Wednesday, August 27, 2014

To Rest or Watch Netflix? That is the Question

Dear Ann Abler,
I am sick. Should I rest or just watch more Netflix?

Dear Keith,

Ah…you ask a question of the ages. Until they find a way to stream Netflix into our subconscious, we will be dealing with this dilemma. 

Some would say that this is a simple answer and that you should rest if you are sick. However, Netflix has natural healing powers that take effect around the same time you discover Freaks and Geeks or Louie.

Going on a #NetflixBinge can be a slippery slope to more #NetflixBinge. However, if you thinkyou winkyou do a double blinkyou close your eyes, and JUMP…oh wait, that’s how you get into a magic painting with Mary Poppins (also on Netflix). Well, maybe we should look to our favorite films or series to help us arrive at an answer we like. What would Walter White do? Something he liked…and was good at, I bet. What would they do in Portlandia? Put. A. Bird. On. it. And Dexter? Let’s just stop there, this doesn’t seem to be helping.

I assume you don’t have children because you mentioned “rest” as one of your options. Resting is a critical component to recuperation, but laughter is the best medicine, so I am going to recommend a regimen of five parts Netflix to one part rest for a majority of the day, and then go to sleep at some point, I suppose. Alternating between screen-staring and sleep in a gloriously uncommitted state is one of the best things, I’m guessing, for your well-being. 

photo via

A few years back I was sick for four days and managed to watch the first two seasons of Arrested Development. I expect no less from you. I credit my full recovery to Tobias Funke. If for some reason you have not yet seen that show, consider it doctor’s orders, and then consider me a doctor. But not the kind of doctor you can sue when things don’t go well.
You should also post really pathetic pictures of yourself on Facebook (maybe with a thermometer and old-timey ice pack on your head) until you successfully guilt one of your friends into bringing you a hot tottie or some tom yum. If you don’t have friends, you can always YouTube some old Friends episodes, and order something from Eat24, who is not paying me to say this, but should definitely give me an extra special coupon code.

Get well soon,

Your Ann Abler

p.s. I haven’t see the Increasingly Poor Decisions of ToddMargaret, but it has David Cross, so it can’t be bad.

p.p.s. Let’s ask the audience: What show must Keith see? Tell us your favorites in the Comments section, or share via Facebook or Twitter.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Workin' for a Lovin'

From the Twitterverse @MartinQuinn66 asks:
Dear Ann,
There's a new girl at work I quite like. How long should I wait before starting the rumour we're sleeping together?

Dear MQ,
What a harmless and appropriate question! After giving it some careful consideration, I think you won’t even need to start a rumor, because together we can make it true! If you follow these tips (the DOs, not the DON’Ts!), you’ll lasso Little Lassie in no time:

DO keep compliments short and sweet: “nice dress” or “great idea!”
DON’T follow a compliment with the Hannibal Lecter toothy lip thing:

DO ask what she did over the weekend.
DON’T ask what flavor she chose at Yogurtland on 2nd Street at 3 pm on Saturday and who was that person she was with because you don’t think he’s the one for her, and her hair smells yummy today.

DO quote great thinkers, when appropriate.
DON’T randomly quote Willy Wonka when you walk by her cubicle. Especially avoid:
Next time, try to open your mouth a little wider when you speak.
Everything inside is eatable, I mean edible, I mean you can eat everything.
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams.

DO buy her a thoughtful gift if you are her secret Santa.
DON’T buy her exact shade of lipstick, smudge it on your collar, and walk up behind her wildly pointing and gesturing so that co-workers totally “get it”.

DO bring her a beverage at lunch and casually say, “you like coke, right?”
DON’T put a pubic hair on top of it.

DO give her a friendly remind her about tomorrow morning’s meeting.
DON’T tell her she should skip the sexual harassment seminar, or mention how you think knowing your rights as an employee can really slow down the mating process.

DO show your artistic side by casually leaving your sketchbook open on your desk.
DON’T show your artistic side by performing an interpretive dance to Adele’s Someone Like You when you’re the last two people in the office.

DO arrange to get a phone call that enables you to use your French language skills. Bonus move: Either throw your head back in laughter to appear jovial or use a hushed voice to seem mysterious.
DON’T arrange to get a phone call from your dermatologist to discuss the details of that disturbing rash.

DO mention you’re seeing someone new (unavailable = intriguing), and ask Little Lassie whether she thinks it’s too soon to show her Greece, or if you should just take her through some country roads on the back of your motorcycle.
DON’T mention that you actually mean watching the movie Grease, and by motorcycle you actually mean unicycle.

DO set her free if it's not meant to be.
DON'T do this: 

I hope you have the best of luck with your lady friend. However, if things don’t work out with this new girl at work, you should really try your luck in the States. Not only does spelling rumor “rumour” make you seem fancy to us, but if you’ve seen the documentary Love Actually then you will know that American girls will immediately bed a boy with an accent. Just channel your inner Ewan McGreggor or Sean Connery, and you’re set.

That is all,

Your Ann Abler 

P.S. Now be a lamb and tell your friends to follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tight on Time? Multi-Task Like a Mutha

Dear Ann Abler,

Photo via +Engadget of +Portlandia (
I feel like time is not on my side. Kids are crawling all over me and I hardly have a second for myself. When I finally do have a moment alone, I’m so scatterbrained that all I can do is retweet, like, or pin things.


Hashtag Hannah
Dear #,

Not this cat/cow (image via +TechTarget)
Breathe. Breathe again. Back away from the screen. Wait – not yet – read these words of wisdom first. Breathe in and out again, maybe do a couple cat/cows, and then have a seat with me. 

First off, commit to whatever it is you’re doing in the moment. Unless it’s listening to your 7-year-old recite a really long Christmas wish list. In August. Something like that could really go on forever, and as you’ve made clear, you barely have a moment to yourself, let alone a “forever.” I know most parenting professionals say give your children 100% of your attention whenever possible, but does anyone really give 100% of their attention to anything, except maybe a sneeze or an orgasm?

Whoever said “live in the now,” maybe didn’t realize there are 17 things going on in the now. Multi-tasking is a must, and it is possible to love your children AND pay partial attention to them, all while chewing gum. You can employ this “adore/ignore” technique and unleash your social media spasms amidst the surrounding chaos of said children.

Most Mommybloggers' Default Screenview
While little Layla is doing her 27th handstand saying “look at me,” you can pin some groovy color palettes on Pinterest or retweet the latest injustice. You paid attention all the way through handstand #26; you’ve earned your ignore points. Or if you’re gonna plop down tiny Timmy in front of some Tutitu, try a split screen and start checking the stats on your blog. I only assume you have a blog because you’re a mom, and that’s pretty much standard protocol these days. (Or if not, then I imagine you at least have a decent Facebook or Twitter presence. If not, are you reading this post on parchment paper?). But I digress.

Getting back to your question, the lesson to be learned here is that if you employ my patented sub-par parenting approach, then you can use your truly alone time for more focused activity, whether it be reading, writing, exercising, or whatever you can squeeze in those few precious moments.

As this post does not require your full attention, I hope you are reading it while telling your children, “excellent handstand, honey!” or “put that knife down, Timmy.” You might actually want to investigate that last one further.

Sub-par is better than no-par,

Your Ann Abler

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Do I Really Have to Shower Every Day?

Dear Ann Abler,
Just hope you don't run into this lady.

Do I have to take a shower every day? Especially after going in the pool it just seems like overkill, and I’m tired of washing towels. I?

Dirty Diana

Dirty Diana,


I hope you knew when you came to your Dear Ann Abler with this question that you would get the answer you needed. The answer you deserve. A shower every single day? Overrated. I am on board with you when it comes to the pool. All the getting wet and drying off can be exhausting. There is such a thing as pool-clean. As long as you got most of your dirty on you before the pool, then you’re in the clear. So if your significant other asks if you’ve already taken your shower, you can assure him you’re pool-clean. It’s best for the team if he also believes this is a thing.

Secondly (even though there wasn’t a firstly), laundry is the enemy, and we must maintain a united front against it. We only engage in battle with laundry when there is no other recourse. Or clean underwear.

Thirdly, we are in the middle of a drought and you are doing your part to conserve water – both by not showering and by not washing extra towels. You’re really a great person, and should get yourself a hemp T-shirt that says something on it about how you reduce, reuse, and recycle. I would also recommend drinking beer instead of water when given the option. This drought is serious stuff and it might not be a bad idea to switch to an alcohol-based diet as soon as possible.

So yeah, don't shower as much. To save the earth. If your friends start standing further away from you than usual due to your beer breath and general stankiness, don't worry about it. Enjoy the extra personal space.

Your Ann Abler

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pubes R' Us

Dear Ann,

I recently waxed my nether regions as a way of saying, "Happy Anniversary" to my husband. Now it’s all red and blotchy. What the hell are Brazilians thinking? 
Please tell me I never have to do this again.

~ All Plucked Up

Fiction: The flower petals make it painless!
Dear Plucked,

I can think of other ways to say "Happy Anniversary," like spelling it with frosting on a cake, or saying it with your mouth (however you’d like to interpret that). Ripping out the friendly reminder of what makes you a grown-up-lady-human-animal is not the only option. With this ever so sweet yet sadistic act you were also saying, go ahead and pretend I’m a mannequin, it’s cool.

There’s a reason hair is on our “down there.” Many have explained this eloquently in the past. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t groom it to your liking, or even rip it all out if that is your heart’s desire. Just inform the heart that it’s writing a check your cooch can’t cash. As you have just experienced, waxing can make you look like you went bareback riding in a sand-paper bikini, or like a recently plucked chicken with a sunburn.

If you don’t want to do it again, don’t. You have every right to proudly rock your pubes. And the exact opposite is true: you can proudly rock your plucked parts. I'm not an anti-waxer, I'm just anti-societal-pressure-to-wax. A "beach-ready" body is every body. 

Before I go on, I want to ask my sisters out there: Do you think we can spend less time coming up with anti-heteronormative hashtags and spelling women “womyn,” and instead focus our energy on making a comeback of leg and pube hair (while dismantling patriarchy in all its forms, of course)? We need a pube pioneer. I think if Selma Hayek declares it cool, then it shall be so. What do you say Selma? Wanna go “full Santa Cruz” and use your celebrity for a good cause?

Well, Ms. Plucked, I hope you feel empowered in your process of re-forrestation. If your husband is disappointed by the decision, perhaps you can show him some 1970’s erotica to arouse his inner Burt Reynolds. Break out the bear-skinned rug and celebrate your anniversary in style. Disco style.

Now go apply some aloe vera and pour yourself a drink. 

Your Ann Abler

Friday, August 1, 2014

We Like to Potty

This question comes to us via @2babies1buggy on Twitter:
How do you potty train a 1 year old? It seems to be going really slow with no progress. I need HELP! 

Dear Potty People,

Not as groovy as the Peace Train.
I’m usually a huge supporter of denial, but just so we're all clear here, you're actually attempting to potty-train two children, correct? I’m not a detective or anything, but watching Murder, She Wrote has strengthened my skills of observation enough to solve this case of the telling Twitter handle. You are humbly downplaying the fact that you, 2babies1buggy, have TWO children you hope to potty-train. I only bring it up because your denial is misplaced; you should be in denial that potty training needs to happen at all.

What’s the rush to train the little tots? In a few short several decades most of us are back in diapers anyhow. Kind of makes you wonder if it’s worth all the work. Before investing your time and energy in something, you really have to consider if NOT investing your time and energy is an option. Let’s explore this thought further…

Avoidance is one of my all-time favorite coping mechanisms, and I believe you could really benefit from such an approach at this time. Why not adopt (or invent) a parenting technique that lets the children decide when they’d like to stop shitting themselves? It will make you seem sensitive. While you’re at it, consider re-branding yourself as an extreme environmentalist who is very concerned about the California drought and doesn’t want to flush excessively right now. The fact you don’t live in the state will show how truly empathic you are to our plight. Plus, urine is totally organic, and you support organic things on your children’s skin, right? (Just so you know, the only socially acceptable answer to a question with the word "organic" in it is: "Yes!").

I happen to be an expert in the field of potty training in that I am a potty-trained American. While I'm pleased about my bladder control capabilities, I feel like I would have arrived at this point eventually. Worrying about when to start potty training is like worrying about how long to breastfeed; don't worry about it. Just roll with it, baby. Or at least put it off for another day. Or, get one of these:

I hope you can really explore your skills of avoidance, or else I feel like my time here was wasted.

Your Ann Abler