Middle School Stole My Mini Me : Suburban Misfit Mom

 

Source: Middle School Stole My Mini Me : Suburban Misfit Mom

I was recently featured on Suburban Misfit Mom as a guest writer, discussing how I navigated through the rough waters of middle school. To be honest, while I was entrenched in it, I never imagined I’d walk away from those years with both a better understanding of myself and of my daughter. At the time, all I wanted was to make it out alive and sane!

I was overwhelmed by the responses of so many readers and their similar struggles.  I found the support of my “village of moms” to be invaluable during this period. I hope you find a kernel of wisdom in the article (and a strong, supportive village of your own) to help you through the Middle School Madness  xoxo T

Click on the “source” link at the top to view the article in its entirety.

Just Beat It…Just Beat It…

My all-time most requested cookie just happens to be Passover friendly.  It also happens to be low fat, gluten free, and low calorie (as long as you have self control).  It takes 10 minutes to prepare.  You can even make it before you go to sleep and leave it in the oven all night once it’s done baking.  It’s light and airy and it melts in your mouth (literally). It makes grown men fight over the last one (I’ve had to bitch slap both my younger brother AND my cousin on more than one occasion over these cookies).  It’s the first cookie I ever made and the one that officially earned me my baking “street cred.”  He’ll never admit it but I’m pretty sure my husband first fell in love with me immediately AFTER tasting these cookies.  

If there was a high school for cookies, this cookie would definitely be the captain of the cheerleading squad and dating the varsity quarterback.  It’s THAT good.  And for my Easter-friendly friends, you definitely don’t have to be celebrating Passover to indulge in my most popular cookie. 

 

whip it real good!

whip it real good!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 3 large egg whites
  • ⅛ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ bag chocolate chip morsels

WHAT YOU DO:

  1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil
  2. In a mixing bowl set at high speed with the whisk attachment (click on the above GIF to view), beat egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form.  It needs to look like SOFT AND AIRY shaving cream.  Don’t rush this…it could take a few minutes.
  3. Slowly add in sugar, ¼ cup at a time.  Beat very well after each addition until sugar completely dissolves and whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks.  It will look like REALLY THICK shaving cream.
  4. Beat in vanilla.
  5. FOLD in chocolate chips gently with a rubber spatula.
  6. Scoop spoonfuls of meringue onto foil-lined cookie sheets in 2-inch mounds about 1-inch apart.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes.  Turn off oven BUT DO NOT OPEN!!! Set your timer for 45 MORE minutes to let the meringues dry completely.  I make these at night and leave them in my oven overnight.
  8. Gently peel meringues off foil.

The only problem with this cookie is that you can never make enough and there are never leftovers.  In fact, I’ve been searching through my entire photo library for a picture of an uneaten meringue to show you.  They never last long enough to take a picture.  With that said, I’m shamelessly “borrowing” a picture from another blog to illustrate what the finished product looks like (photo cred:  Lisa at myownsweetthyme in Tennessee.) Meringue

 

 

GAGLESS PASSOVER DESSERT

If you’re not Jewish and you’re reading this, I’d like to preface that, for Jews, this upcoming week does not involve fluffy bunnies or yummy chocolate in beautiful bright spring-colored baskets.  We don’t get bunnies.  We get horseradish.  We don’t get an Easter egg hunt.  We send our children hunting through our homes for a piece of flat, tasteless bread.  We get a week of luncheon meat in between two cardboard-tasting crackers.

This blog post is actually in response to all of the Passover Seder hosts (and guests) out there who have reached out to me in the past few days.  Even though eating matzoh in lieu of bread for a week is torture, the fearless women and men who prepare for the Passover Seder are the unsung heroes of the holiday who suffer for an additional week BEFORE Passover. They break out the Passover china. They charge through the supermarket looking for the perfect brisket. They set tables and strategically arrange seating in an often futile attempt to create family diplomacy. (For those of you not familiar with the term, Seder, it’s a dinner feast signaling the beginning of one week Jews forego the five forbidden grains. We Jews regularly integrate suffering and starvation into our religious rituals.  Don’t feel too badly for us because we also have eight days of Chanukkah, bagels, and Adam Sandler. And for the record, I’m impressed you’re still reading this.)

With Passover quickly approaching, Seder hosts all begin looking for that ONE dessert that doesn’t scream potato starch or matzoh meal. After making matzoh balls, soup, gefilte fish, brisket, chicken, and haroset, who wants to start baking?  You can always farm off the baked goods to one of your eager guests.  Problem with that is that you KNOW someone is  inevitably showing up with a can of Manischewitz macaroons.  Canned macaroons are the proverbial Christmas fruitcake of OUR people.

Being that I was a dessert caterer for a few years, I’ve had no less than a dozen texts and calls today for flourless, Kosher for Passover dessert recipes.  I could give you my five star flourless chocolate torte recipe.  Rich, decadent, garnished with candied violets.  The fancy-schmancy dessert that  looks like you spent four hours in the kitchen making it (which you will have). I can also teach you how to make a light and fluffy chocolate soufflé. Problem with soufflés is that even for the most seasoned baker, soufflés are temperamental bitches.  Not to mention this version require raw eggs. You don’t need that stress and I certainly don’t want you posting nasty comments on my blog about how your Aunt Nancy barfed from bad eggs.

So to avoid all the stress in your already overstressed kitchen, I’m giving you one of my two favorite Passover (and all year) desserts in this post:  Matzoh Toffee. Make this and you will be the Passover hero.  If you’re a guest, bring this to someone’s Seder to guarantee a permanent spot at their table.  You don’t have to observe Passover or even be Jewish to get addicted to Matzoh toffee.  This stuff is Jewish crack, people.

matzoh toffee

 

What you need:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 box Matzoh (about 7 sheets)
  • 1 16 oz bag of chocolate chips
  • 1 16 oz bag of toffee bits (Heath Toffee Bits are my favorite)
  • ¼ cup milk chocolate chips (for optional drizzle)
  • ¼ cup white chocolate chips (for optional drizzle)

What you do:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Line two jelly roll pans (cookie sheets with sides) with aluminum foil.
  3. Cover both pan bottoms completely with sheets of matzoh.
  4. In a medium saucepan on medium high heat, melt the cup of butter with the cup of brown sugar.  Stir constantly until the mixture reaches a light boil and continue to mix three minutes until spoon will coat when dipped in the mixture.  You’re basically dissolving the brown sugar into the butter into a soft candy. Three minutes.  Don’t cheat.
  5. Pour the mixture over the matzoh.  Place in oven and bake for four minutes.
  6. Carefully remove from the oven and pour chocolate chips  (½ bag for each sheet) over the bubbling, caramel-ly matzoh. As good as it looks, do not taste the bubbling caramel.  It is lava.
  7. Put back in the oven for ONE minute.
  8. Remove from oven and QUICKLY spread softened chocolate over pan.  Liberally sprinkle toffee bits over melted chocolate
  9. Let cool.  (Optional) In separate ziploc sandwich bags, melt milk chocolate and white chocolate (heat in 15 second increments so as not to burn chocolate).  Knead melted chocolate into corner of bag, snip edge and channel your inner Jackson Pollack all over the toffee.
  10. Refrigerate overnight.  Break into pieces and serve.

Stand back and listen to the applause.  You’re welcome.

 

ULTRA 101

ultra |ˈəltrə| informal noun an extremist; adverb [as submodifier] very; extremely: the play was not just boring, it was ultra boring. – MERRIAM WEBSTER

Based on Webster’s definition, I’m ultra over Ultra.  And it hasn’t even started yet.  For those of you not familiar with this long-awaited music event, ULTRA is an annual three-day music festival in downtown Miami that’s happening this upcoming weekend. It started 15 years ago (the year I gave birth to my daughter) as a small soiree for electronic dance music (EDM) aficionados. Over the past decade and a half, it has “ultra” successfully grown into a three-day massive concert culminating the Winter Music Conference (WMC). I should have recognized the omen of things to come when my daughter was a poster child for the WMC in the early years.

Photo credit: Seth Browarnik, worldredeye.com

Photo credit: Seth Browarnik, worldredeye.com

Ultra is Miami’s EDM version of SXSW, Lollapalooza or Coachella, and if you’re over 35 and NOT involved in the music industry or have a love of EDM, consider this your introduction to the subculture.

If you have children or preteens and live in South Florida, do not ever judge the already ultra-fied parents of slightly older children around this time of year. I assure you, at some point within the next decade, you will not pass through the teen years untouched by Ultra (and we older parents will be the first ones “liking” your kids’ Ultra pictures on Instagram once your little angel enters the Ultra years).

You, too, will undoubtedly one day be asked to fork over $500 for a three-day pass to Ultra.  Months before the event, every resourceful parent will try his/her best to snag “Early Bird” tickets online for a fraction of the price.  FYI, snagging these golden tickets is as easy as winning Powerball. So good luck with that.

You will also be asked to either shop for, or fork over more money for, the mandatory Ultra outfits that one wears to the festival.  This wardrobe consists of a mixture of the following:  the most hideous fluorescent-colored spandex you can remember wearing in the 80’s, blended with a touch of 1960’s Woodstock-esque headbands and flowers, and topped with hundreds of accessories, furry animal hats, and my personal favorite: “candy/kandi.” Candy is what we would otherwise call “plastic, beaded bracelets” (any other time of the year, these fashion choices are exclusively worn by either 6-year-old little girls or a slightly deranged, older homeless woman pushing a shopping cart containing her worldly possessions).

2013 Ultra

2013 Ultra

You will become familiar with their Ultra lexicon.  You will know when and how to use the phrases turned up, turned down, PLUR, dubstep, when the bass drops, just to name a few off the top of my head.  You may even like some of the artists and music if you just open up your mind a little bit. It ain’t Springsteen but some of it is really, really good.

You will, at the end of a very long weekend, thank whichever god you pray to that your child (and you) survived a very long weekend.  They will come home to you dirty, broke and dehydrated ($5/bottles of water over three, dusty 85+ degree 12-hour days – do the math). Your child will be exhausted and if you’re lucky, welcome a little of that mommy TLC they’ve been vehemently eschewing during these teen years.

And before you ask, yes, we are aware of the dangers of Ultra.  We are aware of the fact that there are drugs and alcohol associated with music festivals (we middle-aged South Floridians all survived the Sportatorium).  We have open dialogues with our children about the perils of bad choices.  I’m very fortunate that the majority of my daughter’s friends have moms that are realistic, like-minded amazing mothers who band together as a village to raise our children.  We share the understanding that our children do not live in bubbles.  That whether one lives in a tiny city or a bustling metropolis, teens today are exposed to drugs and alcohol in settings far less obvious than a music festival. Whether they choose to tell you or not (and for your sake, I hope they feel comfortable enough to have you as a sounding board), they make choices daily.  In schools, online, at parties, at friends’ homes, the sheltering of yesteryear really does not exist today.  The only measure of where their internal “judgment compass” lies is in the choices THEY make when exposed to situations. So far, I am ridiculously proud of my children, their choices thus far, and the wonderful friends (and friends’ parents) they’ve surrounded themselves with.

So that being said, I will now step off my soapbox, finalize the ULTRA transportation details with my army of supermoms, turn on my newest favorite artist that my daughter introduced me to (Chance the Rapper, in case you’re wondering), and anxiously await my favorite day of the year: post-Ultra Monday.

Peace Love Unity Respect (PLUR)

Peace Love Unity Respect (PLUR)

 

 

Ski Week

Each year, from mid February to late March, my Facebook feed fills with gorgeous pictures of snow-capped mountains serving as a backdrop for my Floridian friends and family dressed in snow gear.  In the world of South Florida private schools, this signifies that the season of “Ski Week” has arrived. One week every year (and bizarrely, different weeks for each respective school), we South Floridians beg, borrow and buy approximately 200 lbs worth of ski apparel, reserve our family a week-long chunk of snow-covered heaven, and head northwest.  We then post our ski pictures.  The problem is, we are so out of our element and two degrees away from hypothermia that we forget to take off our goggles and helmets.   If it were not for the name and geotag above the pictures (or the token picture taken by the fire in the lodge), we could easily swap photos and have no idea who’s who.

Coming from cold climates, my parents both deliberately made their home in South Florida to AVOID the ice and snow. In the late 60’s and early 70’s, Miami Beach was transforming.  What was once a sleepy city/waiting room for the senior-est of citizens waiting to enter the pearly gates, turned into a rapidly growing borough of migrating New Yorkers looking for a permanent place to thaw out and raise families. Short of a Bar Mitzvah/wedding/death, we first-generation Miami Beach natives rarely ventured further north than Orlando’s Walt Disney World.  Most of our parents were permanently done with snow. I don’t think I owned a pair of boots until I moved away to college.   

Things have changed considerably since I was a child.  Miami Beach is still a destination for those looking to thaw out.  People still migrate here to thaw, but now they also chill, turn up, turn down and everything in between.  The people who call South Florida their home year-round have changed quite drastically, as well.  We don’t fear the cold as did our parents before us.  We covet it.   Growing up in a tropical climate with no seasons other than HOT, our generation dreams of snow days and real winter wardrobes.  And now, rather than photo albums, we now have social media to chronicle our lives.

224206_1053937396038_5008_n

For those beautiful native Floridian friends who crave adventure, are blessed with natural agility and athleticism and, who could probably have qualified for the Winter Olympics in a colder parallel universe, I marvel in awe at your prowess.  It also reaffirms my belief that opposites attract since there is no other way to define our friendship.

With every Ski Week vacation, I proved my parents right. If there’s one thing I’ve learned on my family ski trips, it’s that I have no business being on or near snow.  I could attribute this partly to the fact that the highest slope I have any experience with is in the parking garage at Aventura Mall. I firmly believe that most South Floridians lack the fundamental understanding of gravity’s effect on angled surfaces. Especially cold, slick, angled surfaces. No matter how many cross-fit or spin classes one can attempt in preparation, your knees, hamstrings and quads are one movement away from a “ski story.”  Consider each safe landing at the bottom of a run an omen. Repeat at your own risk.

I’ve also learned that no matter how cute little ski clothes are in the store, BORROW clothes for your kids.  You live in South Florida.  Kids grow. My son’s first ski bib was pink.  I told him it was light red so I could save $200.  Whatever. 

As for your outfit, no matter how much you rationalize, don’t buy the $2,000 Bogner ski bunny suit.  I know it looks so good on you in the dressing room. You will never get enough use out of it to justify the cost. True ski aficionados have their own fashion code and next year (or possibly the year after if you’re lucky), you’ll look like an idiot…if you don’t already.  Splurge on the most comfortable apres ski boots you can find.  Trust me on this one.  

Furthermore, if you’re from South Florida, assume that you are unable to remain vertical on even the smallest patch of ice.  No shoe ever created will allow you to safely and/or securely walk on ice.  For some reason, Floridians are like ice magnets, and when we slip on that tiny two-inch patch of ice, our coccyx bone somehow finds the only other two-inch patch of ice to complete the fall. Assume everything is ice and walk accordingly. 

Put your children in “ski school” to teach these little tropical creatures how to navigate quickly on this foreign white flooring.  You’ll need that down time after spending two hours dressing them in the fourteen layers of clothing they’ll need to brave the elements. They’ll hate you for something once they hit their teens; it may as well be for blessing them with good ski form.

227641_1053941716146_269_n

ski school graduates and black diamond pros

If you are a Floridian with limited ski experience, limited athletic ability and generally can’t ski well (basically, me), don’t even think about snowboarding.  It takes the biodynamic element to another level. There will be swelling.

Looking back now on the many family ski trips under my big umbrella, I’m very grateful that we were fortunate to be able to make these memories, as painful and terrifying as they were.  In hindsight, this Miami girl had no business ever being on a snow-covered mountain and I’m very lucky that I didn’t ski myself or my children off a mountain or two (although I did come close).  Yet now that my older children filled their respective Ski Weeks with friend-filled afternoons at the beach (and my body reminding me that skiing is now just a way to satisfy my insurance deductible early in the year), I’m vicariously enjoying the Facebook timeline of my friends and their kids.

227151_1053946956277_8711_n

Enjoy your trip, ski your double black diamonds to your heart’s content, and PLEASE take your goggles off for the damn Facebook pictures so I can recognize you.

 

Gilding the Lily

Since I began writing this blog, I’ve wrestled with writing a post about my daughter, Lily.  If you’ve ever met my Lily…my beautiful, fierce, and slightly ferocious Lily…you could empathize with how terrified I am.  Off the top of my head, I can think of 243 ways this can go very badly. Very, very badly.

My daughter is beautiful.  My daughter is introspective.  She is loyal, kind, fiercely fair, and respectful to others (as long as they didn’t give birth to her).  She always sticks up for the underdog.  She gives generously of herself, especially to those in need.  She’s an insanely gifted singer.  She’s an honor student. She is a magnificent human being that I feel fortunate to call my child.

She is also learning how to drive.

I’ve already taught one child how to drive. It was easy. In fairness, my son was always fascinated with cars and started driving on people’s laps at age four. He could maneuver a golf cart at age 7 like a 65 year-old Boca Raton retiree.  He was a natural. Being the conscientious mother that I am, I made sure he supplemented his driving education with hefty doses of Grand Theft Auto. He breezed through his exam.

After a smooth, pleasant experience with my son,  I went into Round Two with my youngest child with way too much confidence.  I was grossly misled by the adept skill she exhibited at such an early age while she maneuvered through the mean streets of Grand Theft Auto.  I didn’t heed the omen I was given during the time my husband tried teaching 13-year-old Lily the fundamentals of driving a car. That lesson ended abruptly by Lily exiting the driver’s side while the car was still in “drive (I did learn, however, that my husband possesses the very sexy, stunt man-worthy quality of being able to jump over and slide into a driverless, moving car). Until very recently, I also didn’t fully wrap my brain around the concept that she was born cursed with my horrible sense of direction.  She has been driving for over nine months and still gets lost shortly before exiting our driveway.

Furthermore, I didn’t factor in the idea that Lily and I have fundamentally different ideas of what skills one must possess to drive safely.  For example, I feel that a stop sign is not merely a suggestion.  I regard it as the younger, less-emphatic sister of the mighty red light rather than a barely acknowledged distant cousin.  We agree to disagree.

We do agree on most of the pre-drive protocol involving the checking of the mirrors and seat positions.  However, we lock horns on Lily’s requirement that calls for both the volume and the bass of the car’s sound system to be set to a level which makes the windows rattle.  Another point we argue about is the fact that I firmly do not feel that mastering the perfect “selfie” behind the wheel is a usable skill on the road.  Again, we agree to disagree but I’ll admit that she’s far more photogenic than I, so my opinions regarding this skill may be skewed.

get-attachment.aspx

It seems as if each and every teachable driving moment ends in conflict.  I have a very close relationship my mini-me and I dread the fallout that inevitably follows each driving lesson.  I’ve actually pondered the thought that I’d be a much better passenger if I was tranquilized. Regretfully, the amount of Xanax I’d need to be calm enough makes me prone to drooling and more importantly, would render me useless as a driving teacher (which pretty much defeats the whole purpose).

Last weekend, nine months into the Driving-Miss-Lily experience, my husband and I reached our breaking point with our beautiful, headstrong daughter.  We were passengers while she drove us to an appointment via US-1.  For those of you not familiar with this road, it is a main north-south highway running along the Eastern coast of the US.  My little slice of US-1 is basically a four lane free-for-all consisting of too many shoppers eagerly speeding to get to our world-famous Aventura Mall, international tourists who are vacationing here for the winter (who deem most of our road rules optional), along with a plethora of senior citizens who should have had their driving privileges revoked during the Reagan administration.  It is a congested, dangerous road that we had no business being on with a 15-year-old, new driver.

It was on this treacherous patch of asphalt that my husband and I simultaneously realized that my daughter had most definitely NOT mastered the art of the lane change.  Technically, she had mastered changing lanes – she just chose to change ALL four of them in one swift diagonal move without the aid of indicators. We (loudly) voiced our displeasure with her technique, as did many motorists within the four lanes that were swerving to avoid her. After a harrowing minute of real-life Frogger, I actually climbed out of the car before it came to a complete stop.

There was yelling.  There were tears.  There was a scathing diatribe in which I berated her driving. Any mom listening would know my rant roughly translated into “please God, don’t let my baby get hurt.”  In my head, I was sure that Lily understood that what I was screaming was “I love you so much and I’m so scared that I cannot keep you safe.”  What really came out of my mouth was a string of four-letter words strategically transformed into verbs, adverbs, adjectives and dangling participles vulgar enough to make a sailor blush. If teen daughters could interpret Mom language, I believe this world would be a far calmer place. And wine sales would drop significantly.

It was at that moment that my husband and I realized that some things are best left to the professionals.  So as I sit here writing this, my daughter is taking her first driving class with a man driving one of those conjoined-twin cars fitted with two sets of everything and a big sign announcing to all those on the road: “STUDENT DRIVER.”  She is furious with me… and that’s ok.  I should probably be a little worried because she’s going to be the person who decides what nursing home I’m going to go to when I’m old.  Based on her current level of anger, I’ll be lucky if I’m living in an old refrigerator box under a bridge.  That’s okay.  She can be as mad as she wants. I’m confident that by the time she needs to visit me in my box, she’ll not only be fluent in Mom language, she’ll finally be able to change lanes like a pro. That’s all that matters.

 

Happy National Pancake Day

History was never my best subject.  Partly because AP American History was one of my early morning classes (I am unable to process a complete sentence before 9 am), along with the fact that I went to a high school with a very understanding security officer.  As long as he received a bagel and coffee upon my return, he’d gladly turn a blind eye when I snuck off campus for breakfast.  Which is why I did not miss the irony upon waking up to discover that today is a national holiday celebrating breakfast.

Excuse me if I don’t know the intricate details of the battles fought by our forefathers, but apparently, today we honor the brave breakfast warriors who heroically sacrificed so we could celebrate National Pancake Day. IHOP  will be giving away a free shortstack from 7 am until 10 pm today.  For the history buffs who would like to recreate the battle of Pancreas (and donate to Children’s Miracle Network), arm yourself with insulin and elastic-waist garments and carpe friggin diem.

For those of you who aren’t very patriotic (I don’t judge), lazy (raising my hand), don’t know where your local IHOP is (HINT: look for 18-wheelers and a nearby WalMart) or merely have an iron-clad noncompete clause with your pancreas or intestines,  I created a DIY way to celebrate this monumental day in a less Honey BooBoo-esque manner.

Gluten Free High Protein Pancakes

Gluten Free High Protein Pancakes

All you need is this:

½ cup cottage cheese, ½ cup oats (gluten free if that’s how you roll), 2 eggs (or four egg whites), ½ tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tsp oil (I use coconut oil).

And a blender, frying pan and stove.  If you don’t have the last three things, you should probably eat most of your meals at IHOP anyway so just stop reading here.

Blend all ingredients in your blender.  Cook them (if you don’t know how to cook a pancake, please refer to the paragraph above this one)get-attachment-6.aspxget-attachment-7.aspx

The recipe yields about four pancakes.  I added garnish of sliced banana, toasted sliced almonds, whipped cream, a dusting of cinnamon… and way more maple syrup than an adult should ever consume in a month.  Don’t judge.

get-attachment-4.aspx

Whether you decide to get out those sweatpants and head on over to your nearest IHOP (and do a good deed by donating to Children’s Miracle Network), or try your hand at this healthier version (minus my whipped cream and maple syrup tsunami), have yourself a fantastic NATIONAL PANCAKE DAY.

get-attachment-3.aspx

 

Open Letter

An Open Letter to the thief who tried to steal my American Express number:

Based on your brief and futile shopping history, you clearly DO NOT know anything about me.

You’re tech-savvy…I’ll give you that.  You somehow got my name, my security code and my credit card number while my card sat nestled safely in my wallet.  You then were able to take all that encoded info and replicate a Platinum AMEX card that actually passed muster in a store.

I’m impressed.  Truly.

If I had those skills, I’d probably be writing a poignant goodbye letter to my friends while driving a Bentley fitted with a huge U-Haul trailer. My children would be right behind me in their respective U-Haul-lugging Lamborghini and Maybach.  I can’t speak for my men, but I’m highly confident that my daughter’s U-Haul would most probably contain an unconscious James Franco, bound and gagged.  My husband would be following in his Tesla (I do not think Tesla offers a trailer hitch option.  I would volunteer to take his stuff because I am an awesome wife).  My trailer would be stuffed with crocodile Birkins, three Shetland ponies, every infomercial item I’ve ever seen and the entire contents of four Dylan’s Candy Bar stores.  These ill-gotten gains would be stuffed into new Louis Vuitton steamer trunks with 43 rescue dogs sitting on top of them and I’d be en route to my Gulfstream jet headed to a country with very loose extradition laws.

Being that I can barely program directions into a GPS or handle an email account more complicated than AOL… I’ll probably never have the opportunity to test my integrity.

Yet, Mr. Credit Card Thief, with all your computer intelligence, and the ENTIRE consumer world being your veritable oyster, your FIRST (and last) shopping choice was to walk into an auto parts store in a small town in Georgia and go on a shopping spree for fuzzy dice and rims.

Honestly, I am a little insulted.

Because of you, I now know the actual real-time speed of a nanosecond because that’s how long it took the Fraud Alert Department at AMEX to call me.  I swear the guy  on the phone was laughing at you.  Anyone reviewing my purchase history would know that there are very few things that would raise a Fraud Alert eyebrow, yet you succeeded.  This month alone, my credit card statement includes Fresh Balls cream for my husband’s testicles.  Again, this is because I am an awesome wife and I fully recognize the issues associated with South Florida humidity and good hygiene.

Fresh Balls Drying Cream

Fresh Balls
Ball Drying Creme

My credit card statement also includes payments for the services rendered by some great doctors with really scary specialties because my youngest child had a terrifying health scare (also the reason why I started my blog off with a bang and then fell off the face of the earth for the past two weeks).  Instead of  blog-writing, or wondering why the hell someone bought a commemorative Dale Earnhardt steering wheel cover, I was worrying about my daughter.  Worrying works, by the way.  Ninety-nine percent of the things I worry about end up turning out fine.  My daughter will definitely be in the 99th percentile.

As for you, Mr. Credit Card Thief, I won’t worry about you for even one nanosecond.  I am a firm believer in karma.  One day, I believe that you’ll wake up to find your credit card statement is fourteen pages long.  There will be a sizable purchase at Louis Vuitton and Dylan’s Candy Bar.  If you look closely, you will also notice that you have donated a king’s ransom to a local animal shelter.  And when you look out your window, you’ll probably see a convoy of luxury vehicles bogged down by overstuffed U-Haul trailers.  Look closely at the girl in the lead.  The top of her Bentley will be down to make room for her big umbrella. And she’ll definitely be shooting you the bird.

Why I’d Like to Make You Gag

People who make me laugh-until-I-gag are my favorite people.  It’s a skill very few possess and I just found my new favorite person.

Like any good love story, the reader needs some background on how I found my newest favorite person who makes me laugh hysterically to the point I need to cover my mouth and run to the nearest garbage can.

Upon realizing that my image was being searched in Cyrillic after a post in which I made a disparaging comment about Vladimir Putin, I researched the words: strangest searches.  

That’s not exactly how it went down but suffice it to say first there was a panic attack, then a poignant call to my loved ones, then a two-hour futile attempt at googling myself on Russian google, then a long discussion about the first amendment with my lawyer/best friend…and THEN the researching of various strange google searches. If you’re totally lost, it’s your fault for not reading my last few posts.

The above-mentioned “search word” research didn’t exactly go too smoothly either.  While entertaining my newest obsession of conducting random searches on numerous search engines, I came to the realization that certain word combinations should only be googled at your own risk. After stringing together dozens of seemingly innocuous word groupings, I have come to the realization that entering any random two words into a search engine eventually yields the same result:  all word combinations lead to porn. And Amazon.

I never did find who or what was ardently searching for me (through the use of Russian search engines) after I insulted Mr. Putin.   What I found instead made me forget about how creepy the internet is, temporarily quelled the self-loathing and insecurity that I feel every time I post something new to my blog, AND, as an added bonus, made me laugh gag.  A lot. I almost threw up in my bed.

This link takes you to a post about strange google searches written by my new favorite person (who I’ve since found out is a famous, witty blogger).  Like really famous.  Her name is Jenny Lawson.  I seriously want to be her after I go through my mandated two-year blog puberty.

/http://thebloggess.com/2014/02/strangest-search-terms-of-the-week/      (In case you’re wondering, my personal favorites are a tie between the search for “nipple stretchers” and the search for “vagina punch”)

I’m not sure, but I think I have my first girl crush.  I just downloaded her book, “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” I’ve subscribed to her Twitter, I’ve shamelessly read her blog from end to end…and I emailed her a very long fan letter AND she wrote back

Here’s an excerpt:

The new person who made me laugh gag

Note to self: Read this EVERY TIME you think you suck at blogging (read daily)

I know this must be a girl crush because I got the exact same feeling when she replied that I got when Tony DeFranco sent me a signed glossy photo in response to my three page handwritten letter to him in regarding his timeless classic, “Heartbeat (is a Love Beat).” For those of you who have no idea who Tony DeFranco is, you have no business reading my blog.  The man is a god amongst men.  A man so humble that his current realtor website (http://www.tonydefranco.com/) makes no mention about his two-page centerfold in the April 1972 Tigerbeat.

defranco tiger beat

And in case you’re wondering, NO I have not been compensated in any way for plugging my new favorite person, Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess. Or Tony DeFranco (although in my opinion, he’s long overdue for a comeback tour. However, if it happens, I will most definitely and shamelessly take FULL responsibility for it.).  Aside from the obvious fact that she made me heave from laughter, The Bloggess told me “I rock” when I questioned if this blog I’m writing is just a poor substitute for old-fashioned therapy and/or antidepressants. In any case, I think you all need to experience the beauty that is the laughter gag.  Now scroll back up to her link of strange searches (rather than weirdly staring at Tony DeFranco’s real estate listings because if you are, you’ve clearly missed the point).  You’re welcome.