Top Ten Baby Names (That Should Be Trending) for 2017

It's time for my Top Ten Baby Names for 2017! (But first, review the Top Ten Baby Names for 2016.) You can name your kids Sophia and Jackson like everyone else. Or you can give them a respectable name. It's up to you, but whatever you do, don't worry: It's just your children's entire future at stake.

10. Terrence and Trevor are wussy names. Just be honest and call your son Terror.

9. You're not really going to name your daughter Clementine, are you? And it's a little late to hop on the Lydia trend. You know what will help this situation? Chlamydia.

8, 7, 6. So you're having triplets? Congratulations! But that's triple the names to fight about. Your spouse probably wants them to be match-matchy like Jenny, Jamie, and Julie. Gross. Meanwhile you're suggesting more reasonable possibilities: Amanda, Madeline, Clara... Annette, Violet, Lynn... Here's a compromise: Mandolynn, Clarinette, and Violynn. Plus, you already have a family band in the making. Win-win-win.

5. It's tempting to follow the trends that are reaching back farther and farther to pull out grandmotherly gems like Eileen and Scarlett. But if you're going for something that antique, might as well name her Eyelett after that horrible lace from the same century as those oldy names. In fact, while you're at it, look in the attic for the bassinet passed down from your grandmother Eileen... it probably has some eyelet bedding with it. Now get rid of that and get a proper crib.

4. Sage has been moderately popular for awhile, and you'll even meet some Basils -- but why do we have to take our hippie inclinations so literally? What's wrong with something normal, like Megan? Or if you must incorporate a spice, at least go with Nutmegan. Lots of nickname options there.

3. But if you insist on naming your child after an herb, at least let me help you justify it: Preempt Camille's potential stuttering problem and just call her Chamomile to begin with. People might mutter "child abuse" under their breath when they hear that your plan to name your child after a disgusting tea, but these are the same people who named their kid Aiden/Caden/Jayden back in 2010. Ignore them.

2. Ariel and Aurelia are unique enough for some, but to really ensure she's the only kid in her class with her name, call her Areola. You might have a hard time finding a keychain with her name on it at touristy gift shops, but I guarantee she will not have to go by first name + last initial.

1. Calista and Charity are okay I guess, but I don't understand why Calamity hasn't made a comeback yet. It doesn't have to be Calamity Jane, if that's too boring. Just play around with it: Calamity Susan... Calamity Jezebel... hell, you could even go with Calamity Sophia.



Maybe those mail-senders know me better than I know myself, because I just found out that I have early-onset osteoarthritis. Of course I do. Why wouldn't I? Gray hair and regular colonoscopies starting at twenty-three... arthritis and orthotics at thirty-three... It's like my very body is giving up on me. Like it just skipped my child-bearing years and went straight to old age.

God I love being alive. It's the best.


We Heard You Might Be Dying

The house where I singly rent a room recently received mail addressed to the "Hagans Family" from the mortuary. I guess they heard I'm not the hugest fan of being alive and figured they would find out what to do with my body while there was still time -- and before the competing mortuaries could get my business. I don't believe I am acquainted with these people, but they start their correspondence with "Dear Friend" and promise me a Final Wishes Organizer as a token of their thanks. What a timely and thoughtful gesture! I'm busy drafting my response to this most considerate of offers...

1. How old are you?
Getting up there, apparently.

2. Are you currently: 
A. Retired YES
B. Employed YES (I like to give back)

3. If you have given thought to this subject, which of the following would you choose for yourself?
A. Burial
B. Cremation
I appreciate your tactful albeit naive assumption that I don't think about death all the time. So far I like you better than the mortuaries that didn't bother to reach out. Keep it up.

4. How important to you personally is the location (proximity) of the cemetery:
I prefer to die directly in my grave plot, thanks for asking.

5. Are you aware that prepaid funeral plans exist?

6. Have you ever considered a prepaid funeral plan?
No, but now I feel guilty that all the effort I've been putting into my upcoming suicide should be going towards that instead.

7. How much might you expect to pay for a funeral?
A. $0-$2,000
B. $2,000-$4,000
C. $4,000-$6,00--Okay, I get the point!

8. Do you maintain up-to-date biographical information and accurate family records to assist you or a loved one with funeral planning?
What do you think, Friend?

9. Have you made firm plans and arrangements for cemetery property?

10. Do you currently have life insurance that is allocated for funeral arrangements in the event of your death?

11. Are your loved ones and family members aware of what you desire and prefer for your own arrangements?
They will be once I receive my complimentary Final Wishes Organizer (ahem). Thanks for helping me up my suicide note game.

12. Do you currently have a will?
To live? Not really, no; hence all of these arrangements for my death.

13. In the event of your death, who would be responsible for making the arrangements?
A. SpouseNOPE
B. ChildreNOPE thanks now I want to kill myself again

BTW, If this letter reaches you at a time of illness or loss, please accept our sincerest apologies.

Hilarity. I've also been getting mail from the AARP urging me to apply for a membership, so I'm not sure how old all these strangers think I am, but I'm totally offended because their membership benefits are not even worth it.


Limited Edition

Our new air freshener in the bathroom at work smells so good, I would seriously wear it as perfume. I looked at the can to see what it was, and it was a scent called "Fresh Sky," and then I saw that it was also labeled "Limited Edition."  Come again? First of all, why is it that every time I find a good product, it gets discontinued? Secondly... Limited Edition air freshener?! Hey marketing team, you guys realize this is a cleaning product, right?

I'm tempted to buy a can for myself, but whether to save it as a collector's item or spray it all over myself, I can't decide...



"Do you have a plan to hurt yourself?" the doctor always asks. The plan is to get cancer. Sometimes I stand in front of the microwave, or sleep with my cell phone next to my head. One time I heard a story about a girl who botched a suicide attempt lying down on train tracks. Instead of losing her head, she lost her legs and survived and then she really wanted to die. So you'll understand if I'm a little gun-shy about the whole suicide thing.

The doctor said I could see an eating disorder specialist or try a new medication that will make me gain weight. The medication seemed more efficient. It's also supposed to keep me from having suicidal thoughts, but the one of the side effects, besides weight gain, is suicidal thoughts. I see what you did there, pharmaceutical industry. I'm not supposed to drink alcohol with this medication, either, because it may cause drowsiness, but the main reason I'm taking it is to help me sleep, so... I think what they meant is for maximum effectiveness, take with alcohol.

The pills are so tiny, I can hardly tell if I've swallowed them or if they're still in my mouth. They only gave me a two-week supply, but they still put it in a huge bottle. When the baby enters my room, he always goes straight for the drugs and shakes the bottle like a rattle. Now there are two bottles, one for each hand. The baby grins as he practices his percussion. The drugs work better on him.


How to Get Girls, Part 3

(Check out Part 1 and Part 2.)

The Bait and Switch

Step 1: Locate a female. Preferably one with severe emotional issues who is going through a particularly vulnerable time and won't be able to enforce healthy boundaries. Caution: This may backfire if she's so mentally unstable that she violently attacks you later.

Step 2: Ask her out. The beautiful thing is that it doesn't matter if she says yes or no. If she says no, which she will...

Step 3: ...Carry on as though she said yes. As in, conduct the relationship in a way that looks exactly like dating. The key here is to use her own word: "friends." That word is like a magic license to treat her as outrageously inappropriately as you want. If she suggests including other friends, veto this immediately. Isolation is essential.

Step 4: Now that you've got her isolated, don't waste any time in obtaining extremely personal information. Schedule her therapy appointments on your calendar to be "supportive" -- since no one else can match your unhealthy level of attention, she'll become dependent on you. (The other beautiful thing is that it doesn't even matter if you're not smart or funny or interesting at all... just act unbelievably nice and she'll be under your control.) If she's having a bad day, make sure to seem more understanding than anyone else would ever be so that she'll keep coming to you. Stay in contact all throughout the day, or every other day at the least. Make her homemade soup when she mentions feeling slightly under the weather. Get all dressed up and take her out to dinner and the ballet. Hell, rent an airplane and take her flying if you can! You know she never gets to do such things, so she won't be able to resist. Compliment her dress... her hair... her eyes. Get more and more flirtatious slowly over several months so that she doesn't notice what's happening until you're holding her in a long embrace. As long as you still call her a "friend," she can't possibly get attached to you, but you get to feel like a hero. (One exception to the "act like you're dating" rule: if she insists on paying for herself, let her. No reason to invest in something temporary. You're getting a great deal, plus she'll be tempted to believe that you're respecting her boundaries.)

Step 5: Repeat step 4 until a new prospect comes along. Trade in the placeholder immediately. If she points out your place-holding behavior, turn it around so that you're the victim -- she is invalidating your lifestyle and that hurts! Admit no fault, and certainly don't apologize. Why should you? This person has ceased to be useful to you, so reconciliation is unnecessary. You got what you wanted... and guilt-free, because after all, you were just friends -- she said so herself! And you know what they say: "Words speak louder than actions." (Don't bother yourself with the ethics of gaslighting someone who already has literal brain damage from gaslighting... you have more interesting things to worry about now!)

Step 5: Charm this new person into marrying you as soon as possible -- before she can change her mind. Four months is plenty of time to turn an acquaintance into a spouse. Remember, the only thing better than abruptly merging your entire life with a near-stranger (and having a black eye in your wedding pictures) is to time it so that you're also starting a stressful new job and moving out of state where you lack the social support your questionable decisions certainly require.


Thanks for nothing, intellection.

We had to take the Strengths Finder assessment at work and these were my top 5 strengths:

1. Intellection
2. Input
3. Learner
4. Strategic
5. Responsibility

Everyone with intellection knows that's not a word, so let me translate for you:

1. You're a nerd
2. You're a nerd
3. You're a nerd
4. You lied when you took the test
5. You should have more fun

The first three are no surprise. But strategic? I don't know... when I think of strategic, I think of people who are good at chess. People who can see what's going to happen next if they take or don't take a certain action. Here is my case for how not strategic I am:

Example 1) Fifty percent of the time I put my ukulele back in its case, I put it in upside-down.

Big side with big side, no?
 At one point I actually asked myself why they put the zipper on the bottom.

The other fifty percent of the time, I preempt my stupidity (is this the strategic part??) and purposely put it in the opposite way of my natural inclination. But wait... little end into big end?

This can't possibly be right.
How did I manage to get it wrong again? I strategically preempted my stupidity! I turn it around so that big sides match -- ah, now it's looking right -- and end up with this:

I don't understand why it won't go in farther.
Damn it... foiled again! So then I turn it around again in this chaotic universe and finally get the thing in there, contrary to basic logic. Strategic? Folks, it takes me three tries to get a ukulele-shaped ukulele into a ukulele-shaped ukulele case. A toddler could match shapes better than me!

One could argue that my strategy is just neutralized by my lack of spatial reasoning skills, except...

Example 2) Fifty percent of the time I try to bring up a Snapchat filter, I first touch my real face, not my face on the screen. And I am younger than 80, so there's no excuse for this techtarded behavior. Strategic? I think not. And where was intellection during all this??


Man Church

Image result for nascar

I boycotted Father's Day this year. Not for the expected reason. I just couldn't handle another Man Church spectacle. Last year the theme (yes, there's a theme) was sports. Because fathers are practically men, and men like sports. (On Mother's Day this same church taught me -- again -- that woman and mother are synonyms.)

Last Father's Day, I walked into the church building and grabbed a water bottle from one of two giant ice troughs, declined the free popcorn, and headed up to the balcony. The excitement was almost as palpable as the spilled popcorn underfoot. I looked down onto what used to be the stage but was now a mini football field. The musicians were wearing baseball -- basketball -- whatever kind of jersey they could find, I guess.

The next hour and a half was a blur of cheerleaders, a dancing mascot, clips of sportscasters, a referee blowing the whistle on the pastor's (rehearsed) bad jokes, halftime entertainment, live competitions, prizes, and T-shirts launched into the congregation audience. Oh yeah, and there was even a sermon. The pastor's talk was divided into four quarters and that was my takeaway. (I'm sure all the dads remember the message though because they would have gotten the football analogy.) What I do remember: doing the wave. Or sitting there in a stupor while everyone else did the wave, more likely. I kept forgetting and remembering that I was at a church worship gathering as if I were going in and out of consciousness.

This year the theme was Nascar. I just couldn't.


Fishing is not my default activity.

Why stop the mundanity now? I have yet to empty myself of grocery shopping rants.

In my avoidance of grocery Monopoly, I made the mistake of shopping the Walmart "neighborhood market." (I like to pretend this is better than the regular Walmart, but if it is, it's only quantitatively because it's smaller.) First a customer asked me if I was buying my "bicycle vegetables," which, now that I think of it, could have been a concerned inquiry as to what I'm feeding my bicycle. But I don't think so; the stress made it sound like bicycle was meant as an adjective. Or perhaps he was creating a compound noun? There's no such thing as bicycle-vegetables, odd stranger. It seemed his entire purpose in uttering incohesive phrases at me was to let me know that he saw me outside, which is just creepy and stalker-ish.

Then the cashier. Rang up my grapes, told me how much they cost and asked if I still wanted them. For a moment I wondered if this was a trick question because they cost the same amount when I actively picked them up and put them in my cart. Nothing has changed! Why would my mind? Apparently Walmart cashiers are not accustomed to people knowing how to use multiplication. Then he inexplicably asked me if I was going fishing, and when I said no, he asked, "Why not?!"

I guess he didn't know my bike is a vegetarian. And a cannibal. I don't know.


Thanks though... I am out of salt.

So I'm playing Monopoly. Not the real one, but the one from the grocery store where you can win stuff. I never play these dumb things. When the cashiers ask me if I'm playing Monopoly, I say no so they won't give me those useless game pieces. But this one day, the cashier didn't ask me and just handed me a huge stack of them, and I couldn't just throw them away -- what if they contained the winning pieces to the... whatever prize is the biggest?!? So I got a board.

It seems this Monopoly has changed from how I remember it. Didn't they used to give you like three game pieces each shopping trip? Now they gave me a ton of those little paper packets, and each one has four separate pieces inside! Real Monopoly is fun, but this is like a monotonous part-time job! Even if I win the $5 cash prize, I'm pretty sure I'm not even making minimum wage if I take the time to go in and redeem it, after all the time I've spent affixing these damn pieces on.

As if four game pieces weren't enough, each packet is also printed with either an Instant Winner or a code to continue playing online. I decline to continue torturing myself. Are people really doing this? Like the gluing on of the paper pieces whetted their appetite for more ways to waste their time?

It honestly took me three days to get all the pieces I've collected on the board, it's so boring. Finally I got one that said Instant Winner! Salt. Really? I finally win something and it's ordinary table salt? They couldn't make it something that seems more prize-ish, like candy? It's like the Prize Selector stopped valuing his job and just tried to come up with the most mundane prize ever. Actually, it was for iodized salt specifically. Seems extra degrading. Like they figure I must be too pathetic to ensure I'm getting enough iodine in my diet if I'm playing grocery Monopoly on a Friday night. Also, ex-prize selector? This is AKA a coupon.


I Felt Stabby This Day

I recently discovered a weird craft that I did not know existed called felting. Felting involves taking the hair from an alpaca and forming it into the likeness of another animal, or anything at all, without the alpaca's consent.

Somehow by stabbing a ball of hair with a special needle, the ball gets tighter and tighter until it takes on whatever shape you stabbed it into. It's basically witchcraft. Since my powers aren't magic, they peaked at a sphere...with a face and some balding "pigtails." (So I got tired of stabbing and didn't finish the hair, okay?)

Take this quiz to see if felting is for you:

a) you enjoy creepy, hairy, useless knickknacks

b) creepy knickknacks aren't your thing, but you need something terrifying to appear randomly on your unsuspecting coworker's desk to promote your continued attendance at work

c) you're not into hairy knickknacks, but you love a good stabbing

d) there's an alpaca in your life that deserves some voodoo revenge

If you answered A, B, or C, you should stop taking quizzes about felting.
If you answered D, you should do whatever you want... I'm afraid to piss you off as a human.

"Hi! I'm Sara. I'm looking for my forever body."


Now if I could just sleep...

I have long hated bedsheets, and I have gone to extreme lengths to avoid them. I'm referring to flat sheets specifically. The fitted sheet is easy enough to put on the bed (although it takes specialized knowledge to fold it correctly), but the top sheet is trying to kill me!

First I go crazy trying to get the thing all smooth and centered, then get a full-body workout trying to tuck it under my heavy mattress properly, but the worst part is actually sleeping under it. The sheet and the blanket have some conspiracy going to destroy what is left of my sanity after attempting to make my bed: The blanket will start inching toward one side while the sheet creeps off the opposite side. Every time. They could at least have the courtesy to fall off the same direction. Well, I've had enough.

I finally made the switch to a duvet, and I was so excited when my duvet cover arrived (from Europe, I presume)... until I tried to put it on. At first it appeared to be just a sheet, which was exactly what I was trying to quit, so I got a little panicky, turning it all around and trying to find a magic opening. Where do you put the duvet in?? Finally I found a small opening and realized the buttons were hidden on the inside. Strike one, duvet cover. (Not because hidden buttons aren't genius, but because you tricked me.) Then I realized my duvet was two inches longer than the cover, yet two inches narrower. So it's going to be like that, huh? Did I just trade one conspiracy for another? Images of lumpy, saggy bedding flashed through my mind. Strike two. I started to suspect that duvets were going to disappoint me just as much as sheets and hammocks and the floor.

In the end, the size difference didn't seem to be problematic, and while making the bed still drove me a bit mad on my first try, the sleeping insomnia experience is so worth it. I can toss and turn until morning light and not have to wonder where my covers went. I think it's going to be okay.

But one more strike and you're out.


I Should Have Stayed a Temp

Well, apparently I spoke too soon... a day after my last post, my boss announced that I was permanent! Hooray! Meaning that my hours will be cut because now that I'm eligible for benefits, my position is over budget. Wait... is this how promotions work? Unless I have other insurance...? This is definitely not how negotiations work. Oh and it turns out there is a retirement benefit too! Anything else I should know?! And permanent is just nominal anyway because my position will still be eliminated when we restructure. Nice to know I'm finally being valued here.


Seniority Rules

Tomorrow is my boss's last day which means that I'm going to be the employee who has been with the organization the second-longest. But that won't stop me from being a "temp"! Hilarious.


Casual Friday Style Tip: Choose One or More |Shoes| |Pants|

I got rather soaked in the rain on my ride to work on Friday, so I asked my coworkers: Must I wear pants? "TAKE OFF YOUR PANTS!!" they demanded in unison. I was wearing leggings, after all, and with my long cardigan, that's practically acceptable. We weren't expecting anyone to stop by, and if they do I'll just stay at my desk with my legs hidden underneath. Okay, maybe they weren't leggings so much as long underwear... you know, the pants and matching shirt that look like kid pajamas? And you know I was wearing the matching shirt. With my jeans drying on the coat rack, everything was going comfortably until the pizza guy showed up and I remembered we ordered pizza using my card. I tried to sign the receipt from my desk, but then it was awkward that I was making everyone come to my throne like I'm some kind of monarch, so I stood up reluctantly to hand the receipt to the pizza guy smirking at my long underpants with socks scrunched over that I just realized were no longer hidden by my rain boots thus firmly rendering my entire outfit completely inappropriate loungewear and now I don't like that pizza anymore.


Beauty is in the Eye of the Ombre Shadow... Apparently

The last time I really got into makeup was probably in high school. In my old age, I've gotten stuck in my primitive routine of no mascara, exactly two lipsticks I rotate (when I can be bothered to wear it at all), neutral eyeshadow applied with a Q-tip when the applicator that came with it fell apart, and the same drug store foundation I've been wearing since middle school, applied with my fingers. And in the rare times when I feel the itch for something new, I simply hit the Clinique counter at Macy's during the bonus giveaway, and get out of there.

The other day I went to a specialty cosmetic shop and WHAT IN THE WORLD IS THIS PLACE?! Did there always exist such an assortment of tools for eyebrows alone? I don't remember half of these beauty products. These "sculpting powders" are not ringing a bell either... shading and highlights on my face? Am I not 3D enough in the natural?? And apparently I'm supposed to be applying primer (yes, primer -- with a paintbrush, no less, but don't ask me which one of the thirty options -- or maybe that odd-shaped sponge?) to my face before the over-makeup. It's like extreme makeover but I can't tell if it's home edition or not! Are we remodeling the house or getting ready to go out for a few hours?? I mean, I'll use a base and top coat on my nails (and I have no idea about this gel and shellac business) because I expect it to last a week. When my face makeup starts lasting a week, then I'll consider primer. (And hygiene, maybe.)

If I used all these products, it would take hours to put my makeup on! If it takes more time to apply and remove my makeup than the time I'm going to be wearing it, I'm out. Plus, the last time I was into makeup the sales associate wasn't a boy in bright pink lipstick explaining how mattes require a lot of prep. I know we're supposed to be politically correct these days, but I kind of feel like I got schooled. But now I'm really curious just how much more 3D I can get...


I Was Awesome As A Baby

I don't know anything about what I was like as a baby because my mom always mixes me up with my brother. And by "mixes up," I mean she only remembers him. She says I was "old hat" by the time I came along, but I have a lot of vintage hats and they're pretty memorable. Like, one of them is entirely covered with black feathers and fishnet. You don't see hats like that anymore. My mom has never exactly been the fashion ninja in the family, so no wonder my fleek baby self didn't make a lasting impression on her.



About once a year I have to get my credit union to reset my password for online account access because their system is archaic, and this time the lady made me attempt to answer my security questions in front of her. I'm not sure which one of us was more embarrassed...

What was your dream job as a child? My dream job? At which moment in time? Gymnast, I typed. Wrong. Librarian. Error. Hairstylist. Nope. Wait, let me try one more... Construction worker. After that she took the keyboard away from me. She graciously deleted that question but now I am dying to know what I put. Clearly I had gone through some phases, but there was never any one career I had my heart set on. The answer was probably "Nothing." Duh.

Next, What is your favorite beverage? Water was a fail. After my poor performance on the first question, the teller didn't even give me another chance. I knew it wasn't Water but I didn't want her to judge me if Gin succeeded.

Where was your favorite place to vacation as a child? First of all, this question is a microaggression against the economically disadvantaged. Did we even go on any repeat vacations? Who chose my questions?? Then again, it's not my fault that they're all subjective. I guess that's supposed to make your account more secure. In my case it's more like a super strict budgeting system.

They should really let me write my own questions, because my first one would be What is the answer to your security question? and I would be so perplexed, I would probably submit some nonsense like Kuboaa that would end up being the correct answer and my password.

After failing to remember a single one of my security answers, the computer concluded that I am an idiot unworthy of online credit-unioning in the first place and denied me access at every opportunity. Two tellers and three new passwords later, I could finally login again, but I was required to set up no fewer than five new security questions! I did myself a favor and wrote down my password for once, because by this time next year I am never going to remember who I currently consider to be my kindergarten teacher or the author of my favorite book. Don't even try to steal my thousands of cents, guys. They are locked up behind riddles and no one has the key.


Single vs. Unemployed

The great thing about being single is that it affords a self-sustaining lifestyle. You don't have to be with anyone, and actually you're better off alone than with the wrong person. You can go your entire life without a significant other and be just fine. (I suppose 200 years ago this was often not the case for women, but it is now.)

Unfortunately, you can't exactly just be unemployed until the right job comes along, and shrug if it never does. That doesn't work too well.


My Name is Abra, and I Have a Problem

Women commonly have a weakness for footwear, and I am no exception. Of course by footwear we usually mean shoes, but I have always had a thing for... socks. Yep, Christmas's worst gift is what I'm drawn to like a clearance sale whenever I'm shopping. I joke a lot about having a sock problem, but I never accepted its severity until this last time I moved, filling a huge duffel bag with socks. It was time to look my sock hoarding disorder in the face.

Turns out I have more than 42 pairs of socks. I stopped counting after that, but there were a bunch more in the laundry. I have sock liners, ankle socks, slouchy socks, boot socks, slipper socks, knee-highs, thigh-highs. White, black, orange, hot pink, striped, checked, polka-dotted, even herringbone. Socks for flip-flops and socks for d'orsay shoes.

In my new place, I even have socks hanging on hangers in my closet. Maybe because my addiction has become too unruly to be stuffed away in my dresser drawer? Or maybe because those are my "fancy socks" and they deserve special care? Or both?? You decide.