Tag Archives: Hermits

A hermit at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Hermit at the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop

As I clutched the steering wheel with sweaty palms, I glanced over at the speed limit sign on the side of the highway and wondered two things.  Why don’t they have a separate highway for huge trucks? And why had I agreed to leave my nice, safe house and travel to the Erma Bombeck conference?

I had been excited to attend the Erma conference for the entire four months between the time I bought the ticket and the day it was time to make the big drive to the University of Dayton, Erma’s alma mater. On the actual day I had to leave my cozy warm home, family, dogs and cats, I got a little anxious.  Sure, I would get to spend time with writers that I know and love while learning new and fascinating things, but I was also going to HAVE to spend time with people for four days straight.  As an introvert, I lose energy from peopling.  So, I eased myself into socializing.

My shoulders were knotted throughout my entire NINETY-minute drive along side huge trucks.  Yes, people who flew or drove for days, I drove a whole hour and a half to be there.  Don’t hate me because I live in the middle of corn fields.   As soon as I got to my room at the illustrious Dayton Marriott, I decided there was no way I was going to the awards event at the library that night. I imagined a crowded library full of people I did not know, a standing room only event.  Nope. So, instead, I unpacked and hung up my clothes.  Then, I ordered room service and ate in silence as nature intended.  I was slightly disappointed by the WAY TOO MUCH guac on my turkey burger and the fact that this was a Pepsi establishment (I’m a Diet Coke purist), but overall I enjoyed eating without having to feed animals first or do dishes after.  I’m lying. My husband usually does the dishes.

 A hermit at the Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop
 My light switch is off. 

At around 8, I received a Facebook message from one of my favorite writers, Her Royal Thighness.  She summoned to the bar as only someone royal can. I had a good couple of hours hanging out with the crew.  Then, the little light in my head turned off and I knew I was done with people for the night.  I got up and told everyone that I had to go read.  Some of them understood what I meant.

I tried my best to appear extroverted throughout the conference. I was super social for me but probably not really social compared to others. I did things to help myself survive the conference and get the most out of it. I had room service four times during the five days I was there, once was during dinner the last night because I wanted to go to the stand-up comedy show later.  I knew that I would not be able to do both. I cancelled housekeeping so I could go back to my room as needed and not have people in there cleaning.  I sat on aisles during presentations because I hate being smooshed between people.  I feel claustrophobic really easily.

I’m glad I was a little on the anti-social side.  I avoided the Erma flu.  Well, some people caught the flu. Others caught a stomach virus, which is NOT the flu.  I don’t know why, but people saying “stomach flu” irritates the piss out of me. At any rate, I’m glad I avoided both of the viruses that were going around. I did so with a combination of not shaking a lot of hands and using hand sanitizer like I was being paid to do so.

I really enjoyed most of the workshops I attended.  My favorite by far was “How to Uncover Your Voice and Get It Down on Paper.”  The speakers, Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff, taught us how to set a kitchen timer and just write without editing or judging ourselves.  As a writing professor, I have known about free writing for years, but I had never really allowed myself the pleasure. During the last five minutes of the workshop, someone told me that Kathy Kinney was Mimi on the Drew Carey Show.  I had not realized that.  I just thought that she and Cindy were awesome workshop leaders.  I immediately followed them on Facebook and liked their page Queen of Your Own Life.

Kathy wasn’t the only famous person at the conference.  A lot of people were taking pictures with Jenny Lawson, the Bloggess, Alan Zweibel (one of the original SNL writers), author Amy Ephron, and writer, actor, and producer Cathryn Michon.  Honestly, I’m just not a fan girl.  I didn’t get pictures or autographs. I haven’t been star struck since I met Michael J. Fox when I was 19.  They are just people with cool jobs. They eat, sleep, and crap like the rest of us. I was impressed with knowledge they were willing to share with us, not the fact that they had been on TV.

The Erma conference is the best writer’s conference I have been to.  I am looking forward to the next one in 2018.  I know that I will probably have a mini panic attack while I am driving there along side semis, just like I did this year. I know I will bathe in hand sanitizer and fight the urge to wear a surgical mask.  My husband suggested that I should buy a bunch of hand sanitizer, don fairy wings and a tiara, and just go as the hand sanitizer fairy.  I think I might do it.  So, if you are at Erma in 2018, look for the short, chubby, awkward girl with fairy wings and claim your free bottle of hand sanitizer.  It could keep you from catching the plague.

Are you a Hermit?

I’m an online college English instructor, and most of the time I LOVE working from home. I mean I don’t have to wear a bra, like ever. Well, I do put one on if my son’s band comes over for practice and it’s too hot for me to put a sweater on. You know, because nipple outlines and all. Nobody needs to see that. Also, I rarely wear real pants with an actual button and zipper. Such discomfort is reserved for when I leave the house. Each year that passes, I become more and more of a hermit.  Some of you out there reading this may fit the bill. In fact, I have compiled a list of signs that signal hermithood. If you would like to read more about hermit life come on over to Knot So Subtle, a great new magazine launching TODAY.

My work pants
My work pants


Your Worst Best Friend Ever

See how good my friend looks here?  And she is holding my cat bff.
See how good my friend looks standing next to me here? And she is holding my cat bff. I love this picture. 

I know I am a self-described hermit, but lately, I have felt a little lonely. DON’T TELL ANYONE THIS. You will ruin my image. Anyway, yes, this cat-loving loner has felt the need for more human companionship. Sure, I live with the boy and the husband, and they are both my best friends, but there are times when a strange, awkward woman needs to talk to another strange, awkward woman. And that is where friends come in.

I have friends, just not a lot of them. After sitting here alone on many Saturdays, I have asked myself, “Self, why do you not have more friends? You’re charming, and you don’t have any noticeably strong odors. Why are you not out more?” After a lot of thinking, and a pot of coffee, I have discovered the reason. It’s because I suck as a BFF. It’s true. Read on.

I moved without telling my friends once. Yep. I was so upset while going through my divorce that I moved two hours away and didn’t tell most people. When I’m down in the dumps or going through drama, I don’t really talk to people. So, I didn’t mention the move to another county. Oops.

I don’t want to talk about feelings. When I am upset, I write, or I exercise, or I talk to my husband or son. I will never call you crying in the wee hours of the morning. I expect the same respect for sleep from you.

I turn my phone off at night. See above. I am allergic to midnight drama. Unless my husband or son is out, my phone is off at night.

I never talk on the phone. If you need to call me, it better be urgent and you had better text me first, or else I will look at my caller ID and step the fuck away from my phone if it is not my son, my husband or my mother.

I would rather hang with the fellas than the girls. I’m not talking about going out with random guys. If you have read about my childhood, you know that men scare me. What I mean here is that I would so much rather be home, in my jammies, and watching a movie with my husband or my son. They are my fellas. Girls’ night out just sounds hellish. And since it likely requires real pants and a bra, it sounds plain old uncomfortable.

I roll my eyes at vaguebooking. If you want to get all teen-girl emotional on Facebook, I will add you to my restricted list. I prefer straightforward communication. Don’t hint at any issues you have with me; just tell me.

I have nothing bad to say about my husband. Seriously. Sure we have our ups and downs, but I am not going to bash him to you. I prefer to do that shit straight to his face. And it makes me uncomfortable when you bash your husband. I might consider him a friend, too.

I don’t care about shopping. I buy most things online. I loathe the mall and I don’t want to share a dressing room with you and try on skinny jeans.

I prefer to do most things alone. I bought my wedding dress alone. See above. I don’t like shopping, so I like to get it done quickly when it is necessary. If I had shopped for my dress with someone, I would have had to hear her opinions and try different things. This way, I bought the dress I liked and then I ate lunch. Done.

I would rather have scotch than wine. It seems to be fashionable for moms, and women in general, to love wine. I don’t hate wine, but I would rather have hard liquor any day.

I don’t share your love of chocolate. The good news is that I will likely give you any chocolate I have unless it is GOOD dark chocolate or a Reese’s cup. Then, you’re on your own.

I won’t come to your Botox/MaryKay/Avon party. I’m just not that vain. I wash my face and put on moisturizer, and that is about it. I do get my Elvis Presley sideburns waxed, but that is so I don’t get mistaken for a really short cross-dresser. I live in the Midwest where people aren’t so tolerant of such things.

I will never hold your hair while you puke. Hell, I don’t even want to be in the same building with you if you are puking. That shit could be contagious.

I go to the spa alone or with my husband. I wear hearing aids, so I don’t really hear well. I don’t want to try to have a chitchat session over running water and other assorted salon background noise. My husband either talks louder to me or happily chats away with his spa person while I give mine one word (hopefully correct) answers until she stops chatting.

Right now you’re probably wondering how in the hell I have any friends at all. I wonder this myself. After all, I do have the emotional availability of Sheldon Cooper. Why do some people like me and want to spend time with me? I can’t be sure, but here are a few guesses.

People think I’m funny. Most people, aside from Sheldon Cooper, like to laugh. So, they are attracted to funny people.

I’m short and stubby, so most people look good standing next to me, especially if we are photographed together. I can make anyone look like a long, lean super model.

I’m stupidly generous. I will buy you lunch for any old reason, and I will never forget your birthday. This is why my husband is now in charge of the money. You may have missed your window on this one.

I will tell you the truth. If you ask for my opinion, you better want an honest answer because that is what you will get.

I can keep it together in tough situations. I’m usually not a crier. I fight tears through a combination of holding my breath and visualizing kittens. When I do cry it is usually due to fever related illness or scary doctor visits.

Having said that, I would accompany you to your scary doctor visits. I know what it is like to fear things like “biopsies” and “procedures.” I will hold your hand through scariness even if you break it. I’m tough like that.

Yep, I can see why I hang out with cats most of the time. As a super best friend, I flat out suck, but I do make a good horrible best friend. Everyone needs one of those to make them appreciate their BEST friends, right?

So, what about you? Do you have ONE best friend? If so, who is that person? What makes you a good or bad friend?



Snarky Facebook Friend Island

Last month, Huffington Post published my 10 Tiresome Facebook Friends blog and it ended up being really popular. I was stunned and thrilled all at once. There were 135,000 likes, and 22,300 shares, along with 729 comments.  Before I read any of the comments, I braced myself because I had heard how harsh HuffPo commenters could be from other bloggers. I’m pleased to say on this particular piece MOST comments were awesome. The MAJORITY of people got that I am a HUMOR blogger and not a CNN reporter. They knew that my piece was all in fun and they even played along with me by adding their own Facebook Friend clichés.

Then, there were those people who did not get me at all. They thought I was being serious. For real. Some readers, like six of them or something, thought that I had not figured out how to remove annoying people from my Facebook feed and I was just writing to complain about my horrible friends. One lady (I use that word instead of humorless bitch) told me I was a “bully” and I would regret this when I “came face to face with god.” My eyes nearly rolled right out of my head.

I don’t remember all of the other critical comments, but they mostly just told me to unfriend these people or remove them from my news feed etc. Thanks for the tech support guys! The most memorable negative comment was from this poor woman who lives in a town where Applebee’s is a five star dining experience and Walmart is the mall. No wonder she is angry! She said, and I quote:

“Please don’t take this the wrong way ( well , I really don’t care how u take it , u did open the door) In my opinion , u really don’t need to be on a social network . I mean if these friends of yours bother you so much ( u know the ones YOU friended in the first place) why not ..wait for it … UNFRIEND THEM .. they are not your friends in the first place or you would not be running them down. Right ?? You should be on a desert island ..yep thats right ..that way no one can insult that marvelous opinion you have of your own wonderful self and you can talk to the only intelligent person you know …you ! Ok ..got that off my chest .. you have a nice night now ..ya hear…from ” glad I’m not your friend’”

Yes, that is a direct copy and paste from her little comment box. She was probably super pissed about the “Speak and Spell” friend on my list. Obviously.  For that I owe her an apology, maybe, or not. Actually, I owe her a big thank you because, you know, she is right. I DO need my own island, and not because I hate everyone, but because I am a hermit. So, I started thinking, if I could have my own island, what would it be like.

Well, it would have a lot of cats and kittens, and they would all live inside. So, there would need to be cat houses surrounding my big purple mansion. I don’t mean THOSE kind of cat houses. ; ) Seriously, I hate when people let cats roam outside, so I am damn sure not going to do it. The cats would have air conditioning, plenty of fishy food, and a ton of catnip. I mean, why wouldn’t they? It’s an island.

My island would also need a Super Target. I could get anything I needed there: groceries, clothes, electronics, books, etc.   Since I would be alone on the island, everything would be free. How awesome would that be?

I would need a roof over my island to keep me dry when I’m outside. I hate rain, and islands tend to get a lot of it. I wouldn’t want a dome because Stephen King has given me nightmares, but I would need something like a big, island-sized awning. They probably sell one on Amazon.

I would need a dock and a ferry. I would want people to visit me, even if they were Baconators or Monsanto Warriors. So, they would need a way to get to my island. Once in a while, I may want to visit the mainland, too, you know, if I needed to go to the Apple store or something. It’s not like I would use a PC on the island. A boat of some sort would be a necessity.

I guess there would need to be a power plant or a ton of solar panels. I would need electricity to run the air conditioning and charge my Macbook, iPad, and iPhone.   I would probably want to have a microwave and stove, oh and a refrigerator. Just because I’m living on an island does not mean I want to give up my first world comforts. As my husband tells everyone, my idea of roughing it is staying in a hotel with only basic cable and no room service. It’s true.

Assuming my purple mansion is fully furnished, I can’t really think of anything else I would need on my island. I feel like I’m missing something, but that is probably because I have not had enough coffee today. What about you? Would you want your own island? If so, what would you absolutely need on it? Let me hear from you in the comment section.

You can tell I’m a snob just by looking at my resting bitch face. I’d need a bigger island than that one.

Keeping Flight Attendants from Spitting in your Drink

Yeah! Another delay!
Yeah! Another delay!

I just went to the fabulous Blog U conference last week, even though, like most hermits, I hate to travel. HATE. IT. I especially despise air travel because it includes other people in my personal space, breathing my air, giving me germs. Hey, airline bigwigs, could we put the seats just a little closer, and maybe make them smaller? In fact, why don’t we just offer a cheaper ticket if you sit on someone’s lap the whole way? The person holding you gets an even lower price.   Yes, I’m being sarcastic. We really do need a sarcasm font.

As I was trying to ball myself into half my size in my aisle seat on Southwest last week, I had a lovely chat with one of the flight attendants while she helped people cram their roller bags into the overhead compartments. While she said nothing about spitting in drinks, she did agree that people are carrying on TOO MUCH. In fact, she told me that when she began her job, she trained her parents on how to be better flyers. Now, I want to do the same for you. Here are some helpful travel tips from your friendly neighborhood hermit.

For the love of all that is sane, just check your bags.

On Southwest and Jet Blue, your first checked bag is FREE. On most other airlines, it’s $25. I’m not a frugal person, but even if you are, do you REALLY want to tote your bag everywhere? I mean, it’s likely that you have to connect in a huge airport like, gulp, Atlanta. Also, what about those gels? Do you really need to squeeze all of your health and beauty products into a quart sized bag?

If you are one of those people who insist on carrying on, for whatever reason, you are annoying. On my recent trip, I checked my bag so I could take my seat quickly and shove my purse under the seat in front of me. It took other people FOREVER to cram their bags in the overhead compartment. A couple of them almost dropped their bags on my head. What could be in there that must be protected and kept with you at all times? Nuclear secrets? Don’t be cheap! Just check the damn bag.

Don’t order a drink on short flights. 

Both of my flights last weekend were only an hour. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting them to do drink service, but they did. And most people actually ordered one! I know soda is free, but really? Do you need that Coke just because it’s free? Are you going to dehydrate on your 52-minute flight from Cleveland to Louisville? By the time the flight attendants take orders and deliver the drinks, you have about ten minutes to drink. Plus, if you carried on your huge roller bag and ordered a drink on a short flight, it probably has spit in it. I kid. I kid.

And then there are the liquor people. Now, I like a good martini or glass of wine every now and then, but even I, a NERVOUS flyer, will not order a drink on a short flight. Seriously, if you can’t get through 45 minutes in a plane without a scotch on the rocks, you need a meeting, not a drink.

Don’t bitch at the gate agents.

My first flight was delayed by about three hours. Believe me, I didn’t enjoy that as it gave me more time to sit and worry about dying in a fiery crash, but I didn’t complain to the gate agents. It would be pointless, as they do not control weather, mechanical issues, flight crew schedules, or anything else that causes delays.  They simply work as GATE agents. Their fathers do not own the airline. Cut them some slack and complain to the customer service department, if you must.

Do not let your little $^%&ers kick the backs of seats.

I know you love your little kids. I love my kid, too. I also taught my kid that while his mommy, daddy, and grandparents love him very much, the rest of the world merely tolerates him. The other passengers on the plane are tolerating your kid. Do not let him kick the backs of their seats. There may be someone like me with the it takes a village mentality who will correct your little snookums. While we are at it, just don’t bring your 2 year-old on the red eye from Hawaii. Ever.

That’s all I got. I would love to hear from you. Do you have any more anti-douchnozzle travel tips? I don’t travel often, so I know I’m missing some things. Any flight attendants out there? I would LOVE to hear from you. Leave me a comment and let’s talk about travel.

 Disclaimer: I have never had a flight attendant tell me that spitting in drinks actually happens on commercial flights in this or any other country. However, I did know a comedy club waitress who wiped her butt with a piece of cheese before putting it on a crabby customer’s burger. Be careful out there, people.

Amazon: Where Hermit Shopping is a Pleasure (Publix)

Shopping makes me feel like this.
Shopping makes me feel like this.

Sundays tend to be my domestic goddess days. I’m usually busy for hours with vacuuming, laundry, and even ironing. While I was ironing my son’s work pants, khaki Chinos, I thought that he could probably use a couple more pairs. Then, I thought about going to Kohl’s, where we got the pair he presently owns. I didn’t want to think about how they are going to insist I use my Kohl’s card so I can save whatever percent, and ask me if I have my Kohl’s cash or Kohl’s coupon from the circular that is mailed to my house every 25 seconds. As your friendly neighborhood work from home ENGLISH professor, shopping that requires all of these numbers and extra accessories makes my head hurt. Then, I remembered that I don’t have to go to Kohl’s, or anywhere, to get my son’s Chinos. There is that glowing safe haven for all of my shopping needs – Amazon.

  1. You don’t get pestered to join a rewards program every time you check out. If one more cashier asks me to add a plastic card to my key ring I may end up on the evening news for flying over the counter and stomping on the cash register while screaming, “I JUST WANT TO PAY AND LEAVE!!” On Amazon, you get asked to join the Prime program once a year, and it actually has real benefits like free shipping and cheap movie rentals.
  2. You can choose not to apply for the store credit card without some human in your face trying to reiterate how much money you will save because obviously your are not understanding this. I don’t want the damn store card and I’m not stupid.
  3. Two words—other people. You don’t have to walk through a maze of people who either enjoy shopping or don’t know what the hell they want to get to your item of choice. You just click and pay. It’s a slice of hermit heaven.
  4. Most things are actually in stock. I hate to name names here, but Best Buy, I’m talking to you. Most of the time that I go into actual stores, other than the grocery store, I am unable to locate the item I need. This happens ALL THE TIME in Best Buy. It almost NEVER happens on Amazon. They stock EVERYTHING.
  5. No parking lot.   Parking lots always seem full whenever I want to shop. Also, they’re usually not covered, so you need to walk in the snow, rain, wind or whatever unpleasant weather to get to the nice climate-controlled store. And, there’s usually that one idiot who leaves their dog in the car, which causes me to have to dig out the phone number to report them to the sheriff’s office. In addition to everything else, there are creepy people who stalk you so they can take your parking spot, and sometimes, according to a recent 20/20 episode, they get violent.

I’m not taking any chances. I will just stay right here at my cozy dining room table with a cat on my lap, and log in to Amazon. See you never, people-filled stores.

Note: “Where Shopping is a Pleasure” is Publix’s slogan.  Publix is the world’s best grocery store, and I miss it dearly now that I live in Yankee land.

I’m not CRAZY; I’m just prepared!

I emailed my doctor last week to ask for an Ativan refill. Yes, I hate the phone so much that I email my doctor. If you have ever thought about calling me, read this.

Anyway, so I emailed the doctor to ask for Ativan, which I take for travel related anxiety. As a card-carrying hermit, I LOATHE airplanes, boats, and all other forms of transportation, mostly because I fear a burning or drowning related death from the failure of said forms of transportation.

My doctor sent a short note back stating that she would refill it THIS time (the 4th time in 2 years), but if my anxiety was getting worse then I should consider another medication. Please note, I only ask for Ativan twice a year, before holiday travel and summer travel. This gives me not quite enough .5-milligram tablets to take one per week, if I wanted to. So, if I were an addict, I wouldn’t be asking my doctor for refills; I would be walking down the street to the local high school where I’m sure there would be a larger supply.

The problem is my doctor is not the only person who assumes that I sit in corners and pop plastic shipping bubbles and worry about Doom’s Day. Apparently, I give off that vibe.

The next day, I was talking to my husband about the fact that I recently found out that there are indeed poisonous snakes in central Ohio. Most people who live here say there aren’t any, so I decided to Google it because I like to actually research things and not just “talk out my ass” as my step-daddy used to say. So, after I told my husband that we do indeed have poisonous snakes, he said, “You can’t live your life worrying about things like snakes.”

To which I replied, “Being aware of things is not being worried about them. There would not be safety regulations or air traffic controllers if there were not others who choose to be aware.” Or something like that.

OK. I’m going to admit it. It pisses me off something fierce when people tell me to “chill out” or “relax.” Friends, it’s called acute awareness not anxiety. I’m not always worried (unless I’m on a plane); I’m just aware of possible ways to die or be uncomfortable and actively trying to avoid them. This is why I carry a huge purse full of medications, including GAS medicine. You’re welcome.

See, I’m totally aware of all emergencies.

People who are not aware or never think about what can go wrong think those of us who are aware of risks as crazy.  I think they are wrong.  They assume everything is okee dokee and then they are surprised when it’s not. Here are some facts:

  • There are snakes, and you should be aware of this if you are an outdoorsy person so you don’t step on one. They hate to be stepped on.
  • People do hurt each other. If you haven’t read my Bobby Kent blog, please do. His childhood best friend and a group of new acquaintances murdered Bobby. We need to teach our kids to BE AWARE of toxic friendships, rather than teaching them to assume all will be fine.

My overall point is that bad things happen every day. Being aware of this does not make someone in need of constant sedation. As Tony Montana says, “you need people like me.” People like me make people like you AWARE of danger so that it can be avoided or maybe even fixed.

So, thanks for listening to my rant. Are you acutely aware?  How do you deal with well-meaning advice?

Hermit Church

An old friend and I always used to joke about starting our own religion because it would be so easy to do.  I mean there are lots of followers out there, and this friend and I are leaders – demented leaders, but leaders.   Well, earlier this week, another good friend of mine told me that I should start my own religion.  Due to an excess of caffeine and a lack of sleep, my mind quickly started developing this religion.  So, here are my plans for the High Church of the Painful Truth, a name I am plagiarizing from my Brother-In-Law, Mike:


  1. Don’t be ignorant.  If you just can’t help yourself, please take a vow of silence.
  2. Cleanliness is next to, um, well it’s important.  So, clean up after yourself.  There is no reason to be sloppy.  It just means that you are lazy.
  3. Don’t be lazy.  Be grateful that you CAN walk and get up off of your behind and do something.
  4. Be nice to people just because that is what you are supposed to do.  This goes double for animals, small children, and senile senior citizens.  They love and trust you; be kind.
  5. No poor me allowed.  You are not a victim.  You have made a lifetime of crappy decisions that led you to exactly where you are.  You will not improve your life until you start taking responsibility for it.
  6. Review your first grade language arts book. People cannot read your messed up unpunctuated shorthand.
  7. Keep all Sabbath days holy, no matter what religion they are from.  This should take care of the entire week, or at least the weekend.  So, put down your CrackBerry and enjoy your family.
  8. Do not push any religion on to others.  No one KNOWS or UNDERSTANDS the mysteries of the universe.

Meeting Place:  Skype.  Seriously, why meet in person in one building.  I hate people and travel. So, if you want to be a member of my church, get a web cam.

Attire:  Business casual – no jeans.  People wear jeans to everything now.  As my step-dad used to say, “Dungarees are for farmers!”   This applies to all things other than farming, exercising or sleeping.

Meeting Frequency: [Shrugs shoulders].  I don’t know.  When we need to. This will save us all the misery of forced meetings.

Offerings:  PayPal.  Again, why should I leave my couch to collect money?  Just put it right into my account.  What?  Why do I need money if there is no actual building?  UMMMM, well, being a spiritual leader requires lots of chocolate.  I’m not talking about that cheap grocery store crap.  I need the good stuff, from Europe, preferably dark.  I will also need liquor, from Europe.

Well, that about covers it for now.  The caffeine is wearing off and that 5:30 wake-up call is catching up with me.  If anyone can draw out there, see if you can come up with a symbol for this new religion of mine.  Extra points if it includes kittens. We will sell t-shirts and jewelry with said symbol.  All proceeds will go to me.  At least I’m honest.

Note: This blog was previously published on my old Salon.com blog. 

A Letter to the Dog Who is Clearly NOT Mine

Great Dane Lab
See! You’re Daddy’s dog.

Dear Sophie,

Let’s just be honest.  You are not MY dog.  So, stop following me around like we are BFF’s.  We aren’t; OK?  Don’t get me wrong; I don’t HATE you or anything.  You’re a sweet dog; I just like the cats better.

The cats don’t chew the baseboards or the dining room chairs.  Seriously, why do you do that? You have oodles of toys.  You do not need to chew our house.  You act like you just quit smoking or something.  You constantly have to have something in your mouth.

The cats also do not eat poop, ever.  You actually tried to bring a frozen turd into the house today.  INTO MY HOUSE! What is wrong with you? That is gross, and unnecessary.  We have tried EVERYTHING to get you to stop, including giving you extra treats.  I feed you enough throughout the day to keep a small farm animal alive.  Well, at 74 pounds, I guess you ARE a small farm animal.

Dog with big sock monkey
I like you when you are calm.

My favorite thing about you, Sophie, and yes I have one, is that you are NOT allergic to peanut butter.  YES!  This allows me to stuff it in Kongs or those hollow bone things to get about 27 minutes of concentration time.  You see, Sophie, I work from home, and in order to, oh say, work, I need to not have to let you in and out of the back door every 16 seconds.  Really.  Pick a side of the door and stay there a while.

You’re probably thinking, “Work?  All you do is stare at that square thing.  You should chew it. That would be work.”  Actually, Sophie, if I don’t stare at the square thing, AKA work on the computer, you would not have as many nice toys to ignore while you are eating wood and poop.  Man, I wish they would just come out with a Nylabone shaped like a turd.  And without my square staring job, you could forget about the Blue Buffalo food and doggy daycare visits.  I do love those daycare days.  Sigh.

Halloween Kitty
This is cat for “I hate you.”

When you are actually here with me ALL DAY LONG, you could do me a couple of favors to help me concentrate.  First, stop barking at everything.  The wind has been blowing for millions of years.  Barking at it will not make it stop.  If that worked, the people along the East Coast would put you on the beach during hurricane season. Also, other people live on this street.  I’m not happy about it either. They, too, are dumb enough to have big dogs.  Those dogs are sometimes in their own yards.  Your barking at them is not going to make everyone move to a new neighborhood.

Another thing you could do for me is stop trying to be friends with Andre.  He simply does not like you.  He is NOT playing with you.  If he had opposable thumbs, I am certain he would jump on the counter, grab a knife from the block, and attempt to stab you.  Of course, you would probably think he was playing and would take off running with the knife and the cat stuck to your back like you were in some kind of big dog rodeo.

Great Dane Lab and Cat
Sunny Spot Truce

Thanks for reading, Sophie.  Now, if you could just keep chewing that gross dog bone you are busy destroying for the next few hours until daddy gets home, that would be dreamy.  You are DADDY’S dog.  The boy will be home soon to love on your for a couple of minutes, too.  Monday is going to be a daycare day for you, girl.  I think we both need it.

Hugs and Kongs, “Mom”


A boy and his dog
The boy loves you.

Perfectly Posh: A Hermit’s Best Friend

Free samples!
Free samples!

A couple of weeks ago, I left the comfort zone and went on a scary trip to Bath and Body Works during one of their sales.  It was terrifying and I blogged about it here.   A kind soul named Olivia saw my Tweet about the blog and reached out to me for my mailing address.  Now, I don’t normally just give my address to strangers, but she was offering beauty product samples, DELIVERED to my home.  I would not have to pay for them or leave the house to get them.  Win-win.

Olivia sent Perfectly Posh samples, along with detailed instructions on how to use them.  Before trying them, I read more about the products, and I was thrilled to learn that they are all cruelty-free and as hypoallergenic as you can get.  While people can be allergic to just about anything, Perfectly Posh really tries to use gentle ingredients.  So, since is a Sunday, a typical shower and put on different pajamas day for me, I decided to try everything.

Here’s what I thought of the products I tried:

Best Friend Forever Face Wash (BFF): I usually shy away from scrubs, as they tend to irritate my Irish girl pasty skin.  This one did not.  It left my skin feeling super clean, and better than when I paid $95 for a facial at the spa.  Yes, I was dumb enough to do that.

The Stripper "tingles."
The Stripper “tingles.”

The Stripper D-Tox Body Mud Mask:  My skin tends to be sensitive, as you may have gathered from my pasty Irish skin comment. Olivia told me The Stripper would “tingle” and feel “slightly warm.”  She also told me “Don’t panic.”  It’s like she knows me.  I’m glad she prepared me because the first 10 seconds were more HOLY MOTHER OF GOD than tingle.  After that, I was fine.  I even painted my toenails while waiting for the mask to dry.  This mask can be used on your entire body, but I would only put it on my face.  I can’t imagine having my whole body “tingle” for 10 seconds.

Sweet Young Thing:  This is a creamy serum.  It’s light; I didn’t feel like my face was suffocating, like I do when I use the carrot oil stuff I paid $35 for at the spa.  Since a little goes a long way, I still have enough serum to use for at least 4 days.

Moisturizer 911: This is a great face moisturizer.  It’s light enough to use morning and night.  It can be used alone, or with Sweet Young Thing.

Sugar Fix: I’m not really a body scrub kind of girl due to that whole sensitive skin thing I have going on.  Sugar Fix is really gentle, though.  I used it in the shower, and I even washed my face with it.

You Can Call My Candy:  This is a body lotion.  Posh calls it a Slather.  I only had a little sample, so I just did my legs.  It was light, and natural.  It didn’t make my legs itch like some other products.

Hey Honey Hand Creme:  This is by far my favorite Perfectly Posh product.  Hey Honey Hand Creme instantly takes away that winter, skin splitting, dry feeling.  It even made my hands look smoother, and therefore younger.  It lasts through a few hand washings, too.  So, I wasn’t constantly reapplying it like with Bath and Body Works products.

Overall, I loved the Perfectly Posh products I sampled.  My favorite thing about them is that they are affordable, and they really are made of mild, natural ingredients.  As advertised, they are paraben  and paraffin free. All of the products smelled nice, too, but not in that scary artificial “Party Dress” way.  Cough Cough.  Bath and Body Works.

If you want to learn more about Perfectly Posh, take a look at Olivia’s web page.   As with most folks who do not live in caves, you can also find Olivia on Facebook.