tight, compressive, four-way stretch Lycra 24/7 is not doing any favors to their hoo ha. Scientific data supports my theory that the lady parts need to breathe. Now, add in the over Spanxing of this demographic and you’ve got a big problem. Women are suffocating their fertility. This is why last year I began on my mission to alert the medical profession to the potential health hazard of yoga pants and the mental disorder that is inflicting a large portion of the suburban female population. I call it Yogasssion. An obsession bordering on a phobia in the General Anxiety Disorder category with leanings into the Obsessive Compulsive family where one believes they can no longer master a button and/or zipper and must wear yoga pants at all times. These women also suffer from an addiction to Lycra that is so severe and crippling I strongly believe it should being added as a 12-step program. Right now I’m working on a grant to continue my research and will keep you posted throughout the year on my findings.

Making How to Use a 2 Lane Drive Thru Part of the DMV Driver’s Test. I’m in talks with various Department of Motor Vehicles throughout the United States to add drive thru etiquette as part of the licensing process. Although more and more Americans are eating fast food less than half know how to correctly navigate the perilous world of the 2-lane drive thru. The problems are two-fold. 1) A large portion of licensed drivers lack the mental dexterity to handle the conundrum of going from one lane to two or God forbid three. 2) The hostility issues related to the fool who aggressively thrusts their front bumper inches from your car in an attempt to cut in front of you to get that McRib seconds sooner. I believe that by requiring this skill to be part of the driver’s test states will be able to screen for idiots who have no business being behind the wheel of a two ton instrument of doom and it will also serve as an indicator of someone’s mental health. Anyone who is so hyped up about getting a McRib that they would knowingly cause harm to another person’s car does not need to be on the road and should be receiving, at the very least, some sort of intensive outpatient therapy.

PSA Campaign Aimed at Stopping People From Clipping Their Nails in Public. You may think it’s gross but it’s also a growing health hazard. Finger and toenail clippings going airborne are one of the great sanitation issues of our time. The human hand is a disease magnet and the fingernail is like a bacteria locker storing all the fifth that your hand has collected. If you’re not gagging yet then let’s move on to the toe nail that when covered by a sock and shoe marinates in your body’s secretions and when exposed in the open via flip-flop or sandal serves as a free range spatula scrapping up E coli and assorted deadly pathogens off the ground with the vengeance of a Kitchen Aid mixer whipping up egg whites. This is why I started a petition in 2013 for the television networks to begin a national PSA campaign to educate and shame the growing number of idiots who persist in clipping their nails in public. I’m also suggesting a follow-up PSA on enlightening the stooges who believe it’s okay to get out the callous remover paddle and go to town on their heels at a baseball game or the local swimming pool. So far, no networks or even local television stations have expressed an interest but I will not back down and pledge to be even more valiant in my efforts to get these PSA’s launched.

I hope my list has inspired you to embrace the goodness in your life and to continue on with all the things that you’re already doing right. Happy 2014.

***For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new winter Snarky line of clothing and accessories. (Flannel Snarky P.J.’s anyone?) Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. (Click here for purchase information.) Here’s a little ditty about it: The Spring Creek Elementary School PTA board (a coven of Mean Moms dressed in Uggs, yoga pants, and dermal filler) is up to no good.  Wynn Butler (middle-aged, uncool, and not bringing sexy back) is determined to find out what’s going on. With help from her two kids, a Roomba vacuum turned mobile surveillance drone, and a few good friends, Wynn launches a covert investigation that leads to the “mother of all revenge capers” at the school’s annual Fall Festival.  If you’ve ever fantasized about smoke bombing the idiot parent who has yet to master the fine art of the school drop-off lane, or standing up and shouting, “Liar, liar, Botox on fire” during a PTA meeting, then this delicious tale of payback is for you. To stay up-to-date on new posts and take part in my not so deep thoughts click on this Facebook link – http://is.gd/iEgnJ (That’s the abbreviated link to my FB page) or I twitter @snarkynsuburbs.