October 7, 2011

Your Friend's Marriage: The Thin Gold Line

Some people will tell you that marriage is a magical wonderland of soul mates, great sex, and shmoopsie-poo unicorns farting roses while snacking on rainbows; I am not that person. Marriage is WORK, regardless of what anyone tells you, because it's two separate people shoehorning their lives together to become one entity while also trying to maintain a individual identity for themselves. I personally have always subscribed to the Three C's of marriage: Compromise, Concession, and above all, COMMUNICATION. Learn when to give in, learn when to give up, and learn when to talk about it. Talk about it ALL THE TIME: the stupidest things and the most important things. If you can tell your partner about how your best day ever went or how today was quiet and uneventful, it makes it so much easier to say "Hey, there is something somewhat important we should discuss because this is how I'm feeling". Your partner is not psychic, no matter much we wish them to be, and communication is key in order to make sure that walls don't come up and resentments form. P.S., this is totally my opinion. Bulldoze ahead with everything in your marriage, treading lightly is for suckers.
HOWEVER, this changes when it's not your marriage. Chicks talk; this is a universal truth. We talk to everyone about any damn thing, and it just gets worse as we get older and then suddenly we're the chipper old lady in the checkout aisle at Safeway discussing our cats with the harried mother of twelve ahead of us in line. It happens to the best of us. Women talk. We talk about our kids; we talk about laundry. We talk about TV, and the Internet, and books; we talk about what fell out of our uterus this month in comparison to what fell out of our uterus last month, and a lot of the time we talk about our spouses. This is where it gets tricky, and this is where I actually start this post.
When discussing your marriage with a true honest-to-god friend, they're going to reciprocate. You're both going to bitch and moan about how the lawn didn't get mowed or how they constantly forget to hang up the coats or put their damn clean socks away, and this is natural. This isn't complaining so much as it is GRUMPING, and grumping good-naturedly about "ha ha those silly men and their MANLY things" or "dang boys are stupid" is fine and dandy because it's stuff that you rag on them about and then they do it eventually and it's just something you deal with because socks and lawns and coats are tiny minuscule things in the Land of Happy Bells and Unicorns. You both giggle and sigh about the stupid toilet seat never making it's way back down to the bowl....but then something happens. Your friend who was just good-naturedly grumping about her husband starts talking about how the sonofabitch refuses to do a damn thing around the house and just sits on the computer all day and he doesn't even MOVE to help when there are stacks of dirty dishes around or piles of laundry and the kids are running around naked pissing in the corner of the room.
Here's the advice part, kids: DON'T GET OVERLY-INVOLVED. She is your friend, and you love her, but trying to help is a very thin and delicate string you're treading on. Listen to her kvetch for as long and as hard as she wants. Sympathize with her plight. Give her a shoulder to cry on. Hell, make her a loaf of chocolate chip triple fudge awesome cake if you want to....but some things are best left to the professionals.
1) Ask pointedly and repeatedly "Have you told HIM about how you feel? Because you need to tell him, not just me".
2) Say "Boys are dumb. Re-train him", in a happy, aren't-I-ironically-sexist way.
3) Give a "whoa" when she's done and stops to breathe. You're entitled, because WHOA damn.
4) Offer advice by starting with "well, the way (blank) and I do it when it gets like this is..." and tell her how you deal with shit when the pot boils over. If it works for you, mention it, but don't push it. Advice becomes Assvice when it starts with "What you NEED to do" and "What you SHOULD do is"...

1) Should you offer to have a three-way conference over the phone and act as a mediator. This is bullshit, and somewhat offensive, because this person you're offering to Doctor Phil with was just listening to you complain about moving mountains to get some goddamned socks put away. Your marriage isn't perfect; you're not qualified. Hell, I don't know if anyone is.
2) Suggest therapy. This is only because each individual views therapy in a different way, and what's good for the goose could possibly cause the gander to run out into traffic. That's left to their own personal decision and to even suggest it leaves you open to a disastrous friendship-ending fight down the road should they try it and things get worse.
3) Mention religion. I'm an ex-catholic, so I can say this because I'm bitter and would never bring it up myself. ZING!
4) Ask "do you want ME to talk to him?" OH MY GOD, NEVER DO THIS. This goes back to number 1, making yourself a mediator in a situation that has fuck-all to do with you. Plus, if you talk to your friend's spouse and they say something you weren't ready for, what are you going to do? Why would their spouse open up to your goofy ass anyway, KNOWING that you're going to report back to the wife?

Talk to your friend, help her through it, but don't go within 30 feet of their bedroom.
Talk to your spouse. Talk talk talk talk talk about everything and nothing, talking is ENGAGING that special person in your life and getting them involved in communication, which is why we have vocal cords and not special psychic mind-reading horns in the middle of our foreheads. It engenders trust, and forthrightness in a marriage. I believe that it's a good thing.

September 12, 2011

"You kind of look like Betty Crocker. At Betty Ford."

I know..... I made promises and I didn't deliver. In my defense it's been a hell of a year, not that that is an excuse, just a reason.

We've packed up and moved to California, still trying to sell our house in the mid-west and renting a little cottage like house in the meantime. It's my own private hell. Perhaps I should write a post on how to survive a cross country move....let me make sure I've survived first though.

So here's the deal, very soon we will be bringing you new posts with new info, tips and tricks. I'm not going to promise when though, don't want to let you down again, but just know that there are some things the I'm working on. Hopefully they'll be up soon, thanks for your patience.

August 26, 2010

Coming Soon......

New topics are coming soon!

~ How to 'break up' with a friend without creating an enemy.

~When is it time to get the kids (and husband) doing chores.

~Ways to help organize your life so you don't miss anything (unless you want to).

~Staying out of your friends marriage; How to not run her life.

~When you should apologize and when you should bite your tongue and move on.


~Teaching kids some table manners: What works and what doesn't.

~When good kids are bad sports: Parents behaving badly.

~Online Friend Etiquette (because etiquette should even extend to Facebook)

~Texting, Messaging and Phone Calls

....and much more!

April 5, 2010

Surviving An Internet Flame War

A flame war is a heated argument between two individuals, that results in those involved posting personal attacks on each other during, or instead of, debating the topic at hand.

Most forums have rules that forbid flaming. This is because the quality of conversation on a forum can be seriously degraded by a flame war. Topics can be "hijacked" by two people who would rather flame each other rather than discuss the subject of the thread.

Some websites encourage flaming for the purpose of entertainment.
First of all, if you do take the trollbait and become embroiled in a flame war, realize that you have already lost. A practiced and e-rep'd troll will push all buttons, all the time, and if you hit the post button in anger you have already lost. Just accept it and take the ridicule.

Second, if you cannot rise above the trollbait, at least exhibit decent spelling and grammar. For instance, when stating one's sexual preference, instead of “U R A FAG”** simply substitute “I have heard rumors that you are a homosexual”. Barring that, at least substitute proper words instead of letters by using “You're a Fag”**. And remember, apostrophe's separate the wheat from the chaff here!

Also, keep in mind the scale of the flame, and the speed with which you are thinking up your witty repartee'. On a small forum of less than 500 members, comments will fly fast and furious and you will have to type quickly in order to not have to quote the previous flameball so that it does not get lost and the thread of insults become lost in three pages of OMG SUZIE WTF D00D... Which will definitely happen because smaller forums encourage personal bonds within the confines of the internet, something yours truly sneers upon. Conversely, in a forum of over 10,000 members, you will have to type even faster because there will be moderators and supporters of your opposition dropping their two cents like pennies are going out of style. That typing class you took in senior year of high school? VERY useful for once.

Now always keep in mind that there is a 4:1 ratio when using the word “fuck” or any of it's derivatives. Flame wars of any size usually degrade fairly quickly into such sentences as “Oh yeah, I heard your f*cking furry faggot friends and your f*cking Ron Paul supporter mom have regular orgies while watching 2 girls 1 cup haha lol you f*cking f*cker.”** This is, amazingly, appropriate because for every four words there has been one 'fuck'. However, 'fuck you, you fucking douchebag f*cknut f*ckrag fucker”** is completely over the line and doesn't use the correct ratio, making the phrase completely indecipherable, useless and grounds for ridicule. But you knew that, since you jumped in after trollbait anyway, didn't you? This ratio is also useful when applied to any other strong words, such as “c*nt” and “f*ggot”**.

Don't take it personally. A troll is a troll because they can, and it's never personal, unless you believe that it is. The Greater Internet Dickwad Theory is that Normal Person+Anonymity+Audience=Total Dickwad.
It's not about you unless you MAKE it about you.

And finally, keep in mind that brevity is key. Godwin's Law of the Internet is formed around the idea that the longer a flame thread gets, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or Nazis approaches 1. The "Get" Law postulates that the closer a person gets to a significant post number the more likely they are to fail, and the Ban-Hammer Theorem states that the longer a thread becomes, the closer the probability that someone will get banned approaches 1.

Keep it short, keep it sweet, and remember: if you've already replied, you've already lost.

Ms. Anthrope

**Please remember that the phrases and language used in this post were picked to best represent an "attack" during an internet flame war. Please do NOT send us hate mail regarding the words used. We know they piss you off...that's why trolls use them.
Thank you. ~ Management

April 3, 2010

A Wedding Invitation-Website?? For FREE?

Many women dream of an elegant, traditional, white wedding. Many of those "many" start planning at the age of 12 and begin by slapping together a wedding binder filled with lace, China patterns, pictures of wedding dresses, menus, fonts, invitation paper and who knows what else!

Realistically, how many of those women actually get to have that fantasy wedding?

For most Average Janes, a fantasy wedding just isn't feasible. A large number of variables come into play when planning a wedding and help to determine what type of wedding will be had, or, if any wedding will be had at all.

The biggest crusher of wedding dreams is the big "B".


We won't get into premarital reproduction which forces you to put half of your wedding budget into the planning of a nursery...oh, you get the idea!

Shite happens! So you may have to cut corners!

All in all, planning a wedding is a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of money.

Let's say you realize that you don't get to have the picture-perfect wedding and yes, you' re going to have to cut corners.

Here's the thing for you.

Let's talk invitations.

Is your budget small? Are you over budget? Are you a procrastinator that is running out of time? OR, perhaps you're just an outside-of-the-box hipster that just doesn't want to follow all the wedding etiquette and shenanigans that go with it.

The invitation is a major component of planning a wedding. Without it, you'd have no guests. These little envelopes stuffed to the gills with paper can get pretty pricey. Having worked as a graphic designer and printer, I've seen women spend anywhere from $500.00 to $1000.00 on invitations alone.

What if you could add that invitation budget to your dress budget? HECK YEAH.

Here's an invitation option that will keep it's grubby hands off of your budget COMPLETELY.

Why not create an electronic invitation via a website and email the URL to your friends and family?

Uncouth? Nontraditional? A pimple on the face that is wedding planning?

To some it is an affront on all that is proper. EEK!

It is certainly unconventional. But, who cares? It's so effective, and for the Average Jane on a budget, it does the deed! Welcome to the age of tech!

Weebly.com and Wix.com both offer free web building "wizards" and have many templates to choose from. They also host your FREE site for FREE. The templates are customizable to your needs and tastes so you can fancy it up to your liking or just go with a simple preset template.

What if you're not techy? If that's the case, I definitely recommend Weebly. Drag and drop is your friend.

For those that have more of a head for tech and a basic knowledge of graphic design, go for Wix. The Wix builder acts very much like Adobe Illustrator. Did I mention it's flash?

You do not have to pay someone to do this for you. This is something you can do on your own and yes, it's FREE. It's all FREE.

So, what do you save?

1. You save money on: a person to design the invitation with it's many components, printing, and postage.

2. You "Go Green" with this method. No paper involved.

3. You also save yourself a lot of time (for those that are cutting it close!), because you could do this in an afternoon as opposed to going through a process of 1-3 weeks for designing, proofing and printing a paper invitation. And who has time to stuff all those envelopes?

You can also set up an email address (dedicated to your wedding) so that all RSVPs go to one address and don't lost and confused in your personal email box. Email addresses are free from just about any email provider. This also makes things convenient for guests and keeps them from having to spend postage on the RSVP and really gives them no excuse not to get the RSVP in the mail, because let's be honest, they're sitting at the computer most of the day with email at their fingertips. You know they are.

C'mon! We're not in the South! We're busy and on a budget! Pooh to proper, I say! Let's just get it done and tie this knot because I have to get back to the baby (who is also going to be the best man at our wedding! GASP!)!!

So, you think I'm nuts?

Check out this pretty little sample site I slapped together for fictional couple Craig and Sara. I think you'll love it!

Craig and Sara's Wedding E-vite Site

Keep in mind you can get as fancy or as straight forward as you want. I just set up a quick example to give you the gist of the idea.

We Average Janes have to look out for one another. I hope this makes life easier some bride-to-be Jane out there!

Sincerely Yours,
Miss Informative

March 17, 2010

Confessions of a Thank You Note Writer, or Why My Best Friend Hates Me...

I am a Thank You note writer.

I love stationary and hand-written notes .

I love sending Thank Yous, and I love getting them in the mail.

Okay, truthfully, I love getting any kind of personal mail but Thank Yous are especially nice.

It's nice to know that your gestures/actions are appreciated. Everyone likes getting a piece of mail that puts a smile on their face and I personally, have yet to frown while reading a Thank You so, I continue to send them to others whenever I get a chance.

That being said, many people have asked me over the years why I continue an antiquated tradition such as hand-written notes when there's email, e-cards and whatnot hovering out there in the webisphere.

These electronic ways of communicating in a world full of people too busy for personal correspondence is a blessing in many cases but it's taken the "person" out of it all.

So, I guess what I'm trying to say is; don't stop using email, etc. to say hello or even thank you, but, when you do get a chance, please, please take to time to write a quick hand-written note or two. The people who love you will appreciate it more than you could know...

Sincerely and Thank you,
-Ms. Demeanor

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy.” ~ Jacques Maritain

February 24, 2010

~Hospitality is Making Your Guests Feel at Home, Even if You Wish They Were at Home~

I think by this point we've all read or seen how Martha Stewart and her minions think we should treat guests. With her homemade shampoos and monogrammed robes, she's a an inspiration to us all...to a point.

A house guest should feel welcome and should never be made to feel as though their visit has caused any undue work on your part...so skip the monogrammed robe and, only make the shampoo if you were making some for yourself anyway.

Having guests doesn't have to be stressful; I have a few simple tips to help things run smoothly for you...and for them.

Housework is something you do that nobody notices until you don't do it.
~Clean your house thoroughly at least a week before your guests arrive. This way you'll have plenty of time to do all the heavy duty cleaning and not feel like a deadline is looming over you. Also, it makes quick wipe-downs and any other last minute tidying easier to do. Keeping up with this stuff will also give you more time to hang out and have fun with your company.

~Always, ALWAYS make sure there is enough clean linen for your guests. This means clean sheets, bedding and clean towels. You should also make sure there's an extra set of clean sheets and, if any extra blankets are required, those are clean as well. As for towels, you should provide your guest(s) with one washcloth, one hand towel and one bath towel each. Be sure that you have enough clean towels available so that your guest(s) will have a clean towel every day that he/she is at your home (though, most people won't do that).

As a child my family's menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
~Plan a menu and shop ahead of time. Just because you make a menu doesn't mean you have to follow it strictly but it does mean you'll have all the food on hand to feed your guests if you decide to eat at home (for some meals) instead of going out. Also, ask your guests while you are planning your menu what some of their favorite dishes are, or if there are any food allergies.

Keeping everyone busy.
~Look into some of the festivals, movies and activities that may be going on in your area while your guests will be there. For the most part, your guests are probably there just to see you but, there's no reason you can't go do something together away from the house for a few hours. Looking into it ahead of time saves you from the awkward conversation that always includes the phrase, “Well, what do you wanna do?”

Everybody should believe in something; I believe I'll have another drink.
~Stock the liquor cabinet! Sometimes you just need a drink and running to the store for booze while your company is sitting there isn't such a great plan. Travel makes people 'thirsty', so having a variety of liquor on hand is a great idea. Keep in mind that if you plan to offer your guests gin & tonic, you'll probably also need limes, so add those to your grocery list as well.

So there you have it…five easy tips to make your next visit run smoothly. Remember that you don't have to do things the way your parents did (or didn't) and you sure don't have to live up to Martha's standards. Just do what you can, and your guests are bound to notice the effort and care that you took in making their visit a pleasurable experience for BOTH of you.

Stressed out host = stressed out guests, and that's no vacation for either of you.

Go forth and hostess!
-Ms. Demeanor