Kissing Season

A couple months ago Delta kindly informed me that all those miles I got when I flew with them years ago were about to expire. Being a sucker, I went with magazine deals. Lots of magazines. Like seven of them. I didn’t even know they still came in paper format!

Yeah, okay, I totally knew they still came that way, but I digress. Which is really hard to do with this blog. Sssoooo, among the magazines I signed up for was a subscription to Seventeen for Snarky Daughter.

For those who don’t know her, SD wears jeans/baggy shorts (depending on the season) and t-shirts to school pretty much every day. I really can’t blame her. I wear jeans and clingy shirts to work every day. Hey, I matured.

SD can hold her own in any geeky boy conversation. Doctor Who? Hitchhikers Guide? Stars Trek and Wars? She’s got you covered. Mascara, the current trend in skirts, and all things girl, not so much. Yes, she’s mini-me. I have no idea what brand mascara I use, nor do I particularly care.

I remembered reading Seventeen well before I was 17, and it was helpful in all things high school girls care about. We were the target audience. With my subscription, I wasn’t always hip, but at least I knew what was in. So against all her cries, I got the magazine. Which sits on the counter, unread.

Except last night, I was bored so I went looking for the horoscopes. What can I say? I wasn’t all that pleased with whatever Glamour had cooked up for me this month. Lucky me, Seventeen says I’m coming in to some money this month, and romance. Happy Birthday to me!

While flipping through, I found…

“Your Summer Kiss-spiration! Welcome to kissing season!”

Painting of a Kiss
The Kiss by Francesco Hayez

Here I’ve been lamenting the lack of kissing in my life lately, only to find out it’s not kissing season. HUGE sigh of relief over here. I was beginning to think it was me.

To celebrate kissing season, Seventeen quoted a bunch of guys ages 18-22 (and I’m sorry, but that’s icky — your target market, as defined by your name, is jail bait) about what guys think about during your first kiss with them.

Being a really good mom, I read the entire article out loud, because SD was not going to read it. And she deserved to know that twenty-something guys have no clue what they’re doing when they’re kissing. That was actually kind of humbling to hear, although not really a surprise since I remember kissing guys at that age.

Since that was already making SD scream, Mmmooooommmm!!!!” at the top of her lungs, I kept reading. In the article’s sister blurbs (all four pages of kissing info), I also learned that his top five makeout spots haven’t changed over the years. The beach, under the stars, and in a car still rank up there. Duh. And apparently guys still want to make out in a public bathroom. Huh?!!?

I shared the blurb about the Kissing Jenga game, a kissing truth or dare game which could be hysterical if you’re over 30 and have a bucket of margaritas to share with friends. I can’t imagine this being fun when you’re 17, because really, how many people have you kissed? “Spill your biggest #kissfail.” Seriously? It probably involved braces. Now, once you’re over 30, you have some serious #kissfails to work with.

(Because it’s also margarita season, here’s a tutorial on making margaritas. You’re welcome.)

Sarcastic Roommate and I rated the “other areas to kiss” advice. They actually nailed that one, although I’m not sure SD believes us. Which is fine because I’m not sure she needs to be traveling away from lips any time soon. I do know she never wants to hear any of this come out of my mouth again.

I’m thinking of laminating the article so I can read it aloud often. It was downhill from there, but I am psyched that kissing season is upon us. White shoes and makeout sessions. Gotta love summer!

But I have to ask. Do I need a kissing license?


And on the Second Bucket of Margaritas, We Moved the Refrigerator.

OK, no we didn’t. We talked about it because Regan Black’s cats keep hiding stuff under there. But we didn’t really have a second bucket… or motivation. If the cats are dumb enough to put their toys under the fridge, they don’t really need them.

The Hip and Edgy Writer's Group
The Hip and Edgy Writer’s Group

For all of you currently scratching your heads, it’s Writer’s Weekend. That wonderful weekend when I get together with my best friends and we talk writing, and eat and drink, and get caught up on everything, and eat and drink, and cackle and spew coffee on the laptops, and eat and drink, and you get the idea.

These women don’t freak out when they find out I’ve never done a tequila shot. The give me a silent look of “what rock did you crawl out from under,” grab a lime and another shot glass and that’s that.

I’m fairly sure this is what sorority sisters do when they get together. Maybe not. We talk A. Lot. about writing. We talk about our characters as if they’re real people, we lust after Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, and a bunch of other hot men, and we all eat things we shouldn’t. For me, that’s pretty much every food on the planet, including the two donuts I had for breakfast.

Leave me alone. If you can’t have Iron Man for breakfast, donuts are a close second.

This morning I got up and Regan looked at me and said, “When are you giving up the fight and walking on the beach. You know you’ll feel better.” Which is just one of the many reasons I love these women. They get me.

Normally, I don’t fight the call of the beach. But it’s Memorial. Day. Weekend. And the beach is 30 minutes away. So going to the beach is a production. Unless it’s 8:15 am. Then it’s really easy to park in the parking meter area, walk the beach for an hour and leave before you have a sunburn and when everyone on the beach is still happy.

Isle of Palms before the crowds hit
Isle of Palms before the crowds hit

Anyway, she was right. I walked on the beach and now it’s all good. When I win the lottery, you’ll find me living on the South Carolina coast. With three other writers and a large company of imaginary friends, er, characters.

And I get to stay for another whole day. That’s one more potential walk on the beach before I have to go back to reality.


Killing Me Softly with… Parsley

My devoted readers will remember that the weekend Girl Scout Cookies were delivered, my household went wheat-free. If you’re new and you stumbled here hoping there was some uber-secret Get Girl Scout Cookies now that girls aren’t selling them site, sorry to disappoint, but stick around.

We really miss pizza since going wheat-free. I think the only thing on that plate I can eat now is the tomato.
We really miss pizza since going wheat-free. I think the only thing on that plate I can eat now is the tomato.

It’s now been a little over two months without wheat, or mostly without wheat (there have been a couple of celebration meals that included pizza) and I feel…terrible. Everybody loses weight when they give up wheat. I was losing, on average, .25 pounds a week, and that was with me working out. I was losing strength, losing energy, my stomach was a mess.

Luckily, when I started down this little path through the amber waves of grain, I also scheduled a doctor’s appointment because according to everything I’ve read (yes, on the Internet), I have no hormones, and probably no thyroid. OK, I may have them, but they’re totally out of whack.

The happy day of my doctor’s appointment finally came around two weeks ago. We talked forever (more than the usual 20 seconds at a regular doctor’s office), and he and I agreed that I was probably allergic to something I was eating instead of wheat. My concern was that it was more than one thing, and I wasn’t really interested in taking the time to figure out what it was, when for the low, low price of $200 and five vials of blood, I could find out what I was allergic to.

I got the answers on Friday, ironically, while sitting in the waiting room of the doctor’s office so his vampire assistant could take yet another vial of blood. So I open the email and find out that I am allergic to literally everything I have been eating since going wheat-free. Basically, I was trying to commit suicide with parsley and pineapple. Not together. That would be gross.

This cow hates me. All cows hate me. Leather interior is looking better all the time. Or will that make my butt itch?
This cow hates me. All cows hate me. Leather interior is looking better all the time. Or will that make my butt itch?

I’m allergic to goat’s milk. I’m allergic to casein, which is found in all cow’s milk products. I’m allergic to almonds, pistachios and cashews. Melon. Yeast. Vanilla. Mustard?!!? Really? Brussel sprouts, so Totally Awesome Step-Mother can now stop telling me I should eat them because she has a great recipe. To be fair, she does have a great recipe, but I won’t be partaking anymore. Also, I now have proof that I am allergic to several types of fish and shellfish. And peanuts. Cranberries. Bananas. It’s a really impressive list.

In my typical fashion, I think I took the news fairly well. I calmly left the doctor’s office and drove to the nearest Cook Out where I ordered a CHEESEburger. On. A. BUN. With MUSTARD. French Fries. Onion Rings (which the last time I checked, involved wheat). And a Mint Chocolate Chip milkshake. If I could have found a way to add beer to the mix and really load up on yeast, I would have.

Yes, I got serious about this on Saturday. I didn’t have dairy all weekend. Yesterday, I had to make a cake for a Boy Scout Court of Honor. Since I wasn’t eating it, I used wheat. No, I was not about to waste $8/pound special flour on Boy Scouts.

Here’s where things got interesting. While making the cake, I had about two tablespoons of cake batter (containing wheat and milk), and probably the same amount of frosting. Both homemade by me. And totally worth it. Until about twenty minutes later when I started itching like fury and my allergies flared and my stomach decided I was the dumbest person on Earth.

Seriously?!!? I’d been off milk for 2.5 days! I’m still itchy today. Which might have something to do with the fact that my Boy Scout popcorn “contains milk ingredients.” Crap. That was just not something I thought to check. Stupid cow.

Oddly, while I cannot eat any cow byproduct, I have no allergies to the cow itself. Hello Filet Mignon. Goodbye parsley. And yes, I really am allergic to parsley, which is maybe the dumbest thing I’ve ever had to admit.

Hi. My name is Kim, and I’m allergic to parsley.


40 Days Til Christmas

40 days and 14 hours. That’s how long we have until Christmas. Yes, I’m a little surprised that I was able to Google days til Christmas and come up with a Christmas Countdown clock. I shouldn’t be, but it seems like there are better programming choices than that.

Anyway, Christmas. 40.5 days of shopping left. I know. There are a ton of you who haven’t given this any thought yet. Clearly none of you are flying home for the holidays. But we are, and that means I have to do a ton more planning for the holiday than I’d like.

There are the folks I don’t normally see but this year I’ll have to find a nice gift for. Hard to do when you see each other every other year. These are the people in my life who would, on this coast, get homemade Irish Cream truffles, sea salt scrubs, knit scarves or some other Pinterest-inspired gift. But since I have to get it across the country without breakage, I have to either buy supplies/bottles and ship them to California and spend a day in the kitchen there, or I have to make it here and pack it very carefully. And hope TSA doesn’t decide they want softer hands and spiced pecans.

Of course, next week I’ll be writing that great holiday favorite: the family Christmas letter.

Photo of kids with Christmas tree
Scout Son and Snarky Daughter try looking cute in front of the Christmas tree.

Being a freelance writer gives me a leg up on most in that department because I have InDesign so I can put together something nice and spend an extra 100 hours making sure everything lines up perfectly. Because I know you’re all going to pull out rulers and check to see if the spacing is equal on all columns.

My letter comes and goes depending on the news. The year my mom died and I was getting divorced I didn’t do the letter. Merry Christmas! May Death and Destruction Stay with Me, Not with You! Somehow, I couldn’t find a lot of happy to share that year.

This year, even with the loss of a job, I feel like there’s good news. Snarky Daughter and Scout Son each get a column in the newsletter, so I only have to find about 300 words of happy, and with two books coming out this month, I think I can wing it.

But that’s next week. This week, I’m cruising Pinterest for cool homemade gift ideas, making a shopping list for pies for Thanksgiving. And putting up the Christmas tree. Tonight. No ornaments or lights, just the tree. I want to see what the kittens will do to it. I fully expect to find Rex sleeping at the top tomorrow morning. I’ll keep you posted.

Feel free to start the pool on how many times the cats knock it over.

What’s that? Why am I putting up a tree when I won’t be here?

That’s a really good question. The answer involves pitiful faces on sweet children who want to decorate for the season.

Whatever. I have gifts to work on.


Ugh…Monday, Again?

Mondays. OMG, shoot me now. First, there’s the whole Monday thing. I mean, it’s not Monday’s fault that it’s the day you have to go back to work, but that doesn’t make it any better.

Now really it wouldn’t matter what day of the week today fell on. Whatever day I have Boy Scouts is going to be crazy. Depending on the week, I get home either 20 minutes before I have to leave for Scouts, or 10 minutes after it starts. Awesome planning, I know.

Then, I’m in Scouts supposedly until 8, but let’s be real. If I’m home by 8:45 it’s a good night. At which point I have to write the blog. Except tonight I’m not paying attention to Scouts because I have to do work on my resume and cover letters. And pay bills because somehow I got behind on my things to do last night.

Now, I tried to work on the cover letters on the way to work (vanpool people, I’m not driving), but I couldn’t focus this morning. Monday, remember? And oddly, half of the text in the job description was cut off, so I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. Then I was going to do it on the way home, but vertigo stopped that completely. Imagine having vertigo while you’re on a Disney teacup and you’ve got my ride home.

OK, I’m done whining, but I have no real subject for today’s blog beyond Mondays should be illegal.

If anyone wants to help me make my resume stellar and write some cover letters, I’m accepting that help tonight. Which is just sad for a writer, but I don’t like to talk about myself. Which makes sounding fantastic on paper really hard.

Almost has painful as Linux. Or not. But not what I want to do after a long day at work and with the room spinning…


Wanna Buy Some Girl Scout Cookies?

We have survived the first cookie sale. Amazingly enough, I didn’t scream at anyone. This is amazing for so many reasons, the prime one being that I woke up at 4:15 and couldn’t go back to bed. And I was determined I would go back to sleep, so I didn’t get out of bed and accomplish a ton of stuff. So, 8 hours of selling cookies in the rain today was a recipe for me losing my temper.

There was a moment there where I thought the rest of the troop was going to throttle the one Scout who wanted to get additional cases of cookies for our next sale in two weeks. Luckily, we did this crazy thing called taking a vote and she was overruled. Which means, with the extra boxes of cookies we’ll get when we get our pre-orders next week, we have about 75 boxes of cookies we still have to sell.

Seventy-five boxes to freedom.

I have to say, we had a really good time out there today. Apparently some of the girls had forgotten what it was like to sell cookies with me. For those of you who have read Jenny Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation, the five steps to running a con work. Really. Well. I’d say I should send her a box of cookies, but since she just found out she’s diabetic and is making real changes to her diet, I won’t. Also, I don’t know her address beyond somewhere in the wilds of Ohio. But God knows, she deserves them.

I’m not above using guilt, sarcasm, sweetness and light, or begging to sell cookies. You’re wearing a Carolina Tarheels hat? “You know what you’re going to want at 4:00 when you take on Maryland? Thin Mints.”

Guys walking out with Bud Lite. “You know, Thanks a Lots are really good with beer.” Well, they are. Then, looking at the girls, “This is not knowledge you should have.”

Baby teething? No problem. You need Shortbreads. Carmel deLites (do not let the name fool you, they are not lite) go well with a spicy Cabernet. And they’re all good on SuperBowl weekend because they’re snack foods and everyone knows snack foods are calorie-free on big game weekend!

I had customers walking into Radio Shack giving the guy in there grief because he only bought one box. Heck, I was trying to work an agreement where I did the receiving of the 10 boxes of inventory in exchange for him buying 10 boxes of cookies.

I sold a box of cookies to some guy because “you know what goes great with ice?” Radio Shack kept coming out to watch me work. My personal best today? 8 boxes. The girls just cracked up. Apparently their last troop stood around quietly asking people if they’d like to buy some cookies. I’m a little more in your face. And even if you don’t buy them, you’ll walk buy laughing.

Toward the end, we couldn’t feel our toes or fingers. Things got a little desperate then. Imagine a woman and three girls looking pitiful, saying, “Please buy a box of cookies so we can go home and get warm.”

We gave up with 45 minutes to go. I came home and walked into a bubble bath. Then I fell into a glass or two of questionable wine and I reasonably good omelet.

As you face the girls in the coming weeks, please remember that $4 a box gives your local troop $.56. The rest goes to things like providing Scouts and camp to girls around the country. It provides opportunities many girls would never otherwise have.

Oh, and if you’re diabetic, I sympathize, and you don’t have to buy a box for yourself. But don’t be surprised if some enterprising young thing suggests you buy a box to send to our military troops. I’ve trained the girls well.


Thin Mint, Anyone?

Tomorrow is the big day. The first of two Girl Scout Cookies sales. It’s supposed to be 55 and rainy. I can’t wait. Back when the girls said they wanted to do sales, I said, “I will give up two weekends of my life for this. That’s it. Be prepared: the weather will suck.”

Personally, while I would love for the 70 degree weather to have stuck it out for two more days (would it have been so hard?), I’m just thankful it’s not supposed to snow.

So for 8 hours tomorrow, Snarky Daughter and I will be hocking cookies. I’ll be the one in the “Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies” t-shirt. I will also be the cranky one teaching everyone how to count back change because, yes, this is a skill you should have learned while playing Monopoly, and yes, you will use it later in life. Usually to get the correct change out of the kid at McDonalds who can’t figure out how much money to give you because he mis-keyed the amount you paid him.

I digress.

Eight hours, you say? But why? There are good reasons for this. I do believe in supporting the organization, and our troop does get 50-some cents per box of cookies sold which will help pay for activities for the troop for the rest of the year. Those are the noble reasons, and even one of those is questionable.

But the reason I got behind the sales is that if Snarky Daughter sells 500 boxes of cookies, she’s in a drawing for a $2,000 college scholarship. Last year, 16 girls in her age group sold over 500 boxes. There are four scholarships, so each of those girls had a 1 in 4 chance of willing a scholarship.

Two words: law school.

I have no way of paying for college, let alone law school. Ahem, remember that plan we talked about where you all bought 1 million copies of The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé for 99 cents? I’ve kept up my end of the bargain; I wrote it and made it available on Amazon. Work with me, people!

Anyway, Snarky Daughter did reasonably well selling cookies leading up to the sales, and there is a slim possibility that if she sells really well this weekend, and everyone I know buys several boxes of cookies for the troops, that she could actually make the goal. Unlikely, since she’s not the only girl in the troop selling this weekend, but still, a possibility.

So, looking forward to 8 hours in the rain, outside a grocery store, with lots of coffee and limited bathroom breaks. Unless, of course, you’d all like to buy a box of Thin Mints to eat while you read your recently downloaded copy of The Heiress and Her Fake Fiancé.

Just sayin.