Writing Can Get Pretty Ugly

*Note:  I write a weekly opinion column for the Kansas City Star. Some of the stuff I muse about is a little more political in nature than I what share on this blog and by that I mean in the past I have written about education reform, health care etc. Because of this I get emails where people disagree with me, which is totally appropriate and welcome. This recent column was in regards to people who feel free to write to me about my looks – because that’s how you disagree with a woman right – by disparaging her appearance? Ugh. I’m sharing this column on my blog because I believe it has a message that will resonate with a lot of you.


I don’t get a ton of emails from readers of my Kansas City Star column hating on me but I get enough that I’ve been able to classify them into categories.

There’s the people that can’t grasp the concept of self-deprecating humor and therefore think I’m an idiot. There are the people that like to write me six paragraph emails on an almost weekly basis with the theme of, yep you guessed it, that I’m an idiot. There’s the people who disagree with me on a topic and use this as an excuse to take out all their life frustrations on me and then there’s my favorite – the people (all male based on their email signatures) that like to tell me an idiot AND that I’m unattractive.

These brings me a special joy because I’m in awe of how any man could have the hubris to believe that I care about their opinion in regards to my looks. As an advanced middle-aged female giving a hoot and holler about what any man thinks about my appearance ended about four decades ago.

How some dudes could conceive that telling me I’m unattractive or fat is going to be the coup de grace of my existence makes me laugh. Also, what makes these men presume womankind cares about their opinion on our looks?

Haven’t we as a society gotten past that just a wee bit? Sure, based on social media you could think that that answer to that question is a great big NO.

But don’t be fooled by all those filters and sexy posts by women on Instagram who are living the “like my post and link in bio” lifestyle. Most females today care more about than own judgment way more than what any guy thinks. Plus I think we’re raising girls today to have what I call self esteem swagger.

I’d like to believe that my father was a pioneer in this trend. Almost every day of my life he told me I was smart, beautiful and strong.

When I was in high school he drove me to school in the mornings and the entire seven-minute drive consisted of my dad telling me how amazing I was. It became a running joke between us. I called it “Dad’s morning pep talk.” He called it “telling it like it is.”

I would greet his soliloquy with rolled eyes and share that he was “full of it” but the man knew what he was doing. To this day if I’m having a crisis, large or small, I go back to what he told me on those drives to school.

This is why when men send me disparaging emails I feel sorrow and it’s not because they think I’m a “fatty” or “could use some work” but because based on my father and role model they’re failures as human beings.

I worry about any man who could write me, an aging female with no illusions about becoming an AARP super model, to call me out on my looks. What kind of man, husband, father are you that you can email a woman and attempt to tear her down by commenting on her appearance?

If you’re doing this to me, a total stranger, than how must you treat the women in your lives and what kind of damage are you doing to their mental health?

My dad’s name was Bob. I’d like to suggest that before you hit send on that next hate filled email you think about your legacy or as my husband likes to say during any big family decision ask yourself, “What would Bob do?”




Dear Snarky – What Should I do About a Mother Who Cheated to Get Her Kid a Citizenship Award?

dear_snarky_logo-1Dear Snarky,

I know it’s summer but I’m still angry about something that happened the last day of school. My son is in elementary school and every year they have an awards ceremony. This year the same girl got almost every award including a citizenship award that you have to be nominated for by a school employee and a student.

Well come to find out the school nurse and the kid that did the nominating BOTH have family members that work for the winning kid’s dad. The mother of the student that wrote the nomination letter even said she was approached by the kid’s mom and was more told than asked to have her child write a nomination letter for this girl. She, of course, made her kid do it because she didn’t want any work repercussions.

I want to write my own letter to the school and point out the hypocrisy of their awards ceremony that they let a mom micromanage so her kid wins everything. My husband says to just let it go. What do you think? Shouldn’t I take a stand?

Signed, Still Angry

Dear Angry,

I’ve got to agree with your husband on this one. Move on sister and enjoy what’s left of your summer. This battle is not worth your time. The hyper controlling, manipulating, so her kid gets everything mom is a dime a dozen these days. You might as well be playing Whac-A-Mole. Once you take down one, another pops up.

In fact, by the time your kid gets into high school any award that is not validated by a third-party and is in no way connected to the school are the only ones anyone pays any attention to. For example, a National Merit Award based on scores for a test taken outside the school and tabulated by strangers in state far, far, away – that’s one you’ll be impressed by.

Yes, it’s sad this is the way things are now, but until parents quit placing their own self-worth and validation on the back of their kids I fear nothing is going to change anytime soon.

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


In Praise of Snark

Screen Shot 2013-10-22 at 11.09.25 AMIt has come to my attention that a misguided group of sarcastically challenged individuals have proclaimed the third Tuesday in October as “National Snark Free Day.” They even have a half way decent graphic so that elevates them, just a bit, from a bunch of do gooder grandmas to, at least, one person who knows the cut and paste commands on their computer. This level of word processing literacy makes their threat on Snark, at the very least, a level yellow for significant risk of being taken seriously. Due to my ardent love of Snark I feel it is my duty to defend this often maligned art form.

Being Snarky is not bad. It’s not something to be ashamed of and it most definitely doesn’t mean you are unkind. In fact, the best Snark is clever, smart, thoughtful and funny. Lazy people are mean. Snarky people are looking for the insightful humor in the dumb assery of life. If one was to repress their Snarky then bad things could happen. Imagine, if instead of a witty retort based on a solid foundation of sarcasm, something worse, much worse, came out of your mouth, like the truth.

Just try to conceive of a 24 hour period where everyone spoke with 100% percent candor and honesty! Good God marriages would collapse, parental bonds would be forever fractured (yes little Emily you are right, I do love your brother much more), the world of commerce would come to a halt and the government would shut down. I mean really shut down, not some 16 day standstill but no one working for months because they’re either too mad, too hurt, to betrayed or too busy crying to get anything done. The only winners in speaking the truth day would be the Kleenex corporation and therapists.

This is just one of many reasons why I embrace, with the biggest of bear hugs, the art of being Snarky. It has superpowers. It’s kinder than the brutal truth, more powerful than a punch in the gut, and able to leap morons in a single bound. For the truly devoted being Snarky is a lifestyle choice based on bettering society by not being afraid to call someone a jackass.

That my friends, is the gift that keeps on giving and the number one reason why I will now, and forever more, just say no to a Snark Free Day.

**For more Snarky check out my book  Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School. 

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.


Dear Snarky – Moving Tips

dear_snarky_logo Dear Snarky, I’ve heard you mentioned before that you have moved around the country a lot. My family is about to move to the West Coast and I was wondering if you had any Snarky tips on how to find the best place to live in the burbs.  You know, the kind of information you can’t get from just looking at houses with a realtor.

Signed, Patricia

Dear Patricia,

How savvy of you to reach out to me. After moving 14 times and counting, of course, I have tips on how to find an awesome place to live and the best part is you never have to get out of your car to put these tips into action. I’ve found that there are three things that determine whether a neighborhood, suburb, or community is comprised of decent human beings.

Tip 1: Find a fast food drive thru that has two ordering lanes that then merge to one for food pick up. Hit that drive thru during a breakfast or lunch rush hour. Now, if you find that people (A) know how to handle the mental dexterity of merging from two to one lane and that (B)  no one is aggressively thrusting their front bumper inches from you car in an attempt to cut in front of you to get their BIg Mac three seconds sooner than it is a good sign that the area you’re considering buying a home in has a median I.Q. that is above average.

Tip 2: After you’ve gotten your Happy Meal drive to a grocery store and take up surveillance in a parking lot. You’re looking for one thing and one thing only – Do people return their shopping carts to the “Cart Corral” or do they set them free so they can roam the range, so to speak, and begin a perilous journey of  inflicting bumps and scratches on parked cars? If you witness a preponderance of free range shopping carts  this is a very bad sign and I would recommend eliminating that neighborhood from your list stat!  

Tip 3  is crucial if you have school aged children and is a must do. You need to go the elementary school nearest the place where you’re thinking of buying a home. Be sure to get there bright and early during school drop off.  If you see a horde of parents honking their horns, rolling down their windows to shake their heads or middle fingers and a complete lack of any kind of general order or a school authority figure supervising the drop off than that is not a school you want to send your kids too. 

Trust me – all of these tips speak to the basic intelligence and civility of a community and you want to find a home where people have the every day good manners of putting their shopping cart up. 

For all things wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find the new Spring/Summer  Snarky line of clothing and accessories. Plus, there’s my book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.  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.

One Hour at a Dance Competition

10444545_783932541627986_5122564243382035730_nMy daughter is a competitive dancer. She loves it. I love that she loves it. I know there are crazies in every sport, but I can only write about the crazies I know. I’m in no way bashing dance competitions or saying every grown woman at a dance competition is worthy of a starring role in the Dance Moms TV show. So please no bedazzled hate mail.

I’m about to enter into the fourth and final day of a dance competition. I fear I maybe suffering from some sort of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All I can hear is a continuous loop of loud music where the lyrics seem to be jumbled and the bass is turned up way too high. On top of that my vision is blurred like I’ve been repeatedly poked in the eye with a tube of glitter glue and my hands they’re actually achy from clapping. I’ve seen more than 500 and counting dance numbers this weekend and it’s just too much for my middle-aged metacarpal and phalanges.

The only thing keeping me going besides, of course, seeing the joy in my daughter as she dances and appreciating the sheer athleticism and the beauty of the art form is the behavior of some of the other parents. It’s outrageous and highly entertaining in a slow down to see a car wreck kind of way.

Let me make it very clear I am NOT talking about the parents at my daughter’s dance studio because we are a splendid group of proper, superbly mannered adults that are blessed with our darling children having amazing, talented and caring instructors. (If anyone from the studio is reading this I hope my overt sucking up has now earned my kid some time in the front row, preferably center stage.) Now that that’s out of the way let’s all get our focus back on the dance crazies. I swear some of the people here are on a day pass from a long-term care mental health facility.

I can prove my assertion by solely focusing on one hour at today’s dance competition. Here’s what went down from noon to one. At high noon I had gone out to my car to get a Diet Coke from my cooler because I don’t know what’s up with these dance competitions, but at every single one they only sell freaking Diet Pepsi. WTH? This mandates that I have to break out my own private supply of Diet Coke. So, there I was walking back inside the venue clutching my iced beverage when I notice two policeman talking to one very upset Triple Platinum Diamond Emerald Elite dance mom.

Now, those of you that are not of the competitive dance world won’t know what this means so let me explain. This woman signaled her pecking order in the dance world by her appearance. First was her hair. I’m going to be kind and say that she obviously had a bad “do it yourself” experience (and who hasn’t) with home highlighting and attempted to cover the unflattering bleach demarcation lines by back combing it into some sort of hair helmet meets mullet. Her makeup was applied as if, she, herself, was ready to go on stage and she wore a hot mess of a blinged out T-shirt with her child’s dance studio’s name. Add in some jeans with, I’m guessing, her initials, in rhinestones on the back pockets and stilettos and you have a mom whose sense of good taste and fashion has been compromised by years of over exposure to industrial strength hair spray.

In the two short years my daughter has been dancing I’ve noticed there are 4 things that signal aggressive dance mom – bad hair, (It’s like they’ve never used a deep conditioner) sparkle enhanced clothing, a love of your own cleavage and the lack of a sensible shoe at an event where you stand for hours.

This woman had all four thus marking her as an uber serious dance mom. The fact that she had tears in her eyes and was very animatedly telling a story to police officers had me slowing way down to do a little eavesdropping. Apparently, there had been a dance mom throw down that involved shoving, threats and I was so hoping that hair pulling was involved that I asked very excitedly, “Was hair pulled? Was there just shoving or did someone get smacked? And if so was is open palm or one of those back of your hand slaps?”

I was totally sure the mom was about to answer, but one of the cops told me I needed to “step back” so I went inside and tried to ferret out what went down by mingling with the other moms at the studio listed on the crying mom’s shirt. Did I know any of these mothers? Heck no, but that wasn’t going to let that stop me.

I went straight to their dressing room and pretended I was looking for my daughter’s “lost” phone. This is where I learned that one mom who used to dance at their studio but left because she felt her daughter wasn’t getting enough attention for another studio (side bar: In the dance world this is called studio hopping. It’s when a mother constantly changes where her daughter dances in a never-ending quest to find the one place where f-i-n-a-l-l-y her child will get what she deserves  – eternal adulation) was at this competition and according to these moms words were exchanged about how one mom’s daughter wasn’t as good as the other mom’s daughter and before you could say jazz hands someone started shoving someone else. I’m sure the cops were called as back up for the lawsuit you just know one mom is going to file against the other mom.

Now, you would think this would be enough crazy in one hour, but no, there’s more. After all it’s only 12:27. I proceed to go into the stage venue where the performances are taking place but I can’t find anywhere to sit down. This is strange because there are many empty seats. The problem is the empty seats are covered with blankets. The blankets represent seats being “saved.”

I have no problem with people “saving” a couple of seats, but 10 to 15 seats is a little greedy especially when these “saved” seats seem to stay empty most of the day. I ask a woman with almost 20 seats blanketed if I may sit down to see one two-minute dance number. She says, “No!” and is visibly peeved that I have dared to even bother her with such a silly question. So, for research purposes only, I assure you, I ask her, “So, what will you do to me if I sit down? Are the seats rigged with C-4? I’ve noticed most, if not all of the seats you’ve been hoarding, have been empty all morning. Are you saving them for judgement day or something?”

She gives me an evil sort of “I dare you stare” back so I have no choice but to plop my ample fanny in the seat, but not just one seat, mind you, I do the butt seat straddle so I’m taking up two seats. She then grabs the end of one of the blankets and proceeds to swat me.

I’m holding in my laughter so hard I’m afraid my tenuous bladder control might fail me, but I remain stalwart in my mission and butt grip those two seats through one dance number as this deranged woman continues to swat me with the fringed end of a blanket. After the dance number is over I give Swatty a smile, stand up and thank her for her gracious hospitality.

All my laughing has necessitated a trip to the ladies room. I’m in the back stall taking care of business when I hear a woman on her cell phone in the stall next to me crying. Now usually if I heard someone sobbing in a bathroom stall I might be concerned but not at a dance competition. I knew why this woman was crying. It was because her child must have suffered some egregious injustice at the hand of the judges panel.

There are three areas of concern for any deranged dance mom.

1) Is your child getting the best choreography or is all the good choreography saved for some other kid who you just know is not as gifted as your child? I mean seriously have you seen the other kid’s feet. They’re like wooden blocks. She would have to use a belt sander to get those things to point.

2) Is your child getting enough of the dance teacher’s attention? In deranged dance mom speak that loosely translates to – Is my child being worshipped as befitting her someday grand and glorious contribution to the dance world?

3) Why isn’t my kid always dancing in the front row? The deranged dance mom will take out her phone and time how many seconds her kid has dancing front and center in all her competition numbers. She will then graph her child’s time spend in the front in correlation to the amount of time other dancers from the studio spend in the front row. From this she’ll surmise that her kid is being ripped off. It’s a lose-lose for the studio owners and dance teachers. If they don’t put the kid in the front row they’re playing favorites. If they do put the child in the front and she doesn’t perform up to expectations the mom will blame the studio for putting too much stress on her kid. It goes something like this, “How could you expect her to perform well? You put her under so much pressure! You forget she’s just a child.”

As I’m washing my hands the crying mom comes out of her stall. I ask her if everything is all right. She responds with, “I just so tired of my daughter not getting treated right. This whole dance thing is so unfair. I swear I think her teachers are jealous of her, because she has more talent than they ever did.”

She then asks me where my daughter dances and I make up a studio. In no way do I want this crazy in my neck of the woods. (I do not, like most mothers, wear the studio T-shirt of where my daughter dances. I think the studio is very, very, grateful and it helps me in my information quest to remain on the down low.) I do feel a little bit sorry for her so I tell her a “feel good” fib and say, “Dry those eyes sister. I heard a Dance Mom’s talent scout is here. You should go out there and try to find her.”

I barely had a chance to finish my sentence before she was hauling out the bathroom door. I then look at my phone it’s almost 1:00. Wow, I think to myself that’s a lot of crazy in 60 minutes, even for me.

*Attencover_1.3-2tion Snarky Friends, I have a brand new book out. It’s the second in the Snarky in the Suburbs series – Snarky in the Suburbs Trouble In Texas. 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! 🙂


Paying It Forward

Picture 3

You will rarely find me inside a Starbucks. I don’t drink coffee and usually my reason for venturing inside one is to do people watching research for my next book. I will, on occasion use Starbucks solely for the purpose of getting a cup to act as Diet Coke camouflage. Sadly, we live in world where entering a meeting with a 44 ounce styrofoam cup filled with chunklet ice, the liquid perfection known as Diet Coke with splash of cherry topped off with a lid and a red straw is considered not only not classy, but unprofessional and brands you as a hater of the environment what with the styrofoam and always gets someone talking about American’s second silent killer, right behind heart disease, death by Diet Coke. To not subject myself to these diatribes I have been known to go into a Starbucks and order a venti hot tea. I then go to my car, dump out the hot water, save the lemon, pour my Diet Coke into the Starbucks cup, throw in the lemon, and presto chango I’m an upstanding member of society and can enter a meeting with an “acceptable” beverage in an acceptable cup. I try to reuse my Starbucks cup as long as I can, but eventually it starts to look shabby necessitating another trip to Starbucks.

That was the case this morning. I was standing in line at Starbucks to basically buy a cup. I was purse-less. I had $2.00 in one hand, the other held my car keys. I ordered my cup of hot tea to go and gave the cashier one dollar bill and four quarters that’s when a woman who had standing by the counter leaned in and paid for my drink. She said she was “paying it forward.” I profusely thanked, but said there was no need for her to do so. She rather eagerly insisted so I let her and then shifted over to the line where you hover while your beverage is made. This confused the business suited Pay it Forward woman. She looked at me, her 40ish forehead crinkled and her pink coral lips pursed and asked, “What are doing? You need to go back and pay it forward to the next person in line.”

“Oh, no worries,” I said smiling. “I will for sure pay it forward sometime today.”

“No, no, that’s not the way it works,” she announced. “You need to pay it forward NOW.”

Is there some Pay It Forward rule book I don’t know about? Did I not get the email about the correct Pay It Forward procedure? As I was thinking about this I look over at the woman who was behind me in line. She’s ordering six coffee drinks, two of them those Double Chocolate Chip Frappuccino milkshake things. I know from the rare occasion when I will buy the drink for my daughter that they cost almost 5 bucks. I had one dollar and change on me. I would need to take out a small loan to pay for that women’s coffee bill. I’m guessing she was doing the caffeine run for her office. I then look back at the Pay It Forward woman whose hasn’t given up her quest for me to follow her explicit orders.

“Look,” I gently say in a whisper. “I don’t have the money on me to pay for that women’s rather large coffee order. I came in here with one dollar and change. So, you’re going to have to trust me that I will pay it forward later today.”

Just then a Starbucks employee calls out my name, Thank God. I can grab my tea and make my escape. Clutching my Starbucks cup I walk quickly to the door, open it and jog to my car. All’s good right? Wrong. I hear footsteps. Pay it Forward has followed me. I stop, turn around and say, “Okay, maam you are now officially freaking me out.”

“I want my money back,” she says.

“Excuse me?” I say.

“I want my money back for your drink I paid for.”

Okay, that’s a no brainer. I wish I had thought of that and just given her my one dollar and 3 quarters about 4 minutes ago. “Sure, no problem. Here you go.” I say as I unfurl my hand holding my money and give it to her. Problem solved. I proceed to unlock my car door and open it. She’s still following me. I slid in my car and she peers in and sees my purse on the floorboard.

“Oh, that’s what I thought. You do have money you just don’t want to use it. That’s what’s wrong with America – people like you. People that don’t pay it forward!”

I shake my head, look at her and say, “You know what? I noticed you standing by the Starbucks counter. I’m thinking you waited until somebody ordered the cheapest thing on the menu and then did your whole pay it forward thing. Well, I’m going to pay it forward to you in a big way. I’m going to write about you and your pathological desire to have everyone adhere to your strict paying it forward policy.

She huffed and said, “You can’t write about me.”

“Oh, yes I can,” I say with gusto. “The First Amendment is all about paying it forward.”

I then put my car in drive and pull away. She stands there and gives me the evil eye with her hands on her hips as I drive out of the parking lot. My response to that it to turn on my car’s back windshield wiper which is messed up and sprays water not on my windshield but jettisons it into the air. I’m pretty sure she got some wiper fluid on her, that makes me happy. Once I was, what I felt, was a safe distance away. I stopped my car, dumped out the hot water and did the beverage transfer all the while thinking of the things I have to put up with just to enjoy a freaking Diet Coke. You would think I was ingesting liquid heroin. That is what’s wrong with the world – the Diet Coke haters and the rigid Pay it Forwarders. Both groups need to relax and you know the perfect way to do that? Yeah, that’s right  by enjoying an icy Diet Coke. I swear.

For all thinks wonderfully Snarky go to www.snarkygear.com where you can find T-shirts, ecards for Facebook and my brand new book – Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.  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.

If I Were the Supreme Ruler of Suburbia . . .


Girls who make that ridiculous “Duck Face” while taking “selfies” would experience a 48 hour facial paralysis where their lips would stay frozen in “Duck Face” mode. Teaching them that parents who pay upwards of ten grand on braces except their daughters to smile not channel Daisy Duck. Any mother who engages in taking “selfies” and “duck facing” will lose her mom card and be forced to take middle school math all over again while eating meat loaf in the cafeteria.

No sleep overs or slumber parties would be allowed during flu season. Doctor’s orders.

Continuing with the germ theme – people who have let to learn or are too lazy to sneeze or cough into their elbow will be required to wear a Hazmat suit that spritzes medical grade Lysol in 30 second intervals until they can learn to cover their nose and mouth.

Parents who allow their younger children to dance, jump, boogie, stomp, sing and run relay races during their older siblings band/choir/school musical because their “little one is just such a cutie patootie!” Will be required by the school district to homeschool all their children for one six-week grading period before being allowed to re-enroll their kids back in school.

A cattle prod would be recognized by the Academy of Pediatrics as an acceptable method of getting your age 12 and above child out-of-bed in the morning.

Groundbreaking research by the National Institute for Health would reveal that Uggs cause cankles in three out of four females.

Do It Your Selfers who DO NOT size wallpaper before hanging it therefore making it next to impossible to remove without the benefit of thermonuclear technology would be hunted down and made to serve a six month sentence in the equivalent of a Guantánamo Bay style facility for Home Improvement Half Assers. Instead of water boarding these DIY enemy combatants will be doing hard time in an 8 X 10 cell covered in layers upon layers of un-sized wall paper which they will have to remove armed only with one bottle of Dif Wallpaper Spray and a scraper. Prison terms also apply for anyone who has tiled a bathroom  without putting down a water barrier and any fool who willingly textured their ceiling with “cottage cheese.”

When your high school age child is tardy for school the sign in “excuse” sheet will have  the “My kid is late because he was a huge ass this morning” as a line item.

People who don’t return shopping carts to the store or cart “corral” but instead let them free range in the parking lot will be forced to work as a Walmart Greeter on Black Friday.

The perfect “Why Can’t Everyone Be Like Me” mom who volunteers so much at the elementary school that she knows the contents of every kids’ lunch box and feels the need to comment or offer unsolicited parenting advice when a mom has packed her kid a (Gasp!) Smuckers Uncrustable with a Capri Sun chaser. She’s also been known to initiate a school lock down when a kid peels the top off of a Nacho Cheese Lunchable. Her flawless parenting style, of course, has her kids eating hand rolled sushi made with sustainably harvested seafood from the Ocean of Happy. This mom for being way, way too obsessed about the contents of other children’s lunch boxes would be mandated to volunteer at a soup kitchen, community garden or food bank to put her zeal for heathy choices to good use and get her out of my business because sometimes there are mornings when you’re going to throw a peanut butter and jelly Uncrustable in the lunch box. It’s called survival.

I could go on and on, but carpool calls. What would your list look like?

Love the Snark?  Read the book!  Wear the T-shirts!  All you need to do is click here www.snarkygear.com. for all things deliciously snarky.

Here’s a little lookie-loo at Snarky in the Suburbs Back-to-School:

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.


Snarky Goes to Hollywood

peg1-stars-hollywood-signWell, really to be truthful it was Burbank, but that’s Hollywood adjacent, so close enough. My journey began late one night when I remembered that I hadn’t checked my Snarky Gmail account in a couple of days. I logged in and discovered a message from someone claiming to have worked with the creators of one of the most popular TV shows of all time and many other awesome things. She then added that my blog “reads like a sitcom” and she would love to explore the opportunity of turning it into TV show. I thought, of course, that my children were messing with me. I mean, how easy is it to get a Gmail account with a fake name and them send your mother phony emails. It’s so 21st century parental abuse. I called my husband over to my computer. He read the email, looked at me and said, “Oh yeah, for sure one of the kids sent this. The only real question is were they in on this together or did one of them work solo?”

I yelled for both of my children to come into my bedroom and confess their sins. They look bewildered when I showed them the email and denied being involved. At first I didn’t believe them, but when my son sighed and said, “Mom, really, like we would send you a phony email over Gmail? We’re not 100. If I was going to do something like this it would have at least been through Twitter.”

I thought about that for a moment and knew he was right. I apologized half heartedly for accusing them of electronic mail fraud and then composed an email back to the “TV person.” It read, “Thank you for your interest in my blog. Please note if you are punking me I will track you down and hurt you.” I felt confident that would take care of the alleged “producer” sending me emails. Really, how cruel to do that to someone? Seconds later, I received another email saying, “No, I’m serious. Google me and my husband if you don’t believe me.” I Googled, still very wary. Once again, how easy to pretend your someone else and say Google me. After a couple of more emails back and forth I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt. She gave me her phone number so I could call her the next day. Long story short it turned out she was the real deal and a couple of months later it was time for me to tug, squeeze, pour and pray myself into turbo Spanx and head out to L.A. I ended up making four trips to the land of the “Honey with Goldenrod Highlights Hair Extension” capital of the free world. Here’s the down low on my journey.

My new friend “TV Debby” was so normal it was scary. We have kids about the same age and she has to be a Hollywood anomaly because not only doesn’t she wear a lick of make-up, she’s also dermal filler free. I’m serious about this. I even did my version of the Rotary 4-Way Test to check my data. Wait a minute. You’re kidding me? You mean you’ve never been to a Rotary meeting? How, I don’t know – un-American of you. Okay, here’s some background. The Rotary 4-Way test goes something like this: Is it the truth? Is it fair? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Will it be beneficial? Here’s my 4-Way test that I use when assessing if any female has had made multiple pilgrimages to the land of injectable, plumpers and peels: Can she move her eyebrows? Are her cheekbones plumped and protruding to such an extent you could use them as shelf to hold a Diet Coke? (Bottle not can.) Is her skin so shiny it can multi-task as a mirror? Do her lips look like the 20 pound flathead catfish I once caught with my Pee-Paw at Lake LBJ?

TV Debby totally passed the 4-Way test. We had clicked on the phone and in person it was even better. I was in love. She was an oracle about how TV works and laid out for me all the turns and twists it would take to pitch a show. Basically, you have a better chance of winning a Mega Millions lottery jackpot and finding out you’re peri-menopausal self is pregnant with octuplets all on the same day then getting a TV show on the air. Why anyone would willingly go into this brutal business is beyond me. My advice to any would be actors, writers, directors is be a Walmart greeter. It would be better for your self-esteem and you’ll probably make more money plus have a vested retirement plan.

The first stop on the Snarky Goes to Hollywood Tour was to Beverly Hills. I was going to get my “How do you do?” on with an agent. The agency offices were swanky in the cold steel and marble way that implies they don’t want you sitting down and making yourself comfortable for very long and the level of security was about the same as when I took my kids for a post 9/11 tour of the White House. I don’t blame these talent folks for their fear of middle-aged women carrying large handbags. I’m sure the agents are on a constant state of high alert for out-of-work, “I was once on the cover of Us magazine,” over forty something actresses storming their Beverly Hills compound with a yoga mat dusted in anthrax. The agent we met with was surprisingly laid back and funny. He reminded me of the cool jock in high school that also happened to have excellent manners. You know, the kind of guy who would always hold the door open for the chubby girl who had to wear her orthodontia head-gear to school. Well-Mannered Agent was the first to ask the question that would haunt me my entire Hollywood experience – “Tell me about yourself.” Ugh. Here’s the deal I’m not very interesting. I lead a very average life. So I did what you would have done – lied and called my husband a jack ass. As in “my husband, the jack ass, doesn’t read my blogs because he says,“I lived it that means I don’t have read it.” It got some hearty laughs. So insulting my spouse became my “go to” during my L.A. adventure for anytime I was stumped on how to answer a question.

After we got the Well Mannered Agent out-of-the-way it was time for the ultimate Hollywood experience. Unfortunately, I’m not talking about lunch at the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge or the restaurant that chick on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills owns. This experience was not food related, but one that would could have the power to direct all future life and business decisions. I had scored a sit down with a celebrity psychic. Yes, I had my fortune told. (Not my idea just in case you were thinking I had temporarily lost my mind.) For $60 an exotic, extremely attractive woman shared things with me like – “You will be having lots of important meetings.” “Next month will be a busy time for you” and “There is a very young girl in your life who has wisdom to share with you.” Okay, the only young girl in my life is my daughter and the only thing she has to share with me is how much she really needs an iPhone 5. I wanted my $60 back. I would have been better off buying 60 bucks worth of fortune cookies. At least they’d be somewhat tasty.

After I had been “blessed” by the fortune-teller TV Debby and I met with writers who had read Snarky and shared TV Debby’s thought it might, perhaps, maybe, someday, make a decent sitcom. The most amazing thing that happened on this whole journey, besides having the most incredible cinnamon roll of my life at the Burbank airport, was when a writer showed up with a huge binder with all the Snarky blog posts printed out. I write most of my blogs with my thumbs on my phone. I had never printed out a single post. I was astounded by how fat her notebook was. Damn, I thought, I really complained that much. Scary.

It was now time to pitch the show. This is where you meet with various production companies, producers, directors, writers etc who have deals with a human being who is connected to another bipedal mammal to get you into the entertainment food chain that might get you a meeting with a studio or a network. It’s at this time I was made aware of the most soul crushing website ever created – Deadline Hollywood. It should come with a suicide hotline number as it’s header. This website gives the up to the minute scoop on all the TV and movie deals currently going on. It has to be a huge papercut to the heart of anyone who works or aspires to work in the entertainment industry to see all the transactions being made that you’re not a part of. It’s Facebook’s evil twin on a Lance Armstrong doping regimen. All the TV people I was meeting with would quote it as in, “Did you see on Deadline Hollywood where Studio X just picked up a Mom show. There could be too many Mom shows. Is this a Mom show?” Hell no, I would think to myself, Snarky is not a mom show. It’s a show about adventure, payback and a mini-van loaded with smoke bombs. Does that sound like anything as mundane as a “Mom” show?

Deadline Hollywood aside, the whole meet, greet and pitch was a blast because I wasn’t taking it too seriously. I was enjoying the ride. My husband, who is really not a jack ass, gave me excellent advice. He told me to “expect that absolutely nothing is going to happen and with that in mind to enjoy my middle-aged adventure and even more importantly the sheer beauty of having a hotel room to myself.” I embraced his advice and was ready to get my rubber necking on. The best part was going to all the studio lots and seeing the behind-the-scenes of it all. Not as good as the Universal Studio’s tour, but hey this one was free and I was not sharing butt space on a tram with a 400 pound man who’s “totally, beyond bummed” because he was too hefty to fit on the Transformers 3-D ride. It was on the Warner Brothers lot were I meet the love of my life.

TV Debby and I had just had a meeting with a gentleman I will now and forever call Malibu Ken (M.K.). He was blonde, blue-eyed, surfer boy gorgeous, plus he really surfed. I know this because he had surf boards in office which made him even more yummy. TV Debby and M.K. were talking about their kids’ schools. This is where I would usually kind of doze off or think about the king size Snickers bar waiting for me back in my hotel room. Any meeting we had would start off with people sharing where their kids went to school. I figured it was kind of like wolves circling, trying to get the feel of where they fit in the pack. I guess the L.A. pecking order is partially based on what private/public/charter/magnet school your kids attend. This time, I wisely used the school chit-chat to gaze at the wonder that is M.K. What was this guy doing working as a television executive? He needed his own damn show that would feature close-ups of his gorgeous face. What a waste not to have him in HD. That is now the show I wanted to pitch. Forget about Snarky in the Suburbs. I wanted a Malibu Ken channel. Unfortunately, Malibu Ken had many pictures of his equally beautiful, blonde, blue-eyed wife in his office. I started to wonder, no, make that silently implore my higher power (Betty Crocker), that maybe M.K. was bi-curious, as in also attracted to older, less blonde, much more full-figured females. Hey, this is Hollywood, a land where dreams come true or is that Disney Land?  Whatever, I’m just saying a girl can have a rich fantasy life can’t she?

After we met with many, many people I found out that a studio was interested in optioning my blog. This meant I now needed an entertainment attorney. With the help of friend I apparently landed an amazing one. So amazing some L.A. people asked me, “Hey, how the hell did you get him as your attorney?” Even better he’s a Harvard man, which is as close as I’ll ever get to the Ivy League. I have never met my attorney. I have had several riveting phone conversations with him and a series of emails that I will always cherish and read aloud to myself when I’m home alone. I have no idea of what he looks like, but in my mind he’s gorgeous, lives by the beach and has a crush on me. After all, he calls me Kansas. You wouldn’t give someone a cute nick name like that if you didn’t really, really, like them would you? He’s currently my back up if Malibu Ken doesn’t work out.

At this point you maybe wondering what I wore to all these meetings? I’m not exaggerating when I tell you I was the best dressed person there. For sure, I was rocking a little Target in my wardrobe (How could I not?) but I was dressed for doing business. Black pants, cute top, and always a little blazer or cardigan because I find both of those options de-chunk me. I also had on a pair of killer black wedge sandals that I got for $14.99 at T.J. Maxx.  Apparently, my “Fly Over Country” business casual outfits were sending the wrong message, because by my third trip to L.A. I was told to wear jeans. Okay, I wouldn’t wear jeans to a PTA meeting if I was there to pitch the controversial idea of merging the cookie dough and gift wrap sales, which means I sure wouldn’t wear them to pitch a TV show to network executives! Besides all I own are big girl jeans. I don’t own L.A. jeans, that I’m sure cost upwards of $300. In an effort to comply to the Hollywood dress code I got myself some decent size 12, lycra infused, jeans at the Ann Taylor Loft Outlet. I did draw the line at wearing flip-flops. I know the flip-flop is the state shoe of California, but call it home training at the hands of a very Southern mother or the fact I wear a size 11 shoe there was no way I was going to flip-flop my way to a meeting with the higher-ups at a studio or network.

Several things, besides changing my wardrobe, had to happen before we had our “sit down” with the network folks. We and by that I mean many people now involved in the project had to pitch what we felt the TV show would look like. This included the characters, who we thought might play them and actual episode ideas. Brace yourself, because many changes were made to Snarky. First, the word Snarky was thrown out. It was deemed a tad too harsh, maybe even mean, for sure angry. Next, characters were changed, as in genders were reassigned. The neighbor, you all love to hate, Barbara Gray, become Bob Gray and Kelly one of Snarky’s female BFF’s was turned into Steven, a stay-at-home dad. The thought there was the show would need more substantial male characters. Another concern was the “caper” aspect of my blog. It couldn’t be all capers it had to more than that etc. etc. I dealt with all these changes by nodding my head and saying, “Yes, I can see that working” because my husband had prepared me for the fact that by the time Snarky went through the TV meat grinder I probably wouldn’t recognize it. My very Texas born and breed’s husband’s exact words were, “You know everyone is going to have to put their stink on it.” The other thing is I’m not a television writer. Yes, I write a blog. I have now written a book. I used to be a TV reporter – none of that qualifies me as a sitcom writer. Do you know how hard it is to write a comedy TV pilot? Not only do you have to write for laughs, but you must establish all the characters in the show and make viewers care about them AND you only have 22 freaking minutes to get all that done!  I’m thinking that requires some superpowers I don’t have. So, I had no problem keeping my mouth shut and nodding my head.

Finally, it was time to pitch to the network. Right before the meeting began I threw back two extra strength Imodium and chewed Gas Ex like they were Tic Tacs. You never know how your lower digestive tract is going to react to this kind of stress. I wanted to make sure my colon stayed strong. One woman assumed I was self medicating with anti anxiety drugs. I had to correct her and share that it wasn’t Xanax I was swallowing, but diarrhea meds. She made a face and backed away from me. Like it was okay to ingest four Xanax, but somehow wrong to use over-the-counter colon control medicine.

I, dressed in jeans, was ready for my part. I had to talk about my blog, why I started writing it and what I felt was it’s universal appeal. Super easy. I had this Hollywood blabbing down. Me talking about Snarky had become my second favorite thing right after Diet Coke. The meeting went okay. On a scale of 1 to 10 I’d give it a 4. The highlight for me was shaking the hands of the Vice President of Network Comedy and realizing my fly was down, like all the way, gaping open, down. This is what happens when you wear jeans you bought with a coupon at an outlet mall to a meeting with network executives. The psychic sure didn’t predict that.

Fortunately, my pants being unzipped wasn’t a deal breaker. Snarky, in some version, may possibly, someday, fingers crossed, make it off the page and onto the television screen. The beauty of it is, at this point, I have zero control over what happens. All I can do is continue my Snarky quest and fantasize about being reunited with Malibu Ken. That can happen – right?

Love the Snark?  Buy the book – Snarky in the Suburbs  Back to School.  Check it out on Amazon.  http://tinyurl.com/snarkybook or you can Nook it over at Barnes & Noble. http://tinyurl.com/snarkynook

Here’s a little lookie-loo:

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.




Snarky Writes a Book

snarkburbsIt almost killed me – I’m talking worse than an epidural that stopped working midway through labor – but I finally finished my book! You may think writing the book was the hard part, but NO, it was correcting all the grammar (Dear comma, I hate you.), spelling and spacing errors. I always thought I was a little bit of an idiot based on hard data like my SAT scores and college GPA, but after sending chapters of my book out to be proofed and re-proofed by “Team Snarky” it was confirmed, that, I am indeed, a moron. Almost as bad was formatting the text for Amazon. Hey CIA, forget waterboarding as a form of torture. Here’s what you should do to get a confession from a terrorist – make them take a 200 plus page document and try to squeeze it on an Amazon templet. Sweet mother of God, it was horrible. Every time I tried to fix an indentation or a spacing issue it would mess something else up. You know you’ve cried a lot when your Diet Coke taste salty. Then, when I think I’ve gotten everything just perfect I go to my son’s, much better computer, (Because, of course, my children have superior technology. Raise your hand if you have the crappiest phone in your family.) to do a final lookie loo and his grammar check thing finds MORE errors. At this point I had to take a mental health break. I got in my car, turned on the soothing butt heat, ate almost half of tin of Christmas cookies (a neighbor had brought over) and drove to Target.

Finally, I get the digital version good to go and start on the paperback. I get all the files uploaded and Amazon shoots out a price of what it will cost to print the 6 x 9 paperback. FIFTEEN DOLLARS!  Are you kidding me! Sure, the book is 60,000 words, but $15? I thought I might stroke out and yelled for my son to bring the blood pressure monitor my in-laws had left behind during their last visit. He came over to my computer, gave me one of those superior looks that teenagers save just for their mothers, and said, “Just shrink the font size” in a voice that said, “God, why is my mother such a loser?”

Shrink away I did. I went as low as a 6 point, but I figured no one over the age of 22 would have good enough eye-sight to read it. I settled on 10 point font and played with the margins. It was all about saving paper to get the price down. The lowest I could get  it to is $11.95 and I’m still not happy about.

Here is some stuff you need to know about the book. First, it is fiction. Did some of this stuff happen? Yes. Do I want to get sued? No. I had to do one of those Law and Order-ish disclaimers in the front of the book. Longtime blog readers will also notice some character description changes (specifically Jacardia). Once again, done for the whole fear of legal action thing. Secondly, IT IS a book. It is not a collection of my blogs shoved into a book. Would I do that to you? No, I would not. When you start reading the book you might say to yourself, “Crap, I’ve seen this before.” Well, keep reading because in the first chapter I use the PTA Mom Coffee that I’ve already written about to set up the book – BUT there are changes in it and new characters introduced.  Say hello to Croc Mom, Heather and Jasper. Some characters, you love to hate like my odious neighbor Barbara Gray are not in this book. (If all goes well you’ll see Barbara in another book slated for late summer.)

Here’s a little teaser for Snarky in the Suburbs – Back to School.

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.

 What I’m asking you to do right now is go to Amazon  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ALOV860 and buy the book. Due to a survey I did on my blog the consensus was to set the digital price at $4.99. (I was thinking $3.99, but was overruled.) The paperback version, I think, will take a couple of days before you can order it. Amazon has set the price at $11.95 (sorry). For those of who with Nooks – Barnes & Noble takes six freaking weeks before they will have it for the Nook. If you have an iPhone you can get the app Kindle for iPhone for free and read Snarky on your phone. (Just google “Kindle for iPhone.)

But wait there’s more – I need a favor(s). If you would be so kind after reading the book to go on Amazon and write a review AND spread the word however you can about the book. I know this is asking a lot. Please note that I value and so respect your intelligence and time, that I have never begged you to go vote for my blog in some “funny mom” blog contest or any other such inane pursuits. I’m now abandoning that restraint and shamelessly asking you to go plug my book.

I started writing Snarky as a way to complain to someone other than my husband and ended up making lots of new friends! Thank you everyone for sharing your enthusiasm for Snarky, your own stories and your encouragement! It’s good to know, we are not alone and that yes, we are all in this parenting game (for better or worse) – together.

Team Snarky rules!