Eleven words that make you sound like a douche

Photo by Gemma Evans on Unsplash

So slowly that we barely know it is happening a word that once did a great job explaining a specific niche spreads like a virus and ends up on Starbucks chalk boards. Here are some of the worst offenders.

  1. Curated. My father was an artist. I went to art shows. Those were curated. By a curator. The rest of us just have preferences and make selections. Cookbooks rarely have provenance. We choose the clothes in our closet, we don’t curate them. Unless we are douche-y.

    Photo by Todd Quackenbush on Unsplash
  2. Artisanal. Originally artisans were people skilled at an applied art. In days of olde artisans roamed the earth laying brick and crafting cabinets. The main point? There were no machines involved. So  cheesemakers can be artisans and their cheese can be artisanal. You know who doesn’t do things by hand? The lab team at Kraft Foods.
  3. Creatives. I love when people are creative. I don’t love when they are “a creative.” I don’t love when words change parts of speech. “Adulting”, although irritating, at least has the “ing” of a verb. Creatives make for eye-rolling cocktail conversations. Normal person: ” What do you do doing the work day?” Douche-y person: “I am a creative” Normal person, trying to roll with it: “Oh… what do you create?” Douche-y person doubling down: “I create content.”  Thanks for that conversational dead end. I might as well talk to this other chick about training for her marathon. At least she isn’t “a run.” Although she may eventually get them.
  4. Solutioning in progress. Photo by Kait Loggins on Unsplash

    Solutioning. Sometimes I am lucky enough to listen to Steve “on a meeting.” These people (almost all men) like to solution the shit out of things. Are they adding a powder to a liquid? Only if they have upset tummies (like I do when listening to them.) Nope. They are not solving problems.  They are “solutioning” problems. They have created a less concise word for the less effective way that they solve things.

  5. Literally. There have literally been a billion articles about the word literally. So I literally won’t write another word about it. Except to say it is literally the worst.
  6. Bespoke. This started out as the British way to say custom. We already have that word and it sounds a lot less douche-y than bespoke. Bespoke is a way to weed out people who can’t pay for custom clothing and furniture. It is out of the range of words that normal people speak. People who don’t wear cuff links.

    Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov on Unsplash
  7. Epic. Odysseus has something to say about the word epic. Although frankly he is too busy to talk much about his journey. Penelope might be the real hero in the tale #feminism, but neither of them would consider a ski run epic. It might be long and shred-worthy, but if you can’t grow a beard while doing it the thing in question is most assuredly not epic.
  8. Irregardless. If you take regardless and add irrespective you get Irregardless. Regardless (or irrespective) of the popularity of the word either of its parts do the job just fine. Sort of like Bennifer they should consider a divorce. But also like Bennifer they might stay together for the good of the children.
  9. Honestly. Honestly and its co-hort “to be honest” share the title of “worst way to start a statement.” It never occurred to me that you would be lying…until you cued me in that everything before this next statement was false…because only now are you being honest. And upon further reflection this next bit, the bit you labelled as “honest” is starting to lose the ring of truth. Why are you lying to me? Why? Honestly…
  10. Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

    Notorious. Goddamn you BIG. Notorious does not mean famous. It means known for something negative. Like you, and your ruination of a good. specific word.

  11. Douche. Here in a totally meta twist this list becomes self-referential. The douche is pointless. Some creatives solutioned a problem of their own making. Irregardless of the need for a vaginal freshening device they sit in curated clusters on our shelves. Literally thousands of types are available probably soon to be joined by an artisanal version straight from the notorious maker’s space. Honestly, I never use them. So I may not douche, but clearly in crafting this epic list I am a douche.

#amnotwriting what about you?

This is a rant for my blogging buddies. The rest of you might want to tune back in when I am writing about bras, or kids, or drugs.

I made myself a desk.

First Steve and I took everything out of the office. The office is a 10×10 room that is clown car full of games and homework and beer posters and clay figures and dead plants. It is home to 6 mismatched chairs and all of the electronics that are somewhere between life and death. (Much closer to death). It has bank statements and tax returns and beer advocate magazines and that office toy with the clicking balls. (Wow does that sound so wrong.) Plus the pencils and sharpies and dead pens. So many of those. For one hour it had none of those things and instead it looked all of its 100 square feet. It was fantastic. So then we returned just the stuff we needed and tried not to look at the disaster we made of our dining room table.

We achieved the impossible. In a corner I have now have a desk.

So obviously I can no longer write.

I am sitting here and trying. This is my fourth attempt at a post this morning. I tried to explore Oliver’s question of whether it is good to be humble but I got tangled into whether imaging that you can determine humility immediately bands you as un-humble. I also tried to write about my toes but those were even more boring than the navel I gaze into so regularly in this blog. Then I wanted to write about having sex when you don’t want to. But I didn’t want to. So here I am writing about not writing.

In the opposing corner of the office Steve works at his standing desk. His rapid keystrokes are taunting me. Clack click clack is the sound of stuff getting done. It is not even as passive as that tense. Steve himself is getting stuff done. Every once in a while he slurps his coffee and gives a sigh of satisfaction. Much more frequently he gives a gigantic sniff. How have I never noticed how much my husband sniffs? So much. So many sniffs. I’m amazed that he still has a nose on his face given the sniffing. It might sound as though I am exaggerating but those of you who write, or try to write know what I mean. Sniffing is the worst. Or whatever your version of sniffing is.

However writing is non negotiable so I pause on the blog and open up a new word doc. Not actually word but Pages because I am all apple but using the word Word seems more inclusive. But less productive. A word is not so impressive. A page is something. But a page comes about one word at a time.

See that? See above right there? That is the sort of shit that is in my word doc. Or Pages. AAAAAARGH.

Usually I start my morning checking in on my “writers” list on twitter. In the past I have enjoyed reading other blogs and make a point to comment and share. Yet recently I have slipped away from social media because it is full of links to articles and posts and books. I try to feel pure happiness for my online friends but instead other people’s success only highlights my lack of words. And pages. Twitter is filled with the hashtag #amwriting. I feel double judgement when I see that hashtag. 1. You #arenotwriting when you are tweeting. 2. I #amnotwriting while I am reading your tweet. Instead I #amjudging.

Oh my god. I thought Steve’s sniffing was bad but know he is yell-talking about some sort of super secret chip. Which is not made of potato. I’m feeling a bit pessimistic about my desk/corner/writing set up. “They need to have versions of these modules that can support leaded columns like the old ceramic parts.” I am trying not to listen but his volume is too loud. Its like when I drive the kids in the car with friends and they can’t keep themselves from yelling. There have been times when I reach for the volume on the dash board to try to turn them down. It doesn’t work.

So I #amjudging my work and lack thereof, Steve’s work, and my friends’ success.

I will say this.

At least I am getting a lot more done than these two.


I might have to get myself some of these. Sniff.

What about you? Are you writing?



Not so Great Expectations: Living Life with a Low Bar

This is a story of low expectations.

For two weeks I have had drippy itchy eyes. Staying physically on the verge of tears has changed my mood. Scientists as far back as Darwin have suggested that “(e)ven the simulation of an emotion tends to arouse it in our minds.” So for two weeks I have felt sad.

Earlier this week in the midst of my pervasive sadness allergies I drove two delightful friends visiting Vermont on a tour of Denver hot spots. During our journey I exposed them to unavoidable pot holes and parking spots too tight to pull into. I demonstrated how difficult merging is in Denver, and how crossing Boulevards can take up to 15 minutes. For years I have had a schtick about being a bad driver. Now I live my schtick, driving over many curbs which don’t actually stick into the streets. I was never an excellent driver but I wasn’t terrible either…until I talked it into truth.

Oliver is better behind the wheel than I am. Or at least cuter.
Oliver is better behind the wheel than I am. Or at least cuter.

As I bumped and braked my way through our tree lined streets I started a list of other quirks that I have brought to life simply by embracing them. As much as I have figuratively embraced my oddities I have eschewed literal embraces and taught the world not to hug me. I have completely stopped writing thank you notes. I no longer answer my phone. I refuse to park in parking garages. The truth is in many cases hugs feel good, thank you notes are thoughtful, phone calls can be efficient, and garages are the most convenient place to park. In each case my avoidance of every day things started as a small preference which I focused on until it grew to phobic proportions. I have turned the tiny pimple into a huge abscess by leaning in close to the magnifying mirror of life. Obsessing over an abscess does not help it heal.

Amongst all of the things I have begun to avoid the one that started with the least truth is the story I tell about hating to cook. I have carefully crafted the cooking in our family. In our early days Steve and I shared the meal prep. After a particularly tasty roast chicken I began to sing the praises of Steve’s cooking. A capable cook he was no chef, yet I made him out to be amongst family and friends. I bought him cook books and demoted myself to sous chef. As his knife skills grew I receded further into the background. Finally I was down to four dishes in my repertoire that I made (maybe) one night a week. But it turns out there was further to fall. These days I sit at the counter (or on the couch) as he chats and chops pulling nameless herbs from our CSA and brandishing his knowledge over the difference between braising and roasting.

Leo started cooking at age two.
Leo started cooking at age two.

When he travels for work the boys expect to scrounge their own dinner of mac and cheese or a giant cutting board filled with salami and cheese and peppers. They never knew me as a cook as capable as Steve, because as I was encouraging his culinary skills I was downplaying my own. Until they shriveled and died. I can still carefully cut a pepper into thin seedless slices (good for the dinner board) and I can toast. I can even melt cheese on toast. At least the first time. Because after the dripping cheese of the first serving I am toasting over the open flames of the second go round. Pro tip: Burning dripped cheese is really smoky. Smoky enough to set off alarms.

I have learned my own helplessness in the kitchen. At least in this case it has resulted in Steve’s love of cooking.  So I set low expectations for myself and high expectations for Steve. We both lived them.

screen-shot-2016-09-28-at-10-50-30-amSo the take away…I am going to stop pretending that hugs are horrible. Look at Leo no one could loathe that loving embrace.



What about you? Have you created a story and then lived it into life? Are there some expectations you could make great-er?

Here is a link to Steve’s absolute go to cook book. It was the genesis of the magical roast chicken.


Pokemon Go on Home

My tip is that this is worth a tip.
My tip is that this is worth a tip.

The Holocaust Museum reportedly posted a sign telling visitors to stop catching Pokemon there. If you don’t understand how ridiculous this is you are either too young or too old to be reading this blog. As a 40 something jew I am the perfect demographic for, well, my own life. Which is an uplifting thought. Not uplifting? Catching imaginary cartoon beasts in a building designed to remind us of the worst of humanity, and to kindle the flames of hope that we can persevere through great atrocity. That said I have a list of much much smaller atrocities that I think we need to clear up. Rules that should be so integrated as to never need a reminder. And yet I remind you.

  1. If you are merging because of a lane closure just zipper in. One from the left, then one from the right, then the left, then the right. If you accelerate past a few patient cars to merge more quickly it doesn’t make you earlier…it makes you an asshole. It will be quicker for everyone if you just zipper in. Just like you zipper your fly. Most of the time. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]If you are merging because of a lane closure just zipper in. One from the left, then one from the right, then the left, then the right. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  2. When you get cut off on a phone call the person who initiated the call should call back. The only thing more annoying than static and robotic partial voices is the confusion of my mother as she hangs up and redials for the 3rd time trying to reach me and only getting my voice mail. “But we were just talking, why did it go to voice mail?” Because I was calling YOUY mom. As efficient etiquette ought to require.[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]When you get cut off on a phone call the person who initiated the call should call back. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  3. When you are out buying a drink in the morning to pick you up or in the evening to bring you back down the minimum tip is a dollar. 18 cents is not a tip it is an insult. A pull of the draught is not hard work, but cleaning up vomit and listening to your drunken uncle Al is…and that coffee takes many hours of barista training. Plus dealing with hungover uncle Carl.If you don’t want to tip a dollar make your own damn fancy coffee drink. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]If you don’t want to tip a dollar make your own damn fancy coffee drink. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/ [/Tweet]
  4. Stop modifying unique. Nothing is very unique or the most unique. Unique is binary. Either something is one of a kind or not. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”] Nothing is very unique or the most unique. Unique is binary. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  5. Lululemon yoga pants should be called yoga pantyhose. I know that word is totally out, but so are your ass cheeks. Sure I love to look at butts. Really I do, but unless you are coming directly to or from the studio just get one of those little ass skirt cover ups. I own about 6 bottoms, but when I pick the ones to have lunch in they are not skin tight. This is the only fashion advice I feel capable of giving. So treasure it. And go get some jeans.[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Lululemon yoga pants are more like panties than pants. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  6. Notorious is bad. Bad bad bad. Not purely famous, except B.I.G. who was both. Its true some people seek notoriety but it is not a synonym for celebrity. To be notorious you have to be well known for a crime or something criminal-like. Jack the Ripper, notorious. Jack and the beanstalk- famous. And fictional but now we are just splitting hairs.[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Notorious is bad. Bad bad bad. If you think it is a synonym for famous you are wrong. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  7. Lateness should be a factor of the length of time of togetherness. Anything that leads to a more than a 10% delay of start time should be considered socially unacceptable. Dead grandma, or car accidents aside it does not make you on time to send a text. If we are having a 30 minute coffee you have a 3 minute grace period. An hour lunch offers you 6 minutes to park. Two hours gives you a healthy buffer of 12 minutes to cover up your damn lululemon pants. I know some people (many?) are more tolerant than me about being late. But there was that one time, ahem,  that held a counter for 14 people for brunch for one hour and 15 minutes. I kept encouraging the staff to give it away but for some unknown reason they didn’t. The crowd gathered behind and I wear the trauma like a scar. Holding tables is terrible.[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Lateness should be a factor of the length of time of togetherness. Anything that leads to a more than a 10% delay of start time should be considered socially unacceptable. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  8. When you start a quick email with “just a quick email…” you reveal yourself as a bad editor or a total hypocrite.  Already the email is not as quick as it could have been. Ditto for “just a note to say…” Guess what the note will do even if you don’t start it that way…it will say whatever the fuck you want it to say. You are the author of the note. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]When you start a quick email with “just a quick email…” you reveal yourself as a bad editor or a total hypocrite. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  9. Only hold tables if more than half of your party is present. I know lots of restaurants regulate this (see number 7, or don’t because it is too upsetting). For those that don’t we should have a little sensitivity to the people who are hungry behind us. If you keep giving up tables maybe you will stop going out with your late friends. That’s a win-win. Quick tip…if some of your most beloved friends run late invite them over for a drink before dinner. Then you all depart together, sometimes even within the same hour you imagined.[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Only hold tables if more than half of your party is present. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  10. Have a water between EVERY beverage. Even water. Then you are less likely to need to be scraped off the booth and piled into an Uber. Plus you won’t be (as) hung over when you head to the coffee shop. This is increase your chances of tipping and seeming less like Uncle Al. But when you pee, and you will pee please follow the guideline in number 10. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Have a water between EVERY beverage. Even water. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  11. Always lift the seat. This time I am not talking to the dudes. You do it (for the most part.) I am checking in with the ladies. If you are in public and hovering above the toilet (which I assume most of us do) just lift the seat. This can be done with your foot if you have germ issues and enough yoga practice. See then the spray doesn’t cover the seat for those people that (for some unknown reason) choose to sit down. Lift it and then lower it. Then no one has to deal with the second worst thing that can happen in a public rest room. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Ladies…f you are in public and hovering above the toilet (which I assume most of us do) just lift the seat. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  12. The worst thing that can happen in a public rest room is the walk in. It is often accompanied by the knock in. Here is how it should work. You knock. Then you WAIT before you try the knob. Just a few seconds of patience helps avoid that horrible eye contact that happens when one person is squatting above the toilet with lululemon pantyhose around her ankles. That’s bad for both of you. We need some sort of knock then lock then lift then levitate jingle. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]Knock. Then wait before you try the knob. http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]
  13. This one is a little specific but super important. If you are an Uber driver don’t make jokes about recording the sex acts that happen in the back of your car. It might creep out your current moderately well behaved fare and lead to a low rating, or a police report. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]If you are an Uber driver don’t make jokes about recording the sex acts that happen in the back of your car.[/Tweet]
  14. Finally, don’t catch Pokemon at the Holocaust Museum. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]don’t catch Pokemon at the Holocaust Museum http://annarosenblumpalmer.com/pokemon-go-home/[/Tweet]

Just a quick request leave your own rants and ideas below. I am always happy to integrate very unique etiquette into my ever growing repertoire. I’ll read them right when I am back from peeing on the bathroom seat with an unlocked door. I’m notorious for that.


The mom bra

Not a mom braMy husband holds out his marred hands. The new blisters from raking the lawn are offset from his hockey calluses and he invites me to look them over with a bit of pride. These are marks made by care taking and he loves to take care…if not of his hands.

Sharing the slant of morning sunlight from our East-facing window I look away from his palms into my bra drawer. I am faced with the same choice every morning; the soft comfort of plain cotton versus the scratchy, sexy lace. After years of feeling like I am choosing between the slippers and stilettos of breast fashion I visited a high-end lingerie store. There the brusque woman had manipulated my chest, squeezing and plumping, lifting and tightening, clucking and re-adjusting.

She deemed me a 40G which I joked sounded more like an apartment number than a bra size. Maybe she had heard that one before but she didn’t smile. I explained that I was looking for a hybrid. Something that gave me lift and shape but didn’t make me want to rip it off in a bathroom stall by 11:30 am. Expertise and exorbitant prices had not changed a thing. The new lace boob prison scratched open sores into my side as I shifted against the underwire. By the evening I was pulling the pointy parts away from ribcage with my thumbs as I sipped wine with a friend. Instead of the enjoying the wine all I could do was whine about the wire.

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]She deemed me a 40G which I joked sounded more like an apartment number than a bra size. @annawritesstuff[/Tweet]

So here I was, my husband examining his hands and me the neatly folded fabric bras.

Remembering his pride in his pain I asked him if he ever made choices that hurt him for vanity.

“Just pulling out that one long eyebrow hair” he answered. Together we listed his self inflicted aches and pains. His ski boots were tight, his arms ached as he carried our sleeping boys to bed, sometimes he burned his hand going after an escaping bit of stir fry from the wok, but in general his irritations were for love of sport or family, not in response to any societal expectation of beauty. “In fact”, he added, face thoughtful, “I think I pull the eyebrow hair to keep my conversations running smoothly. I notice people distracted by it when we are talking. They look from my eyes to my brows and we lose the train of thought of our talk.”

For the most part I resist general societal ideas of beauty, particularly when they cause me discomfort. I wear clogs and let my eyebrows take their natural shape. I consider the newly forming lines in my face the patina of a life of laughter and thought, and never try to cover them with makeup or erase them with Botox. Somehow my breasts didn’t get such leeway from me.

I remember the days of nursing, when they were magically elastic stretching away from me like silly putty as my sons craned their heads toward sights and sounds outside of my embrace. My breasts retained that stretch, forever marking the time that they were a time of sustenance. Why would I try to reverse those sign? Why don’t I take care of them with comfy cotton and let them tell the story of how they took care of my boys.

I pulled the softest bra from the batch and began to fasten it around my back. “I love this one” my husband told me, and reached out with his callused hands to help.

A version of this post was originally published on Ravishly.


How not to snuggle a claustrophobe

Elevators, airplanes, playing “hide and go seek” in the refrigerator…they are all terrifying. The combination of small metal container, limited supply of oxygen and  me creates the exact anxious reaction you would expect from a claustrophobe. Increased heart rate, clammy sweating, and the inability to take in air. The only things my lungs are good for when I feel trapped is screaming. 

Despite my extreme reaction this type of claustrophobia is not a big problem in my life. I can avoid those places. I can (mostly) avoid caves, I can even avoid parking garages with their too low ceilings, echoes and darkness that are the closest things we have to catacombs in our modern city.

Snuggling a claustrophobeWhat I can’t avoid is the loving arms, faces and fur of my family.

Some people (most people?) love snuggling. All around I see couples and kids and cats wrestling, playing and snoozing together.  When I look at that kind of closeness I stop being able to take complete breathes. I want to break them apart as if they are hurting each other…because if it were me I would be in a state of panic.

It started after the birth of my first child. I was not the only one at mama yoga lamenting the loss of my body. While other women joked about chapped nipples (HA!) and belly scars (HA HA!) they snuggled their babies close and sniffed their heads. My baby’s head smelled like the vomited breast milk that soaked us both. So I lay him on the yoga mat…over there. Only then was I able to take deep cleansing breathes. Within 17 months there were two small boys, my husband, 4 cats and 2 dogs living in our house. There was not a spare inch without a living thing that wanted to be close to me. I fed and pet and kissed and LOVED them all. I came to the sickening realization that mothering was physically smothering me. It felt like I was being loved to death.

We began each night with some combination of beasties in the bed. As they drifted off I would relocate them and claim a portion of the bed. When I finally fell asleep I woke myself lashing out at the sheets and covers, kicking them off with a racing heart. The instant my skin hit air I would feel relief and then, as if to fill the vacuum left by my unwrapping, my husband would roll across the bed and take me into his arms and hold me tightly. So, So tightly. His legs would intertwine with mine, he would lay his scratchy cheek on my soft one and whisper into my ear. “I love you.” Then go back to snoring, a dead weight.

I thought it was temporary. I thought once the boys grew and began to know where their own bodies stopped and mine began I would have literal and figurative space. I thought it was a phase unique to early motherhood.

My son is about to turn 11 and I still dread bed. I wriggle through family movie time where I am three someones’ pillow. I count the seconds when my sweet little boy “tucks me in” smoothing the  blanket over me like the top of a pie. He pats and I pant. He keeps me “so, so, warm and cozy” and I feel as if I have already been put in the oven to bake. 

bedtime with a claustrophobeEvery night I read to them, an arm around each boy, requiring one of them to turn the pages. They watch the clock willing time to slow. I watch the clock wondering when 9pm will release me from the sweaty, hot, prison of my children’s making. Then they are off and it is time for my husband and to be alone. I love sex…it is the afterglow that I loathe. He collapses onto me, feeling closer than ever, our bodies blending and I begin to wriggle. The squirming I do is nothing compared to the screaming inside. GET. OFF. GET. OFF. One piece of me cracks “he already did” while the rests cracks up…and not in laughter. If he stays close for one minute longer I might burst into flames.

This extreme reaction has led me to a bit of insight. Overheating is a huge part of the problem. The feeling of being trapped makes it even worse. If we snuggle in a cool open space I can cuddle for ever. After 12 years we have a bit of a system.

  • I get the edge of the bed so I can roll off in an emergency
  • He has learned never to gather my two legs in one of mine. That is the quickest path to panic.
  • We ditch all or most of the covers. His body heat is enough to keep us both warm.
  • If it is skin to skin the time needs to be limited. PJs make everything better. For me.

The boys have learned this too. Finally they take turns being next to me when reading. I get the outside edge and all of a sudden the clock seems to move at its regular rate.

A claustrophobe catNow my main problem is the cat who sleeps on my face. She doesn’t seem to be picking up on my tips.

It is almost like a punchline. But it is actually a problem. Hi, My name is Anna, and I am a claustrophobe. Don’t cuddle me. 

What can go wrong….(moaning about Monday)

Shall. On a Monday.

Monday quote
This is not usually how I feel…

I am not a Monday hater. I see grumpy cat memes and listen to pop songs lamenting another school week and I shrug. At least I used to shrug when I could move my shoulders. Now I just mentally shrug and on good days lets add a knowing chuckle where I am both “with you” and “above you” Monday moaners.

Steve steps it up even more and walks around with a Weekends are Overrated t -shirt on…issuing a challenge to the undercaffeinated. Now that he works from home I am the only one to read his message. I think I have begun to take on my new role. He is the Monday lover leaving me left to loathe it.

On Monday’s my tea is evil.

How do I know?

Because there are steps to my coffee shop morning routine and I have fucked up each of them in some way or another.

  1. Making an entrance. I have three days to write this week before I take two weeks off and I have a two articles and a blog post to get through before 11. I can do this. First I need to open the door to the coffee shop.  It is a bit sticky and I don’t have time to waste with the extra pull or two so I approached it with gusto. It flung wide to greet me and hit me in the face. I immediately made eye contact with the barista who greeted me with an “its definitely Monday.” I am hear enough so I know that her Wednesday is my Friday making my Monday not her Monday. As I try to calculate which relative day of the week has left her laughing at me I trip over one of the metal stools that is protruding from the coffee bar. It wasn’t so bad. It  wasn’t one tenth as bad as the time I knocked over two tables, three computers, and three cell phones spilling my evidently endless tea on all of us. This time it was a little trip. I was still upright! So I held me head high and went to replace the stool in its place getting it tangled in the legs of its brother. Bang. Scrape. Then I was trying to catch two stool with my phone hand and the whole thing collapsed. It was loud. But there were only three customers that had to look up from their work and I was still standing on two feet. I consider that a win. I walk myself over to…
  2. Select my table. The BEST table was available. It is the end two top that nestles into a wall allowing three chairs.
    fashion shot
    My cousin. His bag and coat will have their own chair! Other cousin took this photo ianliptonphoto.com
  3. So when my cousin and I aren’t waiting for Elijah we have a designated bag and coat chair. It is a luxury. There is also an outlet. Lastly, and most importantly as I mentioned this table is at the END of a row. So I can slide out with my ass to the wall and a friendly smile to my family. When we are next to strangers not only do I have to pretend not to eavesdrop…but I also have to slide my butt along the edge of their table every time I get up to pee or carry a dangerous drink to and from the counter. So only the wall gets my back side. Pleased with my table choice I hang my backpack on Elijahs chair (jew reference) plug in my laptop (already at 100% but it is part of the ritual so it can’t be stopped) and sit briefly to log onto the correct network. Despite working here five times a week my computer has a love affair with AZ2Net876!. Every day I need to break them up. So my role as spoiler over I am ready to get sustenance. With a smile I turn my ass to the wall and begin to exit my area, but I trip over my power cord taking my laptop with me. I actually manage to catch the thing. Yet another win. I am on my way to the counter to…
  4. Place my order and pay. When I make it to the counter to 6 sympathetic and 2 amused eyes I see my order has already been entered into the POS. Usually this would be good but I am not having the spinach sandwich because, lets say, the spinach hasn’t been a happy ending. I consider eating it to make her happy but decide to correct the order. I stumble over this as I try to enter my email for our “spot on” extra credit. I have always liked extra credit and I am amassing points. It takes me three tries though and I back a way a bit sheepishly. I usually enjoy ordering, having a quick chat with the friendly staff about vagina surgery, or anti depressant medication always makes my morning. Instead I have wasted our time together correcting my order and messing up my email. Back at my table without tripping I sigh at the eleventeen open chrome tabs just as Amina arrives with my tab. I had forgotten to tip or sign. So she checked me out with no tip and brought me my card. I try to insist that I head back up there to tip but she won’t hear of it so I sit down with my tab and my tabs and feel guilty times two. On a normal day I would…
  5. Retrieve my order. This Monday I see my tea at the bar waiting to be picked up. I am not going up to get it because I will spill it. I see its liquid forming a meniscus at the top of the custom cup and it taunts me. “I will be on your chest soon caught by your overlarge, undersupported  breasts. I will dribble down your fingers causing you to whimper and jolt and with the jolt even more of me will be free, discoloring your Dansko Women’s Professional Oiled Leather Clog,Black,38 EU / 7.5-8 B(M) USjaunty green clogs and making a big splash on the floor. When you bend down to wipe me up the whole coffee shop will see your butt crack. Ha! I have you! ” Then I remember that I haven’t tipped AT ALL today let alone 100% and I head to get the tea myself…pulling my computer off the table by tripping over the cord. AGAIN. I set it on the table and back into the server who is bringing me my tea. I spill it down his chest. They insist on making me another one. Then they bring it to me.
    My tea...
    My tea…
  6. Work. I have already abandoned the plan. I was supposed to read and share other people’s work then write one parenting article and one sex article (except in the other order because thats how it works.) Then IF there was time I was going to write a blog post. Instead I am here with you…because it is Monday and nothing is going as it should.

What did you mess up this morning?

Suck My Caucus

When I was a little girl my mother would take me into the voting booth with her and let me pull the large metal level. It was the reverse of the slot machine…we were eschewing luck, examining and exerting out opinions.

Until I moved to Colorado 18 months ago I had never missed and election. Sometimes I voted with absentee ballots, other times I brought my boys for some scantron and baked goods. I always went early in the morning to wear my “I voted” sticker as a badge of honor and wordless reminder to others that we have some say in the great world of ours.

For the first time I live in a swing state and will not be voting on Super Tuesday. I am equally heartbroken and annoyed.

Here is what voting looked like in Vermont:

A friend votes for Bernie.
A friend votes for Bernie.

I don’t know his story but presumably my friend picked a time that worked for him, went into a room, spent a few minutes chatting and then left with a baked good, a sticker, and a vote that will be counted.

I will not have that experience. I have copied below one 200th of the instructions regarding the Colorado caucus.

It is
A. Unintelligble
B. Inconvenient- you MUST arrive at 7pm.
C. Lengthy- They estimate a 3 hour commitment
D. Not family friendly (see B and C)
E. Likely to be a shit show

Steve and I spent hours trying to figure it out, and when we realized that we would not BOTH be able to caucus because of an immovable appointment at 6:30 I tried to recruit a replacement.

A friend who is a lawyer and was a judge spent about an hour on the materials and decided that it didn’t make much sense. Right. She still might take my place. (If you are reading this I love and appreciate you.)

Enjoy the bits I have selected below.

C. It is recommended that caucuses conduct straw polls, (i.e., you can discuss the candidates; do a show of

hands) before conducting the official preference poll. But once the official preference poll is announced,

only one ballot is allowed. The caucus may also conduct straw polls on other races (county, legislative,

etc). Straw polls may be conducted in order to select delegates for House, Senate, and Judicial districts. In

most causes, multi-country districts do not elect delegates during the caucus process but will at the

County Assembly.

• Once the entire caucus is assembled, each person declares a candidate preference and a tally is kept.

• The Chair (or someone good at math) using the math worksheet, determines which groups reach the

15% threshold and how many delegates they receive.

D. Make sure a calculator is available. Advance practice using the work sheet with some sample problems

before you go to the caucus will help immensely. If you have any questions as you are reading this in

advance, contact the State HQ at 303-623-4762 or e-mail your questions so answers can be provided to all

who may have the same question.

If you are planning to vote in this important swing state on Super Tuesday I have just one question:

Did you bring your calculator?

P.S. In the end we left volleyball early, hired a sitter and both went to the caucus. It took 2.5 hours. In that time we lost 1lb/hr in sweat. We had 120 people from precinct 622 in a small elementary school classroom. Nine precincts caucused at the school surrounded on all sides by precinct 622 but precinct 622 was NOT ONE OF THEM.

It was poorly organized but about a half hour after we crammed into our classroom our volunteer leader got things started. All 120 of us were white. We were all upper middle class ( is that still a thing?) except the one guy who told us he was living in his parent’s basement. As we had an informal poll (80 for Clinton, 30 for Sanders 10 undecided) I realized that it wasn’t JUST that our our neighborhood is homogenous, but that also caucuses are elitist. It takes resources to leave your job and or find childcare to participate in a caucus. It was as if the whole room was filled with museum docents…lovely, educated elderly ladies and gentlemen with white hair.

There was lots of speaking in support of candidates. Then the final vote. (80 for Clinton, 30 for Sanders, 10 undecided.) As it turns out no one needed a calculator. Except to figure out how MANY people skipped this voting process compared to an open primary.

Piss off pumpkin


Dear pumpkin,

You have haunted me like the holiday you belong to. Beginning in September, when it was 80 degrees in most spots you and your spooky spices started showing up on chalkboards everywhere.

What sort of exorcism will I need to get you out of Trader Joe’s? At first I thought you were just all over the flyer…but no. You have overtaken endcaps, you are on the top shelves and the tasting area. You are in baked goods (reasonable) coffees (gross) and beer (I have no words.)

How did one innocuous food ruin so many things?

Go away.
Go away.

It’s not just your smell and taste. It’s the sound of you as I try to write about sex and the barista announces pumpkin chai (extra hot, because it is, right?) No. It is not extra hot. There is nothing less sexy than a pumpkin chai.

If pumpkin chai were a person she would have a powdered face and a spinning wheel. And she would be whipping up a scratchy sweater made of some sort of pumpkin pulp.

When did a food become a drink? We don’t have spaghetti squash lattes. That would be gross. Even with spices. Although it might make for better spun sweaters.

See that sign. Made with real pumpkin? What is unreal pumpkin? Have you managed to clone yourself? Are you growing on the backs of mice like ears? Are you so in demand that we need a chemical facsimile to satisfy our pumpkin needs?

I welcome you for three days a year. The day before Halloween. The day of Halloween. And thanksgiving. You show your true face on all hallow’s eve, the ghosts and witches glow and you don’t pretend to be warm and welcoming. Go be your ghoulish self and stay out of my coffee.

And take your damn spices with you.



This Mouth Is On Fire

I grew up just a few miles from the first Trader Joe’s store that opened its door outside of the West. Yet I never stepped through them.

TJ’s goodies were all around during my young adulthood my friends were brand ambassadors before there was a term for it. If the store had offered services on Sundays many of them would have made their way into the hallowed rows of frozen delicacies.

Trader Joe’s opened in Vermont a month after I moved away, but my indoctrination came at the same time as my Vermont friend’s. I live a five minute walk from TJ’s even in the worst weather (even though Denver doesn’t have the worst weather (have I mentioned that before?)). My first few approaches had me walking the aisles as if it were a regular grocery store, expecting to balance my cart with fresh proteins and veggies. Go ahead, laugh.

Are you done?

Well I almost was. I took a long break from the Hawaiian-clad super helpers and drove to Whole Paychecks weekly to fork out cash. I basked in the self righteous feeling that comes from overpriced organic produce.  After complimenting a canape for the 17th time and having a friend proudly proclaim its provenance as Trader Joe’s I decided to go back.

Instead of shopping for meals I planned to hit the treats, snacks and specialty foods. I found that everyone had a favorite item.

A foodie friend recommended the tin of smoked trout. It is oily goodness that is great on a cracker with a bit of fruit. If you can’t finish the tin you are in trouble though because storage is a slimy bitch, and while you are wrestling it into whatever container you hope can contain it you will be swarmed by your cats. Unless you don’t have cats, in which case you will be swarmed by my cats who can sniff it out through time and space.

My friend on the Bernie campaign touts the tamales. I’m not sure if they have the candidate’s endorsement, but the freezer case certainly has variety. She says the sweet corn tamales are too sweet (its in the name sweetie) but the rest are great. I am intimidated by them because I don’t know whether the husk is a wrapper or an ingredient. She seems to be right about a lot of things though so maybe I’ll take on the tamale at some time in the future.

Cookie Butter. This stuff seems to be universally acclaimed. The name…cookie…butter… brings to mind a creamy slightly savory cookie dough. They got me with the ginger flavor though. I find it repulsive. Which is probably a good thing as I have watched friends dig into a tub with two fingers leaning over the sink to catch the spills, which never stay in the sink but end up in the sink hole of their cookie butter loving mouth.

My favorite is none of the above. Although I claim to be a savory snacker it is a sweet treat that tempts me at TJs. By tempts me you might imagine that when I am wandering the store for other healthy items I demurely add a candy bar or two to my reusable bag. This is not the case. What I do is gather 3/4 of the display into my greedy fist and bring the candy and only the candy to the check out.

Here it is.

See the small print?
See the small print?

Aren’t they beautiful? At least the ones I have left for other people to enjoy?

Look really closely. Not just at how happy the olde timey couple is…but at the fine print. “A popping sensation that will ignite your sense!” Ignite.That is the magic people. Whole people gather into rooms to see ignite slide shows. Rockets head to space after ignition. Artists strive to ignite their inner fire to create life changing work. And really it is all available in CHOCOLATE for ONE DOLLAR AND NINETY NINE CENTS. It would be a bargain at 10 times the cost. All I had to do was eat two squares of delicious subtly spiced and textured chocolate and for less than 25 cents I was able to USE ALL CAPITALS. WITHOUT IRONY. [Tweet theme=”basic-white”]THE EXCLAMATION POINT MAY EVEN WORK! LET ME TRY !!!! THEY DO !!!!!!!!!!!!![/Tweet]

What ignites you at Trader Joe’s? I know you all have a secret selection that just might change lives.