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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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Someone's a big girl! 

Today is my mom's birthday. 75 years ago today, Mary Anne Mariano (yes, that's her maiden name) was born a poor Italian child, in Queens, New York. She didn't even own a shirt until she was in high school.


I may be outing my mom, because a number of her friends and acquaintances thinks she's 65. Not only do they think she's 65, they also believe (correctly) that she looks extraordinarily good for a 65-year-old. I'm a little concerned that if any of them find out the truth they won't survive the shock/envy. Then again, none of those people know how to work an Internet.

At any rate: it is impossible to sum up how wonderfully hilarious and infuriating my mother is. She is a never-ending source of entertainment and blog material. Here, in no particular order, is but a sampling of just some of the insightful/hilarious/baffling tidbits my mother has passed along to me throughout these many years.

75 Things My Mom Has Told Me

1. I don't trust boring people.

2. Be proud of your ass. Seriously. It's a good ass. You got that from me.

3. Don't chew gum with your mouth open.

4. When you're really stuck, just act like you're stupid.

5. You will never beat me at arm wrestling. But you're getting better! No, really, I kind of had to resist this time.

6. This music is not too loud. Don't be an old lady.

7. If you're playing loud music and not dancing, there's something wrong with you.

8. Add lots of olive oil to that.

9. I'm sure you kids make fun of me behind my back. Whatever.

10. It's a funny story--they thought I was a prostitute! Of course I wasn't.

11. I can teach you how to salsa, get up.

12. Going to bed before midnight is weird.

13. You need to get rich so I can live in a wing of your house. Or a floor, I'll take a floor.

14. It's 5 pm. That's cocktail hour.


15. Don't take yourself so seriously.

16. If you're going to make your bed, do a good job at least.

17. All those celebrities are gay. All of them.

18. I swear I don't know what I'm going to do with you.

19. You might be annoyed with me now, but someday you're going to miss this.

20. There is nothing better than broccoli rabe. IT'S FULL OF ANTI-OXIDANTS.

21. No one should ski. Who the hell likes the cold?

22. You should listen to that woman on the radio, what's her name. She's smart.

23. Always wear a little makeup.

24. You know who flirts with women in their 70s? Men in their 90s. It's disgusting.

25. My father had beautiful feet.

26. What? It's not weird to know about your father's feet.

27. Don't write anything you wouldn't want your mother to read.

28. Those Swiffer things, what do you call them, they're the best.

29. You can too drink wine while you're pregnant.

30. Doctors never know what they're talking about.

31. Don't make me worry.

32. Everything's going to be fine! I said the Rosary about it.

33. You'll always have your family.

34. Except the family members who are pieces of crap.


35. I don't care how little money you have, that's no reason not to get a pedicure.

36. There's no excuse for not knowing how to spell. Okay, maybe dyslexia. I'm not talking about that!

37. You can't go wrong with beige. Or a nice ecru.

38. There are some good things about getting old. You lose all your body hair, which is nice.

39. If you're feeling bad, you can wallow for a while, and then you get over it!

40. When you get older, the key word is "dewy," Alice. You want to look dewy.

41. There's nothing wrong with only having one kid. Sometimes I wished I only had one! I don't mean it like THAT.

42. Make fun of me all you like. I'll haunt you some day.

43. Cheap crap is crap. Why would you buy cheap crap?

44. I'm so glad you're not dyeing your hair that horrible red color anymore. I didn't want to say anything.

45. Birthday cards don't count unless they're sent in the mail. [Note: I screw this one up every year.]

46. You were the first one of my children to call on my birthday! You're my favorite this year.

47. Those e-cards don't count. Don't you dare send me those.

48. Fine, I'll cut down on the Christmas gifts, but I have to get you something.

49. Your boyfriend is Jewish? Good. I have no problem with the Jews.

50. New York in the fifties!

51. Why would anyone live in New Jersey? That's where they dump the bodies.

52. Before I got my cataracts removed, I looked amazing.

53. No boys allowed in your bedroom. I don't care if it's your gay friend.

54. I never did anything half as embarrassing to you as my mother did to me. [Pretty sure this is true.]

55. When I die, cremate me and throw my ashes at Harry Belafonte. [This may not be something she said, but it is something I'm planning.]

56. Of course I'm going to spoil Henry. I'm the grandma. Get over it.


57. I'm just saying, I think she might be gay. She wears these glasses and she has that short hair.

58. Also she lives with this other woman and they sleep in the same bed. You can't tell me that's not a thing.

59. What do you mean, you're not coming home for Thanksgiving Eve?

60. When that dog of yours dies, I don't want to be around.

61. I'd never live in a place where there's a dry heat. Those people all look like mummies.

62. You definitely did not get my chest. I've got nothing.

63. There is nothing I hate more than texting.

64. I happened to think those email jokes were funny. I'll never send you any jokes ever again. Don't be like what?

65. It's just money, Alice.

66. I don't know where we are! Your father's driving.

67. You didn't call so I left you a message. Not "several" messages.

68. I love that blog you wrote! "Post," whatever.

69. I just hope you're raising Henry with some religion. I'm not saying you have to go to CHURCH.

70. Never lie to your mother.

71. You were always so modest growing up. And now…

72. I don't know where you learned that fucking language.

73. Just hope you didn't inherit those Irish genes, because believe me they did not age well. Their faces all fall to their waists.

74. Life is too short.

75. Call your mother.

I love you, Mom. Happy birthday. And here's to another 75 years! If anyone could pull that off it would be you.

Please, everyone, wish my mom a happy birthday. And if you feel like sharing any words of wisdom your mother has imparted to you at some point in your life, that would be great.

Reader Comments (140)

Happy birthday Mrs. Bradley! #72 is my favorite

My mother says, "We're all 'sensitive.' That's no excuse."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMomVee

Your mom sounds awesome. Happy Birthday!!!

Wisdom from my mother - Yes, you're very smart and beautiful on the inside. Now it's time to work on your OUTER beauty.

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJune

Beautiful! What a tribute! Happy, happy birthday to your mom, Alice! We should all be so lucky to 1) have a mom like yours and 2) be just like her when we're 75. Salut!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAmy B.

What about the time she said someone (the dog?) was running back and forth in front of the window "like a little Italian"? I still think of that and crack up and also wonder at what the heck she meant. Moms!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie

Happy Happy Birthday! What a wonderful daughter you have to honor you in such a way.

My mother taught me long ago how to buy dinner plates. "If that plate won't look good with spinach on it, don't buy it." Best advice I've ever gotten. And let me tell ya, it's totally true. We can put anything on our plates and it always looks amazing. Thanks mom!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

Happy Birthday Alice's mom!

When I went through a phase where I was deathly afraid of being abducted by aliens, my mom the scientist said: Why do you think, of all the people on the planet, aliens would abduct YOU? The probability of that is very low.

I was 10. Thanks mom!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarci

I love your mom! Happy Birthday!

I fully intend to live my life based on all the things your mom has said. She is awesome!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Happy birthday! Mary has inspired me to get a pedicure, despite my empty wallet. The economy thanks you! ;)

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoxanna (Miguelina)

happy birthday to your mom. you clearly have the second-most amazing mom ever!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Happy Birthday, Alice's mom! My mom said "It will never be noticed on a galloping horse."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan Ross

Happy birthday, Mary Ann! You sound like a wise and wonderful woman. Plus, it's my birthday, too!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPinkieBlIng

happy birthday! looks like you are both hilarious, i now have high hopes for henry's future sense of humor, he's clearly got great genes.

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterali - spinner's end

She looks like Henry in the top photo :)

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterandie

Happy Birthday Mrs. Bradley! Words of wisdom from my mother that I live by: "What you can't hide, decorate."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMegan

Happy birthday, Alice's mom!

Wisdom from my mother: "Always be able to support yourself. You never know what will happen."

Wisdom from my Grandma: "Never dye your hair or get a perm. It always ends badly."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatrina

Happy Birthday to Alice's mom. You raised a daughter who makes me cry laughter and tenderness tears, simultaneously.

And don't forget what ALL moms say, when you try on something for them, or otherwise ask their opinion about something.

"Oh, okay. Hm. Interesting."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKerry

Happy birthday, Mary Anne! Um...will you adopt me? What? It's a "thing". Sure. You can adopt complete strangers off the internet.

Alice, thank you for sharing a bit of your mom with us. I see that delightful runs in your family.

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle M.

Oh, I LOVE this list. Thanks for posting. Here's something my mom said once that always sticks with me, for various reasons:

"Here's what I'm doing for Christmas this year: I'm going to start the fireplace, make a pot of tea, and read a book in front of the fire. If you want to join me, I'd love your company. If you'd rather do something more festive, go ahead and do it. Merry Christmas."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterScott

Dear Alice's mother,
You have a happy birthday, okay?

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermagpie

Happy Birthday Alice's Mom.

My mother "Marriage is not a fairy tale".

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTawny

your mama is punk rock. loved this blog,'post', whatever...

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlucky13

Happy Birthday!!!!

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterliz

Happy Birthday, Alice's mom!! And I agree, Swiffers ARE the best :D .

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMissRed

Your mom sounds awesome! (AND WOW, does she look great!) I hope she has a fantastic birthday!


September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen

Happy Birthday Alice's Mom! From my mother..."You got your Dad's feet with the big ugly hammer toe. You should wish you got my feet. They are pretty."

September 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristen

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