Another World’s End False Alarm

If you’re reading this, the world didn’t end yesterday. Or maybe it did end and your hell is being forced to read my blog for eternity.

Anyway. Once again, we’ve survived a predicted apocalypse and I’m getting pretty tired of preparing for the end of the world only to wake up and find that I have to go to work. I thought world-ending collapse would at least get me a couple days off.


During the few years that I’ve written this blog, we (as humanity) have survived several earth-ending scenarios. I already wrote about a couple of those events in Top 5 Reasons the World Didn’t End and Why the World Won’t End This Year, so I’ve had to stretch my mind to find another disaster-specific blog topic about the End of Times. I discovered Preppers.

Preppers are not (as I mistakenly assumed) upscale students, prone to wearing branded clothing to impress their underlings. Preppers are dedicated to surviving disasters through vast and over-the-top preparations for every possible apocalyptic scenario.

Their website boasts topics like (and I’m not making this up):

  • Misconceptions About Prepping for a Nuclear Attack (Misconception #1: You can survive a nuclear attack.)
  • Preparing for the Coming Clash of Civilizations (I’m not sure which civilization we’ll be clashing with. Aliens? Dinosaurs?)
  • Here’s How You’ll Die When the Shit Hits the Fan (Great title for a kids book, just in time for Christmas.)
  • Ten Ways to Fool the Authorities (That sounds like a great idea.)
  • Nine Tips for Preppers With Non-Prepper Spouses (That’s a sure-fire way to spend the apocalypse sleeping on the couch.)
  • Survival Bread recipe (It doubles as a truncheon.)
  • Cooking Without Electricity (I do that all the time. I call it ordering pizza.)


  • 18 Off-grid Uses for Tin Cans (One of these ideas is a Hobo Alarm. Still not joking.)
  • 10 Awesome Rubber Band Tricks (This only works if we’re invaded by pretend cowboys with wooden guns.)
  • How to Train Your Chickens (Because dancing chickens will come in handy after the end of the world.)
  • Are you Fit Enough to Escape? (Have they seen Americans lately? We’re too lazy to escape an open elevator.)
  • North American Spider Identification.


For more fun and laughs, wait for the next predicted catastrophic, calamitous, devastating event that will probably involve a virus attack from Neptune and the unveiling of Taylor Swift as the leader of the Neptunians. If you’re interested in learning how to make acorn coffee or turn a coffee can into a machete, check out

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What’s In My Bag?

Why is it suddenly cool to stick our noses into a celebrity’s carry-all? Fashion magazines devote pages to discovering the secrets in a movie star’s purse. Do you really want to know that Meredith Vieira hauls around dog treats and a machete in her $800 bag? Or do you care that Lady Gaga carries pints of her own blood stashed in her chic Chanel Cerf Tote? I’d love to discover that Gwyneth Paltrow carries a homemade tampon and $5,000 in small bills in her clutch.


(This actress carries her Volkswagen in her bag.)

Celebrities are weird. But at least they don’t walk around asking to look inside our pockets and purses.

But if they did, here’s what they would find in my non-trendy, 2012 Guess knock-off purse:

1. Receipt from Chipotle for a healthy salad with black beans and grilled chicken. Time stamped at 12:45.

2. Receipt from Paradise Bakery for five snickerdoodles. Time stamp 12:57.

3. An assortment of used and shredded tissues.

4. Five half-full lip gloss tubes, sticky and covered with tissue residue.

5. A toy dinosaur. I think it’s a stegosaurus. Or it might be a stuffed rabbit with Doritos stuck to its back.

6. An assortment of writing awards.

SPJ 2014 (1) - Copy

(Hey, do you wanna see my trophies?)

7. Empty water bottles. (In case I need to build an emergency raft.)

8. One earring.

9. Sunglasses with one lens missing.

10. A handful of leaky blue pens.

11. One sunglasses lens.

12. A balloon hat.


(A balloon hat is always in season.)

I think you should stop people all day long and ask to look in their handbags. I wonder how long it would take for someone to punch you in the pancreas.

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Questions I’m Often Asked

Now that I’m a super-famous blogger, I’m always getting stopped in the street and asked questions. Usually those questions are along the lines of, “Can you get out of my way, ma’am?” or “What the hell are you doing?” but once in a while, someone surprises me with a true inquiry.

Because I don’t know how to talk to strangers, I usually stare at them for 20 seconds, then turn and run the other way. But once I get home, I realize what I SHOULD have said. So here are the answers to all those unanswered (or unasked) questions:

Q: How do you write funny?

A: I have a clown costume that I only wear when I’m writing my column or blog. Plus, Mad Libs.

Q: Why did you become a writer?

A: Because my dancing career never took off.


(I still know the Bat Dance if you’d like to see it performed.)

Q: What is your biggest regret?

A: The 1980s.

Q: How do you get your ideas?

A: I turn my constant rage into manageable humor.

Q. Why is writing so hard?

A. I’ve already answered that question: Top 5 Reasons Writing Sucks

Q: Do you ever find swearing tiresome?

A: Hmmm. &*#@ no.

Q: Have you ever been arrested?

A: Define “arrested”.

Q. Do you have a favorite book?

A. My favorite book changes based on the day, time, season, what I’m wearing, if I’m in a good mood and if I’m hungry.

Q. How can I get past writer’s block.

A. I’ve answered that question, too: Top 5 Ways to Get Over Writer’s Block

Q. Who will win the next presidential election in the U.S.?

A. Not the American people.

Q. How can I become a writer?

A. Write.

Sorry, but that’s all the time I have for questions. If you want more answers, I suggest you buy a Magic 8 Ball.

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Things I Don’t Clean (Don’t Judge Me, You Judging Judgers)

In a previous life, I must have been an overworked, underpaid  maid, because in my current life, I have no desire to clean anything.

To avoid health department citations (and rats) I do the bare minimum required to keep cholera and typhus out of my home, but that’s the extent of my housekeeping. Unfortunately, I’ve learned there are LOTS of things I SHOULD be cleaning. How did I learn this? The goddess of garbage, Martha Stewart, shamed me into facing the dirty truth: I’m a surface cleaner.


I don’t dig deep into the crevices to wipe out families of germs who have settled in my tile grout, raising generations of bacterial descendants. I don’t hunt for pathogens under my fridge where complete ecosystems have formed (and died) during my time in this home.

Here’s what Ms. Martha suggests I clean on a weekly/monthly basis. Is she mad?

I should:

  1. Dust light fixtures.
  2. Clean the kitchen drain.
  3. Scrub the ventilation hood over my stove.
  4. Fluff and rotate sofa cushions.
  5. Wash the inside of garbage cans.
  6. Vacuum the fireplace screen.
  7. Clean floorboards.
  8. Buff stone and/or wood floors.
  9. Dust windowsills.
  10. Clean blinds.

Here’s my problem with this list:

  1. Dusty light fixtures create what I like to call “mood lighting.”
  2. Kitchen drains are disgusting and I am not going to go anywhere near those nasty things.
  3. The ventilation hood is so sticky with grime it would take a small nuclear device to loosen years of steamed foods.
  4. The dog ate one side of our sofa cushion, so I can’t rotate them. Fluffing only sends dust and dog hair everywhere.
  5. Garbage cans are supposed to be dirty. That’s why we put garbage in them–not diamond necklaces (which, according to Ms. M, should also be cleaned to keep them sparkly).
  6. I don’t have a fireplace.
  7. If I clean the floorboards, I can’t track where the mice run off to.
  8. Hahahahaha!
  9. There’s too many dead flies. Ewww.
  10. Wait. What?


So instead of turning over a new leaf like Martha does each fall, I’ll save myself a lot of anxiety and just learn to live with dust bunnies, mites, germs, bacteria, viruses and dead insects.  After all this time, it’s almost like they’re family.

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Top 5 Ways To Stay Awake During Afternoon Meetings

Even if you’ve been freebasing Mountain Dew Voltage, eating sugar straight from the bag, or enduring a 5-Hour Energy Drink enema, chances are, if you’re stuck in an afternoon meeting, you will fall asleep.

It doesn’t matter if you’re attending a conference in Disneyworld, enduring a church meeting on a warm summer day or sitting in a department meeting in an uncomfortable chair. You will fall asleep.

If you’re out of town, you probably stayed awake all night, listening to the family of six (elephants) stamp across the floor in the room overhead. If you’re in Vegas, you’re freaking out about the money you lost at the craps table. If you’re in church, the speaker’s voice drones on like a buzzing bee. You will fall asleep.

After a big lunch, it’s easy to drift off and do that funky head bob while trying to pay attention. With no end in sight, and no Internet access, you’re almost certain to embarrass yourself with lots of snoring and sleep farting. You will fall asleep.

falling asleep

But maybe that can be avoided! Here are my five favorite things to keep me awake during afternoon meetings.

  1. Bark: Maybe you make short little yipping noises, or full-on “enraged Pit bull”. Either way will stimulate your adrenaline to keep you awake just a little longer. CAUTION: Don’t bite anyone. Even the boring as s*** speaker.
  2. Cell phone alarm: When you can tell you’re getting sleepy, set your phone alarm to go off every 10 minutes. It’s super obnoxious and you’ll stay awake trying to shut it off before anyone can hear it. Option: create an app that delivers an electric shock every few minutes.
  3. Take off a layer of clothing: You shouldn’t take off your pants, but whatever keeps you awake. Being overly warm is a sure-fire way to doze off around 2 p.m. You’ll feel your eyelids touch and realize you can’t re-open them. Your eyebrows will do that “I’m trying to lift your lids and open your eyes” dance, which is a sure giveaway you’re sleeping.
  4. Create a diversion: After you feel your head bob three times in a row, jump out of your seat and yell, “Was that the bat signal?!” Then run out of the room, pulling on the black cape that you brought for just such a situation.


5.  Start the wave: This bored-sports-fan (mostly wives and children) favorite activity gets everyone in the room up and moving. It might take a few times of you doing the wave alone before it starts to catch on, but don’t give up. Just keep on wavin’.

It’s funny how much energy you have once you leave the office. You could climb Mt. McKinley or wrestle alligators. Enjoy it while it lasts!

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Back-To-School Guide from A to Z

To quote the great Yogi Berra, “I’m not going to buy my kids an encyclopedia. Let them walk to school like I did.”

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s turn our attention to all the things that need to be done before your adorable children head back to school.

You’ve had three months to get your s*** together, and you know you didn’t. But that’s okay. I’ve made a handy list you can stick on your fridge to help you stay organized during the next week or so. Good luck, and remember, alcohol is never the answer. (Unless the question is, “What can I get you to drink?”)


Act sad.

Buy too many school supplies.

Clean rooms to find socks and toothbrushes.

Don’t appear too excited.

Encourage earlier bedtimes.

Forage in closets for salvageable back-to-school items.

Grumble about the cost of new shoes.

Hail the benefits of hand-me-downs.

Invest in an expensive lunch box set that will be used exactly ONE time.

Jump for joy (when the kids aren’t around).

Kiss your homework-free evenings goodbye.

Lament the end of summer by eating an entire peach pie.

Mitigate the argument about, “All the other kids can stay up as long as they want.”

Negotiate a peace treaty between your daughters.

Ogle the beautiful fall fashions, and wish you could get some back-to-school outfits for yourself.

Prepare for the deluge of permission slips, disclaimers, waivers, applications, donation requests and registration forms.

Quietly discard the hundreds of water guns in your home.

Relocate the jars of snails, caterpillars, potato bugs and ladybugs your kids have collected over the summer.

Secure a home equity loan to pay for school and activity fees.

Throw a Back-to-School family dinner.

Unveil the new job chart for the year.

Vocalize concern about your daughter’s back-to-school eyebrow piercing.

Weep as your kindergartner, new junior high student and/or high school senior goes to school.

X-axis fear sets in as you realize you have a child taking geometry.

Yawn and decided you’ll tackle everything tomorrow.



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Things That Make Me Happy

I’m a pretty happy person. I’m realistically optimistic and usually expect the best. But I can also be a bit moody (“What the hell does THAT mean?”) and can get gloomy if I find myself doing the same thing over and over again.

I’m also pretty good at cheering myself up. I have lots of go-to activities that lift my spirits because sometimes it’s the small things that make life worthwhile. (That wasn’t a sex joke.)

Along with a box of See’s toffee, snuggling at night with my hubbie, stargazing and doing yoga, these things always bring a smile to my face:

  • Opening a new book by a favorite author


(But I’m not sure if I’m emotionally ready for this book.)

  • Browsing the selection of pastries at a local bakery
  • That pins-and-needles feeling when my foot falls asleep
  • Watching someone singing out loud as they walk down the street
  • Dropping the f-bomb
  • Watching drivers stop to avoid a family of ducks
  • Plugging into my iPod at the gym
  • Leaving the gym
  • Kicking off my shoes after work and blasting music as I drive home
  • Practicing my Oscar/Pulitzer acceptation speech
  • Surviving the latest Armageddon scare


  • Eating Twizzlers during a road trip
  • Watching a lightning storm
  • Getting hugs from my grandkids
  • Napping so hard I wake up not sure what day it is
  • Clean sheets
  • The sound of ice cubes cracking when I pour Coke into my glass
  • A perfect margarita
  • Stepping on crunchy leaves
  • Walking Ringo in the morning
  • When toddlers swear
  • Remembering how my mom always flipped people off
  • Watching young girls try to walk in heels
  • This stop sign in my neighborhood


  • Hot fudge sundaes
  • Wrapping up in towels warm from the dryer
  • When my jeans still fit after a long weekend of eating crap
  • The phrase “interpretive dance”
  • When I send a finished article to my editor
  • Getting a package or handwritten letter in the mail
  • Hearing that crackly noise when my vacuum picks up dirt
  • Watching parents discipline their toddler in the mall
  • Laughing at work
  • Trying something new
  • Munching on movie theater popcorn

What’s your go-to happy activity?


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