Thank You, Sweet Baby Jesus, For Making It Stop

Let the verbal fertilization of America cease.

Let the verbal fertilization of America cease.

It’s all over.

Maybe you’re wailing and gnashing your teeth.
Maybe you’re skipping and dancing in the streets.
Maybe you’re making plans to move to Fiji.
Maybe you’re shrugging your shoulders and saying “meh” because, at the end of the day, this doesn’t change a thing about our daily lives.  You still have to go to work, your kid is still flunking 4th grade gym class, and you can’t figure out how to get rid of ugly ring-around-the-collar.

Regardless of how you feel about the outcome of this election, there is one fact that unites all Americans in an orgy of pure, unadulterated joy:  no more political ads.

Thank you, thank you, sweet little baby Jesus.

Those ads have been a relentless torrent of vile crap, especially in the last week.  Both parties laid down a carpet-bombing of pure buzzkill for both Indians and Cubs fans trying to watch the World Series in peace.  And local candidates did a blitzkrieg this last week because their meager advertising budgets could only support a couple of days.  They ratcheted the ads up to DEFCON 1 on radio, in the mail, on TV and in signs that covered up the beautiful, fall leaves on lawns across the land.

I turned on a favorite oldies station on my way to work the day before the election and was bombarded with election ads.  I held on through 10 minutes of them, only to find the station had just switched over to Christmas music.  Talk about adding insult to injury!

Not content with yard signs and radio spots, one local candidate painted the side of a van with a laundry list of his opponent’s mistakes and sins.  He parked it near the mall where everyone could see it.  On the truck, he accused his opponent of everything short of sacrificing goats to drink their blood while dancing around in the moonlight with the devil.  Probably would have added that part if the vehicle had been a semi instead of a smaller panel van.

I can’t wait for some peace and quiet.  I hope I never again have to listen to…

Ominous music:  Instead of telling us what THEY were going to do for us, most of the ads showed unflattering pictures of their opponent while a worried/horrified-sounding voice-over explained why said opponent didn’t deserve to live, let alone get elected.  All of this was underscored by ominous, sharks-in-the water music.  Let’s leave that kind of music where it belongs, OK?  In ads from plaintiffs’ attorneys trying to get rich off of class action lawsuits against big companies.

“I support working Americans”:  So what? Most people work; from the 17-year-old at McDonald’s to the millionaire president of a multi-national company.  Do you support ALL of them?  The only people who don’t work are those who inherited wealth, are retired, or are living off the taxpayer.  As the last two groups are set to take over as the majority in our country, you might as well ditch the “working Americans” rhetoric and go straight for the elderly and unemployed vote.

“I promise…”  You won’t do it.  Whatever it is, you either lied about it because you thought that’s what we wanted to hear, or you really meant to do it, but won’t get it off the ground because of the Washington “machine.”

“I’ll stand up…” Pu-leeze.  Just sit down.

“I’ll take on…”  Yeah, you’re really tough.  I want a lover, not a fighter.  Except when we need a fighter.

“Special interest groups”: What’s wrong with having a special interest?  Everybody has one.  Breast cancer research, gay rights, owning a business, school funding, stopping the Alaskan pipeline, keeping guns legal, etc, etc.  If it’s something that concerns you, you contact your elected reps and try to get them to DO something about your special interest.  If enough of us are interested, we hire lobbyists. Why is this a bad thing?

I’d love to think I’ll never hear any of those things again, but I know the mid-terms are 2 years away.  After that, it will only be about 3-1/2 years until the next presidential election really gets going and we’re all forced to ride The Super-Big Kahuna Crap Train of Political Advertising once more.

When that day comes, I promise you this: I will take on the special interest groups of career politicians and news pundits.  I will stand up for all working Americans and support your choice to move to Fiji.  You have my word. (Cue sharks-in-the-water music.)



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Your Customer Advocate Will Provide You With a Blindfold and a Cigarette

They live to serve.

They live to serve.


Forget Clinton, forget Trump.  Who cares about our differences in race, creed or religion?  As ‘Muricans we are all united in a common cause at this crucial moment in history… our shared disgust with health insurance, the companies that provide it and the federal law that totally screwed it up, perhaps forever.

The annual enrollment period for Obamacare has rolled around again.  Time for a little pop quiz, kiddies.

If I am on the phone waiting to speak with a “customer advocate,” who am I trying to reach?

  1. Better Business Bureau
  2. Small Claims Court
  3. Health insurance company claims adjuster
  4. Carry out counter at the China Palace

First, let’s eliminate the obvious.   An “advocate” is one who represents and pleads the cause of another.  That’s probably not going on at #3 or 4, so we’ll cross them out.  The word “customer” indicates a business, so we’ll cross out #2.  That leaves #1, the Better Business Bureau, right?  Wrong.

I had a little accident in the kitchen the other day.  The cut was pretty deep and I thought I might need medical attention, so I called my health insurer’s claim department to find out what my plan would pay.

I’m not going to name the insurance company; suffice it to say they’re big.  Really big.  We’ll call them the Indigo Plus Sign Insurance Company of Illinois.  After navigating a phone tree so convoluted it reminded me of the old kids’ game, Chutes & Ladders, I finally reached the claim department.  Their on-hold message promised my call would soon be handled by the next available “customer advocate.”

I thought claims adjusters were employees.  I thought they were mere corporate tools, forced to toe whatever party line “the man” laid down.  I assumed their job description would be, “Avoid shelling out even one, thin dime to the poor, working slobs who pay our salaries.  Maximize profits so corporate big wigs can fly around in the company jet, eating caviar and drinking champagne from the shoes of high-priced floozies.”

I was so wrong.

This company’s claims department is staffed with “advocates”.  They’re on my side.

As my on-hold wait extended into its 3rd hour, I thought about my “advocate” while I alternatively loosened and tightened my tourniquet.   I pictured her as an earnest young woman with long hair, glasses and Birkenstocks.  She’d thought about joining the Peace Corp when she graduated from college, but chose to give back to society by working for the Indigo Plus Sign Insurance Company of Illinois instead.

I would go into the claims review board feeling like I was facing a firing squad, but no worries – my advocate would be by my side.  She’d pound the table and shout, “Peg has been paying us $1317 per month for the last 18 years (going up at least 25% next year, of course.)  This is her first claim.  Now that she needs us, we can’t turn our backs on her.  She needs proper care, she deserves proper care, and I won’t rest until she gets it.  With God as my witness, we will approve full payment of one Band-Aid!!! (After her $30-per-residential-dressing copay, of course.)”

That’s when I knew; this time would be different.

Am I wrong to hope? Could this be the delusional fantasy of a starry-eyed idealist?  Maybe.  Or it could be the delusional fantasy of someone experiencing extreme blood loss.  We’ll find out as soon as it’s my turn to talk to my “advocate”.  I’m sure it will be any time now; I’ve been on hold for 4 days.


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It’s All Fun & Games Until the Check Arrives

My turn, I believe.

My turn, I believe.

I’ve often said that going out to eat is my favorite indoor, non-contact sport.  I might need to rephrase this.  Oftentimes a lovely meal with friends or family morphs into a no-holds-barred wrestling match as soon as the check arrives.  I’m considering wearing protective gear the next time I go out to eat.

Here are a few of the games people play when it’s time to pay:

Hockey:  Sometimes the waitress drops the check in the middle of the table when you have a big group.  It’s like the puck being dropped at a hockey game and the players all start jabbing and sticking to gain control.  Diners should wear big, padded gloves in case they take a fork-jab to the hand.

Hide and seek:  If the waitress brings the check early while people are still eating, often only one person will notice.  That diner hides the bill under his or her plate.  By the time everybody else starts looking around for the check, the sneaky benefactor announces with a smirk that it has already been taken care of.

This happened at a recent family event where someone else had called “dibs” on the check.  That meal ended with yours-truly sandwiched between the two brawlers like a ref at a WWF wrestling match, yelling “break it up!” and trying to get them to go to their own corners.  Both were slinging the generosity around so ferociously, it was a wonder I wasn’t knocked out cold!

Capture the flag: We went to dinner with 2 other couples and at the end of the meal, the three guys separately excused themselves to go to the men’s room. Perfectly understandable after a big meal.  This was merely a smokescreen, however, as my husband whispered to me when he came back.  Each had detoured to the waitress station in an attempt to capture the check.  He and Checkout Man #2 were neatly out maneuvered by Potty Planner #1.

Tug of War: When dinner is clearly over, and everyone is refreshed and ready for battle, they start in on the waitress when she’s still halfway across the room carrying that tell-tale, padded envelope.  The poor girl gets tugged, threatened and pleaded with from all sides to hand over the check.  No matter what she does, someone is going to be mad. She can’t win!

Hot Potato:   It’s annoying when someone insists on picking up the tab every time.  Even more annoying, however, is the person who never offers to pay.  We all know someone like this.  When the check arrives he or she beats a hasty retreat to the bathroom, or makes sure they’re deep in conversation.   If the bill somehow winds up in their hands, they drop it like a hot potato. It would sit there until the paper disintegrated if someone else didn’t pick it up.  You suspect that Freddy the Freeloader didn’t even bring enough money to cover his own tab, let alone treat anyone else.

The problem with any of these games is that they never end.  You need a score-card to keep track of whose turn it is to snag the check at any given meal.

We go out with the same group of friends every week, and I like the solution they developed early on:

Double Dutch: Nobody jumps up to pay the tab – we all pay our own and skip the fuss.  Without the threat of mortal combat at the end of the meal we can relax, enjoy each other’s company, and leave the football pads and helmets at home.





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Hands (Free) Across the Generation Gap


Technological advances have given us a staggering number of communication options.  That means my kids now have unlimited ways to ignore me.

Our oldest daughter, Liz, spends a lot of time on the road for work and she has a hands-free phone that runs through the radio.  She calls sometimes when she’s driving.  We made a major tactical error with the youngest, however, by signing up for an unlimited text plan when Gwen went off to college.  That was the last time we heard her voice.

It isn’t that she never contacts us; we get the occasional text.  But I refused to learn how to text for a good long time.   “If they loved us, they’d call!” I’d say to my husband.  Ever practical, he shrugged, asked if I ever wanted to hear from the girls again, and dove headfirst into the world of LOLs and emoji.   Eventually I caved.

For me, texting is a tortuous affair involving one tapping finger and tongue-sticking-out-the-corner-of-the-mouth concentration.   This is in marked contrast to my daughters.  Each could knock out a novel using just their Flying Thumbs of Fury.  They can text faster than I can type using every one of my fingers and the occasional toe.  They’re even faster than I was back in high school typing class when I was at the top of my game.

I also resisted the newfangled Facebook craze for ages and eventually joined only to check up on the kids.  Gwen ignored my friend request for a year.   I was thrilled when she finally accepted, but discovered she never posts anything.  She said she and her friends now use Instagram and Snap-chat because Facebook is too crowded.  The end of that sentence was unspoken, but I heard it loud and clear: crowded with old people like you, Mom.

It’s not as if I’m a techno-dinosaur; I use computers and social media for work.  I’m not like my parents, bless their hearts.  They were happy as clams when they had flip phones and an old, Windows XP desktop to forward email jokes.  Then some well-meaning grandchild upgraded them to the latest MacBook and iPhones and set them up on Facebook, Twitter and who knows what else.  No one has heard a peep out of them since, technologically speaking.  They’d be marooned if they didn’t have a landline.

Although it seems like technology is conspiring with my kids to keep one step ahead of me, I’m not giving up.  I’m going to check the local community college for adult education classes in Insta-Chat-a-Roo.  I’m also going to keep setting a good example by how great I am at staying in touch with their grandparents.

After all, I post a message on my parents’ Facebook wall at least once a week.

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Healthy Is In the Eye of The Beholder

Come one, come all...step right up for the biggest show on earth!

Come one, come all…step right up for the biggest show on earth!

According to the old saying:  Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

“Healthy” also seems to be in the eye of the beholder, especially when that beholder is a scientist pushing the latest theory on what’s good for us and what’s not.

Take this pop quiz to test your health knowledge:

  1. Soy is:
    1. Good for you – it prevents heart disease
    2. Bad for you – it causes cancer
  2. Caffeine is:
    1. Good for you – it improves brain function and prevents certain cancers
    2. Bad for you – it leads to early death
  3. Alcohol is:
    1. Bad for you – it increases risk of liver damage and some cancers
    2. Good for you – it prevents heart disease
  4. Cigarettes are:
    1. Bad for you – they cause cancer
    2. Good for you – they decrease appetite

If you answered “A” to all questions, congratulations – you got 100%!

If you answered “B” to all, don’t feel bad – you’re also 100% right!  Science has held each one of these positions at various times; often at the exact same time.   When it comes to defining what’s healthy and what’s not, science has done more flip-flopping than a political candidate after the election.

Even the trusty food pyramid has changed over the years.  It used to have four tiers with the biggest portion devoted to bread and cereal.  Ten years later they changed the proportions, flipped the pyramid sideways, and made it look like a circus tent.  Now experts have trashed the pyramid altogether in favor of a plate.  How is the average Joe supposed to know what to think?

Science is clueless.  We’re just as likely to get it right by making up our own rules…and so I have.

Introducing the Peg-o-Leg Recommended Food Pyramid.  I’ve used the original 4 layer concept to reinvent the pyramid, incorporating the most important food groups.  From bottom to top:

  • Bottom layer: The entire structure is anchored by this, the most important food group: chocolate.

Here you’ve got your double chocolate layer cakes, Little Debbie treats, Moose Tracks Ice Cream and the occasional box of Godiva or other good chocolates received as gifts.  6-11 servings per day.

  • Second layer: The next layer is split between grains and milk.

Grains include donuts, eclairs, bakery bread and waffles.  Some think we should include pizza here because of the crust, especially Chicago style, but the scientific community is split on this.  3-5 servings per day.

Milk includes ice cream (note a perfectly acceptable overlap with the chocolate layer) cheese (in blintzes, fondues or with mac,) and hollandaise sauce.   2-4 servings per day.

  • Third layer: This layer is split between steak and appetizers.

Steak includes prime rib (with creamy horseradish sauce,) rib eyes and Chateaubriand when at a fancy restaurant on an expense account or when someone else is buying.   2-3 servings per day.

Appetizers include onion rings, mushrooms, cheese, pickles and anything else battered and fried.  It also includes that spinach/artichoke dip that makes you think it’s healthy because it contains green veggies, but because of the chips, cheese and cream packs on 3700 calories per serving.  This category encompasses pretty much the first couple of menu pages at Applebee’s, Chi-Chi’s, and all the rest of the fern bar restaurant chains.  2-3 servings per day.

  • Top layer: This small layer consists of fish, veggies, beans, yogurt and grains that are not donuts. These should be consumed sparingly.

I’m considering writing a book on my new, healthy living food pyramid.  With everybody so health conscious nowadays, I bet it would sell like hotcakes…with plenty of butter and syrup.



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Epic Bloggah Meet-up Sends Maine Spinning Off Into The Atlantic

Too much awesome for one photo.

Too much awesome for one photo.

Yeah.  No, really.  This happened.  And it was every bit as magical as you can imagine, times 5 bazillion.

My niece, Kelly, recently moved to Maine.    My daughter, Liz, and I made plans to fly out and visit her and my sister-in-law, Becky, for Labor Day weekend.   It didn’t occur to me until the week before our trip that my bestie blogging buddy, Miss Darla of She’s a Maineiac fame, also lives in Maine.  We were only going to be there a few days, and I had no idea how far apart they lived but, heart thumping, I emailed Miss Darla to see if a meeting would be possible.

It was possible.  It would be done.  And there was much squeeeeeeeeing!

Things got even better from there.  Because Darla revealed that equally awesome blogging buddy Jules, from Go Jules Go, had already contacted her to say she would be travelling to Maine that weekend.  Double squeeeeeeees! all around.   The world’s most epic bloggah (that means “blogger” for those not from Maine) meet-up was on.  This meet-up would be so awesome-sauce that it would cause the entire state of Maine to break clean off the mainland and go spinning into the Atlantic Ocean.*

It’s funny how close you can get with someone in an online community like WordPress.  Y’all are part of the daily fabric of my life, as, I flatter myself, I am part of yours.  Sometimes it seems we get to know one another more intimately than most flesh-and-blood people in “real” life.  The distance and relative anonymity of typing words, as opposed to saying them, face to face, helps us to be true and honest.  That freedom to strip away the social conventions is both the worst thing about the internet and its major strength.

Having the opportunity to attach faces, bodies and voices to people I had loved for years because of their ideas, was more than I had dreamed could happen.

We decided to meet for lunch in Portland and Darla picked a great restaurant right on the wharf.  My family and I got there before they opened and waited out front as a big line formed to get in.  I was nervous.  Then someone walked up and stopped to fiddle with her phone about 20 feet down the sidewalk. “Darla?” I asked.  No response.  I abandoned my place in line and moved in closer.  “Darla?” I asked louder.  I sure hoped it was her because she had barely looked up before I had my arms around her and was squeezing the stuffing out of the woman.  It was her!

I don’t know who was smiling wider – Miss Darla or me.  We kept hugging and grinning like big doofuses, saying “I can’t believe it’s you!” over and over again, right there on the sidewalk in front of God and everybody, including about 300 people waiting in line for this great restaurant which only contained a couple of tables and…yikes!  They had opened the doors while we were slobbering all over one another.  I had to knock down an entire family of South Korean tourists to reclaim our spot in line and snag a couple of tables.

There were people, and dogs, and lobstah.

There were people, and dogs, and lobstah.

Just a few minutes later, an adorable dog trotted down the aisle toward us, followed by his wonderful owner.  Jules and Uncle Jesse were in the house!  Darla and I both hopped up and there was more hugging, squeeeeeing! and repeating, “I can’t believe it’s you!” all around.

Lunch was fabulous.  As a resident of Maine, Darla is required by law to promote the state’s three primary resources to all guests: lobstah (that’s “lobster” for non-Maineiacs), blueberries and moose.  We had lobstah rolls along with blueberry beeyah (that’s “beer” for non-Maineiacs), but we didn’t see any mooses.  Must have been scared off by all the tourists packed into the town for the holiday weekend.

It turns out Darla’s birthday was the next day, and Jules brought her a special present: a neon-green fringed t-shirt inspired by Jules’ recent post about the New Jersey fashion scene.  It fit Darla like a glove.  I would show you photos, but I can’t because Darla is in negotiations with MTV for a remake of the popular reality show, “Jersey Shore.”  The spinoff is tentatively titled:  “Maine Shore: The Darlooki and Jim-Woww Story.”

Awkward. Yet thoughtful.

Awkward. Yet thoughtful.

Then Jules surprised us with more gifts – one for each of us.  Darla and I tore into the packages to find personalized lobstah vibrators.   I’m not gonna lie.  It was a bit awkward.   But after our first, stunned silence, everything was good.  I know Jules’ heart is in the right place.

My blogging buddies are just as I pictured them, but more so.  Jules is a statuesque, blonde goddess.   Darla is cute-as-a-button and surprisingly tiny.  And Uncle Jesse’s fur is even more luxurious than photos can do justice.

Some thanks are in order:

Thanks to Darla’s husband Jim, and their two kids for driving her to Portland.   Although they weren’t able to take the time to actually stop and meet us, Jim was kind enough to slow the car down enough so that Darla didn’t break any major bones as she tumbled out into the roadway in front of the wharf.  Catching sight of the backs of their heads in the car as they sped off as fast as possible, given the traffic, made me feel we made a real connection.

Thanks to Uncle Jesse for coming along.  Although he didn’t really have much of a choice since Jules was driving.  And he is, you know, a dog.

Behind the scenes in Wardrobe.

Behind the scenes in Wardrobe.

Thanks to my wonderful family for putting up with this nonsense.  Becky, Liz, Kelly and her honey, Nick, took time from a very packed, short weekend to drive up the coast and stayed to have lunch with us.  I know they were thrilled to be in the company of three such distinguished bloggers even though they sat at a separate table and hid behind their menus.  When we donned our matching mustaches and plaid earmuffs embellished with yellow yarn hair, and our fellow diners stared in horror,  I’m sure my family loudly said things like, “I have no idea who those 3 women are” and “shouldn’t someone call the authorities??” merely to hide how proud and deeply moved they were by the event.

Fellow diners were….wary.

Finally, thanks to Darla and Jules for making this happen and for being so, so fabulous.  I’m still smiling like a big doofus, and probably will be until the next annual Bloggah Lobstah meet-up.  Can’t wait for 2017!

*Maine didn’t really split off the mainland and go spinning into the Atlantic ocean.  That type of “hyperbole” is something we writers do to make a point.   If Maine really had broken off from the rest of the country you probably would have heard about it on the news. 

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Life Has Meaning Once More

Git it baby girl!

Git it baby girl!

It has been a rough summer.  Some dear family members are dealing with serious health issues, I’ve been struggling to get in shape, and I’ve been dogged with a bad case of the blahs for months.   All that is about to change.

Toddlers & Tiaras is back, and life has meaning again.

Toddlers & Tiaras was a reality show that aired on TLC from 2008 to 2013.   Each episode followed several children and their families as they prepped for and competed in beauty pageants specifically designed for very young girls and babies.  If you’ve been hanging around the blog for a while, you’ll know that watching this show was a guilty pleasure for me.

The big-wigs at TLC (an acronym that used to stand for The Learning Channel, but now stands for Trashy, Low-down, Circus-sideshow) have finally came to their senses and resurrected Toddlers.  The first new episode airs tonight.

These pageants have very little to do with the legitimate pageant world, except for the obvious – beauty.  The Miss America pageant world stresses poise, charitable work and talent along with physical beauty.  The toddler version is all about over-the-top makeup, hair and costumes, coupled with an elusive but essential quality called “sparkle.”  I would be interested to know if many girls make the leap from one world to the next; I suspect not.

The cameras roll through the child’s town and then show her pre-pageant routine at home. Contestants are overwhelmingly little girls and the pageants are primarily in the south and southwestern United States.   I watched one show, however, where the child who wanted to be queen broke the mold on both counts: it was a little boy and he was from my hometown in Michigan.  I was geeked to see familiar landmarks on the screen, but couldn’t help wondering what kind of therapy this kid will need down the road.  I wonder that about most of the contestants.  It would be interesting to follow up 10 years later when they’re no longer little and cute, to see what lasting affects this experience has had on them.

In case you’re not familiar with Toddlers & Tiaras and are planning to watch it, here’s a little vocabulary primer to help you understand their special jargon.

Diva: spoiled, obnoxious monster child who does whatever she wants.  Surprisingly, this label is pinned on the child by her doting parents.  Rather than considering this a character flaw that requires spanking to correct, the parents brag about their young hellion.

Full Glitz: some pageants feature natural beauty, but most are all about the fake.  In “full glitz” the children sport spray tans, bleached teeth or fake teeth called “flippers”, Dolly Parton-height teased hair with extensions, false eyelashes and makeup applied with a trowel. The fake package is then encased in a uniform of ruffly ankle socks, white patent leather shoes and a pageant dress so stiffly fluffy, ruffly and rhinestone-encrusted that the child can barely move.  It’s clear from the behind-the-scenes footage that many parents have to take out a second mortgage to afford these one-of-a-kind creations.

Beauty Wear:  the contestants’ first solo walk on stage.  This is their chance to impress the judges with their super-expensive dresses and talent of being able to walk, blow kisses, bat their eyelashes and sparkle all at the same time.

Wow Wear: a second opportunity for each contestant to take the stage and show off costumes for a specific theme like 50s Wear, Western Wear, or High-Priced Call Girl Wear.  The child whose parents spend the most money on the most outlandish outfit, complete with lavish props and costumed adult helpers, wows the judges and wins the category.

“Git it baby girl”: what moms yell while they’re prancing around behind the judges, pantomiming the special walk and eyelash-batting smile they want their kid to adopt up on the stage.  Most of these stage moms are ruthless barracudas who can barely disguise their ambition or desperate longing to be beauty queens themselves. Watching the parents is perhaps the best part of the show.

Pageant Juice: Red Bull.  A legal stimulant that moms give to their kids to counteract the toddler’s natural need for a mid-afternoon nap.  This mid-afternoon slump inconveniently falls just when Wow Wear begins.

Pageant Crack: Pixie Sticks – pure sugar with a little flavoring added.  This treat is given to boost the child’s energy even more.  These come in handy paper straws so they can be tipped into the child’s waiting mouth without disturbing her lipstick.

Pageant Crash: the meltdown that inevitably occurs late in the day when the kid comes down from their Red Bull and sugar-induced high, after being poked, tweaked and urged to sparkle for 12 hours, and when they realize that some other little girl got a bigger trophy.


I coulda been a contender.

I wonder if my fascination with this show means that I, like the pageant moms on the show, secretly wish that I was a beauty queen.   It’s possible.  They didn’t have this kind of thing when I was a kid.  Back then parents were concerned with raising kids who were well-behaved, respectful and God-fearing.  They were weird that way.   Most didn’t know that if they exploited their children when they were young, it would pay off big-time when said child grew up and starting earning serious cash appearing on “Where Are They Now?” and (semi) celebrity body/marriage/substance abuse/love-life rehab shows.

If my mom hadn’t wasted all her time feeding, diapering and raising nine kids and had, instead, invested in me, I’m sure I would have attained the top title of Ultimate Mega Sooper-Dooper Beauty Queen Diva Grand Supreme.

TLC is kicking things off with a Toddlers & Tiaras marathon today so we can get in the mood for the big season-opener tonight.  I’m going to call in sick and sit around eating Cheetos in my jammies with my crown and scepter.  Shhhh … don’t tell my boss.

Happy Toddler Day to all, and may the sparkle be with you!

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