Readers’ Top 10 Blog Posts in 2012

I started this blog in early 2012, at the request of my publisher. I’ll admit I was worried about it. I’d written a weekly online column before, but that was different. This was a BLOG, something I’d resisted for years. Would I have time to blog and blog well? Would people (other than my mother) care enough about what’s going on in my head to read it? And what in the hell would I write about?

Well, I haven’t kept up with the blogging schedule I’d hoped for, but I have written a few fun pieces. Below, I’ve featured links to the 10 most popular posts, just in case you missed `em. Even I enjoyed rereading a few.

Oh, and just to recap this AMAZING year in publishing for me (because that’s what you do on New Year’s Eve-Eve) … after becoming an Amazon bestseller in the spring and summer, Blue Straggler (released as an ebook in August 2011 and in paperback in March of this year) remains in the top 30 in sales and customer ratings in comic fiction on Amazon. It hit #2 again right after Christmas and #5 in a different category (humor). Pretty cool. Or rather, a huge dream of mine come true. A Good Kind of Knowing was released in ebook in October and in paperback earlier this month. It made it to the #10 spot in its category (fiction/drama) on Amazon and remains in the top 30 in ratings. It also made the top 100 in customer ratings in literary fiction. Whew. That’s as good for this writer’s soul as crab legs, cheese biscuits and a Bahama Mama from Red Lobster.

I’m so thankful to everyone who has supported me this year and always. Having my work touch just a few people would’ve been satisfying. But this kind of success has been overwhelming. Thank you!

Now on to those posts, and here’s to 2013, y’all!

 #1  Our Dogs Are Going to Get Us Kicked out of the Neighborhood

#2  Saying Goodbye to My Dream, or the One-Year Experiment With Normal Living

#3  And This Is Why I Hate Dental People

#4  Friends Are Worried About My “Girls”

#5  What Happened When I Turned 30 …. and 40

#6  What Being a Texas Woman Means

#7  How Growing Up With Country Music Made Me a Better Writer

#8  21 Facebook Posts You’ll Never, Ever See From Me

#9  Open Letter to High-Fructose Corn Syrup

#10  Your Official Music-to-Read-By Playlist 

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Open Letter to High Fructose Corn Syrup

Dear High Fructose Corn Syrup,

Listen. It has come to my attention (my mama hates you) that you are a key ingredient in two of my most favorite things on earth: Dr Pepper and Cool Whip. If you were also in Cheetos, it would be a trifecta of incredible goodness. (By the way, I looked that up to make sure, and nope, you’re not on that list. There is, however, something called Disodium Phosphate, which concerns me, but that’s another blog post.)

But here’s the thing, HFCS (I can call you that for short, right? I think our relationship is at that point now) … you’re no good for me. You’re like that guy I dated for a few weeks in 1998 who drove a fast motorcycle and smoked The Mighty Herb for breakfast. He was fun and all, like a chilled-out version of Bandit from Smokey and the Bandit (Part 1, not the sequels), but I knew it would still probably end with me in a body cast at some point.

This is not the guy I dated. Mine wore pants. Most of the time.

You see, sugar (just kidding), people tell me you cause diabetes (in small studies, and only type 2). You make my cells into cancer-receptors (in even smaller studies, in adolescent mice). And I’m afraid you might be directly responsible for my muffin top that’s gotten so large it’s more like a wedding cake layer. One of the bottom ones.

In fact, did you know there is a website titled “Why High Fructose Corn Syrup Will Kill You?” Which made me so sad. Because I love you. And what hurts you, hurts me.

Of course, your PR team has set up its own sites, as well. I found one that I read for a really long time because I really wanted to believe in it all. You. Santa. Effing Elves on the Shelves. It all sounded so true! So right. So hoofs-on-the-rooftop magical.

You seem so innocent.

But alas (I’ve always wanted to use that word in a blog post), I know it’s only pot smoke and mirrors. I know the Real You, and you’re bad, bad, bad. You’re so bad that I won’t even let my kid near you, lest he fall for your mysterious powers. I’d push him away from you as quickly as I’d push him away from a growling pit bull. (I almost changed that to say “push him away from a falling boulder” because I really don’t want a bunch of pit bull people taking down my website because they think I’m a PB hater. I’m not. But a rolling rock didn’t sound nearly as dramatic as a snarling dog with a locking jaw, so I kept it in. I’m going for the visual here, people. Lay off.)

Random rusty nail picture to drive home the impact of my words.

Back to us, HFCS. You and I … we’re like fire and gasoline. We’re like oil and water. We’re like a rusty nail and a foot attached to a person who’s never had a tetanus shot.

And I’ll admit it. I think I may be addicted to you. You’re my crack. My meth. My scotch on ice. I need a 12-step plan. Or I need to go cold-turkey. (Typing that makes me get a little shaky in the hands. Hallucinations may be next.)

Even Dr. Oz tells me to stay away from you. And he knows stuff. He’s like Prevention magazine. Or maybe Wikipedia. But still.

This one’s for you, Mom.

So what are we going to do about this little situation? Are we just going to continue with this tango of no-goodness? Are we just going to keep driving into the night on that motorcycle and a cloud of weed? Am I going to keep this charade going on forever?

As Jack Twist says in Brokeback Mountain, “I wish I knew how to quit you.”

That’s right, High Fructose Corn Syrup. You’re my Jack Twist. I’m your Ennis. Only I’m a 28-year-old writer (no comment necessary)/future blues singer, and you’re just a common sweetener made by processing corn in some weird, unnatural way and subsidized by the government.

I don’t have the answers.

All I know is that for now, there is an ice-cold DP in the fridge calling my name, and the makers of Cool Whip now make a Cool Whip Frosting in three heaven-inspired flavors.

Damn you, High Fructose Corn Syrup. Damn you.


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Our Dogs Are Going to Get Us Kicked out of the Neighborhood

Observation #2 of living like normal people: People down here are way more up into my business.

Let me explain.

Hoodlum One: Trouble. Offense: Eating stuffed animals that are not his.

We have two golden retriever mixes, Trouble and Sky. And I will admit it to the world: They are hoodlums! They believe it is their job to destroy socks, pillows, t-shirts, towels, and the occasional pine tree. They also believe they must protect us from the very dangerous white-tail deer that lurk around this new house. And they are fully committed to their jobs.

That means they bark when there are deer around. And unlike at 10,500 ft., where the deer are still very much wild and don’t stick around if a dog barks at them, the deer down here look at our dogs, like, “Yeah. Whatever. Bark at me all you want. I can’t hear you. You’re invisible to me. And this tall grass is really good, by the way. You should try it.”

This infuriates the hoodlums. First, they don’t like grass anyway unless they are sick. And second, the message they send back to the deer is this: “Fine. I will bark my head off and foam at the mouth like I have rabies if you continue to just stand there.”

Further complicating things (for me), is that, unlike in the mountains, the houses here are right on top of one another (literally, since we live on a hill.)

So, it was only a matter of time before a neighbor decided he must talk to us about our barking dogs, on behalf of another neighbor. (So he says. I can’t hear you ….)

Hoodlum Two: Sky. Offense: Never sharing chewbones and being quite vocal about it.

This neighbor also told us he has observed our dogs and he does not believe that we walk them enough. And that he feels sorry for the dogs when they bark like that. Ummmm. We do walk our dogs, and we play with them for at least two hours a day in the backyard, and they are actually treated pretty much like humans …. which is better than this dude treats his girlfriend, from what we’ve heard of their conversations. (Maybe they’re not getting in enough walks together.)

So there you go. When you decide to leave the mountains and live like normal people, it seems you have to actually DEAL with people. And that’s just not something I’m good at.

P.S. Observation #1 – it’s damn hot down here. I have Al the Swamp Cooler blowing on me and the hoodlums right now, in fact. Yes, the hoodlums are so mistreated, lounging on my bed, chewing on massive chewbones with cool air blowing in their faces. But hey, at least they’re not annoying nosy neighbors.

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And This Is Why I Hate Dental People

In my novel Blue Straggler, the main character, Bailey, admits to being truly afraid of two things: lightning and rattlesnakes. That statement could be autobiographical for me, except you’d have to substitute “dentists” for “lightning.”

Yes, I’m one of those crazies who fears going to the dentist. I’d rather go to the ob/gyn than the dentist. I’d rather experience Chinese water torture. I’d rather be forced to eat dung beetles, or just dung. Seriously. Yet, I make myself go once a year (okay, it’s usually more like once every two years, but don’t judge me) because basically I don’t think I’m going to be all that sexy in dentures. Also I like to eat and to eat well, you really should have teeth.

I can trace my dental phobia back to growing up in rural South Texas where we didn’t have fluoride in our water until we got MTV and I left for college. (Exaggeration alert. I was in junior high. Probably – I did not research this. Sue me.) I had cavities back then and a dentist (we didn’t have many choices) filled like 100 cavities in one appointment. Or maybe six, but still. It scarred me, okay?

This is me in the dental chair. Not really. But can you believe the things you can find on the Internet?

So, this past week, I stepped into my current dentist’s office for a cleaning and checkup. I say my current dentist because I’m also a “dentist hopper.” I jump around to a lot of different dentists, because once a hygienist or dentist hurts me, I leave them without a note. And since anything having to do with going to the dentists hurts like hell, I love `em and leave `em a lot. This is why I get about 10 different notices from dentists all over Denver saying I’m past due for an exam. (Clean up your mailing lists, people! I’m over you!)

I’d prepped for the appointment with drugs to soothe the soul and ibuprofen to take the edge off the pain. And yes, I was just there for a cleaning.

Let me just say that those drugs did nothing for me as soon as I smelled that gawd-awful dentist office smell. What the hell is that smell, anyway? Burned flesh? Jawbone sawdust? I suggested to the receptionist who took me back to the cleaning cube that they should pump laughing gas in through the air vents. She didn’t laugh.

I took my seat in the chair, and the hygienist promptly tilted my ass so far back I nearly slid off that slippery vinyl chair, head first. Then she attempted a conversation, with me in the yoga pose I like to call “Upside Down Sitting Duck.”

Hygienist: Do you have any concerns?

Me: Not really, other than you’re going to hate me because it’s been two years since I’ve had a cleaning. Ha, ha. Ha?

Hygienist, looking at my chart and frowning: I see that. (She could have humored me with, “I won’t hate you, don’t be silly.”)

Me: I’m sorry. (Also at this point, I have a very good view of her nostril hairs and she could use some maintenance.)

Hygienist, aiming a sharp, archaic tool at me: Let’s get started.

Me: Wait! Can I have a topical anesthetic?

Hygienist: Why?

Me, blood pressure rising: Because, byotch, you are about to wound my gums! (I didn’t really say that. I actually said, “Because it helps with soft tissue pain when you scrape my gums; I read it on the Internet.”

Hygienist: I’ll have to check with the doctor.

She leaves and I enjoy the view of a popcorn-style ceiling, which they should really remodel this century. When she returns with the goop, I also bring up another uncomfortable topic.

Me: I also wish to decline x-rays.

Hygienist: <Insert very long speech here about how they are a great and necessary diagnostic tool, and how I am pretty much the stupidest person in America for not getting them.>

Me: I realize all of that. Thank you. I still decline. I don’t like radiation, and why yes I do know how it compares to security devices at the airport. I’ll sign the form, please. And yes, I know that you will not get to bill my insurance company $1,000 for x-rays. I’m truly sorry.

So, as you can tell, the hygienist and I are not on friendly terms, and this is not a great way to shape a relationship with someone who is using barbaric measures to supposedly remove tartar buildup. In short, this woman obviously hated me, and she took it out on my poor innocent, inflamed gums and teeth. Also, she almost sucked my entire tongue up with that little tube one time. I came out of the chair a little.

At this point, I was just praying that the ibuprofen would kick in, because my head was starting to throb. Also, note to readers: Ibuprofen makes you bleed a little more than normal. Enough said. I think I needed more than one of those bib things.

I also found this on the Internet, which pretty much sums up how I feel about going to the dentist.

When she finished with me, my cheeks and chin were literally peppered with tartar pieces (and maybe pieces of my teeth, who knows). I could have used protective eyewear. I had been in a battle I could not win, even if the dentist did eventually tell me I had no cavities from what he could see without the x-rays.

That night, I immediately found that having vodka in the house is a good thing. Because y’all, I had to self-medicate. Plus I think vodka is good for killing bacteria in your mouth. I’m going with that.

For two days after, my teeth were so tender that I couldn’t even eat Cheetos without pain. And yes, you haters out there, I KNOW that if I went every six months, I wouldn’t have so much tartar buildup and the hygienist would not have to put her foot on my chest to get the pressure she needs to scrape the crap off.

The moral of this story is that there is no moral. I just hate going to the dentist. As soon as I get rich, I’m going to take advantage of sedation dentistry … for cleanings.


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21 Facebook Posts You’ll Never, Ever See From Me

If you ever see any of the following status updates on my Facebook page, call the authorities because I’ve been hacked! (Wait. Are there authorities to call for that, by the way? Is it even illegal? Are there fines? And what is in that huge box at the top of my closet? These are the kinds of questions that keep me up at night.)

And now for posts you will never see from me:

  1. I signed up for my next marathon today – so excited.
  2. Wow, it’s 5 p.m. and I totally forgot to eat today.
  3. My performance in last night’s kickball game was crazy good.
  4. I can’t wait for my next bra fitting. (See related blog post on this topic.)
  5. It’s July, and I’m so missing my Texas summers.
  6. Enjoying the brilliant writing in Fifty Shades of Grey.
  7. Please, everyone, check out my new glamour-shot profile pic!
  8. It’s 75 and sunny outside, but dang, I really want to finish this report before I hit the trail.
  9. Brought home our new pet today, a kingsnake just full of personality and small rats.
  10. OMG. I’m jonesing for some new stiletto boots.
  11. Yay! Time to clean the house!
  12. A full morning of mall shopping, followed by a super-light lunch under 500 calories. Can life be any sweeter?
  13. I wish my friends would stop sending me Ketel One vodka all the time.
  14. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare haters, you can’t handle the gaming truth!
  15. Does my avatar make me look fat?
  16. I love that my husband hides dirty dishes in our oven. It’s such an endearing trait. XOXOXO
  17. Can’t wait to go to the Kid Rock concert tonight.
  18. Being a working mom has been such a freaking breeze this week. I feel so bad for women who have nannies and maids. They are truly missing out.
  19. Check out our new (to us) Ford Crown Victoria with tinted windows.
  20. The new Taylor Swift and Toby Keith duet. Is. Awesome.
  21. Go, Mitt, go!

For the record, I have never turned down vodka of any kind. I know this is difficult to believe, but it is indeed true.

So … what update would NEVER come from you?

Come on, spill below! It’s fun and a good way to waste about 15 to 20 minutes depending on how fast you type.

* Disclaimer: If you are considering purchasing 1,000 copies of my novel, Blue Straggler, and any of these fake posts offend you, I completely and utterly apologize and also I take Visa.

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