Monthly Archives: January, 2014

Alice’s Decision-Making Flowchart

The other day, I had difficulty making a decision about whether to tough it out at work or take a sick day.  I asked for opinions on whether I should self-flagellate myself some more or give self a break.  I got many suggestions and some expressions of “if you figure it out, tell me”.  Judah had one of the best ones, which is to remember that if what’s guiding your decision is Fear or Guilt, it’s probably not a good thing.  Best to go against that, and just say “Grace”.

I said “Grace” a whole freaking lot.  Gracegracegracegracefreakingrace. But it did help.  I also made up a flowchart.  When you see it spelled out, it tends to make things a little bit easier.  Observe.  (Click to enlarge)

Look how businessey it looks!

Look how businessey it looks!

Have you got any pressing decisions to make?  Plug it into a flow chart!  Unless it’s like whether to leave a burning building or not.  Then get the heck out.  You might yell “Grace” while you’re doing it, just in case.

FTT: Fairy Tale Texting

I’ve been doing a series in which I rip apart showcase different fairy tales.  The Things and I were thinking about Rapunzel the other day, specifically the many different versions, and how all are totally whack. Of course, I can’t really blame the witch.  She’s just trying to protect her teenage stolen daughter.  Who doesn’t want to just lock their kids up in a tower till they’re 21 or so?  I figure if you put in an Xbox, an mp3 player, a cell phone, a computer tablet, and a large supply of Nachos, they’d be good up there alone for years.

I wish I had an Xbox . . .

I wish I had an Xbox . . .

And then it hit me.  I wonder what our fairy tale characters would do if they had access to cell phones?  Let’s look and see.

Only a sparkly, blingy phone will DO.

Only a sparkly, blingy phone will DO.

Rapunzel: OMG I have been like grounded for six years!

Snow White: What’d you do?

Rapunzel: Grew boobs.  My mom is SO MEAN.  I never get to go anywhere!

Cinderella: At least she doesn’t make you do chores all the time like my stepmom.

Belle: My dad got me imprisoned by a real beast.  Ugh, boys.

Miller’s Daughter: My dad got me stuck spinning straw into gold or like I was dead!

Snow White: Aw, it wasn’t so bad.  That short dude helped you out.

Miller’s Daughter: Oh, yeah, like I totally have to guess his name now.  Anyone know?

Cinderella: Wait, WTF is YOUR name?

Miller’s Daughter: Um . . .

Snow White: My stepmom tried to murder me.  Twice.

Cinderella: Okay, you win.

Ariel: My mom’s dead.

Cinderella: Jeez, Ariel, you’re like, such a downer.

Ariel: I talk to fish.

Snow White: Wait, Rapunzel why did you friend her?

Rapunzel: I think we’re forgetting the important thing here. Me.

Sleeping Beauty: Yawn.  Did I miss something?

Snow White: Uh, duh, Aurora.  Stay awake.

Sleeping Beauty: Just a few more minutes . . .

Rapunzel: It is like, SO boring in this tower. I wish someone would come over.

Belle: Couldn’t you like just cut your hair and climb down it?

Rapunzel: You think you’re so smart.  Your boyfriend has major body hair issues.

Belle: At least I have one.

Cinderella:  Ooh, snap.

Rapunzel: It took me like 500 hours to shampoo and style my hair.  I am NOT cutting it.

Cinderella: Ooh Gus just texted me – the ball’s about to start.

Snow White: Mice text you?

Rapunzel: Doesn’t anybody care?

Ariel: I want to be part of your worllllld.

Rapunzel: Hey I don’t remember friending you.  Go bother some fish.

Charming: Hey, baby.  I can come over if you want.

Rapunzel: Oh, yes!

Snow White: Hey, you’re MY boyfriend

Cinderella: Uh, no, he’s MY boyfriend

Sleeping Beauty: What?  Like, no, he’s my boyfriend . . .

Cinderella: You girls are DREAMING. He’s mine.

Charming: Oh oh.

How NOT to be an annoying parent

Ah, good, you’re thinking.  Now Alice is going to tell us how to parent, just like she told us what to name our children. In my defense, I wouldn’t have to tell people what to name their children if they didn’t decide to name them stupid stuff like North West.  And I wouldn’t have to gripe about parenting, if there weren’t also annoying parents.

You can find annoying parents everywhere.  STFU parents is a blog devoted purely to parental overshare on Facebook – and on that venue alone she’s gotten years worth of hilarious and / or painful Facebook posts.  I am not surprised.  Now I’m going to shock you here, but I am not Betty Crocker Reed.  I rarely cook and rarely clean that well because I decided to take that class where you raise the egg babies over homemaking.  My egg baby, though, was the best egg in the class.

My awesome parenting skills were obvious from an early age.

My awesome parenting skills were obvious from an early age.

But on to the annoying parents.  Try not to be one of these, at least not too much.

1. Psychopathic Political Parents

It’s one thing to let your kids know your political views.  It’s another to tell them you’re going to lose your job because someone got elected.  For one thing, unless you’re working in the President’s cabinet of the opposite party, you’re not going to lose your job because of an election, at least not in the immediate future.  And second, and most important, wtf with worrying your child about your job status?  It’s not healthy.  If you do not like President Obama, fine, but at least stick to actual facts when you gripe.  No, he was not born in Kenya.  No, he is not a terrorist.  Even my 13-year-old knew enough to fact check on that stuff a few years ago, and guess what?  She figured out it was mostly B.S.

Obama is hiding under your beds, kids.

Obama is hiding under your beds, kids.

But the very worst of these are the parents who talk gleefully about wanting to harm the President of the United States in front of their young children.  I think there’s just something wrong with this.  I’m not sure if it’s merely the parents constantly shrieking about Obama this or that, or if they simply plop the kids in front of Fox News for babysitting, but it really is unreal what kids pick up.  I know because my daughters tell me, and just so you know rabid conservative parents in my area, you’ve about created two more lib’rals simply because you are acting like freaked out maniacs. Your children absorb this and spew your hatred.  It’s not pretty, especially from nine-year-olds.  Although this little reported exchange had me rolling:

Kid: I want to punch Obama in the face!

Thing Two: Hello?  FBI Calling.

I love my kids.

2. Parents who buy expensive personal electronics for young children.

Thing One told me a friend got an Iphone 5 for Christmas.  That’s right.  A 500 dollar freaking phone, and that’s before you add in the service, for a kid whose brain has not completely developed.  But at least that kid is 13.  When Thing Two was in second grade, most of her classmates already had phones.  And they were all better than mine.  I wish I was kidding.  Seriously, parents.  What kind of social life does your seven-year-old have that she must have a phone at all times?  Or an I-Pad.  We’re talking hundreds of dollars here, and you’re trusting it to a kid who picks his nose and thinks the word “underwear” is hilarious.

I got my kids dolls and I wouldn’t trade a second of listening to them make up bizarre stories with them.  Most of these stories are somewhat violent, as some doll is always losing a limb, but they certainly have fun.  For the price of the dolls, I could have bought a much-cheaper-than-an-Iphone phone or a tablet. But I figure they have the rest of their lives to stare at computer screens.  Making Barbies advertise Ken as “boyfriend in a box” is priceless.

Some of the Things' dolls after an apparent all-night bender.

Some of the Things’ dolls after an apparent all-night bender.

3. Parents who brag about how much OR how little they give their kids.

Are our kids spoiled?  Yes, indeedy.  I just said that while I think spending ludicrous amounts of money on what I consider adult “toys” is crazy, I do give my kids lots of dolls.  I like dolls and I’m much more socially acceptable when I buy them for my kids.  But there are some people who go on about how much they give their kids and it’s a bit nauseating.  If kids get computers, phones, game systems, the fad shoes, and on and on now, they are going to be really disappointed when they’re on their own and can’t afford crap.

On the other hand, it’s also annoying to hear parents say “WE didn’t give junior those awful plastic toys made in China.  Junior got a block of wood marked three prices that stimulates imaginary play, plus it’s totally organic!”  Or the equally smug, “We donated to a charity in their name!”  I’m sure the kid was thrilled with this.  Don’t get me wrong, I think charity is important, but seriously no gifts at all?  That’s crap.  I wouldn’t put up with that.  How about giving something to charity, giving some gifts your kid actually wants even if it is a dreaded plastic, and a trying out a little something called moderation?

The possibilities of this toy are endless!

The possibilities of this toy are endless!

I’ve got more, but I’ve already given you what in my mind are some of the most annoying parenting types.  Do you have any to add?  Also, can I borrow your kid’s phone?

Be Kind

We all have a voice in our heads.  I said a voice, not voices – in that case you might have a problem. But most of us have that voice that tells us to do things even when we don’t want to do them.  Necessary things.  Like wake up when the alarm goes off.  Get the kids ready for school and take them there.  Go to work.  Wash the laundry before it becomes your new carpet.  Etc.

This voice is comprised of many voices from our pasts, but most often it is the voice of parents.  After all, when you grow up, there’s no parent there anymore to tell you to do these things, so you have to do it yourself.  The problem comes with the tone of the voice.  Think of your boss.  Your boss wants you to do something.  He can either tell you nicely and be understanding, or he can act like a big jerk and yell at you.  Either one will get the job accomplished.  But one way is much worse than the other.

I have the big jerk in my head.  And yes, it sounds like my parents.  My parents didn’t abuse me physically.  They didn’t neglect me.  They love me.  I know this.  But they are also critical.  I never really know if I will hear approval or disapproval from them.  It’s like a slot machine.  Every tenth time or so, I might get cherries.  I keep pulling the lever, hoping for the cherries.

They mean well.  They want what is best for me, at least what is best for me in their eyes. Where others might see a road bump, they see the road going off of a cliff.  Best be prepared for the worst.  If you miss work, you’ll get fired.  If you buy this expensive item, you’ll be penniless.  If you make the wrong decision, the world could explode. Are you upset, Alice?  Did you remember to take your meds, Alice?  That must be it.

There must be a way to motivate myself without being so cruel.  I do have to go to work, and the longer I’m away from responsibilities like this, the harder it is to go back.  But if I’m sick, what then?  Do I go to work sick?  Am I even really sick?  You know how kids sometimes get those mysterious stomach aches?  My daughter, Thing One, had what is known as “the barking cough of adolescence.”  I had never heard of such a thing.  Basically, she developed a habitual hacking cough because she dreaded school – specifically P.E.  As soon as I heard this, I thought “the barking cough of adolescence” would be an awesome name for a post.  Or possibly a band name.

I am off of work today.  I have a deep cough.  I’m often sick like this because of asthma.  At least I think I have asthma – it depends on the doctor.  But sometimes I question myself.  Am I really sick enough to stay home, or am I faking it?  Is this the barking cough of middle age?  My father went to work while vomiting.  I’m certain the rest of the staff was thankful to him for it.  But he never missed a day!

If I was good enough, I wouldn’t get sick so much.  I’m probably not even sick.  It’s all in my head.  Right?  If I was normal, I wouldn’t miss any days.  I would be a better parent, wife, worker, friend.  Why can’t I do that?  Why can’t I make myself just clean my blooming house?  Why can’t I keep from getting these stupid minor illnesses over and over?  Why can’t I do what I need to do without kicking myself into action, and then continuing to kick again, and again?

Allie Brosh is the writer of the famous blog “Hyperbole and a Half”.  Even if you haven’t read her blog, you’ve probably seen memes of it.  The funny person holding up the broom and shouting “Clean all the things!”  That’s her work.  She has the ability to make you laugh so hard you fall over.  But she also has depression.  She has the mean voice.  And she shows the voice, in pictures, and I find myself saying “No, Allie, don’t be so mean.  You aren’t so bad.  It’s okay!”  I’d do the same thing for any friend.  I’d do the same for my own daughters.  But I have a hard time doing it for myself.

So how do you do it?  How do you motivate yourself to do what needs to be done, while still being kind?

2013: A Year of living Alicely

Last year I did my own overview, complete with link drops to my own posts.  Because no matter the year, I am still narcissistic.  I vow to be more so in the new year.  Blogging is also an interesting insight into what was going on in my life during 2013.  Clearly not much, because I posted a lot, like enough times to fill more of those opera houses.

Note: I am so lazy, I didn’t even Link Drop.

Anyway, here we go:

January

I started off the year in the middle of covering Fifty Shades Freed, the final (for the love of God) book in the 50 Shades series.  Only I called it Fifty Shades Flunked, because the one part of teaching I kind of liked was giving people Fs, and I got to do that a lot with E.L. James.  I also had an online classroom of students, many of whom did not realize they were enrolled.  So they mostly didn’t notice when I quit teaching partly through the book.

That stick man falling into the black hole was a pretty good description of our class.

That stick man falling into the black hole was a pretty good description of our class.

Next came the Freshly Pressed nod, which happened right after my washing machine exploded.  I can’t express how happy I am that the one post that was pressed was one that featured the word “crap” in the title, and was about, of all things, my quest to get healthier.  I joined a gym, and if you’ve ever seen Sport Goofy, you get the idea of how successful this was.

Pro: Gym has equipment Con: Gym has people

Pro: Gym has equipment
Con: Gym has people

February

50 Shades coverage continues.  To counteract the nausea, I try exercise and like all things, I do this in moderation.  I review almost every exercise video out there, even the whacked out 80s ones and the frightening Jillian Godzilla Michaels.

Get thee behind me!!!

Get thee behind me!!!

Still overwhelmed, I took a blog break and went on Carnival Cruise lines for a three-hour-tour.  Not really, but it made a good post.  A stormtrooper visited Wonderland and shot up the place.  The Things and I made up a TV show with a mutated creature named “Mutey and Friends”.

This is going to be picked up by PBS any day now!

This is going to be picked up by PBS any day now!

March

50 Shades coverage IS STILL GOING.  I decide exercise is too much work and try yoga.  Writing posts is also work, so I write my first one word post and get more comments on this than most of my actual posts.  I goof up both the origin of both Easter and St Patrick’s Day.  I decide to quit Facebook no really I mean it this time.

Not that I'm desperate but . . . BE MY FRIEND!!!!!

Not that I’m desperate but . . . BE MY FRIEND!!!!!

April

I first notice my Dragon Tales blog stalkers.  I am called a “farthead” by one.  I get obsessed with yoga and frightened by a panting girl on a video.  I finally FINALLY finished 50 Shades and could only utter “Mmmbop.”

You’re welcome.

May

50 Shades is gone and I have nothing to write about, but this doesn’t stop me.  I remind people of my birthday coming up and await all the celebratory blog posts.  The Fruitcake Award is created and passed around several blogs cause no one wants that thing.  More yoga posts.  My collection of yoga bling adds up.

Look, Ma, I made it myself!

Look, Ma, I made it myself!

June

I meet my Wonder Twin, merbear, and we discover a love of making fun of stupid retro ads.  Also the sound of our own voices.  We riff on ads about magical brushes and laxatives.  The Things turn nine and thirteen.  We have a lockdown at work because the stupidest crooks of all time pretend to rob a Subway.  A squirrel and a depressed pony get Facebook accounts.  I find out yoga is of the devil.

Just . . . wow.

Just . . . wow.

July

I get sick a lot (surprise!).  Crazed “Christians” swarm my college campus.  I declare that I am my own cool table.  I start reviewing songs, starting with the “Chipper Cheatin’ Songs”.  I tell people what not to name their baby, figuring I’ll tick some people off – instead it’s one of my most viewed posts. Merbear and I find out new uses for Lysol.  The anti-awards arrive.  I continue my parody of 50 Shades with our heroine Bambi.

These are still available for those people on your list.  Take one today!

These are still available for those people on your list. Take one today!

August

Merbear and I start the Wonder Twins retro blog.  Merbear does a lot of the work because yet another of my alternate identities, Mary Alice, apparently falls down a bottle.  I talk about murdering virtual people – it is another of my most popular posts, you sickos.  Boppo the death clown is born and continues to die horrible deaths in the Sims.  Sparky the Wonder Blogger arrives to terrorize us all and my followers become sparkleponys.  List of X tells us way too much about Miley Cyrus and twerking.

Sparky the Won-der Blog-ger

Sparky the Won-der Blog-ger

September

The Things and I glob glitter on a My Little Pony and actually get people to compete for it in a Sparklepony contest!  People had to be as obnoxious in their posts as possible – no surprise this is not a problem for my followers.  Evil Squirrel “wins” the monstrosity pony and she travels to his home and falls in love with his Rainbow Donkey (knitted by a blogger) and has babies: (knitted by another blogger).  Yes, we are all adults.

A contest based on this.

A contest based on this.

October

I suffer the Sadz and a small nervous breakdown, but continue to write anyway.  Halloween is dissected, another birth story is told, and I describe the game of Life – turns out all of these are of the devil.

Reports about me have been greatly exaggerated.  I thought Alice was a pillow.

Reports about me have been greatly exaggerated. I thought Alice was a pillow.

November

I start reviewing fairy tales – I mean to get back to this in the New Year with the Little Mermaid, that fishy brat.  Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and that freak Peter Pan have already gotten the Alice treatment.  My Thanksgiving post is a Black Friday Thursday post, because that’s what the real holiday is, right?  Yay!

Realism in fairy tales.

Realism in fairy tales.

December

I spend the entire month griping about Christmas.  I discuss the scariness of Santa, write a love letter to George Michael, and discover from Fox News that Santa and Jesus are white.  Holiday Paul is offered as a Santa substitute.  I get obsessed with a virtual farm.  What happened to that exercise and yoga stuff?  Hang on, I gotta milk my pretend cows!

No, kids, really - Santa is totally white.

No, kids, really – Santa is totally white.

So that’s my year.  Did you guys have a good 2013?  Are you glad it’s over?  Got any News Years resolutions you plan to immediately break?  Let me know.  And thanks for reading.

Alice