Friday, November 21, 2014

The Contest: Week 25 - Thera Cane

For Week 25 of The Contest, I decided to hit where it hurts.  Namely, Joe's back.


Dear Thera Cane –

When my husband, Joe, first opened the package containing his long, candy-cane shaped purchase, I am going to be honest. I thought it was a sex toy. So I immediately
started yelling at my husband.

It didn’t take long for Joe to correct me and share that he had bought Thera Cane for the endless bumps and lumps he builds up in his back working two jobs. I had stopped rubbing out those lumps shortly after we got married. People change. And my hands were really sore. These were a LOT of lumps we were talking.

Since arriving at our house, Thera Cane gets pulled out every other night. My husband complains less and my hands stay intact for all the laundry that needs to be done around here.

On behalf of the entire Walsh family, you have provided a great product:  cheaper than a masseuse and more effective than a tired wife.

You rock.

Marianne Walsh


As of right now, there has been no response.  But I am still holding out.  Click HERE to see how the competition is faring!

Marianne's score remains at 68.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week 24: The Contest - Wave Hoop

Week 24 of THE CONTEST brings me to my latest obsession:  HOOPING. 


Dear Wave Hoop -

As a 41 year-old stay-at-home mom, I thought my window for reinventing myself was long-since closed. Then I discovered your Wave Hoop. Like many moms of a certain age, most cheap little plastic hoops just don’t pass muster against the proud child-bearing hips of the middle-aged woman. As a former hooper, I was convinced I would never experience hooping joy again.

Your Wave Hoop changed all that. The hoop is substantial enough to maintain its old flight pattern around my hips. I was transported back in time to carefree hooping days of lore. The water inside? GENIUS. I have shed two inches from my waist. And I realize now that it is never too late to reinvent oneself.

My name is Marianne. And I hoop.


Marianne Walsh


Andrea might have me beat this week as to date, nada.

It really doesn't matter.

All the happy hooping endorphins keep me content with my current 68 points.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Best Friends & Burritos

The following appears in the November edition of Chicago Parent.


It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"― A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

College graduation. 
My best friend, Jeanette, and I go back 30 years. The fact that my pal did not ditch me in the early 1990s is astounding. I can be difficult and irrational while walking a fine line on this side of sanity.

A recent conversation:

Marianne: I think I want to move to El Salvador so the kids can learn fluent Spanish. I have googled homes and found a charming little one-bedroom made of twigs. Minimalism is awesome.

Jeanette: You’re having a manic episode again. Gimme all your credit cards.

Marianne: Right. Anyway, flights are tricky and I couldn’t find anything on Expedia, but you guys would totally visit for like Christmas, right?

Jeanette: I am just going to hold onto your passport here for a bit, ‘kay?

Jeanette has seen me through bad haircuts, bad boyfriends, and bad postpartum
moments where l cried for hours. After giving birth to my second son, it was Jeanette who drove Jack and me home from Northwestern Hospital as my husband was in the fire academy and unable to leave.

Jeanette remains the only friend who promises to change my diapers when I grow old. If that is not love, I do not know what is.

It got me thinking about my sons and the friends they have selected. They are about the same age I was when I met Jeanette. Would they choose as wisely? I began listening in on recent conversations in hopes of identifying integrity and loyalty amongst the grade school boy set. My findings:

Son #1: You wanna go to the park and see who’s there?

Friend #1: Nah. You got chips?

Son #2: Who wants to play hockey?

Friend #2: Not now. But is your dad home? If he is, ask if I can stay for dinner. If it’s just your mom, I’m sick of cereal.


Apparently, the dynamics for boy relationships are mostly food-based. I started studying my husband, a guy who maintains decades-long friendships effortlessly, for insight. His chums continue to golf, bowl, and argue politics on a weekly basis. I have seen them fight passionately, but then turn instantly on any stranger who attempts to take sides. “This is between friends, buddy,” they will admonish interlopers, “it has nothing to do with you.”

Joe’s gang represents a diverse cross-section of personalities, interests, and temperaments. There are CEOs, firefighters, policemen, teachers, and lawyers. Most bystanders would be amazed they could get along for five minutes, let alone 30 years. I eavesdropped for secrets to the male bromance.

Joe: You guys wanna do burritos after golf tomorrow?

Friend #1: Sounds good. It’s not like your wife cooks.

*uproarious group laughter*


In the end, I still cannot put my finger on how exactly one keeps friends for a lifetime. Is it happenstance? An innate sense of loyalty? A shared affinity for midnight burritos? No matter the impetus, I pray my sons will find forever friends who will stand with them without question or judgment. Friends who can lift them when they are down, cajole them when they are misdirected, and stand with them when the world does not.

Most importantly, I hope my boys will offer the same thing right back.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Week 23: The Contest - Hefty

In case you missed it, I sort of gave myself a bye week recently for The Contest.

I got distracted by all the Halloween candy.

No matter!  I'm back and with short days and seasonal depression, I went to the dark side, all in the name of good fun.

I kill me sometimes.


Dear Hefty,

I am not sure if you are aware, but your black Hefty garbage bags are getting a bum rap. In recent years, every time Dexter disposed of a body on HBO or police carried evidence from a crime scene on the nightly news, there were your bags. It was as though the world was trying to paint you as some sort of evil co-conspirator. This is grossly unfair to you and the great product you provide.

Hefty is so much more than simply the bag of choice for serial killers hiding the bodies. As a mom, I have found your garbage bags invaluable. I can stash a year’s worth of outgrown clothes into a single bag for Goodwill. All autumn leaves from our solitary tree fit comfortably into one bag as well. Hefty bags are practically miraculous in their ability to store infinite amounts of items without running out of room.

It is almost as though Jesus made them.

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I don’t think ill of your glorious black bags even when so many want to criminalize your awesomeness. You have been there for me for countless moves, garbage disposal, and tarp usage. It is my duty to be there for you as well.


Marianne Walsh


Well, I thought I was funny.

But I'm thinking Hefty may be holding a grudge as there has been no response as of yet, leaving my current score at 68.

To check out the competition, visit Andrea!