Preparing For The Worst

November 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown

Well, it’s coming down to the wire.

In a previous post I said that if Romney wins this election I am going to hit myself over the head with a cast iron frying pan until I lose consciousness for four years. However, it has come to my attention that in that event, I’ll miss the season premiere of MOB WIVES. So I have recanted my threat. I mean, life goes on.

I will stay conscious in the event of a Romney win, but in a very, very bad mood. For four years. It’s the least I can do for The Movement.

We all, however, have to survive whatever befalls us, be it space garbage or Mitt. So I’ve been planning.

Since Hurricane Sandy, everyone is talking about making an emergency kit in case of natural disaster. Well, I am going to make an emergency kit in case of political and existential disaster: A Romney win.

It will include:

1. A dictionary. I will have to learn waaaaay more words that mean “vitriol”. Eloquence will be key in a world gone mad.

2. A Tetanus shot. I expect to be doing a lot of throwing myself at the television and other rusty nailed objects during the four years. For relief.

3. Tweezers. The end of the world is no reason to grow a unibrow. No reason at all. Because if we are not a well-tweezed movement, then, truly, the Republicans will have won. They have so many blondes. They could go weeks without tweezing, I bet. Jewish gals grow a ‘stach between bites of our morning bagel. That is why everyone hates us. That is also why Jewish men don’t want to date us.

4. A new dental bite guard. They don’t make material strong enough to stop the teeth grinding I will be doing.

5. A new black friend and a lesbian wife. I will need to make a strong statement during a Republican administration. My old black friend Wade has been busy with his own life and cannot, evidently, make the time to hang with me and make me look progressive. I miss Wade. I looked good with Wade on my arm. People knew I was a liberal.

Too bad Wade’s wife isn’t into me. I could marry the both of them, raise our kids Communist, and totally ruin America for Mitt. Yep, I gotta find me a wife. Ooh, maybe I can find a black wife. Maybe Wanda Sykes. OMG, how bitchen would THAT be? Mrs. Dr. Strangemom Sykes. I know I am against taking on a married name but, for fuck’s sake, it’s WANDA SYKES. Who doesn’t love Wanda Sykes? I bet even Robin would take her name.

Oh. Right. I am veering from the point of this post: My emergency kit. It needs one more thing.

6. A full layette and diapers, in case I am illegitimately raped. I just hope my rapist will know which kind of rape he is performing. My luck, I’ll get a low-information rapist who didn’t listen when Aikens explained it.

And that ought to do it.

Now, I am going to climb into my binder and wait.


Me And My (Red) Arrow

October 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown


There’s this intersection I drive through, like, a billion times a week and every single time I drive through it I remember that I do not know if it’s okay to make a right turn on the red arrow or not.

I’ve been wondering about it for almost seventeen years, since the first time I was at the front of a long line of cars and the signal turned to the red arrow. Cars started honking at me, which spurred me on to immediately step on the gas and GO because, you know, I didn’t want them to think I was a pussy or something. It’s crucial to me that people do not see me as a pussy driver. Or as a pussy anything. Or see me as I truly am.

It’s very difficult to maintain my hard-ass image while I nervously wait out the red arrows in life.

Oh, I know I look all tough and shit, running out onto my front lawn in my housecoat, giving the finger to the world, shaking my fists and railing at the gods and all, but I am actually quite mellow and “whatev” deep down inside. Under all the vitriol. And the Wheat Thins. And all the wine.

There are, however, a few things that bring out the inner ass-kicker in me:

1. People who forget to eat because they are busy. Really? Fuck you.

2. People who believe that America’s middle class is going to do better with Romney as our president. I am going to send my brilliant wonky sons out to each of your homes and make you listen to them. I would go to your home myself but I tend to get fuzzy on the numbers and facts, plus I have a thing about eating food from other people’s kitchens. Presuming you would offer me food. Unless you are too busy to remember to eat. In which case, double fuck you.

3. White people who think they are all that. Actually, I am against white people in general these days. I am sick of us. We are just so…weenie. So….white.

4. Exceptions to the rules of the road, including the dreaded red arrow. I mean, it should either mean STOP or GO. None of this “well, under the following circumstances, a person might choose to…” bullshit. How much thinking can a person do while driving and texting and spreading wasabi on her sushi and trying to remember if it is Brawny or Bounty that is owned by the evil Koch brothers?

I am just one person, for fuck’s sake. I can’t do everything.

Maybe the laws are different in California where I learned to drive. I think that in California a person can make a right hand turn on a red arrow. Or on a blinking red arrow. Or if a classic Lionel Richie song comes on the radio. Or if you really, really want to.

On the other hand, maybe it should be a personal choice. Some folks go on the red arrow, some stay put. Whatev. Just don’t buy Bounty. Or is it Brawny? Ask my kids.


Obama Phone Bank: The Call Is Coming From Inside The House

October 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown

I am pretty worried about some shit.

I am worried that the dull ache in my upper left molar means I am going to need yet another root canal.

I am worried that I will never learn to use my i-phone and I will spend the rest of my life accidentally taking videos of my body parts when I meant to lower the volume on my phone, and saying “hello? Hello??” into the wall phone jack.

And I am worried about the election, of course. I just don’t think I have it in me to cope if Romney wins. I might have to repeatedly hit myself on the head with a cast iron frying pan and put myself in a coma for four years. To deal with my worrying, however, I volunteered to do phone banking for Obama.

Here’s how you do it:

You call the numbers they give you and you say (into the phone jack), Hello (fill in name). My name is (fill in name) and I am calling from the Obama campaign. Then you ask questions from a prescribed list and thank them for their answers. Then, before they hang up, you ask them if they know of any publishers who would like to make a book out of your blog posts.

Now, I am a pretty good schmoozer despite the fact that I hate talking on the phone. I guess I just hate talking on the phone to people I actually know; talking to faceless names around the country doesn’t really bother me. Especially when I get to talk to them about myself.

I mean, Obama.

No I don’t.

One lady in Cleveland felt that the dull ache in my molars was something I should definitely ask my dentist about. A man in Dayton suggested Sensodyne. I left a long message on the voice mail of a guy in Columbus about finding a publisher for my blog, but I am still waiting for a call back on that one.

Yep, I think Obama has a good chance.

You’re welcome.

Frankly, I don’t know how effective phone calling is, even when done correctly by people who are not self-absorbed and hoping to get free dental advice from registered Democrats around the country. I am trying to remember if getting a phone call about something has ever actually spurred me on to do the thing. I am also trying to remember if anything has ever spurred me on to do anything.

Nope. It’s really a miracle I get out of bed every morning. But I digress…

Here’s how I fantasized the calls would go:

Me: Hello, Ohio Democrat, my name is Dr. Strangemom and I am calling from the Obama campaign.

Ohio D: Dr. Strangemom? The blogger? OMG, I want to publish you.

Me: Thank you. But I am calling about President Obama.

Ohio D: Right. I’m so confused. Tell me what to do, Dr. Strangemom.

Me: Vote for him. Vote in all Democratic senators and congresspeople, as well. And give a lot of money to NORML. And to the David Sheldrick Elephant Orphanage in Kenya. And to me.

O.D: Will do.

(End scene)

In reality, however, it goes this way:

Me: Hello, Ohio Democrat.

Then I get an incoming call on my i-phone and I start pushing random buttons and wind up recording a video of my stomach. Which I send to the Ohio Democrat.

And Obama wins by a landslide.


Why It Isn’t Worth It To Do Anything. First in a Series.

October 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown

I am in that awkward in-between stage of life: too young to totally let myself go, and too lazy to improve myself.

Maybe I will just end this post at that last sentence. I mean, really, what more can I say about the topic that is going to matter?

Dr. Oz says that all we have to do is focus on one thing and work on that. Which is bullshit, of course. Because you can’t improve upon only one thing without having to up your game on the rest of your shit. It’s all connected.

It’s like when you are just about to take a shower but all the towels are in the washing machine so you have to use, like, ten clean kitchen towels to dry yourself and while you are naked in the kitchen getting the towels, you smell something funky. Which, upon investigation, is the kitchen trash. And you decide to take out the kitchen trash now, you know, so you don’t have to do it after your shower when you are all clean and shiny and all great smelling of Burt’s Bees Sugar and Honey Scrub.

So you throw on a schmatte and tie up the trash bag but some garbage falls out the top and leaves a funky viscous drool on the kitchen floor. So you put the bag back into the kitchen trash can and get a paper towel to wipe up the floor so the new puppy doesn’t eat the funky drool and vomit while you are taking out the trash.

But shit. You are out of paper towels. And the new package of them is downstairs because Robin insists on shopping at fucking Costco even though there are only TWO of you left in the house and he brings home the, I don’t know, four-hundred-roll package of Brawny, which doesn’t fit anywhere except downstairs in the guest bedroom. Which reminds you that Mom is coming next week. And that we aren’t even supposed to buy Brawny paper towels because they are owned by the evil Koch brothers, so you drop everything to write Robin a note that says, “Mom is coming next week. Please remove your porn from the guest bedroom. Also, we are boycotting Brawny. And stop fucking shopping at Costco. The Persian cucumbers always go bad before we can finish them, and let’s be honest – we NEVER actually cut a maple muffin in half and freeze the other half. We eat the whole fucking muffin. Which is why I have to let the seams out of my maternity underpants.”

It will be a stellar note: Robin’s fault that we are poor AND I am fat. I love being a writer.

But all the pens are dry and the only thing you see on which to write Robin a note is the envelope from the library reminding you that you owe approximately eighty two million dollars in overdue fines. Which reminds you – those books you thought you lost were actually in the back of the Toyota! So you run down to the car to bring them into the house. And then you think, “I should really keep them in the car so I don’t forget to return them” which, of course, is exactly the reasoning that you put them in the car eleven months ago.

And while you are out in the driveway, you see that the garbage can is already filled to the top so when you bring the kitchen trash bag out, it is going to make it impossible to close the lid. And then everyone on your street will judge you for being a household of two and having so much garbage like, I don’t know, maybe they will think you don’t recycle or compost – which you do – or that you throw entire contents of linen closets into the kitchen trash – also which you do – when you don’t feel like folding towels and stuffing them into the shelf.

And then you totally forget why you are standing in the driveway.

And then you notice the color of your hair in your car’s side mirror and you decide that – broke or not – you are springing for the non-generic hair color next time because in the sunlight you look like you are wearing one of those multi-colored clown wigs. And then you remember that this is Oregon and there never is any fucking sunlight.

Which gets you thinking.

Do you want to move? Not back to LA, of course, although you do miss your friends and family. And will you ever realize your dream of the commune on Whidbey Island? And how will you ever convince Cousins Adam and Ken to leave New York? What will it take, dear Lord, to get them here? Maybe my hair will be a cry for help that will bring them running to me.

Oh, and do I want a salmon burger for lunch? I think I do.

And where is the spray starch, because I have a lot of shit to iron. I love my JJill linen tops but it’s a lot of ironing. I do love JJill. I wonder when the next catalog is coming…

And – shit! What if Romney wins? I don’t think I have it in me to handle that without a major incident.

And why is Phila running outside carrying a large white pillow case? How adorable.

Wait. That is not a pillow case at all. It is the trash bag that I left in the kitchen. And she has torn it open.

And all the kitchen trash is scattered all over the kitchen and down the stairs and now, on the front lawn. And then it all comes back to you – why you are standing there and what needs to be done.

And you think to yourself, Robin really needs to mow the lawn.


A Wedding Story: I Did

September 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown

Thirty-two years ago (this Friday), Robin and I had a huge fucking fight about something stupid. And by “stupid”, I mean it was possibly my fault. At the core of the fight was an issue that continues to plague us to this day: I think it is hilarious when I fuck shit up, and Robin prefers to arrive at our wedding destination and not be informed that I have forgotten his shirt. And when I helpfully point out the humor in the situation (by way of telling him, “oh, lighten up, you big baby. You are harshing my wedding day mellow”) he refuses to let it go and just wear the three-piece wool suit sans shirt in the 103 degree September LA weather. I mean, it’s not like I forgot his pants. For fuck’s sake.

He can be so uptight. Sometimes I have no idea why I married him. He really doesn’t share my upbeat outlook on life. I might have to start sneaking my happy pills into his morning granola. Be like me!

If only I could marry myself. I am an ideal spouse. Ask anyone but Robin.

We didn’t speak, or even make eye contact, all that afternoon. Not even when we were walking down the aisle. Not even when we were assembled under the wedding chuppah, not even when we put the rings on each other’s fingers. My noble attempt to make detente by complimenting him on his very manly hair shirt during our vows was met with staunch resistance. Really, what’s a bride to do?

Our freeze began to thaw only when we both laughed during the ceremony because – having our wedding on a hill overlooking a golf course on a Sunday afternoon – a voice on the loudspeaker announcing that “Stevenson, your golf cart is ready” obscured all other sounds and finally, someone at our wedding yelled down the hill, “Stevenson, go get your fucking cart already!”

Which is why I maintain that yelling the word “fuck” at a formal event is never NOT funny. You can take that to the bank.

Anyway, Robin and I managed to get – and stay – married thus far. I have a tiny “To Do” list for him, however, which he must complete if he wants another thirty-two years out of me. The list includes “empty the trash in your bathroom.” And, “change everything you do and are, and recreate yourself in my image.”

To celebrate our 32nd anniversary, we are driving up to Seattle for the memorial of a dear friend’s mother. This will be perfect because Robin and I will have three hours together in the car with no distractions. Or, as Robin is calling it, “captive.” He is concerned that the drive will pretty much be a three-hour verbal intervention on him. Which is ridiculous, of course.

I have a written list.


Rather Than Fasting for Yom Kippur…Atonement 5.0

September 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown

After 5773 years, I have finally figured out how to improve upon Yom Kippur:

You see, here’s the deal: If I follow God’s instruction to fast on Yom Kippur, I will feel virtuous and my clothes will feel nice and loose all that long prayerful day. Which will make me feel disinclined to atone for anything because I will feel so great. When I feel good, I tend to get cocky with my awesomeness.

Instead of atoning, I will sit in temple and think about all the non-maternity clothes I can buy now that I have fasted for 24 hours. I will be filled with joy and optimism and energy and love for my fellow sentient beings.

This, surely, is not the attitude God wants from me.

So, really, what I should actually do is grossly over-eat on Yom Kippur. Starting at sundown the night before, I should gorge myself, maybe sneaking in a few scallops wrapped in bacon, and eat myself sick. So the next day, sitting in temple for ten hours will be HELL. Pants cutting into my stomach, zipper jabbing the flesh, holding in my farts until they feel like a heart attack. Now THAT overfed, bloated feeling is guaranteed to put one in a despairing, self-loathing, beating-your-breast kind of mood.

You know, the way God wants us to feel. Hopeless. Overwhelmed. Dyspeptic. Chosen.

AND I am certain I’ll be able to take the weight off by Succoth. Because of this:

My son’s friend Marissa told me about a phone app where you put money on the line for going to the gym. You say to your phone, “I am going to go to the gym for one hour every day for the rest of my life or else I will have to pay a million dollars to people I do not even know, maybe even Nazis or Romney supporters.”

And if you don’t do it, They (the Apps. Or Mitt’s kids) take actual money out of your actual bank account and give it to random people who, I guess, have bet against you. No, maybe not. I stopped listening to Marissa at that point because all I could think about was her doctoral work with fruit flies and it concerned me to hear her say that fruit flies have brains because I don’t know about you, but I do not want to live in a world where a fat person has to give money to Nazis or Republicans AND fruit flies have brains.

But it did get me thinking about an Atonement & Fasting App and how I could make a buttload of money off it during the High Holydays.

Any takers?

Eating. Fasting. Gaining. Losing. Self-loathing. Self-medicating. I love the beautiful traditions of my people.


Parents: You Gotta Venture Outside Your Comfort Zone

September 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Parenting, Parenting Coach

By Ann Brown


It’s another rainy afternoon. Perfect for making soup, reading, avoiding work, and napping. You’d think I’d be perfectly happy. But no.

I am not snugly in my comfort zone. One of my toes is hanging out.

Kids start off with a very small comfort zone. It’s pretty much Baby + Parents. In preschool, the circle widens to include Teacher and Friends and, often, Mommy’s Favorite Barrista. As we grow older and evolve, we expect that our comfort zone will stretch and grow, as well. We expect we’ll  re-evaluate the original blueprint, move walls, increase space, put on a second story, and bump out windows to accommodate our larger life.  Getting comfortable in a bigger comfort zone is one way we know our therapy is working and worth the hundreds and the thousands of dollars we have poured into it for all these years, relegating ourselves to living in debt, driving old cars, running up our Master Cards, and eating government cheese.

Raising kids is a daily practice in venturing out of our comfort zones. Well, at least it is for alarmist, hand-wringing, nervous-stomach, neurotic mothers like me. I am ancestrally programmed to circle the wagons and hunker down. I would totally NOT have left Egypt, choosing instead to bring Pharaoh a nice spinach lasagna and offer him parenting advice in exchange for scoring my sons an easy gig working on the nearby pyramids. It is not easy for me to stretch and grow. And, subsequently, it is not easy for me to push my kids to stretch and grow.

Happily, however, they learned to do it despite my hanging to their ankles, crying, “please don’t go!” I tried telling my youngest, when he applied to Georgetown for college, that there were actually no colleges east of Idaho. That all those names – Harvard, Georgetown, Yale – were made up. Like “Brigadoon”. Unfortunately, West Linn High School did a better job at educating him than I had hoped and he called my bluff. Well, not so much called my bluff as patently ignored me and went off to DC for four years.

This reassures me about parenting. It tells me that even when we mess up – and we are going to mess up a lot, and often – all is not lost.  Even when we cannot personally provide everything our kids need, we can share with them the experiences of our own inabilities, insecurities, weaknesses, and failures. And sharing those things does indeed provide a rich and meaningful lesson for our kids.

My kids know that I am an overprotective parent. So I try to make the most out of self-deprecation, to take the stinger out of my fretting, to not make them responsible for it. I like to text them with messages like, “just worried for a moment that you are dead and life has no meaning. Please text back within 24 hours.”  Or, “please call me every five minutes while you are on the road. Or at least, please call me when you arrive.”

Because my tiny, cramped, overcrowded comfort zone is not their problem.

I first wrote about this topic in 2000 when my oldest left for college. And then again, about six years ago. And, if I am lucky enough to still be writing parenting articles in ten more years (Yikes -I will be almost SEVENTY years old then -let us pause for a moment to consider that -YIKES), I am certain nothing will have changed by then, either. Because the point is not that I need to change myself.  (Well, my therapist might disagree. But let her write her own column.) The point is that I cannot allow my overprotective issues to become my children’s issues.

So, I am making soup this rainy afternoon. And reading. And avoiding work. And even though none of my kids lives near me – one lives in New York even though I told him that New York does not exist –and I wish wish wish we were all together safe under one roof, I am comforted to know that I raised them to live their own lives and follow their own destinies. Despite my offer of a zajllion dollars to stay here. Because, and this is worth repeating from the paragraph above, I do not want my issues to become their issues. Well, I kinda secretly do, but at least I know it’s wrong.

Easier said than done, I know. But we can all get there. Walk this way. And if you are in NY, can you make sure my son is dressing warmly? Much obliged.


But There’s A Hole In My Bucket

September 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By Ann Brown

I cannot remember why I came into this room but since the computer is in here, it must have been to do something on the computer.

And now I cannot remember what it was that I needed to do on the computer so I figured I may as well write a blog post.

Only I cannot remember what it was that I wanted to write about.

I’ll just sit here and wait. I need to hide out from Mom, anyway.

You know how you go along in your life thinking that you are pretty normal, doing normal shit, living a relatively normal lifestyle and then your 88-year-old mother shows up and it hits you that, compared to her, your life possesses all the vim and vigor of an end-stage hospice patient? Don’t you just hate when that happens?

Granted, I have an injured knee right now. And granted, there’s the whole “I am so tired because of Phila” thing. And my finger is still broken. But Mom is kicking my ass.

Take this morning, for instance. She has been up since 7 – after miraculously being able to fall back asleep following an unfortunate 5AM hallway run-in with Robin who was letting Phila out to pee, and Mom was going to pee, and Robin was Very Extremely Naked. Hah. There were some screams coming outta that hallway this morning that I have never heard. Mostly from Robin. I think Mom just pretended it was a Cossack pogrom, shut her eyes, hid in the basement and waited for the Russian Revolution. That’s what I do when I see Robin naked.

Or maybe Mom thought there was a bear in our kitchen. The way Robin was holding his, er, flopping salmon and all.

Anyway, Mom has been up since 7. She has showered, coiffed, dressed, eaten breakfast and is now waiting for the 417 grams of fiber in her toast to kick in. ETA of her morning poop: approximately Wednesday. Waiting for her morning poop is Mom’s cross to bear.

Sadly, the ONLY area in which I am faster than Mom is my digestion.

I slogged out of bed a few minutes ago and stood in the kitchen. Nothing came to me – no plans, no ideas, no coffee – so I came here, into my office. To the computer. So when Mom comes upstairs again it will look like I had something to do. I think I am going to tell her I am working on my novel.

No, who am I kidding? NOBODY believes that anymore.

I will tell her I am booking a Pap smear with my gyno.

Which, come to think of it, is something I need to do.

And planned to do.

This morning.


Which is why I came into my office.


When A Couple Is Puppy Training

August 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By: Ann Brown

I was going to add my blah blah blah to the Todd Akin thing but, honestly, I am too tired.

Oh, wait. Maybe just this one thing:

His logic is kinda awesome. Like, I am pretty sure I legitimately ate five bagels yesterday so, according to Akins, my body will shut down and I will not gain weight.

But enough of politics. I’m too tired for any more anti-douchebag bon mots. And I don’t have much time to get this post written – Mom is flying in at 2PM this afternoon (or maybe at noon. Or maybe yesterday. I have no idea. I am so fucking tired) and I still have to ready the guest room. And by “ready” I mean dust the furniture and hide Robin’s pornographic magazines.

Ha ha, that’s a joke. Robin’s pornography is on the computer. Duh.

I have no idea what to do with Mom this weekend. She lives a very full and active life in LA – theater, dinners, parties – and when she comes to Oregon, I feel I need to keep up the level. Which is challenging because my lifestyle is less go go go than Mom’s in that my lifestyle is mostly day drinking and making fun of Mom.

Plus, I am so fucking tired.

Because of Phila.

Which is Robin’s fault ™.(Yup, I’ve trademarked it.)

I am getting no sleep at night. Oh, Phila goes happily into her little playpen at night when Robin and I get into bed and turn off the light. We say, “Good night, Phila.”

And then it’s quiet for about three minutes.

And then I say, “God DAMN it, Robin, get your hands off my boobs. No means no.”

And then it’s quiet for a few minutes. I begin to drift off to sleep.

And then Phila begins her remodeling.

That’s what I presume she is doing. I hear shuffling, scraping, hammering, power tools. In the morning, her playpen is in a completely different shape than it was when she went to bed. They say Poodles are smart; what they don’t tell you is that they are also chock full of great design ideas. I swear to God, she built a sort of loft in there last night. With a bookshelf. And a mini bar.

Puppy training is going well, by which I mean, Robin is doing all of it. Robin’s job is to get up at 5AM, take Phila out to pee, feed her, walk her, play with her, and get ready for work while she hangs out with him. Then when he gets home from work, his job is to take her to the park, feed her, train her, and play with her until bedtime.

My job is to remind Robin that I voted NO on getting a puppy.

It has quite revolutionized our marriage. Robin says things like, “Honey, would it be okay if you watched Phila for five minutes while I pass a kidney stone?” And I answer, “Umm, no, that isn’t gonna work for me. Michael Kors is just about to critique Alicia’s crotch.”

And he crawls back downstairs to vomit and scream into a rag stuffed in his mouth.

Because I voted NO on the puppy.

The other day, just to fuck with him, when he got home from work I told Robin that Phila had taken up my whole day and I couldn’t get a thing done, so he needed to take her out of the house for at least four hours. Plus, I needed to hire a cleaning crew because I couldn’t get to cleaning the house. Plus, I was going to order Thai from the expensive place because, you know, I couldn’t get to cooking, either. Plus, I needed to get the sleeveless linen dress on page 42 of the JJill catalogue. In “limeade”. Or white. And Bee Kind lemon shampoo from Gilchrist and Soames.

Because of Phila.™

Because there was a vote.

Speaking of which, Todd Akins is a douchebag.


Cart Ache

August 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Ann Brown, Family, Urban Dweller

By: Ann Brown

As of this morning, I am a Very Valued Customer at Safeway Market. An assistant manager came out of her cubicle to tell me so. She congratulated me and gave me her work cell phone number and her business card. Which has only her first name and her work cell phone number on it.

“This is so you can reach me any time,” she told me.

“Really?” I asked, “Any time?” Sweet. I could use someone to take Phila to the vet next week.

She could not have been more earnest when she said, “Yes. Anytime I am in the store.”


So I waited a few minutes and then called her from the baking aisle.

“Hello,” I said, “this is Very Valued Customer Ann Brown. I was wondering if you had any turbinado sugar.”

I didn’t need turbinado sugar. I mostly use Splenda. I was just fucking with her, of course. But also, I wanted her to think that I was the kind of wholesome eating person who – if compelled to use sugar at all, say, if I was all out of organic agave – would choose turbinado. These kinds of things are very important to me. I define myself by the contents of my shopping cart.

Which is why I either send Robin to the market or I shop outside my ‘hood when I want to buy cookie dough or Fritos. Or Monistat Ultra.

I really don’t know why I bother, however. I mean, have you taken a good look at what people buy? You know, all of us whose carts are filled with coconut probiotic water and shade-grown no pesticide yam sprouts and quinoa? We do not look so hot. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but it’s true. We look kinda wan. And jiggly. And our hair just sort of sits there. And we are always tired and complaining.

And the gorgeous, thin, energetic, white-toothed, luxuriously- maned specimens of health? They are guzzling a Trenta quadruple caffeine mocha while piling mini marshmallows and bologna in their carts. What the fuck.

The answer, of course, is that all the preservatives are keeping them young and beautiful. Duh. Man, were the rest of us hippie Birkenstock crunch eaters all sold a bag of horseshit or what? Paying forty dollars for cold pressed pomegranate juice at the wood-paneled, hemp basketed foode shoppe, and my lifeless hair is falling out. I may as well shop the shit at Walmart.

As you may recall, I recently wrote about a Walmart going up in my neighborhood. And, as promised, I have not stepped foot inside of it. Although I was tempted two weeks ago when I was alone and out of ice and my broken finger made it impossible for me to hook the hooks of my bra so I had to just wear it unhooked; you know, straps draped over my shoulders and cups hanging in front of my boobs like a thin, greying lace curtain ill-containing a pair of unruly ferrets behind it.

I was prime Walmart material.

But I am defined by my grandiose token acts of political rebellion (and my shopping cart) so I did not go. I stayed home and carried on without the bag of ice. I had a rum and coke NEAT. What I will not do for the Revolution.

It’s too bad I was not a Very Valued Customer two weeks ago. I could have called the assistant manager and asked her to deliver a bag of ice to me.

And when she got here, I would make her hook my bra.


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