How to Marry Your Favorite Cartoon Character

When I was little, I was majorly in love with Aquaman. Superman didn't do much for me, but Aquaman? Yeah, I had it bad. It didn't matter that he was a cartoon. That was a minor impediment to our lifelong happiness. Much like I'd hear adults dismiss relationship obstacles with phrases like "age doesn't matter," I'd tell myself that we wouldn't let trivialities like reality get in the way.
Our love would transcend that bullshit.

For a time I worried about the fact that he is Aquaman and I hate water. Again I stole snippets from adult conversation regarding relationships and latched onto "absence makes the heart grow fonder." He'd have his aqualife and we'd rendezvous when he'd come up for air. I had it all worked out.

Fast forward thirty years. I'm married to this guy. Who is constantly obsessed with figuring how we can spend more of our life at the beach, despite the fact that we live in Idaho. He grew up on the water, rowed crew in college, and is addicted to buying me bathing suits. Every time we go out to eat he orders the salmon. Coincidence?

Incidentally, when my husband was younger he had a major thing for Lisa Loeb. So we both got what we wanted, because I basically am Lisa Loeb with a little added insulation, as I like to call it. 

Lisa Loeb and me. We're the same, except I can't sing and have more neck than she does. But if you drank a bottle of tequila and squinted real hard, you wouldn't be able to tell us apart.                                       
When I Googled Aquaman recently, which I do on occasion because I'm still obsessed with that sodden, aquatic hunk, I was surprised to learn that a new Aquaman movie is in the works. My husband hadn't told me that anyone had contacted him about starring in the film, which was perplexing. Instead they've cast Jason Momoa. You may know him better as Khal Drogo.

Aquaman? Seriously?
I just want to let the studio know that if Jason backs out, my husband is available, and probably better suited for the role. Here's the proof...

For more on how to marry your favorite cartoon character, check out Off-White.

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8 Things You Should Never Say to a Work-from-Home Mom

Helen Farmer dropped by with the following. I think she pretty much nailed it. 

Throughout history writing has been regarded as a lone profession. In fact the isolation of the job has often been considered as one of the key reasons that writers are prone to addiction and mental illness. Personally, isolation sounds like somewhat of a luxury to me. Many people believe that being a work-from-home mom is some kind of charmed lifestyle where you can reap the benefits of a high flying career while still being able to make the school bake sale. 

You're viewed as the ultimate plate spinner; 
Mary Poppins and Hilary Clinton rolled into one. 

However as a freelance writer with two young children I can testify that the reality is much different and my plate spinning act almost always ends with broken crockery. Here are just a few of the dumb statements you should never say to a work-from-home mom...

You get the best of both worlds.”
If by 'best of both worlds' you mean I get to work doubly hard in two jobs (one of which is unpaid) then yeah, I guess I get the best of that. But if you mean I reap the benefits of angelic children and home-making skills that Martha Stewart would be proud of whilst simultaneously running a multinational business empire from the comfort of my chaise lounge, then you couldn't be more wrong.

You can work when the kids nap.”
OK so that gives me a maximum of 45 minutes of solid, uninterrupted work time during the day, providing of course that the little darlings choose to nap at the same time...which NEVER happens. Besides the eldest is four in a few months and is gradually phasing the much loved afternoon nap out * SOB *

You don't need to set an alarm in the morning like the rest of us.”
You're right, I don't. But not because I have the luxury of choosing my hours – because I have two children who don't seem to realize that there should only EVER be one 5:30 in the day. If it's not the eldest jumping on me singing the chorus of Let It Go at the top of her lungs, it's an explosive nappy wake up call from the baby. Good morning world!

You can fit the housework in.”
You're kidding right? How many working mothers do you know that pop home during their working hours to blitz the house, scrub the floors and prepare a gourmet meal? Just because I'm home doesn't mean I'm not working! If I manage to meet a deadline and keep the kids alive in one day then I consider that a personal victory. Getting housework done on top of that would be a miracle! Like most working parents, unless its hazardous or seriously gross it gets left until the weekend.

Why would you pay to put them in childcare when you're home all day?!”
Would you take your kids into work with you? How much do you think you'd get done before someone emptied a filing cabinet or ate the contents of a hole punch. If you want to be a successful freelancer then you need to dedicate yourself to your work and that means you need support with looking after the children - for their safety and your sanity. Sometimes when deadlines are looming I need to throw myself into my work with no distractions, the same as everyone else. And trust me, two kids, a crazy dog and a house full of toys combined can be a pretty big distraction.

You get to work from the comfort of your own home.”
Ha. Comfort? Have you seen my house? If you think sitting on a sofa covered in crumbs and dog hair while two small people throw cereal at each other in front of you then proceed to clamber up your calf is comfortable then think again. Give me a swish city office block any day of the week. At least I'd have an employed cleaner!

You can take holidays when you want.”
To some extent I can pick my holidays and working hours. But they're often pre-determined for me by doctors appointments, school plays and unexpected stomach bugs. And I always have to make the time back up even if that means working until midnight on a Saturday evening when most other people are enjoying a few cold beers while the kids are in bed. And since calculating holiday pay as a freelancer is seriously complicated, it becomes far less appealing. 

You look exhausted!”
Really? I thought I had it easy?! 

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I've Got Mad Kitchen Skillz and My Kids Want Ramen

Mother's Day rocked. I got gems like this...

This shit gives me nightmares. Share my pain.
And my second grader brought home the equivalent of a dissertation about me. Seriously. It's twenty-one, spiral-bound pages. I'm not sure how long the teacher had students working on it, but it totally made up for the fact that on Mother's Day, both of my kids turned into assholes in the afternoon. The second grader's gift also balanced out her younger sister's present of Barbie showing off her long blue extensions and that tight little ass.

One of the pages of the dissertation was this...

The drawing is a steaming bowl of ramen. And after "My favorite meal my mom prepares is..." my daughter wrote

"my favarite noodles, I don't know what they are called so me and my sister call them favarite noodles. They are crlley, hot and sllrpy."

(Yes, when it comes to spelling, I think we can all agree that she takes after her father.)

So my daughter's FAVARITE meal requires seventeen cents and three minutes. Don't get me wrong, when you're busy as fuck, that's awesome. But it's somewhat contradictory to the fact that I am a damn good cook. I feel like my child's palate should represent that somehow. People should meet her and instantly conclude that my kitchen has ingredients like tahini and liquid aminos. I know how to use coriander. I roast my own roasted red peppers. But on the cusp of her 8th birthday, she's clamoring for a diet rich in monosodium glutamate and high fructose corn syrup.

It's 100% my fault. I created the monster. But I also know that it will likely change with time. I envision us one day taking a Thai cooking class together. And when her language is as salty as her dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets, maybe I'll pass along my FAVARITE cookbook, which also happens to be my FAVARITE gift from Mother's Day. My husband presented me with my very own copy of...

Because yes, we should all eat like we give a fuck. (There's so much to love about this book.) And if you were wondering - yes, Thug Kitchen recipes avoid meat and dairy. Here are more thoughts on that:
  • I promise not to become the crazy vegan lady with whom you don't want to have lunch.
  • I still love steak. It's delish. And bacon? Well there's a reason why you can get just about anything flavored like bacon and/or wrapped in it. I'm just trying to buy less of it
  • If you invite me over for dinner, I will eat whatever you put in front of me and I will love it and be grateful. 
  • If you come to my house for dinner, you might eat a vegan meal, but trust me, I'm a fucking wizard and you won't even know it until you're all fat and happy. 
  • It's not just that the majority of the meat and dairy industries are kind of gross (I think we can all agree that throwing live baby chicks into a grinder is kind of a dick move), but also, as stated in Thug Kitchen... 

I've got one kid into carrots and hummus, which I'm counting as a win. And for the love of all things culinary, one of these days my kids are going to say something awesome like, 

"Mom, will you please make stuffed poblanos for dinner?" 
"Mom, I want you to know how much I appreciate your phenomenal understanding and use of garlic." 

Today is not that day, however, and when my kids ask me when dinner will be ready, I will confidently answer, "in about three minutes."

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9 Signs Your Home Is Not Your Own

This piece first appeared on The Huffington Post.

It doesn't matter who pays the mortgage, if you have small children, you are continually reminded that the space you inhabit is no longer yours. Here's clear evidence that despite your parental role, you likely have limited control of your home.
1. Your bed contains Legos and other hazards.
Remember when getting into bed was about soft sheets and comfy blankets? Yeah, me neither. Checking for foreign objects before diving in is highly recommended.
2. Your closet is routinely employed for hide-and-seek.
It doesn't matter how often you tell your kids to stay out of your closet. When it comes to hide-and-seek, it's the number one go-to spot. But you're a good sport so you pretend to have a tough time locating them, then go back after the fact to put your clothes back on the hangers.
3. When you go to the bathroom, the kids call a family meeting. In the bathroom. Because their need to speak with you inexplicably coincides with your need to urinate. Every. Single. Time.
4. Privacy isn't a thing.
Not just when it comes to peeing, but when it comes to everything. Were you hoping to have a quiet moment to yourself? A few minutes of reading? An intimate evening with your spouse? This is where locks come in handy, because your child cannot fathom why you wouldn't want to be in their presence twenty-four hours a day.
5. Your kids understand the remote control better than you.
Nothing is more humbling than having to ask your 5-year-old how to switch from Netflix to the DVD player. The upside to this is that in a few more years your child's knowledge will be the equivalent of complete, in-home tech support.
6. The living room exists for forts.
Heaven forbid your child decides to make a fort in his own room. The proper site for a fort is dead center in the middle of the most used living space. The fort must be comprised of at least one object from every other room in the house, destroy any notions you had of desirable d├ęcor, and impede adults from safe passage from one room to another.
7. No matter how often you close doors, you will find them open again. 
This goes for garage doors, front doors, sliding glass doors, closet doors and kitchen cabinets. Because apparently, the ability to close any sort of door doesn't develop fully until the post-teenage years.
8. You can't park in your garage. Because bikes.
And scooters, skateboards, tricycles, rollerblades, strollers, tagalongs, wagons, mini-motorized bulldozers and Barbie cars.
9. Your kitchen is more for snack storage than actual cooking.
Go ahead and move any beloved appliances or gadgets to the most inaccessible recesses of your kitchen, because the priorities have changed. All of the prime real estate will henceforth be dedicated to goldfish, granola bars, and pureed fruit in pouches. While you're at it, move your favorite dishes out of the way and replace them with "Thomas the Tank Engine" plates and cereal bowls with built in straws (which are disgusting and should not exist).

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Hugging, Hating, and Other Assaults

Patti at Insane in the Mom-Brain recently posted about forcing a hug on someone who doesn't like hugs. Both Patti and the recipient of the hug were laughing. She even had accompanying pictures and it's pretty apparent that everyone was having a good time. 

I want to hug this baby wombat. I want it bad. 
And then the hate mail began because people with laptops and too much time on their hands have yet to learn that laughter and joy are way more fun than hating. One person likened Patti's actions to rape, another called her a "reprehensible piece of human garbage". She handled this correctly, of course, by ordering herself a mug, bumper sticker, and t-shirt with this phrase, so when people see her coming, they know ahead of time that she's a reprehensible piece of human garbage. 

I'm calling bullshit on the haters. 
If you really thought this was assault, you'd call the cops.

She also received this...

I like the subject line. Much like Patti's forthcoming t-shirt, it lets you know right off the bat that this person is an asshole with too much time on her hands. As for the message, though, I'm confused. Does she want to make Patti famous or take it away? And that last line is such a pathetic attempt to be threatening and creepy. Here's what I have to say to Angela M: If you're a hater, you're automatically not qualified to judge anyone else for their bad behavior. Make sense? Also, you're being a fucking bully. Stop it and go do something nice for the world. 

The hate this person is spewing is far worse than Patti's unwanted hug. (Remember, the recipient of the hug was laughing and smiling).

Most of the time I'm pro-hug. I get that everyone feels differently and try to gauge when to go for the hug and when to just smile awkwardly for a moment, wondering if we'll do it. I'm anti-hug for elementary school students because it's such a boon to the louse population which gives me nightmares and a near constant state of paranoia. 
"I want to hug!"                              "Get the fuck away from me."

I get that not everyone's a hugger. It can be awkward. Should you pat the back or not? And where do you put your boobs? 

I have a friend who is not a hugger. I know this. And yet when I see her, I dive in for the hug. I'm not trying to make her uncomfortable, I just forget until it's too late and I've already invaded her personal space. And she stands there stiff as a board with a strained smile and clenched teeth and suffers through it, and we kind of laugh about it. (You know who you are. I promise I'll try to remember the next time I see you.)

I'm not saying maintaining your personal boundaries isn't important. And I feel fairly qualified to weigh in on the issue. I had a stepfather (now deceased) who always came in for a kiss on the lips. There was no escape from it and it was made worse by the fact that he'd lick his lips before diving in. He did this to me, to my friends, to any female he could get his slimy hands on. And really, this behavior was one tiny example of a shitload of inappropriateness. My one regret from our relationship is that I put up with such creeptastic actions for years. His death put the matter to rest and I learned from him what I will and will not accept. And I'm making sure my daughters don't grow up thinking they have to put up with such douchiness from adults.

Note to adults: We don't get to be assholes to kids just because we're older than them. Bullying a kid and then insisting they respect you is total bullshit. 

Also bullshit: hate mail over a Facebook status. You have so many better options, like "hide post" or "unfollow". If you instead resort to threats and insults, I feel kind of sad for you. You obviously weren't hugged enough as a child. 

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Who's Your Poet BFF?

It's National Poetry Month! Let's wax poetic. It's far less painful than just waxing. You can start by learning the identity of your poet BFF via this quiz courtesy of

I got Rabindranath Tagore, which tells me that I am far less familiar with poets than I previously thought. The results suggest Rab and I enjoy some green tea and talk spirituality, but I might switch that out for a Guinness and inappropriate humor.

Who's YOUR poet BFF?

Scroll down and hit "Let's Play!"

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