Some BIG News

So, remember when I told you it was a big week last week? I appeared on TV for the first time and I had my first book signing ever. Well, guess what? I have even BIGGER news for today. HUGE, I tell ya. HUGE.

I sold two books to Random House! Like, for real money! Not free Swiffers or a coffee mug (which is usually the currency I am offered for my writing). They are giving me American dollars! (I would have even accepted British pounds.) Crazy, right??

The first one: People I Want to Punch in the Throat: Telling It Like It Is (yeah, that's probably not what the publisher will let me call it, but a girl can dream) will be out in Spring 2014 and then, hold onto your knickers, because Spending the Holidays with People I Want to Punch in the Throat will be released in December 2014!!

Yep. They're re-releasing the Holidays book. But this time it's going to be bigger, better, faster (OK, not faster). I've got new chapters that I'm adding along with some new pictures.

Just think. If you have the current edition it's almost like having a collector's item. It could be worth fifty cents at your garage sale now instead of a quarter!

I've taken down the Holidays book from Amazon, et al. because I would feel like shit if someone bought it today and then read this and was like, "Well, I just wasted my money."

At 41 years old, the dreams and goals of a five-year-old girl are finally coming true. (Yep, I've wanted to see my book in a book store since I was five.) It took a long time, but it's finally here and I'm over the moon with excitement, joy, and gratitude. Thank you to all of YOU who have supported me, read me, left me comments, bought my books, left me reviews, referred a friend to me, shared me on Facebook, blogs, Twitter, message boards, Pinterest, and anywhere else you can share.

http://www.emilymcdowell.com



Weekly Wrap Up 4.28.13

Whoa. What a week, you guys! I just finally got through all of the comments from this week. You guys are on fire!! Between Gwyneth and whether or not kids should have privacy, you had a lot to say!

I was a bit busy too. I made my television debut Friday to promote I Just Want to Pee Alone. Ack!!! Stacey from Nurse Mommy Laughs arranged for us to be on a local morning show this week. I was terrified. There is a reason why I write and I don't act. I was reading through all of the information about appearing on the show and they gave some helpful tips about what and what not to do. For instance, they recommended you wear bright colors. I just couldn't do that. Instead I chose to go with black and white, EVEN after their suggestion that black and white do not do well on TV. I'm not afraid to live on the edge like that. And when you watch the segment, you'll see that Stacey follows directions really well. She was in turquoise. Our host was in purple. Can you imagine if I'd thrown a pink in there? We would have looked like a basket of Easter eggs. I did wear a little sparkle though. I was wild!

Another suggestion that was made was to wear more makeup than usual. Well, since I don't wear much at all, I knew that meant A LOT more than usual. I was worried that I'd end up looking like a river boat madame or an escapee from clown college if I didn't get some professional help. On Thursday I spent two hours (and a hundred bucks) at the makeup counter in Macy's. The wonderfully patient and kind Karem taught me to apply just enough makeup to look a bit like a whore in person, but just right on television. It's a delicate balance, yo.

My daughter was mesmerized by my new look and couldn't get over how many products it took to look this good (not to mention the HOUR it took me to apply it). I think I've convinced her that lipgloss is good enough. My job is done.

Karem had to pull out all the stops and went for the BIG tray of eyeshadows.

When we arrived at the studio, we found out that Cindy Williams AKA "Shirley Feeney" was going to be on the show. Oh. My. God. Schlemiel schlimazel hasenpfeffer incorporated!! To a little girl of the 70s those zany broads were awesome! They empowered a whole generation with their theme song. I dare you not to sing it now. "We're gonna do it!!"

When she arrived I went all fan girl and goofy and said something like "Thank you for being funny and for empowering little girls." Basically, I just vomited sunshine and rainbows all over her, because I am an idiot. I am such an idiot that when we gave her a copy of I Just Want to Pee Alone and she asked us to sign it for her, I signed it to "Shirley." Yeah. I did that. Annnnd, it wasn't until that night when I finally watched the show and I saw the title bar come up under her picture saying "Cindy Williams" that I screamed, "Cindy???? Cindy???? Her name is is Cindy?!!! I did NOT write Cindy in that book. Oh shit. I signed it to 'Shirley'."

Soooo ... on the off chance you're reading this Ms. Williams, all I can say is, "Whoops. Sorry about that."

On Saturday (I told you it was a busy week!) I saw Stacey yet again (Are you sick of me yet, Stacey?) for my very first book signing. We were joined by Tara of You Know it Happens at Your House Too who found people kind enough and crazy enough to take her five kids for the weekend so she and Farmer Bob could trek it up to the Big City for a long weekend. It was a blast. We had a great turnout and we drank way too many mimosas.


I even bought new Lady Bic pens, because I thought they would help me come up with something more intelligent to write than, "Good stuff in here!"


GIVEAWAY WINNER!!!

I wrote a review for Moms Who Drink and Swear, Scary Mommy, and Crappy Pictures. I also promised I'd give a copy of each of their books to one lucky winner.

The winner is ::drum roll::

Who wants to teach their kids how to have a stick stuck up their a$$ all their lives? Not me! You have to have a healthy sense of humor to parent because it's over in the blink of an eye and you'll be the a-hole parent who was more concerned with "proper" parenting than letting the kids have ice cream for dinner when it's 95 degrees and laughing at their arm fart noises. Besides, parenting is more fun when you laugh.
P.S. I love to read. I love moms with snarky humor and non stepford children. I love PIWTPITT. (Did that earn me enough points or should I keep going?)
Congratulations, Shauna B!!! Please email me at [email protected] to claim your prizes.

Top Read Posts This Week:

Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy - Parenting is hard and this right here is one of the reasons why. It's so difficult to know what is the right answer. We can just do our best.

Gwyneth Paltrow - Remember those commercials where that model would say, "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" ? I feel like this is what Gwyneth keeps saying. I don't hate Gwyneth because she's beautiful, I can't stand her because she is an overachieving mother on crack. She raises the bar so high that NO ONE can reach it.

Ryan Lochte and his Mom - Jeah, this d-bag got his own television show this week. I haven't seen it yet, but once I do, you know there will be a review.

Lotus Birth Bags - One more way to out mom each other is to carry around your placenta in a stylish, yet functional bag!

Favorite Comments (and My Replies if Necessary):

Well... I think she's pretty, and I think she does a good job acting usually. That's about where my thinking of her ends. If she was my friend and did all that is claimed, I would force margaritas down her throat until she snapped out it. How bout the earrings on goop for $1250? One is a safety pin and one is the word "love"-they're both 18k - you'd think for $1250 they could've manage to eek out 2 "love" earrings. on Gwyneth Paltrow

I finally stopped reading those magazines because they are horseshit. I only like that one section they all have - "Stars: Just Like Us". It makes me laugh. Because apparently giving the nanny the day off and taking their own kid to the park makes them just like us peasants. I feel like it's worth noting that my husband doesn't think Gwynnie is pretty. But he tells me that I am all the time. So, he's pretty awesome. Or blind. I'm kind of torn on this one. on Gwyneth Paltrow

Exactly! I hate those sections! "Look at Halle Berry. She chews gum! She is just like us!" or "Look at Hugh Jackman. He swims in the ocean with his kids sometimes! Wow, what a fantastic dad! Just like us!" 

I am sorry, but I have a total soft spot for Sliding Doors. John Hannah is adorable in that movie and I love the whole premise. In fact, my junior and senior years in college, it was on near constantly in my dorm. That being said, she does sound like a total douche, but she grew up in the biz, so I'm sure that contributed to it. on Gwyneth Paltrow

I do too! I think this is why I feel so betrayed by crazy Gwyneth. Between Sliding Doors and Emma I was a fan big time. I loved those two movies and I loved her in them. 

This actually just reads as a jealous, close-minded, ignorant asshole. You many pass judgement but God forbid anyone point that mirror back to you. In reality this is just one step above mean girl status; actually it is mean girl status. You are downing someone who lives differently from you solely because you don't understand their lifestyle? Does it make you feel better about your life? I hope you're proud. And no, I'm not a GP fan. on Gwyneth Paltrow 

Meow. Saucer of milk, table for two? You just devoted so much anger and bitterness towards a decision People magazine made. Don't call someone out for their pathetic "first world problems" without admitting you've got them, too. I do love reading your blog, but this one seems unnecessarily...something. I'm not a huge Gwen fan, but speculating on her when I don't have any idea about who she really, truly is feels like a waste of time. on Gwyneth Paltrow 

These were two of my favorite negative comments. I'm always "jealous." It can never be anything but jealousy. I'm just a jealous, jealous harpy of a woman. I sit around all day just being jealous. 

That's bullshit. I am not jealous of Gwyneth's life. I do not have any desire to work out for two hours a day with nothing for sustenance except a muffin made from tree bark and gravel. I have no desire to be married to a rock star who constantly tours and has panties thrown at him. I do not want to hang out with Beyonce and Jay-Z. I will admit, to a TINY twinge of jealousy when she gets to kiss Robert Downey, Jr. That little hunky fella has been on my list since middle school!

I didn't even need to address these comments, because I have awesome readers who "get" me and always defend me so much better than I could defend myself:

Of course Jen is happy to hear alternating viewpoints. But you don't seem to have one. Your viewpoint appears to be that b/c Jen wrote the article disagreeing with the pick and explaining her reasons why, in true PIWTPITT fashion, she is bitter and angry. She is angry, I guess, that People would choose someone who seems out of touch with the readership of the magazine. Jen very clearly makes fun of herself throughout this article (in fact, in most of her posts), she never acts like she doesn't have 'first-world problems.' By all means, disagree. But at least offer up an opinion on the topic, as opposed to just being upset or offended that a snarky blog is actually snarky. on Gwyneth Paltrow

I don't know why people think your blog is so funny. I find it just downright mean and very judgemental. Guess it's not for everyone. on Douchey Dads

It certainly isn't. Glad you figured that out before you wasted any more of your precious time on me and my blog. Thanks for letting me know too that I'm mean and judgmental. It was really kind of you. Not at ALL mean and/or judgmental. Just, y'know, friendly and helpful. Thanks. I needed that honest and open communication from you so that I can go ahead and tell you to go fuck yourself.

Bra-vo, Jen, bra-vo! This is so right on. What if the Columbine parents had gone into their sons' rooms? Would all of those kids have died? I am raising four boys. Boys give you a one word answer which is usually "fine" or "nothing." You better believe if I feel more information is needed I will seek it myself. I am not their friend - I am their mom. It is my job to raise them as decent human beings and to keep them safe. I will go to any means necessary to do that. As a person who struggled with depression in high school and who would never open up to my parents, I WISH my mom would have read my diary. Then I could have gotten the help I was too afraid to ask for. on Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

While I normally come to this blog for your sarcastic sense of humor. This entry was very serious, but also the best one I have read yet. I am single full time Dad of 3 and I agree with EVERY WORD you wrote. on Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

I don't agree at all that by monitoring your kids' internet and cell phone usage or by reading their diaries that you're teaching them to snoop. There's a hell of a big difference between a parent checking up on their kids, and a kid just being nosy. Part of teaching your kid respect is teaching them what behavior is acceptable of what people and under what circumstances. As a kid I heard my parents swearing, and my dad would have the occasional after-work beer. That in no way meant that I, a child, felt that I should be knocking back a beer after a rough day on the playground, cussing, or digging through my mom's dresser drawers (not that I wanted to do that...bras, terrifying!). As long as I'm fully liable for the actions of the small person living in my home, guess what kid? Your shit, which is actually MY shit that I let you use, is all fair game. Deal with it. on Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

Well this is a tough one indeed. I think the reality is that most people will find a balance for their families. A person's thoughts are their own and I would not be able to express myself honestly if I knew I was being monitored and I wouldn't want to take that creative impulse away from someone else. However, online communication changes things and situations can get out of hand quickly. The final question remains for me - what happens when we are no longer watching the children? We can't monitor their behavior forever. Are they only good because they fear we will find out? on Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

Yours are the types of questions that keep me up at night. I'm just trying to do this right and not screw it up. Thanks for your comment. 

I completely understand and respect where you're coming from, but I have to disagree with you -- at least partially. I'm 17, and I have a very good relationship with my parents. They let me have a great deal of privacy, and trust me to come to them if I need help with something. I trust both of my parents, and they trust me. And because they trust me, I am very open with them -- I have nothing to hide. And I actually ENJOY coming to them with stuff, they give good advice! :P What I'm trying to say is this: there's something to be said about raising your kids to be comfortable sharing things with you, the parent. A child/parent relationship built on mutual respect and trust is a pretty great thing -- and it's something that never would have developed if I caught my mom reading my text messages or journal. And take it from me, being super nosey and controlling won't get you anywhere; your kids will just get sneakier. on Why My Children Have No Right to Privacy

I love that I have so many young, articulate, and amazing young women who read this blog and who love to disagree with me. This is the second comment from a teenager I've featured this month who told me they thought I was wrong. These girls are badass! It sounds like you have your shit together and you've got a great relationship with your parents. Good for you! I want to meet your mom and dad!  

The one time my husband peeped my stepdaughter's diary, she was about 7. She had written a whole entry about how much she looked up to her stepmom, the liar. She said she might want to be a liar herself one day, because of my example. My husband about pissed himself laughing. Gratified as I was that she thought so highly of me, we did find a way to subtly let her know that it is l-a-w-y-e-r. onWhy My Children Have No Right to Privacy

This made me laugh so hard. I just had to include it this week. What a great story to tell her someday. 

Gwyneth Paltrow

Did you hear the news? Gwyneth Paltrow has been named People magazine's Most Beautiful Woman in All the Land or something like that. Ugh, please. Anyone but her.

First, let me get the obvious out of the way. Yes, yes, yes, she's gorgeous. It is nearly impossible to believe that we are the same age. I swear she's got a portrait in a closet somewhere that looks like a dried out fish monger's wife. (Dorian Gray, anyone?? Or is the only gray you read 50 Shades??)

Let's just compare me and Gwyneth: her skin is ah-may-zing compared to my skin which defies nature as it is both chalky and sun damaged. Gwyneth's (presumably, since she's never let me get close enough to touch it) soft and wrinkle-free face actually gives me a visual aid for when magazines describe "glowing" and "dewy" complexions. I understand what those words means now. Gwyneth's long, silken tresses beg to be touched, while my mousy graying hair actually looks sharp to the touch and is currently so short, my daughter accused me of being a man the other day. Gwyneth's body. Do I even have to say it? When you're 5'9" like Gwynnie, you're already leaps and bounds ahead of the average woman. Her legs are as long as my entire body.

I suppose we could all look like Gwyneth if we bought her number one selling cookbook (who the hell is buying this thing??) that dishes up recipes completely devoid of: meat, soy, wheat, gluten, coffee, dairy, alcohol, sugar, shellfish, potatoes, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, corn, or anything processed. I'm not sure what that leaves? Raw leafy greens washed down with coconut water (she didn't expressly forbid tap water, but I'm assuming that's a big no no when you're on a "clean diet")? Actually, in her cookbook she mentions a salad she enjoys: arugula with maple syrup because the syrup adds an "another layer of autumnal yum!"

Mmm .. autumnal yum! Just needs a little more maple syrup!
When you break down her daily menus in her book, it's been estimated that a day's worth of "Gwynnie Food" will cost you $300 and you'll still go to bed hungry. A small price to pay, I guess, to be named Most Beautiful.

OK, so she's beautiful and if we're just judging on looks alone, then I guess she wins. BUT, come on, People. She's so faux, her behavior actually forced me to write the word "faux." She used to be normal back in the day and then it's like the lack the of sugar and alcohol drained her of all her normal human personality traits and now she's some bizarro vegan Stepford Wife who spouts nonsense like, "I am who I am. I can't pretend to be somebody who makes $25,000 a year" when she doesn't even behave like somebody who makes $250,000 a year. She brags about making films that "... will be interesting and that have integrity. I hate those tacky, pointless, big, fluffy, unimportant movies" and then she makes movies like Iron Man 1, 2, and 3 and The Avengers. (All super important movies.)

How could you choose her, People? Do you know your audience? Your audience is people like me: wrinkled people with easy hairdos who have barely heard of Veganaise, let alone eaten it. I'm never going to drink Gwyneth's green morning energy drink. I just read a review that described it as tasting like "the water from your salad spinner" and that was the kindest review I could find. A quick glance at her asinine website Goop, proves that she is so out of touch with reality she is like a modern day Marie Antoinette living in her palatial London spread saying ridiculous things like everyone should have a wood burning pizza oven in their garden. (BTW, what sort of pizza is she making without wheat, tomatoes, or peppers? Answer: Pizza that tastes like ass.) She lives in such a bubble where she she really believes she is just a normal "mum" who would "die" if she let her kids eat Cup-a-Soup. She is a normal mum who is married to a rock star, who eats nothing but tree bark and salad spinner water while living in her multi, multi, multi-million dollar properties and selling shit online like a like a must-have $298 robe that she touts is perfect for "lazy days."

Of course she does. This is someone who has been besties with Madonna (who also fancies herself a Brit and was once caught on tape saying she "absolutely loathes hydrangeas" just after a devoted fan gave her hydrangeas) and now Beyonce ("Queen B" as I'm sure Bey prefers Gwynnie call her) has assumed the BFF role. Poor Gwyneth doesn't have a chance to be normal when she surrounds herself with people like Beyonce who is so upset about the unflattering, snarling photos taken of her fierce performance at the Super Bowl that now all professional photographers except for the one she's hired are banned from her current tour. Gwyneth is a woman whose first world problems include asshole concierges in Paris hotels who don't give her the real skinny on the good organic wine bars and the best place to get a Brazilian. (Who is in Paris long enough to need a Brazilian while you are still on vacation???)

No, People magazine, I think you missed the mark on this one. You've actually created a monster. The humble bragging has already begun. Gwyneth said, "I honestly thought someone was playing a joke on me."

Yes, Gwyneth, I thought the same thing when I heard the news.


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If you want to know what I think of "Conscious Uncoupling" read here.

A (Good) PIWTPITT Book Review


Did you notice that April was new book release month? I noticed this last year when it seemed like everyone and their mother had a new book coming out. Last year I was kind of bummed because I didn't have my book ready. I wasn't even sure what my book would be about. Wah wah (that's my sad trombone sound).

This year I'm not bummed, I'm so excited, because several of the new April best seller's are my friends! (OK, so I've never actually sat down and had a cup of coffee with any of these women, but that's only because Kansas isn't close to anyone! Wah wah. The beauty of the internet is I don't need to have coffee once a week with these girls to feel like we're friends.) I'm so excited for all of them and I just know their books are going to be big successes!

Have you read these books yet? NO? What are you waiting for? My review? OK, well, here's a quick look at them:

Moms Who Drink and Swear by Nicole Knepper - If you ever thought you were the only mom who drops the f-bomb while making a new friend in the McDonald's Playland in your pajamas, you'd be wrong. I'm going to start hanging out in my local McDonald's in my pajamas hoping Nikki will pick me up. This funny and heartwarming book will make you feel like you're not alone in this crazy world.

Nikki may have a fierce sounding name and she might like to call her kids "crotchfruit," but let me tell you a secret: Nikki is a big ole' softy. This girl loves those crotchfruit like no one else. She adores her husband and idolizes her parents. She can be funny and witty and then turn around and make you cry with her honesty and her poignancy! This book is a love story to her family and we're so lucky that she's letting us read it.


Parenting: Illustrated with Crappy Pictures by Amber Dusick - Have you ever seen a crappy drawing of chewed up bubble gum stuck in a little girl's undies or a disgusting public toilet where you're trying to potty train little boys or a harried woman mesmerized by the Target "eye"? No? Well, then you're missing out.

Amber is one of my favorite artists. I would frame some of her crappy pictures and put them on my wall if I had a color printer. This book is full of hilarious and adorable stories about Amber and her kids. Yes, her kids are cute and funny, no she does not think they're ah-may-zing. Amber is real and has no qualms telling you that her kids won't eat their veggies because they're "too fucking hot" or give her some time on the throne.


Motherhood Comes Naturally and Other Vicious Lies by Jill Smokler - I don't know about you, but I have noooo trouble being a mother. I love what pregnancy did to my body (let's face it, it wasn't that great to start with), I enjoy bathing with an audience of two, I live for middle of the night wake ups when kids are crying, and I plan to get tons of sleep once they go off to college. Sleep is over rated. (Says the woman writing this at 4:30 in the morning.) You disagree with me? Good! Then this is the book for you. Jill shares the biggest lies you'll ever hear like going from two kids to three kids is a breeze and Mother's Day is all about you.


Do these books sound like your cup of tea? Want to win a copy of them? I've got a free copy with your name on it. All you have to do is leave me a comment on the blog between now and April 26th telling me why you think it's important to have a sense of humor when you're parenting. I'll pick a winner and announce it Friday on my Facebook page, so make sure you're following me there if you want to win. 

Psst .. Hey husbands, if you don't win these would all make great gifts for Mother's Day. You know what else would? I Just Want to Pee Alone

Disclaimer: Yeah, I got these books for free. See? I told you guys I was friends with these writers. They didn't even make me pay or anything. That's like 50 bucks worth of free books! You know me well enough by now that if I didn't like these books I'd tell you, so you can trust me when I say these books are awesome. 


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Big Bags of Crap

On Sunday afternoon I went crazy.

I went in my walk in closet to find a particular shirt and I couldn't even find my hand. My closet has become the Bermuda Triangle of our house. Twice a month the cleaning lady comes to our house and twice a month I shove laundry baskets of crap into my closet. I shove bags of shit (OK, not real shit, but you get my drift) into my closet: art projects from school, dirty clothes, clean clothes that I haven't had time to put away, books, sheets and towels. Stuff goes in there and never comes back out. Besides all of this crap that really doesn't belong in a closet I have clothes in there that haven't been worn outside since 1990.

I tried to push into my closet and when I couldn't get the door open all the way, something inside of me snapped. "That's it!" I screamed. I stomped into the kitchen and grabbed the box of garbage bags and stomped back to my room. I logged into my computer (Yes, I wanted to check Facebook just one more time before I started my journey. This was going to be hard and I needed some virtual ((hugs)) to keep me going!) and scheduled an appointment with my favorite donation center to come and pick up the good stuff I was bound to find in there. (Plus, I needed a deadline to work towards if this was gonna get done!) Someone will be there on Tuesday! the donation center's site told me. Shit. That's quick. Better log off Facebook. One more look ... Yum! Trisha's lunch looks delicious!

I started pulling piles of junk out of my closet and organizing it into two piles: TOSS/RAGS (Q: How many t-shirts can a person own that are misshapen and pit-stained? A: 30. Upside: New Rags!) and DONATE.

It was quickly apparent that I have a problem. Remember a while ago when I thought Adolpha might be a hoarder? If she is, it's my fault.

I had a pile of jeans on my bed ready to donate. Jeans that haven't been worn since 1990. Light denim jeans with high waists and no stretch in them. I don't know about you, but I haven't worn jeans without a bit of stretch in them for at least 10 years. Plus, do you remember how HEAVY jeans used to be? I bet this pile of jeans weighed 25 pounds. Despite all of these drawbacks, this pile of jeans kept calling me back. Maybe you'll need to do some messy yardwork, I told myself. You won't want to wreck your good stretchy jeans. You should keep some of those for messy yardwork days. Yeah. Guess how many times I've done "messy yardwork" since 1990? If you guessed "none" you'd be right.

I took a deep breath, said a quick goodbye to my old friends, jammed the jeans into a garbage bag, and turned my attention to a pile of power suits circa 1994. The shoulder pads! The pin stripes (yeah, I had a real affinity for pin striped jackets)! The modest, knee skimming skirts! The matching sensible pumps!

The suits were easier to bag up than the jeans. I hope there is never an instance in my life that I am required to wear a suit. Or if there is I'll just buy a new one that isn't so ... what's the word I'm looking for? Matronly. Seriously, who wears a matronly suit at 25? This girl did.

The final piles were more Eddie Bauer, Lands End, and J. Crew sweaters than a person should be allowed to own. I think at one point in my life I must have thought every day was a catalog shoot for these brands. It didn't matter what the occasion, I had the perfect sweater for it!

Going boating? Let me just grab my cable knit fisherman sweater!


I ended up keeping this one. I might go boating again and it will come in handy.

Berry picking? How about this jaunty, cozy fall cardigan?


Yeah, I guess I never went berry picking, because this one still has a tag on it. According to the tag I bought this on clearance for $40. Ahh, the days before I had kids and I could spend money willy-nilly!

Christmas party? At a cabin? In the woods? No worries, I got it covered.

Really funny story about this sweater. I'm writing it right now for my new book, but let's just say imagine me going to lunch at Le Cirque in Manhattan wearing this sweater paired with a prairie skirt and meeting Ivana Trump.

I worked tirelessly all day yesterday finishing up before my deadline and I am ready for the pick up this morning. I have 16 trash bags full of clothes, shoes, and accessories.

I am rarely embarrassed, but this morning I am embarrassed by my front hall. No one should have over two decades worth of clothing sitting in their front hall.

No one should have ever bought half of this stuff to begin with. Did you see that Christmas sweater? Believe it or not, it was a favorite!! Let's just say, Ivana was not impressed.

I've been told that the 90s styles are coming back. Ugh. Well, I have some good news for any short, plus-sized hipster who will be shopping at my local thrift store in the next week or so. Go get it, girl!


Weekly Wrap Up 4.6.13

Let's see. What's been going on since we wrapped up last?

I turned 41, which wasn't nearly as painful as 40. I guess the closer you get to 50, the more numb you become?? No, you didn't miss a huge party or anything. I celebrated at Red Robin, because the birthday person gets a free sundae that my kid like to eat for me. The Hubs ordered me a new Kindle last night, so I'm guessing that will count as my present. Thanks, Hubs!

I Just Want to Pee Alone is killing it. The reviews are fantastic and my co-contributors and I are fielding so many press calls left and right from small, regional news sources that we feel like rockstars. I mean, how many of you can say you were interviewed by The Shepherdstown Chronicle? Besides West Virginia, I've made the leap to international stardom. It's ironic, really, that I can't get the Kansas City Star to notice me, but I've been interviewed on the radio in Ireland and if Google's translation skills are to be believed, this site in Brazil called me a "negative bastard." Why doesn't the Kansas City Star want to interview this negative bastard? Oh well, their loss.

Because I Just Want to Pee Alone is going so well, I've started a new site. Why? Because I hate sleep, that's why. Actually, the Hubs is doing the bulk of this site, because I love sleep. The new site is called - wait for it - ijustwanttopeealone.com. Catchy, right? So this site is going to be cool. I know that there are lots and lots of you out there who have something to say. I've heard from many people who already want to submit for IJWTPA Volume 2. Well, Volume 2 is a ways off, so that's why I started the site. This way I can showcase all of the amazing talent that's out there and help you find your audience. The site is up and live and ready for submissions, so check it out. Do me a favor, would you? Please let all of your writer friends know so they can submit too. There is also a Facebook page for the site, so be sure to follow it too. It won't be all book promo stuff, I promise.

Do you live in Minnesota? I know it's a big state, but maybe you live near Wayzata? If you do, then you should go and meet Michelle Newman of You're My Favorite Today at her booksigning!

If you're in Kansas City, don't forget that you have two opportunities to come and see me. I'll be doing a live reading with some other amazing bloggers at the Kansas City Listen to Your Mother show and I'll be signing books at the Mommy Shop in Overland Park.

Top Read Posts This Week:

Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow! - Attention Target shoppers! Target thinks you're a sea cow.

The Lady at the Self Checkout - This is a reminder why it is never wise to risk the self-checkout the day before a holiday.

My Retirement Plan Sucks - Pssst! Looking for a good investment tip? I've got a hot one for you! Check it out.

The Costume Designers at Mad Men Need to Keep Their Hands Off Jon's Family Jewels - If you've got 'em, flaunt 'em.

Victoria's Secret - Vicky wants to sell your tween panties that you would be embarrassed to wear.

My Favorite Comments (and My Replies if Necessary):

How about Piggy Pink? on Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

I'm kinda partial to the Retaining Water Blue. on Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

Don't forget the Junk in the Trunk Jewel Tones Collection for Fall. on Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

I dont think I have laughed that hard at anything in long time. Your beluga - Oh God, My Eyes - White had me snorting while I was laughing so hard I was crying. To top it off, Im at work which made things even more hysterical. Thanks for that. You have made my day, weekend, week, and month!!! on Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

I always thought it would be fun to name the colors in a seasonal line, but after ten seasons of renaming grey, I would probably be the fuck up that made almost all women hate Target. A feat that before this week seemed impossible. on Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

Coming next season: fat ass fusia, lardass lavender, obese orange and drop the donut damask. assholes. on Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

I love you. My kids are still in day-care, so most of the "other moms" are also harried working moms who barely have time to get the laundry done, and probably used their finger to get the last of the PB out of the jar this morning because they haven't been to the grocery store in 2 weeks. Also, my kids go to Jewish day-care, ergo no secular holidays… which is basically a giant bonus "mom pass" on all the shit you mentioned above, plus Halloween costumes. However, I realize this time is precious, because soon I will have to interact with (compete with? be compared to? be shamed by? be judged by?) the OAMs since they will have kids in kindergarten/first grade. (Presumably, they are too overachieving to allow “strangers to raise their children” as I have oh so regrettably done.) Anyway, I'm about to enter a land of women who are planning to hit yoga and grab a latte and possibly get a mani-pedi after drop off, as opposed to rushing to the office and spending their lunch hour at on The Over Achievers Are at it Again

I dunno, with global warming, coats may become obsolete. Maybe you should start stockpiling sandals just in case. ;) on My Retirement Plan Sucks

I thought about that too, and luckily we've got a good start on sandals and flip flops, so I think we'll be good.

A friend told me recently that there are scholarships and tuition discounts for Eagle Scouts so I have decided all that camping and scouting crap that my hubby and the boy do together might pay off after all. Hubby went to a 3 day "leader training" a few weeks ago that involved camping in snow because evidently when the boy graduates from webelos they start camping 12 months out of the year! So I figure we won't need dorm expenses in college, he can just get a camping space close to campus and live in a tent. The girl is like me and won't go near a tent but all this gymnastics might qualify her as a pole dancer or something so I am definitely investing in skills of sustainability for them both! on My Retirement Plan Sucks

Don't you lie - you saw this magnificent wreck of a woman and parked it right behind her, knowing FULL WELL that the line beside you was moving right along. "It's okay," you told the nice man who tapped you on the shoulder and pointed at the available self check stand, "I have a blog post due, and this will make for a good one." on The Lady at the Self-Checkout

PIWTPITT, me and my mom read your blog constantly, and I usually agree with what you have to say. But today, I disagree. Coming from me (a modest 17 year old girl), I have never bought any of the "call me" underwear. I honestly go right past it and to the regular people underwear. My mom takes me to VS because they're great at figuring out your exact bra size and finding the right bra for your body. If i had picked up a neon-zebra print thong, she would say "What the heck, D." I have friends that wear that type of underwear, and it doesn't make them racy. It's a personal preference and whatever they think is comfortable. Yes, I had a VS bra in middle school, because of ridiculous puberty, but that doesn't make me slutty. It just means I wanted a bra that would last longer than one from Target. Besides, it seems to me that this is towards college age girls. VS may claim everything to be "Very Sexy", but that doesn't make them a bad company. Young girls (middle school - college) can on Victoria's Secret

Hey Girl, Thank you for your comment. You are an articulate young woman who leaves grammatically correct dissensions. Thank you for that. I completely understand needing a bra in middle school. I was right there with you, getting some horrible contraption before everyone else. In my day, we didn't have any choices for young girls, so I ended up with some granny looking thing. But that's beside the point. What I wanted to say to you was: I think you made my point when you said if you ever picked up a neon zebra print thong, your mother would say, "What the heck, D?" Your mother is watching you. She is guiding you. Your mother is there helping you pick appropriate clothing for you. That's all I'm asking for. I'm asking for more mothers to get involved. If your friends want to wear these types of clothing, I just want to make sure their mothers are aware. I'm so over the top about this kind of stuff that if a teenager emails me and tells me she reads my blog, I tell her to go show the blog to her mother and get her permission. Parents need to know what their kids are wearing, reading, watching, etc. There are many parents out there who would not find me appropriate reading material and I'm OK with that. It's easy for me right now, because my daughter is six, but someday the marketing will work and she will be drawn to panties that say "Let's Get It On" or something equally brazen and I will want to know "Why??" Why does she need these panties. What does she really get from these panties instead of a pair that says nothing? That is my concern with this sort of clothing. You don't need to wear sexy panties to feel confident or beautiful or sexy. 


Holy Cow, Target! You Think I'm a Cow!

This morning I woke up and found out that Target kind of hates plus-sized women.

So, there's this Mossimo maxi dress that comes in standard sizes and plus sizes. The standard size comes in a grey color Target calls "Dark Heather Grey" and the plus size version is called "Manatee Grey."

I blew my tea out of my blow hole when I read that.

Manatee Grey?? How is this an attractive color name to begin with? How did they come up with Manatee Grey? I would love to hear the names that didn't make the cut. Was "Saggy Elephant Trunk Grey" taken? No one liked "Water Buffalo Grey?" Maybe they were going to offer this dress in different colors, but they couldn't come up with equally offensive names. What about "Big Blue Whale?" How about "Brown Cow?" Did they even consider "Beluga - Oh God, My Eyes! - White?"

Hey Girl, when you're done wearing your Manatee Grey maxi dress, can I borrow it? Because Target thinks we look about the same size.

Target swears this was not an intentional slight towards women with a little more cushion for the pushin' and the color "Manatee Grey" is one of their new colors for spring on many products in the company such as towels, rain boots, and t-shirts.

Yeah, I'm guessing only the beach towels are called Manatee Grey (because Beached Whale Grey didn't make the cut) and the hand towels are Dark Heather Grey.


My Retirement Plan Sucks

Last night I went with some friends to hear a financial planner tell me that I'm never going to have enough money to send my kids to college or retire. No big deal, I'm sure my kids will get scholarships (because they're ah-may-zing at everything they do - there are scholarships for personality plus as well as academics, right??) and I'll die at my computer slogging away on a tell-all book about my grandchildren.

I can't remember how it came up (probably when I said I was going to curb my spending and save more money this year and everyone laughed at me), but someone asked me how my New Year's coat resolution was going.

"Huh?" I asked.

"You know. The one where you're supposed to be hanging up your coat every day. The easy one. Much easier than giving up your Target card."

Shit. I had completely forgotten about that little promise.

"Umm . . . yeah, I've kind of sucked at that this winter. I'll do better this summer - and stop shopping at Target so much so I can save for my kids' education!"

Everyone laughed at me again, because they know I can never stop shopping. They know I have an addiction. I'm so addicted to shopping that I have SIX coats thrown over my dining room chairs. SIX! Who has six coats and probably four more that are actually hung up?

Six coats and a pashmina that I wore to a wedding this weekend. Along with copies of I Just Want to Pee Alone. Let me know if you need a copy, because I just saw a coat I'd like to get and I could use the cash. 
You know what? The financial planner warned us that the markets are so nuts and everything is volatile that you just can't guarantee any returns on your investments, but I figure I'm investing in the right place. There will always be a need for coats. As long as there is winter, coats will always be a strong commodity. So go ahead and invest in stocks and gold and bitcoins (why the hell didn't I invent these things??) and I'll keep investing in coats.

The Lady at the Self-Checkout

On Friday I realized that I had been assigned a fruit salad for Easter Sunday lunch at my mother's and all I had in the house was an over ripe banana and canned peaches. I realized I was going to have to brave the store on the Friday before a holiday. Ugh.

I grabbed my keys and my phone and told the Hubs to send reinforcements if I didn't return in an hour and I headed out the door. 

I arrived at Sam's Club and was greeted by a scene that can only be described as Apocalyptic. People were throwing 20 and 30 pound hams into their carts two at a time, the bakery section was ransacked and only some random birthday cakes were left, the old ladies fighting over the few remaining bags of potatoes looked like they might pull knife, and the butter - oh God, the butter - it was gone. All gone. Not a stick left.

I quickly grabbed what I needed and tried to keep a low profile. There didn't seem to be much hoarding going on in the fresh fruit aisle, but you never know when the mob might turn on you.

I made my way to the checkout only to find the lines at every register 10 or 12 people deep. The self-checkout lines caught my eye. Those tend to move a bit faster, because the people in those lines don't usually have a shit ton that they're buying - the only danger is getting stuck behind a novice. I decided to take my chances with the self-checkout.


Almost immediately I realized I'd made a mistake. 

The woman in front of me was more than a novice. She was a numb skull. She had five items in her cart: milk, ham, flowers, butter (where did she find that??), and bread. It took her a solid 10 minutes to check out. She swiped her membership card to start and then read every instruction on the screen:

"Remove the scanning device and begin scanning your purchases." 

"Hmm ... where is the device? What do they mean? This thing? How does it work? Do I just pull the trigger? Ack, my eyes! That laser beam kind of hurts!"

"Just scan the barcodes with it," I tried.

"Just hang on, I don't want to mess this up," she said. She started scanning. After each "beep" she would look at the screen and trace the item line with her finger: "Milk ... OK. There it is. Yeah, I think that price is right." 

"Beep!!"

"Ham ... twenty pounds. Whoa! That is kind of high! I wonder if I will need that much ham? Maybe I should have gotten a smaller one. Oh well, we'll have leftovers for lunches. OK, what's next?"

"Beep!!"

"Bouquet of flowers ... Mmm ... Those smell so good! Did I scan the milk?" 

"Beep!!" 

"Butter ... salted ... five pounds. I should have gotten more butter. That's not going to be enough."

And then it was time for the bread. The bread is a little tricky. You must get two loaves and you scan a barcode on a picture on the counter. Even an experienced self-checker-outer can screw up the bread.

You would think that maybe I would help her out at this point. That maybe I was anxious to be on my way and I'd politely help her figure out the bread situation. But remember, she snapped at me earlier when I tried to tell her how to use the scanner. 

So, nope. I've got nowhere to be. I'll just watch. I just wish I had some popcorn.

She started scanning her one loaf of bread. It would "beep," but when she'd check the display it would show an error. She'd look around sort of confused and helpless, but never once did she look to me or ask me for help. Fine, be that way!

She tried scanning about five more times before an employee finally came to check on her. "Everything OK, ma'am?" he asked.

"No. I can't get my bread to scan."

"Well, you need to do it here," he pointed to the picture of the bread. "Oh, and you need two loaves."

Wait for it ...

"I don't want to two loaves."

Boom.

"Yeah, well, you get two loaves."

"I don't want two loaves."

"I don't know what to tell you, ma'am. We sell it in a two-pack."

"Can't you just charge me for one loaf?"

"No, but you can pay for two and only take one."

"I don't want two loaves and I don't want to pay for two loaves."

"Then don't buy the bread ma'am. I'll put it back for you."

"But I need bread."

"Then go to another store."

And that's when she got mad. "I came here for groceries! I don't want to go to another store."

"I understand your frustration. We sell everything in larger sizes, ma'am. I'd be happy to run back and get you another loaf or return this one. It's your choice, but I need you to choose. There is a long line behind you."

"Forget it! I will get bread somewhere else!"

The employee swiped her loaf of bread and took off.

Now it was time to pay. "Swipe credit card or choose cash."

"Debit," she said.

"Just swipe it," I said. I was finally ready to go.

"Hold on. I need to push the 'debit' button first." She slowly and deliberately pushed the touch screen.

She swiped her card. "Bad swipe. Please swipe again." She swiped again. And again. And again. "Beep!"  Finally! Success!

We waited a few seconds and nothing happened. A few more.

"Where is the receipt?" she asked. We both know they won't let you out the doors without your receipt.

"It comes out below," I said. "Is the machine out of paper?"

She looked at the screen, "Please replace scanning device correctly for receipt to print."

She hadn't hung up the scanning gun thing properly and now the receipt wouldn't print. Who knew the machine did that? I didn't. Know why? Because I've never not hung up the scanning gun properly. How does that even happen? My kids can hang it up without issue!

She jostled the scanner around a few times until it finally clicked into place and her receipt printed out and she slowly wheeled her cart out into the melee to get out the doors before someone jacked her for her butter.

I was so busy watching her show that I didn't keep track around me, but I'm guessing at least three people made it through the self-checkout line next to me while this train wreck tried to buy her five - no, now it was four - items.

I should have known better than to venture out on a day like that. Next time I will plan ahead or I will offer to bring canned peaches for lunch. I always have those on hand.

This Letter Stopped Me in My Tracks

Photo by Jordan Whitt School started a few weeks ago, and we're still trying to get back into the swing of things. I don't kno...