Tuesday, November 12, 2019


All the hope and wonder and excitement of a first date can be ruined by several sentences:

Do you think the waitress would want to go out with me? (Read more)

I have a job interview, can I use your urine? (Read more)

I once dated my girlfriend's stepmom. (Read more)

These are all true stories.

I learned about one more gem this past weekend.

My friend, Julia, said it was the worst first date she had ever been on, ever. His name was Joel, he was 35, and they met online.

Joel was seemingly normal (they always seemingly are) over Bumble messages and texts on a real phone. He was in accounting and appeared to have it together. She agreed to meet him at this trendy tapas place that weekend.

She was already nervous. It was her first date following a very long relationship. 

Her first time getting out there, meeting someone new, all the feelings of anticipation: Will he look like his picture? Will he pay for the bill and not be annoying about it? Will they kiss at the end of the night?

It turns out, Joel also had questions.

Well, just one.



“So…am I going to have sex later?" he asked.



Julia assured me that Joel wasn’t joking. 

It was especially grotesque because it was her first date in a very long time and she hadn’t even entertained the possibility of anything other than a goodnight kiss. MAYBE.

Despite being mortified, she managed an amazing response: "Not unless you have another date later," she said.


Julia said they just kind of sat there awkwardly in silence in the high-top table by the bar.
"I’m going to take off,” Julia said and got up. 

Joel didn’t try and stop her, didn’t say anything else.

Fifteen words total and the date was over!!

Just her luck to get this guy after a decade of being in a relationship!

Why couldn’t he have just been a guy who looked nothing like his picture?

Why couldn't he have asked her for her urine?



Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Waiting for you, babe

We never thought she’d get here.

This wasn’t labor for 8 hours, like when I was there for my friend Kristin.

This was 24 hours of labor.

Actually 24 hours in the hospital, in a bed, hooked up to monitors, waiting around.

I was there with her husband, Daniel, the whole time, waiting.

Waiting for my first niece.

The niece from my identical twin sister, Joy.


For nine months, I wondered if she’d look like me.

For a month straight, I waited with my phone NOT on silent, waiting for the call that Joy was in labor.

We waited as her due date crept up.

Once we were at the hospital, we were all ready.

And then she made us wait an entire extra day.

It was really fitting, I suppose, all this waiting because there hasn’t been a baby in our close-knit family for 35 years, since when Joy and I were born.

No one had ever changed a diaper.

This baby was significant.

Especially to me, because it’s my first time being an aunt.

(Well, OK, I suppose it was significant to Daniel, too.)

But she was also significant to Daniel’s family, because it was the only girl in that family for years.

A tribe of boys all on that side.

We waited.

We waited for our whole lives to be different.

From midnight to 5 a.m., things were slow and uneventful. 

Then after on-and-off naps from 6-9 a.m., it remained...slow and uneventful.

At 10 a.m., we got news that she was halfway to the point of delivery.

We put out the word to friends and family.

And then we all waited.

“I feel like she’s never going to get here,” Joy said at 1:22 p.m.

We talked and chatted. We told jokes and watched bad television. We perked up whenever the nurse came in, hoping she’d magically birth the baby.

Everything was ready and in place at 7:30 p.m.

But still, she didn’t want to come out.


The candles that were distributed to close girlfriends to light during Joy’s labor had long gone out. (Haha...HIPPIES.)

It was now 20 hours in labor.

At 8 p.m., the nurse said we were done waiting for the baby and told Joy that she had to push this baby out on her own, with no help from the baby who was apparently allergic to the birth canal.

Joy had to make it happen.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever spent 20 hours in labor, but imagine competing in a Strongman competition that you didn’t at all train for.

And then once you’re done, they tell you there’s a last-minute event. Now it’s time to climb a mountain.

“I would quit!” I announced, mainly to make Joy laugh.

“Wait, do people quit?” I asked the nurse.

She replied, “I’ve seen…lots of things.”


But Joy wasn’t quitting.

No hesitation, she took every single ounce of her energy both mentally and physically to get the baby that we had all been waiting for into the world.

It was more pride than I’ve ever had for Joy that instead of breaking down and giving up about this situation, or deciding to quit pushing, or even being bratty (which happens when someone doesn’t eat or sleep for 20 hours) 

She didn’t give up once. 

Not even for a second.

I didn’t know that I was waiting to see Joy be so strong and so brave.

AND SHE PUSHED (think sit-ups with a 20-pound dumbbell on your stomach that is also thoughtfully pushing into a nerve in your back) for three entire hours.


...coming off of 20 hours.

With each push we tried to make her laugh, tried to calm her breathing in between.

Daniel and I tried to muster even a fraction of the energy Joy was displaying.

And then, in a very dramatic fashion, she was born in the last hour of May 10, 2018.

And we all cried.


(That’s not why we were crying.)

Elise Rose Farrae was the tiniest and cutest thing I had ever seen and I instantly fell in love with her.


The announcement went out to everyone waiting across multiple time zones.

Joy made the assessment that the labor was long and arduous because she had an easy pregnancy.


Also, maybe because she’s a Taurus, who are known for their stubbornness. (Aunt Jenny has jokes!)

“Thanks for keeping us on our toes, precious one,” one friend wrote back.

The birth was beautiful and long and stressful, because when you wait for something so long, you want her to be born as soon as possible.

And now that she’s been in the world for exactly two weeks, I’m learning that waiting for her to be born was just the beginning.

I didn’t know that I was waiting to stare at her every second I was around her. 

I didn’t know I was waiting for this odd, unusual feeling like warm water being poured into my heart every time I see her.

I didn’t know I was waiting to see Daniel be the most doting dad in the world, connecting with his dark-haired mini-me daughter so immediately and profoundly.

This is just the beginning!

Now there’s another little person to carry on our family lineage, the first baby in 35 years.

A baby I’ve waited my entire life to meet.

And, I can't wait to see what life has in store for us, Elise.


Tuesday, November 14, 2017



Sorry I've been gone from here.

My twin sister, Joy, bought me a domain name for Christmas (OMG it's almost this Christmas) and I've been posting Toolbag Tuesday there since February.

I haven't ghosted you!

Check me out at www.toolbagtuesday.com.

Also, how 2016 a gift was that??!?!?


I'll post non-toolbag stories again soon. Maybe.


Thursday, February 9, 2017

Valentine’s Day gifts you didn’t even know you wanted

It's Valentine’s Day again!!

And it’s time for another list of Valentine’s Day gifts!!

I know, errrrrrr, no one actually asked me to write a list of Valentine’s Day gifts for any of the years I’ve been writing these.

But there are a lot of clueless, scared people out there who need to get something for their significant other in FIVE DAYS.


This list follows my previous Valentine’s Day gift lists:

(There’s bound to be something in one of those lists that will make your significant other take his or her clothes off on Tuesday!!)

I was having a hard time coming up with a “theme” for this year, so I thought about things I actually own or have experienced where I was like, I. HAD. NO. IDEA. I. NEEDED. THIS.


Perhaps you don’t know anyone rich or fancy who got the new iPhone 7 and got the wireless earphones that come with it. TOO BAD FOR YOU. Once I put those little things in my ears I. HAD. NO. IDEA. that I could be so enveloped in music without huge earmuff headphones. They’re magical; no wires, so you can use them to work out without getting tangled in machines, crystal clear sound and bonus, it’s a great way to tune out your significant other. Ha.

2.) Amazon Echo (Alexa)

Perhaps you don’t know anyone rich or fancy who has an Alexa, BUT I DO, IT’S MY ROOMMATE. For the past four months I’ve been able to experience this much-nicer Siri basically be my electronic servant and answer anything I ask. You can ask her to stream WWOZ (I heart N.O.) or when the end of the world is. I honestly don’t know what life was like without her.

So, if you aren’t rich or fancy, you probably have an old iPhone and it’s always dead. (I know...I'm psychic.) Make everyone's life easier with a portable charger! Yes, the secret here is to remember to charge your charger AND to remember to bring it with you. But this adorable charger fits on your key ring so that means you'll at least always have it whenever you have your keys. Baby steps...

4.) Groupon all-inclusive getaway
I used to be skinny
I know what you’re thinking. Booking a flight through Groupon?? Uh, ok idiot. But it’s legit! I swear! I went on an all-inclusive trip to the Dominican Republic in 2015 and it was one of the best vacations I’ve ever been on. And it was totally affordable for all you can eat and drink plus the flight and hotel on the beach for a week (like less than $100/day for all that) GO TO JAMAICA, MON. OR ICELAND. SHE’LL LOVE YOU.

5.) Hardcover photo book

Shutterfly lets you put up to 1,000 pictures into a book for $20 !!!!! Every time I go over to my sister’s house and see the photobook she made for her husband, I smile with every page turn. It's an easy way to shove your good time in people’s faces when they come over to visit. Keep it on your coffee table and everyone who comes over will look through it.

6.) Portable blender bottle

I’m in my 30s now and every diet book is all like, “MAKE SMOOTHIES!” “BUY PROTEIN POWDER!” “STOP DRINKING A BOTTLE OF WINE EVERY NIGHT!” Rude. I found that it’s much easier to make a smoothie when you can just blend it and take the bottle with you without having to do laborious things like "rinse it out" or "do the dishes." And it’s only $30! And you can get TWO water bottles if you choose the pink/blue option here
It is my most used kitchen appliance (aside from the wine key)

So there you have it. 

Valentine's Day gifts you didn't even know you wanted!!!

Valentine's Day gifts I didn't even know I wanted!!!

And, well, if all else fails, you can just take your own clothes off on Tuesday.


Tuesday, December 6, 2016


It’s hard not to complain about everything lately. There’s just so much material. 

Trump’s Twitter feed. A five-foot-tall Christmas tree costing $40. 

…The fact that my health insurance refuses to cover a typhoid vaccine from when I went to Guatemala because reimbursing customers for preventative health care is as foreign a concept as…Guatemala.

(Also, complaining about having first-world problems.)

But, in these seemingly DARK and DISMAL times, you know what is virtually impossible to complain about? 

Or…so you think.


Apparently, there are GUYS out there who complain about sex, and I don’t mean complain about NOT getting it.


I KNOW!!!!!!

My friend Margie told me this mortifying story about this guy she dated, Griffin, who was nothing but a critic. UGH.

They went out several years ago, when they both worked at a restaurant. 

Griffin didn’t exactly get a good life review himself, since we’re on the subject of assessments.

He was in his early 30s, lived at home, wasn’t in great shape and he struggled with getting customers’ orders right. 

He also spent all his free time at the restaurant bar.

But Margie thought he was fun and harmless, so they went out for a few months. 

One day, there was a throwback “drive in movie” playing somewhere and they decided to go. Margie said in typical 1950s fashion, they totally did the hanky panky, grab-ass or whatever the cool kids call it, all in the privacy of the car.

Margie said it was the first time they had ever been that physical before, and it was all very exciting as Indiana Jones played on the big screen.

And, well, she didn’t do anything that uhhhhh Monica Lewisky hasn’t done before.

No complaints from Griffin there.

Margie felt a little sheepish on the way home about it, as most teenagers in the 1950s did, I imagine.

But as she looked to Griffin for some sort of comfort about itGriffin, the guy who had absolutely ZERO going for himhe politely told her, "thanks for going out with me tonight" and then added….

“That was the eighth best B.J. I’ve ever had in my life."




I don’t know what the bigger joke was, his B.S. line or pretending like he’s had eight B.J.s before.

Regardless, it was in poor taste, the worst of the worst in poor taste, and Margie ran out of his car mortified, 5000% regretting her decision.


How about, "Baby, that was amazing, I'll never look at the Ark the same way!"?????

No, let's make up a rate system instead! Let's make the girl I'm dating feel **really good** about her life choices!!! 



Now, how can we get him to contract typhoid…..


Monday, December 5, 2016

A December to remember

My twin sister Joy said a co-worker came into her office recently and asked how to pronounce her last name.

“That’s weird,” I said. “Our last name is, like, one of the top five most common names in America. What an idiot!” (Actually Census says it's number 65)

Joy paused.

Then I paused.

"OH DUH!!!!!!"

“Of course…your ‘married’ name.” 

(For the record, her new last name isn't even in the top 1,000 most common last names in the U.S.)

(I guess that coworker wasn't an idiot haha)

It feels like only yesterday that a such a major life-changing event occurred, but in fact, it was a year ago.

One year ago EXACTLY, in fact.


I know it’s hard for most people to remember what they were doing a year ago.

(I’m not real clear about what I was doing a week ago.)

But on this day exactly a year ago, I know exactly what I was doing—getting scolded by my mom for my makeup.

“YOUR FACE LOOKS TOO ORANGE!” my mom said, across the large, airy room at a rented beach house on Folly Beach, South Carolina. “IT NEEDS TO BE BLENDED MORE!”

I took a sip of champagne (also met with displeasure by our mom haha) and apologized to the makeup artist for my whiteness.

Seven bridesmaids were all lined up to get our hair and makeup done and I felt like I was getting ready for the Academy Awards.

We all wore gorgeous matching silky robes Joy bought us and the day could have just ended right there and I would have been happy.

But then, we looked out the window and saw the group of men approaching.

All wearing matching charcoal gray suits walking up the wooden dock to the beach house, sticking out like sore thumbs against the sand and the shore.

OMG there he is!” Joy said, seeing her soon-to-be-husband for the first time that day. 

And then she teared up.


“Well of course there he is!” I said, confused. “There they all are!” 

(Some of the men included the husband/significant others of bridesmaids.)

But the married bridesmaids knew the importance of this moment. The moment you think about when you agree to say YES to someone.

And just for a second you forget about the wedding planning you've been stressing about for months and months.

Because all that matters is that there he is.

And there you are.

And there we ALL were.

(...errr some more orange than others.)

From that moment at the beach house, everything that happened on December 5, 2015 has been etched permanently into my brain.

The limo bus to the chapel, where I filled everyone glass with exactly two sips of champagne. 

Posing for every possible combination of photos for the photographer. Waiting in the “bridal suite,” at the chapel, peeking out to see all the guests arriving.

Even walking down the aisle, which felt like it was twice as long as it was the night before.

Tearing up as Joy walked down the aisle with our dad.

...And then holding her very heavy bouquet and realizing the terrible logistics of having to wipe tears from your eyes while holding a bouquet of flowers in each hand.

The entire thing was just perfect.

And then, if the day couldn’t have gotten any better, I had every single person I know and love, to hang out with for the rest of the night.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing all 130(ish) people at a party, but it’s amazing. You’re never in a corner, never at a table alone. No one turns you down for a dance. 

Everybody tells you how great you look (Lol). It was remarkable how many people I was able to catch up with in four very short hours. 

My maid of honor speech went over VERY well (thanks for asking) and after an insane amount of BEAMING from everyone on both sides of the new family, tons and tons of eating and dancing, memories and jokes, photos and singing, pans and pans of shrimp and grits later, it was time for the send-off.

I arranged a boat charter captain to meet at the dock right outside the venue so Joy and Daniel could leave the wedding on a boat. (Who needs wheels?)

We added battery-operated holiday lights on both sides of the boat, just like Cinderella’s carriage, only with…uhhh…different kind of horsepower.

And the saxophone played “When the Saints Go Marching In” and the boat puttered away into the distance, capping off the best December 5th I’ve ever had in my entire life. 

And then, just like that, everything went back to normal.

Well, except Joy’s new last name.





Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I really don’t know why toolbags just arrive in my midst, in front of my face, sitting next to me. Even internationally!

You may remember the pure delight from the Netherlands who BERATED me in a tiny shuttle in Guatemala in front a lot of people about being a “dumb American” and not having international health insurance. (No one was discussing health insurance.)

That was toolbag #1.

There’s a toolbag #2 I encountered. The same day.

I must have blocked him from my memory because I just remembered him the other night. 

He was an American, a fellow Delta Airlines passenger in the Guatemala City airport. 

I got out of the shuttle and there he was, toolbag #2, waiting at the gate.

I was reading a book, or looking at my phone, when he sat in the seat next to me and said, “We were on the same flight from Atlanta here last Thursday! I remember your hair.”

I was confused by this stranger’s opening line. I rolled my eyes up the ceiling to try and remember what day I had flown in to confirm.

He was in his 60s and relatively attractive, given the decade in which he was born. 

It was a bit odd/creepy that he remembered my hair after spending an entire week in Guatemala, but I don’t know how other people’s minds work.

His name was Barry and he was from West Virginia and had a thick accent and was very interested in chatting. 

We talked about what we each did in the past week—many different options because Guatemala is a large, wild, gorgeous place. 

Barry said he went to Tikal, one of the largest Mayan ruins, like the Cadillac of Mayan ruins. 

I knew of it, and it was discussed among my friends as a potential destination, but was too far away. Plus I don't care about ruins.

Barry then pulled up his photos of Tikal on his iPhone and handed it to me to scroll through.

“Did you go with friends?” I asked.

“No, I met a woman there,” he said.


Barry then unloaded his life on me—how for the past five years, he’s traveled to Central America every month to meet up with Guatemalan, Brazilian or Costa Rican women and pays for them all weekend long. 

He pays for hotels and meals, pays for their company and their attention.

Why he was telling me this was a mystery. 

Do I LOOK like someone who’d be interested in this information?!?!?

“I don’t even have to pay that much because of the dollar rate!!” he said, bragging. 

“I could spend as much on one nice meal in the states as I could for a whole weekend in Tikal!”


So, they’re prostitutes?” I asked in a way that sounded less harsh than that.

“NO! I don’t sleep with all of them,” he said. “They’re just grateful to have a nice guy like me spend time with them, because all the men in Central America beat their women,” he said. 


“Plus they like my blue eyes.”

It was the most bizarre conversation I’ve ever had with a stranger.

I was uncomfortably scrolling through his iPhone photos of Tikal when I saw his “woman companion,” in a photo with him at the Mayan ruins.

She was 20 years younger than him at least, an awkward photo of the two of them. She wasn’t smiling.

“Well, she’s… pretty,” I said, coming up with nothing else, handing him back his phone.

“Yea…she doesn’t have as many curves as I would have liked though,” he said, studying the photo. “You know, to feel something when you hug 'em. I like curves and a big ass.”




“I find these women on Facebook,” he told me, unprompted. “I have a friend down there who tells them who I am, and the next thing I know, they message me on Facebook."


All downward facing shots of boobs and asses and pouty lips and dark hair.

“Look at THOSE curves,” he pointed to one woman. 



“Once, I had two women fighting over me,” he laughed. “I’m telling you I’m the only nice guy they’ll ever meet.”

Barry was bragging about all this, with an air of authority like he was some sort of king. Picking out women as if they were chairs or a couch—this one is too big, this one just right. 

It was totally gross. 

And, why on Earth did he feel compelled to tell me, a female, about this operation? 

“Now this one, wow, she was so beautiful, her hair was so black it was almost blue,” he said. 

(Ew another hair reference)

“But then she showed up at the hotel with her kid. Her kid! What am I supposed to do with that?” 

I had no answer. I felt like I was being punk’d.

“And I tell you what, dental work down there is much cheaper too!” he said, ignoring my creeped-out face. 

“Look!” he pointed at his very straight, obnoxiously white teeth. “ALL CAPS. Only $600.”



“Well, that’s a very…interesting life,” I said. “I’d love to go to Central America once a month…maybe not to meet strangers though. Excuse me, I’m going to go get a bottle of water before the flight.”

I never returned and only saw Barry again when I walked through the plane to my seat. He was looking down at his phone again, no doubt trolling/scrolling/creeping.

In my mind, though, he was frantically researching how to replace his fake teeth after getting punched in the face. 

A gift from the Mayan gods.


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