Tuesday, December 27, 2011

It's the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer

(post copyright 2010, Dawn Weber)
(Please enjoy this re-post while I take a little bloggy break. Anyway, can it really be the holidays without this goofy shit little ditty I wrote last year?)

It’s the Most Wonderful Time For a Beer!
My paycheck has gone
Straight to Amazon Com
And the husband’s in tears!
It’s the Most Wonderful Time
For a Beer!

It’s the Hap, Happiest Season
Of All!
Unless you're a woman
In which case you're gonna
Be frantic as hell!
It's the Hap, Happiest Season
Of All!

There'll be lights that aren't lighting
Causing Weber fighting
While hanging the crap on the tree
There'll be traffic to crawl through
To get to the mall through
Please - give some Xanax to me.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time
For a Beer!
The tree’s leaning left
Why is it leaning left?
Shit - give me more beer!
It’s the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer!

It's the most Wonderful Time for a Beer!
With visiting relatives
Making me wish I had
Non-working ears!
It's the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer!

There’ll be candy for eating
And fudge to be sneaking
And egg nog filling my glass
There’ll be cookies for scarfing
And pies to be snarfing
Just slap it all right on my ass!

It's the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer!
The money's all spent
I know right where it went
These two kids right here!
It's the Most Wonderful Time...
It's the Most Nerve-Wracking Time...
It's the Most Wonderful Time for a Beer!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

You Spin Me Right Round. Like a 60s Crooner, Baby

Arguing with my best friend - a tradition since 1976.

Yeah, she's entitled to her opinion.

Too bad for her it's wrong.

"Green!" I say.
"Red!" she says.

She is a stellar mother, wife, daughter, church council member and director of food services for an entire state university. She has been my very best friend for nearly 30 years. Still, she is...


And frankly, I don't mind telling her so.

"No way, Amber! You know green is better. Come on!" I say.
"Uh-uh. Sorry. The red one is the best." she says.

She and I like to debate Very Important Issues. Such as politics, child rearing, religion and the Andy Williams Christmas albums.

Shut up. We're old. And, apparently, nerds.

In the 70s, over on Garfield Road, she grew up listening to the red-covered "Andy Williams Christmas Album" - the Red One - during the holidays.

Clearly Inferior

While a mile away, I spent my holidays listening to the Green One -"Merry Christmas" Andy Williams.

Obviously the right choice
Yep. From age four, the Green One was always the first Christmas record I loaded onto our big-azz wooden console stereo.

"Jing-a-ling! Jing-jing-a-ling!"

That's how it starts out, with "Sleigh Ride." Then, I'd begin my seasonal hobby of spinning in circles in front of the Christmas tree. The music, all those colors - they were everything. They brought magic, and I made it my mission to spin fast enough that my eyeballs would register the lights as one continuous blur.

Goalz: Even as a preschooler, I had them. Obviously, I was destined for greatness. And possibly autistic.

We didn't own the Red One, but lots of other folks did. So I tried spinning in circles as they played it on their big-azz console stereos. The first song?

"I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..."

Zzzzz. Lame. Try to spin fast enough to blur the lights with that one. I stopped spinning, plunked down and listened to the rest of it. Yeah, Andy still sang, but aside from "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year," the record stunk. Lacked a certain Je Ne Sais What.

It was clear that the Red One was for losers.

I told this to my best friend. Then, we argued.

We argued about it in the 70s, wearing polyester.
"Green!" I said.
We argued about it in the 80s, with spiral perms.
"Red!" she said.
We argued about it in the 90s, with our toddlers in tow.
"Green!" I said.

We argued this in her Buick. We argued in my Ford. We have argued this in our high school, our kitchens, on cruise ships, on the phone and on Facebook. The other day, I received this text from her:



Sorry about your luck, my BFF. Because I now have proof positive that the Green Andy Williams album is better. I found the following information about your Red One on Amazon.com, therefore it must be true.

See that, Amber? Wade here says that "Andy's consummate artistry was better in the 'Green Album'"... and that "I will go to play the "Green Album before the 'Red Album.'"

And it's not just Wade, no. Rodney also prefers the green:

"Christmas man" Rodney says that the Green One "has a little more christmas spark in it..."

What's that, BFF? Still not convinced? O.K.

As you can see, "Joshua" feels strongly about this.

So go ahead, Amber, play your loser Red One.

I'll be spinning and dancing in front of the tree, playing the Green One, along with Wade, Rodney, Joshua, the rest of "Mankin" and this cool cat:

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Santa and His Bra

(post copyright 2010, Dawn Weber. Slightly re-worked post from last year. Because - surprise! - I'm a little busy over here!)

Pssst...Santa wears a bra. And panties. And, sometimes, pumps.

That's because he is a she.

Has to be. Take a look around - there's no other way to explain it. All around the U.S., women are frantically planning for the holiday season.

And men...aren't.

I hate to sound sexist. So I'll just perpetuate a male/female stereotype. This time of year, women cook. We clean. We decorate. We bake cookies for entire school districts. We plan gourmet menus for people we hate.

We deck the freaking halls.

Females stalk sales, surf the web, shop the shops and max out the credit cards. We Blacken Friday.

That's because we have to buy for kids, husbands, moms and dads. We have to buy for aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas, friends, friends' kids, dogs, cats, garbage men, the homeless and homeless garbage men.

There is one - and only one - logical reason for this: We are suckas...Sucka Clauses.

Guys? They don't worry about this stuff. They don't have to. They have us.

Hold the angry comments - because I know there are exceptions not many. But for the most part, women regard December 1 as the beginning of a frantic, stressful emergency.

Men regard December first as...December first.

In fact, the whole season takes my husband by surprise.

On December 10: "What? You bought 80 Christmas cards!? Do we KNOW 80 people?"

On December 15: "What? You want to get a Christmas tree? Already?"

On December 20: "What? You want to put up lights? Already?"

And my personal favorite, on December 24: "What do you want for Christmas, dear? It's time for me to start shopping..."

Of course, my holiday shopping began in December, too. December of last year.

Purchasing presents ranks as the only holiday activity I enjoy. That's because it's the one time of year that I can spend many thousands of dollars! Virtually guilt-free! Because it's for others! Mostly. Except for those boots...and that Ipod...and...

So as not to cause the husband's first heart attack yet, I usually try to space out gift-buying over several paychecks. I don't always succeed, though, judging by our recent conversation:

"Holy s%#t!" he said, looking at the checkbook register.

"I know," I said. "But I had to start shopping so the stuff gets shipped on time."

"But four hundred forty- eight DOLLARS?!!" he said. "What did you buy?!"

"Stuff for the kids...the grandmas... And I'm not even close to done yet, so stop complaining," I said.

"But...four hundred forty-eight dol..." he said.

"You think this stuff just magically appears under the tree, don't you?" I said.

"Don't Santa and the elves bring it?" he said.

"You're lookin' at Santa. And the elves. And her checkbook," I said. "Now, hand us a beer, would ya? We're beat, and these new boots are killing us."

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wonder Woman? The Bionic Woman? They Got Nothin' on the Bacteria Banshee

(post copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)

I have chosen a life of public service. Apparently.

I blame my boobs. I'm pretty sure they've given me superpowers.

It seems my big-girl beacons have made me an extraordinary human, because I am the ONLY one in my family capable of certain things. No one else at my place has a grown-up set of mammies, and no one else can do the things I do.

I am special. And not in a short bus, need-to-wear-a-helmet kind of way.

Now, you might think I'm not capable of being a superhero. You'd be wrong, sir, because I spent the better part of the 70s and maybe some of the 80s shut up watching "The Bionic Woman" and "Superfriends." So clearly, I am qualified.

I am sanitizer-toting. I am virus-seeking. I am a Bacteria Banshee!

Able to leap steaming puppy puddles in a single bound! More Powerful than any super-virus! Look! There with the Clorox wipes! It’s a maid! It’s Mrs. Clean! No - it’s Bacteria Banshee!

I first became aware of my Bacteria Banshee powers when I found that I am the sole family member with the ability to see the crumbs, food, dried milk, festering germs and sometimes dog hair shut up all over our counters and kitchen table.

Tuesday through Friday, I work late and arrive home long after dinnertime. Thus, my family members are lazy and go about their meals eating amongst – and creating more – debris, oblivious to the seething Petri dish on the kitchen surfaces. They are just too freakin' lazy weak to wipe. Apparently.

Lucky for them, come Saturday morning, I arise from bed, gather my Bacteria Banshee strength and hoist the Clorox wipe container. I whip out towelettes and commence cleaning, thereby saving my family, my neighbors and probably you from the pulsating pandemic that is our kitchen table.

My Banshee powers also give me the ability to be the only one who sees the dirty dishes piled in the sink. Though my family knows their dirty plates should go in the dishwasher, they are still freakin' lazy and choose to place them in the sink, where. . .poof! They disappear. It's downright magical! To their eyes anyway. No one can see the dirty dishes anymore!

Except for me!

And Saturday morning, after the kitchen sanitizing, I turn my attention to the crumb-, food-, dried milk-, festering germ- and sometimes dog hair-covered shut up dirty dishes. I load each piece into the dishwasher, a task too taxing for mere freakin' lazy mortals. Apparently.

I also provide Bacteria Banshee public service announcements in this calm and supportive manner:

"Use a *&$%# tissue!"
"Wash your #@%^ hands!"
"For f*#x sake, don't let the dog eat off your plate!"

Wacky commands like these perplex my crew. But they do what I ask, lest they suffer my Lysol wrath.

These are just the awesome superpowers I use at home. I am even more psycho impressive out and about:

Watch as Bacteria Banshee contorts body in effort to push elevator buttons without using fingers! See her recover money from ATM using sanitized pen and no hands! Marvel at Bacteria Banshee’s skill as she pumps gas with feet!

I bet you're wishing you had a Bacteria Banshee in your household. We all know that when germs are left un-checked, bad things happen in this country, such as pandemics and swine flus and George Bushes.

Fear not. Crazy bitch Women like me, with breasts, abound. And we are ready, willing and armed with chemical weapons to protect freakin' lazy families everywhere.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Knowledge and Wisdom. As Seen on T.V.

I am full of bullshit valuable information.

Yes, this is a blog filled with hard-hitting journalism. Sometimes, I wonder why people don't ask for my opinion more often. I mean, look at me:

Clearly, I am loaded. With knowledge. And stuff.

Far be it from me to withhold this wisdom from you. No sir -- I'm a giver. So here at Lighten Up!, I have written three tons of posts on very vital, useful, As Seen On T.V. topics.

Such as the Dairy Queen Blizzard Maker:
Well spank me sideways and call me 'fatty'! Where's my debit card?

Spank me sideways and call me 'Maria'! Add El Toro tequila (red plastic sombrero included) for the world's skinniest, cheapest-azz margarita.

And, how can we forget the GoGirl! female urination device:
Spank me sideways and call me 'Don.' Because sitting down to pee was KILLING me! Where's my debit card?

I don't just keep readers informed about the latest, greatest products, no - I pass out nuggets of knowledge, too. I am so full of this type of shit intelligence that a couple of my fellow bloggers, Robyn and Iris I pimped you gals! Pimpin' ain't easy! have given a name to my pearls of wisdom. Ladies and gents, I present to you --  "Dawn-isms:"

  • Motherhood: the end of a perfectly good body.
  • Smartphones: because no one should be bored on the toilet.
  • Football season: a damn fine reason to go shopping. Every Sunday. For four months.
  • Dishwashers: proof of God's existence.
  • Broken Dishwashers: proof of Satan's existence.
  • Prozac: It's what's for breakfast.
  • Ohio: Just keep flying over - you ain't missing anything.
  • Mike Rowe: Come here, handsome. I've got a Dirty Job for you, Mike Rowe.
  • Adulthood: the end of a perfectly good time.
  • Life: far too short to live in Ohio.
  • Cheap beer: causing Dawn's dubious dancing since 1987 or 1986, maybe '85...shut up.
  • Reality: always a buzzkill.
  • Staff Meetings: Yes. You CAN sleep with your eyes open!
  • Pedestrians: the other white meat.
  • Breastfeeding: the end of perfectly good boobies.
  • Merlot: keeping Mommy sane since 1997.

I got a million of 'em. And really -- you don't have to thank me for all these insights. Just send money -- lots and lots of money -- then spank me sideways and call me 'Rich.'

Where's your debit card?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Ah, the 80s: Pickup Trucks, Parties and My Bright Red Neck

(Post copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)
At 17, I purchased a vehicle so that I'd have a way to achieve my dream...

Attend all parties.

It's good to have goals.

McDonald's job earnings paid for my ride, a 1984 Ford Ranger. But the McDonald's job also interfered with my mission of attending all parties.

So sometimes, I just didn't go to my McDonald's job.

Priorities. I had them.

Yes, my first car was a truck, and it was fantastic. Never caught fire even once. (Unlike that piece-of-shit second car of mine, the Flaming Fairmont of Death. That sum-bitch tried to kill me. Several times.)

As you can see, I've been pondering Deep, Meaningful Bullshit About Life Long Time Ago When We Was Fab again, and I'm feeling kind of down because I've just found out I'm about to lose an old friend.

U.S. Ford Ranger production will end this year, on Dec. 22.

Reality: such a buzzkill.

Since its 1982-83 inception, 7 million Rangers have been sold in the U.S. One of them, the dark blue 1984 one with the strawberry-scented Rolling Stones air freshener, was mine.

I chose a pickup because they are an integral ingredient for a proper get together in my hometown - a Springfield Party. They're perfect transportation to your muddy party venue.

Yeah. Where you see a field or an abandoned strip mine, we see a dance floor.

Not only do trucks take you to the get together, they provide handy tailgate seating, and haul wood for the fire. And where I come from, it is not a party without a fire. And possible brawls. And potential police involvement.

It's all good, though - parties that don't kill you only make you stronger. And I fancied myself pretty badass heading to the fields in my sweet old man truck pickup. All the guys were SO not, not even close to checkin' my style.

Because really. What's sexier than a pint-sized, economically challenged girl in a 2-wheel-drive grandpa truck?

They see me rollin'.

Good, good times.

But then I promptly wrecked it. Three times. In less than two years. Not after parties, no sir - on the way to work and school. In broad-damn-daylight.

Driving skillz - I lacked them.

The insurance premium grew to an astronomical rate, and I was forced to get rid of the Ranger and inherit my Mom's beater, the aforementioned effin' Flaming Fairmont of Death. A mere sedan.

The truck ended up back at my hometown Ford Dealer, and I'm sure it then passed through several more hands and attended several more parties before rusting to death in the junkyard.

Although they weren't - and aren't - nearly as awesome as my grandpa truck 1984 Ranger, I've owned three more trucks since, including the red F-150 from Craigslist that we have now. The Husband says it's his truck.

The Husband is wrong.

Even though I'm older and possibly peri-menopausal shut up, I won't ever be without a pickup. You never know when you'll need to haul Walmart bags. Or a keg. Or throw a Springfield party.

Because where you see a tailgate, I see a dance floor.

Long may you run, blue Ranger. I miss you.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Me, My Son and his Cheap-Azz Costume

(post and snapshot, copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)

You're so splendid, in your ordinary costume.

You think so anyway. I guess you're supposed to be a Grim Reaper. Or a jawa. Or something. I don't know. This getup came from Walmart, of course it did.  I'm not paying any thirty-damn-dollars for the fancy, bloody costume you wanted at the "Halloween U.S.A." store. You'll only wear it twice.

Anyway, have you met me? Yeah. C'mon, son, we're going to Walmart.

"O.K., Mom," you said.

Things are always O.K. with you.

A few days later, I help you pull the thin fabric over your head, and gently place the Made In China light-up glasses over your brown eyes. I have doubts that said Made in China light-up glasses will survive the evening. I am right.

Of course I am. Have you met me? I'm always right.

And before the night ends, your Dad has to duct-tape the frames back together.

None of this concerns you. Pleased as pumpkins, you are, with this chintzy scrap of black polyester. I know this because I catch your smile, Little Reaper, when your Death Hood blows in the breeze.

"O.K. I'm all ready for the costume contest."

You're excited. I know you are, though you try not to show it much because you're practically a man now, being nine and all. You walk proudly and regally to the judging. Just the way a tiny Harbinger of Death should.

You're pretty sure you'll win.

Me? I'm not quite as certain. At the party, I look around and see scads of kids whose moms obviously either 1: shelled out thirty clams for "Halloween U.S.A." offerings or 2: made elaborate costumes for their children. Using actual sewing machines. The colors and effort put into these outfits sear my retinas, like a flashing neon sign.

A sign that says: "You suck, Mommy."

Still proud, still regal, you parade in front of the judges with the others, in a getup that was probably sewn by a little Nicaraguan girl in a sweat shop. Now I wish I'd spent the extra money, bought you the nicest, bloodiest costume "Halloween U.S.A." had to offer. Or at least busted out my dusty sewing machine.

Because you didn't win.

Walking back from the judging, we discuss it.

"Mom, do you think they let the younger kids win? You know, since they're little? Because my costume is pretty good," you say.

Right here, I am nearly pulled to my knees with the weight of my love for you, your kindness and your absolute confidence in your cheap-azz costume. Next year, Little Reaper, we shall go to "Halloween U.S.A." with a giant wad of thirty-damn-dollars in cash.

"Yeah, buddy, I'm sure that's it," I say.

"Aw. That's O.K.," you say.

Things are always O.K. with you.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hangin With the Ohioans. Down for Whatever

(Post copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)
It's another exhilarating Saturday night in Ohio.

And we of the Too Old To Go To Bars club are doing what we do best: playing cards.

Titillating, no?

We play Hearts because I refuse to learn Euchre, Official State Card Game of Ohio. Not playing Euchre is a lifelong goal of mine.

I dream big.

My buddy Ron and the other high school boys tried to teach it to me in the 80s. Surrounded by dozens of cans of Milwaukee's Best, they'd explain the "tricks," the "reneging," the "trump."

I'd become bored, stand up and fast-forward the AC/DC cassette.

Then, as now, Euchre makes no damn sense to me whatsoever. Is trump good? Is trump bad? Pages and pages of rules, yet you can throw down any old card. Maybe a suit is followed, maybe it isn't.

It is the fickle bitch of card games.

I have tried learning Euchre while drinking, thinking maybe it would make more sense. I have tried stone sober. I have tried during the day, I have tried in the moonlight. I have tried at tables, on porches, in campers, and at many a picnic table. I have even tried on a boat. The Carnival cruise ship "Glory," to be exact.

Yeah, when the Big Guy handed out the Euchre genes, I was elsewhere. Probably over at the boombox, fast-forwarding the AC/DC cassette.It's supposed to be an easy game, I know, I know. But, as my friend Wow,That Was Awkward said, I am Euchre stoo-pid.  Thanks a lot, WowYou asshat. And since knowledge of the game is pretty much required in the Buckeye State - they'll probably kick me out someday. Please, somebody, do it. Get me the HELL out of here!

But that's O.K. I own it. And? I quit. Yes - although it threatens my status as a Midwesterner - I'm just going to admit it: I am blonde. I am forty-damn-two. I am done trying.

And I love NOT playing Euchre.

Hence? Hearts.

So. Come, join the fun at Marj and Greg's kitchen table here, in Beautiful Downtown Brownsville (Motto: Septic Tank Optional). Be warned - the jokes here are juvenile. But the beer is cold. Longtime Lighten Up readers all five of you! I love you guys! may remember "Wise Marj" from this post, and Greg the Handyman from this post.

We're down for whatever, for some high-life, with our cans of Miller Lite, our bags of mixed nuts, our Skynyrd Pandora channel...

"Greg! Play your damn card!" says Marj.
"What was led? Clubs?" says Greg.

He looks back at his hand, perplexed. He isn't paying attention again, Googling on the laptop beside him, looking up local folks who've lapsed on property taxes.

It's a hobby of his.

Marj rolls her eyes and leans over on her right cheek. She farts, aiming at Greg.

It's a hobby of hers.

"Shee-zus! Marj! Don't you think that's rude in front of our guests?" says Greg.

Marj crumbles her face, laughs hysterically. Marj is an Avid Farter, proud of her Legendary Abilities. We, "The Guests," have been playing Hearts surrounded by her "aura" for at least eight years now.

We know our fate. It's sealed. Airtight.

The Skynyrd channel plays on, we stack cans, we throw cards. Marj's first cloud clears. And amazingly, something smells good.

So I  say...
"Hey. Something smells good,"
"I think it's my nuts," says Greg, waving the bag of Planter's at my face. "Wanna smell my bag of nuts?"

We all double over, cracking up. The laughter taxes my middle-aged bladder, so I run for the bathroom, and Marj, chortling, leans over on her right cheek. She farts.

"Shee-zus! Marj!" Greg says.

A few minutes later, I return to the kitchen, start clicking through the Pandora channels. I have plenty of time to do this, because Greg is perplexed. Again.

Marj cheats, peeking at his hand and telling him which card to play. He does what she suggests.Then he promptly loses the hand.

"I see why you wanted me to throw that. Twat," he tells his bride.

Visibly annoyed, he looks over at us.

"You guys owe me!" he says.
"You're trying to get me to show you my boobs, aren't you?" I say.
"You offering?" he says.
"Wouldn't be the first time boobs were flashed at this table," says Marj.

She refers, of course, not to my boobs, but the boobs of others. Boobs not present this particular evening.

Over the years, Marj's table has seen many boobs, for various reasons. But not mine. Yet. Give it time.

We stack more cans, throw more cards, crack more jokes causing me several more trips to the bathroom. All the washing up dries out my hands.

So I say...
"Yuck. All this washing dried out my hands."

Greg waves his Planter's nut-bag.

"Here. Rub them on my greasy nuts."

Marj's face crumbles, she laughs, she leans...

Everybody ready? All together now. You know the drill:

"Shee-zus! Marj!"

I tell you what - this is all the excitement I can stand.

And it sure beats the hell outta Euchre.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where Were You?

(post copyright, 2011, Dawn Weber)

On the TV of the fifth-floor break-room, I watched those towers fall. I was working the morning of September 11, 2001 - you may have been, too. Just as they were.

My co-workers and I gathered around the set, white-faced, looking on as people jumped from the 110-story structures to end it, to escape the building's fiery hell. I wanted them all to get out, get OUT of there. Somehow.

I had visited the roof viewing deck of the World Trade Center just a few years before, in 1998, with a close friend of mine who lives in New York City. I wasn't thrilled about it at all.

"Um, isn't this the place where some guy blew up the Ryder Truck in the basement a while back?" I asked her.

She laughed, told me it would be fine, that I had to see the view.

A New Yorker, you know.

I have never liked tall buildings, and vowed never to work in one. In 2001, I didn't even like working on the fifth floor. Girls like me, from the cornfields, generally don't trust high-rises...too far from the outside and the earth and the...cornfields.

A hillbilly, you know.

As I watched the towers collapse on the TV in Ohio, I wondered how many of those people had been working when I visited in '98. If the lady who sold me my Diet Coke at the Trade Center's rooftop snack bar went to her job that day. If so, she didn't go home that night.

Two Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy-Seven people did not go home. Ever.

My co-workers and I went home.  We didn't have to work the next day, either. I sat on the front porch of my house, in the direct flight path of the Columbus airport, and looked at a sky now empty of its usual jets and vapor trails. Flight 93 had crashed near my sister-in-law's house in Pennsylvania, after reversing its course over the skies of northeast Ohio. Over the skies near my hometown, my mother and my friends and my fields.

The days and months following 9-11 blurred into mostly news coverage, and a while later, I visited my friend in New York City. Although I had talked to her, I wanted to be sure she was OK, that she was really still there. I went to the giant pit - all that was left of the World Trade Center. People in hardhats worked day and night, scooping rubble into dump trucks. I watched at the site as shredded computer paper swayed in the trees.

Then I realized it wasn't paper at all. It was the crumbled remains of the building's metal window blinds, twisted into the branches. I felt a little guilty, a little silly, for my sadness. After all, I was just a woman from the Midwest. I hadn't personally lost anyone in the terrorist attacks, I still had my family and my life and my work.

That changed soon enough. As a direct result of the post 9-11 tanking economy, many of my co-workers and I lost our jobs. Good jobs, close to home. Jobs that never returned.

Life goes on, the way it does. We had a new baby, so staying at home for a couple years became a blessing in disguise. Although the terrorists made sure our country would never be the same, I kept moving forward. You did, too.

In the blink of an eye, ten years have passed. Osama Bin Laden is dead. I work where I swore I never would: the 25th floor of a high-rise, an hour away from my house. I have no choice. Like so many of my laid-off 2002 co-workers, I had a hell of a time finding ANY job, let alone one nearby.

A few weeks ago at work, I watched my pencils roll across my desk for no apparent reason. The metal mini-blinds quivered in the windows of my building. Aftershocks of the earthquake in Virginia. Who'd have thought they'd reach all the way to Ohio? Although I felt somewhat alarmed, I watched the little scene in my office unfold with an almost amused detachment. Since September 11 - and all the tragedies and natural disasters since - nothing surprises me anymore.

The innocence is gone.

But I was O.K., I was lucky. I worked the rest of the day and walked out of my building that night, drove home from work to my family.You probably did, too.

 We are Americans. That's who we are. That's what we do.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Crazy Bitch: A Bloggy Doggy Giveaway

(post copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)
Be sure to comment below to win one of two copies of "I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales About Man's Best Friend From America's Favorite Humorists," edited by Wade Rouse

Every day, I deal with a little bitch.

She's short. She's black. She's dangerous.

She is Suzie Q. Weber, Dog of Doom. Dark Streak of Holy Terror. Furry Weapon of Mass Destruction.

You remember Suzie - sure you do - from posts such as this and this. As you may recall, her hobbies include sexually assaulting stuffed animals, scratching visitors' legs to bloody ribbons and chewing pavement.
Yep. I know a thing or two about bitches being one myself, so you can imagine my glee when I received the request to review "I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales About Man's Best Friend From America's Favorite Humorists," edited by acclaimed memoirist Wade Rouse.

It sounded like a book about bad dogs. Clearly, I am just the person for the job.

Except I guess we shouldn't call them "bad dogs" these days, lest we hurt their "feelings." We should call them "dogs with behavior issues."

Don't you think so, Suzie?

Contributors include five of my current favorite authors: Rouse, W. Bruce Cameron, Laurie Notaro, Jen Lancaster and - perhaps most notably - Chunk. You know, Chelsea Handler's dog.

Chunk himself writes the book's introduction. It's shocking that Handler even owns a dog - she's merrily mocked both dogs and dog owners in past books. But somehow, she decided to rescue Chunk from an L.A. shelter on his last day of doggie death row. And, just like the rest of us dummies dog owners, he has wrapped Handler around his paw.

He pulls her around on the leash. He "takes big dumps" for Handler to pick up. He sniffs everyone's ass and usually their crotch.

Huh. Sound familiar, Suzie?

In "A Dog Day Afternoon," Cameron tells the story of his late dog Carly, who enjoyed rousting him from bed so she could go back to sleep. She begged for bacon. She barked uncontrollably at the neighbor. She took off down the street and delayed Cameron's column writing.

Suzie? What say you? Suzie?!!

Rouse writes of Marge in "My Best Paw Forward." Marge, who willfully ignored her  dog trainer's screamed commands and responded only to the high, lilting language spoken by Rouse and his partner, Gary. She much preferred commands such as "Itty-bitty-boo" (sit), "Dum-diddle-dum-dum" (come) and "Get-um-good-ums" (eat your food). Thanks to her language barrier, Rouse's beloved mutt Marge? Was soon a puppy school dropout.

Suzie and Marge are soul sisters. Obviously. Because recently, our girl also repeatedly ignored the obedience class trainer. She yanked me, pulled me and lunged on every living creature in class, making me a sweaty, angry bitch myself wild woman.

After four weeks of this torture obedience class, my arms and sanity gave out. And Suzie also became a puppy school dropout.

There goes eighty bucks I'll never see again. Thanks a lot, ya little bitch.

But my dog's and Marge's similarities got me thinking which is usually dangerous : Maybe Suzie just doesn't understand anything regular commands. Maybe she speaks Rouse-ese.

It was worth a shot:

Me (high, Rouse-y voice): "Suzie! Itty-bitty-boo!"
Suzie: *Blink*
Me (Still with the voice): "Dum-diddle-dum-dum!"
Suzie: *Stare* *Head-tilt*
Me (More voice. Kill me now.): "Get-um-good-ums!"
Suzie: *Yawn.* *Blink.*

Bah. It's no use. Suzie is a bad dog  has "behavior issues." She's certainly not alone: a good 85 percent of the dogs in this anthology are rotten have "behavior issues."

But 100% of the dogs in this book are loved. Anyway.

Oh, and Rouse? I'm writing all of Suzie's shenanigans down. So that we're, you know, ready for her chapter in your next "Bitch" book. Call me!

Because here at the Weber house, bitches be crazy.

Ain't that right, Suzie?
Rouse is donating 10 percent of his royalties from the book to The Humane Society of the United States. So grab your copy today. And comment below for your chance to win one of two copies! I will make my boy-child break from the Wii long enough to draw the winners from a Tupperware bowl, and I'll post these Tuesday, 9-6.

Friday, August 19, 2011

My Life Story. In a Buckeye Nutshell

(Post and badass picture, copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)

Do ya'all like my Official Badass Author Headshot up there? Yeah, you read that right. Your funny little friend has had an essay accepted for a Valentine's Day humor anthology book. A BOOK! With, like, PAGES! Not bad for a girl from the cornfields. It's all rainbows and unicorns and corn up in here. Again.

I'm kind of not a big deal.

I'll share the approved cover with you at the end of the post, and don't worry, you won't miss the book because I'll endlessly pimp the thing when it's published. Hopefully, all five of  my readers will buy it. Meantime, though, I thought I'd share with you guys what I had to write for the anthology - my "Bio," a.k.a. my life story, a.k.a. some B.S. I had to come up with so that people would read my shit.

Dawn Weber is a wife of one (she thinks) a mother of two (that she knows of) and the author of, well, not much so far. She blogs at http://lightenupweber.blogspot.com/and writes the "Lighten Up!" newspaper column in the Buckeye Lake Beacon, for which she won the 2011 National Society of Newspaper Columnists third place, humor award. No one is sure how this happened.

She was born a poor white child in Cincinnati. Despite her best efforts, she is still poor, still white and definitely still in Ohio dammit!

Raised by a single mother in New Springfield, Ohio, do you see a theme here? Dawn spent her childhood riding a bike "no hands!" back from the little store. With a pizza in one arm and a jug of milk in the other.

As you can see, she was brilliant and questionably parented.

Dawn graduated from Springfield Local High School in 1987, and her classmates didn't vote her "best" or "most" or "prettiest" anything. But that's O.K. She'll get over it. Someday. Maybe. *Crazy eyes.* She then received a bachelor's degree from Kent State University, where she majored in flammable, piece-of-shit cars and cheap beer.

Many towns around the Buckeye State dammit! have served as her home, but currently she resides in Brownsville (Motto: Indoor Plumbing Optional) with the husband, kids and an ever-changing series of dirty, ill-mannered pets.

She's spent the last 20 years being grossly underpaid and unappreciated in a wide variety of communications positions at newspapers, corporations and state government. Her goals include thinner thighs, a nap, maybe a solo trip to Walmart.

She works. She mothers. She still drinks cheap beer. She wonders why she's writing in the third person right now.

She thinks she'll go take a nap.
Apparently I am one of "America's Most Hilarious Writers." This is news to me! And everyone else!

Friday, August 12, 2011

My 25-Damn-Year-Class-Reunion. Must Be Mistake - I'm Only 29

(Photo by Dan Drotleff, Post by Dawn Weber, copyright 2011)

Well, Google thinks I'm old. So it must be true.

Yes, it's a well-known fact that Google collects ages and other user demographics. And now every web page I visit with "Google Ads" has great news for me:

"How to Build Muscle When You're Older!"
"Lose Middle-Age Belly Fat the Easy Way!"
"In your 50s? Try this one weird trick to fall asleep at night!"

My 50s?! WTF?

Google is an asshole.

As if the all-knowing search engines weren't enough to make me feel ancient, I am helping to plan my 25-damn-year class reunion.

Wait, what?

You heard that right. Let me say it again so that maybe I'll start to believe it:

Twenty-Five-Damn-Year-Class-Reunion. Yes, that's its official name - according to me.

Time is also an asshole.

I am not sure where the years went. I am not sure how this happened, where I was, what I was doing.

Wait. I take that back. I know where I was - at work.

Yes, it's been a fast 25 years, a fulfilling life, full of riveting activities and achievements. Such as sitting in cubicles! Driving amongst dummies in traffic! Loading dishwashers and changing several hundred thousand diapers!

And soon enough, somebody will be changing my diapers.

Happy Thoughts: You're still at the wrong blog.

But this Twenty-Five-Damn-Year-Reunion got me thinking about things. Pondering Deep, Meaningful Bullshit about life, aging and the way things used to be, long time ago when we was fab.

My school, the old Springfield Local High School, was built in the 1920s. A crumbling building even when I was there in the 80s, full of dust and asbestos, it sits on State Route 170 near cornfields and the Petersburg, Ohio post office. We called it "The Shoe Factory." Because it looks like a shoe factory.

Here are my Top Ten Ways to Know You're From Old School Springfield Local, a.k.a. The Shoe Factory:

10. You knew that the first day of deer season? All boys (and several girls) would be absent.
9. The school parking lot contained four pickup trucks for every one car.
8. To this day, you know when corn in any given field is ready for the John Deere combine.
7. You can clearly remember the "Asbestos Removal" men in the building. Working in head-to-toe Haz-Mat suits. As you ambled past in jeans and a t-shirt.
6. You don't understand how any school year can start before the Canfield Fair ends. Obviously, 4-H is more important. Obviously.
5. You purchased your first piece-of-shit vehicle - at least in part - yourself. And again, odds are 4 to 1 it had a tailgate. (See number 9).
4. Proper locations for parties include fields, abandoned strip mines (!) and backyards of unsuspecting, vacationing parents.
3. You could tell that first lunch break had begun by the smell wafting up from the questionable, archaic maybe non-existent septic tank.
2. You know that spray paint is not for huffing. No. It's for painting your name on road signs and turnpike underpasses.

And the number one way to Know You're From Old School Springfield Local, a.k.a. The Shoe Factory?

1. A six-pack and a bonfire were - and still are - all you need for a good time.

Thank you Dawn David Letterman.

Blah. Enough reminiscing. I blinked, and it's 25 years later. Google says I'm old, I've got a 25-Damn-Year-Class-Reunion to help plan and a cubicle in which to sit.

The former Springfield Local High School - a.k.a. The Shoe Factory - still stands. Barely. Whoever owns it now, I hear, has filled it with vehicles and junk.

They built the "new," current Springfield Local High School (our old middle school) - I think - in the 70s. Fancy! I hear the kids who go to that carcinogen-free building now have air conditioning, a functioning septic system and safe drinking water.


Asbestos that doesn't kill you? Only makes you stronger.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Exactly When the Hell Does School Start?

(Post, copyright 2011, Dawn Weber)

Ah, summertime. When a kid can be a kid. And bathing?

Is just a concept.

Me: "Son. When was the last time you took a bath?"
Son: *Crickets*
Son (lifting head from Nintendo DS): "Well, I went swimming Tuesday."
Me: "It's Friday. And I'm not asking about swimming. I'm talking SOAP. I'm talking SHAMPOO. I'm talking WASHCLOTH in your BUTT-CRACK."
Son: *Crickets*
Son: *Stripping streak*

This is not totally his fault. He and his sister have been very busy, you see.

It begins each morning, after 11 hours of sleep. They log onto the computer for their daily dose of online shopping: Toys Backwards R Us, Amazon, Foot Locker online, Game Stop online... Decisions are made. Items are listed. Virtual shopping carts are filled.

And every evening, after my ten-hour workday and two-hour commute, the 19-page lists and shopping carts - printed with Epson ink costing $67 per milliliter - are shoved in my hand before I can put my purse away. Then I know what I can buy for them that particular day. Isn't that thoughtful? And all accomplished with such diligence, such attention to detail!

You know, I'm really glad they're taking the initiative here and working on solutions. Because they have a dreadful, serious problem.

They're bored.

The poor darlings! I feel awful for them. 159 video games on three different systems. A puppy. A trampoline. Two computers. A four-wheeler. Three mp3 players. 213 dvds. Five bikes.

An in-ground damn swimming pool.

Tragic, no? You can see here why the little lambs find their world so very dull.

Yes, it's truly a difficult life they lead. Every summer day is a struggle.

I can tell, because obviously some kind of terrible tussle takes place at our house before I get home at night. Popcorn bags scattered, candy wrappers dangling from the dog's mouth, cereal milk souring on the kitchen table, eleventy billion effin' drinking cups on every effin' surface...

My brave children. Must get so tired of fighting off the thirsty, popcorn-scarfing marauders invading our house that they can't clean up the resulting mess. So exhausted indeed that they cannot STAND to go outside.

No - the unbearable heat has turned out to be too much for my fragile flowers, who will surely wilt in the sun.

Teen Daughter: *Complain* *Grumble* *Whine*
Me: "Go outside and play!"
Teen Daughter: "But Mom - it's too haau-uutt outsiiiiddde-duh!"
Me: "Then go swimming!"
Teen Daughter: "But I just washed my hair-er!"
Teen Daughter: *Complains, *grumbles*, *whines* out door.

*Returns 9 minutes later.*

Teen Daughter: "But Mom - it's too hauu-utt out there-uh!"

Kill me now.

You know whose fault this is besides mine? Air Conditioning that bitch.

Believe it. Back in the Groovy Day? When I was a kid in the summer? You wouldn't find me in any stuffy, damn, 80-degree house. No sir. You could find my little ass one place only.


I biked! I nerd alert roller discoed! I skateboarded! I played catch and weirdo alert Peoples with Marshall the Neighbor Boy!

I did not know this word you call 'Bored.' And I did not return to the house until the streetlights came on.

Because my mother locked me out all day. Then retired to the only air-conditioned room in the house: her bedroom. And that was that.

But that's O.K. It was the 70s, man.  Everybody locked out! Everybody weirdos roller discoed! Everybody dehydrated sweaty!

Air Conditioning? Nintendo DS? Water? Basic shelter? Ha ha-flippin'-HA!

You kids these days. I laugh at your cool air, your video games, your health and safety practices.

Bunch of amateurs.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Warning: Excessive Cussing Ahead. Because Excessive Junk Is Involved.

(post copyright, 2011, Dawn Weber)

Behold my junk:

And also my feet. Made you look.

I know. It's hideous. Feel free to turn away. For I am ashamed of my junk. A massive tangle of USB, A/V and charger cords for electronics dating back to the Carter administration.

It's a mess. It's a disaster. It’s a landfill in a box. It's...

The Asshole Drawer of Shame.

And I feel bad about it.

Need a certain cord for your IPod? Your 8-track? Perhaps your Victrola? Go ahead. Dig in. Knock yourself out. More than likely, I have it, because I keep all cords.

Hey - I might need them someday.

Shame on my drawers. People think this is my allocated "Junk Drawer." No, friends, no. I have another entire Asshole Junk Drawer dedicated to other things. Paperclips. Rubber Bands. Penis Drinking Straws from my Bachelorette Party.

You know. All the important stuff.

I also have: An Asshole Closet of Shame, An Asshole Cupboard of  Shame and even an entire Asshole ROOM of Shame.

I feel bad about them, too. In fact, like most females, I feel bad about lots of things.

Guilt: the original Woman’s Work. But that’s another post. Stay tuned…

Recently, I needed an “Aux In” cord to connect my Ipod to the truck‘s stereo. I know I have one of these cords. In fact, I know I have several of these cords. And I know where they lurk.

In the Asshole Drawer of Shame.

I had to dig into the ADOS. The hands went clammy, blood pressure rose, heart raced… I wasn’t sure I could handle it, but  it had to be done.

 I used my Lamaze breathing, my cardio stamina. I meditated and chanted to Jesus and - just to be safe - Allah. (Sorry, Jesus).

And I did it - I burrowed into the embarrassing mass. I untangled. I untwisted. I wrestled. Sweating, I untangled, untwisted and wrestled again.

Then, I chugged some whiskey.

Did I find the Asshole “Aux In” cord? No sir. I did not.

I found every-flippin‘-other-thing, though. Especially things I didn’t need or want. Especially things I wasn‘t seeking.

Especially Asshole Things I’ll Probably Never Use Again.

Like the cord for the camcorder, which we haven‘t turned on in five years. Like the box for my Ipod, the warranty long expired. Like a teething ring for the baby. The baby who starts third grade in a couple weeks. The baby who can do long division.

None of  these things were the “Aux In” cord. No sir. Not one.

I could put all these Asshole Things on the Asshole Chair of Shame, also known as The Chair of Things to Donate to Goodwill. Otherwise known as the Asshole Chair That Fills Up Every Weekend.

I really hate to do that, though.

 Because hey - I might need them someday.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Spanx You Very Much! (Winning: Part Two)

(post copyright, 2011, Dawn Weber)
Very few friends will let you into their pants.

Unless you buy them a drink first.

Lighten up, Frances. You too, Esther. Don't start writing in nasty comments about my foul mouth again. I'm saying my buddy Robin Spanxed me...all the way from Cleveland.

And I loved it.

Yep. I had quite a dilemma last week: I was up for the Humor (under 50,000 circulation) award at the National Society of Newspaper Columnists Conference in Detroit Saturday evening. I was also going on vacation the five days before this event - arguably one of the biggest nights of my life. So I needed to continue to fit into this dress, which is - amazingly enough for me - not from Walmart:

Yeah - it's all shits and giggles, rainbows and unicorns the day before vacation, when the dress still fits.
Obviously, I had two choices:
1. Eat, drink and be merry or
2. Fit into expensive, non-Walmart dress

Have you met me?

Yeah. I was merry.

Then I was worried.

What if I waddled to the podium? What if I popped a zipper on the way up? What if I burst forth from the dress like a stuffed sausage, and everyone saw my goodies?

I took my concerns to the experts - the girls on Facebook. My friend Robin, author of this hilarious blog, didn't let me down. She reminded me of Spanx.

You've heard of Spanx. Sounds modern, sounds sassy. Right?

It's a girdle. It may look a little different, but it's a girdle. As in your granny's girdle. As in sucks-in-the-gut-girdle.

As in crack-open-a-vacation-beer-because-you-have-a-girdle...girdle.

I never thought I'd wear a girdle. To do so, in my mind, admits defeat. Although people usually don't believe it, I work out like an O.C.D. idiot.

But obviously I had a situation - a vacation situation.

The good news for me? Robin owns Spanx.

Robin hates Spanx.

This worked to my benefit, because she gladly said she'd part with her Spanx and send it to me via Priority Mail so I'd have it in time for Saturday night.

People: A friend who loans you her intimate apparel? Who rushes said skivvies through the U.S. Postal System so you have it in time for the weekend? Keep this person close to your big belly heart. Forever.

Yes, a solution was on its way. Witness the following Facebook transaction:

The Girdle is in transit. I repeat. The Girdle is in transit.
June 20 at 1:47pm ·  ·  · See Friendship

  • You and Kerbi Sexton like this.

    • Marcia Camino um...
      June 20 at 1:59pm · 

    • Dawn Weber You are so awesome! ! Now I can relax! *cracks open another Landshark*
      Srsly. You're awesome

      June 20 at 2:46pm · 

    • Robin Daugherty Suttell I think Marcia is a bit concerned about the whole operation. :)
      June 20 at 2:53pm · 

    • Dawn Weber She is just jealous cuz she isn't borrowing your intimate apparel. Everybody wants to get in your pants. *knee slap*
      June 20 at 3:13pm · 

    • Marcia Camino If it's a girdle then of course I'm jealous!! You two have your secret language that sprinkles into your postings on occasion. I have to crack the code. I thought 'girdle' was code for something like a secret tech tool for a double agent or operative.
      June 20 at 3:42pm · 

    • Robin Daugherty Suttell No...we're really talking about Spanx this time. I'm apparently the official Spanx Higher Power lending library. Although I hate that thing so much, she can keep it if she wants.
      June 20 at 3:45pm ·  ·  1 person

    • Dawn Weber I'm super-thankful to borrow it, but from the looks of things, it'll be difficult to breathe. I think I can handle one night, but you're talking to a woman who regularly walks around with the top button of her pants undone for comfort.
      June 20 at 4:01pm ·  ·  2 people

    • Robin Daugherty Suttell Dude, I already told ya...the thigh zone is so tight that I put runs in it trying to put it on the only time I wore it.
      June 20 at 4:06pm ·  ·  1 person

    • Marcia Camino crack. me. up.
      June 20 at 7:35pm · 

    • Robin Daugherty Suttell I'm not kidding. Thing was so damn tight, I ripped it a bit trying to put it on. I shoulld have known better at that point and let the flab hang free.
      June 20 at 7:37pm · 

    • Dawn Weber OK. Now I'm frightened.
      June 20 at 7:57pm · 

    • Robin Daugherty Suttell Be afraid. Be very afraid. Let's just say I'm wearing a knit dress today, and even if that thing wasn't somewhere in the US Postal System, I wouldn't be wearing it.
      June 21 at 4:55pm ·  ·  1 person

The package arrived on time, but I was still kind of frightened, so I didn't open it until I was getting ready for the awards dinner. I pulled a tiny sliver of fabric from the envelope. Surely, Robin was punkin' me. It was the size and width of a snake.

I am the size and width of a heifer middle-aged mother-of-two. Who may or may not have some food issues. Who - as we discussed earlier - sometimes gets merry.

Obviously, I would need some assistance.

"Uh, honey?," I called to the husband. "Can you help me with this thing?"
"What thing?" he said. "I don't see anything."
"This...here," I said, holding up the tube-snake of fabric.
"What is that? A sock?" he asked.
"No...it's Spanx. It's a girdle. It goes over my legs and torso," I said.

It took him a while to stop laughing. But eventually, we got to work. We sweated. We wrestled. We pulled. We rested. Don't be pervy! And then we sweated, wrestled and pulled some more. You perve.

Finally, we had success, and the thing was painted on my body. I looked at myself in the mirror. Gone were my hips, my twice-pregnant belly, my infernal thighs. Gone was most of my womanhood.

I had the shape of a 13-year-old boy. With boobs.

In other words, I fit today's beauty standard. Perfectly.

It was - sadly - awesome.

Thanks to the girdle, we were running late, so I pulled on my dress and we rushed out the door.

Walking in Spanx is like continual resistance training. It's like 39,000 rubber bands, wrapped stubbornly, and somewhat painfully, around your body.

It's like the slow, methodical strangulation of a boa constrictor.

But I'll tell you what - it worked. Despite my week of vacation partaking, I looked OK in the little black dress. And the butterflies in my stomach? Gone. Smothered and smashed, no doubt, by the boa constrictor Spanx.

Just as I predicted, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded me and Robin's Spanx third place. Not bad at all - this-here girdled-gal has only written humor for two years.

I may have placed third, but I felt like a Grand Champion. Because walking - not waddling - to the stage to get my award, I did not pop a zipper. I did not burst forth from the dress like a stuffed sausage.

And no one - not even one person - saw my goodies.

That, my friends, is what I call a raging success.
I'd like to Spanx the Academy...