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."

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I am totally “pinterested” in everything you are “pinterested” in…

I wonder if it is possible to get yourself “uninvited” from Pinterest.  I’ve been on the site for a little more than a week, and already I am hooked like a drug addict.  Pinterest is the “crack” of the social media world in ways that facebook will never be.  I am finding that if I don’t get my “pinterest fix” at least three or four times a day, usually five to ten minutes at a clip, then I start to break out in a cold sweat and have to reach for a cigarette…and I don’t even smoke.

One of my “guy” friends asked me about the whole Pinterest craze, seemingly clueless about why it even existed.  I immediately felt sad for him and sent him the link, only to realize that this completely heterosexual person who is more than secure in his manhood, probably would log on and think I had completely lost my mind.  Men don’t get it, and I’m not sure that they are capable of understanding.  In fact, I saw an article that stated 31% of Pinterest users were men.  I can pretty much tell you that out of that 31%, ALL of those men are gay.  That is not a dig at gay men. But only a gay man could appreciate the instant visual gratification Pinterest can provide.  Pinterest is fantasy football for women and gay men.  Straight men hear about it, but they don’t understand it, so they think it is stupid.  I feel much the same way about fantasy football.  By the way, if any of those gay men on Pinterest are looking for a new friend to shop with and give fashion advice to, please contact me.  I need a good male gay friend to hang out with from time to time.

Pinterest…hmmm…how to explain it.  Ok, so you know how when you go to the nail salon for a pedicure and you sit in the chair with every intention of closing your eyes and relaxing?  But then you can’t relax, so rather than stare at the poor woman slaving over your feet, which haven’t received proper treatment since the end of summer, you reach for a magazine on the table next to you.  It could be any magazine – Vogue, Cosmo, Metropolitan Home, Light Cooking, it really doesn’t matter.  It is something to occupy your brain rather than fixate on the ten layers of dead skin that is being removed from the soles of your feet.  You glance through the pages, dog-earring all the things you love and secretly plot how to sneak the magazine out in your purse, or tear out the pages you’ve marked.   It’s visual, it’s interesting, it requires very little thought process. (Wait, that sounds a lot like the way men look at porn.) This is what Pinterest is ALMOST EXACTLY LIKE, without the annoying subscription postcards falling out all over the place.  It is a series of “boards” where you can pin everything you love, everything you want to cook, make, wear, and travel to before you are too old to board a plane. You can use the suggested boards that Pinterest provides, or you can create your own boards.  I have boards for gardening, jewelry, shoes, hot men, and cute baby animals.  I’m sure I will be adding more when I find things to pin that fail to fall into the current board categories.  It's also so exciting to discover that your friends are Pinterested in the EXACT SAME things you are.  I'm pretty sure that my group of girlfriends are going to be going to Greece or Montenagro very soon, since it is on all of our Pinterest bucket lists. I don't know where Montenagro is, but apparently I am going to L O V E it.

And here is the kicker - people can “follow” your pins and you can follow other people’s pins.  I’ve pinned and repinnned so much stuff to my boards from other friends' boards that I have enough information to dress like a supermodel, cook like Julia Child, apply makeup like an artist, travel to all four corners of the earth, and plant a garden that Martha Stewart would envy.  Of course, I have done all this in my head.  Nothing has actually happened yet, but I’ve got the information right there, at the ready for when I decide to build that addition on the back of my house, or make my own habanero bacon vodka.  And I’m going to do it, all of it, and everyone will think I am amazing, especially Bill. He doesn’t even know what a renaissance woman he is married to, but he will find out…soon, very soon. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

Never let them see you sweat...or cry...

So let me preface this blog by saying I despise bullying.  I am one of the many who suffered immeasurably at the hands of bullies – one in particular, although I won’t mention names (Donna Richards) OOPS, did I say that with my outside voice?  My life was completely miserable because of the relentless harassment from 8th grade all the way through high school. Would you believe that even graduation night, the person who made my life utter hell was seated DIRECTLY behind me?  I thought my life sucked.  I thought it would always suck.  Thankfully, I was wrong. Not only does my life not suck, my life is glorious, and filled with so many wonderful people and things that I sometimes pinch myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming.

So imagine my level of fury when I talked to Bill on the phone yesterday only to find out my daughter came home crying a river of tears because someone was bullying her.  She had just mentioned the day before that there was a kid named – we will call him “Nick” – that had been calling her truly awful names and cursing at her, even punched her once.  I, of course, gave her the “if he even thinks about bothering you, you need to tell me immediately…not tomorrow, not next week, RIGHT FREAKING NOW.  She said she would.  Low and behold, the next day, voilá! The little prick was at it again.  But wait, it gets better.  When he became relentless in his verbal abusive, something in my sweet dear child snapped. Not like Ralphie in a Christmas Story snapped, but it was pretty cool! She grabbed him by the shirt and just stared him down for about a ten seconds, although I’m sure it seemed longer to her.  Of course, then the delinquent pushed her and started to kick her, which was not the optimal outcome, but WOW, just WOW. She stood up to him.  She didn’t back down or break down, at least not until she got home. Where did she get the guts, the moxie?  I told her she was right to tell Bill and me what happened, but she should never have touched him, not that I actually agree with that, but the school has some bullshit “zero tolerance” policy, so for her “lay her hands on him” would cause my flute-playing, straight A, happy, compassionate, sweet child to be suspended along with the juvenile delinquent – not fair in my opinion. Bill called the school principal (who is a personal friend of Bill’s from childhood – bad news for ol’ Nick) and the principal said he would “handle it.”  And today, magically, it was “handled.”  Nick will no longer be bothering my daughter. In fact, he is not allowed to talk to her at all. Looking at her might not be a good idea either. Score one for Tricia.

The whole thing brought back so many memories, and it is amazing how seared those experiences are in my brain.  People say kids “should suck it up” and learn how to deal with teasing and abuse. First of all, bullying was bad when I was a kid, when anyone is a kid.  Imagine it now, in a world of social media, cell phones, and other avenues that didn't exist "back in the day." It is a whole different world out there. I do make Tricia handle some things on her own, and it has helped her develop amazing coping skills.  But some situations really just require more attention, and definitely some action.  No child should have to tolerate bullying.  It is scary, and worse yet, it is humiliating.  Humiliation does not build character. Humiliation tears out a child’s heart, and destroys their self-esteem.  Don’t agree with me? That’s ok, you don’t have to agree with one word of this.  But it will not be my child. I want her to grow up with a strong sense of who she is, and what she is capable of in her life.  I certainly will not allow some snot-nosed brat to take that away from her.  

I’ve said it to her a million times, “you won’t even remember these people when you get out of high school.”  But you know what? She will.  The thing I want her to remember is how she dealt with the situation, and more importantly, that she had the benefit of parents who love her that stood up for her, and protected her when the chips were down.  I think of all the kids over the past few years who ended their lives because they felt it was their only escape.  I never want that to be my child.  I don’t want it to be anyone’s child really. No child should feel that alone.

In a way, I feel sorry for Nick. He must have one hell of a family life to think that hitting or kicking a girl is ok.  I wonder how many times his father raised a hand to his mother, or a sibling, or to him. Bullies are usually crying out for someone, anyone to notice them.  Negative attention is better than no attention at all.  I’ll still have his ass arrested for assault if he lays a hand on my daughter again, but wouldn’t it be nice if every child could come from a home that sets a loving example for “how life is supposed to be”?  I know not every bully comes from a broken home, just as not every kid from a broken home becomes a bully.  Somewhere, somehow, the cycle needs to stop.  If it takes a village, then so be it.  Everyone should step up to the plate and protect those who cannot protect themselves.

I am very proud of my daughter.  She has the intestinal fortitude to not take someone else’s crap, and even though maybe it was not the “best” way to handle it, she was able to walk away knowing she did not let him have the upper hand.  She stood up for herself, and I have to believe she took something valuable away from that experience.  

I hope she always remembers that lesson.  Because as we all know, the bullies are there long after high school.

Hug your child tonight. Thanks.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What "grows" up must come down...

Today, we are losing an old and dear friend at our house.  Our very large, very old oak tree is on the verge of coming down due to an enormous crack in its base. So, after consideration, we have decided to give her a hand down, rather than risk her falling on our next door neighbor’s house, or on the street.  We’ve been mulling it over for quite a while now, but she’s weighted on either side by heavy branches, while the center of the tree is bare.  It’s just too dangerous to leave her standing, so down she comes.

Our best estimate is she is probably over a hundred years old.  We even found an old drawaing of our street from before 1900, and there is a depiction of a tree right about where our old girl stands now.  It’s hard to imagine a tree surviving that many years…all the baby birds it has fostered, all of the families of squirrels it has sheltered.  There must be at least a half dozen squirrel drays in her branches.  Needless to say, it is not going to be a happy day for the squirrels that have set up residence. Thank goodness for the other oak tree in front of my kitchen window.  I’m sure I’ll be seeing three times as many of those fat little tree varmints lolling about on the branches ten feet from my kitchen sink.  Bill feeds them, so they tend to be on the plump side.  And when the weather is warm, they sprawl out with their paws hanging over the edges.  I could be wrong, but I do believe the happiest squirrels on the planet reside at our house.

It’s always a little sad to see something so old, so stately, so timeless meet its demise.  Now when I come out the front door every morning to leave for the office, all that will remain is a double stump.  On the upside, no more bird shit on my car (an annual spring ritual when all the robins build their nests seemingly RIGHT over my poor convertible. 

I’m glad I’m not home to witness the chainsaws whirring, and the bucket truck raised, cutting the limbs that interfere with the power lines. I’m sure there will be limbs all over my yard when I go home for lunch today. I’ll probably cry, and Bill will think I’m being such a girl.

I know it’s inevitable, but I will miss her so.  Funny how even a tree can become part of the family.

Thursday, February 9, 2012 what's for dinner...

I am becoming increasingly impatient with the large number of people who feel the need to impose their beliefs on my life everywhere I turn -  on the news, on social media, hell, right to my face.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a pretty easy-going person, and the last thing I would ever do is pass judgment or attempt to steer someone to my way of thinking against their own beliefs.  Bottom line? I don’t really care what you think, believe, or subscribe to in your life.  They are choices, YOUR choices. And while we may agree on some things, it is doubtful that anything you say to me will make me run to your side of the fence, so please, climb down off of your royal soapbox.  This goes for any variety of issues – politics, religion, women’s rights, vegan vs. vegetarian vs. knuckle dragging meat eaters (that would be me.)

Let’s chat a bit about vegetarians.  If you get your kicks from killing poor innocent and defenseless plants that have never done a thing to you, then by all means go for it. (I’m joking about the cruelty to plants part, of course.)  But seriously, do I relish the thought of animal slaughter? Nope, absolutely not.  Animal cruelty? That would be a negative as well.  But, unfortunately for the cow, chicken, pig, or sea-related creature, humans are at the top of the food chain,  and I will take my steak medium rare. If I can find cruelty-free, free-ranging, happy chickens, cows or pigs to eat, then that is even better.  I’m all for what is humane when it comes to animal slaughter.  The only thing that doesn’t really thrill me is veal or lamb…not that I don’t love them both, and certainly not that I’ve never eaten it.  I’m just not down with the whole process to get the lamb or veal from farm to store to my plate.  My decision.  If you wish to have your veal marsala, then by all means, please do. That stuff is damn tasty. 

Here are the people I really love…vegetarians who will eat fish ( believe they refer to themselves as pescatarians), as if somehow the fish is less of an animal to them than say, Bessie the Cow.  Don’t tell the fish that, I bet he feels differently.  If you are going to be strong in your convictions, then don’t be selective.  Animal cruelty is your crusade?  Then it should include all animals, not just the ones you deem important enough to care about. It doesn’t quite work like that, just sayin.

Likewise, posting pictures of slaughtered dogs in Asia on your facebook page is not going to bring me around to your way of thinking.  Last time I checked, as a general rule, we do not eat dogs in the United States, so I’m not all that worried about dog consumption in my backyard. As for what happens in Asia, well, I really don’t have any control over that. We keep dogs in our homes as companions.  For some people they are more like decorations, only to be let out of their kennel cage when the mood strikes their owner. I think that pisses me off even more.  If you are going to have pets in your life, then they should be family members, with the ability to have a happy existence, not locked up in a cage for twelve hours out of the day.  That to me is no less cruel than killing a dog to eat. But it is none of my business how you handle your dog no more than it is any of your business what kind of tasty animal I am serving for dinner in my home. 

Opinions are like assholes.  Everyone has one, and most people have the ability to BE one.  I could take issue with some people’s opinions, but that would require me to care, and for the most part, I just don’t.  Some people are important to me –my family, my friends and a few others I hold dear.  People who think they are all-knowing and the only enlightened ones on the planet?  They mean nothing to me.

Keep your crusades to yourself, or go buy a membership to PETA (like those are some sane people.)  No one really cares anyway. And as for my dinner? Yes, I will be serving meat for dinner this evening – steak in fact.  And NO it is NONE of your damn business. 


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Forty-seven really doesn't seem so bad after all...

Yeah, I know…I didn’t post a blog last week, so shoot me.  I’ve been too traumatized by the fact that I am turning 47 on February 5th, only to be upstaged by the Superbowl – which, by the way, involves two teams I hate, but I’m going to have to go with the Giants, because I hate New England more.  Take that Tom Brady.  Eli gets to be THE MAN.  By the way Tom, I hope your wife gets fat and all of your hair falls out.

Actually this year I am not dreading my birthday with the same vigor displayed in years past.  Mostly because I have decided that this year, I shall throw myself a birthday extravaganza.  It will be a fabulous soire with all my friends who are more than glad to help me usher in my special day…mostly because they know I don’t care if they trash my house and I always have a fully stocked bar.  My “pawty” even has a theme, bacon.  Why?  Why not?  Is there anything more perfect than a perfectly cooked slice of bacon wrapped around a scallop?  I plan on having a complete line of bacon-festooned dishes sure to send at least half the guests into cholesterol-induced cardiac arrest. There will be bacon cheeseburger sliders, bacon mac and cheese, bacon deviled eggs, and at least a half dozen other nommy bacon infused dishes. I’ve forewarned those attending to double up on their Lipitor.  Let’s hope they listened.

I think there is another reason why I am so hyped up about my birthday party this year, other than the party factor.  I think it could be that I’ve come to a place where I am really quite happy with the way life has turned out, all things considered. I’m also comfortable enough in my own skin to not mind getting older.  I thought it would be horrible, but really, it’s not.  I have a group of friends that operate like a finely tuned emsemble cast.  We know each other, we play off each other. We hound each other endlessly over each other’s soft spots and weaknesses.  We’ve had to weed out a few undesirables who simply couldn’t “run with the big dogs” so we thought it better if they just stayed on the porch. It’s never a dull moment, and I love that about them. I hope they’re around for my 77th birthday, which I will attending on my pimped-out jazzy scooter with the cupholder for my cocktail and basket on the front to carry around my sweet Bill.  Actually, maybe a sidecar would be better, we’ll have to see what kind of options those things have when it is required.

I have my daughter, who rolls her eyes at me like no other.  She is brilliantly funny, beautiful beyond words (although she doesn’t believe that) and blessed with a brain much bigger than mine.  She makes every day a joy, even when she’s pissing me off ten different ways, and I’m so very proud of her.  She’s my girl, my angel, the very best part of me.

I have a family that I am truly grateful to have in my life.  They ground me, hold me up, and make me feel that no matter what, I am loved.  It’s hard to match that feeling, and I love them back a thousand times more.  

And last but not least, I have my Bill.  My therapist, my soulmate, my friend, and my partner.  He loves me unconditionally, despite my faults, quirks and idiosyncracies, and loves me for exactly who I am.  I can’t remember what it was like in my life before he was beside me, but I’m sure I never want to go through life without him again.

So here’s to 47.  May it be as glorious as the last 46 years.  I have so much to be thankful for, so much to live for, and so much to give back to those who have been so totally awesome to me.  Everyone should be so blessed.