I know you’ve been waiting a long time for me to write a new post, so let me get right to it. In honor of Mother’s Day, I thought I’d give moms everywhere what they’ve been hoping for all year–unsolicited advice from a complete stranger.

Here are my quick answers to the most pressing questions new moms often have:

How to make your kids smart. Place them in front of the TV at least 8 hours a day. If that doesn’t work, give them a double dose and restrict all outside activity.

How to potty train. The age at which your child is potty trained is a direct reflection of your IQ. If anyone tells you different, they are lying (and probably stupid). Bribery and shame are both excellent tactics.

How to deal with a sick child. Contrary to popular belief, kids are rarely really sick. Often they feign fevers and vomiting as a ploy to get you stay home from work. Pump them up with drugs and then send them off to daycare/school. Do not stay home from work under any circumstances.

When to call the doctor. Never. You are always overreacting.

How to balance work and home. When your child complains they never see you, make sure to tell them that they will always come second.

How to pay for a kid. Everyone knows that the more money you throw at a kid, the better they turn out. Do not shop for bargains, do not clip coupons and NEVER buy generic. Do mortgage the house to pay for private school and max your credit cards to pay for iPads and designer jeans.

Mother Shaffer has been giving unfounded parenting advice for a while now. Since she has one child of her own, she needs no other qualification in order to spew complete rubbish. If you would like to receive a personal response to your parenting issue(s) from Mother Shaffer, please ask your questions in the comments.


Mt. Monadnock


Dear Mother Shaffer,

In case you forgot, you haven’t been to the gym in over a year.  Maybe longer.  And no, walking the dog once a week around the neighborhood does not constitute sufficient aerobic exercise. Neither does running up the stairs in your home once a day.

So, the next time you think you can climb a mountain 2 hours to the top and another 2 hours to the bottom at a moment’s notice–think again.

You are out of shape. You can’t suddenly get in shape on the day you decide to hike with the family. In fact, you may very well die if you do it that way. Or wet yourself. Or fall on your face. Or cry like a baby. Did you even read the sign??!!

Remember how your heart felt like it was going to pound out of your chest about 1/2 hour into the 2 hour assent? And your daughter gave you that “what’s your problem?” look because she just couldn’t fathom anyone getting winded that quickly?

Well, I’m writing this note so you don’t forget it. So you’ll get off your ass and go for a run once in a while. Or maybe a gym. Or something. So we don’t have to re-live this embarrassment again.


The smarter, healthier, better version of you


So NOT inappropriate!


It’s that time of year again–Halloween. A time to agonize over the perfect costume for my precious 11-year-old child. I wrote about our struggle to find just the right outfit last year. It was a tough decision, but in the end, we settled on “whore”.

This year, I’m not going to walk into a costume store and just pick anything categorized as “girl” to suit our whore needs. No sir. Too easy.

This year, I’m going to take it to a whole new level. Yeah, that’s right.  I’m going for a look that you won’t find in a costume store for kids. Read the rest of this entry »

Isn't he precious? So wierd that he grew up and gunned down 5 classmates.

Looking at the calendar, you may not be surprised to find that we are largely a nation that celebrates birthdays and victories–moments in time when we are at our best. Or at least, moments we can be proud of.

What we don’t celebrate is our lowest hours, our failures and dark moments that define how we think and act towards others.  Rarely do we put a spotlight on moments we should be ashamed of.

Maybe it’s about time we did. Read the rest of this entry »

Idiots Rule!

You know what this country needs? More idiots in the spotlight.

Maybe I’m just sick and tired of all the logical and thoughtful banter I’ve been hearing on NPR lately. But you know educated debate is BORING. We Americans need entertainment. We don’t need to learn about foreign affairs or other cultures or history or any of that kind of crap.

No sir. We need to give more people like  Pastor Terry Jones a voice.  Because nothing says news like a pathetic wacko with a heap of hatred for a religion with one major fault–it’s not his. Read the rest of this entry »

Enbrel injection

Good times

I wrote this a few months ago when I was feeling like shit. And for some reason, I was too proud to post it.

I’m better now and less proud, so I’m posting it to remind myself: this too shall pass.

As I’ve written about before (a couple times actually), I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis about nine years ago. I spent the first two of those years in a lot of pain and wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

While various doctors worked to find me an actual diagnosis, I popped a lot of pills that didn’t help my pain very much (nor did they have any narcotic effect, so they weren’t any fun either).  But they did do other weird things to my body–like making my hair fall out. And making me fat.

One doctor thought I had Lupus. Another RA. I picked the RA guy and he started me on Enbrel. Awesome, right? Well..

Enbrel isn’t a pill you can pop. It’s an injectable  medication. Which means, I got to mix my meds, fill a syringe and stab myself with a needle 2x a week. I got to keep a sharps container in my office closet. And I got to walk on an airplane with my needles in my carry on and my doctor’s note in my hand.

It was awesome.

Lucky for me, I actually got better. A lot better. I could walk again. I could chew food again. I could hold a book and I could even sign my name again. It was really awesome.

In the years that have passed since my two years of unbelievable agony, I have still had pain now and then. But nothing like it used to be. I haven’t taken Enbrel in years and my rheumatologist has declared me his first “cure” eva.

The rub?

I still have rheumatoid arthritis.

I’m tired a lot. My joints hurt a lot.

And no one knows.

No one can see it.

And I just deal. I just muddle through. And I get really annoyed and frustrated and even angry  sometimes.

And people probably just think I’m being a bitch. Or that I’m lazy.

But, I’m not really. I’m just in pain and I’m tired and I hurt.

And it sucks.

Kiss my ass

Hello everyone. Yes, apparently I decided to take the summer off from my blog. Can’t say that was by design or anything, but hey, you get what you pay for.

To catch you up on my life, it’s been a busy, yet uneventful summer. My daughter is 10 and is asking for a cell phone. My dog still follows me everywhere and eats the occasional shoe. And my husband longs to booze it up like we did when we were 20, but he mostly ends up having one drink and falling asleep.

All-in-all, our current lame-ass, boring life is a nice change from other times in our lives of late. I realize that every life has challenges and our bad times certainly could have been worse, but still–they totally sucked at the time.

Most recently, late 2007-late 2009 is what I now refer to as the era of Total Crazy Shit Happening. Read the rest of this entry »

Do not disturb

I’ll admit it–going to work every day can be hard. It can also be frustrating. Tedious. Painful. Annoying. Paralyzing. Stifling. And sometimes,  it’s even the last place on earth I want to be.

But lately, I’ve been taking steps to ensure my work is more like a little slice of heaven rather than hell on earth.

Can it be done? Follow my 5 steps to workplace bliss:

1. Perfect your fantasy world

When I sit at my computer for hours on end, when my eyes start to glaze over and everything on the screen is a blur…I like to take a few hours to stare at my Azul, beach-scene desktop background.

After a while, it really comes to life.

I could. I am. There.

2. Take a meeting

Don’t dread useless meetings anymore. When I go to a really important meeting with lots of important people, I pay careful attention for the first five minutes or so, but then I let my mind drift to somewhere. Else.

It’s like going to a whole other world. A happy place. I call it a meet-cation.

You’ll be begging to go to more meetings.

3. Turn workplace health hazards into a slacking-off opportunity.

I used to sit under two huge sky lights–yep, 8 hours of pure, natural, blinding light. Beating down on me. Just like at the beach. In fact, certain times of the day it got so bright that I couldn’t see my computer screen.

Did I complain? Nope! I just put up my feet, set up an umbrella and poured myself a cocktail while I waited for the earth to rotate.

4. Take more “coffee” breaks

The coffee break. That little moment of zen that I try to repeat at least three times daily. Sunshine in  a cup. And to make it extra special try adding a little spirit into the mix. Or a lot. Or just skip the coffee all together and go for the hard stuff straight up.

5. Wear inappropriate attire

Take “casual dress” to a whole new level. Bikini tops, daisy dukes, flip flops, giant sunglasses. The looks you’ll get walking down the corridors of the office can feel just like the ones you get when ogled by pedophiles at the beach. Go on. Give ’em a show.

Who needs surf, sand and sun when you can have it all and get credit for working too? Genius.

How are you not getting this?

After 37 years of life on this earth, it occurred to me that others may not get what I’m thinking. I spend a lot of time in my head and I’m always surprised to learn that you all aren’t in there with me.  Seriously, you seem so real…

Here’s a handy guide on how to read my thoughts:

1. Silence: This is my normal mode of being. If I’m quiet, I am thinking about things to say, but you aren’t responding to this, so I’m letting them go. Or, we are having a great conversation in my head. Keep it up.

2. Stabbing you with my eyes. This may accompany some eye-rolling, but you have to be very observant to catch it. Either way, I pretty much want to hurt you. Stop doing whatever you are doing or face my wrath.

3. The walk away. This usually means, your conversation sucks and I’m resisting the urge to vomit on you. Or I had to go pee.

4. Look of disbelief. This is my, “you better check yourself because I can’t friggin’ believe you can’t hear what I’m thinking right now” look. I’m really pissed off and you need to search yourself for clues as to why that is and how you can fix it.

5. The eye twitch. You’ve touched upon a subject that makes me very uncomfortable. It is advisable you move on or you’ll lose me.

6. The snicker. You funny. You may continue to amuse me.

7. Listening. I find you interesting. Keep talking.

8. The look away. I’m resisting the urge to assert my superiority. Think about what you are saying and choose your next words carefully. Now is a good time to ask for my expert opinion.

9. Come hither. If you aren’t feelin’ it, you ain’t gettin’ it. Now whose fault is that?

10. Sleeping. Many of my best conversations happen while I am asleep. If you visit me in my sleep, make sure you are amazing so that I respect and admire you when I wake up.

Who are you people?

Have you noticed how liberal you can be with your Facebook friend acceptance standards?


People you didn’t say more than two words to in high school? Sure. Old boyfriends that you haven’t talked to in years? Why not. Friends that fell off the face of the earth once you moved away? Bring ’em on. Relatives you can’t stand? Beats seeing them at holidays, right? People you met once and didn’t really like. Absolutely! They obviously need more friends like you.

Geez. Have some boundaries!

I like to think that I’m a little more particular when it comes to the friending I do on Facebook. I see Facebook’s constant suggestions–hounding me to acquire more friends. Trying to make me feel like my friend list is somehow inadequate.

But mostly, I ignore Facebook. I know it’s kind of crazy, but I like to think it’s between me and my friends to decide if we’re really friends.

But now that I have a fan page on Facebook, I’m noticing that not all my “friends” rushed to support the cause. Nope. Only about half. Hmm…could it be that about half of my friends are not really friends at all?

The other half of my friends are really just stalkers who want to know what I’m doing, but don’t really have any interest in me or what I have to say. Gasp.

So this got me thinking: Facebook could really use a “foes” option. So you can friend someone or foe them. Because life is full of friends and foes–the status of which is in constant flux. And what better way to keep score than to track of them all in one handy place?

Are you with me? Do you think your foe list would be bigger than your friend list? Mine, definitely bigger. A lot bigger.

But then, where does that leave my fans?

Given that I’d do just about anything to have my fans suggest my fan page to all their friends?

Friends with benefits seems most apropos.