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, 24 and 21. 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!

Friday, January 29, 2016

AMBUSHED! It was a 'Paint and Run!'

It all started off innocently enough. My friend Susan who is a real estate agent asking for suggestions for painting rooms. This was the group text we received. Nothing suspicious at all.

Let me give you a tiny history of what this is about. We moved to our home in 2006. The house was built just a few years earlier and every wall was builders grade white. In the 10 years we've lived here, we've painted the girls' rooms,  our morning room and our master bath. I did our powder room on the first floor a few years ago but that's it. Every other room is white. And it's ugly. I've always hated the walls in my house but never took the time to do anything about it. A few months ago, a group of friends were at my house and we were discussing my disgust at my walls. My friend Susan joked that one day she would sneak into my house and paint the walls while I was out. 

I thought she was joking.

Clearly, she was not.

I received that group text this past Tuesday at 4:00 at night.  I gave her a general idea with tans, blues  and beiges. When she asked me to be more specific, I told her she was a pain in my balls. See?

Flash forward to Wednesday morning: 16 had asked me to wake her up before I left for work because she 'wanted to be productive'.  I woke her at 8:50 and then left for work. My neighbor, Running Nazi Crack Ho drove me to work. At 5:10 she picked me up from work and we had to go back to her office because I needed an insurance question answered. We were there an exceptionally long time. When we finally pulled into my driveway, she asked if she could borrow some half and half. We walked into my house and this was what happened next.

This was my thought process when I walked into my house. 

Why are there 7 people in my kitchen all yelling "SURPRISE!" It's not my birthday, I'm not pregnant so it's not a shower. That's weird. And what's that smell? Why does my house smell funny? When I looked to my right I noticed my dining room was no longer white. It was teal. That's when I said "Are you crazy??" And when I walked into my kitchen and looked at my family room, that's when the tears came. This is what I was crying about:

My plain white walls were replaced with cream colored walls and a chocolate brown accent wall. My house was cleaned and painted by some unbelievably amazing friends (and some fantastic teenagers that were brought along for the ride). Here's another look at the family room:

In my kitchen, we had one spot where we've been measuring my daughters' height since we moved in 2006, and Susan's daughter Bella saved that spot so we'll still have it to look back and enjoy.

Here is my morning room:

And lastly, my dining room. Those curtains were already hanging and they go perfectly with the color:

How unbelievably lucky am I to have such incredible friends? Friends who would take an entire day to sneak into someone's house and spend 8.5 hours painting every room downstairs while their friend is at work. It was like an episode of the old TLC show "While You Were Out" without the hay, sand and records on the wall.  I'm blessed beyond words, and "thank you" just seems to fall short.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Why don't I live on the moon?

My 16 year old wanted me to take a "How much smarter at science are you than a 4th grader" test on the Buzz Feeds. I took the test and apparently, my 4th grade science teacher was awfully generous with my grade. I came across this question and thought,  "this is a trick question". So I answered it. And I was wrong. But this begs the question: WHY DON'T I LIVE ON THE MOON??

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Snape, my heart cries.....

By now you've all heard the news about the passing of Alan Rickman. If you didn't know, I'm sorry to be the bearer of such bad news. And it IS just that. Bad, sad news. While I did not know Mr. Rickman personally, he touched my life and the lives of my children so deeply with his portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter series that I can't help but cry over the news of his death.

He was a huge part of our children's lives. We read the Harry Potter series alongside our children so it's not just like one of OUR contemporaries has gone, but a big part of what shaped our children's childhood is gone as well. Don't get me wrong, I did like David Bowie but I wasn't a super fan, not like my huge love for Duran Duran. I was sad at Bowie's passing, but Alan Rickman's passing has really hit me hard.

When 18 was just 7 years old, we were in the Navy Exchange on Pearl Harbor, HI and she brought me a copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, telling me she wanted to read it. I told her to put it back and go see if they had the very first Harry Potter book. It didn't make any sense for an 8 year old to pick up the 6th book in a series when there were 5 others to read first. She put #6 back and found #1, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.  I am not kidding when I tell you that this child absolutely devoured the book. We'd be poolside and would try to get her to put the book down and come into the pool with us and she was having none of it. "Just let me finish this chapter, please. Then I'll come in." I was dumbfounded.

She finished that first book before we left Hawaii. She celebrated her 8th birthday on the plane coming home and when we landed, she wanted to find the second book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets as soon as it was humanly possible. She was hooked. By the time she finished the second book and started on the third, I had to find out what the hype was about. At that time many of my friends were hooked as well. So I started reading the series and I, too, was addicted. Severus Snape was the character you loved/hated and when we watched the movies, there could be no one better in the role than Alan Rickman.

Yes, he was amazing in so many other roles: he was GENIUS as Hans Gruber in Die Hard,  Harry the flirtatious boss in Love Actually, the alien Alexander Dane in Galaxy Quest and even Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniels' The Butler. But none strike me so much as his portrayal of Snape. I've watched the Harry Potter movies over and over with my children and he is as much a part of their lives as he is mine.

I remember when John Wayne and Elvis died, being so sad for my mom because those were her favorites. And now, losing someone so key in my own children's developmental stages is just as hard. Reading the series gave us common interests, gave us things to talk about, and it brought us together as more than mother and daughter, but as peers working toward a common goal: finishing the books, seeing where JK Rowling was taking us. And knowing where the Snape character ends up, how much he changes, what his true feelings were, as played by Alan Rickman, it just breaks my heart that he's gone.

So RIP, Alan Rickman. Thank you for all the amazing roles you played and all the enjoyment you brought to us. But mostly, thanks for giving my daughters and I something in common. We will never forget you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Hello...........It's me

The one who hasn't had an original idea since the early 80's.  When I was younger and free.

Okay I'll stop now. But seriously, the holidays have come and gone, as has my college freshman. We dropped her off this past weekend and now it's time to take down the decorations and put the holidays away for another year.

In other news, we've had this awful smell coming from the basement, and we're fairly certain that something died down there. The stench has slowly started to dissipate, thankfully, because I was this close to calling a priest to perform an exorcism down there. Because damn. The problem is that our basement is a catchall. Don't know what to do with something? Throw it in the basement, we'll deal with it later. And now the basement could pass for the latest episode of Hoarders.  So locating the offending odor has been difficult.

The world is mourning the loss of David Bowie today. One of my dear friends was a huge Bowie fan when I was in high school and I hold her responsible for helping to shape my musical tastes. I went to my very first concert with her at JFK Stadium in Philly where we saw Madness and The Police. This was in August of 1983. I blame her for making me a concert whore. She also took me to my first Duran Duran concert in March of 1984. So when we all heard the news of Bowie's passing, my thoughts went to her because she was such a fan.

What else is new? Oh yeah, I've started getting back to running and trying to get myself into a shape other than round. You'd be proud of me: Since the beginning of January I've run over 26 miles. I'll run the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in May like I do every year, but my running goal for 2016 is to run the Freedoms Run Full Marathon in October. That race is 16 miles of flat ground on the C&O Canal followed by about 5 miles of nothing but ugly ass hills. Good times.  But I totally need this goal because.... my ass.

I recently hosted Norine of Science of Parenthood for my annual Moms Night Out, only this time it was a book tour that brought the moms out. Norine and her writing partner Jessica are promoting their new book, which is very cool. I met these two funny ladies at BlogU14 where they were voted "Most Likely to get a Book Deal". And now they have a book deal! I'm hoping at this year's blogging conference, BlogU16 I'll be voted "Most Likely to be Hired as Mike Rowe's Close Personal Assistant". Hey, a girl can dream, right?

So now you're pretty much all caught upon what's been happening at Casa Snarkfest. Bear with me as I find my voice again. I'm sure it's there, it's probably just buried under boxes of Christmas decorations. Until then, Happy 2016 folks!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

You're in the Army now (for the week)...

This post is one I published exactly a year ago about 18's experience in San Antonio. If you're an old friend, please enjoy it all over again with me. If you're a new friend, this is why I am so proud of my kids:


On July 21, 2014 my oldest received a letter from the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) which stated that she was accepted as a member of the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Marching Band. Over 2000 high school seniors auditioned for this prestigious honor and only 125 were selected to march in the band. And my kid was one of them.

Overwhelming? You betcha! Even HARDER to believe? We couldn't tell anyone publicly until the members of the U.S. Army's Bowl Selection Tour came to her high school to make the announcement.....on November 21. Did you happen to catch that we found out in July and had to wait 4 full months before we were allowed to discuss it? Yeah, that was easy. (NOT)

No FB announcements, no Tweeting it, no posting it in an Instagram story (whatever that is). Nope, close friends and family only. Do you KNOW how badly I wanted to shout it from the rooftops to everyone I've ever met in my whole life? I don't know who had a harder time keeping it a secret, Jenn or me. Anyway, the day came and with tremendous fanfare and media presence, the announcement was made and we could FINALLY tell everyone.

She received an all-expenses paid trip to San Antonio, Texas. They made all the travel arrangements, picked them up from the airport and once there, put them up in the Grand Hyatt Hotel, had them on a regimented schedule (as the Army will do), fed them, clothed them, provided them with beautiful instruments, fed them some more, transported them to and from rehearsals, had members of the U.S. Army Field band not only play FOR them but play WITH them, speak with them, mentor them. They were busy from morning wake up until evening bed-check. I missed her terribly, but knew that she was safe, in good hands and being well-taken care of where she was. We texted a bit when she had (some) downtime. I think she was sick and tired of hearing how proud of her I was.

My girl, second ginger pony-tailed girl from the left with the unzipped jacket. 
They had 4 full days to learn their drills and perfect their music. If you know anything about marching band, it takes nearly a full semester to perfect a halftime show. This band had 4 days. The band director told us parents that they initially blocked out 24 hours over the course of those 4 days for rehearsal. Then they cut it back to 23, then 22.5 and finally, they PERFECTED their show in 21 hours. THAT is nothing short of amazing. Everything about the week was amazing.

She's in the lower left part of the star, right around the 40 yard line. Can you see her?
And then it was Saturday and time for the game. We sat in our seats and watched the band march onto the field and play the National Anthem. Chills. We watched the game and when the band marched out onto the field for the halftime show, my youngest daughter Amanda found Jenn and pointed her out to me. I never took my eyes off of her from that point on. And I cried. And cried. I didn't WANT to cry, I wanted to watch the whole band perform. But I couldn't stop watching my daughter. Thank God the Army was filming it and we could watch the whole performance later at the wrap party. For me, there weren't 124 other band members out there. There was only one. She was awesome.

When I did watch the whole performance at the wrap party, I was blown away. The show was flawless. Visually perfect, musically stunning. Those kids, I can't say enough about them. The Army gave them the week of a lifetime. The staff from All-American Games arranged everything, the Army gave these kids the guidance, Jupiter, Mapex and Majestic provided the instruments, Adidas and DeMoulin provided every piece of clothing the kids wore including the band uniforms. NAfME made it all possible. The kids just brought their talent, their enthusiasm, their personalities and their joy and they shared it with 30,000 people that day in the Alamodome in San Antonio.

EDITED TO ADD THIS! If you want to see all the highlights from the week AND watch the actual video of their performance on Saturday go here for all the fun!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Batman Unlimited AND a $100 Amazon Giveaway?? YES!

To start your New Year off right, DC Kids is doing some really cool things. First, they've released the animated Batman Unlimited series where Batman and his crime fighting squad battle it out against the cyber robotic animals to keep Gotham City safe.

Not good enough? Well DC Kids is ALSO giving away $100 for Amazon! I know!

The DC Kids You Tube Channel makes it easy for our kids to watch their favorite DC characters whenever they want from any device. For even more fun, there is an extended online experience on their website where kids can play games, download free printable activities, read comic books and more!

And DC Kids is giving away $100 for Amazon, which makes right now the perfect time to check it all out. Watch the video below, then enter at the widget for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway