Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says "Oh shit, she's awake."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Here piggy piggy piggy...

I have noticed that as I get older, my tolerance for watching any animal in pain or distress is becoming weaker and weaker. Bill keeps looking at me like I’m a some kind of PETA freak every time I try to catch a fly or moth in the house and release back into the wild also known as our back yard (fly free little moth!) probably only to be eaten by our pet spider, Simon. Simon, of course, is the giant man-eating eight legged fellow that built a super indestructible web over one of our back porch lights. Bill takes great pleasure in watching Simon catch whatever bugs he can in his shining example of spinning mastery, marvelling at how Simon wraps the little bugs up ever so neatly, then sucks the life right out of them. “Isn’t that amazing honey?” he’ll ask me with all the childlike wonder he can muster. I, of course, am sitting in the kitchen crying for the poor bug who lost his life to Simon. Was it scared? It must have been terrified! Did it cry out for it’s mommy? Maybe I should take its poor lifeless body out of the web and give it a proper burial. I probably would, but then Bill would probably have me checked into the psychiatric ward of Prince William Hospital for a mandatory 72 hour “vacation.” I assume that thought has already crossed his mind on any number of occasions. No need to further reinforce it.

I love animals, all kinds of animals. I’d have a farm if I could, although as usual, Bill isn’t really on board with my notions of owning a farm, or a petting zoo. I just want to cuddle all the animals, give them hugs, be their mommy and kiss their boo boos. It matters not whether they have fur or feathers, they are all special to me, and somewhere in my mind, I just know their lives are incomplete without me. Ok, maybe not, but I sure would be the best animal mom EVER. We already have three birds and two dogs, and all of them are blissfully ignorant of the fact that they are actually animals, not our children. I think my daughter often is upset by that fact, and sometimes accuses me of loving them more. Maybe. I don’t have to remind them to clean their room 5000 times a day, or to brush their teeth. And they don’t give me endless amounts of crap in the form of smartass remarks. Usually I ignore her accusation. I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

My love for animals has gotten to the point that the thought of becoming a vegetarian is starting to hold a certain appeal for me. I mean, really, who wants to think of the senseless slaughter of innocent animals for the sake of a meal. There are plenty of plants to eat, right? Peanut butter has protein, and it’s not an animal. I love peanut butter. There is only one thing that seems to be standing in my way of making the leap into a meat-free lifestyle…and that one thing is bacon.

I could give up a lot of different carnivorous delights, but bacon is one of those things that is so full of yummy deliciousness that it is hard to imagine life without it. As my daughter said to me when she was four or five, “Mommy, piggies are so cute but they are SO TASTY!” Amen, my sweet child, piggies are indeed one of the tastiest animals to walk the earth.

I could eat bacon on just about anything. In fact, I believe that bacon could be added to just about any dish and it would only make it more delicious. I was always thankful that I’m not Jewish. The whole thought of never eating another BLT, or relishing a bacon and egg breakfast is almost too much to bear. I remember once when I worked in catering for Marriott, someone put ham on the buffet at a bar mitzvah. The chef, who was very French, and very arrogant, was pointedly asked if it was pork. He never even blinked, never flinched. He answered without hesitation, “It’s a specially cured cut of beef.” They ate it. I felt like our whole staff was going straight to hell. Which reminds me, ham…the bastard son of bacon…almost as good but not quite.

I’ve always wondered about those people who buy pot-bellied pigs for pets. While those little critters are truly adorable when they are small, eventually they grow up and look like, bacon - with four hooves.

Here, piggy piggy, stand right here. This won’t hurt a bit. I think I should probably never own a pig of any kind…just sayin.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Every Doormat Says Welcome...

I had a conversation with a friend today - a heartfelt discussion on her unending need to give everything of herself to everyone, only to be disappointed when others do not respond with the same level of enthusiasm when she is in need of their help. I’ve been in her shoes, and I remember how hard it was to not be disappointed in people and their lack of appreciation, let alone ability to give something back. She told me how she tried to be there on all levels for her significant other, no matter what his needs were. She even told me that if he had a headache, she would offer to massage his temples for him to alleviate his pain. I was touched by her efforts...but wow, just wow. If Bill has a headache, and even bothers to tell me, he’s thankful if I offer to go get the Excedrin for him. More often than not, he says nothing until he’s already taken the Excedrin and is on the road to recovery. I don’t think there is a chance in hell he would expect me to rub his temples for him. And I am sure he’s not dumb enough to ask me to do it.

Since the beginning of our relationship, Bill and I have tried to always be there for each other, but we are not the type to encroach on each other’s space or our individual need to handle things alone. That is one thing we have always had in common. We’re both extremely self-sufficient, and loath to ask anyone for help. Honestly, I think we could both stand to be a little better about asking for help. But, when the chips are down and something comes up that requires us to be there for each other, we are a team that always holds each other up. I like it this way. I’ve always been headstrong (some might even say stubborn, although I don’t see it) and I am fiercely independent. Bill mirrors me in that respect. Both of us are givers though, and sometimes we see the need arise when we have to pull each other back from putting ourselves out there far too much for those around us. It’s just our nature, but over the years we have both learned how and where to draw the line between helping and being the doormat.

There are many that have their “doormat” out for anyone and everyone, and for those who are truly givers, their doormat most certainly says “welcome” in very large letters. For most of my life my doormat didn't just say "WELCOME". It said “Come on in and have a seat. What can I do for you to make your life perfect for you.” I’m not kidding. The situations (not of my own creation) that I have gotten pulled into over the years run the gamut from comical to downright pathetic. My mother, for years, would shake her head at the number of people who would happily wipe their boots on my forehead/doormat and take advantage of my kind and giving nature. There was nothing I wouldn’t do for another person, whether I knew them well or not, even at my own personal expense. After a while, such things tend to wear down a person’s heart and soul. Even though you may say that you have no expectations for something in return, deep down somewhere in the subconscious, it is only human to expect to at least be treated in kind, should the situation arise. For the most part though, people just cut and run, leaving you standing there bleeding, not knowing what hit you, or how they could be so unfeeling and cruel. But the fact is, they don't mean to be cruel, they’re just not you. It is unfair to expect others to act exactly as you do because not everyone has the same level of compassion etched upon his or her heart. And not everyone realizes that paying it back, or even paying it forward, is the only real path one should sad for them, really, for there is no greater pleasure than giving of yourself to another person for the sheer joy of giving.

These days my doormat tends to say “Come on in, have a seat, and we can talk about what’s going on in your life” before I overcommit myself to something that is clearly not my problem to fix. I’ve found that if you fix everything for a person, they lose the ability to fix things on their own, and it becomes an endless cycle of you giving, and them taking. I believe the shrinks call it “enabling.” Better to give someone the tools to fix their life all by themselves. That is the real gift, sort of like the “teach a man to fish” thought. And in the end, you expect far less in return. You just feel good for having helped someone move forward in their life in a positive way.

I hope my friend sees her own worth, and realizes that you don’t need to do everything for anyone. Usually they are more than capable of handling most things themselves, or with just a bit of assistance. I, for one, think she is a truly incredible person who deserves better. Relationships are never always 50/50, but certainly they should never be 80/20 or 90/10 all the time. My advice to her was REEVALUATE. Look at what the real expectation is from the other person. Do they really expect you to put yourself out there completely on their behalf 100% of the time? Probably not. Givers have a hard time distinguishing between what is expected, and what is “too much.” I have a few years on her, so I’m guessing she will learn this lesson eventually, then pass it along to the next poor sap with the filthy doormat on her forehead.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Smile for the Ode to the Dreaded Grade School Portrait

Today my daughter is having her school pictures taken. To say that preparation for this annual event is exhausting and painful would be a total understatement. It sucks in ways that I haven’t thought about since I had my last school photos taken. She thinks I don't “get it” but she is wrong. I sooooo understand where she is coming from. Every teenage girl thinks she is ugly, or too fat, or too thin, or geeky. It's a right of passage.

First of all, my daughter is beautiful, from her impossibly curly hair to her long legs. She doesn’t see it. She never sees it. But her smile and her eyes can light up any room she enters. THEN she opens her mouth, only to have the driest, wittiest humor fall from her lips like water in the Sahara Desert. She is brilliantly funny, and delightfully sarcastic. Her comments and observations about the world and people around her are intelligent and spontaneous, and usually dead on. As anyone will tell you that has spent a half a nanosecond on her facebook page, she is a HOOT. Actually as far as her sense of humor goes, she is me, but shorter. Sometimes I worry about that.

Anyway, back to the school pictures...

Every year, we straighten her wringlets for the occasion, which involves two enormous round brushes, a blow dryer that will heat up an entire room, a lot of complaining (from her) and even more cursing (from me.) The really marvelous fact about all of this is that she wears her hair curly every day – except on picture day – so her school pictures don’t even really look like her “regular” days. This morning was no different, except for the fact that the whoever cut her hair last (she insisted on her father taking her one weekend when she was totally pissed at her hair) must have cut it with a pair of kindergarten scissors while wearing a blindfold. I didn’t realize this because normally, her hair is a mountain of curls, so you can’t really see what kind of shape it is in. I tried, I really did. I used product. I wrapped sections of her hair around a four inch round brush over and over (I’m actually quite skilled at straightening hair since I straighten mine often.) I contemplated whipping out the flat iron, but I could see my efforts would be in vain. Finally, I looked at my gorgeous girl and said “Sweetie, it’s going to have to be curly this year.” She was mortified, completely distraught and overcome with drama that her school pictures would not be EXACTLY as she expected them to be. May I add, there is little as exhausting as 12 year old female drama. I sprayed her hair down with water, applied more product and slapped the diffuser on the dryer, all the while thinking that if her hair didn’t turn out right, I’d have to shave both of us bald in solidarity...not a road I really wanted to go down. After a fair amount of scrunching, drying and flipping, she emerged from the process with beautiful spirals of spun silk that would make any woman with poker straight hair hate her on sight.

She looked in the mirror. “I look like Madonna.”

Me – “You do NOT look like Madonna.”

Her – “Everyone will make fun of me.”

Me – “If they make fun of it, it’s only because they are jealous.”

Her – “Only you like big hair, because you have big hair. Big hair is not cool.”

I looked in the mirror. OMG, was I not cool? Did I need to consider a “mom bob” and forego the groovy highlights and lowlights? What’s next? Sweatsuits in a really unflattering shade of pink and some keds? I didn’t have time to think about it. She was beyond disappointed. I assured her that her hair was enviable by any standards, but the damage had been done. She changed her clothes three times, then informed me she would not be getting any pictures, so don’t even write the check. Mark my words, these will be the best pictures of her entire school career and I won’t have one for my wallet.

Then I remembered, I always hated my school photos, every single one of them. Hell, if I ever glance at any of them again, it will be too soon. So I gave up, threw in the towel.

“Honey, if you don’t want to get any photos that is perfectly fine with me.”

For a moment, the drama and the disappointment floated away. She looked at me, and realized that her big-haired, 80s-inspired Mom really did in fact “get it.” It was a teaching moment that shall be forever emblazoned in my brain and on my heart. She’ll be twelve on Sunday, and I’m starting to think she may actually live to see her 16th birthday. Of course, that could change. She has four years to prove me wrong.

But no matter what, being her mom is the best job I will ever have. Happy 12th Birthday, Baby!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Please, get a publicist...the 99% can't HEAR YOU!!!!

So last night, Bill and I are sitting in our kitchen (I like that room the best since its’ renovation last winter) watching the news. It’s our schtick, what we do every night when we get home...that and have a cocktail. The 6 o’clock news was “pre-Steve Jobs is dead” breaking news, so we actually caught a glimpse of the protests in New York. I must admit, while my politics is mostly center, I am captivated by these people who seem to be so solid in their convictions. I am always that way when it comes to underdogs. Anyway, as Bill and I watched the news piece, I looked at Bill and said to him “You know, they really have a point when it comes to some of this sh$t…screwing the little guy all in the name of corporate greed, no accountability, backdoor payoffs and the like.” Now I know, we can all sit here in our little bubbles and pretend it’s not that way, but I think we all know it is. Bill (who is more conservative than me) was actually in agreement with what I was saying. You know, it’s not that we’re starving in the Tucker household. Indeed, compared to most, our life is quite comfortable. We work hard, we play hard, we count our blessing frequently. But honestly, even those of us who are reasonably comfortable (not wealthy, mind you) are feeling the squeeze of an abysmal economy. Every time some loudmouth financial pundit comes on CNBC and tells me that “the U.S. in NOT in a double-dip recession” I have to fight the urge to vomit just a little in my mouth. Really? You’re joking, right? I wonder when the last time that dumbass filled his own gas tank, or noticed the 30% or more increase in the price of pretty much everything in the grocery store? Oh yeah, that’s right, he’s loaded...good for him. Now shut the hell up.

Then this morning, I pulled up a friend’s facebook page (no I’m not stalking him. Really.) He is a libertarian by all definitions, and I like to see what he’s sayng when it comes to what is going on in the world. His post of the movement made me think even more. His posting was, shall we say, not in agreement with what was going on up there in Manhattan, so I decided to do a bit of research for myself. What I found was disturbing on a level I cannot even explain. It was basically a list of “demands” posted by some lunatic under the guise of the movement only he has it posted under the site I shall not go into the contents but I am posting the link so you can see for yourself. I also posted the link on my facebook page. I went back and forth about it with friends. The conclusion? This grassroots movement needs a better PR person. Their message wasn’t just “hard to find” it was completely lost. When you google “occupy wall street” the lunatic’s post of demands is #1 on the freakin google list. How the hell did they let that happen? So now, a group of individuals with some very valid points have been overshadowed by some delusional fellow with the economics knowledge of a kindergartener, who obviously needs to stop smoking pot and get a job...nice. He reminded me of an ex-boyfriend.

So to the movement...

Rule #1 – if you want to make your point, don’t make people look for it. Something in big bold letters is good. No one wants to plays "where's Waldo" when searching for your message. People are lazy. People are basically in it for the instant gratification. No one wants to “guess” about what you are trying to say. Get on your url "soapbox" and shout it at the top of your lungs. Otherwise, your message is invisible, lost in a sea of misinformation, miscommunication, and misunderstanding.

I don’t agree with everything that the has to say (I found that out once I figured out WHAT they were trying to say) but I do think they have some ideas and thoughts that deserve some serious attention. They are angry. So am I, about a lot of things in our country, in our political system, in our streets. I do believe the right to protest is healthy, it fosters discussion, and hopefully positive growth. There needs to be a national discussion, and we all need to stop being afraid to talk about it. We can no long rely on the media, for they are simply trying to force their perspective down our throats. It’s not about the facts anymore.

My point in all of this? To those people who are trying so hard to get their message out there? For God’s sake, hire a damn publicist. You are obviously good at the “organizing the masses” part, but your ability to effectively convey your message downright sucks. Once you master that, your voices will be much easier to hear, and maybe the “99%” will be more eager to support the cause.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What would Jesus do?

Ok, against the advice of most everyone who knows me, I’m going to go there...

What the hell happened to all the normal Christians?????

Go ahead, I am prepared for the onslaught of "opinions." If I at least inspired a reaction out of you with that statement then my job is done. Honestly, it’s something that has been festering just under the surface for some time, and it is now a pox upon my sense of humor, and my sense of humanity. I think what really brought it to a head was an article that one of my facebook friends has posted from a local newspaper. The article by Tom Ehrich, from the State-Journal Register of Springfield, Illinois, makes some very valid points about today's Christians, and how they totally don’t act in very Christ-like ways. They are narrow minded and bigoted, often isolationists, who believe that it is “their way or the highway.” Really? I know I’m not much for sitting down and reading the bible in my free time, but didn’t Christ preach tolerance, compassion, and turning the other cheek? I hardly think what he meant by “turn the other cheek” was that whoever you are degradating, they should turn their cheek so you could abuse them on the other side. Correct me if I’m wrong here. Didn’t Jesus hang out with prostitutes, skells, and other people of ill-repute? I believe so. Wow, that Jesus, he was really out there in his thinking. You would have thought he would have rather just spent time with his “own kind” which by the way would have been Jews, for all of you who don't like Jews either. I bet God wasn’t happy about that. I bet he wished that his son would have had a better class of friends...what a joke.

I hear “Christians” preach intolerance, hatred and bigotry on a constant basis. If you don’t think exactly like them, they you must be “doing it” all wrong. They’re not particular, they pretty much hate everyone – homosexuals, social outcasts, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, and anyone else who doesn’t subscribe to what “their” definition of religion is. They want to help the "poor people" as long as the "help" isn't coming out of their wallets. They're all pro-life, but they're not going to adopt any of those bastard kids, or pay a dime to help those awful single mothers. Why those women are single-handedly destroying the traditional family and all it stands for...whatever. It’s all about their standard, their “God”, their view of the world, damned be everyone else. You know, there is pretty much NOTHING about those qualities that speaks “Jesus” to me. Not one damn thing.

And here is something else that really sets my hair on fire. How many people hand over how much money to their “church” only to have “the church” build the most extravagant of places to worship. Wouldn’t that money better served if they instead helped those who really needed it? Really, do you think God really cares about how big your stained glass windows are? I’m willing to bet his “stained glass windows” could kick your church’s windows' collective ass.

I’m sure I’ve pissed off all my “Christian” friends, but the intolerance of the world is really tweaking me. I’ve always tried to fight for the underdog, help those in need, and not judge, because the only one who can sit in judgment is far bigger than me. It’s not my place, not my job. My job is to be the best person I can be, hold myself accountable on all levels, and do the right thing. And I'll be damned if I am going to let some narrow-minded hypocrite dictate to me what kind of relationship I have with God. I'm pretty sure that is between God and me, and no one else. I think if more people subscribed to that line of thinking, the world would be a much more pleasant place to live. People would be kinder, more understanding, more appreciative of the individuals that surround them, no matter what their background, socio-economic level, or beliefs.

Ok, bring it, I’m ready. Tell me what you think, prove me wrong. I can’t wait to get this conversation going. In the meantime, I'll just sit here and wait for my facebook friends count to drop.