Searching for Swank

I went shopping for a light fixture and came home with a doctor bill. I hear this happens all the time.

Paint-ChipsIt all started with a seductive color sample called Swanky Gray. I wanted it. No, I needed it – in my dining room. But I couldn’t paint a single ritzy square inch until I maneuvered my clunky 1990s china cabinet away from the wall. There was only one solution: I’d have to sell it.

Once I navigated the treacherous sea of humanity known as Craigslist, I found a buyer for the cabinet (along with its matching table and chairs) without getting murdered. The victory was short-lived when I realized that if I painted the now empty space, I’d have to also paint the living room sharing the same wall. Continue reading

Ban bossy? No thank you.

650queenI watched with curiosity as the new Ban Bossy campaign rolled out this week. (In case you gave up all media for lent, I’m talking about this massive initiative led by, the brainchild of Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.) The movement is also heavily supported by the likes of Girl Scouts USA and even (grab a tissue because the queen is here) … Beyonce. This campaign has some firepower, to say the least!

So let me go on record first by saying that I completely understand and wholeheartedly support any and all efforts to help girls find their voices and gain confidence in their ability to lead, to contribute, to make a difference. And I know research shows that as some girls grow up, they become hesitant to step forward … and for a number of reasons. Young girls often feel misunderstood, or torn between being liked and being labeled. Continue reading

War of the Poses

I’m growing tired of the pose. Oh, you know what I’m talking about … the way our young women position themselves in photos these days – one hand on hip, elbow out, weight on one foot and a certain tilt that resembles the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

prom_dressI don’t know where this trend originated, nor do I understand how it managed to spread, but this strange Photo Posing Phenomenon (PPP) has found its way into Instagram accounts everywhere, leaving permanent marks on memories and group experiences.

Young men have their own version of PPPs too, only their version involves contorted faces – usually with an open mouth and a wayward tongue, accompanied by gangsta-wanna-be hand signals. But I don’t see them trying quite as hard as the girls. Continue reading

Five stages of a polar vortex

The first time I heard the term “polar vortex,” I honestly thought it was a new line of ski wear. But then I heard the words jet stream, North Pole and weather event. I knew this wasn’t going to be fun.

The good news is that all of us in the path of this phenomenon had plenty of time to get ready. The bad news is that all of us in the path of this phenomenon secretly thought, “It just won’t be that bad.”

polarvortexI wish the meteorologists would have also provided some air time to mental health professionals so we would have been prepared. I guess that’s not their job. But now that I’ve almost lived through one (I’m pretty sure I’m going to be able to get out of my house tomorrow), I’m here to help. Continue reading

Best Tweets of 2013

Well it doesn’t happen every day, you know … making a “Year’s Best Of …” list. But one of my tweets did, which is super cool and awesome, since it was a haiku. And it was written with my tongue sticking right in my cheek, of course. Because of all the world’s most excellent haiku poets, I am probably in the bottom ten.

The story had this headline: “They said what?!! Indy celebs’ best tweets in 2013.” It was published online by the Indianapolis Star, Dec. 31, 2013, and it included 20 tweets. You should check the whole story out here, because there are some really funny and interesting tweets by some incredibly amazing people.

Or, for the condensed version, just read the excerpt as it appeared in the story below:

Tweet #16.


A Bad Haiku, by me:

The yellow bus roars

Kids sigh, grumble, climb the steps

Moms gulp Mimosas

#badpoetry #truestory


Michelle Freed Momper was one of the people who gathered in the Indianapolis Star newsroom to tweet their observations about the presidential candidate debate in 2012. (Photo: Joe Vitti / The Star)


Tweeted by Michelle Freed (@MichelleFreed (, local humor writer, speaker and performer, on Aug. 5

New Year’s Resolutions: Why Bother?

Even though the New Year is still, well … new, I’m already calling it quits. And it’s all because of those silly resolutions, or as I like to call them, doomed promises.NYEbaby

I know, I know, you’re sick of hearing about them. I am too. In fact, if one more person asks me how I plan to improve myself over the next twelve months, I might just have to growl and bare my teeth.

It’s not that I don’t believe in self-improvement. Believe me, I am always tending to my laundry list of typical goals: exercise more … eat healthier foods … remember my name. The list goes on and on. Continue reading

Finding the Words for Happy

Happy by the lights.

Happy by the lights.

If I had to tell you what kind of things make me happy, I could come up with all kinds of answers. Christmas lights, for instance (or any kind of lights on a string, for that matter), are at the top of the list. I can stare at them for hours, feeling all sparkly and amber inside.

Laughter – the kind that comes from deep inside your belly and leaves you aching for hours – makes me feel content, alive and bubbly. Happy. So do warm, long hugs and orangey pink sunsets from a wide open sky. Continue reading

Lighten Up! Holiday Gift Guide for Finding Fun

When did we all get so serious, and well … boring? I used to spend minutes, (sometimes even hours) thinking of the perfect gift for that wonderful someone. And then I descended into gift-card hell.

Oh sure, those little plastic buddies are practical, and theoretically they guarantee that recipients get, “exactly what they want.” But really, does anyone truly know what’s good for them? I certainly don’t, as is evidenced by last year’s gift-card purchase – that itchy, fluffy-collared sweater that’s still sprouting tags and sitting in my closet.

So take a leap of faith with me this year and go search for some fun. Here are my top ten out-of-the-ordinary, not-what-you-expected gift ideas. But time’s running out! You’d better act fast!*

googlyGoogly Eyes Drink Markers. These cute little silicone bands fit on bottles or cans, and as long as you can remember your color by the end of the  night, you’ll keep your germs to yourself. Pack of 4 colors; $4.50. Where I saw them: Continue reading

Post-Thanksgiving Survival Tips

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and maybe even a little bit panicked right now, you’re not alone. In fact, whether it’s advice for serving up a flawless menu, creating spectacular table décor or handling those maddening family squabbles, experts of all sorts are clogging the airwaves and social media sites with their tips for surviving Thanksgiving.

screamBut what about those post-Thanksgiving hours? You know … after you decompress from carb- and relatives-overload, stare in the mirror and mumble, “I have to do this all over again in less than a month?”

Relax, my friends, because I’m in your corner. I know what it’s like to go through withdrawal from homemade baked goods and bottomless glasses of wine. I’ve seen friendly family arguments turn into nasty, recess-worthy brawls, and I’ve both suffered and embraced countless homecomings and life-changing holidays. Continue reading

Thanksgiving: It Gets No Respect

(Author’s note: In honor of poor Thanksgiving, I’m running this oldie but goodie column. Gobble, gobble.)

Somebody give Thanksgiving a break!

Somebody give Thanksgiving a break!

Thanksgiving gets no respect. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays, and I’m not going to take it anymore.

Every year I stand by and watch as Americans abruptly switch their attention from stale, leftover Halloween candy to twinkling lights and eggnog. Retailers scramble for early sales, yard decorators untangle lights, and children everywhere pen wish lists the size of outdated phone books.

But that’s only the beginning. The holidays, themselves, are part of the problem. Continue reading