Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Yoga

No one told me once I started practicing yoga, it would destroy my life. I wish someone had mentioned the potential side effects before I took my first class. But it’s done and I can’t reverse the process. It would be like trying to un-melt a s’more.

If you’ve considered starting a yoga practice, it’s only fair I warn you about what you might experience. I hope you’re more prepared than I was.

  1. All the feels. It’s not that I was heartless, but once I took up yoga I became one of those people who get emotional about shit that never bothered me before. Like the planet and bumble bees and dolphins and other people*. Once you feel that connection, you don’t know how to stop it! It can be super annoying.stripmining
  2. You can’t gossip. Again, I wasn’t a horrible human but I could be judgmental, unforgiving and even mean. Now I can’t imagine being hurtful toward another person*. In fact, I avoid drama altogether. So if you enjoy being a mean girl (or guy), yoga will wring that right out of you. Sorry.
  3. You can’t enjoy food.  You’ll begin to notice how soda makes your stomach hurt or how eating five dozen Oreo cookies leaves you lethargic. Pretty soon you’ll start avoiding those foods because you feel so much better when you don’t eat them. Even worse, you’ll eat foods like spinach and grapefruit and almonds and Greek yogurt. See! Yoga sucks.
  4. You don’t give a shit what people think. As a card-carrying, lifetime membership people-pleaser, it was a tough adjustment to realize other peoples’ opinion of me don’t matter. Once I decided to take away their power to humiliate, shame or degrade me, I had to accept the fact that maybe they were wrong. Which leads us to . . .
  5. You connect to yourself. One day you admit you’re not happy. You admit you treat yourself like garbage. You admit that all those years of negative self-talk have screwed you up. When you realize that, you have to do something about it. And that’s super hard. You have to learn how to accept your weaknesses without criticism, but also accept your worthiness without cynicism. Suddenly your default mode can’t be “skeptic” or “sarcastic.” It’s like re-learning how to walk.maxine

So if that list of side effects doesn’t dissuade you from purchasing a yoga mat and walking into a class, you’re on your own. You’ve been warned.

 

*Donald Trump is excluded for now. I’m not that good at yoga.

Top 5 Reasons I Feel Bad For Melania Trump

When the KGB approached Melania Trump and “encouraged” her to seduce Donald Trump so they could infiltrate American high society, she jumped at the chance. But now her life has taken a dark twist. She’s the new First Lady.

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(The happy First Family)

I wonder if Trump and Melania discussed his idea to run for president or if he just came home one day with red hats, patriotic ties and a family-loaded entourage. I can hear him saying something like, “Suck it up, buttercup” when she expressed her concerns. Maybe not. Probably.

Here are the Top 5 reasons I feel pity for Melania:

She only signed on to be a trophy wife. The deal was, she got an unlimited budget, a swanky New York penthouse and she only had to have sex with Trump when the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped below 10,000. Now, she has to spend time with Trump and pretend to like him for four (please, God, let it be only four) years.

Her husband treats her poorly. Trump’s actions say a TON about their marriage. I think he loves the idea of having a beautiful wife but has no idea how to treat her with respect–which seems consistent with how he treats other beautiful women.

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(The Donald doesn’t even wait for her before he clumps over to the Obamas.)

She’ll be scrutinized.  For the next four (please, God, let it only be four) years, every article of clothing she wears, every hairstyle she dons, every comment she makes, every somber expression she has, and every part of her schedule will be criticized, attacked, praised and Twittered. She’ll be a meme, a gif, a vime and a Facebook post.

Her husband’s lecherous behavior. I’m sure she’s aware that her husband treats women like chewing gum. But having a private conversation about Trump’s misogynistic behavior is much different than having the press have the conversation for you. No more privacy when her husband molests the pizza delivery girl.

She’ll be underestimated. Yes, Melania is beautiful, but she also speaks five languages. She’s traveled all over the world, she’s protective of her son, she’s naturally shy and tends to avoid the spotlight. I don’t think we should mistake her calm demeanor for ignorance. She might be the best thing to come out of this election.

 

 

Top 5 Christmas Party Games

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Everyone loves a good party game (except introverts and cats). A fun game gets guests mingling and talking to each other. (Never mind. Christmas games sound like hell.)

But if you insist on tormenting your party goers with games, at least get creative. Here are the Top 5 Christmas Party Games for you to try this year.

Christmas Charades: Acting out common holiday phrases seemed like a good idea until drunk Aunt Edna horrified all the party guests with her depiction of “Santa’s sack.”

Two Truths-One Lie–Christmas Edition: Each person describes the funniest Christmas presents they’ve received, two should be true and one is made up. This was going well until Great-Grandma said, “During Christmas 1932, I got drunk, got herpes and got pregnant with this asshole.” (Pointing at your grandpa.) “And those are all true!”

Holiday Twenty Questions: If your parents are fighting, don’t even start this game. You’ll be traumatized for life.

Mom: Okay, Frank. Here’s your first question. Did you &$%# that girl from Jimmy John’s at the office party?

Dad: I don’t think that’s the way this game is played, Ruth.

Mom: Talk to my attorney.

Christmas Carol Pictionary: Draw the name of a popular Christmas song and your team has to sing it once they figure out what it is. This seems like cruel and unusual punishment for people who can’t draw or sing. You’ll probably also get into arguments that go something like, “Who taught you how to draw a Christmas tree? Helen Keller?!”

Family Feud Christmas: Wait. That isn’t a game. That’s just Christmas.

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Happy Holidays!

Top 5 Reasons Thanksgiving Gets No Respect

Shelved between the gory chaos of Halloween and the rabid excess of Christmas, Thanksgiving gets no respect. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays.

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(Google him, you young punks.)

Is it because we’re not grateful? Is it because no one really likes stuffing and cranberries? Here’s my hypothesis regarding Thanksgiving’s no-respect status.

  1. We’re too busy formulating Black Friday plans. It takes a foolproof strategy to hit 17 stores before 4:30 a.m. to get free plush footballs and a jar of pickles for 25 cents. Instead of giving thanks, we’re shredding the fat Thanksgiving newspaper to plan our Black Friday pillaging.
  2. There’s no cute mascot. Along with Santa, reindeer and Baby Jesus, you have that rat-bastard Elf on the Shelf and his minions that are marketed to death for the Christmas holiday. Time to introduce Scruffy the Squirrel who sits in the tree outside your bedroom making sure you count your blessings every night . . . or else. . .
  3. Boring backstory. Once you’re out of elementary school, you’ve heard the story of the first Thanksgiving SO MANY TIMES you can’t take it any more. Blah, blah, blah feast. Blah, blah, blah pilgrims.
  4. There are no presents. Getting to the crux of the matter, if you don’t get free stuff (toys, shoes, candy, beer, etc.) you’re not interested. (Hint: We’re supposed to be grateful for what we already have.)
  5. Maybe we just forget. After Halloween, merchants remove ANY fall merchandise, including turkeys and pilgrims, to make way for Christmas. If you’ve ever tried to purchase autumn-toned napkins on Nov. 19, you are s*** out of luck.

napkins(Just pretend it’s a turkey, will ya?)

Top 5 Things I Will Do Before Accepting Your Party Invitation

As a high-functioning introvert, I’ve trained myself to attend public events without breaking out in hives, shutting myself away in the bathroom or yelling at people to “Just stop with the talking, already!!”

But social interaction isn’t high on my to-do list. In fact, I can think of at least 50 things  I will do before accepting your invitation to go clubbing, drinking, partying or anything that involves standing in large groups of people, making small talk and eating crudites.

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The list mainly includes some version of reading, TV binge watching, eating/cooking, doing yoga or just sitting on the back porch, staring off into space. But besides those, here are five things I’ll do to avoid socializing.

  1. Clean my fridge. Yes, I would rather handle pounds of rotting broccoli and green onions than go to any “party” involving Tupperware, skin care, jewelry, adult toys or home decor.
  2. Bathe my dog. My dog hates baths more than I hate groups of people. Picture this: Ringo hears the bath water and glides out the doggy door. As the tub fills, I hunt him down, luring him with bites of meat (doesn’t matter what kind). I entice him with squeaky toys to get in the bathroom, when I slam the door and wrestle him into the water. By the time he’s “clean,” there’s no water left in the tub and my bathroom walls are covered with dog hair. Yep, I’d rather do that than party.
  3. Take a Zumba class. Me and Zumba go together like Trump and Clinton. It’s just an ugly, uncoordinated battle that no one wants to see. But if it gets me out of a black-tie reception, I’ll Zumba my ass off.kitchenintrovert
  4. Eat kale. You know how much I hate kale; the attention whore of the greens family. No one likes kale. Everyone who says they like it is a liar. Even deep fried or sprinkled with powdered sugar, kale will still taste like death. But. If I’m invited to a party and told if I don’t attend, I’ll have to eat kale? Done. Kale is my new best friend.
  5. Pull weeds. If I had lived in the Garden of Eden, I would have eaten that apple immediately so I wouldn’t have to weed the damn flower beds. To me, gardening is synonymous with dental appointments. Luckily, my husband is an avid gardener who loves to dig in the soil and be one with the earth. But if digging up dandelions will give me an excuse to stay home, get out the tiny shovels!

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So if you invite me to something and I don’t show up, don’t be offended. I would just rather do pretty much anything else, including burning my house down, to avoid insincere conversation and celery sticks.

Top 5 Things You Should NEVER Say to a Woman Having A Baby Girl

I was blessed with four daughters. And by “blessed” I mean I survived raising four girls without landing in a correctional facility or a mental asylum. Yet. As my daughters say, there’s still time.

In our Biblical-based patriarchal society, having four daughters (and no sons) is akin to kicking your ancestors in the teeth. If I was one of King Henry VIII’s wives, I would have lost my head after my second daughter was born. (Disclaimer: losing your mind is different from losing your head. I’ve often done the former, but not the latter.)

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But I LOVE my girls and wouldn’t trade them for all the boys in the world. However, that didn’t stop stupid people from making stupid comments to me when I was expecting one girl after another. These are things people actually said to me that you should NEVER say to a woman having a baby girl.

  1. “Don’t you want to carry on the family name?” Ah, you caught me. I’ve been trying to destroy the family line for ages.
  2. “Aren’t you disappointed?” Wow, I’m so transparent. I’m just devastated that I’m bringing another strong, beautiful young woman into the world.
  3. “Oh, well. Maybe next time it will be a boy.” Really?!?! There has to be a next time!!??
  4. “I’m sure your husband will still love the baby.” What is this, China? Are you listening to yourself?
  5. “The Lord only gives sons to women who will raise them in righteousness.” Well, that explains a lot. But thanks for the vote of confidence

Seriously. If your friend, loved one, family member, distant relative, perfect stranger you see at Starbucks or a random neighbor is pregnant with a baby girl, the only thing you need to say is “Congratulations!”

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Halloween for Dummies: Top 5 Tips For a Successful Holiday

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Some people live in countries (or states) where Halloween is ignored because people believe it’s based on Satanic rituals and pagan beliefs. They might have a small Jesus-themed trunk-or-treat event in a church parking lot, handing out mini New Testaments, before heading home for a family sing-a-long. But in Utah (home of pagan beliefs) we celebrate Halloween like NO OTHER. We Halloween the s**t out of October.

I attribute our love for this dark holiday as a respite from the otherwise strangling hold the dominant religious culture has on our everyday lives. When you’re afraid to go to lunch on Sunday or fearful of ordering a glass of wine with dinner, Halloween is nothing!

So if you are Halloween clueless, here are some tips to help you get through this hellacious month.

  1. Decorate your house. This doesn’t need to be elaborate. Maybe a mummy by the doorstep or a bloody head on the mantel. It seems the more religiously oppressed a person is, the more Halloween decorations they purchase. If your neighbor has a plethora of monster-themed inflatables, they probably need a religious intervention.
  2. Get a costume. To blend in on Halloween, you’ll need a disguise. Again, if you’re super-religious, you’ll probably decide to go as a sexy Dr. Who or a nymphomaniac circus clown. If you’re more moderate, a T-shirt with a clever Halloween slogan will do.
  3. tshirtCarve a pumpkin. If you’re a vegan, gutting and carving up this orange squash could make you a little nauseous. But suck it up. Carving pumpkins is a big business. Instead of using dull butter knives and metal nail files (like I did 40 years ago), there are now super-duper carving kits with all kinds of blades that will guarantee you a night in the ER. (For extra points, roast the pumpkin seeds; then brag about how you roast pumpkin seeds.)
  4. Buy candy. In bulk.  This is a holiday MUST. Utahns have an average of 9.5 children per family. There are approximately 800 families that will come to your door begging for candy. You must give each trick-or-treater (aka Halloween beggars) at least three pieces of candy. You do the math. I don’t do math. It’s a lot of candy.
  5. Host a Halloween party. Part of the requisite celebration is throwing a Halloween bash. Spend at least 14 business days constructing a menu that includes demon-themed delicacies. Make sure to throw a tantrum when people don’t appreciate your culinary efforts. Post photos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and every other social media platform that validates your superior Halloween cooking talents.

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(Last year’s Carrie-themed Halloween cake.)

Important note: you must have ALL Halloween decorations, costumes, foods and paraphernalia removed by midnight on October 31 so you can start decorating for Christmas on Nov. 1. Happy Halloween!

Top 5 Reasons to Not Eat Avocados

I’m basically an all-food eating machine. But there are some items of “food” I must refuse–on totally valid grounds. For instance, I don’t eat mayonnaise because it’s icky. I refuse to eat squid because it’s icky. In fact, most foods I don’t eat are just plain icky.

Take the avocado–please (ba-dum-dum). Besides not knowing which food classification it falls into (fruit? veggie? mineral? alien life form?) avocados are just plain ugly. I know they say it’s a fruit. But fruit is delicious. There’s even an Avocados are Yucky and Gross Facebook page.

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(Who thought this looked like a good idea to eat?)

In order to save you from unintentionally consuming one of these Alligator Pears from the Jurassic era, here are a few reasons to leave these buggers alone:

1. A waste of water. Did you know it takes 74 gallons of water to grow ONE pound of avocados? So not only are they disgusting, they’re also greedy, drought-causing little bastards.

2. False advertising. Health food nuts proclaim the common avocado is a fantastic addition to their already boring diet. But these ugly, oval-shaped, bumpy fruits (?) have TONS of fat. Health nuts also say it’s a healthy type of fat, but then you have to also include the cream filling of Oreo cookies as a healthy fat. goodfat

3. It ruins other foods. Take your basic, delicious hamburger. Smothered in pickles, tomatoes, ketchup and a hint of mustard, it’s a beautiful thing. Woe be unto those who slather their burgers with avocado or guacamole (the roadkill version).  What kind of animals are you?

4. Can you say “Poison”? Yes. Avocados are poisonous. All right, if you want to get technical, they are not usually dangerous to humans (unless ingested) but they are VERY toxic to horses, goats, cattle and birds. Why hasn’t PETA banned this slimy substance?

5.  Gross recipes. As if the regular avocado wasn’t bad enough, people try to create different ways of hiding these bilious bombs in other foods. I already mentioned the roadkill guacamole which is served at parties by hosts who don’t like their guests very much. There’s also avocado soup (really??), avocado smoothies (gag) and avocado coconut cream pie???!!! Now, sir, you’ve gone too far!

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Top 5 Ways Star Wars Changed My Life

I was 9 years old when I met Princess Leia. I was instantly smitten. It was 1977 and Star Wars had just hit the big screen, bringing with it top-notch special effects, a kick-butt soundtrack and the Force. I left the theater with a lump in my throat because I wanted it to be real SO MUCH.

Three years later came The Empire Strikes Back, and three years after that, Return of the Jedi. These movies changed my life, not in a geeky way, but in an “I Need To Train As A Jedi and Fight The Dark Side” kind of way. So, yeah. In a geeky way.

Here’s why:

1. Princess Leia–I’d been raised on Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. Beautiful princesses who slept while princes fought their battles. But Leia! She was brave and tough and feisty and funny and beautiful and smart–and could shoot a blaster! She flirted with Han Solo and Luke, she spit in Darth Vader’s face–and that hair! For several birthdays, I wished I would wake up as Princess Leia.

leia(Don’t mess with her. She will blast you.)

2. Darth Vader–This dark villain stormed through the Star Wars movies with his own cool theme song. He was so easy to hate. But then he saved Luke! Then Luke tries to save Vader! It was all so complicated. But it taught me that there is no black and white. Behind every horrible person is a layer of anger that comes from fear.

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(He just wanted some quality father/son time.)

3. Plot Twists. Say wha??? Vader is Luke’s father? Leia is Luke’s sister? Lando betrayed his friends? Han Solo is encased in carbonite?? Star Wars was my introduction to unpredictable stories–and I’ve been hooked ever since. Give me a plot with a neck-wrenching twist and I’m a happy camper.

4. There is a Force in the universe. Yeah, I can’t blow up a Death Star with my mind, but I can absolutely impact the world around me–for good or evil. Star Wars taught me that I’m already strong enough, powerful enough and wise enough. I just need a lightsaber.

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(Covering all the bases.)

5. Yoda Wisdom. Yoda is my co-pilot. I wanted to fly to Dagobah and train with him to become a Jedi master. I hear his voice when I’m angry. I see his eyes shut with sadness when I choose the dark side.  Today, I use his lessons in my yoga classes. Now, if I could just learn to levitate . . . .

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Top 5 Reasons I’ll Never Run For Office

Presidential candidates are sharpening their knives, honing their wit and polishing up their toothy smiles. With a possible Romney/Bush/Palin ticket, what could possibly go wrong?

I have no desire to run for office. Zero. Zip. Nada.

I’ve been watching the hilarious sitcom, Veep, where I’ve learned all kinds of ways to insert swear words into everyday conversation. And although I could @$%&ing excel at that type of linguistic behavior, Veep also demonstrates the backbiting, power struggles, insecurities and hypocrisy that exists in today’s political landscape.

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(These people are horrible. But it’s fiction, right? Right?!?!)

So (not that I was considering it), here are the reasons I’ll never run for POTUS, mayor, the library board or PTA hospitality chairperson.

1–I’m too thin-skinned. A boy in third grade told me I ran like a girl. I couldn’t imagine a more hurtful insult. Of course this same boy threw earthworms at my face, broke my pencils in half and pulled my pigtails. I’m pretty sure he loved me. But negative comments REALLY make me feel bad. And I don’t hear a lot of compliments or praise coming from political opponents.

2–I have no patience with whiners. Ask my kids. You whine, I stop listening. If my constituents call about potholes, the height of their neighbor’s garage or the price of Girl Scout Cookies, I’ll calmly hang up.

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(Yes, they are hideously expensive. But they’re also unhealthy, fattening and addictive!)

3–I can’t make a decision. Don’t ask me what movie I want to see, what restaurant I want to go to, what my favorite book is or if I’d rather be on a beach or in a luxury hotel. The answer is I don’t know! It’s all good!! So when it comes to voting on bike lanes, economic development or elephant sanctuaries, I don’t know!

4–I hate meetings. All politics seems to be is a bunch of meetings. Just give me cement shoes and throw me in the Great Salt Lake. Listening to politicians bluster and brag is the tortuous equivalent to a dentist’s drill boring through my eardrum. Plus I can’t sit still. Plus I can’t resist making smart-ass comments. Plus most meetings are a complete waste of time. (Sidenote: Read How to Survive a Boring Meeting.)

5–I don’t have nearly enough money. The average income for congressmen living in Washington, D.C. is around $190,000. And that’s in American dollars! But. It cost them millions of dollars to buy their way onto Capitol Hill. Lobbyists aren’t cheap, you know. I don’t have wealthy friends willing to open their wallets to sponsor my doomed run for office. I don’t even have friends willing to post bail. I need to get new friends.

Just to reiterate. You will not be seeing a Peri for President campaign anytime soon. Not even for @$%&ing Girl Scout cookies.