On Raising A Dog


The Smart Set published an essay of mine about my beautiful little pup and my fear of parenthood. Hope you enjoy it!


Short Fiction Published in Rkvry Quarterly

An excerpt from one of my manuscripts was published on Rkvry Quarterly this week. It’s my first published fiction (rather than humor essays), which is a big deal for me because it semi validates all the novel manuscripts collecting on my computer. The novel, Mercy House, is about a nun who disobeys church doctrine to help abused women under her care, and this story is told in the voice of one of those women.

Thanks to Mary Akers, the editor at Rkvry, who was a dream to work with.


10 Decisions You Spend More Time Making Than The Senate Spent On The Revised Tax Bill

The Senate voted after having the revised tax bill (a nearly 500 page document) for only a few hours. Here are a list of things the average person spends more time deliberating than was dedicated to a tax plan for the United States of America:

1) Choosing a Christmas tree

2) Picking out kitchen cabinet knobs

3) Whether to wear the dress with the sweetheart neckline or the sporty one with the pockets.

4) Creating a fantasy football team name

5) Settling on Jitterbug Jade or Nifty Turquoise at Sherwin Williams.

6) Determining if the email to your subordinate comes across as firm enough without being too authoritative.

7) If you should turn off Transformer-The Last Knight even though you are more than halfway through it.

8) Confirming there’s a part missing in your Ikea furniture box.

9) Agreeing which would make a cleverer group Halloween costume: the band French Kiss, wearing berets and face makeup, or the group Spice Girls, consisting of oregano, pepper, and cumin.

10) Whether there’s any hope for your Pinterest craft to turn out the way it looked in the picture.

Why I Refuse To Get A Smartphone


At a bachelorette party earlier this year, I pulled out my mobile device: a hunk of a Verizon LG Cosmos slide dumb-phone with a two-inch display and a single megapixel camera. (Eat your heart out, Zack Morris.) The guest beside me stared, a bit bewildered. When it finally registered that, no, I couldn’t possibly be typing on a Hershey bar, she asked, “Is that a joke?”

From her sincerity, you would think I’d made a lifestyle choice more extreme than simply opting not to carry the Internet in my pocket, like taking a vow of silence or joining the anti-shampoo movement. But I suppose some smartphone devotees would rather be mute or forgo Herbal Essences than lose their constant access. And so, it seems, I’ve become a case study.

“But how do you get around without a smartphone?”

I have a GPS in my car, but if I’m traveling on-foot I print directions and train schedules beforehand and carry them in my purse.

“What do you do during idle moments, like when you’re standing in line?”

I think—sometimes about my to-do list, sometimes about the great mysteries of the universe, but mainly about National Enquirer headlines.

“What do you do when you’re around people you don’t want to talk to and you want to look busy?”

I… talk to them. Aside from the occasional crazy, a handful of duds, and the French, most people are worth talking to—at least for a few minutes.

“How do you take pictures?”

I use a camera. And no, it isn’t a Kodak disposable.

But the most common question I get is also the simplest, and it goes something like this: “But…just…why?”

Here’s why:

My 24-year-old brother sits at the family dinner table, and his concentration drifts down to the palm of his hand. I prompt him to join our memory making and he mutters an excuse about work, but we all recognize those left and right swipes as the gestures of Tinder. While we bond and chew, he assesses and sorts the local talent. It’s undeniable. Worst of all, there is no endgame to his categorizing because, after dinner, he will be returning home, to an apartment outside that particular Tinder radius. His task is purposeless. It’s Solitaire, but with breasts.

Or the middle-aged woman who dines at the booth beside ours, Facetiming a relative back home while ignoring the person perched across from her, a young lady who drains her margarita and glances around the restaurant, perhaps concluding it would have been more social to stay at home with her iPad.

Or the room full of lonely freshmen who stew in insecure silence before class begins, shoulders slouched forward, eyes directed at their laps—scrolling, swiping, tapping, typing—completely unaware that the strangers beside them are ripe with potential for friendship. It’s all I can do not to walk in and shout: Pick up your stare! Make eye contact with one another. Look around; you already have so much in common, you antisocial T-Swift twerps!

I refuse to get a smartphone because I don’t judge the people who are entranced by their devices; I understand them. I too am guilty of such detachment, of the tendency to disconnect from reality in exchange for virtual reality. I’ve been on the other side of the screen, eyes glazed over, scrolling through Facebook, not reading people’s statuses so much as simply becoming more and more dazed by the dance of the pretty bright lights. Really, I’m no more sophisticated than a moth. There I am, pupils constricted, caressing the track pad, my precious, while my husband recounts his day, or while my puppy poses before me with her baleful eyes and perked hound ears. And I miss it. I slip into the gray haze that hums between the here-and-now and cyberspace, and I fumble these small moments, these little drops of grace. I pretend to be present, nodding when I sense I should nod and grunting when I sense I should grunt (I can be quite convincing), while my consciousness flits in and out.

That drone in the ethers is hypnotic, time-consuming, and easy to slip into, but it’s far from fulfilling. I never emerge from my circuit of email checks, Facebook, Youtube, and Yahoo headlines with a satisfied sigh. I never think to myself, “By golly, that was a fine investment of my time! Given the choice, I’d do it all over again.” I typically feel more of an ick factor, like the hollowness of a hangover or the greasy film after indulging more than one serving of French fries. It makes me want to shower my brain.

And for what? What did I gain by clicking a tantalizing headline (a crucial lesson to learn: the more tempting the headline, the more likely the article is to disappoint) or by catching an Instagram photo of the eggs benedict a high school acquaintance enjoyed for brunch, the most over-photographed meal?

The real-life realm that exists behind my laptop screen—light refracting through a glass of water, my dog trotting around the living room with my sock in her mouth, my husband unknowingly singing “Any Way You Want It” because it’s playing in his ear buds—is riddled with observations sure to make me feel more content than even the most adorable Youtube video of a kitten swatting a pit-bull. But what tender moment I don’t witness—and I mean fully witness—I can’t appreciate. And if I get a smartphone, I’ll overlook more than just the divinity inside my living room. I’ll neglect priceless experiences on the train, over dinner, at the airport—wherever. I’ll be the doofus at the Grand Canyon reading tweets from Mindy Kaling. And sure, her musings are cute and clever, but I’m at the Grand Canyon for cripes sake! I’ll be the fool reading, “The Kitchen Hack That Can Cut Cooking Time In Half!” while my brother cracks a joke that won’t be half as funny the second time around. I’ll be the dead-eyed moron chuckling at a gif of a puppy while failing to notice the playful pounce of my actual flesh and blood puppy.

So I can’t get a smartphone; I know I couldn’t resist its gravitational pull, and I would forever live divided between the now and the infinite (and infinitely meaningless) cosmos inside my device. I’d never tune out of that domain so that I could fully tune into this one. I’d never again delight in the stuff so small you really have to pay attention to appreciate. I’d miss so much: The happy meanderings of the mind. The serendipity of uninformed wanderings without the shrewd assistance of Yelp, TripAdvisor, or Google Maps. And, most importantly, I’d miss the simple repose of my mind having nowhere else to be. No way, I’d miss too much.

Seasons Greetings! And All That


Big news! Just in time for the holidays, I THOUGHT WE AGREED TO PEE IN THE OCEAN is available as an audiobook, narrated by the incomparable Julia Maggiola.

To celebrate, I’m launching a weeklong Kindle Countdown, as well as an Audible giveaway (an $18 value).

Also, use the promo code 25OFFBOOK to get 25% off the paperback, for a limited time.

Share this Amazon link through your social media, and tell me about it in the below comments section or through my contact tab, and you’ll be entered for a chance to win. Each social media outlet share will count as a separate entry.

Have someone on your list you don’t really want to spend money on? This is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.

Republicans Call ShareACoke Campaign Obama’s Latest Move Toward Socialism


This summer, Coca-Cola launched the second season of its ShareACoke campaign, in which all of their labels were imprinted, not with the iconic logo of this all-American brand, but with a stranger’s name: Zach, Brandon, Makayla, and, more than likely, Hussein. The message here was clear: Although it was your hard earned $1.25 that purchased twenty ounces of that fizzing pop, although you broke your back to make that cash, although that patriotic one-dollar bill and that precious quarter are composed of paper, metal alloy, and your blood, sweat, and tears, it now belongs to someone else. In fact, it has their name written all over it. Who is the lucky recipient of your involuntary charity? Who is this individual with their hand out and their mouth ever so slightly ajar? Maybe an immigrant. Maybe a Muslim. Maybe even a Muslim immigrant. And guess what? That Muslim immigrant is making you thirsty.

Republicans demand to know who was behind this communist scheme, and they demand to know it was President Obama.

It’s no secret that President Obama is a slow-talking Marxist (and that he has big ears). What remains to be seen is how he got his socialist meat-hooks into this nationalistic corporation. What was once a chemical beverage emblem for the United States of America now promotes the very cyanide of our beloved capitalism: compulsory donation. These labels are not a suggestion. There are no question marks following those needy names. No ellipsis. It isn’t “Mom?” Or “Mom…” These labels are a firm declaration of false ownership. It’s welfare, personalized and carbonated.

They might as well follow the names with exclamation points.