I don't know about you but I've had it with the hysteria over Newsweek's Michelle Bachmann cover. Critics say it is "sexist." Oh, come on. Yeah she looks a little nuts here, but sexist? Really?

It reminds me of this so-called "sexist" magazine cover featuring Sarah Palin. I'm sorry, did Newsweek paparazzi stake out Sarah to come upon this image of her with the flag, or did she happily pose for it?

I don't remember anyone complaining this magazine cover was "sexist."

And how about this one? I'd say it's pretty accurate, by the way. Don't get me wrong. I'm not one to scream about the "liberal media" although I am actually pretty (fiscally) conservative. I just get tired of female politicians playing the "sexism" card whenever they're faced with less-than-flattering press. I say man up, ladies.

I’m heartsick over an engagement announcement I just received.

A guy I absolutely love, who I’ll call Nolan, sent word that he and his lady friend have decided to make it official. Their engagement photo is lovely. I’m sure the wedding will be, too.

There’s only one problem. Nolan is gay.

I’ve known Nolan for at least a decade and liked him immediately. I’ve met several of his former love interests – all guys – and have always enjoyed his company. He gives the best parties, is a dedicated community volunteer, and is always so much fun. I’ve dedicated exactly zero seconds to pondering his sexual orientation. To me, being gay is like being brunette or being right-handed. It’s just how you were born.

Nolan’s family, on the other hand, is very conservative and old-school (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I think Nolan feels pressure that might not even be real to conform to a straight way of life.

I’ve heard, second and third-hand, that he is panicked over what his mother thinks. He’s apparently never come out to his family even though everybody – and I mean everybody – is hip to his orientation. And is totally fine with it.

Anyway, Nolan’s mom is not doing well and the thinking is she might not have much time left. I haven’t asked but I wonder if this “engagement” is meant as a way of assuring his mother in her final days that her son is, in fact, a lady’s man. No one has asked me but I would suggest that Nolan and his mom might enjoy a closeness like never before if he simply opened up to her.

On the other hand, who am I to insist Nolan is gay? Is it possible he’s decided he likes women? Am I being pushy and inappropriate in fretting over this?

I don’t know. I want to support my friend no matter what. I’m just not sure what that means.

If this wedding does happen, I hope there’s an open bar. I suspect I’m not the only one who’s going to need it.

The addict curled her fingers around the crack pipe like a python strangling its prey.

“Put it down,” we all begged. “Please.”

She only tightened her grip on the slender vessel. The pipe had become both her lifeline and lover. The world around her disappeared.

Finally, the meeting adjourned.

My friend Piper isn’t really a crack addict. She’s the chair of our committee this year.

But when there is a microphone in her hand and a captive audience in front of her, well, she might as well move under a bridge and get a cardboard sign that says “Help, I am homeless. Can you spare a dollar?”

We all know what she’s really going to buy with that dollar: AA batteries.

The last time Piper held us hostage was during our group’s annual banquet at the country club. As a “courtesy” they had shut down the cash bar during the program and there I was, having foolishly neglected to lay in reinforcements.

I was seriously considering calling in a bomb threat when she finally – FINALLY – shut up. There was thunderous applause at the end which brought her to tears. If only she knew we were merely overjoyed she had stopped talking.

We’re about to have our nominations meeting. Piper is, unfortunately, very good at running her committee and I’m sure expects to be renewed as chair. I don’t know if I can take any more of her yammering though. You’ve never seen anyone more skilled at cramming five minutes of material into an hour and a half.

As usual I will probably take the passive aggressive approach. By that I mean I will be checking my email during the meeting, and will just shrug my assent when her name comes up.

But I am taking a flask to next year’s banquet.

I’ve been on a hiatus because I’ve sort of been in shock.

A while back I blogged about running into a girlfriend at the grocery store. She tearfully confessed dire straits and asked for a $2,500 loan. I was glad to help her and considered it a gift.

After that we fell out of lost touch. Until recently.

My husband and I were at a concert, milling around before the show started, when I heard her familiar voice. I was overjoyed to see her and thrilled that she looked so happy.

Well, that didn’t last.

“We’ve just been backstage,” she said, showing off a sparkling wristband that said VIP.

“Wow, how cool!” I asked if she’d won a radio contest or knew someone in the band. Nope. She and her husband and some of their friends (she gestured to a flock of people I didn’t recognize) had purchased this all-access VIP package – for $1,500 each.

“Um, wow!” I was sort of speechless. It’s been a few years since we saw each other, so I guess things have taken a turn for the better. I was willing to just chalk it up to life’s crazy ups and downs. But no.

“Where are you guys sitting?” she asked. My husband showed her his ticket stub and she immediately began cackling. “You’re in the cheap seats!” she shrieked. “Come on, you should live a little! We’re right down front!”

I tried to chuckle and change the subject, but she persisted, teasing us for being “tightwads.”

Really? Really? REALLY????

My husband, as is his practice, was checking sports scores on his Blackberry, so he pretty much checked out. Then her husband came over to shake hands and it started all over again.

They’re sitting in the nosebleed seats!” she said to her husband. After a few more awkward moments they rejoined their new friends and made their way to these plush seats right up front. We found our seats which were a good bit farther away but still offered a very fine view.

I can’t remember a single song. I sat there in a fog the rest of the night. She begged me not to breathe a word when I agreed to help all those years ago, and I didn’t. I never even told my husband.

So I have no one to talk to about this. I don’t know if she feels bad about what happened and is just covering up her embarrassment with annoying behavior, or if she’s forgotten all about it, or what.

I am so angry for so many reasons. I have never missed the money I lent her and never expected to see it again. I might have expected a little gratitude, or at least less rudeness. I hate the feelings this episode has evoked in me. It has made me want to never extend myself again.

I feel like I’ve been cheated out of a part of myself I won’t ever see again.

This is the only thing that helps right now.

Hey Jesus you have GOT to try Peter's scalloped potatoes.

We suburbanites are a potluck-worshipping people.

We hold regular services at Our Lady of Tupperware and Glad Plastic. The Pyrex dish is a holy vessel.

When I pass the mural of the Lord’s Supper at my church I wonder if they sent around a sign-up sheet ahead of time to ensure the Disciples each brought something different. When Jesus comes back, I am convinced He will bring a dish to share.

But things have gotten out of hand.

I just got the invitation to a summer pool party that a friend has been talking about putting together for weeks now. “We want to have everyone over,” is how she described this gathering. No mention that it would be a potluck. But, whatever.

Only, the invitation didn’t just say “potluck.” It came complete with a list of instructions for what each person is assigned to bring.

I. Mean. Really. If you’re going to have a party, have a party. I will never show up at someone’s house empty-handed, and whenever we’re invited over I always ask what we can bring.

Receiving marching orders just seems like a bit much. Am I the only one? I mean, I have at times given lists of instructions to people who were coming to my house. Each time I was paying for their services, though.

I am trying to maintain a glad heart and cheerful disposition here. I guess I’ll just ask myself, WWJB? What Would Jesus Bring?

Don't worry this cake is gluten free and contains no peanut products.

Well sort of.

I think my Twitter career started a year ago this weekend.

I was at the pool over the Fourth of July holiday, listening to my friends read aloud People magazine with the reverence of a bunch of rabbis hunched over ancient Torah scrolls, and wondered how hard it would be to drown myself. Then I realized I had half a drink left and decided that would be silly.

So, I started tweeting instead.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my circle of friends, even though as my bio says they read People and watch Oprah (or did anyway. Now we’ve transitioned to Ellen, although she isn’t the beacon of guidance that O was). But I needed an outlet when I felt myself staring down the barrel of another discussion of peanut allergies, celiac disease, lactose intolerance or, even better, mastitis.

Thanks to all for reading and tweeting with me. It is a lot of fun, a healthier alternative to the vodka I.V. drip I sometimes contemplate, and cheaper than therapy.

Of course, once my chums IRL figure out “The Twitter,” as they call it, I’m busted and this train comes to a stop. For now, I’m enjoying the ride.

No.

Even though I live in the suburbs, I pledge that I will never:

Own anything by Thomas Kinkade.

Join a book club that *only* reads Oprah picks.

Invite others to read my Food Diary to “keep me accountable.”

Attend a “Gangsta” themed party in a subdivision clubhouse where the middle-aged white people on the guest list are all supposed to dress like “pimps and hos.”

Get into a bidding war for a child’s painting at a church or school art auction fundraiser.

Discuss peanut allergies or lactose intolerance at dinner parties.

Sign up to be an Arbonne consultant “just for the discount.”

Drive a vehicle with “captain’s chairs” unless it travels on the water.

Carry a designer coupon organizer.

Wear cargo capri pants.

Who’s with me??

I have a seriously deadbeat friend and I’m tired of her mooching.

This friend, who I’ll call Penny (of course) is smart and funny. Our husbands like each other, we’ve been on some committees together and we have a lot in common. But I am totally bankrolling our friendship.

I’ve lost count of the dinners and luncheons I’ve hosted and invited her to, and we’ve had them over for several parties. The only time I have been invited to her house was for her baby shower.

I dread seeing her because a voice inside me screams “PAY UP!” when I do. I hate the tacky, petty feelings she evokes in me. Penny’s always quick to send thank-you notes and I wonder if ever occurs to her when she’s writing yet another one that it’s time to reciprocate. I guess not.

This isn’t a person with financial trouble. Her Facebook page is awash in glorious vacation photos. She doesn’t work but her husband, a doctor, does well. Their three kids are in private school and are in Europe this summer. I am not in Europe this summer.

I really do like her. Maybe she’s just unaware that our friendship is bankrupting me.

Do I pinch Penny from my circle of friends?

How YOU doin??

You might be a Suburb-nick if…

Your church serves gluten-free Communion wafers.

You’ve ever thought, “WHAT is all that racket interfering with naptime?” And then realized it was your landscaper.

You and your friends hang out at Starbucks while maids clean your houses.

EVERY party you attend is a potluck.

Your closets are packed with makeup from Arbonne, popcorn from the Boy Scouts, candles from Scentsy, platters from Southern Living At Home, spatulas from Pampered Chef and wrapping paper from Sally Foster.

Your husband lusts after your neighbor’s Big Green Egg the way he used to scam on his college buddies’ hot girlfriends.

If you’re more than 5 minutes late to a social function your friends start calling to see if you’re on the way.

You have discovered that a sippy cup can serve as a martini shaker in a pinch.

Even if you forget your friends’ kids names you remember whether they have a peanut allergy or lactose intolerance.

You store more DVDs in your SUV than in your house.

You have a cute handpainted “Time Out” chair in your house that no child has ever actually sat upon.

Have I forgotten anything?

There’s a pimp on my block.

She’s new to our community. Immediately upon arrival she made it her business to learn the social pecking order and is in hot pursuit of the most prominent hens.

By pimping out her kids.

This friend, let’s call her Chicken Little, is married to a wealthy guy who travels a lot. Alone in a cavernous home in a new area, C.L. is desperate to ascend the social ladder and is constantly throwing pool parties, which she energetically documents. She’s become the paparazzi in her own home.

Within hours of each backyard bash, C.L. posts photos on Facebook. Most feature her kids posing, somewhat awkwardly, with the kids of her perceived social betters.

Her captions read like this: “Here’s (my kid) with his BEST FRIEND (kid of someone important)!”

I shudder at this blatant striving. The kids probably would all like each other just fine without C.L.’s aggressive social engineering. Pressed together like a panini, they’re bound to revolt. (Since when do 8-year-olds do anything their parents want?)

C.L. is actually very nice and her kids are great. But the word’s out, and everyone is hip to the agenda behind her pool parties. If she would lose her pimp hat and walking cane, I think everyone would like her a lot.

Instead, I see a grim future for C.L., full of unanswered phone calls and emails, and a bunch of Facebook unfriending. The victims, of course, are her kids.

I’m wondering how to broach this. How do you convince a pimp to stop turning tricks?