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Guests and Ghosts

Guest bloggers ... ghostwriters ... It's like Forest's box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get!
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Cheer, Goodwill, and Embarrassments: Ms. CrankyPants' Holiday Letter!

While digging through some old files, we came upon this "Ghost of Christmas Past" and wanted to share it with you again. After all, a good laugh never goes out of style, right?! 

Happy holidays, everyone! It's been quite a year! There have been some highlights, and many, MANY embarrassing lowlights, most of which I've shared with you. If you need a refresher, just click here or here. Oh, hell, click on any post in my blog; it's nearly all embarrassing.

Everyone knows that the very BEST holiday letters are all about bragging highlights, so let's get started!

  • I'll just get the biggie out of the way first: I now have 10 followers! It's taken close to a year, but 10 new people actually like me! Or at least, the Ms. CrankyPants version of me. For all you know, I could be a colossal ASS whom you'd hate in real life. (After all, I just used the word "whom.")
Thanks, 10 followers!


  • I haven't had an MS relapse in...ages. Is it the Copaxone? The Swank Diet? Is it because I don't really have MS at all but some other horrible disease? Or, could it be that strange "agreement" I made with the mysterious silver-tongued chap with the red tail and horns who showed up that one night with a contract? Dunno. Whatever. I've been feeling good. (Note: I've just officially jinxed myself.) 
He LOOKED friendly enough...


  • Our fantastically wonderful family is growing! The cat-adoption stork brought us a little bundle of joy (LBOJ) named Pepper Anne! 
Pepper Anne, in one of her 4,872,810 adorable poses.
    • Our existing cats hate aren't especially fond of are slowly getting used to our LBOJ!
    Capt. Nap: "I can't even look at her. She's HIDEOUS!"


    • In other exciting feline news, Squeaky the Cat just graduated Magna Cat Laude from Big Jerk Cat University and has received her Ph.D. in Cat-Assery. She is so skilled! She can now hiss/growl at Pepper Anne and Capt. Nap WHILE guarding her toys, food, and the communal water bowl. Oh, and also all four litter boxes. She's so talented! We are so, so proud. That tuition money was well spent indeed. 
    "Who the hell are you calling a jerk? Cover my head at once, minion!"


    • Capt. Nap is also doing really well! He hasn't had an explosive vomiting session since September. Plus, remember his adorable POO PAWS that so delighted me back in January? He's taught l'il sis Pepper Anne how to actually walk in her poo before burying it. What a good big brother! Now we have two cats with the occasional poo paw. We couldn't be happier! (By the way, who wants to come over and lie on our carpet? First come, first served, friends. There's only so much carpet to go around!)
    I call this section of carpet. (Sorry, homeowners get first pick.)


    • Husband is continuing to support me in my efforts to stave off disability via the Swank Diet! He's a wonderful cook! But, really, how can you go wrong with products like TOFURKEY sausage?
    OOPS! Wrong picture.


    You can see why I got confused.


    • I may have big boobs! Yes, friends, according to a highly trained expert at a local bra shop, I have spent most of my adult life wearing a way-too-tiny bra size. This was some of the best news in all of 2013 for the fabulous CrankyPants family!  


    • Back to our kitty cats! They have really impressed us this year by scorning every single product we've introduced in an attempt to toilet train them. Stubborn little kitties! I do love a cat with his or her own personality! Oh, and not to worry: they've promised to pay us back the $3,176 we spent on ridiculous devices designed to make scooping their litter boxes a task of the past. 
    "Kwit the litter? NEVER!"


    • It sure was a great Halloween this year! We managed to significantly reduce the number of trick-or-treaters harassing us! No, it wasn't the unwrapped hard candies or the miniature boxes of ancient raisins we'd been passing out. We suspect it was because our neighbors saw my husband mowing the yard in the snow! "Why, those cat-loving, kid-less people are NUTS!" we think they might have said on the neighborhood shared social media platform that we imagine exists and to which we've not been invited. "I wouldn't send MY kids there this Halloween." Mission accomplished! 
    This isn't my husband. I've been forbidden to use that picture. This is the mayor of someplace in Iowa. But you get the idea. And in his defense, my husband was not wearing shorts. 


    • Thanksgiving 2013 was a tremendous success! No four-legged attendees vomited or did a poo anywhere! Pepper Anne jumped on the dining room table and lurched toward the turkey only once! (Maybe twice.) (Okay, fine, thrice.) (And, yes, I just said "thrice.")
    We look forward to the new year, new embarrassments, and, ideally, new carpet. May you and yours have a very happy holiday season! 


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    'Til We Meet Again

    It's been over a year since my family and I attended the funeral of my children's beloved great aunt Anna. She was a kind and loving woman and was clearly very dear to you and your congregation, just as she was to our family.

    My kids were six and eight at the time of Aunt Anna's death. Just old enough to "get" it: Aunt Anna was not coming back. She was gone. We'd lost a couple of pets in the past so they had a slight grasp of death and its finality, but this was the first relative that they'd lost. To put it simply, they were bereft. Prior to the funeral, their dad and I talked to them about God and Heaven, and even though none of us in our house is 100% sure what happens after we die, they were comforted at the idea that she was at peace. In a better place, if you will.

    I hoped that your sermon would offer comfort, closure, maybe a few smiles through the tears. I hoped that the kids would gain solace from the service and from your words. Unfortunately, this is not what happened.

    Read more: 'Til We Meet Again

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    Write Like a Pro: Five Writing Tips for Bloggers

    Are you thinking about blogging, but not sure where to begin? Looking to improve the reach of your blog and need a little advice? I've been at this blogging gig four years and have learned a good deal (some of it the hard way!) that I'd like to share with you, starting with this simple thought: blogging is ultimately about sharing good content and developing relationships. Invite your reader into a great conversation, with the feel of having coffee with a friend. 

    There are tips and tools of the trade that can make writing effective. Recently I've had some great opportunities to encourage new bloggers. So today, I'm sharing tips I've learned about writing that I wish I had known when I started.

    Read more: Write Like a Pro: Five Writing Tips for Bloggers

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    Selfie Safety for Teens

    It's every celebrity's nightmare -- the invasion of privacy, once relegated to lunch date stalking and beach-lurking paparazzi, has now breached an even more private realm. Yes, I'm talking about Jennifer Lawrence, et al and the nude photos of other young female celebrities that were recently splashed all over the Internet, prompting discussions of mobile data security, feminism, and sexual crime.

    CelebGate and Cyber-Security

    "Celebgate" also brings up the prevalence of the "selfie" in a youth culture where taking pictures of yourself, whether suggestive or otherwise, happens without a second thought. Many selfies are provocative if only for the fact that they exist to impress or somehow positively influence the viewer in a way that may or may not be sexual.

    Read more: Selfie Safety for Teens

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    Pouches' Community Corner

    Smart Beginnings Rappahannock Area Splash EventMassadYMCA

    For the past seven years, Smart Beginnings has thrown the Splash Pool Party fundraiser. This summer, the event will be held on June 24, 2018 from 6:30-9:30 pm at the Steve & Cheri Thurston Water Park at the Massad Family YMCA. Tickets range in price from $12 for a single ticket, $20 for couples and $35 for a family/group of four and each ticket also covers a hot dog, bag of chips and a drink.