Don’t Be Silent



I don’t know what to say anymore, but I don’t want to be silent either.

A year ago I wrote this, which started out as a review of the movie Straight Outta Compton, but it naturally turned into an indictment of police brutality against black people. Another year has passed and today my social media feed is filled with news of Alton Sterling, a 37-year-old black man who was pinned to the ground by police and shot dead. Philando Castile being shot by police during a traffic stop. I watched the video. It is horrifying. (In the day it took me to finish writing this, I had to update the information above to reflect the latest police shooting of a black man.)

I remember seeing the video of Rodney King being beaten by police 25 years ago. I remember being shocked that it happened. I remember being more shocked that the police officers went unpunished. In 25 years, nothing has changed except that I am no longer shocked. Still horrified, but not shocked. It doesn’t matter that these murders are caught on video. The police are killing with impunity and people can yammer about #AllLivesMatter as much as they want, but police are killing black people, specifically. All lives aren’t at stake here; Black lives are.

I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I don’t know where I fit into this discussion. My whiteness protects me. I have never felt fear when being pulled over by police. I can drunkenly approach a couple of cops and ask them about their weapons and they will answer me and chuckle.

Then I thought about how I feel when a man calls himself a feminist and speaks out against campus rape culture. Do I appreciate his involvement or do I think, “That’s great that you care, but you will never understand the vulnerability that comes with being a woman”? Both, I guess. Maybe if more men became involved in the discussion, the focus would be on how not to rape rather than how not to be raped. Maybe if more white people become involved in this discussion we can shift the focus back to the real problem: the police.

Why should my black friends have to teach their children how not to get shot by police? That’s like teaching our daughters how not to get raped. Stop putting the onus on the victim!

Dear fellow white people, please just ask yourself this question: “What have I told my children about the police?” Have you told them that if they are ever lost, they should look for a police officer to help them? Now take a minute and ask your black friends what they have told their children about the police. (If you don’t have any black friends, watch this.)

There is a problem with the police in this country. We need to fix it. If we don’t, this country is going to explode. I’m old enough to remember the Los Angeles riots after the LAPD officers who beat Rodney King were acquitted. If we don’t stop this insanity soon, the whole country is going to burn.

Nobody has the luxury of ignoring this any longer. I don’t care what race you are. This affects all of us. I don’t know what to do. I have no fucking idea. All I can do is talk about it. All I can do is tell you I care about what’s happening. I will continue to have uncomfortable conversations about white privilege. I will keep challenging the idea that we live in a post-racial society just because we have a black president. I will keep stating what should be obvious: BLACK LIVES MATTER.

I won’t be silent because silence implies acquiescence. I don’t want there to be any doubt about whose side I’m on.


Pure Bullshit


If you seek a pleasant peninsula, try Florida instead.

Today I came across an article declaring that Michigan is America’s #1 State.

I’m from Michigan. I spent the first 28 years of my life there, and I can tell you that this article is full of shit. If the categories are “Least Drinkable Water” and “Most Boarded-Up Strip Malls” then we might have had a chance at #1. Let’s look at what actually went into this “best state” bullshit, shall we?

“The Motor City’s become a scrappily rising underdog you can’t help but root for, but Michigan’s greatest strengths lie in the state as a whole.

Nope. Listen, we all want Detroit to make a comeback. But as long as you can buy a 2,000+ square foot home for $500, it’s safe to say there’s a lot of work to be done. (Go ahead and look at the crime map for that neighborhood. Zoom out a little. Zoom out a little more. No thank you.)

Alright, Detroit’s a war zone. Okay. But what about the rest of the state?

“Did you know Michigan has more coastline than any state other than Alaska?

I think maybe we need to have a talk about the difference between quantity and quality. “Coastline” doesn’t do you a lot of good when the average temperature for Lake Superior is 40 degrees. I spent summers swimming in Lake Michigan at South Haven, but you wouldn’t catch me going much further north for a dip.

But what about the beer, Tina? What about the damn beer?

“Did you know it has such an embarrassment of beer riches that you can easily hit Bell’s and Founders in the same afternoon?”

Okay, I like beer too, and Bell’s is awesome, no doubt. But you know what is great about Bell’s? I can go to the store here in Atlanta and get some. Restaurants have it too. It’s almost as if you don’t have to live in that shitty state just to drink their delicious beer. Oh wait, it’s EXACTLY like that.

“Did you know the UP is so remote and uniquely beautiful that it almost feels like a secret 51st state where they inexplicably love British meat pies?”

My husband is a Yooper. He grew up in Escanaba, on the coast of the part of Lake Michigan that is too fucking cold to swim in. I’ve been there many times. The meat pies – called pasties – are indeed delicious, but meat pies only get you so far. What about the remoteness and beauty? Well, the UP  is remote. You have to drive at least an hour if you want to buy your clothes anywhere other than JC Penney or Shopko. Or if you want to go to a concert. Or see a real doctor.

“Did you know most residents are more than happy to apologize for Kid Rock?”

I’m sorry. But we also gave you Eminem, so…even?

“Michigan is home to the greatest sports city in the country.”

The actual fuck? The Detroit Lions are the worst team in the history of people getting together and throwing balls at each other. Their fans, of which my husband is one, are going to hate me for saying that. Lions fans are like that girl you were friends with in high school whose boyfriend constantly cheated on her. Every time she would break up with him and say “No more!” but then they win one game and the next thing you know she’s letting him break her heart again every Sunday. Every fucking Sunday.

“You can point out where you live just by showing people your hand.”

This is true and everybody does it and it’s kind of funny, but really? If your digits are even a little bit flexible, you can make just about any state work. I just flipped my mitten hand and turned it upside and now it’s Florida! Also, we have Google Maps now, so who cares?

What did the article have to say about the worst states?

“The worst state in the union? Yep, that would be Florida. And Ohio, labeled by Thrillist as ‘the Florida of the North,’ is right near the bottom at 48th.”

Okay, that cracks me up because I left Michigan to move to Ohio and then I left Ohio to move to Florida. (I recently left Florida to move to my current residence in Atlanta, GA.)

Florida is awesome. I mean, the people are batshit crazy and racist and it’s too hot to go out in the summer and there are hurricanes and flooding, but the beaches are amazing. In any “Top Ten Beaches in the United States” list, there will always be a few from Florida. Do you know how many Michigan beaches are on those lists? None. Because it’s Michigan and it’s mitten-shaped coastline is unusable for most of the year. Also, the houses in Florida are affordable and there’s no state income tax.

And if Ohio as “the Florida of the North” then Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is the Alabama of the North. When my husband was a kid, he got the first day of hunting season off of school. It was a school holiday. He had a mullet until his second year of college. Trust me, with Michigan, the further north you go, the more “southern” it gets.

Now I live in Atlanta and I love it, but I’m not going to tell you why it’s so great. We have too many people here as it is. Check out Detroit instead. I hear it’s a buyers’ market.



A Peek Inside My Brain: My Swype Custom Dictionary


There were no copyright-free images of cell phones from this century.

If you really want to know what’s important to someone, take a peek inside their phone’s custom dictionary. Which curse words do they use enough to add? What prescription medications are they on? What’s their WIFI password?

With the exception of my WIFI password and email addresses, here is my unedited custom dictionary. I curse a lot. (Big surprise.) I like Mexican food. I talk about health issues more than I thought. I’m constantly looking for better makeup.

But really, the first entry says it all.

  1. adulting – Adulting is hard AF. Sometimes you have to text about it.
  2. Alexa – Honestly, no fucking idea. I don’t know anyone named Alexa, let alone anyone I text about enough to need her name in my custom dictionary. Alexa, if you’re out there, who are you? Why were you important to me once?
  3. arugula – Arugula is my favorite salad green of all time and I eat the fuck out of it.
  4. ass – self-explanatory
  5. asshole – self-explanatory
  6. Ayanna – a super cool girl from high school who lives in the city I just moved to. What up Ayanna?
  7. bitch – self-explanatory
  8. bitches – when there’s more than one.
  9. boob – Sometimes I want to talk about one of my boobs.
  10. Boobies – Sometimes I want to talk about both of my boobs.
  11. Boobs – see above
  12. Bukowski – My dad sent me a book of Charles Bukowski poetry for my birthday and I’m still trying to figure out if I like it.
  13. bullshit – self-explanatory
  14. cantina – No idea why or when I’m talking about cantinas.
  15. Celexa – Because sometimes you need to counsel your best friend on anti-depressants that have worked for you in the past that she might want to try.
  16. Chobani – My favorite yogurt. I eat the fuck out of this. But you have to watch out for those Chobani flips. They’re addictive.
  17. Cinco – Probably added this when I was deluding myself into thinking I would go out for Cinco De Mayo. I did not. But we did get Mexican takeout from our favorite place.
  18. crap – self-explanatory
  19. crappy – self-explanatory
  20. cryotherapy – Fucking lady problems. You don’t want this done to your cervix. Trust me. You’ll be texting about it for weeks.
  21. Cunt – self-explanatory
  22. Cunty – Acting like a cunt. Duh.
  23. Damn – How is this not in the default dictionary. It’s pretty fucking tame.
  24. Dekalb – Moved here 3 months ago. Still not quite sure if it’s pronounced “De-kalb or De-cab”.
  25. dick – self-explanatory
  26. emasculates – Um, this is a real word that wasn’t in my dictionary so I had to add it. I’m guessing Swype was designed by a man. Also, I should probably be nicer to my husband.
  27. emojis – When you want to talk about emojis.
  28. farting – It happens. Sometimes you have to talk about it.
  29. Fortysomething – This is me. I’m not happy about it.
  30. Fuck – self-explanatory
  31. fuck – self-explanatory
  32. Fucked – self-explanatory
  33. fucked – Yeah, I guess I say “fuck” a lot. Enough to need separate entries for my capitalized “fucks”.
  34. fucking – verb form
  35. fucks – more than one fuck.
  36. Gaby’s – Gaby is the realtor who helped us find our rental house. I had a love/hate relationship with Gaby. It’s complicated.
  37. ginormous – Bigger than enormous.
  38. Glominerals – Best mineral foundation out there, but make sure you google that shit and find the best price.
  39. GTA – From my brief love affair with Grand Theft Auto. I eventually gave up when it took me an hour just to get C.J. on his fucking bike.
  40. hell – self-explanatory
  41. hooker – This is a real word. I don’t know what I was talking about that necessitated my adding it to my dictionary, but it should have already been there.
  42. incisor – Those little teeth in the front. They come up in conversation more often than say, molars.
  43. Inseminated – When you’ve been trying to get pregnant for over two years, you will talk about sexy shit like this.
  44. Jordana – I always think I want to try this cheap-ass makeup, but I never do.
  45. kombucha – Bought three bottles of this on a day when I was feeling particularly white. It was okay.
  46. Larabar – Fucking love these motherfuckers. I eat them every day.
  47. lasered – Recently got my face lasered. Want to do it again.
  48. lotta – Slang for “a lot”. Not to be confused with Ray Liotta. “All my life, all I ever wanted to be was a gangster.” Shit, I need to rewatch Goodfellas. I love that movie.
  49. milani – Cheap-ass makeup. Their eye shadow primer is the shit.
  50. motherfucker – Maybe this should be two words, but this motherfucker ain’t got time for that.
  51. Nyx – Best cheap makeup there is.
  52. orgasmability – An important consideration when trying new medications, like the Celexa mentioned above. (For the record, Celexa did not affect my orgasmability. Prozac though? Dead from the waist down.)
  53. Parilla – La Parilla is our favorite Mexican restaurant for takeout and the reason I am seven pounds heavier than when we moved here three months ago.
  54. pissing – self-explanatory
  55. porn – self-explanatory
  56. redneck – Maybe this should be two words or hyphenated, but it’s not like a redneck is going to know the difference and complain.
  57. Revenant – I literally texted this once to my husband as a Redbox suggestion. He brought home “Sisters”. Hilarious though. (“Sisters” that is. I still haven’t seen “The Revenant”.)
  58. Sammiches – Sammiches and Psych Meds is the first website that ever paid me to write. I love them.
  59. schmoopy – My husband and I call each other this because we are gross and like Seinfeld.
  60. selfie – I hate myself for having added this.
  61. Selfies – Still hate myself, but everybody knows you can’t get a good selfie in one try.
  62. Seltzer – The name of my husband’s and my former primary care doctor. That dude was just counting the days to retirement. Can we get some Xanax? No, we could not.
  63. semen – Another delightfully unsexy term that couples struggling with infertility talk about over text messages. “How much semen did you give in your sample?” “About a quart or so.” “Impressive.”
  64. Shit – self-explanatory
  65. shit – self-explanatory
  66. shitty – self-explanatory
  67. smeller – I am a super smeller. I can smell things nobody else can smell. Sometimes I text my husband about it when I’m following my nose all over the house trying to decide what smells weird. (It wasn’t his gym shoes, by the way. It was the Chlorox Clean Up I used on the counters! I know! I was surprised too.)
  68. smuckers – They make the best natural peanut butter ever. But you better log that shit in your calorie counter because it adds up fast.
  69. sonofabitch – Son of a bitch is just funnier as one word.
  70. sumbitch – It’s even funnier when you spell it like this!
  71. tankini – I have no idea why this is in my custom dictionary. I’ve never worn a tankini.
  72. Topamax – This shit will cure your migraines. It makes soda taste weird, but it’s worth it.
  73. twerked – From that one time I wrote about Miley Cyrus? I’m really not sure.
  74. WHR – This is the company that handled a large portion of our relocation to Atlanta. They were great.
  75. Willivee – This is the name of a street a few blocks from us. I want to buy a house there, so I search for houses for sale on Willivee and Trulia says, “Bitch, you can’t afford that.”
  76. yardwork – I love doing yard work and apparently I love it so much I want it to be one word. But seriously, yardword helps me stay fit and stay sane. It’s the best thing ever. And yes, I’ll totally rake your leaves for you this fall.

There it is. If you’re feeling bold, leave a comment with some of the weirdest words from your custom dictionary. Only your phone knows who you really are.



The Konmari Method: You Are Hurting Your Underwear’s Feelings


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpLately, the awesome ladies in my circle of awesome ladies have been talking about the Konmari method of tidying as presented in Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. When I heard them extolling the virtues of the Konmari method and showing me pictures of the “before” (ginormous clothing mountains that eclipse entire bedroom sets of furniture) and “after” (neat closets with space to spare), I downloaded the book immediately.

I’m not someone who has trouble purging old possessions. My parents are hoarders, and I think it turned me into the opposite. If I haven’t worn something in a while, it gets donated to a local charity. I’ve actually found myself looking for something I wanted to wear and then realizing I already donated it. I am fine with this. If something is no longer serving its purpose on a regular basis, it doesn’t belong in my house. (Do you hear that Bryan? Just kidding. Mostly.)

That being said, I knew I could do better. And I did. After reading this book, I went through all of my clothing in the manner prescribed and ended up donating two giant lawn/leaf garbage bags full of clothing, along with half a dozen pairs of shoes and purses. It’s not even like my closet was overflowing when I started. It was a little crowded, but everything fit. I liked Kondo’s idea that holding onto things that don’t “spark joy” gets in the way of enjoying the things that do. I can get on board with that, especially regarding clothing.

Still, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this book. Here’s the review I wrote on Goodreads to explain why. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you want to tackle your glut of possessions using the new-agey Konmari method or if you just want to muscle through it the old-fashioned way by loading up on crystal meth and playing your favorite CD on repeat.

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This lady is a little out there for me.

On the one hand, she wants you to anthropomorphize your possessions. How would YOU like to be crumpled up and shoved into a drawer? No? Then don’t do it to your underwear. Um, my underwear hugs my ass and genitals all day, so I think it’s happy to get a reprieve from that chore regardless of whether or not I fold it neatly or shove it in a drawer.

On the other hand, I finally found someone who is even less sentimental than I am. I have no problem throwing a greeting card away after I read it and appreciate the thought. But this lady? She wants you to keep almost nothing. Her philosophy is that once you have looked at something once and enjoyed the experience, that item has served its purpose. Old photos and love letters? Cull those fuckers. Never mind that they take up little space. Small child no longer sparking the joy of a newborn? DESTROY IT. (I might be exaggerating a little on that last point.)

Listen, the TL;DR on this book is: Put all your shit in a big pile and get rid of the stuff you don’t need, use, or love. You know you have too much shit. Just fucking do it already. You know you wear the same five outfits every week – get rid of the rest and stop lying to yourself. The end.

View all my reviews


5 Things You Should NEVER Say to an Infertile Couple


When the subject comes up, well-intentioned people inevitably say one or more of the five following comments. Depending on my mood, I might nod along or change the subject. (Sometimes I have to suppress my face-punching reflex.) I’ve decided to address these issues, so nobody else has to suffer…

For the full article, please visit Sammiches and Psych Meds.

25 Spanish Phrases My Duolingo App Thinks I Need


spanish-375830_1280Learning a new language can be confusing. For example, I think there’s a conversation to be had about the fact that, in Spanish, estoy cansada means “I am tired” and estoy casada means “I am married”. I don’t know what the divorce rate is in Latin America, but I feel like at least a third of failed marriages might be caused by this miscommunication.

For the last several months, I’ve been brushing up on my high school Spanish using the free Duolingo app. As I go through my lessons, some of the Spanish sentences I’m given for translation are pretty odd. I don’t know if this is a function of the limited Spanish vocabulary I’m working with (I’m considered 50% fluent by the Duolingo software) or if the programmers just have a weird sense of humor. In any case, I present these Spanish phrases (and my commentary) for your amusement. Use them wisely.

  1. Mi padre no es el mismo hombre.
    Translation: My father is not the same man.

What happened to your father? Did he fight in Vietnam? Did he lose a lot of weight? Is he Caitlyn Jenner? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

  1. ¿Qué tienes en la maleta?
    Translation: What do you have in the suitcase?

Five kilos of high-grade cocaine? Marcellus Wallace’s soul? I don’t think I’m ever going to be in a situation where I’m comfortable asking this question.

  1. Por favor, escribe tu libro
    Translation: Please write your book.

How does Duolingo know I’m a writer? Listen, I’m nowhere close to writing a book yet. Let me get some shorter pieces under my belt first and then I’ll see what I can do, okay?

  1. El soldado no tiene familia.
    Translation: The soldier doesn’t have any family.

Way to bring me down, Duolingo. When he returns from active duty, he will probably have to wait forever for his VA benefits to kick in and that, coupled with the PTSD he is undoubtedly suffering, forecast a hard road ahead. Way to bum me out.

  1. Si, son reales.
    Translation: Yes, they’re real.

Y son espectaculares.

  1. La cocina no es segura
    Translation: The kitchen is not safe.

Why isn’t the kitchen safe? And how unsafe is it? Is there a knife-wielding maniac in there? Is my husband cooking?

  1. Mi hermana pequeña piensa que es normal, pero yo no.
    Translation: My little sister thinks that she is normal, but I do not.

Okay Duolingo, between your empty shell of a father and your abnormal sister, I’m getting a little uncomfortable with your oversharing about your family.

  1. El ____ su madre. (A fill in the blank question)
    Translation: He ___ his (or your) mother

I was terrified to click the drop-down menu for the verb. Thankfully, they were just different tenses of the verb ayudar or (to help). That could have gotten nasty really quickly.

  1. Acepto el sofá.
    Translation: I accept the sofa.

I had to listen to this on super slow speed several times to understand what the speaker was saying. “I accept the sofa?” Really? In what context is this statement ever going to be used? Is this what conservatives think same-sex marriage is going to lead to? People are just marrying furniture now? Or maybe the sofa is flawed, but I accept it anyway, just the way it is. Do Cubans use sofas as bargaining tools? “I’ll give you ten dollars and a sofa for that Chihuahua.”

  1. ¿Cuándo baja ella?
    Translation: When does she come down?

I guess the abnormal sister is stuck in a tree again. Or high on meth. So…two hours maybe?

  1. Porque soy un hombre malo.
    Translation: Because I am a bad man.

This sentence brought to you courtesy of Leroy Brown.

  1. El oso no cabe por la puerta.
    Translation: The bear does not fit through the door.

I’m thinking this is a good thing? Unless the bear is inside and you’re trying to get him out. This is why you don’t bring a cute, little bear cub into your house. The next thing you know, that bear is full-grown and hungry and when you try to send him back out into the woods, El oso no cabe por la puerta.

  1. Yo no hablo de eso.
    Translation: I do not talk about this.

Is this la primera regla de Fight Club?

  1. ¿No es un poco pequeño?
    Translation: Isn’t it a bit small?

I’m guessing no Latino man wants to hear this, ever.

  1. ¿Somos una pareja?
    Translation: Are we a couple?

After “¿No es un poco pequeño?” I’m guessing this is a Latino man’s second least favorite question.

  1. Ella tiene doce gatos.
    Translation: She has 12 cats.

Y no esposo, I’m guessing.

  1. Usted nunca me quiso.
    Translation: You never loved me.

Really? We’re doing this now? I do appreciate the formal usted though. I imagine this scenario as a student talking to the professor she’s been sleeping with after finding out that he’s not leaving his wife, AND he failed her in biology.

  1. Usted corta el queso.
    Translation: You cut the cheese.

I see what you did there. Again with the formal usted. It’s like you’re saying, “You cut the cheese, sir.”

  1. Ahora no puedo estar en tu casa.
    Translation: Now I cannot be in your house.

Yes, that’s the whole point of a restraining order, Hector.

  1. Tienen que dejar de beber.
    Translation: They have to stop drinking.

For when that intervention can’t wait until you’re back from your vacation in Cabo.

  1. Tengo que evitar hablar con ella
    Translation: I have to avoid speaking with her.

When you want to avoid that Spanish exchange student you had a one night stand with.

  1. Tú puedes llevar la cadena al hotel.
    Translation: You can take the chain to the hotel.

For when Christian Grey and his mistress go on vacation to Ibiza.

  1. Lo vamos a obtener y no non importa cómo.
    Translation: We are going to obtain it and we don’t care how.

If you hear this in Mexico, you are being mugged or raped. Maybe just shout, “Policia!”

  1. No me gusta la máquina inglesa.
    Translation: I do not like the English machine.

What is “the English machine”? Stephen Hawking? The British parliament?

  1. ¿Son ellos legales?
    Translation: Are they legal?

I don’t know if we’re talking about girls or immigrants, but either way, this seems inappropriate.

There you have it. After you master ordering a beer (“Quiero una cerveza,”) and asking where the bathroom is (“¿Dónde está el baño?”), add these 25 phrases to your Spanish repertoire. They just might come in handy on your next Latin American adventure.