Welcome to Snarkfest

Welcome to my snarky corner of the web. Join me as I discuss everything from wine to chocolate. There may be a few other topics mixed in there too. I talk a bunch about my amazing offspring, 18 and 16. I sometimes go on and on about my secret crush on the amazing Mike Rowe. I talk about things that irritate me or things that make me happy. Sometimes I just talk to hear myself talk. Feedback is always appreciated but please make sure it's respectable. No nudity or profanity. I'm the only one allowed to be profane. But any and all snark is welcome and appreciated!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Drivin' Miss 16...

16 will be 17 soon, and a few weeks ago she got her drivers license. She aced the parallel parking part of the test early on and the lady who administered her test told me that 16 was the most confident and capable person she'd had all week taking the road test. SCORE!! And now she's Drivin' Miss 16!

I allow my child to drive my car to school. Does that make me a bad parent?

She got her license on a Wednesday and school started the next day. I opted to allow her to drive my car to school. And I've allowed her to drive to school almost every day since she got her license. Some people may think I'm crazy. I'm not.

A friend of mine posted on the Facebooks that she, too, had allowed her newly-licensed driver to take her car and OH THE HUMANITY!!!!! "Why would you let your kid take your car???" "Why do YOU have to walk to the store when you have a perfectly good car???" "That's not fair to you!!!!"

People were literally freaking out on her post, criticizing her for walking to the store and letting her kid take her car to school.

First of all, it's not really anyone's call but the owner of the car. Period. If you have an opinion, that's awesome. Good on you. But what you think doesn't really make much of a difference in anyone's life but your own, or in anyone's decisions but your own.

Here's my story: I work just under a mile from my office. I am a healthy 49-year old woman with fully functioning lungs and legs. I am fully capable of walking to my job. In fact, I actually ENJOY walking to my job. It gets me out in the sunshine, gets me fresh air, vitamin D and some much needed exercise. It's helping with weight-loss and it really doesn't suck as much as some nay-sayers would like you to think.

I also believe it's building my daughter's confidence. I have faith in her ability, I know she is careful, I know that she's capable and I know that it makes her feel good that I trust her enough to take my car to school. It also saves ME the trouble of having to go pick her up after sports or band practice every afternoon. If I continue driving her everywhere, she will not get the experience OR THE CONFIDENCE to do it for herself.

If it's raining, girlfriend gets to ride the bus and then I will go and pick her up from practice when I get out of work. But if it's a beautiful day outside, and I could use the exercise, and she could use the confidence building, why not let her drive? If she has her license but I drive her everywhere, what purpose does that serve? What experience is she getting?

So to all of the nay-sayers, I say this: it's none of your business if someone allows their kid to drive their car. If you have a child, parent that child. But don't judge another parent for their parenting decisions.

If you enjoyed this post, you may also find some humor in the story of my dueling GPSs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Mean Girls Suck...

If you know me, you know that I've struggled with my weight since forever.  I began putting on weight in the 4th grade. I was heavier than most of the girls in my class, and since I was short, I carried all my weight from my hips down. Fat ass. Barrel ass. Thunder thighs. You name it, I heard it.

Funny thing, I heard it from the girls in my class. My peers. The boys? They never bothered me. They were my friends. They weren't the bullies. It was the mean girls with the big mouths and the bigger attitudes.

Bullies have been around since Jesus was a baby. Why are mean girls so...mean?

Starting in 6th grade, we had dances for grades 6-8 in my school. And I loved to dance, so when I went to dances, I danced my fat ass off.  I danced with my girlfriends and I danced with the boys in my class. I was mocked by the other girls in my class, the mean girls. But I never had a problem with the boys. They wanted to dance, and so did I. It was fun.

Maybe the mean girls didn't like that I was getting attention from the boys at the dance (trust me, it was all in friendship, I never dated any of the boys in my school, they just wanted to dance, nothing more). Who knows?  But because I was a fat girl, I was an easy target for them.

It hurt at first, not gonna lie. But eventually I stopped caring what they thought. In the years since I stopped giving a shit what other people think, I've run more than 20 half marathons. I've run 2 full marathons and am training for my third in October. I've become a published author and I am officially a New York Times Bestselling Author. My ass is still big but my confidence is bigger.

Both of my daughters have dealt with mean girls. Mean girls never go away, they will always be there and they will always suck. But both of my girls have the courage of their convictions and have found things at which they both truly excel, and they've learned (or are still learning) not to sweat the small stuff.  Both my girls kick ass at music and sports. They know they are good. They're not cocky or arrogant, but they are confident. Naturally, the mean girls hate that confidence and continue to be petty and small.  But my girls know the deal. They work hard, they practice, they do well and they get past the small people with their small minds and their petty bullshit. The means girls don't realize it but they are actually teaching my girls a good lesson.

In life, there will always be assholes. In every job, in every club, in every organization, in every facet of life, there will always been jackasses. Learning this early on, and learning how to deal with those jackasses from the start is helpful for the future. So if you are bullied, I realize it's easy for me to tell you to let it go and not let it bother you. But find what you are good at and work at it. Practice it, master it, and show the assholes that you're better than they are.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Purina Pro Plan Cat Food: A Cat's Tail

So I've got this cat, you see.  You know her, you love her. I love her. She's my Cinnamon and holy cheese she'll be 15 this year! She was born on Sept 11, 2001. She's my 9/11 baby and she's as dumb as a box of rocks but as sweet as sugar.

When we got her, she was just a little baby and was a TERROR to our other cat, Pinhead. Pin was a cranky old lady and Cinnamon was this young pain in the butt whippersnapper that lived for annoying the old girl. When Pin finally passed a few years back, we adopted two dogs, Henry and Cosmo, and Pin had her revenge from the grave. The dogs finally realized that they were bigger than the cat and once they did, all bets were off. They chased and played with Cinnamon just as she had done to Pinhead. I wonder now if she regrets being such a pain to Pinhead.

A word about my cat's taste in cat food
I just KNOW the Purina Pro Plan Cat Food is in this drawer!
Now that she is slowing down a bit, she's getting much more picky about eating. I don't give her dry food because she has issues with her urinary tract when I do, so she's been eating canned food and being really persnickety about it. Recently I was contacted by the folks at Purina Pro Plan Cat  and offered  the opportunity to feed their Purina Pro Plan Cat Food to our Cinnamon. They're gonna need to send a bigger case. This cat can't get enough of it. While this IS a sponsored post, I'm not exaggerating when I say that she absolutely LOVES this food. It's like I've created a monster. She's seriously wishing she had opposable thumbs so she could open the cans and feed herself.

A word about my cat's taste in cat food
Is this where you're hiding the Purina Pro Plan Cat Food??  #MyGreatCat

All of the formulas are high in protein, featuring real meat, poultry or Cinnamon's favorite, fish. I mentioned that dry food caused her urinary tract issues and Purina Pro Plan Cat Food is great for maintaining hydration and has all of the nutritional value my old girl needs. It is proudly manufactured at Purina-owned US facilities. And now your cat can try it too, just click to get your coupon for a free can of Purina Pro Plan when you buy 5.

A word about my cat's taste in cat food
Where the heck do you keep the forks, human? #MyGreatCat
You guys know me, I don't  normally write full posts about products unless I truly believe in them. And I believe that Purina Pro Plan Wet Cat Food is a great choice for my Cinnamon, or your Tabby or Fluffy or George. Whoever your favorite cat is, why not click for the buy 5 get 1 can free coupon and treat them to Purina Pro Plan Cat Food?

A word about my cat's taste in cat food
FINALLY cat food I won't turn down #MyGreatCat

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Egg Nazi...

Hey Snarklings. Most of you know that I've got two teens in High School this year, a Senior and a Freshman. Both my girls are band geeks and I couldn't be happier. Band kids are awesome. They are pretty well-behaved (most anyway) and I know and love most of their friends in band. Anywho, every year the whole band packs up and heads to the 4H camp for band camp (NO AMERICAN PIE JOKES NEEDED, TYVM) and we band parents all pitch in to assist. We provide produce, we show up at the school to help load up all the luggage, fans, equipment and instruments. Some parents drive the trucks up, others drive up in their own vehicles to help unload, and during the week, parents sign up to chaperone in the bunks or to help serve meals.

That's where I come in. Every year since 16 was a wide-eyed Freshman, I've gone up to band camp one evening to chaperone in the bunks and then to help with breakfast the following morning. I feel like every parent who has a kid in band should help out in some way, whether it's sleeping over at band camp, serving meals, chaperoning band trips, or one of my favorite things to do, working in the concession stand during Friday night football games. But I digress. Let's get back to breakfast, shall we?

My partners-in-crime and fellow band parents Suzie, Lucy and I woke up at the asscrack of dawn and schlepped over to the building where meals are served. There, we were instructed by the crack staff that is there every year. These awesome ladies, I believe, are on staff at the public schools in the area as cafeteria workers (don't quote me as I'm not 100% sure on this, because they could also be prison guards, could go either way). They quickly put us to work cooking eggs, buttering toast and cutting fruit. Breakfast on that particular morning was eggs, sausage gravy and biscuits, toast, cereal and an enormous selection of fresh fruit (trust me when I tell you, the kids at band camp almost NEVER go hungry). 

My job was serving freshly made scrambled eggs to these bright-eyed, bushy-tailed band kids. All 180 of them. Plus instructors. So there are 200 egg-eating folks all lined up and ready for me to dish them out some steaming scrambled goodness. I started with a big ice cream scooper and those first few kids were giddy with excitement at the serving of delicious eggy delight that appeared on their plates. And that's when it happened. The Egg Nazi appeared. She is the keeper of the kitchen. The master of the meals. I heard her say "THAT'S IT!!! NO MORE!!!" And then she traded my big scrambled egg scoop for a small scrambled egg scoop. She instructed me NOT TO GIVE OUT TOO MUCH to each person because we have to make these eggs last for everyone. "If there are any eggs left" she said, "they can go back for seconds. But I doubt there'll be any left. So you have to just give out a small portion to make them stretch for everyone."

The look on these kids' faces broke my heart as I laid out a smattering of eggs, like, a tablespoon on each plate. Their eyes, nearly filled with tears, looking up at me as if to say "Please, ma'am, may I have some.....more??" Overwhelmed with guilt, I apologized to each child as they looked down at the baby-sized portion of eggs on their plate. "I tried, I swear, but if she catches me giving you more.....she'll kill me"  I whispered through my own guilt-laden tears.

With 1/4 pan of eggs left and less than half the band left to serve I heard the Egg Nazi shout from the kitchen, "Put this fresh pan of eggs out, those eggs out there are getting cold!!" So I traded the old pan for a fresh new pan, but still, I was being watched like a hawk. If I gave even a smidgen more than that baby scoop, I could feel her eyes burning a hole in my skull. I could almost hear her thoughts: "NOT SO MUCH!!!!! ARE YOU CRAZY??? WE'LL RUN OUT!!!" Never have I felt so much guilt, I felt like I was starving these kids. I feared that they wouldn't make it to lunch before passing out on the field because they didn't get enough to eat for breakfast.

When I saw the end of the line, I looked at my pan of eggs. Almost still full, because of the miniscule amount of eggs I was instructed to distribute. Slow, smouldering rage began to burn in my heart, because I realized at that point that WE WERE GOING TO HAVE SO MANY GODDAMN EGGS LEFT OVER WE COULD FEED A SMALL AFRICAN VILLAGE. I seethed. I bit through my bottom lip. I burned with the fire of a thousand suns at the Egg Nazi, for making me starve those poor band kids.

As the last person in line walked away with their portion, the Egg Nazi came out from the kitchen, and looked at the mountain of scrambled eggs still left in my pan. She could probably feel the heat from my anger radiating through my skin. "I'm real sorry," she said, "I really thought you were giving out way too much in the beginning but looks like we had plenty."

Since dumping a pan of hot scrambled eggs on the Egg Nazi would probably have gotten me kicked out of band camp, I decided to keep my big mouth shut and carry my giant pan of eggs over to the table so that the children could help themselves to seconds. In the end, few did. It was almost time for them to head out and start practicing their music and their movements, so there was no time to eat the eggs. I'm not sure what the Egg Nazi did with the remainder of those eggs but I can only hope an orphanage in Haiti was well-fed that afternoon.

Next year I'm handing out toast.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Inspirational People

I was asked to write a post about someone who I believe is an inspiration. I've written before about Real Heroes here and here. Today's post is about two things inspirational. One person, another real hero is my friend Susan.

Yeah, she's gorgeous
I met Susan when we first moved here to Mayberry 10 years ago. She was the coach of 16's soccer team (at the time, 16 was 6!). In addition to her mad soccer coaching skillz, she was also a mentor at the elementary school and responsible for helping to create several programs for the kids there including an afternoon runners club to keep kids active and a club for the kids to have fun on Friday nights.

Always thinking of others before herself, Susan is one of the most generous people you will ever meet. She is Mom to two amazing and beautiful young women who are following in their mother's footsteps with their kindness and generosity.

Susan and I during a Tough Mudder race in 2014
Susan is the co-chair of a 5K which raises money for athletic programs in our area, and she recently participated in a 100 mile race to raise money to help the folks in Flint, MI dealing with the water crisis. Last week, however, Susan went above and beyond when she loaded up a truck full of cleaning supplies, water, food and clothing and took it, along with her daughters and my daughter to the southern part of West Virginia, which was devastated by floods the week before.

They brought dehumidifiers to those who desperately needed them, and they put in long hours of labor at a hardware store that had lost almost everything. My daughter and hers were able to appreciate all that they have and to see the loss and devastation suffered at the hands of Mother Nature was most definitely eye-opening for them.

Susan plans on making another trip down to assist with rebuilding the flood-damaged areas, and my daughter was so moved by the first experience that she's definitely signed on for a second trip. Susan just radiates the things I want my daughters to be: kind, generous, compassionate, loving and above all, selfless.

The other inspirational thing I'm writing about today is the premiere of the show Born This Way. The second season of Born This Way premieres on Tuesday, July 26 on A&E. The show features some amazing young adults born with Downs Syndrome and facing life's challenges with grace, courage, determination and love.

You can watch a clip of the season premiere here:

Tell me about someone who inspires you!

**I was compensated for this post but all opinions are my own.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Listen To Your Mother videos are up!!

Back in April I had the privilege of being onstage with some of the most talented and beautiful women I've had the pleasure and fortune to meet. We bonded over Mexican lunches, we laughed and cried and prayed with one another and became sisters.  Their strength and resiliency inspires me to be a better writer, a better wife and mother and a better human being.

Some of my sisters are bloggers, some writers, some vloggers but all are amazing and speak from the heart. So here is my video of  my piece called "Roots and Wings."  I hope you enjoy it. I actually cried the first time I watched it, and I've read the damned thing about 9000 times, but seeing myself read it kind of blew me away.

When you finish mine video, stick around and watch the others. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. You will laugh with Sara Farrell Baker and Vera Ezimora, you'll cry with Shamel Riley Gravely, Lisa Martin, Jamice Holley and Terri Jackson, and you will be moved to action by Aliya, Andria Nacina Cole, Michelle Bond and Samantha Payne, and I hope you will be as proud as I am of Michelle A. Dowell-Vest, whose piece "Mitochondrial Semantics" has been named as one of BlogHer's Voices of the Year.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sometimes a Kiss is Just a Kiss...

Watching the Today Show this morning, I saw that this picture of Bill Belichick is causing quite a controversy. Why? Because the camera person snapped a picture of his daughter giving him a celebratory kiss just moments after his New England Patriots had won the Super Bowl.  Why is this controversial? Because their eyes are closed? Because they are kissing on the lips? According to the article, an 'etiquette expert' says it's wrong. Well who died and made her boss?

Maybe lip kissing among parents and children is not something that is widely accepted, but maybe it is. Am I a pervert for kissing my 76-year old mother on the lips when I visit her 3 or 4 times a year? Does that make it something more sinister than an innocent kiss? When my dad was still alive and I'd see him several times a year, I always kissed him on the lips. Does that make it incest? Perverse? My daughters kiss me on the lips. Oh the horror! Who cares? It's our choice and it doesn't make us the creepy people!

If you are a cheek kisser, more power to you. That's awesome. Some families show no affection towards one another. So cheek kissing is fantastic. Some families fight, and that's sad. Other families, like mine, are lip kissers. To us lip kissers, there's nothing wrong, sinister, perverted or incestuous about it. Mouths are closed and it's quick. I can tell right away if someone prefers not to be a lip kisser as I'm going in for the quick peck, so I'll hit the cheek instead. No problem. No harm. No foul.

This picture was snapped in a split second. Eyes are closed because.....PEOPLE BLINK! SHOCKER!! To me, there's nothing wrong at all with this image. It shows a happy father kissing a happy daughter in celebration of a Super Bowl win. Nothing more, nothing less. It should not be compared to Woody Allen's relationship with his step-daughter because the two are nothing alike.

It's just a kiss, folks. Lighten up.