April 27, 2010

The Mother's Day Gift Guide Men Wish They Could Write
(for Their Wives)

Mothers everywhere!  Prepare yourself for the Yawn Fest that populates much of the Mother's Day Gift Guide Industry.  You just know that all your mama really wants is a spa certificate, a mani/pedi, flowers, chocolates or the pièce de résistance of Mother's Day Gifts -- an afternoon sans children to luxuriate in her temporary non-mommyness.  (Hey, I am a mother and this is my particularly dreamy Mother's Day gift - an entire day in my house.  Alone. With nothing but the sweet, delicious hum of our refrigerator to keep me company. Did I mention in my houseAlone? )

But what about Daddy in all of this?  What about Daddy and his needs? Selfish mama.  Selfish.

Well, Daddy's needs a start in the bedroom and what more fabulous way to begin than with the Mominatrix book?  After all, Kristen Chase promises:

The Mominatrix's Guide to Sex will help you get back what’s rightfully yours. No harsh judgments, boring commentary, or embarrassing exercises. Just a frank, funny discussion about sex after kids for new moms and seasoned veterans. .......... So get ready to toss out those mommy jeans and dust off those handcuffs.
Really, this book is for mama, anyway.  Right?  And while you have the book, should you not have some tools of the trade?  How about a stop over at Eden Fantasys for some goodies that only a mother could love?  Daddy promises he won't be intimidated by whatever you choose.

And while pushing around some greens on a dainty dish sounds yummy, Daddy would prefer a steak (medium-rare, of course)  Let's finish that meal with a round of single malt, oak-aged scotch and then, we should head to the golf course.  After all, sweetie - we need to watch our waistlines.

What's that, babycakes??  Golf is not your game?  How about an afternoon at the shooting range?  There's nothing like a bit of guns n' ammo to get your adrenaline pumping. 

To top off this magical, special day let's head out for an evening at the ballpark.  With fireworks!

And after the fireworks in the bedroom and the ballpark?  Daddy would like to get cozy on the couch and fire up the Wii. Besides, all the experts say that a little role-playing is healthy for a relationship.

And finally, as a special, late-night surprise, Daddy will present you with your very own Gore-Tex rainsuit.  All you need to do is slip into it and let the magic begin......

It's all for you, sweetheart.

Pssst!! Um, Daddy, on the safe side, you probably should buy Mama a gift card from Snapgifts.com.  Just in case.

April 26, 2010

Raging Arizona.

Have you heard the one about Arizona?  No?  On Friday, Arizona passed a law innocuously referred to as "immigration reform".  In short,  Arizona's law orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally.  Per the Arizona Daily Star:
"Without debate, the Senate on Monday approved a far-reaching measure designed to give police more power, and more impetus, to stop and arrest those who they believe are in the country illegally.

SB 1070 would require police to make a "reasonable attempt" to determine the immigration status of anyone they come into contact with during an investigation. And it would make the mere presence of an illegal immigrant anywhere in Arizona a violation of state trespass laws.”
Wow.  Just wow.  May I point out the "without debate" part?

Dude. I realize there is need for ensuring that folks living in our country are working legally (although, to be fair, let's not even begin to discuss that often, illegal immigrants are doing work that we "legals" have no desire to do anyway.  Something Hispanic and Chicano comedians gleefully point out in their stand up routines - without a hint of irony or embarrassment.)  However!  Let us assume that illegal immigrants ARE, indeed,  stealing jobs from us hardworking folk in America.  Fine.  I am with you for the sake of argument.

So yes, agreed.  Something needs to be done to ensure that "foreign" folks working in America have earned the privilege to work in America (either by jumping through the crazy hoops constructed from red tape and barbed wire or by marrying a white girl and getting her pregnant.  Ah, I kid my husband!  )

What really concerns me is the vague wording (I have seen teenagers be more direct with their words.) The lack of a requirement for a warrant??  Requiring police to make "reasonable attempts"???  The whole "probable cause" bit which can lead to all manners of impulse decision making?    Yes, a closer inspection of some of the language in the bill certainly sheds a more sinister light. 

Section 1, subsection E.:
Excuse for a moment, while I find a broom to scoop up my brain, since my head has just exploded. 

Again,  I understand there is a need for immigration control.  I understand that many of our border states are facing some particular challenges. I have had friends and family in Arizona and California my entire life and it is my understanding that some areas of the border are experiencing significant challenges in the area of safety. So while I have not been to Nogales since my mid-20s,  I am certainly aware that it is not as safe now as it was back then.  Fine.  I get it.  But the last I checked, our nation's police forces are comprised primarily of humans.  And humans?  Are highly fallible and at times, are prone to mistakes.

So, to grant broad-sweeping powers to police such as this? Is frightening.  What happens if someone leaves their house, forgets their papers and they get pulled over for a minor traffic violation?  What happens if they lose their papers?  Seriously, the same husband who loses his car keys on a daily basis?  Guards his papers and documentation like Gollum hovers over his precious.  My husband would be more likely to lose our children, then his papers.  Trust me,  replacing documentation is very scary, very time-consuming and leaves a person feeling very vulnerable.  I doubt I know of any immigrant who wants to be carrying his/her documentation on their actual person.  You want that stuff locked up and safe.

But what really frightens me the most??  This question, the one the police will now have to ask themselves on a daily basis: 

What does an illegal immigrant look like?

Obviously, it is personal.  My first airplane trip ever was to Tuscon, to see my grandma.  I was about Anjali's age and I have very vague recollections of it (the flight itself, seeing the cockpit and my grandma playing the guitar.)  As an adult, I have traveled back to Arizona many, many times - seeing relatives on both sides of my family, visiting my friend Jolene (who I helped move there post college graduation during a seriously wacky roadtrip. Gayle and Oprah have nothing on us. )  I have spent hours upon hours in that state, driving all over it, watching the amazingly diverse scenery go by. It is a state that I truly love.  It is a state I feel at peace in.  

Dammit, they broke my heart on Friday.

Image Courtesy of Gizmo Ave.com ... 

Just south of Tuscon lies the spectacular aircraft boneyard of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base - a truly breathtaking sight.  

Let us hope that Arizona does not become a boneyard for civil rights, for our Constitution, or for basic decency.

April 19, 2010

He probably thinks this post is about him.

Remember the old days of friendship?  When friendships were conducted via personal interaction, phones and letters written on paper (with pens! and pencils! LYLAS!)  Back in the day, friendship took effort. Now?  You can "follow" your friends on The Tweetle, "subscribe" to your friends' blogs or the easiest of all - "friend" your friends on Facebook.  I never knew I had so many friends until folks began using Facebook.  In fact, I have been on Facebook for nearly 3 years and for much of that time, I was pretty much friendless (or friend-free?  What is the politically-correct vernacular these days??)  Now?  Folks who would not give me the time of day in high school, are now my friends on Facebook!  They like me!  They really like me!  (Huh?)

On the one hand, this ease of access to friendship is lovely.  Truly, just lovely.  It is a great way to connect and keep in touch.  Many of us are far-flung and busy with jobs and families, so getting together is more difficult.  All of this media helps us keep up on each others' lives so that when we do meet face-to-face, we can dispense with silly "catching up" small talk and move directly into current events.

But what happens when a friendship turns rancid, much like that long-forgotten Diego yogurt I recently found skulking in the depths of my refrigerator?  What should I do when that friend comes to my Facebook wall goading me into arguments?  Or when that same friend deceptively takes pieces of my own wall posts, completely out of context back to the safe confines of her wall, so that she can garner a little bit of Groupthink on her behalf?  When she uses pregnancy as an excuse for her behavior?

So, last month, I unfriended her.  Another delightful verb created in this sparkly new era of fraternization.

It was a hard decision.  And in the time that it took me to make the decision, I had the discussion of friendship with a few other folks who were also struggling with these new boundaries that are completely redefining the term "friendship".

I struggled with that decision last month because it is the first time I have had to make such a clear distinction such as this.  In the past, I would let friendships die a slow, quiet death.   I would simply quit returning phone calls and emails.  With one such Friendship Fade years ago, I actually debated telling the friend why it was over.  However, I realized it was not my place to tell her why I did not want to be her friend because it was a simple difference in opinion in how she conducted herself and her attitude towards others.  It was not my place to call a judgment on that and I decided the problem was mine and mine alone.

Of course, she found me on Facebook 10 years later and we are now friends.  Again.

This recent situation last month?  Was different.  This person was coming to my space and spewing steamy loads of poo all over it.  Oh, gentle reader - make no mistake about this: I am the first one to acknowledge that I am crude, bitter bitch.  In fact, I hand out blanket warnings now when connecting with folks on Facebook.  (Hey, if you do not mind?? I will offend you.)  However,  I consider my wall as my personal space.  If you do not like it, then do not come to visit me.  And I will do the same.  I read Tweets and Facebook statuses every single day that make me roll my eyes or even make me disgusted.  I MOVE ON.  I do not comment on other folks' walls unless it is 100% agreeable in some form because I have been burned so badly by this weird Facebook phenomena.  I respect other folks on their Walls as I would respect them in their actual presence.

On a grander, more meta sort of thought, I do wonder how social media such as Facebook is affecting women in the way they communicate.  Most women do not like to tell the truth in how they feel about someone or the relationship -  I am most certainly guilty of this.  I do not like hurting someone's feeling, so I will go to great lengths to avoid confrontation.  Truthfully, this post has been in draft for over a month because I wanted to think about the action I took of unfriending someone.  And then?

Over this past weekend, someone unfriended me.

I discovered this when I went out to unfriend her and I realized with a start, that we were no longer Facebook Official.  And the oddest part is that I was relieved.  Sad, but it was a friendship that had long run past its expiration and I am so comforted that this Facebook Decision was ultimately mutual.  Obviously, we were in agreement and we were both in a place where we realized we are better off not being friends. (Gentle reader, could this be Facebook Nirvana??)
So.  If you will let me get all Transcendentally Carrie Bradshaw for a moment, the question is this:

Will social media force women into being more genuine in friendships?

I have seen us struggle with truthfulness within the blogging community, but it is much, much easier to end blogging relationships.  It is not so very difficult to simply stop reading and slip away, since there is no "record" to be wiped.  And furthermore, Facebook is lacking one critical character.


Ah, yes.   Anonymous, that crafty little bitch who is seemingly friends with half of the Internet.  That little minx? She does not mince words and she'll cut you to pieces in one fell stroke.  Ah yes, never fear. Anonymous delights in telling you exactly how she feels because after all, she knows you better than you know yourself.  Do not mess with Anonymous, folks.

However, most of us are not lurking around pretending to be Anonymous.  Most of us actually care about hurting feelings, even when we want to be more authentic in our dealings with other people.  Even when we want to move on to happier relationships.  And I suspect many of us struggle with how to be honest with our friends.  And ultimately, ourselves.  I have to hope that social media will force women to be more truthful in their dealings with people (myself very much included.)  Ultimately, I have learned in this gilded age of social media that forming friendships is all too easy whereas forging them is a bit trickier.

And I am determined to never let a friendship go rancid again.

April 14, 2010

Inspiration, Interrupted

I have several posts for this blog in the back of my head, begging to exit via my fingers.  Of books and people that have inspired me lately.  Conversely,  I have a post that is due for the Blurt (the Snapgifts.com blog) that will not appear, despite my best attempts at aparecium spells.  I suppose my well of invisible ink done run dry?    Did I mention I have a post due today?  And where am I?  Here, fervently hoping if I scribble something here, that will spur something there.  I should mention that having your husband as an editor is not a good idea for a Happy Mom nor Marriage (Meagan Francis, take note!)

I have so many other silly things I would love to talk about as well.  Things that do not make The Tweetle, but also do not necessarily made good fodder for entire posts.........

How my mind is a little blown.  This week is out of control. Nothing out of the ordinary - mostly due to procrastination and most of it good.   

How my taxes are done.  This year's return was easy because we are poor (granted, poor by choice, as entrepreneurs are inclined to do) And wahoo!  We owed money!   As many of you know, I would rather get an interest-free loan from the US government, than lend them my money for an entire year (I felt sick to my stomach one year when we got a massive refund - that was MY money and it did not earn any interest.)  But this year??  I win!  However, I was stressed with the late filing because my husband owed me a single wee, important document which is sort of the entire blasted point of income tax returns (*cough*1099*cough)  Every time I saw the Liberty Tax guy jiggling his bootie and grabbing his crotch, dancing away on the street corner, it was a reminder that I needed to file.  It was also a reminder to bug the crap out of my husband for that document.  Oh the joys of the past 3 months.  Manoj loves me!  He really, really loves me!

How BlogHer put my BlogHer profile in their delicious scavenger hunt - yes, me.  If you play, you could win a $100 Gift card.  Check it out and see how well you know me.....  Also, definitely check out the BlogHer "$100 Question" Contest - I recently won $100 myself there.  Crazy.  Me?  Winning money.

How keeping a dog away from chocolate during Easter Season is a task worthy of a reality show.  The other day, Anjali passed out with some candy in her hand and I discovered Lucy licking away.  Death by chocolate bunny?  Indeed.

How my daughter seems to be the love child of Machiavelli and Anna Wintour.  She is a force to be reckoned with and I am constantly in awe.  And more than a little afraid.  She will be the child who brings me to my knees.

How I threw a wee party last Friday which necessitated a frantic Flight of the Bumblebee in order to get my house cleaned.  A massive undertaking, to be sure, but I loved having my friends and family over.  Almost as much as I loved seeing my carpet again (even though after a vigorous steam-cleaning, it still has a touch of "tribute to Jackson Pollack" to it, what with strawberries, wine, curry and coffee with a touch of green Playdough rounding off such a lovely color palette.)

How I became obsessed with the Hunger Games series and am now in a bit of a literary depression because I am having trouble finding something that grabs me as strongly as that series did.   This series blew me away and is one of the best things I have read in quite awhile - it was well written and suspenseful with fully-drawn, complex characters.  It is not science-fiction, I would put it more in the speculative fiction category.  And the heroine, Katniss?  Is someone I would actually like my daughter to emulate and respect.

In return for boring blather, I am throwing out some belated Simian Snappage from Easter.......
Let No Easter Chocolate Go Unwasted

Yes, the Shirt MUST Match the Easter Basket. 
Dude, don't ask.

Pink is Her Signature Color

Her brother had the audacity to try and HELP her with something.  The NERVE.  After declaring to him emphatically, "NO, I do it MYSELF", she stomped out of the room and this is what I found. I call it "putting herself in time-out"  Which some days?  Is fine by me.

April 8, 2010

Thursday's Inspiration is a Shill

I was in the midst of writing a long, convoluted post of some things that have inspired me lately.  However, I decided to separate the items out into individual posts for this week and next week.  As the title suggests, today's post is a shameless Shill for Snapgifts.com, but I promise that the rest of the posts will not be about me simply hawking my wares.  Pinky swear.

What has been inspiring you lately?  Would you like to join me in this positive posting for next week?  We have had so much back-biting and negativity in our blogging community lately, I think it would be nice to ramp things back and get a gander at the Big Picture. 


If you follow me on Twitter , you have heard me talk about how inspired I am by the lovely messages and gift cards being sent via our site, Snapgifts.com.  Lately, we have seen birthdays, anniversaries and Easter in full force.  And with Mother's Day around the corner, I cannot wait to see all those sweet messages coming through.  When I am having a grumpy day, I get perked up seeing the little in-jokes and sweetness that folks send each other.

But the thing that really, truly inspires me is our Giving Registry on Snapgifts.  Over the weekend, I launched a new blog for Snapgifts, called The Blurt (a place where I will blather about retail and Snapgifts so that I can keep the #Shill to a minimum over here!)

I thought it only appropriate that the inaugural post be about The Giving Registry: 
In February, Snapgifts.com launched a special program that helps families in need – a special registry system called The Giving Registry.   Using this feature, families in need are able to create an account with Snapgifts.com and establish a registry by selecting gift cards for places that would help them the most (i.e. specific restaurants, gas stations and pharmacies that were close to their home).  The first of its kind, the Giving Registry allows a patient to communicate his/her needs and importantly, the patient can easily add his/her Giving Registry to online patient journals and personal websites.

We found that folks are frustrated because they WANT to help their friends and family as they face challenges, but just did not know to help.  The Giving Registry gives them an easy way to help.

Why did I want to write about The Giving Registry as the first post?  Because it is one of the parts of Snapgifts of which I am the proudest. 

In my past professional incarnations I have worked fast food, collections, telemarketing, data security and auditor.  Oh, and the business analyst position for a company that provides tax preparation software (*cough*Block*cough*)  Income taxes.  Everybody say "Squee!"

I always seemed to find the sorts of job where I felt I was not making a difference.   The sorts of jobs that often left me questioning the Whole Point of Working, which made the desire to stay home with my children non-negotiable with Manoj when we began discussing marriage plans..  The sorts of jobs where I had to wear the Bad Guy Hat every single day.  (No joking, I once had to call the parents of a victim of a notorious serial killer, Richard Grissom.  It was part of the due process within skip tracing for my J-O-B.  The parents were properly pissed and I felt pretty low that day.  Because 18 years later?  I still remember that call. )


For once, I get to do something positive.  Something that is actually helping people and making their lives a little better. Sending Quik Trip gift cards and BP Gas gift cards to someone to ease the burden of constantly filling their gas tanks because they are constantly on the road going to the hospital or doctor appointments.  Sending an AMC Movie Theatre gift card and Houlihan's gift card with an offer for babysitting services so the parents of a sick child can spend an evening together recharging, reconnecting.

This Giving Registry is open to anyone.  And if folks can register for weddings and baby showers, I think it is perfectly reasonable that a cancer patient can register for a gift card to a pharmacy.    Folks want to help their loved ones when they are facing illness.  Our Giving Registry makes that ridiculously easy to do and I am so proud that we have something like this to offer.

Something that actually makes a difference.

Creating a Giving Registry is easy:
1.  Go to Snapgifts.com and create new account.
2. On the left sidebar, under “Search Gift Registries” select the option  “Create New Registry
3. After creating the registry, you can add items by browsing the Snapgifts.com gift card catalog and from the product page, selecting the button “Add to Registry
4. Please note!  The shipping address remains invisible and private. No one sending gifts can see the address, which makes this registry a perfect option for the blogging community.
5. If you have questions regarding the Giving Registry, please feel free to contact me via email: kelli@snapgifts.com


Snapgifts.com! Currently offering gifts cards in the following major metropolitan areas:
Kansas City gift cards
Boston gift cards
Chicago gift cards
San Francisco gift cards
LA gift cards
New York gift cards

More gift card locations for national chains???
All gift card locations can be found here!

April 2, 2010

Let the Record Show.

Last night, Manoj and I were watching  a sitcom, The Middle.  In this episode, Mike has been given tickets to the Men's NCAA Final Four game.  However, Frankie's great-uncle decides to kick the bucket at the grand age of 91 and the funeral is scheduled for the same day as the Final Four.  Of course.

I turned to Manoj and said "Dude.  If I die, you have my explicit permission to postpone my funeral for any sort of sporting events you desire."

After all, I am on ice anyway, just hanging out while I wait for my dirt nap to begin.  Why should he miss the Superbowl?  Right?   Shoot me out of the t-shirt cannon... do the Wave in my honor.....  I will not care.

Besides, if I die before Manoj, he should enjoy that sporting event to help him forget that his life means nothing now.  Nothing! After all, the poor sap is going to be lost in his own home.  Seriously and literally.  He will be LOST without me.  Someone will need to remind that we keep the milk in the refrigerator, the shoes in the shoe basket, the coats on the coat rack.

And I really fear for the car keys.  When I die, they will not be long for this world, either.