It Ain’t Easy Being Amish

Like Kim Kardashian and turtlenecks, technology and I do not mix.

I don’t get TIVO, literally or figuratively, but I use my VCR several times a week (fun fact: I still have The Bachelor’s Andrew Firestone proposing on one of my tapes). I had an answering machine until last year, when my phone company informed me I’d be getting voice-mail and call-waiting whether I liked it or not. My 89-year-old grandma had to bully me into joining her on Facebook and I was on Twitter for a month before I dared to tweet.

My home life isn’t the only casualty of my technical no-how. Before getting knocked up nine years ago, I worked for a huge telecom company as an account director for their eBusiness clients. The day I was offered the position, I ran (no joke: I got shin splints) to a bookstore and bought Internet for Dummies, however…it did not help.

I muddled along for a year channeling Amanda Woodward* while spouting terms like “Portal” and “UNIX” but I was a disaster. Getting my husband drunk (and getting myself pregnant) was my only way out that mess.

Now I stay home with my kids and write fiction, but I don’t understand how Kindle works—can I order a book to read online if I don’t have a Kindle? Who’s keeping track of all these eBooks? Where’s the *&$#*  library?!?

Google Connect is on my blog because it’s on every other blog, but I have no clue what Google Connect really does. (p.s. to the twelve of you who’ve joined? Thank you for justifying the three days it took me to get it on there.) As for this Google+ hullaballoo: is it even a real thing? Do I need it? Why is Google trying to take over my life?

Two years ago I got an iPod from my justifiably appalled sister and it took me six months to figure out iTunes and how to upload (download?) music. It’s not like I’ve simply fallen behind in recent years: I missed the entire CD Man trend in the 90s because I was loyal to my Walkman.

Also? I’m a fossil.

*For those of you unfamiliar with the deliciously malicious Ms. Woodward, first of all: how dare you! Secondly, sit back, relax, and learn from the master:

Bunny & Buford: A Love Story

It was a bleak Saturday afternoon many years ago. My brother-from-another-mother (we’ll call him Ho Boy) was despondent because the most recent lust of his life had jilted him. On his birthday.

I’d already bought tickets for us to attend Tony & Tina’s wedding* that night, but HB was not in the mood for a party. That’s how I knew things were bad: HB usually was the party. He was a former army engineer studying to be an ER doctor who served as a big brother to kids with special needs and acted in murder mysteries on the side.

We’d met in a university ballroom dance class and became fast (and platonic) friends. At our end-of-session shindig, we ditched the dancing to play darts in a pub across the street, where we proceeded to convince the patrons that we were brother-and-sister Latin dance champions with a background in porn. Obviously, this Tony & Tina thing was just what HB needed to wash that skank right outta his hair.

After a few hours of cajoling and a vat of wine, HB agreed to go with me to the “wedding” on one condition: we couldn’t just dress like the other guests in everyday wedding finery. We would have to wear costumes and improvise characters as though we were part of the show. I swallowed my wine, along with my dignity, and agreed to his terms.

Raiding my mom’s closest, I came up with a dress that would’ve made Rhoda Morgenstern proud and stuffed my bra enough to make Dolly Parton blush. HB threw together a few mismatched pieces, topped it with a cowboy hat, and we were good to go.

At the church, other guests nudged each other as we sauntered to our seats. HB greeted everyone like long-lost friends. For some unknown reason we adopted southern twangs, despite the Italian-New York backdrop. He introduced himself as Buford, a Zamboni** driver, and me as his wife, Bunny, a Mary Kay beauty consultant.

The cast didn’t know what to make of us but once they realized that we were there to enhance the guests’ experience rather than disrupt it, they brought us into the action. The night was a blur and a blast. As they say in the biz, we killed. Other audience members assumed we were part of the cast and by the end of it, we felt like we were, too.

Not only did I give HB one of his favorite birthday presents, he gave me the confidence to give acting a try—which led to me dancing on stage in fishnets less than a year later. And for that, dearest Ho Boy, the Serb thanks you.

*An interactive and improvised play where audience members “attend” a faux-Italian wedding.

**The ice tractor you see on the rink at hockey games. Why someone with an accent from Georgia would be driving a Zamboni, I do not know.


A match made in Value Village clearance bin Heaven.

Camping is for Suckers. And the Serb.

When it comes to camping, my motto is, “5-star or No-star”—which essentially means I don’t camp. As a kid, my family and I camped our asses off. Every weekend from May through September we were parked in a trailer (or in a tent when I was really young, but I’ve repressed those memories).

Many of these trips were fantastic, especially if our campground had a pool or was near a beach. Unfortunately, this rarely happened. My parents were purists when it came to outdoor pursuits and we were often stuck in the sticks with nothing but dormant train tracks and a backgammon board to amuse us.*

As an adult I tried dating outdoorsy guys—I did live in the Rocky Mountains after all—but they inevitably wanted to go mountain biking or cross-country skiing or camping. It’s not that I can’t do these things; it’s that I would rather not. I can be a total Sporty Spice, as long as it involves water sports or intermittent snacking (thus, windsurfing+slurpee=heaven).

Part of what drew me to the Serb was our shared disdain for outdoor adventures. One of our first dates involved watching The Amazing Race while scarfing DQ Blizzards and yelling at the slow competitors.

In recent years my husband has discovered a heretofore unknown appreciation for camping. I blame Survivor Man and Bear Grylls (also Mountain Equipment Co-op, the coolest outdoor gear store ever).

After one tenting trip as a family, I made a crucial discovery: moms do all of the work. It’s like being a pioneer woman, what with the cooking and the cleaning and the washing and the lack of flush toilets. This didn’t matter when I was the kid camping with my mom. But now that I’m the mom? It kinda sucks balls.

Thankfully, the Serb’s fascination with the great outdoors can be foisted upon shared with our eight-year-old son. This past weekend they went camping while the girl and I stayed home. I left the planning and packing up to the Serb because he waits too long to do it and if I followed his lead, we would be divorced by Monday.

The night before they left he dropped a hundred bucks on gear. The morning they left he spent two hundred more on food and “a bit of beer.”

Here are the results…


P1050490-300x225This is for two nights, people.


He assured me that other stuff was in there.

I’m not convinced.

P1050492-300x225Suitcase, complete with fancy ribbon to distinguish it from

all the other suitcases at the campground.


Cookies? Check. Wine? Check. Marshmallows? Check. Chips?

Check. High probability of barfing? Check and check.


I’m assuming a park ranger will be maced at some point.


The gear included (but was not limited to): battery-operated fan, 3 flashlights, flint, matches, lighter, portable DVD player, walkie talkies, mini stove, mini bbq, 4 tarps, 3 jugs of water, frying pan, frying pan with grill markings, electric pump (for the air mattress), pillows(!), and 87 bungee cords. If I hadn’t put my foot down on buying the solar-powered shower, they would have needed a U-Haul.

If Survivor Man went to Club Med, he would be my husband.

*My folks eventually saw the light, ditched the camper and bought a timeshare. Just in time for my sister and I to move out of the house.

Are You a Bitch or a Pussy?

I recently had the displeasure of being mean-girled by a group of women. It wasn’t very traumatic, mainly because they’re idiots ridiculous, but it did serve to demonstrate that: 1) For a few sad souls, high school never ends; 2) Some people are simply bonkers; and, 3) I have to ditch my doggy ways and find my inner feline.

The Serb constantly warns me against jumping into new relationships too quickly, and it’s not limited to friends: it could be a realtor, hairdresser or dental hygenist. If we met in person, I’d come across as friendly, outgoing and welcoming. Were it socially acceptable, I would invite you to smell my butt. I am a dog.

My husband is the opposite. Like a cat, he is reserved, discerning and makes you work for his affections. He’s not an asshole—he simply doesn’t see the point in being exceedingly friendly with someone he doesn’t know very well.

While my subtext is “Smellmybuttsmellmybuttsmellmybutt,” his is more along the lines of “Keep the f*** away from me.”

On the surface, my approach should be more successful, and it did land me some great jobs (along with the nickname Julie McCoy…look it up, junior) back in my twenties. Since then it’s led mostly to me getting burned. Once I realize that my latest and greatest pal is a complete nutjob/bitch/hoarder/mean drunk, I’m in too deep for a clean getaway.

If the Serb realizes someone is bordering on thanks-but-no-thanks territory, it doesn’t matter if he never speaks to that person again because chances are they’ve never traded contact information.

How we use Twitter illustrates our differences perfectly. I have just over 2,000 followers and have separated them into lists, such as “funny blogger-types” or “sisters from another mister.” I regularly jump in and out of Twittersations (trademark: me) and if someone is offensive or weird I can unfollow or block without remorse.

My husband follows five financial-type tweeters. He has three followers and only one of them appears to be a real person. He’s never sent a tweet in his life (although I once sent one about bloating from his account by mistake…which is probably how he got his three followers).

The moral of my story is, quite simply, this:

Twitter is for bitches like me. Real life is for pussies.



Can’t we all just get along?

You Know You Want To


Making My Granny Proud!