Wednesday, July 31, 2013

YouTube, the Kids & Me

Click HERE for today's Chicago Parent story on how I am the biggest hypocrite in the whole wide world.

It happens.

Marianne to kids: "Work on never embarrassing yourself in public."  Ooops. (photo credit: Sabrina Persico)

Monday, July 29, 2013

How BlogHer 2013 Nearly Killed Marianne

The big BlogHer 2013 Conference has come and gone, and I do not know where to begin.  As a humor writer, my usual protocol is to take one little funny occurrence and parlay that into an entire blog. 

But this weekend?


The amount of satire, humor, and silliness is so overwhelming, I may well die.

On a positive note, I was crowned Queen of BlogHer on the Expo floor this past Friday.  I do not know if the title is official or not, or if the model/beauty queen/tradeshow spokeswoman was sanctioned by the Beauty Pageant Rulers of America, but I accept my responsibilities nonetheless.  Crown and all. 

My platform is world peace and Nutella for everyone.

Sadly, I lost the sash on the Expo floor along with one of my free bottles of personal lubricant given to me by the Trojan company.

Once I am able to make sense of all this, I will definitely share more.  But in the meantime, if anyone finds a bottle resembling the one below, please let me know:

My husband's response:  "Were you at BlogHer or EXXXOTICA 2013?"

To be continued....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

BlogHer 2013 & She Who Must Not be Named

It suddenly occurred to me that a girl such as myself with extreme social anxiety and a dependency on rum in order to meet new friends probably should not have registered for BlogHer's big conference in Chicago, starting tomorrow.

I'm packing now:

Thankfully, I have secured a great "tribe" of women who will have my back throughout the duration of the conference. Actually, they have each been assigned a day to "watch" me:

I'm totally stealing one of my tribemate's pictures.  I hope she doesn't sue me. 

The gals created a Twitter hashtag option if anyone wants to know what I'm doing at BlogHer:


If you are a twitterer/tweeter/tooter, feel free to follow along.

Wish me luck (along with the ability to find my way home eventually).

BlogHer '13
Ah yes...but am I RETURNING??

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Time I Got Manic and Painted Bean Bag Boards

As part of my yearly checklist to engage in activities that help get me into heaven, attending fundraisers is right there at the top. One of my favorite events is HollyDays, an annual affair held at the Beverly Arts Center that celebrates children with special needs.

Different booths offer all sorts of interesting and unique items.  There are also raffle prizes that leave me feeling quite covetous.  My favorite item last year was a set of mini bean bag boards for kids.  I put $20 worth of raffle tickets into the pot in hopes of winning them.

Because I don't do enough to get to heaven, I lost. 

Yet when I was talking to my brother-in-law John after the event, I found out that he was the one who had actually made them!  Sufferin succotash!  How did I not know this?

In an act of kindness and generosity, John gifted the boys with a set. The only problem? They were unpainted. If anyone was around during my whole "I'm gonna buy stuff from garage sales and paint it" phase, you know that I am not exactly the handy/crafty type. Everything I attempted to paint wound up peeling or dripping.  Things looked like candle wax.

So I did what anyone would do.

I called my mom.

My mom is a wonderful painter.  And I was very pleased with the results:

My mom is going to get the best old folk's home money can buy.

Yet when Jack saw the boards, he immediately asked why there wasn't a picture on them, "like Daddy's."  Joe's boards have the Fighting Irish leprechaun on them.

"What do you want on yours?" I asked.

The Blackhawks.

Of course.

So the anti-Pinterest, non-crafty mom got to work:

I tried my best to stay sober as I dripped paint all over the place.
But then, catastrophe struck.  I realized I didn't have any white paint for a few small parts of the picture.  It was ten o'clock at night and I knew I would probably never again be manic enough to finish this project if I didn't handle it right then and there.  So I improvised and used White-Out:

You may be wondering why I actually own White-Out.  I use it to blot out my friends' kids names when I have to copy the field trip forms because I lost mine.  I'm a planner that way.
I finished up around midnight, and I'm not going to lie.  I think they turned out okay.  Sure, the Indians aren't exactly identical (I forgot some detailing on one), but close enough:

There you have it.  My one and only foray into the world of craftiness.  If anyone wants to Pinterest this, feel free.  I have no idea how that stuff even works.

Thank you, Holly, John, and mom for helping me earn more tickets to heaven! 

Or at the very least, a shorter stay in purgatory.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Joe is Totally On the News. In a Bathing Suit.

There is so much in today's Chicago Parent post that I can't even begin to explain.  So please click HERE to read about one wacky day.

If you go directly to the CBS link HERE and check out matters starting at :27 seconds, you may understand why I married my dreamy, dreamy husband.  Despite his Chicago accent and affinity for swearing.

I don't think we packed enough flotation devices. 

At Redamak's after the beach.  You can still see sunscreen and sand if you look carefully enough.

Ice Cream at Oink's.  I always offer to help "clean up" any dripping cones, which is why I can proudly say I have tasted just about every flavor.  Milky Way is the best.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Time I Got on Stage and Said "Penis"

I dreaded the day that the YouTube videos would become available for the big Listen to Your Mother event. While being part of the stage show was a life-changing moment and so ridiculously amazing, I still wasn't thrilled about the YouTube release. 

Have you ever heard your own voice on an answering machine, and thought "THAT'S what I sound like? Why do people even let me talk?" I hear a nasally-voiced woman who speaks far too quickly.  I sound like someone I would avoid at the playground or at PTA meetings.

No siree.  Being on YouTube was not going to be a good thing. 

But I was still excited to view the videos of the fantastic women with whom I was fortunate enough to share the stage.  They are just as talented and engaging as I remember.  Finally, after much deliberation and a couple of cocktails, I clicked the link for my own video:

I was relieved to see I don't suck as much as I thought.  In fact, I am even a little funny in some parts.

And my tongue-in-cheek Mad Men hair?  It is practically a performance onto itself.

So I hope you enjoy the video and those of my LTYM sisters

I love them all.

Thank you also to National Media Sponsors BlogHer & One 2 One Network, as well as all of the local sponsors including Megaphone Sponsor, Dom Itp. The National Video Sponsor is The Partnership at and if you visit The Medicine Abuse Project, you can take a pledge to talk to the special teens in your life about teen medicine abuse.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bed Bugs

The scary part about this photo?  I couldn't find the lightning bug that Joey had christened as his new best friend.

Full story click HERE in today's Chicago Parent.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Final Love Letter

My column in July's Chicago Parent pretty much took a drink and a slice of pie to get through.  I have a hard time saying goodbye.  But some words just need to be said.

I wiped away tears the whole morning.  Joey laughed and made water balloons. 

Friday, July 5, 2013

A fun. Night Out

Despite my new favorite band members driving me a little nuts with their insistence on a lower-case "f" and a period at the end of their name, the boys from fun. put on a great show in Milwaukee last week.

Originally, Joe and I had planned to see them at The Taste of Chicago on July 10th.  I wasn't thrilled at the prospect despite a long history of attending The Taste.  In high school, my pals and I would ride the Metra to The Taste every summer.  In college, I would invite friends from southern Illinois to enjoy the experience.  When my babies were little, I would even pack up a double stroller and walk down the lakefront for a scoop of my favorite Rainbow Cone.

Yet the energy changed in recent times.  Crime, violence, and a blemished reputation started causing folks to re-think this summer ritual.  My last visit was 2009, and I pretty much swore off the whole thing after that.

But I totally love fun.

And that's when my Milwaukee friend emailed me to say they were going to be at Summerfest.  We were in.

The only place where garbage cans smile at you.
Best date night ever.
I was super happy right about now.  God bless beer tents.

The group had just returned from a European trip to start the summer U.S. touring season.  Leader singer, Nate Ruess, seemed blown away by the enthusiasm and crowds, explaining that this was the largest audience they had ever seen.  There were several times during the concert where Nate just sat back and reveled in the droves of people singing his own songs back to him.

Goose pimples.

It was such a fantastic concert that my husband suggested we actually do the Taste of Chicago this year just to see them again.  It might be worth it.

What do you think?

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Independence Day!

I know I've shared this picture before, but it always makes me smile:

May your July 4th provide at least one memory that will last a lifetime!

Happy Birthday, USA.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

When Trees Attack

You're totally not going to believe this one.

Let's just say the whole neighborhood got a free day's worth of entertainment - full story click HERE in Chicago Parent. 

Hint: my poor neighbors needed plenty of this to get through it all: