Poking Fun is an Oxymoron

SELF Magazine obtained permission from a runner in the most recent L.A. Marathon to use a photo of her crossing the finish line in a Wonder Woman tutu.

monika allen
Photo credit: USA Today

The photo ran in SELF’s “BS Meter” section, a column that operated like a group of mean girls. The monthly column judged whether something was “legit” or “lame.” Ms. Allen’s tutu was judged lame by “SELF”-proclaimed experts. If you’ve ever raced, watched from the sidelines, or seen photos of races, you know that lots of runners rock the tutu. But even if you aren’t a fan of this fitness fashion statement, why judge and begrudge someone’s fun?

But they only meant to poke fun, right?

As it turned out, the runner wearing the Wonder Woman tutu happened to be Monika Allen. She is the owner of Glam Runner, a company that makes tutus for runners and supports the youth organization, Girls on the Run. She is also a brain cancer survivor. After the story surfaced, SELF agreed that it was hurtful. The magazine moved the conversation forward by apologizing and going so far as to cancel the BS Meter column. Did it do so because of publicity and pressure? Maybe. Probably. But why isn’t that also a good thing? It allowed for a positive lesson to be more widely disseminated, a lesson that is important to consider and revisit.

In their book Angel Words, Doreen Virtue and Grant Virtue describe being astounded by the visual evidence they discovered while recording podcasts in a computer program that positive words (e.g., admiration) made much larger visual representations than did negative words (e.g., jealousy). In fact, the word “angel” is actually shaped like angel wings!  In this engaging book (with a cover so lovely I bought an actual book rather than downloading it to my Kindle), the authors explore the power of speech by examining it visually, anecdotally, historically, philosophically, spiritually, and scientifically. It’s an interesting and enlightening read.

angel words
Image source: goodreads.com

Most of us don’t make it out of this lifetime without saying something that hurts someone else. The best we can do is to practice kindness in word and deed. And when we get it wrong, because sometimes we will get it wrong, we can only make it right the best way we can and make it a practice to do better next time.

It seems to me that poking fun at someone is more about poking and less about fun. What say you?

To the extent that this post looks even a little bit like a tutu and/or book review, it is totally unsolicited and unpaid. Moreover, although I linked to Glam Runner and Amazon, I do not receive any compensation if you buy a tutu or a book there (or elsewhere).  I have policies about reviews, you know, because this joint is a serious operation with policies and official legal language.

As an aside, I am wondering if Glam Runner sells any sort of themed tutus that would work for me as I am pushed across the finish line in my grandson’s stroller eating a Gibson Girl ice cream sundae in the Disneyland Star Wars Half Marathon in January.

There’s still time!  You have until 11:59 PM PDT on August 20th to enter to win an autographed copy of Kicks Like a Girl!  And until 11:59 PM PDT on September 3rd to enter to be one of eight lucky readers to participate in an online book club with the author, Melissa Westemeier!  Check it out!  CLICK RIGHT HERE!

Remember That Time?

Remember that time I had to go to a function at my daughter’s school and my hair looked pretty awesome but I decided to take a shower and wash it anyway so my hair would be at the very peak of awesomeness because my daughter’s friends, friends’ parents, teachers, and school administrators would all be attending?

Remember how I washed my hair and let it air dry while I got dressed and put on my makeup?

Remember when my hair wasn’t getting dry in the air, which was weird because the air temperature that day was somewhere between Habanero pepper and thermonuclear meltdown?

Remember when I started blow drying my hair it stayed wet and slick and flat and what the heck?

Remember how I realized that I had not rinsed out the conditioner? At all.

Remember when it was time to leave for the function and I was dressed with my makeup on but it looked like Gomer Pyle had greased my head?

gomer pyleRemember Gomer Pyle? (Just curious.  Irrelevant.  Carry on.)

Remember how I didn’t have time to jump back into the shower, rinse my hair, get dressed again, reapply my makeup, and blow dry my hair?

Remember how I ran to the kitchen sink and stuck my head under the faucet?

Remember when I finally finished blow drying my hair it was helmet-like and stiff, kind of like Darth Vader meets Donald Trump?

Remember when I got the bright idea that I could fluff it up with some baby powder?

Remember when I showed up at the function for my daughter’s school attended by her friends, friends’ parents, teachers, and school administrators with my hair looking like Darth Vader meets Donald Trump and smelling like a baby’s butt?

I don’t remember any of that either.

There’s still time to enter to win an autographed copy of Kicks Like a Girl and/or be one of eight lucky readers to participate in an online book club with the author, Melissa Westemeier!  Check it out!  CLICK RIGHT HERE!

Kicks Like a Girl

If you are not one of the almost 50,000,000 people who have watched the Always #LikeAGirl video on YouTube, here’s the link:


The message is clear and resounding. Doing anything “like a girl” is a positive thing. And that’s the connotation in the title of Melissa Westemeier’s third book, Kicks Like a Girl.

Kicks Like a Girl eBook CoverMelissa created a relatable and embraceable character in Gretchen Benton. In one of her vulnerable moments, Gretchen gets knocked down, as in on the floor. But she doesn’t stay down. Gretchen gets back up like a girl, and kicking too. As Gretchen’s journey unfolds, you will get mad for her, laugh with her, and be encouraged by her. When the story wraps up you will . . . have to read it to find out!  You can click on the book cover photo above for a sneak peek at the first chapter.

Here’s some exciting news about this book and the author:

We will be giving away an autographed copy of Kicks Like a Girl right here! To win, just leave a comment on this post before 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday, August 20th and I will pick the winner and random and post his or her name the following day.

Here’s some even more exciting news about this book and the author:

Blog This Mom!@ will be hosting a one-hour online book club with Melissa Westemeier as our special guest! In September (time and date to be determined) eight lucky readers will join Melissa and me on Skype for a book club!  Bring your coffee or tea, questions for the author, and log in for an hour of discussion and fun.  If you have read Kicks Like a Girl (or will have read it by September, after Labor Day) and would like to participate in the online book club, leave a comment here before 11:59 PM Pacific Daylight Time on Wednesday, September 3rd and I will pick and post the winners the following day.

Good luck! Now go read like a girl!

NOTE from Blog This Mom!®:  This book review and giveaway is totally unsolicited and unpaid. Moreover, although I like Melissa Westemeier (and her blog and books), I do not receive any compensation if you purchase one of her books. I think Melissa will like us if you buy her book, but I think she will like us even if we don’t, and especially so if we are kind people because Melissa is a kind person, that’s why.  In any event, I have policies about reviews, you know, because this joint is a serious operation with policies and official legal language.

Grateful for Hot Wheels, Pink-Haired Joggers, and Binge-Writing. You?

Speaking of Facebook shenanigans, there’s a positivity meme going around. I’ve seen variations on the number of days, tags, and list items, but apparently the basic idea is to post a daily list of positive things. I got tagged. I don’t play Candy Crush or Farmville, and I may or may not take quizzes, but I sure like reading everyone’s positivity lists. In fact, I rather like the idea of contributing something positive to the Facebook aether, even if it means Facebook is mining my data some more. At least it won’t be data from my posts about what I spilled on my shirt today or how I forgot to rinse the conditioner out of my hair and created a new helmet look that would make Darth Vader envious. J.J. Abrams, email me if you wanna see.

Making a daily gratitude list is something I started a few years back when I began following Schmutzie’s Grace in Small Things. Schmutzie is a soulful creator of life-affirming words and images. If you haven’t checked her out before, go do it. But then come back because I like you too, that’s why.

gratitude journalWhen I first started my gratitude journal, finding five things to list each day was sometimes a challenge, and I knew just by looking around me that shouldn’t be the case. Sometimes I forget to write for a day week or so, but I always feel better on the days I write my list. Obviously, a gratitude practice means practice for some of us. So I do.

Here is a random sample from my gratitude journal: watching “The Italian Job” with my daughter, playing Hot Wheels with my grandson, time for binge-writing, chatting with Sylvie, seeing a day moon, a pot of hydrangeas, ginger chicken tacos with Shelly, lavender candles, a beautiful day at the beach, white sheets, Friday, fire-roasted artichokes, playing poker with my daughter, getting a pedicure with my husband, purple toenail polish, sleeping in until 7:30 AM, playing the Castle computer game with my daughter, having coffee with Sheila, date night, eating lunch outside, seeing a woman jog by with pink hair, my kids always winning at Mario Kart when they play with me, and hearing my grandson sing his ABCs.

Do you have a gratitude practice? What is it? Tell me one or more things you’re grateful for today. Let’s get the positivity flowing here too!

Aspiring to Be Oprah’s Dog

What’s your spirit flower?

Is your soul hippie, punk, or goth?

Who’s your ‘80s hunk?

Which BBQ food are you?

Which Downton Abbey character are you?

What city should you actually live in?

How much of a foodie are you?

What is your REAL age?

What kind of dog were you in a past life?

This is a random sampling of the quizzes found on Facebook these days. You may have even taken some. I’m not saying that I have or anything. But if I had taken any Facebook quizzes, I may or may not be Sybil Branson, living in San Diego, a 93% foodie, and 42 years old. I would have shaved off more than a decade right there, if I had taken the Facebook “What is your REAL age” quiz, so that would be a good reason right there to have done so, but I admit nothing.  Also, if I had taken the foodie quiz, I think my 100% score would have been 93% only because I don’t brew my own beer, that’s why. Or Facebook remembers that time I went to Sonic, America’s Drive-In, and ate chili cheese tots because a server wearing roller skates brought them to me, that’s why.

sonic totsBut I don’t know what is my spirit flower, whether my soul is a hippie, or what BBQ food I would be even if I were grilled all the livelong day. Good golly people, I don’t even know what a spirit flower is, do you?

But let’s consider that last quiz on my list more carefully. For two seconds. Because I could care less what kind of dog I was in a past life.  What I know for sure is what kind of dog I want to be in my next life. Let’s discuss.

oprahs dog
You get a car! You get a car! You get a car!

I want to be Oprah’s dog in my next life. Heck, I’d even pretend to be Oprah’s dog in this life if I could grow enough hair and a tail. You might be wondering why not do away with a next-life lifestyle that requires sniffing other dogs’ butts and just be Oprah with her billions of dollars, organic farm in Maui, and a home in Mendocino with its own separate tea house? Nah. Oprah has to work really hard. But Oprah’s dog? Not so much. Oprah’s dog reaps all of the benefits of her billions without so much as lifting a paw, unless you count constantly boarding that $42 million dollar jet to go from Montecito to Maui and back as a lot of effort.

So.  In addition to dividing my time between California and Hawaii, I made a list of some of the lifestyle changes that would happen to me if I were Oprah’s dog.

1. My dog house would be decorated by Nate Berkus.

2. Art Smith would make my puppy chow.

3. Bob Greene would walk me.

4. Andre Walker would groom me.

5. Tyler Perry, Maria Shriver, and Michelle Obama would be hanging out and pet me.

6. Rumor has it that Oprah left $30,000,000 in her will to her dogs, so we know with that kind of coin, I’d totally have Suze Orman manage my wealth.

7. Dr. Oz would fix me up if I caught a parvovirus or something. I bet he’d even explain to us what is a parvovirus while wearing those purple gloves of his and making Oprah (but not me because I’m a dog, remember?) hold some dreadfully gory body part.

8. Iyanla could fix my life, which is not the same as getting fixed, amirite?


Well, if this isn’t the “tale” wagging the dog, I don’t know what is. But, doggone, I’m out of ideas. Help me!

Do you have any thoughts about how my next life would be improved by becoming Oprah’s dog? Would you want to be Oprah’s dog? If not, what would you like to be in your next life?

Photo credit:  Every one of these photos was shamelessly jacked from Google Images by using high-tech search terms such as “Dr. Oz purple gloves” and “Sonic chili cheese tots” and “dog driving car.”


Hugh Jackman says, “And the Free *Pot & Chocolate Goes to . . .”

hugh jackmanAt the Oscars there are no winners and losers. The award goes to someone, you see.  Although if you ask the people who didn’t get the gold statue if that distinction is any consolation, I suspect the answer is not so much.  So, boo, I’m sorry if the FREE *teaPOT and CHOCOLATE didn’t go to you, but after running the number of qualified comments through a random number transmogrifer, it selected the winning, er, go-to-er comment number!

winnerMelissa Westemeier of Green Girl in Wisconsin!  I thought you’d like it if Hugh Jackman presented your award to you, so I jacked his image from the L.A. Times asked him to make a special appearance here today.  Congratulations!

If you didn’t win, er, have the teapot and chocolate presented to you by Hugh Jackman, you can always search “Hugh Jackman” on Google Images head over to visit Gary Rith’s blog to see what he’s got cookin’ in his kiln.  He makes teapots, vases, bowls, mugs, and all manner of pottery.  My house is filled with his creations, which makes me a POTtery head, I suppose.  Not only will you love Gary’s pottery, but he posts great recipes, rollicking glimpses into his daily life, and from time-to-time works of fiction that will have you on the edge of your office chair.

Blog This Mom!® will be back on Monday!  Stay tuned . . .

NOTE from Blog This Mom!®:  This giveaway (both pottery and chocolate) and review is totally unsolicited and unpaid. Moreover, although I like Gary Rith, Chuao Chocolatier, and Numi Organic Tea, I do not receive any compensation if you by their products. I think they will like me right back if you buy their products. But they’ll probably like you more. In any event, I have policies about reviews, you know, because this joint is a serious operation with policies and official legal language.

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