My Top 10 Snarl List

These 10 include people, behaviors, and music that are most likely to elicit a snarl or two from me. I’m sure you have a Top 10. I would love to read yours.

1. Simultaneous, impatient demand for my undivided attention. I say, take a number and wait. Your request for attention will be considered in the order it was received. Now, suck it up and get in line.

2.When my children or husband ignore, forget, debate or protest valid, simple, reasonable instructions. I am all for questioning authority as long as it is not mine.

3. Rude, oblivious, distracted people. They are on our roads and all public places. There are so many. Why?

4. Zhu Zhu Pet hamster speak. Why did Santa Claus bring our family six of these; and then tell our neighbors another two of three would be just swell? Here is my theory. He was baked.

5. Ted Nugent’s Cat Scratch Fever. This song makes me feel like sticking a fork my eyeballs. And, I do not think about harming myself in any way, ever.

6. Consumer and media addiction to the stupid and irrelevant. Machetes, tiger blood, and crack do not make a sick man funny.

7. When I extend an invitation and do not ever receive a response. Since, I have violated this one and do not have an excuse except severe neglect of etiquette, I try to cut slack. But, multiple time offenders are off my A-list.

8. American Chopper: Senior vs Junior. My husband and I were avid fans of the original series because it told a good story about how hard work, creativity, and savvy marketing could grow a small business to tremendous success. But, then… all the constant infighting became old and nerve-racking.

9. Ask for my opinion, and then completely ignore — don’t even listen to or consider — what I have to say. If you’re not really interested in my opinion, don’t ask! Don’t pretend you care about what I think?

10. Overly competitive people. Healthy competition at work, school and play is okay. However, it bothers me when people make it their life-mission to out-do or even keep pace with having the same material possessions, luxuries, vacations, cars, chaotic after-school schedules, etc. as their neighbors, family and friends.

Three Tips for Successful Snarling

Don’t start your day without reviewing these three trips for successful snarling. If you have other suggestions to help with the advance of snarling in our society, please write some.

1. Be selective about why, when and where. Snarling is an art form. To be most successful, you must wield snarling power, selectively. If used too often, no one will take your snarls seriously.

2. Copy the best. Billy Idol, Pink, and Sly Stallone are three who  come to mind this very moment. Why re-invent? Use what works. Who do think has the best snarl?

3. Be deliberate. Do not waver in your intent to snarl. Let your snarl live up to its potential; and let it go. I speak from experience. Afterward, you will feel better because keeping a snarl bottled up is cruel to the snarl and to yourself.

Haunting Images Of Detroit’s Decline (PHOTOS)


My dad grew up in Highland Park and witnessed some of the better days in Detroit, which are ancient history. The city has been in decay for decades. This is not a recent developmen­t. I am a suburbanit­e and have lived north of the D my entire life. It sickens me to see an urban center continue its decline when it could rise to greatness. The city’s failure to make a comeback is synonymous with the Lions; and all of us keep holding our breath waiting for that moment… Those who can no longer hold their breath move on.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Thoughts About Jobs and Parenting

Last night, my husband and I helped my daughter prepare a show-and-tell presentation for her first grade class. The presentation was about the jobs we have, how these jobs help our community, and the tools we most often use to perform our job functions.

About The Jobs. First, we are parents. Secondly, my husband is also an electrical manufacturing engineer for GM and I am a writer. As parents, we love, teach, nurture, comfort, cook, clean, organize, play, discipline, and help our children explore their world. As a dad, my husband teaches our children how to build model cars and how to launch rockets. He also wakes on Saturdays at 7:00 am to make pancakes and watch movies with them. As a mom, I comfort our children when they’re puking pizza or having nightmares. Also, I host play dates and go on magic quests. At GM, my husband researches and develops advanced technology, parts and processes for passenger cars and trucks. I have written hundreds of new business development proposals as well as copy for marketing materials, which helped small and large business owners gain new clients.

Helping Our Community. As parents, we help our children participate as positive, active, and informed members of our local, state, national and global communities. We do this by encouraging interests, fostering strengths, and practicing what is learned in school. My husband’s contributions at GM help the automaker develop affordable, energy-efficient vehicles to reduce oil dependence and to save the planet. Writing enables me to inform, to advocate, and to share with the goal of helping others.

The Tools. As parents, our tool is a TLC-kit, which is at the ready at ALL times. It contains a phone, calendar, tasty health food, good books, music, toys, a computer, camera, pen, money, car keys, and adventure plans. The tools my husband uses at GM are innovation, a solid work ethic, a love for technology, intelligence, adaptability, eagerness for learning, and top-notch social skills. My writer tools mirror many of those in the TLC-kit; and a brain that does not have an off-switch.

The Original Saturday Real-Life Escape

It began Saturday morning. I started the engine, set my music to the Black-Eyed Peas, and sped out of the driveway. Squealing my tires, I left my husband, children and dog for my sister and Hob Nob Pinot Noir. I escaped to the land of The Original Cottage Inn, Stucchi’s, the University of Michigan and flirty boutiques.

At The Original, my sister and I savored a child-free meal and traded strategies on how to avert meltdowns. Somehow food and drink tastes so much better without food strikes, projectile air launches, or requests for drink refills. Plus, nothing beats The Original. Just think about it. Does Ataris’ cover of Don Henley’s Boys of Summer measure up? Say what you want. It just doesn’t do it for me. The same goes for food. Mastery of artful, tasteful duplication is tough and not without peril.

Our escape route also included a trek through the campus at U-M, hunting for stylish spring accessories, and indulging at Stucchi’s. That scoop of cinnamon crumb cake was absolutely delicious; and worth every calorie and fat gram.

The original Saturday real-life escape was extra special with a visit to my sister’s home. There, I cuddled my nephew who is a bundle of six-month cuteness and discussed how challenging it was to catch leprechauns with my niece, Annalise. She even showed me the box she made for trapping them. Life is beautiful.

Nine Irish Kids and the Power Codes

My mom is one of nine Irish kids who grew up in Howell, Mich. The tight connections among her siblings — my aunts and uncles — make for mega family reunions and for volumes of stories.

One story is about family population tracking and keeping peace during family meetings. My Aunt Kate — a mentor in all things Kate and the youngest of the nine — generated and assigned — in descending numeric and alphabetic power codes — to help everyone remember their “pecking” order in the family.

Numeric codes were assigned — from eldest to youngest as follows:

  1. Diane
  2. Susan (my mom)
  3. Gerry
  4. Betty
  5. John
  6. Steve
  7. Julie
  8. Dan
  9. Kate

Single, alphabetic codes were then matched to the number of offspring or pets each of the nine introduced to the family. For example, my Aunt Diane has four children. Their codes are 1A1, 1A2, 1A3, and 1A4. My mom had just two — my sister and I. So, we are 2B1 and 2B2. My cousins and I have learned our power codes do little to help trump discussions, decisions or euchre contests.

How do in-laws and future generations fit into this power code scheme? I am sorry to admit this. But, I lost the memo at my Aunt Gerry’s in Melbourne, Florida. It’s probably matted to the bottom of that empty keg we drank on St. Patrick’s Day 10 years ago.

So, how much of this story do you think is blarney and how much do you think is fact?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Speechless

I am thousands of miles away from the devastation and chaos in Japan. It is a beautiful, sunny morning north of the “D”. My children are at school and I have yet to start on my daily to-do list. I keep thinking about Japan. The enormity of the situation there eludes me.

What can I say? There are not any words coming to my head. It’s impossible to know specifically what is being experienced. Can anyone imagine losing it all within a matter of minutes? I can’t. Urban landscapes and seascapes that were once thriving with life and activity are leveled and silenced.

A FB friend shared these NYT photos. I believe these are the best at telling the magnitude of loss in Japan. They capture the fragility of life; and how quickly it can be altered to a unrecognizable scape.

While on a date with my husband Saturday, we discussed earthquake activity in the Midwest portion of the US; and speculated on how unprepared this slice of the world is for a crisis. Just look at what happened in the Gulf leading up to and following Katrina and the BP oil disaster.

What to do? It’s human nature to put off preparing for future crisis situations; especially when my life has not been disrupted. There are so many more immediate “to-do” items competing for my attention. But, I thought Jamie Lee Curtis offered some worthwhile advice in a blog she posted Saturday on the Huffington Post. None of us know when disaster will strike. Wouldn’t it be better to be ready?

I Love Michigan: Ann Arbor

I can’t help it. This post and those that follow are going to read like a script for those Pure Michigan ads. However, I don’t need a script. All I have to say is off-the-cuff, from the heart and Pure Michigan.

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of a date day with my husband. We stole away to Ann Arbor for the afternoon and then to his brother’s house later that evening.

Why Ann Arbor? It wasn’t for MTV’s casting call for the Real World at Scorekeepers. But, isn’t it great that filmmakers think Ann Arbor is a great city? It has urban appeal, a great mix of people, and the University of Michigan campus.

Anyway, why Ann Arbor? The bargain book shelves and tables at Borders’ flagship store on Liberty. Great people watching from Amer’s big plate-glass window. Nickel’s Arcade and the University of Michigan are beautiful even under a gray, cold March sky. March Madness at Buffalo Wild Wings on State Street.

Plus, Ann Arbor has a permanent signature on our relationship. My husband and I spent nearly one year of our dating lives there. Our first date was on the patio at Good Time Charley’s. Then there were Saturday afternoons goofing off at Pinball Pete’s, Middle Earth and The Little Brown Jug; a Valentine dinner at Palio’s; autumn strolls through the Arboretum; and haunted hayrides at Wiard’s.

One more very special connection to Ann Arbor is family. I am proud and boastful to mention a number of relatives live there or nearby. Rest assured, my husband, children and I will be spending many more fabulous Saturdays re-visiting and creating memories in this fabulous urban landscape.

Reality Check

Up until September, I was an avid viewer of The Biggest Loser. My interest sparked when contestants from Southeastern Michigan celebrated tremendous successes on the show. The Biggest Loser does extend a powerful, positive message: anyone can make lasting positive lifestyle changes given the right environment, support and resources. Also, the celebrity personal trainers, Jillian Michaels and Bob Harper, appear to have a proven track records. Their exercise DVDs have been among my best fitness aids because they have helped me realize visible, lasting results.

With that being said, I also think the show encourages at-home viewers to develop unrealistic fitness and weight management expectations. For example, most of us do not have the luxury of leaving professional, parental, marital, social, and household responsibilities to focus exclusively on weight and fitness management for extended periods of time. Next, devoting all wakeful hours to exercise is not a consistent reality and it is unhealthy. Finally, it is unnerving to watch the weigh-ins at the end of each episode. With self-esteem hanging out for all to see, each contestant steps onto the scale for the moment of triumph or defeat. Smiles deflate, shoulders slump and words of disappointment come forth when losses don’t match expectations. I can relate to this. There have been objectives — some too grandiose — I have set for myself. Along the way, I encountered challenges and experienced frustration that zapped my confidence. But, I think contestants should be encouraged to stand proud for all pounds lost. A loss is a loss. Plus, it’s unrealistic for at-home viewers to expect losses comparable to what they see on The Biggest Loser.

5 in 30

My goal is to make five miles in 30 minutes on the elliptical. Tonight, I clocked 4.90 miles. Missing with such a small margin infuriates me to no end. I even fueled up with two cups of coffee before stepping on.

March 7, 9:30 pm – I attempted this again and missed by the same puny margin. This time I am pointing an angry bird at a new show I love watching while running my elliptical. I tuned into to catch the last few minutes of Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations on the Travel Channel. He was in Cambodia tasting some happy pizza. I was laughing so hard, the focus on my goal wavered. This also made me think of some happy chocolate truffles I tried at a party once.

March 14, 10:00 pm – Did it! I made my goal with seconds to spare! No extra caffeine necessary. Now, I need another goal. I ran while watching One Fine Day starring George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer. Remember that one? It’s an oldie. I had been dating my husband for a few months; and we smuggled a six-pack into the premiere at that Ann Arbor Showcase.