Wednesday, April 12, 2017

21 Tips For Your Online Dating Profile

Working in a middle school, I don't have the opportunity to meet people who aren't 35 years younger than me so I've used online dating as a way to discover new people. I really don't like online dating, but the alternative of trolling for men in bars is even less appealing. (Although I still hold out hope that one day I'll bump into the man of my dreams while selecting avocados in the produce section of Publix.) 

As an educator, reading profiles on dating sites makes me sad for the future of this country. As a blogger, it gives me plenty of fodder. As a single woman, it makes me want to give up and adopt cats. I don't know what makes me cringe more: the abominable grammar, or the awful photos. It's really a toss-up. I haven't had any great dates, but I wouldn't say that I haven't gotten anything out of online dating. I've gotten the idea to create a business fixing horrible dating profiles. 

Here's the deal with the online dating culture - you have a few lines of text and a couple pictures to make an impression. Are you much more than a couple lines of text and a few pictures? Of course you are! Is it fair that people will make snap judgments based solely on that? Nope. Is that the way it works anyway? You betcha! I don't think the majority of people fully understand this. Faced with an entire website full of potential dates, if you don't make a positive first impression, people will skip right over you and move on to the next profile. Period. You could be losing out on the guy/girl of your dreams simply because you're not smiling in your picture.

I'm a sucker for a happy ending and want you to be successful in your online dating endeavors so here's a little free advice for creating a dating profile that attracts attention (the good kind of attention; not the what the heck? kind.)

BIOS:

1.  Usernames matter!  Choose a name that stands out. Don't just go with your name and a bunch of numbers. Bill12345 is boring. The same goes for random letters and numbers - tn76Xgh4u. That's not a username; it's a password. Maybe you like to visit the shooting range, but Likesguns makes you sound like a serial killer. Think about possible negative connotations; don't be like Michael Scott and create a username like LittleKidLover.

2.  Show; don't tell!  This is the first rule of writing. Don't say, "I like to travel;" describe a trip you went on. 
Don't say, "I like to help people;" tell about the organization for which you volunteer. Don't say, "I'm funny;" tell a joke. I can't tell you how many guys have described themselves as funny yet their profiles read like a piece of dry toast.

3.  Be interesting!  Do you have any idea how many profiles I have seen that read - I like long walks on the beach? Do you know how many feature this little gem - I can dress in a tux or jeans and a t-shirt? By my calculations, there should be absolute traffic jams of people walking on every beach at any given time if this were true. And yes, although it is impressive that a grown person is capable of dressing oneself, it's not really necessary to include in your bio. Be creative! Stand out! Stop writing the same boring stuff that is in 97% of the profiles. Make a potential date want to learn more about you!

4.  Use proper grammar!  Although I believe what you have to say is more important than how you say it, I admit that I'm likely to move on to the next profile without finishing yours if you don't seem to know the difference between your and you're. Granted, not everyone is gifted with perfect grammar, but again, we're talking about first impressions here. You get one chance! One. Make it count. Ask someone to proofread and edit your profile before posting it.

5.  Use proper punctuation!  I've read many a profile that consisted of a single 300 word run-on sentence. Punctuation counts. It's important. It's the difference between I enjoy cooking my pets and my family AND I enjoy cooking, my pets, and my family. Don't be a psycho. Use punctuation.

6.  Use proper spelling!  I know, I know, we've already covered grammar and punctuation, but each topic gets its own bullet point because they are that important. Again, you get one chance to make that first impression. If you can't spell, get help. Seriously, get help. If you're old enough to date, you're old enough to know how to spell the word date. Have someone look over your bio before posting it. The winner this week for the most commonly misspelled word used on dating profiles is pique. As in - If I have piqued your interest, please send me a message. It's not peek. Or peak. Or peke (which isn't actually a word.) It's pique!

7.  Don't detail a long list of must-haves!  Sure, you're entitled to be selective about potential dates. You can have a mile-long list of must-haves and deal-breakers, but don't include all of them in your profile. It makes you look like a jerk. You might choose to only date thin girls who are Catholic, who don't have children, who are under 5'8", and who have blonde hair. That's your prerogative. But listing all of that in your profile makes you come off sounding like an egotistical donkey. People shy away from profiles that list such specifics.

PHOTOS:

8.  Smile! I think this applies to men more than women. So many men out there want to look tough in their pictures. Newsflash: you don't look tough; you look like a serial killer. If you're smiling, you appear friendly and approachable. So smile!


via GIPHY

9.  Skip the filters! This one applies to women more than men. Yes, we all love those Snapchat filters, but save them for goofing off with your kids and friends. Guys don't want to see the airbrushed, flower headband version of you; they want to see you. The same goes for barfing rainbows, bunny noses, and any other creation Snapchat comes up with.

10.  Use good photos!  I think this is a problem for men more often than women. Guys just don't ask their buddies, "Hey, take a picture of me standing over here!" so they end  up using selfies that are dark or blurry. Use a couple good, well-lit photographs that are in focus. Use photo editing software like Picmonkey.com (It's free and awesome!) to crop or otherwise fix your pictures. But don't airbrush your wrinkles away, erase that double-chin, or obliterate 20 pounds. Be honest. After all, you're planning on meeting people one day, right? You want to look like your photos.

12/2017 with friends in Chicago (I'm in the middle)
11.  Use photos that feature you! It's fine to have a couple pictures of you with friends or family, but if every photo shows a bunch of people, it's hard to pick you out of the crowd. If you use pictures of multiple people in it, clarify which one is you in the caption.

12.  Use current photos! Yes, I'm sure you did look better 10 years ago, but guess what! When you actually meet someone in person, they will notice that you look much older than your pictures. If you really want to use an older picture to highlight your trip to Italy or the marathon you ran a few years ago, you can get away with one or two older ones, but make a note of the year in the caption so people will know that they are older photos.


13.  Feature your passions!  Include photographs of you doing things you like. If you like to cook, include a picture of you in the kitchen. If you're a runner, post a photo of you crossing the finish line. If you like traveling, incorporate pictures of you standing in front of the Acropolis, the Statue of Liberty, the Hollywood sign.

14.  Take off the sunglasses!  I'm sure women do this too, but in more than 50% of the photographs I've seen in men's profiles, the man's eyes are hidden behind shades. People want to see your eyes (windows to the soul and all that) and they wonder what you're hiding when you're skulking behind those Ray-Bans. Take off the sunglasses!

image: Morguefile
15.  Skip the photos with fish!  Yes, your cavemen instincts motivate you to show everyone what a good provider you are by holding up your "catch-of-the-day." I get it. But that would kind of be like me holding up a shopping bag to show off the amazing deals I got at the mall. You guys don't care about that. And we don't care about your fish. The exception is if you're a guy trying to attract another guy, or you're on FarmersOnly.

16.  Skip the selfies in the car!  I'm not sure why this is, but almost every man's profile includes a selfie of himself in the driver's seat of his vehicle. The unfortunate thing about this picture is that it's always taken at this low angle that shows right up the subject's nose. Unless they're holding an otoscope, no one wants to see up your nose. Trust me. It isn't flattering.

17.  Skip the bathroom selfie!  Honestly, it's probably a good rule to skip selfies altogether. Too many selfies makes you look like you have no friends and all you do is sit around all day taking pictures of your face. If you must take one, don't shoot it in your bathroom mirror. With a flash. And water spots on the mirror. And dirty towels on the sink. And clothes on the floor. And hemorrhoid cream on the counter. Don't laugh. I've seen these photos more than once.

18.  Skip the photos of your truck/motorcycle/boat!  Yes, I imagine there are women out there who are all about what you drive (but do you really want to be with someone so shallow?) And I guess it isn't inherently bad to show a picture of your toys. If, for example, riding a motorcycle is a big part of your life and you want to showcase that, it's fine to include a picture of your bike. But be in the picture with that motorcycle because potential dates want to see you! 

19.  Skip the photos of random stuff!  I can't count how many profiles I've seen that have pictures of food, sunsets, scenery, pools, pets, etc. Again, we want to see you! If you want everyone to see your dog, be in the picture with the dog. The Grand Canyon - lovely, but be in the picture with that beautiful scenery.

20.  Include both close-ups and full-length photos!  I've found that most people are pretty wrapped up in looks and want to know what they're getting into before initiating any communication. Include close-up (yet still in focus and flattering) pictures of your face and also full-length photos.

21.  Include more than one or two photos!  People want to get a sense of who you are and what you look like. If you've browsed profiles online then you know that the same person can look vastly different from photo to photo. Include a variety of pictures of you having fun with family and friends, doing things you enjoy, close-up and full-length photographs. 


Follow my advice and see if that doesn't help you bring more attention to your dating profile. And as always, may the odds be ever in your favor!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Why Voice-to-Text is Dangerous

I use the "voice-to-text" feature on my phone all the time. I've gotten to the point where I rarely type out messages anymore because -


via GIPHY

The problem with using voice-to-text is

1.  My phone likes to change what I say causing aggravation and embarrassment, like the time I asked my boss about the guy she hired. I dictated, "Does the new teacher have with-it-ness." (With-it-ness might technically not be a word, but it should be. It means one who is with it.) Unfortunately my phone changed it to this, "Does the new teacher have wet hotness?" See what I mean? Embarrassing. (By-the-way, he did not have wet hotness. Or withitness, if I remember correctly.)

2. Sometimes it doesn't record at all. For some reason, oftentimes when I push the little microphone icon and start talking, my phone stops recording after a word or two. I have no idea why. After doing this two or three times in a row, I become frustrated and usually rant, "You stupid piece of poop!" This is generally when my phone decides to start recording again. I have had to explain, more than once, to someone why I just called them a stupid piece of poop.

3.  My kids make fun of me for being old. Apparently, saving time by using voice-to-text is right up there with bifocals, Depends, and the early-bird special at Denny's. According to Austin, only old people who can't see "those darn buttons" use it. Punk.

4.  After using voice-to-text for years, I've developed the habit of maybe, occasionally, sometimes, sort of talking to individuals in person as if I was dictating into my phone. I may have possibly said, "Hi exclamation point." And maybe once or twice, I asked someone, "How are you today question mark." I may have said to someone, "Hi comma Brooklyn. Did you have a good day question mark."

5.  My kids and I like to play a game entitled "Bluetooth or Crazy" wherein we guess if a person is talking to someone on their bluetooth device, or if they're just crazy, holding a conversation with an imaginary friend, a crack in the sidewalk, or their turkey sandwich. I'm afraid, while using voice-to-text, I may have been the subject of that game for someone else.


6.  Sometimes people overhear you dictating into your phone and they wonder about your sanity. I was texting Lexi, Clay, and Brooklyn as I walked out of a store. I said into my phone, "Do you guys want to help me build my poop army tonight?" I was 
referring to the "number two" pencils I was making for school. The cute guy I passed as I walked out of the store, did not know this, however. I wish I could describe the look he gave me. (Shocking I'm still single, isn't it?)






Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The One with all the Fire


There was a brush fire in the field across the street from my school a couple days ago. Brush fires are a pretty common problem this time of year because it's just so dry here. Our school filled with smoke, making it difficult to even see across the courtyard. Our principal was immediately in contact with the fire marshal, making sure our students were safe. She decided to keep the kids in their classrooms for the afternoon instead of having them transition from class to class, forcing them to walk outside where the smoke was thick. In between classes, I took this little video of the fire and sent it to my kids. The following peanut gallery comments are from my dear, sweet children.


video









Then, on the way home, I saw this truck burst into flames on the Turnpike. 




So much fire in one day! And not a single fireman in sight. 



via GIPHY

Sunday, April 2, 2017

I'm Going to be Single Forever!

I recently joined a dating site. In related news, I recently deleted my account on that dating site because ohmygosh, this is what is out there.


I'm sorry, but I prefer to eat my frozen confections before partaking in robberies, heists, or other assorted shenanigans.


Usually I just think my snarky comments, but sometimes I can't  stop myself from writing them.

Excellent! That is the reason I'm on a dating site after all - to find a good investor.

First off - ew! Secondly, no one likes the disclaimer of "you look good FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS KIDS."

Talk like Yoda you do.

How long did it take you to come up with that one word message?

Two words! Keep going, guys. Pretty soon you'll have a whole sentence!

I'm sorry, but what language are you speaking?

I'm not familiar with yoy. I love wine.

What did you call me? Wait, what???

Oh, look at you trying to converse using only emoticons like a 4 year old, or a teenager!

Ummm, what?

Pro tip - if one doesn't respond after the first three "messages" one probably isn't interested.

Are you calling me a dork? And using random abbreviations? Am I missing something???

If only I gave points for persistence.

:::Banging my head against the wall:::

The rambling ADD, the putting syrup on Italian food . . . Buddy the elf, is that you???

 You don't sound rude; you sound stupid. Who makes a mistake on their age? Or shall I say Aged?

 Hear that, folks? I'm a good writter. And, apparently I'm a mile away from wawa.


 Um, I'm not a guy therefore I don't have any pictures of my car on my dating site, but if I did, I'd completely understand why you love my car. I mean, minivans are hot!

Is this an existential question?


Oh yes, yes, I completely agree. Wait, what are we talking about?

I just threw up a little.

Although you show the utmost class, I'm going to ignore you anyway.


It's not exactly a smile. No, I'd say it's more of a grimace.

Yeah, I'm gonna pass on you texting me pictures. Thanks, but pass. Hard pass.


Shoot me now.

Sure, you can play the part of a freak, and I'll play the part of someone who is going to be single for the rest of her life.


(If you're wondering, this was just a very small sampling of the kinds of messages I got on POF. Supposedly POF stands for Plenty of Fish. I think Plenty of Freaks is a better fit, however. I'm on Match now which is much better, but still . . . I'm thankful my membership expires soon!)

The Reason There's a Sparkly Frog on the Loose

I was curled up on the couch with my book when, out of the corner of my eye, I sensed something brown and buglike. Great, there’s a creature in my apartment. Before I could turn my head to look at it and/or scream for my kids to get it, I sensed, from the corner of my eye, that it kind of hopped in a very unbuglike way. Great, it’s a mutant bug with hopping powers. Naturally, I jumped up on the couch and yelled for the kids. “There’s a hopping bug! It’s brown! It hopped! It’s under the couch, I think. IT HOPPED! Get it! Get it! GET IT!!!”

Clay came to my rescue and started looking under the couch. “There’s nothing there, Mom.”

“Yes, there is!” I squealed, only slightly maniacal.

“Oh wait, I see it! It’s a frog It’s a tiny, tiny frog!” Clay announced, his head stuck under the couch.

“Ohmygosh! A frog?! Get it! Get it before he hops into my bedroom and kills me in my sleep!”

I jumped off the couch and ran. Of course, I didn’t actually run. Run is just an expression that means scream and trip over your kids while trying to get away and save yourself.

Clay shone his phone's flashlight under the couch. I gathered my courage and pulled the couch away from the wall so Clay could find it more easily.

“I can’t find it. He disappeared,” Clay said, giving up.

“No, you HAVE to find it! He didn’t disappear! He’s just waiting to come out and scare us! Find him! Keep looking!”

I pulled out the other couch under which Brooklyn has a poster she made of the solar system. There’s enough glitter on that poster to light up Hollywood. I thought the frog had hopped between the folds of the poster. I waited for him to emerge and spread glittery fairy dust throughout the apartment. At least we'll be able to find him if we follow the trail of sparkles. I wondered what his frog friends would think of his fabulous new look when he returned to the pond.

While I was standing a safe distance from the poster, Brooklyn suddenly yelled, “Ohmygosh!” This prompted Lexi to look up and scream, “Oh jeez!” which, of course, completely freaked me so I started screaming bloody murder, convinced the mutant frog was killing my children one by one. I heard laughing at the open front door where Savannah was standing. She decided to stop by the apartment because, in her words, “I need help, Mom. I can’t adult.” Apparently, when Savannah walked in the apartment it scared Brooklyn, causing her to scream, which scared Lexi, causing her to scream, which scared me, causing me to scream. Meanwhile, Savannah fell to the floor laughing, not even knowing what was going on. Clay continued searching for the mutant glitter frog while the girls and I laughed uncontrollably which is the only way you can laugh when your adrenaline-to-blood ratio is off the charts.

We (and when I say “we”, I mean “my kids and NOT me” decided to run to the store.) I wanted to stay and stand guard to make sure the frog didn’t invite his friends over and stage a coup. As I was beginning to get hysterical, Lexi suddenly exclaimed, “I found it!” She scooped it up and relocated it outside.

I, as usual, required proof because I’m convinced my kids say they’ve gotten rid of creatures when they actually haven't just to appease me. I got a picture of the frog next to her hand for proof. Don’t let the size fool you though. What did Shakespeare say? Though she be but little, she is fierce.

When I related the story to a friend, he suggested I kiss it. Now, I enjoy making out with amphibians as much as the next person, but I've kissed enough frogs from Match.com to last a lifetime thankyouverymuch. I am not that interested in finding a prince. Just no.


Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Dawn's Valentine's Day Survival Guide

I have always hated Valentine's Day. I hated it when I was married. Of course, now that I’m a bitter old hag cynical, single, soon-to-be cat owner, I hate it even more. But never fear, my single friends. I've got your back! I've created a little survival guide for today. You're welcome.


1. One word: Wine! 

2. Make a bonfire with everything any of your stupid exes have ever given you. 

3. Let the bonfire get out of control because – firemen! 


4. Watch Better Off Dead and realize that even Ricky Smith got a girlfriend in the end.

5. Throw out your copy of Better Off Dead. 

6. Get some exercise. Walk from your car to the store and buy some Ben & Jerry’s. 

7. Scroll through Facebook until you want to throat-punch all the happy couples celebrating the happy day with flowers and chocolate and happy teddy bears. 

8. Download Match.com. 

9. Give yourself a make-over and take 2803 selfies until you find one that doesn't make you cringe. Post it on Match.com.

10. Scroll through Match.com and realize you’re going to be alone forever. 

11. Cry until you have rivers of mascara striping your face. 

12. Photoshop your face next to Heath Ledger's Joker face. Decide you would've made a really cute couple. You know, if you'd ever met him. And he hadn't died.

13. Go to the pet rescue place and adopt 27 cats. 

14. Buy yourself a 10 pound heart-shaped box of chocolate. Don’t even wait for it to go on sale tomorrow. You’re worth it. 

15. Buy a value-size bottle of Tums. 

16. Two words: More Wine! 

17. Go to Walmart and realize that things could be worse. Being single isn’t all that bad. At least you aren’t wearing a tube top in public. 

18. Go up to the least creepy looking guy at Walmart and hug him. When he looks at you like you're a freak, apologize and tell him you mistook him for your boyfriend. Ask him if he wants the position.

19. Open the windows and sing Eric Carmen’s All By Myself as loudly as you can. 

20. Let the neighbors call the cops because – men in uniform again! 

21. Watch cute puppy videos on YouTube. 

22. Order pizza. Tell everyone that your valentine brought you dinner. No need to mention that your valentine is the pizza delivery guy.

23. Ask pizza delivery guy if he wants to watch some Netflix with you. What? It could work!

24. Think about lowering your standards so you'll have a date for next year. I mean, really, all you need is someone who breathes. And maybe bathes now and then.


25. Maybe breathing is overshooting things a bit. A zombie could work out. Zombies are people too.

26. Take a loaf of bread, head to the lake, and feed the ducks. Feel all popular-like when you're surrounded by hungry adoring waterfowl.

27. Go into every store you pass on the way home from work and put sticky notes in random places that say, "You are loved!"

28. Three words - Still More Wine!

29. Send your ex wine-induced texts. Change your phone number when you realize what you've done.

30. Remember - Valentine's Day is stupid. Its mascot is a man-baby wearing a diaper and carrying a bow and arrows. If you saw Cupid around your neighborhood, you wouldn't wish to be shot. No, you'd be dialing 911 faster than you can say "registered offender."

Friday, January 27, 2017

When Push Comes to Shove

My ex-husband moved out in November 2009. I was officially divorced in August, 2010. Since then, I have dipped my foot in the dating pool a few times. Most of the guys I've met have been nice, but we simply didn't hit it off. And by "we didn't hit it off", I mean, they ran screaming from our dates because basically I'm just a nervous idiot who blurts out phrases like "explosive diarrhea" as if I have tourette's when meeting people for the first time. Or maybe they thought I looked too much like a wildebeest. I'm certain that several of them just thought my butt was too big. Perhaps a couple of them realized I have issues that simply cannot be solved without thousands of dollars of therapy. A few of them didn't even make it to that first date, deciding I was definitely not what they were looking for and canceling before ever seeing me in person. (Hmmm, maybe I should be writing under a pseudonym so potential dates can't read about all the crazy that goes on in my head before I've had the chance to convince them that I'm pretty awesome despite the crazy . . .) Whatever the reason, most of my dates have not moved beyond the initial meeting. Shocking, I know.

But a couple of them have progressed beyond that first awkward meeting. I have dated two men since my divorce who not only loved me, but loved my kids like their own as well. They treated us like royalty. They were faithful and devoted. They went above and beyond what I have ever hoped for in a partner. They were generous and gentlemanly. They knew how to communicate. They put up with my moods which says a LOT about how much they loved me because, let me tell ya, I can be a crazy, irrational psychopath at times

I pushed both of them away. And I convinced myself I had good reasons for doing so.


As I look back at these relationships, I don't know if I'm viewing them through rose colored glasses and conveniently forgetting all the negative aspects, or if I'm far enough removed now that I'm remembering them clearly. It's probably somewhere in the middle, but even if I'm forgetting some of the bad parts, it still leaves the fact that I pushed two good men away, and there's really only one reason, one real reason, why. Because I'm a gutless coward. 

It's easier to push someone away than to take a chance, knowing full-well that if I give away my heart, there's a chance it'll be broken. 

My kids like to push the shopping cart when we go to the store. Whenever I let them, I cringe inwardly as I walk along, anticipating the pain I know I'll feel when they crash the cart into my ankles. I'm positive it's going to happen, it's just a question of when. I try to avoid walking too closely to them. I try to avoid stopping and looking around, fearing that they'll keep going and steamroll into my unsuspecting legs. But most of the time, I won't let them touch the cart at all in an effort to avoid bruised and bloody ankles entirely.

I like to avoid pain.

Unfortunately, when I find a good man who loves me, my heart and mind engage in a never-ending battle that inevitably leaves me heartbroken and alone. And by doing this, I don't even avoid the pain. I only avoid the not knowing when it's going to happen by preemptively ending it. Now I'm sitting here wondering how this self-inflicted pain is any better than pain that may or may not come at the hands of someone who holds my heart. The answer is - it isn't any better. In fact, it sucks. Especially when those men move on with their lives and find loving partners and I'm left thinking, That could've been me. I could've been the one.

Then I say, "Look! See? They left! I told you they would." I justify my actions with the fact that they didn't stay and fight for me, so "clearly I wasn't all that important to them and they were probably going to leave on their own anyway" easily forgetting that they wouldn't have left had I not shoved them away. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy that causes nothing but heartache for everyone involved. I perpetuate the cycle even though I know damn well that someone would have to be more crazy than I am to stick around when I was so determined to run away.

So, what have we learned here, class? 

1.  The first step is admitting you're a lunatic. (The second step should probably be trying to repair that lunacy instead of blogging about it for the world to know about said lunacy.)

2.  I know there are good guys out there. My past two relationships have set the bar so high that all but the most amazing of men will fall short of being good enough for me, and I think that's a good thing.

3.  Pushing away people who care is crazy. It doesn't eliminate pain, and being left alone while they move on sucks.

4.  I'm probably a good candidate for shock therapy. Maybe a lobotomy. Do they still do those?

5.  If I'm ever so lucky as to get a third chance, I will not push a good man away. I will hang on like a barnacle. Or maybe not. Doing that is probably a guarantee that they'll leave. I'll hang on just as much as isn't creepy.

6.  And finally, I'm still not letting my kids push the shopping cart. If you've ever been hit in the ankles, you know, you know.






Friday, January 13, 2017

Why I Can't Date

Now and then I get this urge to join an online dating site. After listening to friends' success stories, I take the plunge and sign up. After a couple days I remember why I hate online dating. After a month, I lose all faith in humanity and I close my account for a year. When my short-term memory fails me, I sign up again and the cycle repeats.

I signed up last week. I'll spare you the details of the messages I've received. For now. But I will tell you about my first time agreeing to meet someone for coffee.

We met at a coffee shop near me. As we ordered our drinks, I struck up a conversation with a random girl sitting at the counter instead of talking to him because I was ridiculously nervous for some reason and instead of acting like a normal adult and just talking to him, I suddenly got really interested in the Flat Stanley this girl was holding. I ordered coconut coffee, but the woman at the coffee shop made me some sort of frozen, blended drink. I just took it because that's what I do. I don't complain. I didn't want to make her feel bad that she made a mistake so I drank what was basically a milkshake. Although, come to think of it, maybe that's a good thing because I was able to drink out of a straw instead of a cup since we all know that I would have ended up spilling down my front. Because I'm classy like that.

So we sat and talked and laughed. He's smart and well-educated and funny, and he's from Chicago so there was no problem finding things to talk about. Or at least there shouldn't have been a shortage of things to talk about. There should have been plenty of appropriate topics to discuss. But when he mentioned my blog, for some unknown reason I felt the need to admit that I had blogged about my colonoscopy. The phrase "explosive diarrhea" left my lips. Do you ever have a moment when you think to yourself, What the crap did I just say??? Oh dear Lord, what is wrong with me??? This was one of those moments. And when I say something stupid, I never, ever stop talking. No, I continue blabbering just to a make the whole situation a little worse. I'm pretty sure the filter between my brain and my mouth is broken. It's the only feasible explanation I can come up with.










I purposely averted my eyes from the horrified expression on his face and concentrated on the positives. He didn't want to make a suit of my skin so there's that.











The coffee shop is located in our cute downtown area and after a while he suggested we walk around which would have been great except that I was wearing these stupid shoes with stupid heels that I haven't worn in probably 8 years. Note to self: when you haven't worn shoes in nearly a decade there's a reason for it. It's because the shoes suck. Throw them away! And to answer your inevitable question - I have NO idea why I was wearing them! I have 15 other pairs of black shoes I could've worn. These aren't even cute so it's not like I was enduring pain for fashion! I really wonder about myself sometimes.

So anyway, although I wanted to walk, I didn't want to walk in these shoes. In the end, I hobbled along beside the guy who is like a foot taller than me. I'm not sure if he noticed I was walking like I had a leg injury, or not. Since he doesn't know me, he probably just thinks I'm a very slow walker.

After a short walk, I suggested we sit by these fountains where I immediately pulled my shoes off because that's what crazy people do on a first date - they take off their shoes. Remember the part where I said I hadn't worn these shoes in many years? Yeah, well, apparently the interior of said shoes had disintegrated, so when I slipped them off, my feet were covered in all this weird, black crap. Excellent. Did I put my shoes back on like a sane person? Oh no. No, I did not. I walked over to the fountains, thinking I would wash off the black crap in the water. When I stepped in the fountain I got sprayed with water because, duh, that's what fountains do! And the weird, black crap didn't even wash off! So, my next brilliant thought was - I'll rub my feet along the grass! Yeah, that'll do the trick! So I walked in a patch of grass, dragging the tops of my feet along the surface, trying to wipe off the errant shoe lining that I was beginning to fear had become permanently fused to my toes. Only the black stuff didn't get wiped off, and now my feet are covered in weird, black crap, water, sand, dirt, and a stray blade of grass or two. 

Let's recap, shall we? I have proven that I don't know how to walk. I'm covered in weird, black crap, sand, and dirt, and my pants are dripping wet. And then it got even better.

So this man shows me a picture on his phone to go along with a story he was telling. I decide to show him a picture that lives on my Facebook page, only instead of searching my albums on Facebook, I accidentally brought up the camera roll on my phone. The camera roll where there are 3-4 pictures of this guy that I stole from his Facebook page when I stalked him. I had sent them to my friend with the instructions, "This is the guy I'm meeting. If I don't show up for work tomorrow, have the police start here." Unfortunately, I forgot to delete them after showing my friend. So now I not only look like a complete spaz because of the shoe incident, but also a creeper. And then it got even better.

I saw a kid ride by on a longboard. Wait what? That's MY kid riding by on his longboard! My kids were at cheer practice a couple blocks away and I guess the girls ran out of water so Clay, being the little gentleman he is, rode to the gas station in town to buy them a couple bottles of water. I didn't want Clay to see me. I mean, my kids knew I was meeting someone for coffee, and they're cool with me dating, but I don't need to be introducing them to anyone when I'm meeting them for the first time! So, I sort of did this turn away and duck like you're being shot at maneuver. I think this is the point that the guy started yawning and looking at his watch.

When we parted ways, he said he wanted to see me again which can only mean that:
A. Clearly, he's deranged.
B. He thought I was mentally unstable and was afraid I might lose it and do something even more stupid if he said he didn't want to see me again.

Today, I'm looking at adopting cats. I'm not cut out for dating. Or apparently leaving my house and/or spending any sort of time in public.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Duct Tape Doesn't Fix Everything (But It Does Give An Impressive Chest Wax)

Every woman is familiar with the quest for the perfect bra. One that is cute, yet supportive, that doesn’t make your back fat squish out, that doesn’t leave strap marks on your shoulders, that doesn’t give you “quadraboob”, or perhaps even worse – “uniboob;” the ideal bra that lifts those sagging, post-breastfeeding girls back up where they’re supposed to be because tucking your boobs into the waist of your jeans = not attractive.  Finding an “accident-proof” bra (you know the kind – if you were in an accident and cute paramedics had to see your bra, would you be okay or would you wish for death to escape the mortification of a faded bra, elastic that’s shot, and straps that are fraying) is an amazing feat!

We all know the dressing room routine. Try on the bra, turn in front of the mirror and examine all angles to determine the ratio of support:back fat bulges. If we decide that sure, it looks cute right here, right now in the dressing room then we move on to phase 2 of the testing. We jog in place for a minute, jump up and down a couple times, bend over at the waist to catch our breath make sure everything stays in place.

And if you are um, “well endowed”, the struggle is even harder. In most stores we have to walk by racks and racks of cute lacey bras in every color of the rainbow because the last time one of those actually fit us Jimmy Carter was in office. Because we were eleven! Nope, we have to head toward the ugly institutional white bras with 15 hooks up the back and enough support to anchor the Golden Gate Bridge.

Until one day you realize that if 8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size, there’s a good chance you’re one of the 8, and you go for a professional fitting in an upscale department store. This was a pivotal, life-changing moment for me, right up there with the first time I held my newborn baby, and when I discovered that they sell wine in handy little juice boxes. Sure, I had to take out a small loan to purchase this magical bra, but in the end I decided it was well worth it because a good-fitting, well-made bra is something on which you should definitely splurge. I’ve fallen in love with Panache because they're the best bras I've ever worn AND they're super-cute! I wouldn’t dream of ever going back to anything I could pick off a rack at JCPenneys, Kohls, or the like.

So you understand my utter shock at the betrayal when that perfectly, wonderfully amazing bra turned on me.

While at work, I bent over to pick up a dropped pencil and I felt it – the sharp pain that sliced into my chest, leaving me gasping for breath. I quickly glanced around the room, fully expecting to see someone holding a butcher knife dripping with my blood because clearly that was the only feasible explanation for the pain I felt. Since no one was standing near me holding a murder weapon, I came to the second, less obvious, conclusion – bra malfunction.

As nonchalantly as possible (which really isn’t as nonchalant as you might think), I ran my thumb down the front of my shirt like I was wiping away a stray fleck of dirt all the while discreetly feeling for an errant length of wire and/or pieces of bloody flesh ripped from my body. A sharp piece of wire poked out of my bra causing my shirt to tent right in the middle of my chest. I glanced at my shirt sticking out and thought, Excellent, I look like Sigourney Weaver with an alien jabbing its way out of my skin.

Since school hadn’t started and no one was in my classroom, I successfully reached down my shirt and did that little maneuver we all know to thread the wire back into the fabric where it belonged. That worked for all of 30 seconds when it started to creep out again, scraping my skin as it went.

I looked around my classroom desperately searching for something to fix my bra. I briefly considered pulling the wire completely out, but since I was loathe to walk around all day with one boob on my chest and one at my waist, I quickly discarded that brainstorm. A sewing kit! That’s what I need! Unfortunately, I don’t keep sewing material in my desk at work. And really, that wasn’t any huge loss since a monkey with arthritis has better sewing skills than I.

Warning:  This is the part where all common sense left my brain. I grabbed my stapler, turned away from my door, lifted my shirt up and went to town injecting staple after staple into my bra in the hopes that it would keep the wire from poking out through the microscopic hole. In case you’re considering fixing a bra with staples, I don’t recommend it. Picture this – wayward underwire PLUS sharp metal staples stabbing your boobs in various areas all at the same time. I knew I had to pull all the staples out or by the end of the day, I’d look like I’d lost a fight with a badger trapped in my shirt. (I really have no idea what would happen if a badger was trapped in your shirt. I imagine there would be some scratches and probably a need for an updated tetanus shot however.)

After pulling out the staples, I maneuvered the wire back into my bra and looked through my desk drawers for something else. Pens? No. Ruler? No. Name tags? Uhhh, probably not. Glue stick? Hmmmm . . . maybe . . . Wait what? What am I thinking??? Duct tape? Yes!

I grabbed out my roll of neon orange duct tape and started winding it around my bra. I was wearing a white shirt. In fact I had just bragged about how I’d made it all the way to work without spilling or drooling coffee on that same white shirt. You could see the tape through my shirt. Oh, who am I kidding? It was the color of a construction cone! You could see it across the entire campus! But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was that after I’d walked back and forth across campus a couple times in the 85 degree heat, I was sweating. The tape came loose. The end stuck to my shirt, twisting it into an impressive avant-garde sculpture of white cotton and adhesive.

I went through the entire day like this – occasionally running to the bathroom to shove the damnable underwire back into my bra and pry my shirt away from the tape to which it was fused. When I got home, I ran upstairs and immediately ripped my shirt from the tape and unfastened my bra. You know those videos that show men getting their chests waxed while they cry like babies? Let’s just say I have found a more effective way than wax to remove hair and layers of skin all the way down to the hypodermis. You’re welcome.


Dawn – doing stupid things since 1970 so you don’t have to.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

I Hate When People Tell Me I'm a Good Mom

I hate when people tell me I'm a good mom. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the sentiment behind the statement. It's not like I don't want to be known as a good mom, but I hate being told I'm a good mom when my kids do something good, respectful, kind, generous. I don't like having my parenting judged based on my kids' actions.

For example, recently my oldest son stepped up and took his little sister to the Father/Daughter Dance at her school. It was a sweet thing to do, to be sure. He took time out of his week, dressed up, and danced with her all night. Despite the discomfort of being the only brother escorting a girl, he went, knowing this dance was important to her; making memories that will last a lifetime for both of them. In fact, my two oldest sons have both escorted Brooklyn to the dance over the past three years. When I posted the pictures to Facebook, I got hundreds of likes and comments. I got many comments that said something along the lines of You're a good mom. You're doing a great job raising those kids. What an awesome brother; it's a testament to your good parenting.

Who wouldn't agree? Who wouldn't like to hear that? Obviously, good parenting has instilled the values that made this child the type of person who would be so selfless, kind, and loving, right? But I don't want the credit for the good things my kids do. You know why? Because then I'd have to take credit for the bad things they do too! 

The fact is, yes, I try to be a good parent. I do my best. I fall short. I try again. I attempt to model the behavior I want to see from them. Sometimes I'm good at it. Sometimes I'm not. I love them unconditionally. I like them most of the time. But in the end, what they choose to do is entirely up to them. I have an impact on those decisions, but they have the free will to make them.

What about the parent who posts about her kid making the dean's list, or volunteering at a homeless shelter, or creating a lemonade stand to raise money for a little boy in school who has cancer, or stopping to help an elderly woman with a flat tire? Does that equal good parenting? How about when a parent posts that her kid was caught smoking pot, or that her kid has gotten pregnant in high school, or that her kid stole something from a store? Does that equal bad parenting? What if it's the same kid who both did something good and something bad? What kind of parenting is it then?

Would anyone say that God is a bad father when someone steals or kills? No. He has laid the foundation; we have the free will to follow His instructions or not. Just like our kids can choose to follow our instructions or not. And I don't believe their choices are necessarily reflective as our performance as parents.

So every time I'm told that I'm a good mom, I take it with a grain of salt because I know at any minute, any of my kids could do something stupid thing that would make a bystander claim, "Well, if she wasn't such a bad parent, maybe her kids would be turning out better."


Saturday, January 23, 2016

The One With Zumba

My son’s girlfriend, Codi, and Savannah dragged invited me to a Zumba class a couple nights ago. As I approached the building, wearing my one and only pair of leggings with a long, baggy t-shirt, I babbled nervously. “I feel so self-conscious when I walk into a gym because I’m fat. But you need to go a gym so you can get un-fat. It’s really a paradox.”

It was dark so I couldn’t actually see them roll their eyes, but I’m pretty sure they did.

“Really,” I continued, “they should open a gym specifically for fat people. You’d have to be at least 50 pounds overweight to join. And they could sell work-out clothes in plus sizes because let me tell ya, you can’t find that stuff in regular stores! And regular, normal-looking people would work there instead of crazy-buff, hot guys and model-looking girls who make you feel like why bother?

"Are you done now?”

“I thought it was a good idea,” I muttered to myself as we walked inside.

Once inside the studio, I took my place at the back of the room, far away from the instructors, and more importantly, the enormous mirrors that completely covered the front wall.

“In my Fat Gym, there wouldn’t be mirrors on the walls,” I stated.

Codi and Savannah shook their heads.

“Ooooo, oooo! Or there would be mirrors, but they’d be fun park mirrors that made you look thinner! Yes! Now THAT’S motivation! I am totally on to something here! I know there’s a market for it! I, for one, would join the Fat Gym!” I gazed in the distance and announced dramatically, “The Fat Gym – a comfortable place to work out. I have a slogan and everything!”

Before Savannah and Codi could tell me to stop talking, the music started and everyone collectively moved; synchronized dance moves that everyone, but I somehow knew. I felt like I’d been plunked in the middle of a musical where everyone but me knew the intricately choreographed dance moves. I tried to follow the instructor’s lead, but since I’d taken up residence at the very back of the room, I couldn’t see the instructor. I did, however, get a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I looked like this:

 
via GIPHY

Unable to see the instructor, I picked out a person who looked like she knew what she was doing and tried to follow her. Savannah and Codi who had never done Zumba seemingly picked it up with no effort. Maybe they weren’t as polished as the women who had clearly been doing Zumba since the day they’d learned how to walk, but they were following along and holding their own. I, on the other hand, could not, for the life of me, make my body move even remotely like anyone else in the room. Except for the man in the back with me who was 75 years old if he was a day. I was doing almost as well as he was. Almost. Being shown up by a member of the geriatric crew does wonders for one's self-esteem. 

I stopped trying and stood there nervously laughing. "I don't get it! I have no idea what everyone is doing!" I felt like a total dork. Why had I agreed to try this? And why was the music so darn fast???



via GIPHY

After about half an hour, I finally started picking up some of the moves. The only problem is that I was 2 steps behind. By the time I finally caught on to what they were doing, everyone else had moved ahead and was doing something else. As everyone moved to the left, I moved to the right. I crashed into the woman next to me. “I’m so sorry.” I tripped into the person on the other side. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry. I don’t know what I’m doing!”

She responded, “It’s okay.” What she meant was, “What’s wrong with you?!” I felt like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy. And I was Lucy.


via GIPHY

Feeling a modicum of confidence since I'd been able to make my feet move like everyone else's (albeit a few moves late), I got cocky and decided to add arm movements. Up until this point, my arms had just hung like fat sausages at my sides. This is the point when I learned I have zero coordination. ZERO. COORDINATION. I am physically unable to make my feet and my arms move with any semblance of agility whatsoever. I am a total and complete spaz. This is why I never dance unless I've consumed copious amounts of alcohol at which point I cease caring about my spaziousitude and just have fun. The next time I go to Zumba (isn't that funny how I imply there will be a next time?), I'm going to drink first. Then I'll just rock out to Shakira and Pitbull without a care in the world.


 
via GIPHY

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The One With The Dermatologist And Bob Marley

I had this little spot on my cheek that started bleeding the other day. I didn’t think anything of it at first until I overheard some friends talking about skin cancer. I Googled skin cancer and clicked on the images tab. Hundreds of pictures of skin cancer covered my computer monitor. I do not recommend you do this. Take my word for it – you do NOT want to see those images. Ever.

I employed my M.O. and ignored it, figuring it would go away on its own. And it did. Sort of. Mostly. But when Savannah asked me to make a dermatologist appointment for her, I figured I should make one for myself too. I mean, I live in Florida now and they don’t call it The Sunshine State for nothing. I’m vigilant about slathering my kids in sunscreen, especially since three of them have Vitiligo, but I suck at remembering to apply it to myself. Then there were the days when I was young and stupid and I’d lie around our pool, covered in baby oil, a veritable piece of bacon crisping in the sun. And finally, I’m old. Old people get skin cancer. In fact, 1 out of 5 people will develop skin cancer at some point in their lives. I decided it would be a good idea to get checked out by a dermatologist.

At the doctor’s office, I was escorted to a room by a young guy. He gave me a pamphlet about skin cancer and rambled on about checking your skin for suspicious spots, avoiding the sun whenever possible, using sunscreen, and making yearly appointments with a dermatologist. “The doctor will be checking you everywhere. She’ll even check your scalp and the bottoms of your feet and in between your toes.” He continued, “People develop melanoma between their toes. Bob Marley died from melanoma under his toenail that spread to his lungs and brain.”

I wasn’t sure how to react to that tidbit. Was that supposed to reassure me that I’d be fine since the doctor would check my toes? Or was he trying to freak me out? Or just making dermatology related conversation? My mind went to Jerry Seinfeld when he was dating the dermatologist, Dr. Pimple Popper MD. Saving lives? The whole profession is; eh, just put some aloe on it. I chuckled to myself because that’s what I do – imagine random scenes from movies and sitcoms and then laugh inappropriately.

“Are there any areas of concern?” he asked.

“Well, I had this little spot on my cheek here,” I admitted, while poking at my face in the general vicinity of where the spot was. “It’s really hard to tell where it is without a mirror. Anyway, it was bleeding a little bit about a month ago.”

He looked at my face, then took a pen and proceeded to draw a square around the spot in question. Then he handed me a paper gown and told me to change. Before leaving, he asked, “I’ll be in here assisting the doctor unless you’d feel more comfortable with two females in here?”

I shrugged, indifferent, and took the proffered paper gown.  “I’ve given birth 6 times. Modesty is a thing of the past.”

He left and I quickly changed, lest they walk in and see me with my shirt half off. I mean, I know they’re going to see me buck naked, but somehow it’s okay that they see me naked while I’m perched atop a paper covered table. Seeing me standing there with my pants twisted around my ankles, on the other hand, is a whole ‘nother world of embarrassment.

I hopped up onto the table and glanced down at the chipped polish on my toes. Oh no! She won’t be able to see my toenails through my red polish with the black and white stripes (my homage to the Blackhawks and their 10 game winning streak.) Great! I’ll probably die of toe cancer and all because of this stupid nail polish. They should really tell you to arrive polish-free when you make an appointment.

Bob Marley songs played through my brain as I waited for the doctor.

Don’t worry
About a thing
‘Cause every little thing
Gonna be alright
Unless you have toenail cancer
And then you’ll die

Thankfully the doctor walked in before I could create any more new lyrics. She introduced herself and held out her hand. I eyed her hand, then peered at my own, glistening with moisture. I’m cursed with the ability to produce inordinate amounts of sweat when I’m nervous. Clasp her hand and gross her out with the sweat, ignore her outstretched hand and offend her for not participating in her greeting, or mumble  something about having sweaty palms? I ignored her, then reconsidered and wiped my hand on my paper gown, ripping it in the process, and finally thrust my hand out toward her. She gave me an odd look, then got to work combing through my hair with her fingers, looking for signs of skin cancer. 

“Do you have a hair stylist?” she asked.

“Yeah, I know I’m really gray. It’s time for a touch-up,” I said, embarrassed.

“No, no, I just meant that if someone does your hair, they can let you know if they see anything strange.”

“Ohhhh.”

She continued to look me all over while I sat there. As she checked me, she called off official sounding names to her assistant who stood, bent over his clipboard listing all the weird skin conditions that apparently cover me. Satisfied that she’d thoroughly inspected my top half, she asked me to stand up. I tried to gracefully slide from the table, but the paper stuck to my legs and I pulled it with me. Then my knee buckled (thank you for that, Zumba!) and I kind of teetered for a minute flailing my arms out and hitting the doctor while attempting to regain my balance. Meanwhile, the paper which has fused to my thighs is still trailing behind me like an absurdly prosaic bridal train.
I gave a nervous little laugh as I pictured Ross trying to pull his leather pants up over his sweaty legs. (Again, it’s what I do.)

The lotion and the powder have made a paste!


When she finished her check, she told me that the spot on my cheek was pre-cancerous and not to worry because it could be many years before it turned cancerous, but still, they recommend getting rid of it with cryosurgery now. So she froze it with liquid nitrogen. I didn’t look in a mirror and didn’t realize I had a big red blotch on my cheek inside a square drawn with pen until I got to work. Pretty.

And you know what? She never looked at my toes!


So here’s my little PSA – use sunscreen, pay attention to any moles or spots on your body that change, and see a dermatologist because skin cancer is highly curable when caught early. And take off your nail polish before going!

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