O Tidings of Comfort Annoy

blur-business-card-211290Now that Facebook has become a year-round newsletter, packed with enough posts to make us feel miserable all year long, can we finally call it quits on those dreadful holiday letters?

I understand a family newsletter can be a highlight of the season, recapping all your adventures with witty repartee and candy cane clip art, but to many people, this bragalicious tradition is lemon juice in the paper cuts of life. Reading about how you cured black lung disease or saved an endangered species makes others’ successes look like table scraps.

My newsletter would go something like this, “Dear family and friends, I did not get arrested this year. Happy New Year! Love, Peri.” (Disclaimer: The year’s not over yet.)

So, first of all, don’t write a Christmas letter. However, if you feel you must write an annual message or your life won’t be complete, here are tips to make it bearable for friends and family.

Let your children do the writing. I would LOVE getting a Christmas message that read, “Mom cries in the bathroom and tells us to eat Froot Loops for dinner. Dad has a special ‘drinking mug’ in his garage. Aunt Ethel spent Thanksgiving in the county jail for walking streets. Happy Holidays!”

Use your letter as a weapon. A Christmas newsletter can encourage friendly competition amongst your offspring. Announce who had the most As, the best-cleaned room or who peed the bed the least amount of times. Be sure to embarrass the *&%$ out of them so they’ll be on their best behavior next year.

Create an acronym. For instance, NOEL can be Notice Our Exceptional Lives or No One Enjoys Letters.

Quote Quiz. Choose the funniest quotes said by your family during the year and have your readers guess who said it.

January–“Who left the %&@* lights on?!”

February—“Is there a reason there are a dozen shoes by the back door?”

March—“Who left the %&@* lights on again?”

Write from your pet’s perspective. “This is Peri’s dog, Ringo. I was taken to the vet three times this year and had to get shots. She forgot to give me a treat twice last week, even after I sat under her feet for three consecutive episodes of Westworld. She also didn’t pet me long enough after she got home from work, but she gave me a steak bone, so all’s forgiven.”card-celebration-christmas-1652103

Share a family recipe. If people ask for your sugar cookie recipe, put it in your Christmas newsletter. But don’t be like my neighbor who leaves out key ingredients so my cookies never taste quite the same as hers. Not cool.

Don’t recount Family Disasters 2016. Your water heater broke, your car died in the desert, you have rats in the basement and bats in your belfry. You lost several jobs, were abducted by aliens and SWAT kicked in your door at 3 a.m. Newsletters are not catastrophe competitions. Next!

Don’t brag. For every straight-A accomplishment, for every award-winning dance competition and for every higher-salary promotion you exclaim over, your letter will be read by a man with kids struggling in school, a daughter with no noticeable rhythm and a woman in a dead-end, mind-numbing job. Take it down a notch, will ya?

Even better, since I never receive mail anymore (except for Hickory Farm catalogs and postcards from mortgage companies), maybe save all your glowing updates for Facebook and Instagram where you can gush all you’d like. You can even add clip art.

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Halloween Candy Personality Quiz

Leave it to Facebook to help you determine which U.S. President you are, what horror monster you’d be, your favorite color and if you’ve ever attended college. Online quizzes are the new GED; and you know you’ve taken at least one (dozen).

I thought I’d create a quiz to determine what your Halloween candy behavior says about you. It is entirely accurate, so be aware, you might learn something disturbing about your personality.

1. Do you hand out: a) king-size Kit Kat bars, b) fun-size Kit Kat bars, c) what’s a Kit Kat bar?, or d) apples.

kit kat

(This is the WRONG WAY to eat a Kit Kat!)

2. Do you search your kid’s Halloween bag for: a) full-size chocolate bars, b) unwrapped candy, c) isn’t everything mine already? or d) apples stuffed with razor blades.

3. How long did your Halloween candy last when you were a child: a) a few weeks, b) a few days, c) a few hours or d) I gave it to my little brother.

4. Which Halloween candy will get your car egged: a) Tootsie rolls, b) Hubba Bubba, c) pencils/erasers, or d) apples.

5. How much do you spend on Halloween candy: a) more than $100, b) between $50 and $100, c) less than $10, or d) I don’t buy candy.

6. What do you do with leftover Halloween candy: a) give it to a children’s shelter, b) give it to neighbor kids, c) you’ve already eaten it, or d) I don’t keep candy in my home.

candy

7. Which of these is NOT appropriate to give out on Halloween: a) toothbrushes, b) fruit, c) sample-size dish soap, or d) candy.

8. What is your Halloween candy of choice: a) candy bars, b) suckers, c) chewy taffy or d) apples.

RESULTS:

If you answered mostly A, you are trying too hard. Kids don’t appreciate your efforts. They’ll probably kick your pumpkins before they leave.

If you answered mostly B, you’ve put the holiday in perspective, but kids will still kick your pumpkins, and probably steal your Halloween lawn ornaments.

If you answered mostly C, you are most likely male and didn’t even realize it was Halloween until strange children in costumes knocked on your door, begging for food. Your car will definitely get egged.

If you answered mostly D, you are obviously a health nut, and need to be slapped. Not only will children avoid your home, they will place warning sides on your fence letting the neighborhood know it’s not worth coming to your home. And they’ll kidnap your cat.

fun size

When it comes to Halloween candy, there really are no wrong answers. If you drop in it my bag, I’ll most likely eat it. And I won’t kick your pumpkins, either.

How to Tell if the CIA is Tracking You

Maybe those people with the tinfoil hats were right.

I guess you’ve heard the claims that the U.S. Government used electronic surveillance to track “terrorists.” My first thought was, “Duh.” I assumed the CIA tracked us from the moment of our birth. But maybe tinfoil does keep the government from reading your mind. Because that’s about the only thing they haven’t infiltrated. . . . or have they?

men in black(No matter what they say, these people are not milkmen.)

Here are some ways to tell if the CIA is tracking you:

  • You have a new friend on Facebook named Agent Johnson.
  • You think about ordering pizza and Domino’s shows up at your door.
  • You’re trying to watch Game of Thrones but the channel keeps changing to the latest congressional hearing.
  • General David Petraeus moves next door.

patraeus(“Hi. I’m the new PTA president.”)

  • Your Comcast installer says he has to add a special “feature” to your landline and cell phones.
  • As you listen to your police scanner, you realize they are talking about your house.
  • Your water meter has been checked several times in the last few days.
  • You find someone living in your doghouse.
  • You type “Is the CIA watching me?” onto Google, and this is what shows up:

Yes

  • The ice cream truck has been parked in front of your home for a really long time.
  • You reach in the fridge to grab the milk, and someone hands it to you.
  • You see someone run across your lawn yelling, “We’ve been compromised!!”
  • All your mail has been opened and re-sealed with duct tape.
  • You hear someone say “Bless you” when you sneeze. But you’re home alone.

Now, granted, some of those things can happen with no CIA involvement. But if one or more of these occur regularly, you might want to change your name and move to Brazil. Stay safe, my friends.

How I Got Addicted To Pinterest

Hello, I’m Peri, and I’m a Pinterest addict.

(Pinterest: The act of sorting the entire Internet into categories.)

When I first tried Pinteresting, I was sure I could handle it. I could stop scrolling after a few re-pins and walk away from my computer. For a while it was okay. But I started thinking about Pinterest all the time.

What was I missing? Was there a cool Thanksgiving craft I would never know about? Was there a your-ecard that would make me laugh until I peed myself? Was there a photo of a lion fighting a dolphin, saying something hilarious?

I needed a Pinterest hit.

(I found this cake on . . . wait for it . . . Pinterest!)

I started hiding my habit. I’d have Facebook tabbed so I could jump to it if anyone walked in the room so they wouldn’t see me scrolling and scrolling and scrolling, pinning, re-pinning, liking, commenting. I stopped sleeping. I would have stopped eating but everything on Pinterest makes me hungry.

My husband expressed concern for my mental health, worried I spent too much time on this cyber-bulletin board. I told him something like, “Shut the hell up!!!! I’m just fine!! Leave the room!!!”

Cooking tips. Craft ideas. Holiday gifts. Fashionable outfits. Zany quotes. Cute animal pics. Funny photos. Beauty tips. Fifty things to do with toilet paper rolls. How to braid a loaf of bread. Cupcakes that look like gingerbread houses. 75 ways to incorporate bacon into your day. How to do a “smoky” eye. There was just NO END to the things I could learn!!

(Information overload!!)

Finally, after a Pinterest session that lasted 17 hours, my husband slapped me, shut down the computer and rolled me into the shower. The blast of cold water brought me back to my senses–but all I could think about was Pinteresting.

My husband staged a Pintervention and pressed a brochure into my shaky hands, “How to Have a Healthy Interest in Pinterest.” I started to cry. I knew he was right. And I was crying because I hate it when he’s right.

Now I’m in recovery. But it’s not easy. I suffer from Pinsomnia. I admit, I sneak a quick hit every now and then, but it’s nothing. I can handle it. Right?

Right?

Tell me I’ll be okay!!!

Top 5 Reasons to Get Off Facebook

You know you’ll never do it. I won’t either. But if you’re looking for reasons to delete your Facebook account, here’s a few to ponder. (Note: it’s physically impossible to delete your account. Layers of pissed-off warning boxes jump at you when you try to leave and eventually Mark Zuckerberg–or it might be Jesse Eisenberg–will personally call and threaten your family if you continue with the Facebook account deletion.)

#1. I’m so tired of being poked. What does that even mean? Every time I get poked I feel vaguely uneasy and slightly violated. There should be a Facebook poking support group.

#2: Farmville, Farkle, Bejeweled, FashionWorld, Cafe World, Cityville, Happy Aquarium, Country Story, Tower Bloxx, Icy Tower, Tiny Castle, QBeez, Canary, Club Penguin and Puzzle Pop. To name a few.

I’m not going to water your crops. I’m not going to rescue your princess. I’m not going to collect your rent. And I think Farkling is illegal in Utah. I can’t take care of my own life. I certainly can’t save your imaginary one. Stop asking me for s***.

#3: I don’t know the majority of my “friends.”  Yeah, it’s cool I have hundreds of virtual friends. How many friends in real life? Three. And FB? Stop suggesting friends for me.

#4: Too much information!!! I don’t care who changes their profile picture or adds Pig Latin to their languages. Don’t tell me when you’ve had a bowel movement or that your cat is going in for nasal surgery. Keep some things to yourself. It’s called being mysterious.

(My cat before her nasal surgery. Disclaimer: I don’t own a cat.)

#5: Addicting Time Wastin’ Fun.  Why do I scroll through hours of past status updates or get excited when I see TWO people “liked” my post? Why do I click on photo albums, comment on YouTube videos and RSVP to events (circle yes or no if you can come to my party)? Because I’m an ADDICT. I admit it. I’m sure before you finish reading this, I’ll have checked my FB page 47 times to see if anyone comments.

I need help. Or maybe sugar. Yeah, probably sugar.