Friday, November 28, 2014

Looking for the pony.

Once upon a time, there were two brothers who were night and day.  Worried that the boys had developed extreme personalities -- one was a total pessimist, the other a total optimist -- their parents took them to a psychiatrist.

First the psychiatrist treated the pessimist. He took the boy to a room piled to the ceiling with brand-new toys.Immediately, the little boy burst into tears. "What's the matter?" the psychiatrist asked, baffled. "Don't you want to play with any of the toys?" "Yes," the little boy sobbed, "but if I did I'd only break them."

Next the he treated the optimist. The psychiatrist took him to a room piled to the ceiling with horse manure. The boy dropped to his knees, and began gleefully digging out scoop after scoop with his bare hands. "What do you think you're doing?" the psychiatrist asked, just as baffled by the optimist as he had been by the pessimist. "With all this shit," the little boy replied, "there must be a pony in here somewhere!"
 
I spend most of my time looking for the pony, and I usually find it.
 
To wit;
 
Thanksgiving turned out nearly perfect.  
 
Even if half my friends on FB commented that it looked like my bird was shitting dressing.
 
 
I managed to replicate Dad's gravy, and it was perfection:
 
 
But I learned something.  Mom doesn't like gravy.  What?  In all my years of Thanksgiving, I never realized that my mother was indifferent to the one thing I find most important of all.  I was stunned.

So there, mes amis,  there is the pony in this pile of shit... I am getting to know Mom better.

Dad was such a force to be reckoned with, so high personality, that I knew so much about him. 

Now, I'm getting Mom's stories.

Turns out, she has some good ones.  

Like the one about her family's dog, Whitey... he used to follow her half brothers to school, and used to go to the High School football games with them - where he ran up and down the field.  Until someone shot him.

Yeah, you read that right.  My mother, when she was five, saw her family dog get shot at the football game.


Let me state -violence against animals isn't funny.


It was so dark and sick, we were both laughing as she told the story - although, clearly, I think it's sick and not funny.

I said to her, "Holy shit, that is some Pat Conroy grade crazy."

How, in 40 years, had I not known this story?

And what others have I missed?

There's the pony.

ae

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Forgotten Words

The other day, in an attempt to be funny/helpful, I responded to a friend's post on Facebook with some pithy words from our Middle School's anthem, Crabapple Day.

I went to Crabapple Middle School (or as my family was apt to call it, "Crappyapple").  We were the Crabapple Generals - and our mascot was a Yosemite Sam looking guy with a confederate garb and a sword.

What in tarnation were they cogitatin'?

Aaaaaaaaawwwwwkkkkkward.

So, they changed the mascot at some point - now they're the Crabapple Huskies.

The Husky knows everything.  Even that time you farted in gym class.

Likely because of all the snow and dog racing in the suburbs of Atlanta.  

Anyway, good luck finding the lyrics to Crabapple Day online - they aren't there.  It may be that it was too touchy-feely and they dumped it.  Which is a shame, because although I can't remember all the words, it was a sweet little song, and for three years I sang it in every chorus concert and assembly - complete with sign language!

Here's what I can tell you - it was written by 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher - Tim O'Shea.  Nice, wholesome guy who seemed to genuinely love teaching and 7th graders.  Who knows why?

I can only remember the last verse and chorus, so I'll share them:

Verse:

The end of another/
Crabapple Day/
But my thoughts still linger/
As we drive away

It's hard times, it's good times/
That help us along/
It takes both rain and sun/
To make a tree grow strong

Chorus:

Yes, we started out small, this is true/
Now our branches are spread against the sky so blue/
There's nothing, nothing we can't do


The words I quoted to my friend were, "It takes both rain and sun to make a tree grow strong."

And then, for the first time ever, I actually stopped to think about that and what it meant.

Too much sun, a tree becomes brittle.  Too much rain, it becomes soft and mushy.

You need both in order to have balance - a tree that is strong, but supple.

One that can bend to the forces of nature and not break or uproot.



The tree is a metaphor people. 

But there's nothing.... nothing I can't do.

ae

Monday, November 24, 2014

Oh, dea!

In case you hadn't noticed, I'm in a dark place.

Late last night, I couldn't sleep.  For some reason, I started thinking about my father, and Thanksgiving, and how that was totally our thing.

I have mastered everything but his gravy, which I have actually never made.

So, I posted on FB about it, as you will.  Then I had a good cry, and eventually fell asleep.

And what occurred to me this morning in the clear light of day is that even if I mastered the perfect Bill Breyer Turkey Gravy, it's not like I can pour it on his ashes, and reconstitute him back from the dead.  The thought of that struck me as fucking hilarious.

And then, as I'm showering this morning, I start thinking about what a fucked up sci-fi story that would make.  In the realm of Ray Bradbury's "Electric Grandmother".  And then, I started thinking  about what we'd call it,and I came up with two new movie titles for an Atlanta-based filmmaker:


Tyler Perry's Gravy Daddy




and (this one I'm especially proud of)

Tyler Perry's Ray Bradbury's 'Lectric Madea




It's the silly that makes me happy.

And holy shit, if you're reading this, Tyler Perry, call me.

ae

PS - I will be watching a video on making gravy on YouTube, because, no - it won't bring Dad back, but fuck it - I like gravy.  And we did a ready-made version last year, and it was gross.  So fuck that.

And fuck self-pity.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Open Letter to the Guy in 17D

Dear Stranger,

We were flying from Oklahoma City to Atlanta Friday night.  You were in 17D, and I was across the aisle, 17C.  And you noticed me struggling with my seatbelt - it was just a fraction of an inch shorter than I needed it to be to get it fastened.  It was just not cooperating with me, and I got flustered, and of course, the more flustered I got, the harder I struggled.  At some point, you got up and when you came back, you told me in a very friendly way that you had let the flight attendant know I was unable to buckle up and that she'd bring me an extender here in just a minute.

And I was so shocked and humiliated, I actually thanked you.

The flight attendant came up looking for the lard-ass who couldn't fasten her belt, and looked kind of surprised when it was just me.  Ok, we all know I'm not thin, but I also don't look like the kind of girl who needs a belt extender.  What's weird is that 36 hours earlier, on the inbound flight to OKC, I had no trouble buckling in. Nor have I had trouble on any of the 50 flights I've done all year.  So... is it me, or is it the belt in 17C?

She passed me the extender like a 7th grade girl would pass her friend a maxi pad after she had bled through her jeans.  Compassionate, but embarrassed to be an accessory to my shame.  I thanked her, too.  Because I may be a dumb fat girl, but I am polite, dammit.

Chagrinned, I connected it, and had to ratchet it down all the way so that it wasn't at my knees.  I texted my best friend to get some kind of words of comfort, then I shut down my phone and buried myself in my Kindle to try to drown out the berating self-monologue in my head.

Then, about ten minutes into the flight, you had the nerve to ask if, since I was alone on my side of the plane, you could take 17A so that your seatmate wouldn't be crowded in.  I said fine, and fiddled with the fucking extender to get up and give you room.

You called me "young lady".  That was a little irritating and overly familiar.  You tried to make small talk about my older model Kindle, and how I should upgrade to a newer model like the one you have.  I remember that detail now, now that I have had some time to process.  Is it any of your fucking business what kind of Kindle I have?  Think about that question, we'll come back to it.

Several times, I thought about explaining to you that I had lost my father earlier this year, and had found eating to be my coping mechanism.  Instead, I just spilled my guts by scribbling in the margins of SkyMall.  I do that, sometimes.  It comforts me.  I also didn't get peanuts or cookies.  I just had water.  You had a diet Coke and two packets of cookies.  How nice for you.

At the end of the flight, I neatly wrapped up the extender, and handed it to a flight attendant as I left the plane.  I don't know if Atlanta was your final destination, it was not mine.  I didn't look to see where you were going. 

Once I turned on my phone, I found several messages from my best friend, assuring me that you were out of line, and that I've had a hell of a year, and that 2015 was going to be so much better.  About your behavior, she said, "Who does that?"  I wondered if, perhaps you were an Air Marshal. 

To quote my friend, "Fuck the FAA, and fuck seatbelts".

I sat in the B Terminal waiting for my next flight and felt sorry for myself.  Why had I let it get this bad?  Why was I such a failure?  Why did I eat a huge bowl of pasta for lunch?

I got on my second flight and held my breath while I tested the seatbelt - it closed with room to spare.  I started feeling a little better.  We landed and I got my bag, and got in the car, and cried a little.

I decided I wouldn't tell anyone about what had happened.

But then, this morning, I told Matt.  And he wasn't mad at me, or embarrassed, or upset.  He thought you were kind of a weirdo.

And then I told my friend Colby, who didn't think I was a monster, or a failure - but he thought you were out of line.

So, the consensus is this:  what were you thinking?   Yes, I am a larger woman - but I'm not Orca Fat.  I was struggling, but I'm not an idiot.  I could have easily covered the belt ends with my scarf and kept my diginity intact.  Sure, I would have still berated myself the entire flight, but at least it would have been on me, and not between me, you and the flight attendant.

If in fact, you were an Air Marshal and were doing this for the safety of America, you need some fucking sensitivity training.  Alert the flight attendant so that she can discreetly handle it - you've done your job, but I don't feel icky.

What I suspect, though, is that you're just a do-gooder idiot.  You're nosy and you thought you were helping me out.   You thought you were rescuing a damsel in distress.  And then you tried to make nice by also telling me my Kindle is old.  Here's the deal... I don't need a knight in shining armor.

There is only one person who can save me, and she was sitting in 17C, fighting back tears and wishing she could hide, possibly in a large warm loaf of bread.

But you woke her up, and you pissed her off.  And whether she loses 20 pounds or gains another five, she's not going to let you or anyone else make her feel bad for who she is.

She may be fat, but she is fierce, and loyal, and funny and kind.  Her good qualities won't fit in the overhead bin, and she thinks you should take your polite banter, and your new Kindle, and take a first class flying leap.

So if I need an extender again, I'll ask for it.   But I'll also keep skipping the cookies, and drinking just water.

And if I decide I want a shiny, sleek new Kindle, I'll get one - but my clunky old one with the battered green cover works fine for now, and I'll thank you to mind your own fucking business.

Safe travels,

17C

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Fat Girl Rant

I'm in OKC this week - a last minute trip that I didn't really want.  Not my favorite destination, especially Post Osage County Trauma.

Anyway, I'm here.

It's all good.

Nice customer, but they are going to wear my ass out.

Tonight, I went to Macy's, because I could.

What I saw, depressed me:



Velour Track Suits.   WHY????  Just because I'm fat doesn't mean I've given up.

I haven't.

Now, I do need to spend my time ranting differently.  I should be working out.  I did walk the mall, and I ate decently today.

So, I don't feel bad about my day.

Especially since I got up early to take a 5:30 AM flight.

Why?

Because yesterday was NOT a travel day (and I've had it on my calendar as such for several months).

Last night, I had a date.  I went to TPAC with my pal, Jim - to see...





It. Was.  AMAZEBALLS.  I've been listening to the soundtrack for more than a year.  Maybe 2 years, actually.

But the staging, and the book...  OMG.  We howled. HOWLED.

And the fun part is, I'm going again on Saturday.

Long story - I'll explain later.

But first, I have to get through OK.

I'm OK, you're OK.

ae
 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Bitchcakes.

I've been in a little bit of a snit this week.  Snit happens, I guess you could say.

I think the body image stuff is part of it.

I also didn't sleep well last night.  Or the night before, honestly.

Here's something interesting - the movie August: Osage County... gave me nightmares.

I know it's supposed to be a drama - it was more like a horror flick:



Side tangent.  I want to slap the shit out of Juliette Lewis every time I see her.   There's not a role she plays that doesn't irritate me, and I'm convinced she's just playing herself.



So, thankfully, the Osage nightmares lasted a night, and now I'm back to sorority themed nightmares.

All of this to say, I am tired.

Still getting over the cold/cough/sinus fiasco that I've been nursing since mid-October.

I decided, after getting a grand inquisition from Mom over the weekend, to order myself a coat for the winter.

Anyway.  I'm in a funk.  I'll run some errands, cook some supper.  I'll be right again.

With a little help from my friends.  And by friends, in this case, I mean NyQuil.

ae


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gut Ache

I got back to Nashville today.  And I'm glad to be home. 

Spending time with Mom was good, as always.  We went to the mall yesterday - to return a sweater she bought me because she thought it was a dress, and sadly, it was a tunic that showed every flaw on my body.  And there were many, many flaws to show.


Maybe with Spanx?  No?



It's hard enough to shop at my size when I'm alone and can wallow in my own corpulence (and crapulence?) in the privacy of the dressing room.  Bringing my petite, lovely, fashionable mother in there with me makes it oh, so much harder. 

We returned the sweater, and I ended up buying for myself a different, longer, kinder tunic, a pretty blouse for the holidays, etc. and a black t-shirt, because you always need one.

And then, I just felt gross and disgusting and huge for the rest of the day.  Mostly because I'm gross and huge and digusting. 

I need to get it together.

Friday, I learned that one of the Project Managers committed me to being in OKC on Wednesday morning, even though I specifically had that I was NOT to travel on Monday or Tuesday on ALL my calendars.  Because I'm going to Book of Mormon at 7:30 Tuesday night.  So, I found out on Friday, I'm going to travel Wednesday.  Because my PM effed up. 

And that's not cool.   So, so not cool.

But, I'll get my bags packed, and I'll go and it'll be fine.

And then, I have a good few weeks before I have to go do anything.  But my first trip in December should be pretty challenging.  It's my first time repping a new product, and frankly, I just kind of want to throw up.

Which would help the whole fat thing - just get good and bulimic for a few years.

Kidding, kidding - I should know better than to make eating disorder jokes.

But seriously, I have to get it together.

ae


Friday, November 14, 2014

Food for thought and consumption

I have spent a fair amount of time this week in and near my hometown.  I had a meeting with a customer one town over from where I grew up.  In fact, the customer now resides in the building where I held my first job out of college.  Times have changed.  In nearly 20 years, the street that had a few office buildings and nothing else, has added gas stations, drug stores and a ton of restaurants. 

Once I got cut lose from the customer gig,  I launched out and hit the highlights of my hometown.

First things first, I perused the shit out of Crate and Barrel over at North Point Mall.  Dishes!  Holiday decor!  Gadgets.  I spent an hour just walking around and feeling the merchandise. It was fabulous.  I miss Crate and Barrel. Clearly.

I went for Chinese.  I've bitched, repeatedly, that Nashville lacks decent Chinese.   I got my fix yesterday.  I went to the place where Matt and I had our rehearsal dinner, China Garden.

It doesn't get any better.  The contents of this bowl have healing properties.


I was able to tell Patrick, the owner, about Dad.   The good thing about having that conversation yesterday is that I won't have to have it over the holidays, if  (and let's face it, when) we go out for Chinese.


The other good thing is that it was freaking amazing.  Egg roll, wonton soup and Mongolian beef.  Freaking amazing.

While I was on the job, I got to enjoy some other culinary delights - the aforementioned oysters, burgers from Rhea's,  Sweet Tomatoes... last night, Mom and I hit up El Zarape, which used to be El Zorrito.  Not as good, but they still make Tlalpeno soup and it was great.

I've been hitting the soup pretty hard.

I do love soup.

I mean, I fucking love it.

OK.

So  tomorrow, Mom and I are going shopping, having a pedi and getting Mom a plane ticket for a trip she's planned with some friends.

Sounds like a full day.

I'll try to fit some soup in there.

ae
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What I ate today

As you may or may not know, I hate mushrooms.

The flavor isn't a problem, really... it's a little funky, but then, I eat pho, and it tastes a little like sweaty feet smell.


By the way, I think it is the duty of every Pho restaurant to have a clever name.  I'm a fan of Pho Shur! and What the Pho?  Both are actual places.

But anyway, back to mushrooms. It's a texture issue, and when I was very young, we were out eating Chinese, and my sister identified one in my soup as an "octopus eyeball".  Nope.  Anyone who knows me, knows I'm not a fan.

That said, every few years, I try them again to see if maybe I've changed.  So far, no dice.

But the thing is, that's a good rule of thumb for food you don't like, because things can change.

Submitted for your approval:

1. When I was younger, I would only eat the filling in deviled eggs.  I found the yolk rubbery and off-putting, probably because I watched my mother do the same thing for years.  Then, I was at a party in my 20s.  Not a family thing where I wasn't subject to scrutiny, but among peers, who I was trying to impress.  So I sucked it up and ate the whole deviled egg I had put on my plate.  And I liked it.

Now I eat egg salad, hard boiled eggs, and delicious devils like there's nothing to it.

2. Green peas.  As a kid, I hated them.  I found the smell off-putting - my father described them as smelling like lightning bugs, and I agreed.  Nope.  Then, when Matt and I were in Italy, we went to dinner one night, and although we didn't specifically order them, the waiter came to the table with a bowl of fresh green peas.  They did not smell funky at all.  They had butter melting on them, and they looked like little emeralds.  And they tasted SO.  DAMN.  GOOD.  So as it turns out, I don't like canned peas.  Fresh, or really even decent frozen peas are AOK.

3.  Sushi.  I tried sushi when I was in High School and I was like... meh.  It was cold fishy rice, and I wasn't impressed.  Then a few years ago, I ended up at a sushi place with a colleague, and as it turns out, I don't like crappy grocery store sushi.  Fresh sushi?  Totally different story.  Now, I don't get into the sea urchin and eel - again, texture, but... I can hold my own at Sushi Train any day.  

Quick side note about that.  There's a great place in Nashville called Sushi Train where it's all coming past you on refrigerated conveyor belts.  It's killer.  I love any sushi place with conveyor belts.  BUT - come to find out, in Tulsa, OK - there's ALSO a place called Sushi Train - which uses a MODEL TRAIN to transport little plates of sushi around the bar.  Fucking brilliant:


I have eaten at both, and it's hard to say which I love more.

4.  Raw Oysters.  My parents, namely, Dad - used to eat the living hell out of these when we went to Florida.  I usually stuck to fried shrimp.  But cut to New Orleans, 2012.  I'm sitting at a dinner with a bunch of customers and the guy sitting next to me offers me one of his oysters - insists they're amazing.  Well, I had tried raw oysters at the insistence of my Aunt Mary as a teenager and couldn't appreciate them.  But I wanted to impress my customers with my worldliness, so I hooked one up with some cocktail sauce and it was excellent.  From that point forward, if I was out with people and they wanted to get a dozen for the table, I'd help out.

But today, I had the opportunity to get some Apalachicola Bay oysters - the great, great grandbabies of the ones Dad ate, and I got my own dozen.

I accidentally ate two before taking the picture.

So, eat, drink... be adventuresome!

ae

Monday, November 10, 2014

Things n Stuff

Item One:


Chuck Baudelaire is BACK, baby!  After a sabbatical, which she explains in her newest post, Ms. Baudelaire is up and blogging again.  Check that shit out, stat!



Next: 

Trader Joe's Lamb Kofta:


Holy meatballs!  These are wonderful.  $4.99 a box and if you add some chick peas, a little spinach, some rice?  Winner, winner, kofta dinner.  Cheap, healthy and on the table in 20 minutes.

Go to Trader Joe's, get some.  They are awesome and tasty.



Three: 


Yesterday, I made some pepper jelly, heavy on the Habaneros and Carribean Scorpions from the garden - I used too much of the hot stuff, because, friends, this stuff is ATOMIC.  I don't know who all is going to eat it, but I know of one or two takers for this stuff.  I mean, chemical burns... I may have them sign waivers.



Finally:


In case you're wondering, the ear has drained, and I now have a cough.  So I stopped at the Walgreen's for a bottle of cough syrup.  What I wanted was a suppressant that made me sleepy.  But not NyQuil because it hangs me way, way over.

I ended up with some non-drowsy stuff.  We'll see.

That's it for now.

Later, gators.

ae




Sunday, November 9, 2014

Cranky

My shoulder hurts, and that makes everything harder than it should be.  That said, I did a great shopping stop at Trader Joe's, then to Kroger.

I made lunch.

Now I'm going to make soup for dinner.

And maybe then I'll make pepper jelly, and finish up laundry.

That'll help my shoulder.

ae


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Today, as the moments pass slowly away...

So, as you may recall, I was in a sorority. 

I wasn't the worst sister in the world, although, I was kind of far from the best.  Anyway...

I found out that one my sisters died yesterday.  And not an older alumna I didn't know well.

A sister I partied with.  I served on Executive Board with, performed ritual with.  Ate dinner with, goofed with, learned a capella Billy Joel with.  Joked about being a troll with.

She was my age.  And she lost her mother to breast cancer a few years ago, and then, it got her too.

I kind of fell out of touch with my sisters after I left school.  I got fat, I was depressed... these things happen.  Then I moved to Nashville, but I got on Facebook, so I kept track there.  I knew she'd been sick.

I knew she had been an active advocate in the Young Survivors Coalition.

And then today, I found out she was gone.

Suzanne, the plans they made put an end to you.


This is us, goofing with an old school selfie.

She was a sweet girl, funny and just a fine individual...

And the only "good" thing I can say is that she's no longer in pain.

But she leaves behind a lot of people who are surely hurting.

Cancer sucks.  We all know this.  I have nothing more to say.

Except goodbye to an old friend.

ae

Monday, November 3, 2014

Give in.

I'm taking today and tomorrow off.  I finally just gave into the fact that I'm sick, dammit.  I have done very little.  After the party, I have been cleaning up slowly, picking my way through the leftovers.

We got some Indian yesterday to attempt to open my sinuses with spice and lots of refills of ice water.

I picked up a new set of sheets for the bed, because Matt gave me a pretty duvet cover for my birthday.

Today, I went for a mammogram.  It hurt about as much you would imagine.  At least the machine wasn't cold. 

Then I came home, and I've been here napping and watching crappy TV ever since.

Well, not entirely true.  I went to Edley's and got us some lunch.

And that's pretty much all I've been doing all day.

Tomorrow, we're going to get Matt new tires, and I may pick up some brown shoes to get me through the rest of the winter.  The ones I have are eight years old and have a crack in the sole of the left foot.  They were Born, and not cheap, but let's say I've worn them hundreds of times - and I have - well then I've gotten my money's worth.

If you get right down to it there's a parallel between tires and shoes.

We already voted.  There's a big one up for a vote here in Tennessee; Amendment 1.  It basically says that Tennessee does not protect a woman's right to take care of her own body.  That's my take anyway.  There are a ton, ton, ton of religious leaders, legal experts, and doctors urging people to vote NO.  Which I obviously did.  I may be 40, and on birth control, and well past my years of reproduction, but my body isn't up for legislative control.

Come on, you knew I was a libby liberal.

And thankfully, I've never had to make that decision, and it's likely I never will.  But it's my decision.

That said, I'm going to be focused on the elections both here and in Georgia, where Jimmy's grandson, Jason is up for Governor.  And Sam Nunn's  daughter, Michelle is running for Senate.

PLUS!  There's a vote here in Tennessee to get wine in grocery stores.

It's a good time to be alive, my friends.

ae


Sunday, November 2, 2014

Friends.

Tonight, I had some friends over to celebrate my birthday.

There was food, there were tons of my favorite people, lots of good stuff to drink, and laughter.

Always laughter.


I didn't have the heart to ask the nice lady at Publix to write "fucking" in icing. 


Now, I'm ready to make it a good year.

ae