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Writing “My Love Affair” and “Why Billy Joel Rocks” – pieces in which I extol the virtues of some of my favorite cultural phenomena – reminded me that it'd been a while since I posted a “Thin Line” list, a compilation of my pet peeves and secret pleasures. So I’ve decided to get down to brass tacks and have another go. For instance, though I generally hate clichés, I do love saying, “getting down to brass tacks.” I love that Lance Armstrong beat cancer, but I hate that he won’t admit to doping. And while I hate that virtually every talking head trashed Barack Obama after the first debate, I love that he just won four more years.


To catch up on my first three lists, visit the following links: “It's a Thin Line,” “It's a Thin Line, Part 2” and “It's a Thin Line, Part 3.” Now here goes part 4:



  1. Global warming and the fact that it was 73 degrees in Philadelphia on Oct. 24
  2. How every time I get out of our minivan I’m so laden with bags that I feel like one of the pack mules that carted our group’s provisions through Peru’s Cordillera Blanca
  3. That we don’t know exactly what happened to Marysol’s mother’s face on “The Real Housewives of Miami”
  4. That my carpal tunnel syndrome, dormant five years, has come back with a vengeance since I started my blog
  5. Receiving not just one but two copies of the “AARP Bulletin” in the mail
  6. That I actually enjoyed reading the article about super bugs in the “AARP Bulletin”
  7. When my kids steal my pens
  8. That many Superstorm Sandy victims just got hit by another nor'easter
  9. Listening to the chorus of coughs in my daughter’s preschool class
  10. That the BBC – and much of Britain – harbored a pedophile for decades
  11. Finding stray toenail clippings in my medicine cabinet
  12. Redundancy, as in this caller’s remark on a recent radio show: “I’m a life-long Republican. I’ve always voted Republican.” (And it can’t even be correct unless the guy got a special dispensation to vote before age 18.)
  13. That I buy Teddy Grahams for my kids but just end up eating them all myself
  14. Getting an envelope that says, “Summons Enclosed: Immediate Response Required”
  15. Raking leaves
  16. Paying someone else to rake my leaves
  17. Finding out I should attend a “meet the teachers” coffee at my daughter’s preschool, when what I really want to do is have an hour-and-a-half to myself
  18. Seeing a green motorcycle helmet lying on the side of Lincoln Drive and wondering if there’s a skull in it
  19. Having to ask what butt-chugging was after watching a YouTube link my brother sent me
  20. That I fear the only way to get my 108-year-old house clean and its floors level would be to raze it
  21. That someone once told me that Carmex was bad for me
  22. When my 2-year-old says, “You stinks.”
  23. Loading my Crock-Pot full of beef stew only to find six hours later that the outlet tripped and the ingredients are raw
  24. Knowing that at least one of my three children will bring home lice this year
  25. Parking under a tree only to come out an hour later to find starlings have voided all over my minivan
  26. That the hot chocolates I just bought my twins at the Corner Bakery cost $3.39 each, before tax
  27. When a public toilet automatically flushes while I’m still sitting on it
  28. People who have mobile phone conversations on public toilets
  29. High-maintenance orderers, when it’s not for legitimate health reasons


  1. Global warming and the fact that it was 73 degrees in Philadelphia on Oct. 24
  2. The bumper sticker I glimpsed last week: “An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”
  3. Seeing a woman in a movie theater bathroom rinse her hands with water, sans soap, and then use her sleeve as a glove to depress the paper towel lever
  4. The first cup of coffee in the morning
  5. Sending my husband texts like, “Cyndi needs a bullhorn.”
  6. Fitting allusions to both Thomas Hardy and Eugene O’Neill into a blog entry about a Viking-themed scavenger hunt
  7. (I know this one’s terrible): watching someone else’s toddler have a catastrophic, public meltdown
  8. That when I picked up my 2-year-old from preschool this morning, her shirt was all wet from the water table
  9. Seeing Facebook pictures of a friend’s husband wearing her yoga tights
  10. The BBC
  11. Hearing Louis C.K. in a 2008 stand-up routine call his then 2-year-old daughter a “bullshitter” because, although she could walk, she often refused to
  12. A party invitation that reads, “Kids and kegs still don’t mix.”
  13. Watching my twins play with new kindergarten friends at the park
  14. Getting invited to a roller derby 45th birthday party
  15. Though it’s rare, when my 2-year-old says, “Ok, mommy” and trips off to do my bidding
  16. Hall & Oates
  17. The kid on my son’s soccer team wildly gesticulating for someone – anyone – to move out for a pass
  18. When my 5-year-old son asks me what “Zero-F-F” spells
  19. When my brother sends me a YouTube link to a press conference about butt-chugging
  20. When my husband gets sucked into watching “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills”
  21. Carmex
  22. My husband’s college nickname, “Jibber”
  23. That my kids and I are now included in that moniker, as in, “How are the Jibbers?”
  24. Hearing my neighbor describe repairing her sewer line as “lifting up her driveway and putting $14,000 under it”
  25. Listening to my son narrate his solo ball games
  26. Red Vines
  27. The gritty, Parisienne crime series I just discovered on Netflix – “Engrenages” – in which most of the actors are sexy and some of them even smoke
  28. Laying on my horn, but only when it’s necessary
  29. When my husband blows his stack with the kids 15 minutes after returning from work because then I know I’m not crazy


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