That Time I Talked To Anderson Cooper (Or Not Really)

Both of my kids are sick and my husband is chugging DayQuil like it’s water, because The Dave mostly just drinks water and Snapple. His body is a temple, y’all. Baby J is getting his first tooth and all I can do is beg the gods of teeth and boobs for sweet mercy. Also, this past week has left me a little bruised and worse for wear. So, I’m going to do a link dump. Yes, I know. I hate those too. I really do. Every time I see them, I’m all…yuck_imdone_medium



Because they aren’t real posts. So, feel free not to “Like” it or talk internet smack about me. I deserve it. But the internet is all about sharing and I do want to share. I do. Also, I will start off with a little story about me and everyone’s favorite handsome news anchor, Anderson Cooper.


On Tuesday, I got an email inviting me to view a Google chat with Anderson Cooper and CNN’s Kelly Wallace, wherein they would be discussing the morality of babies and the research done by the Yale Infant Cognition Center. I’ve been rabidly following the work of Paul Bloom and Karen Wynn. Also, like any American, real American, I love me some Anderson Cooper. So, I responded by saying, “Sure, I will tune in. Thanks for the invite!”

That’s when I got the response that basically translated to, “Um. No, idiot. We want you to join us.” So, I was all, “Okay. But you are the idiot! I bring nothing to the table.”

In sum, I got to do a Google hangout with Anderson Cooper. Fun fact: He never spoke to me. We had some technical glitches and then Anderson (as I call him now) had to leave. So, he was on the actual hangout for two minutes. Most of the time he just read important documents (probably about where to find the National Treasure), while the rest of us made idle chit chat. And as we all awkwardly sat around waiting for Google to fix the problem, Paul Bloom asked Anderson Cooper (right, I can’t keep up the charade) if he had done one of these “hangout things” before. Without even blinking, Anderson Cooper responded, “Yes, with the Dali Lama.”


I now imagine, in a month or two when Michelle Obama asks him if he’s done one of these “hangout things” before, he will respond, “Yes, with Lyz Lenz.”

Because I’m delusional.

Here is the link to the CNN piece about babies and morality. And here is the link to the Google hangout,  I make some awkward jokes about psycho killer babies, so that’s worth something.


Also, fun fact, I’ve been writing columns for my local newspaper. They are fun. Old media is super cute. I feel all vintagey. Like I need to bang out a screed on a typewriter. I am a lone reed.

So, maybe you should read them, if you find yourself locked in a jail with nothing to entertain you except the ghosts of your past, your crushing guilt and a computer where all the smutty sites are blocked.


I am very proud of this piece about magic and childhood and how much beauty I find under the table. Brain, Child magazine was kind enough to publish this.


I recently reread “Mise-en-Scene for a Parricide” by Angela Carter (it’s a story about Lizzie Borden). And I loved it all over again. The description of the weather was so oppressive and perfect. Also, the story is so lush, like all of her stories and twisted in a way that makes you feel like you are viewing the world through damaged glass.


My friend and former roommate, Alison, sent me this essay about photographing the little things and I believe all of this about writing.


Mallory Ortberg is my favorite. Also, she just gave me some nightmares: “Official reports have recently confirmed what you have long suspected: that the dim and as-yet-formless shape hovering at the foot of your bed or perhaps just outside your closed (but locked? Did you lock it? Is it locked, or is it unlocked?) window is very real and the only thing keeping it from moving any closer is your constant, wakeful vigilance. ” Curse you, Ortberg.


This: A rapper named Lizzo from Minnesota. So, of course, I’m already inclined to like her. But this video and this song? Amazing.

Leave me your links. I’ll read them and then provide a thoughtful* comment.

*Poop jokes are considered thoughtful.

Listen to Your Mother: Eastern Iowa (Also, Terry Gross is a Powerful Enemy)

On Sunday, I’m producing (alongside the marvelous Jen and Heather from de Novo Alternative Marketing) a show that is a series of live readings about all aspects of motherhood called Listen to Your Mother: Eastern Iowa.

Maybe you’ve seen me spamming my Facebook feed about it.

This is my first ever big event, besides my wedding, which had barely 100 guests. And when it was over, I wasn’t all misty-eyed and nostalgic. In fact, I swore I’d never go through that hell again. Why? Because who the hell cares what color tulle is? Why are there shades of pink? ISN’T THERE JUST ONE PINK?! Even if Dave succumbs to a freak combine accident and I’m left a widow who is seduced by a handsome rich man. If he wants to put a ring on this, he can’t. HE GET’S THE MILK FOR FREE.

This event has been more fun to plan because I don’t have to worry about a wedding dress. Also, through this process I’ve been able to meet people in town I never would have met and hear stories I never would have otherwise heard.  And the stories of our cast members are incredible–heartwarming, honest, hilarious and heartbreaking. And it’s all to support local moms, by raising money for Waypoint Services.

Technically, I am the emcee. But I won’t need to say much because the stories of our cast say it all.

I hope to see some of you there.  You can buy tickets here or at the door. 

I solemnly vow to take a Facebook hiatus once this is all over to cleanse your palates from my constant updates. I will say this: I have learned a lot through this process about PR. And I managed to get the show covered by most local outlets. Although, public radio evaded me. Which is baffling, because when I am not listening to Ke$ha, I listen to public radio all the time.

And the other day they did a story on pig manure and said “defecation” three times. Seriously, Iowa Public Radio,  I would have said defecation even more times than that! I think this all goes back to the time that I pissed off Terry Gross. Yes, that is a real story with a real Terry Gross.  I now imagine that all public radio affiliates have my photo along with the directive not to have any contact with me. Terry Gross is a powerful, powerful enemy.

UPDATE: NBC Covered the national event, so eat it, Gross.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The End of 2012

I’m sitting at my Mother-in-law’s house in Minnesota where I will greet 2013, with 10lbs of cheesy potatoes tucked inside my belly. I will tell strangers that it is a child. But we all know the truth: There is no such thing as pregnancy cravings, women just use that as an excuse to eat more than their socially appropriate ration of ham.

2012 has been a crazy wonderful year. I gave up shopping for pants. I saw my movie on the big screen. I saw my name on the HuffPo and my face on a billboard. I bombed on the radio. I flew. We fell. Got up, and tried again. 2013 scares me. Every new year scares me. But especially this year, because I quit my job just to take the chance at doing more of what I love.

And now, the future looks like a yawning cavern of failure and pajama jeans. And my brother-in-law has done his best to remind me that I no longer bringing in an income, which is really helpful and charming.  All brother-in-laws should come with a bottle of Xanax taped to their butts.

I don’t make resolutions. I don’t believe in them. Instead, if you want to do something, you do it. Right now. Right then.  So, for me this is the year of the right this second. And I hope for you it is a good one.

Here are my “best” posts of 2012, I realize this is a narcissistic thing to do. So, I made it less narcissistic by having them be my “most shared” posts of 2012. But really, that’s still narcissistic, but so is blogging. So, you take the good, you take the bad, dah, dah, dah, daaaah, the facts of life.* I would do my favorite pictures, but let’s be honest, without the filters of Instagram, I am nothing.

Also, this are not in a particular order. I hope your OCD hates me right now.

*I never saw that show because I was home schooled, but I assume that’s how the song goes.

On Tragedy and Parenting:


“Our lives are always petering on the edge of tragedy. You can do everything correctly and still wake up one day to learn that your son is in jail. Your daughter has been molested. Your sister is on drugs.”

Note: This post references a piece that was due to be published in the NYT, but got held up by lawyers. I still anticipate it making an appearance in 2013.

A Trophy Wife:


“Scared of failing. Scared of losing myself. Scared of waking up in a Mickey Mouse shirt and Lee jeans, driving a minivan and regretting all that writing that I was going to do.”

Sexy Moms in Bikini’s:


“…White Cliffs of Fat or Fat Ridge, which is that shelf of fat that clings to my lower stomach announcing to everyone that this lady still eats cake like she’s the growing 16-year-old boy she never was.”

Naming Your Child Kixx McGee Purple Acer Robot Smith


“Like if we aren’t all Avas and Jaydens, somehow the core of our existence is undermined and the Mayans were right and we’re all going to be Left Behind because Jesus hates that you named your baby Bear Blu Cheese.”

No Pants 2012: What I’ve Learned About Fashion


“But I think I thought, somehow the financial freedom and the freedom from consumerism would make me emerge some sort of Dave-Ramsey-Anna-Wintourish butterfly. Cheap. Fancy. Not going to happen.”



“The past five years have been a slow reveal that I am not all that, that the world does not spin on it’s axis around me. The sun doesn’t rise and fall with my triumphs and failures.”

When You Are in The Apocalypse


““Well, I haven’t heard about it on the news,” she answered cautiously. Like she’d heard the old “my town is being flooded” excuse one too many times.”

In This Moment


“My fear grips me at night, when I lay down and the nausea subsides and I feel normal again and I think. What if my child is already gone? What if there is no heartbeat? Or there is, and then later, there isn’t?”

Why I Need a Bridle


“So, I barreled forward. I wrote. I got jobs. I wrote some more. I did what I loved. And then one day, I looked around and realized I was  pregnant and living in Iowa.

Somewhere, Gloria Steinem was shaking her head in shame.”

Everybody Running


“And just in case, I asked for heaven for everyone I knew and all the ones I didn’t. When I did rebel, I joined the debate team and read the Communist Manifesto. It was the most I could muster at 16.”

That’s Not What Girl’s Do


“You don’t draw definitions around gender, you draw definitions around people. But they’re all so little and it’s too big, even for me.”

One Year


“Things I won’t tell you, because no one needs to know how many times I pooped, the exact number of bad puns I tried to make to while away the 16 hours of labor, or how many suppositories it took to stop the bleeding. But you do need to know that holding Ellis that first time I felt so exhausted, so spent and so completely complete.”

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! I’ve been puking and running a fever and last night, Ellis did her best to poop over everything. So, ’tis the season. But despite the pools of vomit, we’ve been so blessed this year because of you and everyone who reads this site.

So, now I’m going to drink Sprite, watch crime shows, and moan on the couch and I hope you have a lovely holiday season.

Another Nebula

We are all sick. Every last one of us. Ellis and I are coughing up all of our organs and Dave is sneezing out brain fluid. Or what I assume is brain fluid because he cannot physically have anything else in his nose left to sneeze.

And this is all marvelous because on Saturday we hop on a plane to go visit my crazeballs family.  One time, when Dave and I showed up for Thanksgiving at my parents house the turkey was relaxing in the Jacuzzi and my mom played Monks Chant Christmas on her CD player at 5 in the morning. At least this trip, we will have my pregnant sister, her boyfriend who grows mushrooms and worms (but not tree frogs, not any more), and my other sister is bringing her boyfriend who does “death cross” which according to Google is a financial term. But my sister assures me it’s like “Motocross but cooler.”

Is that a turkey in your tub or are you just happy to see me?

I better bring my pearls. There will be a lot of clasping.

In lieu of a real post, I wanted to show you a video of Ellis and her space flash cards, which I bought for Dave as a joke, but apparently, I’m the only one who thinks they were a joke. Dave and Ellis take space very seriously. Everyday Ellis asks for “Satur” and “Moon ecipse.” And on Wednesday, I found them watching a video about galaxies. And now Ellis points to all pictures of stars and says “galaxy.” And then I beat her and tell her, “NO! That’s not a galaxy! It’s a star! At this rate you’ll never get into first grade.”


Running Amok on the Internet

This was posted on my site a while ago, so you may recognize it, but it’s up on the HuffPost Parents section now. It’s about Iowa and meth. So it’s probably relevant to your interests. [HuffPost Parents]

This is about that crazy year of the Jacuzzi turkey. [Mommyish]

This is all those flying tips you all gave me on my Facebook page. [Real Moms of Eastern Iowa]


Leggings with shorts are what smart people wear

Back in January, I gave up clothes shopping for a year. You can read about my journey here and here. This post is part of my effort to reinvent my wardrobe and look good, without being a rabid consumer of cheap crap.

The other day, I bumped into a friend at a coffeeshop and she asked if I was still doing that “No clothes shopping thing?”

I broke down crying.

Yes. YES I AM STILL NOT SHOPPING. And no, I haven’t gotten used to it and whenever I see someone in a fetching top I go dead inside. This is how serial killers are made. The next time I see a Target commercial, I’m just going to snap and start killing people for their clothes. The cops will be all, “This woman was forced to remove her J Crew sweater at gunpoint and then shot! But the killer left her $300 jeans. Look, remains of chicken nuggets were left a the crime scene! MY GOD! WHO DID THIS!?”

But what if the clothes don’t fit? Returns will be tough.

January 1, 2013, I can shop again. So, to bide my time and to prevent homicidal rages, I created a pin board of all the things I want to wear. Yes, there is a Katniss inspired outfit on there. Don’t judge me!

But here is what I would love, if you would suggest your favorite pieces of clothes, trends, wardrobe staples, and tunics that I can wear while I compete in the Hunger Games. You can link them below in the comments or just send me to your Pin boards, or Disqus lets you upload pictures. I need some help, because this is what I wore last week.

Wait? Where are you going? I THOUGHT WE WERE FRIENDS! Also, that is my basement bathroom. The previous owners painted the concrete floor pink, filled the shower with mold and then sold the house to us.  We would renovate it, but the last time we hung drywall together we almost divorced and that was 6 years ago and we still haven’t recovered. Also, with the results of the recent election, my marriage is already on tenuous ground. I mean, I TRIED to make Dave feel better about losing with these cupcakes, but he just told me I was gloaty and then cried for Karl Rove.

 Wait. He didn’t cry. Dave never cries. Because he feels no emotion except superiority and smartness. He is a rock. An island. His heart is titanium wrapped in razor wire. It doesn’t beat, it CUTS YOU.

Also, I need to tell you something. Along with my friends Heather and Jen from de Novo Alternative Marketing,  we will be bringing Listen to Your Mother to the Eastern Iowa area in May! I want you to audition, or help us, or both! We need sponsors and people who audition and tell other people too (I call them “Peer Pressurers” ). And if you can’t do those things I want you to cease being my friend, you are dead to me.

Just kidding.

(Not really.)

I’m excited. Super excited.  Watch this site for updates! We’ll be launching a site next week.

PS A site I’ve never heard of “nominated” me for a “Most Beautiful Baby Blog” award, which I only get if people VOTE! So I was told to tell my friends to VOTE. VOOOOTTTEEE. I don’t really believe in voting contests because they are just free traffic for the site. Also, “Most Beautiful Baby Blog” have you seen this site’s design? I MADE THE BANNER IN MICROSOFT PAINT! In some countries using paint is a punishment for stealing. But I also secretly love that somebody thought enough of me to nominate me for a scam. It makes my heart so happy.

PPS On an unrelated note, I am a raging narcissist.

PPPS People giving thanks on Facebook every day makes me want to stab November in the eye.


Writing and Blogging Opportunities!

I don’t like showing my inner working so to speak and not because I’m so mysterious, but really there isn’t much glamour in writing out Twitter copy for two hours just to make a few dollah bills, y’all.

But lately, I’ve been approached by people who want to know if I know bloggers who will…write, review, talk…and often these opportunities fall outside of what my mother might call my “core competencies.”  Like, food, DIY, being smart, etc. Or I’m just too busy to write for another blog. It’s true. (Although, I can be bought.)

And I want to pass along these opportunities to everyone who wants them.  But I don’t want to be spammy. Consequently, I created this humble little form for you to fill out. So, I know you won’t unfriend me on Facebook if I email you.

Here are my promises.

  • I will not sell this list.
  • I am the only person who knows your email.
  • I will only pass along opportunities that I like/are interesting/or are great.
  • My first rule is: If I think it’s awful, then I won’t pass it along.

Also, if you are interested in being in a PR network, my friend Cassie Boorn (a top-notch, PR woman and she works for Babble, so she knows all the things) started one here. 

Working from Home: It’s Pretty Much Freaking Shangri-lalalalafreakingla

Ellis is big pimpin on the webz.

When people ask me what I do, I usually lie and say “accountant” because there is never any follow up questions for that.  Maybe a poorly worded math joke. But nothing else. It’s very underwhelming. (Sorry accountants, but you know it’s true.) Yet, sometimes I make the mistake of telling the truth…”Oh, uh, I write and do social media. I work from home.”

And this is the response. “Ohhh, how nice! You can spend time with your kid and work!”

Before Ellis was born a woman actually said, ‘That’s the perfect career for a mother, you should have kids soon.” But that was at a church where they hung banners with felt lambs bleeding felt blood out of their felt necks, so you can’t really fault her for being crazy. It’s all the felt gore.

“Yeah, it’s awesome!” I say. Because no one wants to hear you whine about working in your pajamas all day.  Fortunately, due to sexism and Midwestern codes of ethics, now that I’ve spawned most people assume I either do something boring or stay at home. No one asks. Thanks, sexism!

Perhaps because I’ve been working at home for four years, I’m always surprised when people are all work from home is the dream! Because you know what I miss? Wasting time at work by sneaking over to my friend’s desk and talking about how the receptionist smelled. I mean, I kind of do that, but it’s on Twitter and instead of the receptionist, I complain about myself.

Over on Forbes, Susannah Breslin mythbusted working from home and I want to contradict her good (and vastly superior) work with my own myths and the truths behind them.

Myth #1. I wear pajamas all day

Truth: Some days, but those are the bad days. The dark days. The days where if I actually got a paid sick day, I’d stay home and vomit mucus into the toilet. Most days, I’m up at 5am to workout or get some work in, then into the shower by 6:30 and wearing clothes by 6:35am. (What? I take fast showers because I grew up one of 8 kids and I wasn’t the “pretty” sister).

Myth #2: You have balance.

Truth: Ahahahahaha! *wipes tear from eye* That’s a good one. Look, let me just set one thing straight. No matter what you do, you don’t have balance. SAHMs need more time for themselves. Working moms need more time with their kids. And WAHMs? We just need prozac. Some days, when my sitter is gone and I have to wing it with Ellis, I want to hunt down the lady who told me this was the “perfect situation” and stab her. Because guess who likes to come over to the computer and slam the lid down while I am working and say “all done now!” and lose all my work? Or demand Elmo videos? No, not the Illuminati. Good guess though.

Myth#3: You secretly want a full time job, you just can’t find one. 

Truth: I do not, but thanks for calling and wasting my time recruiter. No, it’s great that you have this number! Oh, will I send you some of my contacts who might want the job? Yes, I’d love to do your work for you.

Every month, I get phone calls from recruiters trying to convince me that I want a full time job. I even had someone call me and offer me a full time job after hearing a radio interview and assuming that I was a “blogger looking for work.” Truth: I’m a working blogger. And I’m happy.  HAPPY! I will remind myself of this when I am up tonight until midnight getting caught up on work. And by “remind myself” I mean: drink.

And no, I won’t tell you what I earn. But I will tell you this, I make more working from home as a freelancer/permalancer than I did working full time for a marketing company. But I live in Iowa, the jobs are few but the corn is plenty.

Myth #4: I am in it for the fame.

Truth: Yes, I am!! I’m going to be so famous. I can’t wait. And then I’ll make you, my subjects, all stack up into a pile so I can use you as a human throne Yertle-the-Turtle style.

No. I am my own business. A walking factory of made-in-America awesome. When you like Lyz Lenz on Facebook (CLICK CLICK CLIIIIICK!), you aren’t soothing my ego (okay, maybe some) actually you’re helping me build awareness for the work I do, for which this blog acts as a platform.  Part of they way I get work is by showing people what I do for myself on a regular basis. And this blog is just that. And I think it’s a necessary part of any online life. It’s my resume, where I talk about not-wearing pants and post pictures of my chubby baby. So, in sum: Best resume ever? Or maybe the people who hire me just don’t know how to Google things.

But I do want to echo what Susannah Breslin wrote:

“One of the “scary” things about working from home is that you can’t coast. How hard you work dictates the size of your paycheck. This is undeniable, unavoidable, irrefutable. You will find this empowering or paralyzing, motivating or debilitating, inspiring or overwhelming.”

For me, most days it’s everything. I’ll do something that promotes me and then spend weeks feeling like a ho-bot and wailing to Dave, “I just shamelessly pimped myself!” And he’s all, “I don’t think a pimp is a pimp if he is pimping himself. Please use your language correctly.” He’s right.

Myth #5: Blogging is where the money is

Truth: Let me hit you in the head. Right now.

I blog. I love to blog. But what actually makes me money is writing features for websites (yes those boring “top 10 baby names that are also shapes” articles), social media consulting, and permalance positions I’ve had where I work as an editor/community manager/someone who complains about your tweets position.

Myth #6 : I have no friends

Truth: This is actually kind of true, but it has nothing to do with the internet and everything to do with the fact that I really like talking about “48 Hours Mysteries.” Most of my “work friends” are online. And I think they exist. I’ve met some of them in real life and will be meeting more again in a few weeks at BlogHer. Keeping real life friends is harder. Lately, I either work or feed my chubby baby and when friends are all, “Let’s do something!” I’m like, “Can it involve me sleeping?”

But I think everyone feels this way.

Working at home, it’s just working. It’s not some mythical land of fun and pajamas and happiness all day. Although, I do have a unicorn, right here, working beside me.

Why I Quit Facebook

On Monday, I quit Facebook and my sister tweeted to ask if I was okay. My babysitter’s husband wanted to know, “What happened to her?”

“Are you okay?” A friend lovingly asked placing her hand on my shoulder. “Did someone say something?”

“Like what?”

“Oh, um, just like did someone say something to make you so mad?”

“Other than right now?”

“I’m just trying to help.” (This might explain why I don’t have many friends. Heads up! This post just got sad.)

A third friend sent me a concerned email, asking if I wanted to “talk.”

No one has been this concerned about me since I was in college and played rugby for one semester. When I started showing up to class with bruises and then, eventually, a black eye, a professor gave me a domestic violence handout. Another professor told me I could tell her anything if I needed to, which I assume meant I should tell her about the person beating me up and not about that dream I had where I somehow only spoke Latin and ate my roommate, but it was okay because we later learned that she’d managed to donate her body to Salisbury steak. Potato. That dream.

“It’s okay, I am just playing a sport!” I would protest. No one looking at me believed that I even knew my way around balls, which was only partially true since I was raised Baptist.

This week, I find myself making similar protestations. “I’m okay! I’m just tired of losing myself in an abyss of meaninglessness.”

“Your status updates bore me.”

“I fell! Leave me alone!”

The truth is that for the past four years, I’ve run the Facebook page for a company. In that time, I’ve brought the number of fans up from zero to over 56K and climbing. I read about Facebook. I dream about Facebook.  I have to look at Facebook before I read, before I write. When I wake up and before I lie down. And sometimes, when I click over to another tab on my browser, I find myself unconsciously typing in “F-A-C-E…” whether or not I want to go there.

It’s like Zuckerberg stole my soul.

I recently took a new job that relieved me of some of my Facebook duties. So, I took the opportunity to detox. It’s been two days and I am dying. Like how am I going to live without knowing what someecard is making you “LOLZ”,  or which status update I need to copy and paste so I can support kids with cancerdiabetiesheartdiseasericketts,or spy that random picture of your kid with the hairbow that is bigger than her face? HOW?

I mean, what will I look at all day in order to while away my time when I am supposed to be working/reading/writing/cleaning/talking to my husband/feeding my child/showering?

Oh, yeah. THIS.

Don’t worry. I’m still on the Twitter.

Doing lines of coke off kittens

Can you get strep from eating cheerios off your butt? Because, that’s probably how she got it. So, we’re going to make a tent, listen to some Bob Marley and eat our weight in crayons. I hope you have a good weekend.

Here is what I’ve been doing on the internet:

Defending spreadsheets and love

Uncovering Google’s secret lair

Revealing that Senators do lines of coke off kittens

Telling Jessica Simpson to eat all the nuggets she wants


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