Wednesday, June 25, 2014

FIFA Faux Fan or Case of 'the Cup'?

Dear Ann Abler,
I'm not sure what’s happening to me, but I think I’m becoming a soccer fan. The USA v. Portugal game on Sunday wasn’t even on my radar, but when it came on at the restaurant where I was eating (beers, mostly), I got hooked! That one goal was magic – it went outside the goal, but then went INSIDE the goal! I’ve never talked about a goal before. Who am I? Last time I realized there was a World Cup it was because Ricky Martin was singing about it. Now I want to paint my face red, white, and blue and start drinking at 9 am on Thursday to cheer on our guys against the Germans. Am I a fake? What’s happening to me?
- FIFA Faux fan
USA! USA! Image from

Dear FIFA faux fan,

You're not a fake, but it does sound like you’ve got a classic case of ‘The Cup’. It’s time to face el fútbol and embrace this new (and very possibly temporary) condition. What else would you expect your dear Ann Abler to tell you? To be sensible and stand down? That’s no fun! Break out the flags and face paint and LEAN IN! 

Below are 10 symptoms typical of one with a case of ‘The Cup’:
1.     A sudden, unnerving interest in un-American activities and people other than Kimye.
2.      Disturbing feelings of indignation at that call the Ref just made (while asking the person next to you, “he’s offside of what?”).
3.      Increased knowledge of world geography, which can be unsettling for many Americans.
4.      Heightened yearning for more miraculous goals, aka “jonesin’ for a Jones”.
Some soccer players have super levitating powers
5.      Embarrassing - or hopefully endearing (?) - pronunciation of foreign names.
6.      Gradual realization of the high levels of hotness of soccer players:
Here's a story of some men named Hottie. Image courtesy of
7.   Disappointment in the lack of melody and je ne sais quoi in this year's World Cup song, accompanied by a lingering let down ever since Ricky Martin's magical performances of La Copa de la Vida.
Ricky Martin circa '99 and circa my heart
8.   Growing desire to don the flag and paint oneself head to toe.
9.   Slow acceptance of the whistle as a musical instrument, and jumping as dancing.
10. Slight chill around neck area that can only be warmed by your team scarf. Did I say team? I mean "club". I also mean "pitch" instead of "field", "match" instead of "game", and "Goooooooooooooaaaaallll!!!" instead of "goal". 

It looks like you have three or more of these symptoms. The good news is that you’re in good company with many other Americans right now, especially those who like to drink, shout at televisions, and high-five each other. So why not join in the festivities and forget your worries for a while? Don’t let people bash you for being a Janie-come-lately, because it’s better to be a Janie-come-lately than a Janie-doesn’t-come-at-all.

Your Ann Abler

P.P.S. People needn't know all the rules to root for their team, or trash-talk the other guys, so help me think of some good taunts to throw at zee Germans and I will live tweet tomorrow’s game in honor of all the fickle FIFA faux fans out there. 

Follow @DearAnnAbler on Twitter and Dear Ann Abler on Facebook now, and stay tuned for the onslaught of insights during the game.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dad Joke Round-Up

Here's a round-up of some of the best (worst) #DadJokes circulating on Father's Day, that I shared on Dear Ann Abler's Facebook page:

Now go forth, dads and moms, and continue to embarrass your children!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bored Games: How to Make Board Games Bearable for Grown-ups

Dear Ann Abler, 
It has been two months since my last #mommyconfession. Yesterday I realized something about myself that I wasn't ready to admit up until this point. I think Candy Land is horribly boring.
Am I a terrible parent?

Dear CandyCrushed,

Drink Responsibly. A message from your Ann Abler
No way! Well, maybe. But not for not liking Candy Land. You are a normal adult with the desire to deploy your brain cells every now and then. Sometimes board games are a bore, and you need to think outside the cardboard box to make it better. Here are some simple ideas to mix up the monotony of Monopoly, Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders, and the like.

CHEAT. While this may sound cold-blooded at first, most parents know that their children are the #1 cheating champions, and it will either teach them a life lesson about honesty, or hone their skills as cheaters so that they can perfect the craft and be well on their way to Wall Street. It can also be a fun way to test your slight of hand and see the shock on their little faces as you constantly collect all the best cards.

DRINK. Okay, this is a little obvious, but an ice-cold Newcastle can really take the edge off a mind-numbing 17th round of Uno. Don’t drink so much you forget to say Uno. Drink responsibly. ~ A message from your Ann Abler. (Ironic, I know.) 

Beware the evil carrot
INVENT. Add a level of difficulty to any game by making up new rules. It can be as simple as having a 'speed round', or you can introduce a new Evil Carrot character who moves backward through the lengthy labyrinth of Candy Land, and if he lands on the same square as you, sends you back to Start, where you must strike out all over again on your Sisyphean struggle. That's an opportunity for some life lessons. Don’t spend your life trying to get to a castle made of candy? Avoid carrots? Be creative? Don’t make your mom play Candy Land? Something along those lines.

REMINISCE. Even if you are slightly saddened by how the updated design of a game seems to strip it of its original magic, use this time to travel down memory lane and share stories from your childhood. Stories about how you always listened to your parents, for example, or how you better be prepared for some no-holds-barred cards if you're playing with Great Grandma. 

Old School Candy Land
DANCE. Demand dance breaks every 5 – 10 minutes. If we learned anything from The Bible, isn’t it what Kevin Bacon (as Ren) taught us in Footloose? “David danced before the Lord with all his might... leaping and dancing before the Lord…Leaping and Dancing!" If you need dance tips, I suggest re-watching Breakin' (both 1, and 2: Electric Boogaloo), or there's always these lessons from the great Tina Fey.

photo from The Daily Beast
Now say three Hail Mommies and get your dance on.
Ciao for now.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day to Dads who do it ALL!

To all the Dads:

We thank you for your pancake-making, diaper-changing, pool-playing, lesson-giving, no talk-back taking, hug-giving, living room tent-building, book-reading, allowance-giving, game-playing, roadtrip-singing, beach-day-prepping, and all around awesome fatherly love!

Have a great day, and please share your best #DadJokes in honor of Father's Day! Tag @DearAnnAbler on Twitter or share it on DearAnnAbler's page on Facebook!

Friday, June 13, 2014

What would YOU call a vacation with kids?

Hello friends,

Your Dear Ann Abler has been on what is commonly called “vacation”, but what mommies might know as “doing more of the same, somewhere other than your house”. Perhaps we should make up a word for going on vacation with kids (especially if you are tagging along on your partner’s business trip and are alone with the little ones for most of the day). Something like "workation" or "hotelbabyjail".

How would you re-brand family vacation to inject a dose of reality in the name?

Play along, won't you? What does vacation with the kids really feel like? How would you re-brand family vacation to inject a dose of reality in the name?

Thanks for playing along in the comments section below, on Twitter, or on Facebook!