Raising the Dead

I haven’t posted in a bit. Lots to say, just not a lot of time in which to say it. I’ve been teaching camp at the zoo, and I’ve been too tired to put any thoughts together. Until now. I read a rather infuriating blog post a couple of days ago, and it inspired me to resurrect one of the favorite characters I have ever created, my redneck philosopher friend Bill. I’ll tell you his story sometime. I owe him a great deal.

For now, go and visit him here:


A warning. The blog link that is referred to in Bill’s post isn’t suitable for kids in my opinion, and it contains language you’ll never hear from me (or Bill). Open that part with caution.

Update: the link has been fixed. I hope.

In Your FACE, Mayor Bloomberg!

Hail, Mississippi! Long live the legislature! ** All hail the mighty ones in their power. Take a knee, friends, in honor of their infinite wisdom. You might as well. They have your best interests at heart. You can trust them.

Mayor Bloomberg of New York City, in his infinite folly, tried to pass a ban on super-plus-sized sodas, right? Never mind that the state overruled it. He got too big for his britches there.  It’s ironic when you think about it, considering he was trying to prevent New Yorkers from getting to big for theirs.

Anywho, Bloomberg wanted other states to sit up and take notice of the statement he was making. Mission accomplished, big boy! Mississippi sees you one giant-sized soft drink and will raise you an end to Home Rule.

Recently there was a nearly unanimous vote in both State House and Senate which would make it illegal for any municipality to require that restaurants post nutritional information on their menus. It’s all about consistency, even if that consistency is rather jiggly about the middle.

Rep. Greg Holloway, a democrat, was quoted as saying:

“We don’t want local municipalities experimenting with labeling of foods and any organic agenda. We want that authority to rest with the legislature.”

I could not agree more. Such experimentation is dangerous and could easily spiral out of control, leading to the improved health of entire towns. Where’s the equality in that? And don’t get me started on the organic agenda. You can have my BHA when you pry it out of my cold, dead, but surprisingly well-preserved fingers!

The legislature obviously loves their constituents and doesn’t want towns and counties to have to worry their pretty little heads about what they are eating. That responsibility lies with the big state government. They’ve got it all under control. Shhhh! Go back to sleep, little Mississippian. It will all be okay.

What are you waiting for, Governor Bryant? Sign that bad boy into law!  Virtute et armis ***


**Though considering that the lifespan of the average Mississippian tends to be shorter, it might not be that long .

*** state motto. Latin for “flabby arms”

It Really Works!

I’m a little embarrassed to share some of this with you. It’s terrible. Seriously terrible. Why do I feel like the whole world is suddenly listening in? But at least I learned something along the way.

There’s a great debate the true secret to weight-loss. Some argue fewer calories. Others hate on carbs. Still others eschew the fat. And a few crazies are proponents of exercise to lose extra pounds. I had an opportunity recently to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Okay, here is the horrible part. I have a cat. Actually, I have three, but only one of them has this particular problem. My cat was fat. Like, seriously fat. Weighing nearly as much as Squish fat. Not just big-boned. She was a porker. See?

Yeah. For real. That’s an eight-year-old child. Still think I’m exaggerating? And this was two years and about two pounds ago.

I was looking at kitten pictures of that particular cat a couple of months ago, and I was horrified. I saw how small, and sleek and healthy she used to be. And I knew I had to do something. I saw specters of diabetes and other serious medical issues looming in her future. I needed to act, and I did.

I mentioned that we have three cats. We fed them all out of two large bowls in our family room, filling them only when they were empty. Two of the cats do just fine on this arrangement. The third cat ballooned to cartoonish proportions. She is a resource-guarder, and she would choke down as much food as she could hold just so the other cats couldn’t get it. Sounds like me. Um, forget I said that.

Anyway, we decided that enough was enough, and we took the cats off of self-feed. We have been tweaking how much she gets each day because we don’t want her to be too hungry, and we’re still working on it, but the weight is melting off of her. Here she is today, about three months into the program.

I'm meeeelting!

This photo is far less embarrassing than the first one. She looks less like she ate someone else’s cat.

So this is great. And I’ve been able to solve the mystery of weight loss. It’s not as complicated as you think. It’s all about planning.

Decide your menu for the day.  If you know ahead of time what you’re going to eat, you’re less likely to substitute something less healthy.

Divide your meals into containers. When it’s meal-time, all you have to do is grab the appropriate container.

Get support. When you start to reach for food not your own, it’s helpful if you have someone standing by to squirt you with a water bottle and stamp their foot on the floor. Also helpful? Shouting a firm “NO!” and a chasing you away with a broom.

Exercise. Three or four short sessions a day chasing a milk jug tab or fuzzy mouse does wonders. Catnip optional.

Snacking is okay. Divide one meal into smaller snacks by grazing a couple of times a day from one of your allotted meal containers. After a couple of minutes, have someone take it away. And hide it. In a cabinet you can smell but not reach.

Get plenty of rest. Four hour naps on the back of the couch or any patch of sun are encouraged.

Stay on top of personal grooming. It has nothing to do with weight-loss, but everything to do with how you feel about yourself. Bathe at least a few times a day. Clean is pretty, after all. Investing in hairball remedy is recommended.

Get a hobby. Some eating is more related to boredom than hunger, so keep yourself busy. Recommended activities include stare games, chasing laser lights, and staring condescendingly at the dog.

And there you have it. Follow my plan, and you have unlocked the key to weight-loss. Let me know how it goes for you. It’s working okay for me so far. And now, it’s time for my nap.

I AM Mom Enough. So There.

Lots of us were shocked by the provocative article in Time magazine (or was it Newsweek? Or the Enquirer? Is the Enquirer still around?) called “Are You Mother Enough?” I know I was shocked. Stunned. Taken aback. I didn’t actually read the article, of course. Like most of America, I stopped at the cover. Because everyone knows that while you can’t actually judge a book by it’s cover, magazines are fair game. So I looked at the cover and drew my own conclusions.

Take the fact that the woman’s child is not attempting to disrobe her completely while he is nursing or sticking his free hand down the front of her shirt in an attempt to find Mommy’s missing belly button. The conclusion I drew here is that this woman must be some kind of voodoo priestess who exercises Jedi mind control. And she must be stopped. No normal child would let his mommy’s goodies remain covered if the opportunity to humiliate her should arise.

In addition to looking at the picture, I also read the title. Because I am investigative, if nothing else. And I asked myself the question. Am I mom enough? I think the answer is obvious. Especially if you read my title.

I am mom enough.

I nursed my kids for two years each. That’s about how long it takes to wean them to Kool-aid and Yoo-hoos.

I buy only organic milk. Which the kids use to wash down their Moon Pies. Just kidding here, folks. I don’t share my Moon Pies.

I carried Squish in a sling for six months. Because it made him stop crying. I like it when they stop crying.

I carry Squish in an Ergo now. Because it keeps him from touching things. I feel all tightly bonded-like to my kid when I don’t want to sit on his head for upending a display of apples at the supermarket.

I visit the farmer’s market every week. Where they have the most fabulous cinnamon rolls and danishes.

I cloth diapered. Because turds in my trashcan turned my stomach.

I co-sleep. Not with my kids. They kick. With my husband. And he appreciates it because the alternative for him is the garage, which has a weird smell and is kind of cold in winter.

I am into natural parenting. I guess. Because the opposite sounds like it would have to be unnatural parenting, which I imagine is like holding them upside down or feeding them plastic trains. I don’t do that. Though they sometimes eat the trains without being asked.

I practice attachment parenting. I think. I mean, I must. Because no matter where I am, there’s always at least one child attached to my leg. Even the bathroom. Bonus magnet points for the bathroom. And sometimes it’s not even my own child. I’m that attached.

All natural fruit for Squish’s popsicles. At least it’s natural somewhere. On some planet. It came from the ice cream truck, so how bad can it be?

How To Provide Excellent Customer Service

In this dog-eat-dog world, the only businesses to survive will be the ones who are so big that they own everything in sight really care about their customers. It’s important to be in touch with your consumer base in order to go above and beyond the call of duty. Here’s how to really meet their needs.

1) Have a great website. The more flashy stuff, the better. Seriously. Things that flash, and lots of it. Customers appreciate a website with a little bling. Nothing like a seizure to make them forget about a rough day. They’ll thank you.

2) Provide a contact link. Customers like to be able to get in touch. Know what they also like? Easter egg hunts. Who doesn’t love an endless search for the prize? Be sure to hide that contact link in the least likely place you can think of. If you’re really committed to providing a good time, move the link every couple of weeks.

3) Know your customers. Like, really know them. On your contact form, request as much information possible. You never know when you might need to know the name of their mother-in-law’s best friend’s dog.

4) Address all complaints in a timely manner. In order to do so, don’t feel compelled to read their entire complaint. Every third word will do. After all, time is money. They’d rather you get back to them in a hurry with any answer than to have to actually wait for the right one. I’m pretty sure.

5) Timely, but not too timely. Don’t respond to email complaints immediately. It makes you seem needy. A waiting period of at least twelve hours sends the message that you are prompt, but not desperate.

6) Provide a detailed solution. The more complicated steps required, the better. The harder they have to work for it, the more appreciated the result will be. It’s especially effective if they’re required to restart their computer several times in order to read the instructions again. And if correcting their problem involves the use of a piece of equipment they don’t actually have, so much the better!

7) Find the cause of the issue quickly. By blaming them. When they feel like they’re the entire problem, you have empowered them to become the solution. And if you’re convincing enough, they’re less likely to sue you.

8 ) Always apologize for any inconvenience. Whether you mean it or not. After all, there is nothing worse than inconvenience. In the lesser-known eleventh plague of Egypt, God removed all the Redboxes and 7/11s. And horror filled the land. Inconvenience is the pits. Your customer is not screaming at you because the computer monitor you sold them set their hair on fire. They’re complaining because it will be a total pain in the behind to drive over to Wal-mart and buy makeup so they can draw their eyebrows back on. Apologize. Often.

9) Don’t live in the past.  Keep no records of your clients’ customer service history. If you have any questions, you can always ask them again. And again. And again.

10) Encourage two-way communication. By limiting your email responses to a single, incomplete sentence. People love cliff-hangers. They’ll send you back a reply almost instantly and be ready for a response from you, which you can supply. In twelve hours.



Update: An excellent post on creating a user friendly website can be found here. No tongue in cheek, just really good advice.

Misery Loves Company. May I Pour You Some Tea?

I woke up in a bad mood this morning, and I thought you might like to join me. I’m not expecting you to drop your sunny outlook at a moment’s notice just so that I don’t feel all alone in my grouch-itude. That would be crazy.   Instead, I have provided a list of excellent reasons to be in a crummy mood. Simply choose one (or more) and embrace it like a brother. A brother who stole your baseball glove and left it at the park after practice so a neighborhood dog chewed it up.

Pollution: I had a professor once who told my class that whales produce far more pollution than people could ever hope to. This may or may not be the same professor who claimed that protein is the nutrient most lacking in American diets.

Yeah, okay.

But he had a PhD, so I would never dare to question him. This notion bothers me on more than one level. First of all, who are those whales to be dropping their McDonald’s cups and all over the bottom of the ocean? Second, are we going to let those plankton-eaters think they’ve got the jump on us? We can out-pollute them any day. Who’s with me?

Swine Flu/Bird Flu: It’s upsetting to think about these poor animals hacking and coughing and calling in sick. When a pig doesn’t show up for work, the price of bacon soars, which affects all of us. ALL OF US. Even worse are the ones who don’t call in and make everyone sick because they don’t want to take time off. Selfish pigs.

Republican Primary Debates: This year’s debates have been televised for the last couple of months, and they must stop. There is nothing worse than having good shows preempted by some lame program where every participant calls every other one a liar. But no one throws a chair or finds out who their real daddy is. Rather than a debate, they should televise a Republican Cage Match. I’d tune in for that. Until then, keep the debates off network television and in the alley where they belong! .

American Idol: This show will be the death of us all. Literally. Every time viewers text in to vote, they are giving the robots too much information on how we think and make important decisions. Before we know it, they will be making the decisions for us, thus commences the robot apocalypse.

Downton Abbey: It has taken far too many episodes for viewers to learn the dog’s name. The dog needs a better agent. He is an integral member of the cast, and I am sure that he can plot with the best of them. On the library rug. Or Thomas’s shoes (that’s where I’d do it).

Justin Timberlake: I just heard on the news that today is his birthday. He’s thirty-one. Do you really be happy in a world where Justin Timberlake’s birthday is considered news?

Now, do you take lemon or milk?


If hanging out in Grouchland isn’t your thing, I understand. Pay a visit to Snobbery.  It’s Trashy Tuesday, which is guaranteed to lift the spirits. I’ll meet you there.


photo credit: http://upload.wikimedia.org

Your Comprehensive Guide to Passive Aggression, Volume II

For those who didn’t get enough ideas the first time around :

Turn off the coffee pot about ten minutes before you expect them to refresh their cup. The coffee will be barely warm enough to melt the sugar. Not enough to drink.

Put their rain jacket in your trunk on the rainy day you leave for work early. Husband swears it’s an accident. We know better, don’t we?

Serve meals you know they don’t enjoy. As a preemptive strike for those with passive-aggressive partners, it’s important to lay some false trails as to what you really like.  Eat that fried liver with gusto if you never want to see it again.

If your significant other gets up before you do, set the clock ahead. Fifteen minutes or two hours, it’s up to you.

Begin the morning by saying “Are you really going to wear — never mind. You look great!” Cock your head and stare at them whenever they are sure to notice.

Mismatch their socks. This is particularly effective if they dress in the dark. They will never realize that they are sporting one black, and one navy blue until their boss points it out in the middle of a business meeting.

Repeatedly flush the toilet while they are in the shower. Only considered passive-aggressive in homes whose plumbing dates to this century. The goal is to monkey with the water pressure, not leave second-degree burns.

Give the toddler a long nap and a Mountain Dew when you’ve got plans for a night out with your friends.  Use this tip with caution, as it sometimes takes a caffeinated toddler two to three days to come down from their high. Best used when going away overnight. And if your plans fall through, go anyway. I cannot emphasize this last part enough.

Write a series of blog posts on passive-aggression that you would never have the heart to actually follow through on.  And leave them to wonder.

Find their secret stash of hidden goodies  And move it. No, don’t eat it!!! Are you crazy? Sorry. You know I don’t share, right? You don’t even have to move it to an entirely new location, although that can be fun. Just slide it over far enough that they know their security has been breached. Maybe even rearrange the remaining Russel Stover dark chocolates that are hidden in the dresser drawer. I may have just said too much. I, um. I gotta go…

Sorry 'bout the cake, Daddy. Mommy goin' bye-bye.

Beat Those Post-Holiday Blues

There is no fun left in my life.


Today is Epiphany. Three Kings Day. El Dia de los Reyes. The Wise Men have found baby Jesus and have presented them with their gifts. It’s all over for another year. It is common to feel a bit of a let-down after the anticipation of the holidays has passed, and that’s where I come in. Here are some ways to keep the spirit alive all year long.


1) Don’t think of it as laundry. Think of it as gift wrap for your body. Now isn’t it more fun to fold your undershorts, er,  I mean garland?

2) Your letter carrier is Santa Claus, delivering surprises the whole year through. Got a new seed catalog? You’ve been GOOD! Yay! Visa bill? You’ve been bad. See how fun this is?

3) Speaking of Visa bills, what better way to keep the Christmas spirit alive than by paying for that XBox all year long! It becomes the gift that keeps on giving. Or taking, really, at 15.3% APR, but who’s counting?

4) Think of dust as snow in your living room. We have just had a blizzard. I’m sipping my hot chocolate and watching the kids make dust angels in the floor.

5) You’re not grocery shopping. You’re buying gifts for your entire family. Gifts that will keep them from starving, and not-starving is the best gift of all!

6) Who says ugly sweaters are just for Christmas-time? It’s still cold outside, right? Pull out that monstrosity and wear it to the office. Who knows? You may just start a trend!

7) Need those kids to behave? Elf on a Shelf losing his effectiveness? Up the ante. Buy an original Weeping Santa. When the kids ask why Santa is crying, tell them that he wouldn’t if they were only a little better behaved. If you really want to get their attention, choose one with a weeping puppy. The kids will appreciate your commitment to raising them well.

Happy Holidays all year round, friends!